TPM News

Michele Bachmann's extended family of 23 former foster children have become the unexpected stars of the Republican primary even though few details are known about them individually. The Minnesota Congresswoman brings them up frequently in debates, speeches and interviews as a showcase for her commitment to family values.

But Bachmann's personal devotion to disadvantaged youth may be at odds with her public record on foster care. Critics warn that her zeal for budget cuts threatens vulnerable youngsters, while a leading Congressman on the issue says she's been AWOL on foster care policy.

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Herman Cain will be a guest on The Colbert Report on Thursday, July 28, Cain's campaign tells TPM.

That puts Cain in one of the most scorching hotseats on television just days after he said Colbert's lead-in, Jon Stewart, "does not like me...because I'm black and conservative."

They may be two different shows, but by appearing on Colbert, Cain is headed to Stewart's home turf in the midst of a rhetorical fight between Stewart and Fox News that's partially about Cain.

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President Barack Obama is refusing to accept a piecemeal approach to raising the nation's borrowing limit while kicking the can down the road on reducing the spiraling deficit.

"I've heard reports that maybe some in Congress want to do just enough to make sure America doesn't default in the short term," he said, rejecting the proposition.

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Just four days after a San Diego judge rejected the petition by Jared Lee Loughner's lawyers to stop his forcible medication, an appeals court in San Francisco has ordered just the opposite. A panel of three judges has halted the involuntary medication of the alleged Tucson shooter until further consideration Wednesday, CNN reports.

The 22-year-old allegedly responsible for the January shooting that killed 6 people and wounded 14 others, including Rep. Gabriel Giffords (D-AZ), was being given mind-altering psychotropic medication against his will until Tuesday afternoon.

The Court of Appeals has given until 5 p.m. PT Wednesday for US lawyers to argue why Loughner's forced medication should continue, putting pressure on both sides of the case to "file more detailed legal briefs," according to CNN.

Court filings last week documented a series of outbursts that were "either intended or reasonably likely to cause physical harm to another" at the Missouri prison hospital where Loughner is currently incarcerated. He "spat on his attorney, lunged at her, and had to be restrained by staff," screamed expletives and threw chairs at the court psychologist, according to the proceedings.

He was diagnosed as a schizophrenic by the prison psychiatrist but refused to be treated for the illness. The Federal Government originally argued to forcibly medicate Loughner as a means of treatment for the mental illness, not to subdue his behavior, despite acknowledging his potential danger to others.

Loughner's lawyers argue that he was not given a sufficient hearing when the District Court originally determined he could be given the psychotropic drugs, citing the fact that he did not have his attorney present, and officials never specified the drug and dosage he would be given.

They also argue that because Loughner is not a convicted criminal but rather a pretrial detainee, the Supreme Court precedent allowing for forcible medication of prisoners after an administrative hearing cannot apply, calling instead for a full-blown judicial hearing to determine his case.

District Judge Larry Alan Burns turned down this claim, finding "no arbitrariness" in the decision, and holding that the defendant "was afforded the required due process."

"A dangerous individual is dangerous, whether he is a pretrial detainee or has been convicted and sentenced," reads the Friday decision. The Appeals Court ordered a reevaluation Tuesday afternoon.

Loughner has been at a Missouri prison hospital since May, when he was declared incompetent to stand trial.

Another day, another data spill.

This time, the story concerns Fitbit, a San Francisco start-up that makes a personal fitness tracking device.

Users of the service wear the small device to track their physical activities. They can also enter information on the service's website about other aspects of their lives, such as their diet and, yes, their sex lives (e.g., logging how "vigorous" each encounter was).

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After canceling the usual Senate July 4th recess, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) warned the country that Republicans are forcing the country to the brink of a default disaster by walking away from the negotiating table in deficit-ceiling talks.

Fresh from celebrating the nation's 235th birthday, Reid reminded citizens of the country's the major accomplishments over the years -- landing on the moon, medical advancements, fighting for democracy and freedom around the world. And he urged Congress not to make history of a different kind in the next few weeks by failing to raise the debt ceiling by a deadline of Aug. 2.

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