TPM News

Ron Paul may not be a big supporter of Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor who has become the face of President Obama's plan to raises taxes on the wealthy, but he's a gigantic fan of his father, Howard Buffett.

The elder Buffett was an ultraconservative Congressman in the 1940s an 1950s, known for his challenges to Franklin Roosevelt's expansion of government, his isolationist foreign policy, and his support for the gold standard. As the Washington Examiner's Phillip Klein noted in a detailed profile this week, he was in many ways the "Ron Paul of his day."

Paul volunteered Buffett as one of his favorite politicians at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast on Wednesday.

'Anyone ever hear of Howard Buffett?" he said. "I wish he had been president."

And as for his son?

"I think Howard Buffett's son is not a chip off the old block," he told TPM.

CNN has learned that Jon Huntsman campaign has laid off three low-level staffers.

A campaign spokesman would not comment on whether any staffers had been let go, but did point out that two campaign officials are being moved from Florida to New Hampshire.

The Democratic Governors Association, like many Democratic groups these days, is seizing on the plan among some Pennsylvania Republicans to end the state's winner-take-all electoral vote system.

The plan is part of a larger trend Democrats see among Republicans to rejigger the electoral vote structure across the country and make it harder for President Obama to pick up the electors he did the last time around, even if he wins the same states.

The DGA, like many Democratic groups, is using the trend to raise some cash. But today the group also proved how hard it is to fire somebody up over electoral vote math.

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The two U.S. hikers who were released today from prison in Iran met their families moments ago in Oman, greeting them with smiles and tears. See a photo of the scene here, from ABC’s Jim Sciutto.

Ron Paul told TPM on Wednesday that even if there's a "case or two" that makes Americans uncomfortable, the government should stay out of the health care business. Even if one of the cases in question is his former campaign manager, Kent Snyder, who died with $400,000 in unpaid medical bills after being unable to secure health insurance due to a pre-existing condition.

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The President's advisers have made it official and are recommending a strong veto of a House bill that would gut two key anti-pollution rules.

In a sternly worded statement, officials at the Office of Management and Budget on Wednesday took exception to a House bill that would put off a pending upgrade of mercury standars for power plants and delay an EPA rule cutting power plant emissions that blow across state lines and contribute to smog.

"Each year, these rules would avoid tens of thousands of premature deaths, prevent tens of thousands of heart attacks and thousands of hospital visits for respiratory and cardiovascular disease, and alleviate hundreds of thousands of childhood asthma attacks and other respiratory illnesses," the officials wrote in the statement. "EPA estimates that these two rules alone will yield hundreds of billions of dollars in net benefits each year."

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In the latest development in the apparent investigation of former aides to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) from his time as Milwaukee County Executive, it has now been reported that state Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, a fellow Republican, has previously declined a request from Milwaukee's Democratic district attorney to assist in the investigation.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports:

State Department of Justice officials would not say why the agency chose not to assist with the investigation of Walker's former county staffers.

Sources said the request was made around the time of the November 2010 election.

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Updated 9:21 pm ET, Wednesday, September 21 Pandora Internet Radio has jumped on the HTML5 bandwagon in a big way, unveiling a slick redesigned website today for all users and unlimited listening, removing its 40 hours per month restriction for free users.

Pandora touts the site's "faster load time" and new "social features and sharing tools," including a new Pandora profile page for every user and the ability to "Follow" users and share links to stations and specific tracks over Facebook, Twitter and within Pandora itself.

But don't let all the bells and whistles fool you into thinking it's not ultimately a business ploy: Pandora, which is still unprofitable as of its last quarterly earnings statement, earns most of its revenue from display advertising. In the case of Q2, that amounted to some $58.3 million out of $67 million, the rest of it earned from Pandora's less well-known ad-free paid subscription service.

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