TPM News

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid doesn't want any screwing around on financial reform, so he's recommending that votes on amendments, and indeed the final bill, be kept to majority rule: no filibusters, no supermajority requirements.

"I would hope also that we don't get locked into something that appears to be the order of the Congress around here that everything has to have 60 votes. On our side we're willing--I can't speak for everyone by I think I'm going to certainly--I'm more within my power to tell my senators, let's just have a 50-vote margin," Reid said on the Senate floor this morning. "Why do we need to have 60 votes on everything we do around here? That makes it so much more difficult, and I think that's unnecessary."

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Fox News' Jon Scott seemed to suggest in an interview with Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) this morning that the U.S. ought to consider racially profiling U.S. citizens of Pakistani descent.

Faisal Shahzad, a 30-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen originally from Pakistan, was arrested last night over Saturday's failed bombing attempt in Times Square.

This morning, Scott asked Lieberman this:

"Would you support, for instance, taking a look at citizens of, say, Pakistani descent who have been given American citizenship over the last two years, five years, and taking another look at each of them and, y'know, seeing what they are up to these days? Is that going too far?"

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The Kentucky Senate Republican primary is continuing to heat up, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) officially endorsing the establishment favorite Trey Grayson -- and another poll showing insurgent candidate Rand Paul way ahead in the race.

McConnell said in a statement that Grayson, the Kentucky Secretary of State, "has a track record of leading by example." This crucial endorsement for Grayson comes just a day after James Dobson dramatically retracted his endorsement of Grayson, and claimed that senior Republicans had misled him about Paul's views on abortion.

Meanwhile, the new survey from Public Policy Polling (D) shows Paul continuing to maintain a huge lead in the race.

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Possibly today, but if not today then soon, the Senate will decide whether or not to follow the House's lead and adopt a provision requiring government auditors to open up the books at the Federal Reserve. The measure enjoys a great deal of popularity on both the left and the right, but is so fiercely opposed by powerful interests that it could nonetheless become a stumbling block in the way of financial regulatory legislation.

Right now Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is trying to round up 60 or more votes to overcome a likely filibuster and include an "audit the Fed" provision in the Senate's bill. There are just a few small obstacles: the White House, major financial institutions, and the Fed itself. Their resistance is fierce--but the measure is so popular that killing it will be difficult for them and that, in their eyes, threatens to put a grenade at the center of efforts to to tighten the rules on Wall Street.

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In a further sign that national Democrats are worried about the special election in Hawaii's First District, the Democratic National Committee is circulating a private poll making it clear that Ed Case, one of the two Democratic candidates splitting the vote, is the more electable choice over fellow Dem Colleen Hanabusa.

The numbers, among likely voters: Republican Charles Djou 36%, Case 34%, and Hanabusa 20%. The TPM Poll Average has Djou ahead with 32.3%, Case with 32.0%, and Hanabusa at 21.8%. A Democratic source has confirmed the authenticity of the poll to TPMDC.

From the pollster's analysis: "The bottom line is that with a split-Democratic vote, this congressional is more likely than not to fall into Republican hands. Ed Case is the only candidate who can beat Charles Djou in this multi-candidate special election in May."

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An investigation by Ken Cuccinelli of a climate scientist who was caught up in last year's "Climate-Gate" flap is being likened to a "witch hunt" -- even by global warming skeptics.

As we reported yesterday, the conservative Virginia attorney general last month demanded that the University of Virginia hand over a slew of documents relating to the grant-funded research of Michael Mann, a climate scientist who worked at UVA from 1999 to 2005. Among the materials requested by May 27 were email correspondence with a long list of other climate scientists, including several who, like Mann, were prominent figures in Climate-Gate. You can see Cuccinelli's "Civil Investigative Demand," first obtained by the The Hook, a Charlottesville newspaper, here.

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Speaking on the Senate floor moments ago, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that financial reform will be finished by next week.

"We have to finish it by next week, and we will finish it one way or the other by next week," he said. "We have to do that. We have so much more to do."

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Daily Show correspondent Wyatt Cenac had a theory last night that the oil spill in the Gulf Coast is proof that "someone or something is trying to kill New Orleans."

"What's next?" he asked. "Sentient po'-boys hell-bent on revenge? Flashed breasts with nuclear warheads? Or maybe the world's largest pillow brought down on the city's face while it sleeps."

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Fire In The Gulf: New Pictures Of The Deepwater Horizon]

When Jon Stewart asked who would want to kill New Orleans, Cenac responded that the city "has no shortage of enemies. I actually heard that last year it f*cked Houston's girlfriend."

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