TPM News

Wisconsin Democrats are pulling the trigger on a fifth recall campaign, Greg Sargent reports, with the Dems set to file signatures targeting GOP state Sen. Alberta Darling, as control of the state Senate now appears to be up for grabs in the battle over Gov. Scott Walker's anti-public employee union agenda.

The state Dems told Sargeant that they collected approximately 30,000 signatures to trigger a new election against Darling, providing a very large buffer above the 20,343 minimum signatures required -- and presumably a whole lot of votes on tap in a recall election, too.

Darling holds special significance in the battle over Walker's recently passed (and currently litigated) legislation -- she is the Senate co-chair of the legislature's Joint Finance Committee, which shepherded the bill through its first stages. As such, her increased public profile would make her a particular lightning rod in the recall campaigns.

Read More →

Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg has officially announced that she is requesting a statewide recount in her race against incumbent Supreme Court Justice David Prosser.

"A recount may change the outcome of this election, or it may confirm it. But when it is done, recount will have shed necessary and appropriate light on an election that right now seems to so many people to be suspect."

She also added: "If there is doubt, we must remove it. If there was misconduct, we must hold those who perpetrated it accountable."

Prosser leads by 7,316 votes, or 0.488%, within the 0.5% margin that entitles Kloppenburg to request a recount at state and local government expense.

Read More →

A bill to introduce specialty Tea Party license plates in Arizona -- the sales of which would be used to fund Tea Party causes -- is now on its way to Governor Jan Brewer (R) for approval after being passed through the State Legislature Monday evening.

But if Brewer signs the bill, Arizona may risk losing 15 percent of its federal highway funding, if Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY) gets his way.

Read More →

Republicans in Oklahoma appear poised to remove some more of what little union protection there is in that deep red and right-to-work state. On Tuesday, the state Senate passed House Bill 1593, a bill that would strip away Oklahoma's requirement that large cities engage in collective bargaining with so-called "non-uniformed" city workers. The state House already passed the bill and now it just awaits the expected signature of first-term Republican Gov. Mary Fallin.

The state's existing collective bargaining law, which was signed by Democratic Gov. Brad Henry seven years ago, requires big municipalities -- population 35,000 and up -- to bargain with, as the The Oklahoman reported, "city road, sanitation and utility workers."

In the new legislation, as in the controversial anti-collective bargaining bill in Wisconsin, workers like firemen and police offers are exempt. The Oklahoma bill also excludes teachers from the change.

Read More →

BP plans to cut its overall tax bill by nearly $13 billion by writing off costs related to last year's mammoth oil spill as the Gulf Coast continues to grapple with the devastating environmental and economic costs of the disaster one year later.

The international oil giant suffered a $40.9 billion loss as a result of the oil spill, making its net losses for 2010 a total of $4.8 billion (BP had $36.1 billion in profits before factoring in the spill), according to its annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission and analysis by several tax experts consulted by TPM.

Under U.S. corporate law, companies can take credits on up to 35 percent of their losses. In this case, that means U.S. taxpayers are indirectly subsidizing at least part of cleanup cost and the $20 billion fund BP created to compensate people, fisherman and businesses along the Gulf Coast hurt by the spill.

Read More →

Social conservative and evangelical David Barton is against net neutrality because he says it goes against the principles of Ben Franklin, the Pilgrims, and the Bible.

Right Wing Watch reports that Barton was speaking with his co-host Rick Green on their radio show Tuesday, and declared that net neutrality is "wicked stuff, and I don't use that word very often, but this is wicked stuff."

Read More →

Minnesota state Sen. David Hann (R) says health care decisions should be made within the family, not by "strangers." So he's sponsored a bill that would change a current law that allows minors to see a doctor without their parents' consent.

The bill would require minors to get parental consent before seeking medical care for sexually transmitted diseases, drug abuse and pregnancy. It would also allow parents to have access to their child's medical records. The bill has been approved by the Minnesota Senate Health and Human Services Committee, which Hann chairs. No action has yet been taken by the House.

Read More →

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin characterized U.S. monetary policy as "hooliganism" in his annual address to the Russian Parliament Wednesday.

As reported in the Wall Street Journal:

"Look at their trade balance, their debt, and budget. They turn on the printing press and flood the entire dollar zone -- in other words, the whole world -- with government bonds. There is no way we will act this way anytime soon. We don't have the luxury of such hooliganism," he said.

Read More →