TPM News

A new survey of the Wisconsin Senate race from Public Policy Polling (D), where Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl is retiring, gives the potential Democratic candidates consistent leads over any Republican who isn't named Tommy Thompson -- and even Thompson, the former four-term governor and Bush-era Health and Human Services Secretary, would face a close race.

Several different potential Democratic candidates were tested out against several Republicans, in a swing state that has become the center of a polarizing political debate over labor unions in the wake of Republican Gov. Scott Walker's anti-public employee union legislation.

"Russ Feingold's going to start out as a solid favorite if he wants to go back to the Senate," writes PPP president Dean Debnam. "His loss last year had less to do with him than the national political climate and because of Scott Walker's unpopularity things have shifted back toward the Democrats more quickly in Wisconsin than most other places."

The poll of registered voters was conducted from May 19-22, and has a ±2.4% margin of error.

Read More →

1||Legendary musician and songwriter Bob Dylan turns 70 years-old today. In honor of his birthday, TPM takes a look back at Dylan through the ages. ||91040/picture-alliance / united archiv/Newscom&&

2||Dylan arrived in New York City in January 1961 just after dropping out of the University of Minnesota. To conceal a childhood in a conventional, even doting Jewish family in Hibbing, Minnesota, Dylan told tales of growing up as a runaway in the American West. ||91040/picture-alliance / united archiv/Newscom&&

3||By the end of 1961 Dylan had become a staple of the Greenwich Village folk music scene. ||Scripps Howard Photo Service/Newscom&&

4|| Cover photo for 1963's The Times They Are a-Changin' ||Album/Album/Newscom&&

5||Bob Dylan smokes a cigarette in an interview in 1964. ||Mirrorpix/Newscom&&

6|| ||Harold Whyte/Toronto Star/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

7||Bob Dylan and Joan Baez at the March on Washington, D.C in 1963. ||National Archives&&

8||Bob Dylan with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in Greenwood, Mississippi, 1963. ||Wikimedia&&

9|| ||m42/m42/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

10|| || Album/Album/Newscom&&

11||Bob Dylan and Joan Baez on the Thames Embankment 1965. ||Gavin Kent Mirrorpix/Newscom&&

12||Dylan and Baez were friends and on and off again lovers through crucial years in the early-mid-1960s. ||Mirrorpix/Newscom&&

13||Bob Dylan arriving at a London airport for a tour in 1965. ||Mirrorpix/Newscom&&

14|| ||91040/picture-alliance / united archiv/Newscom&&

15||Bob Dylan on the Thames Embankment in 1965 with mid-60s sidekick Bobby Neuwirth. ||Kent Gavin Mirrorpix/Newscom^&&

16|| ||NCJ-Topix Mirrorpix/Newscom&&

17|| ||Frank Lennon/Toronto Star/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

18||Bob Dylan at Royal Albert Hall in 1965. ||MacDonald Alisdair Mirrorpix/Newscom&&

19||Bob Dylan in Washington, DC in 1968. ||Dennis Brack/Dennis Brack/Newscom&&

20|| Dylan's move from unadorned, acoustic folk music to electric, blues-infused rock changed American music and cut a deep rift between his fans. Tours through 1965 and 1966 often witnessed competing applause and boos from fans. ||Toronto Star/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

21|| ||Wenn/Newscom&&

22||Bob Dylan with wife Sara at Heathrow airport in 1969. ||Mirrorpix/Newscom&&

23|| Dylan had artistically uneven years in the early 1970s before releasing Blood on the Tracks in 1975, considered by many to be one of the best albums in his 50 year career. || Ken Regan/EFE/Newscom&&

24|| ||Doug Griffin/Toronto Star/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

25|| ||Wenn/Newscom&&

26||Bob Dylan at Earls Court in London in 1978 ||Dennis Stone/Mirrorpix/Newscom&&

27|| ||91040/picture-alliance / united archiv/Newscom&&

28||Bob Dylan, receiving a lifetime achievement award at the Kennedy Center from President Clinton. ||LARRY DOWNING/RTR/Newscom&&

29||Bob Dylan, receiving a Golden Globe award for his song, "Things Have Changed," in 2001. ||HO/RTR/Newscom&&

30|| In the mid-1990s Dylan managed a late career artistic resurgence, releasing a series of his most critically acclaimed and commercially successful albums of his career. Most consider the turning point 1997's Time Out of Mind. ||Agencia el Universal/El Universal de Mexico/Newscom&&

31||Bob Dylan shakes hands with President Obama after his performance at the White House in 2010. ||Pete Souza/UPI/Newscom&&

32||Bob Dylan performing at the White House in 2010. || u99/u99/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

33||Bob Dylan performing "Maggie's Farm" at the 53rd Grammy Awards in 2011. ||LUCY NICHOLSON/RTR/Newscom&&

34||Bob Dylan performing in China for the first time in 2011. ||YAN BING/FEATURECHINA/Newscom&&

35|| Since the late 1980s Dylan has been on what is often called the 'Never Ending Tour', a calendar of almost constant touring around the globe with what most consider the tightest backing band of his career. ||c32/c32/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

36|| ||Xia Qi/ColorChinaPhoto/Xia Qi/Newscom&&

37|| ||VI KHOA / HO/EFE/Newscom&&

38|| ||c40/c40/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

Right next door to NY-26, a GOP freshman is on the defensive over her vote for the House GOP budget and its plan to slash and privatize Medicare.

Rep. Ann Marie-Buerkle (NY-25) is sending flyers to her constituents arguing that phasing out traditional Medicare and replacing it with a program of subsidized private insurance is not privatization. "The plan before Congress will not privatize Medicare or turn it into a "voucher" system," she claims. And she takes a swipe at Democrats for voting for deep Medicare cuts as part of the health care reform law, even though she just voted to maintain those same cuts.

Read More →

Businessman and presidential candidate Herman Cain appeared on Sean Hannity's TV show Tuesday night, to do some clean-up duty after he seemed to accidentally acknowledge a potential right of return to Israel for Palestinian refugees, who fled or were expelled from their homes during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, or for their descendants. As Cain now admits, he simply did not know what the question was referring to -- and he added, he has now learned that they were not expelled at all.

"A lot of people think you didn't understand the right of return," said Hannity.

"They are exactly right, Sean. Chris [Wallace] caught me off guard. I didn't understand the right of return," said Cain. "That came out of left field. And of all the questions that I anticipated him asking me, I didn't even conceive of him asking me about the right of return. I now know what that is.

"The thing that you're gonna learn about Herman Cain, if he doesn't know something, he's not going to try and fake it, or give an answer that he doesn't know what he's talking about."

Funny thing, though: When Cain on Sunday had paused awkwardly during the questioning from Wallace, and then said that a right of return was "something that should be negotiated," was that not trying to fake it and give an answer about something where he didn't know what he was talking about?

Read More →

by Sebastian Rotella, ProPublica

A confessed Pakistani-American terrorist took the stand in a Chicago courtroom on Monday and described a close alliance between Pakistan's intelligence service and the Lashkar-i-Taiba terrorist group, alleging that Pakistani officers recruited him and played a central role in planning the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

Read More →

Senate Republicans are preparing to foreclose on the Democrats' single best hope for addressing the country's structural deficit without shifting a huge cost burden on to seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries. It's a testament to the deep division between the parties on the key driver of future U.S. debt -- which might not matter if debt wasn't the high-stakes issue du jour in Washington.

Broadly speaking, there are two competing schools of thought about how best to reduce federal Medicare spending. One version works much like the House GOP budget's Medicare privatization plan -- it involves capping overall Medicare spending, and outsourcing the financing of seniors' health care to private insurers. This shifts a significant cost on to seniors themselves, but Republicans like the idea for two reasons: (1) It reduces federal spending by fiat; and (2) It rations health care via the private sector -- based on what services seniors think they'll need, and what services insurers will agree to pay for.

The Obama administration's alternative is a gentle twist on government rationing. It preserves Medicare as a single-payer system but shaves off waste-creating incentives so that over time the provision of care to beneficiaries is more affordable, more efficient, more research-based than it is now without explicitly "rationing" by declining more services over time. Or at least that's the goal.

And that's where the Independent Payment Advisory Board comes in. It's the most promising of the many new cost-cutting initiatives created by President Obama's health care law. IPAB will be tasked with implementing new ways to reduce Medicare spending, and, though its powers are limited in several key ways -- for instance, it's explicitly forbidden to "ration" health care -- its recommendations take effect almost automatically.

There's just one problem: Each of the board's 15 members has to be confirmed by the Senate. That means filibusters and 60 vote requirements stand in the way of staffing a panel that Republicans decry as a government rationing board. And months ahead of the nominations, they're telling Obama "good luck with that!"

Read More →

Netanyahu To Address Congress Reuters reports: "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would set forth his view of a future Middle East peace in an address to Congress on Tuesday and reaffirmed Israel would never return to its old, narrow borders. 'I will outline a vision for a secure Israeli-Palestinian peace,' the right-wing Israeli leader said on Monday about his planned address to a joint meeting of Congress. 'I intend to speak the unvarnished truth. Now more than ever what we need is clarity.'"

Obama's Day Ahead The President and First Lady participated in an arrival ceremony at Buckingham Palace at 12:20 p.m. BST (7:20 a.m. ET), and had lunch with Queen Elizabeth II at 12:25 p.m. BST. They will view the Portrait Gallery at 2 p.m. BST. They will tour Westminster Abbey at 3 p.m. BST, and President Obama will participate in a wreath-laying ceremony. They will arrive at 10 Downing Street at 3:45 p.m. BST. Obama will meet with Opposition Leader Ed Miliband at 5 p.m. BST. Then at 8:30 p.m. BSt, the President and First Lady will attend a dinner hosted by the Queen.

Read More →

Rebecca Mansour, the adviser to Sarah Palin most closely associated with her post-Alaska political life, thinks Palin's daughter Bristol is a political liability. That's according to private communications published Tuesday morning by the Daily Caller that show Mansour comparing Bristol to other well-known relatives who have made life difficult for their famous political families.

"Two words: Patti Davis. Okay three more: Ron Reagan Junior," Mansour said in a series of Twitter direct messages obtained by the caller. "Two more: Billy Carter. Doesn't your family have one?"

Read More →

Voters in key Senate swing states don't want cuts to Medicare and Medicaid benefits -- and they're prepared to exact revenge on politicians who vote in favor of them.

That's according to new Public Policy Polling (D) numbers from Ohio, Missouri, Montana and Minnesota, where Democratic Senators face what could be tough reelection fights. The polling, published first by TPM, was sponsored by a coalition of progressive groups.

Read More →