TPM News

Most would agree that abortion is no laughing matter. And in a new television ad campaign launching tomorrow, one pro-choice group says the notion abortion rights are under attack in the health care reform debate is no joke.

The Center For Reproductive Rights is responsible for the ads, which urge the Senate to drop the abortion provisions found inserted into the House health reform bill through the Stupak amendment. "Don't let Congress ban abortion coverage millions of American women already have," the ad reads.

A spokesperson for the Center said the ads will run in the DC market on air and and cable at first, though the group expects that will "grow" in the future. The ad is also part of a new national online campaign the group is launching this week.

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MSNBC anchor Dylan Ratigan apologized this morning for using fake photos of Sarah Palin last Friday in a segment about the former Alaska governor, and for not acknowledging their inauthenticity.

The pictures, which were widely circulated during last year's presidential campaign, show Palin's head photoshopped onto other women's bodies. In one, "Palin" is wearing an American flag bikini and holding a rifle; in the other, the faux Palin is wearing a tight black miniskirt.

"I want to apologize to Gov. Palin and all our viewers. On Friday, in a very misguided attempt to have some fun in advance of Palin's upcoming book, Going Rogue, our staff mistakenly used some clearly photoshopped images of Ms. Palin without any acknowledgment, and on behalf of the show I would like to say that this was completely unacceptable. We should have never used those photos in the first place," Ratigan said today. "I apologize."

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The Danville TEA Party Patriots, a group that has courted controversy by planning to burn Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi at a rally this Saturday, may be having second thoughts.

"We've been getting a lot of flack about this," Danville TEA Party chairman Nigel Coleman told the Lynchburg News & Advance, "about burning those two in effigy and a lot of people in the public are unhappy about it. The story has gotten so large, it's kinda strange."

As the News & Advance notes, Coleman himself had announced this event by sending out a press release that promoted the event as "a move sure to spark controversy."

"I still would like to do it, but it's still up in the air at this point," Coleman added. "We've already started stacking firewood and building the effigy...we will have a bonfire. Burning someone in effigy was just gonna be part of it."

Three prominent conservatives warned in a joint statement against Republican "scaremongering" on Guantanamo Bay detainees, saying the prison in Thomson, Illinois would be fine to handle them.

Former Republican Congressman and Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr, David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union and Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, have teamed up to urge the Gitmo detainees be taken to the U.S.

"The scaremongering about these issues should stop," Barr, Keene and Norquist wrote.

"Civilian federal courts are the proper forum for terrorism cases," they wrote. "Civilian prisons are the safe, cost effective and appropriate venue to hold persons in federal courts."

"Likewise the federal prison system has proven itself fully capable of safely holding literally hundreds of convicted terrorists with no threat or danger to the surrounding community," they wrote. "We are confident that the government can preserve national security without resorting to sweeping and radical departures from an American constitutional tradition that has served us effectively for over two centuries."

Read the full letter here.

A new survey in Arkansas by Public Policy Polling (D) finds Democratic Rep. Vic Snyder in a dead heat with Republican challenger Tim Griffin -- a "star" of the U.S. Attorney scandal in 2007.

The numbers: Snyder 44%, Griffin 43%, within the ±4.9% margin of error. Against the other GOP candidates, Snyder leads Army veteran and Republican activist David Meeks by 45%-42%, and is ahead of restaurateur Scott Wallace by 44%-42%.

The Republican candidates are essentially unknowns, but Snyder's job approval is only 42%, with a 46% plurality disapproval. In addition, President Obama's approval rating in the district is only 41%-52%.

A photo hanging in the law firm office of accused fraudster Scott Rothstein shows the Fort Lauderdale attorney in a full embrace with Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and features a handwritten note from Crist: "Scott --- you're amazing!"

The story of Rothstein's alleged $1 billion fraud, which TPMmuckraker has been following, was featured on the front page of the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal, illustrated by the Crist-Rothstein photo.

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Vice President Joe Biden tomorrow night will become the first sitting vice president to appear on Comedy Central's "Daily Show with Jon Stewart."

Biden, sometimes known for sticking a foot in his mouth, has appeared five other times on the show.

President Obama pitched in via satellite for a stunt on The Colbert Report earlier this year when Stephen Colbert did his show from Iraq.

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