TPM News

U.S. Marshals in Michigan have released mugshots of eight Hutaree militia members charged with seditious conspiracy and other crimes in an alleged plot to kill police.

Pictured here, clockwise from top-left: David Stone, Sr., Tina Stone, David Stone, Jr., Jacob Ward, Joshua Clough, Michael Meeks, Kristopher Sickles and Thomas Piatek. A ninth man, Joshua Stone, is described by authorities as a fugitive.

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Alaska Democratic Party officials think hot rhetoric over health care led to someone trying to break the windows at the entrance to their headquarters in Anchorage. After logging some threatening phone calls last week, staffers on Sunday found that someone attempted to shatter one of the floor-to-ceiling windows at their prominently labeled office.

"We are on heightened alert and will be taking extra precaution," Patti Higgins, chairwoman of the Alaska Democratic Party, told me in an interview today. "I'm not going to say I think it was tea partiers or Republicans, but I think the heightened rhetoric out there will encourage people will go out and think it's okay to 'send a message' and be angry."

Higgins said it seemed "coincidental" the incident happened over the weekend, as former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was declaring that Republicans should be the party of "Hell no" at a political rally in Nevada. "These are violent words: 'Fire 'em all, take 'em out,' and put together they fit into a pretty cohesive running theme that is fairly violent," Higgins said.

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Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty announced today on his Facebook page that he will be holding his first "Facebook Town Hall" on Wednesday night.

The online invitation to the event said that Pawlenty will "make a major announcement" through Facebook and will ask for input from Facebook users on how to help the "Republicans win the 2010 elections and stop runaway Washington spending."

The new Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll gives Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) a narrow lead over Tommy Thompson, a Republican former four-term governor and former Bush administration Secretary of Health and Human Services.

The numbers: Feingold 48%, Thompson 44%, with a ±4% margin of error. Thompson is not currently in the race, but has been considering it. Feingold has stronger leads over the two declared Republican candidates, leading businessman Terrence Wall by 52%-37%, and leading businessman Dave Westlake by 54%-36%.

The TPM Poll Average gives Thompson a narrow edge of 45.9%-45.6%, with recent movement showing Feingold closing the gap. The average also has Feingold leading Wall by 50.7%-37.0%, and leading Westlake by 49.4%-34.2%.

The GOP attacks on President Obama's decision to offer recess appointments to 15 stalled nominees--including labor lawyer Craig Becker, whose confirmation was successfully filibustered earlier this year--were swift, and predictably harsh. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called it "a purely partisan move that will make a traditionally bipartisan labor board an unbalanced agenda-driven panel."

This is hardly the first time that the opposition party has decried a President's decision to recess appoint nominees--Democrats were likewise furious at many of Bush's nods. But there important differences between the two episodes. Despite facing record obstruction, Obama has until now refused to use his recess appointment power, to the chagrin of many of his own supporters. By invoking his power, Obama's signaling to Senate Republicans that they can't delay or block him from staffing up his administration and expect to get away with it.

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We already told you that one of the members of a Christian militia group charged today with "seditious conspiracy" in connection to an alleged plot to kill law enforcement appears to be the extremist who over the last 18 months created widely-viewed videos that warn "our country is in peril" and urge people to take up arms and march on Washington. And it now appears that that same militia member -- Kristopher Sickles, who goes by the name of "Pale Horse" -- posted a third video in which he lambasted the "corporate media" for its coverage of the militia movement.

The video, posted last August to YouTube and still available, sheds further light on the mindset and philosophy of at least one of the nine Hutaree members accused today of conspiring to kill police officers, then bomb their funeral in a bid to kill more law enforcement personnel, as part of a plot to "oppose by force the authority of the U.S. government."

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A new pair of national polls show a close divide on whether or not the new health care reform law should be repealed.

A CNN poll found that 47% agreed with the statement that "Congress should repeal most of the major provisions in that bill and replace them with a completely different set of proposals." Another 27% want to take the bill further, agreeing that "Congress should make additional changes to increase the government's involvement in the nation's health care system." And finally, 23% agreed, "Congress should leave the bill as it is."

So that is 47% for repeal, 50% who want the bill to stand or to further expand upon it.

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March 28, 2010: President Obama makes a surprise trip to Afghanistan.

Here, Obama and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai participate in an arrival ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Kabul.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




Obama aboard Air Force One en route to Afghanistan.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




Obama arrives at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




Obama and Karzai participate in the arrival ceremony.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




Obama meets with Karzai at the Presidential Palace.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




Karzai's staff waits for the dinner to begin with Karzai and Obama.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




Karzai chats with Obama during the dinner at the Presidential Palace.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




Obama aboard a helicopter flying from the Presidential Palace back to Bagram Air Field.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




Obama waves to U.S. troops at Bagram Air Field.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




Obama meets with U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry (left) and Gen. Stanley McChrystal at Bagram Air Field.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




Obama greets troops at a mess hall at Bagram Air Field.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza




Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Two Wisconsin Democrats, Reps. Steve Kagen and David Obey, have received threats, the Post-Crescent reports.

Someone scrawled the word "kill" on the sign in front of the Kagen Allergy Clinic, which is no longer owned by Kagen but still carries his name. He has also received so many threatening calls that one staffer took a leave of absence due to the stress.

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