TPM News

A Louisiana sheriff plans to arm volunteers with shotguns, riot shields, batons, and a .50-caliber machine gun mounted on a "war wagon," as part of "Operation Exodus," a program to provide security in the event of a terrorist attack or civic unrest. "It's a calling," he says.

The office of Sheriff Larry Deen of Bossier Parish, near Shreveport in the northwest part of the state, last month selected for the program 200 local residents -- mostly ex-law-enforcement personnel -- and began training them in "defensive techniques in the event of a struggle," reports the Shreveport Times. The plan calls for the new recruits to be sent to protect food from grocery stores, gas from gas stations, and other crucial local resources, should the situation demand it.

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TPMDC's Brian Beutler waited outside Rep. Eric Massa's office this afternoon in an attempt to get more than the short statement the Democrat read to reporters on the phone earlier.

Massa (D-NY) read a similar statement about his decision not to seek reelection to reporters staking out his Longworth office, and took no questions. Afterward, Brian chased him down the hallway to ask further about the allegations of harassment from a male staffer. Massa denied it and offered one more comment.

"I made my statement. The allegations are totally false. I'm a salty old sailor. That's that," Massa said.

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March 3, 2010: More than 100 same-sex couples lined up to apply for marriage licenses in Washington, D.C., today, as the city's new marriage law took effect. They were met by protesters associated with the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan.

Above: Barbara and Carol Bustard-Burnside were the 14th couple to file a marriage application today.

Photo by Jeff Malet/maletphoto.com






Photo by Jeff Malet/maletphoto.com






Photo by Jeff Malet/maletphoto.com






Photo by Newscom/rollcallpix






Photo by Jeff Malet/maletphoto.com




Newlyweds Morgan Murphy and Todd Williamson hold a "Love Wins" sign near the anti-gay protesters. They are a straight couple that had boycotted marriage for six years because of inequality.

Photo by Jeff Malet/maletphoto.com






Photo by Jeff Malet/maletphoto.com






Photo by Jeff Malet/maletphoto.com






Photo by Jeff Malet/maletphoto.com




March 2, 2010: Members of the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington perform at the Rayburn House Office Building, celebrating the legalization of same-sex marriage in Washington, D.C.

Photo by cc/N.V. Jantzen






Photo by Jeff Malet/maletphoto.com






Photo by Jeff Malet/maletphoto.com

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine issued a statement after President Obama unveiled his plan for health care reform today. Here's the full text:

"Today, the President outlined the way forward on health insurance reform and called on Congress to act with dispatch to pass historic and long overdue reforms to our country's health insurance system," said Kaine. "Almost a year has passed since this process began, marking another year that American families and businesses have struggled under the budget-breaking reality of sky-rocketing health insurance costs, another year in which insurance companies have made decisions based on their bottom lines rather than the health of the American people and another year in which millions of Americans lack any coverage at all. Today, the President made clear what most Americans know all too well: we cannot delay any longer. The final march for reform begins now.

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Rep. Eric Massa told reporters today that as he enters the "final phase" of his life he will not seek reelection to Congress, adding a rebuke to the press. Massa said charges of sexual harassment being publicized by blogs are "unsubstantiated" and are an example of what's wrong with Washington.

"I do not have the life's energy to fight all the battles all the time. I will now enter the final phase of my life at a more controlled pace," Massa (D-NY) told reporters on a hastily arranged conference call. "I'm a very salty guy, a very direct guy and I run at about 100 miles an hour."

He said that after being briefly hospitalized due to his third major cancer scare in December his doctors "made clear" he couldn't keep up his current pace of work.

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Richard Kirsch, National Campaign Manager for Health Care For America Now, issued a statement following President Obama's remarks earlier today. Here's the full statement:

"President Obama reiterated today what Americans know all too well: we cannot trust the health insurance companies to fix the health care mess. President Obama is not only reaffirming his commitment to health insurance reform, but he is also making it clear he will not allow the health insurance industry and its defenders in Congress to kill reform or manipulate reform so that it benefits them and not the American people.

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid released a statement today following President Obama's remarks on health care reform. Here's the full statement:"

"The President spoke with great clarity to explain the steps that he has taken to build a bipartisan health reform proposal, the need for action and the path forward to make reform successful. He has taken good ideas from Democrats and Republicans to put together a plan that puts Nevadans back in control of their health care and removes obstacles that keep them from staying healthy. This is a bipartisan proposal and it deserves bipartisan support.

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RNC Chairman Michael Steele released a statement today after President Obama unveiled his final health care plan. Here's the full statement:

"I agree with the president, we have debated health care reform thoroughly. And I agree again that this reform is not about politics, but rather about the families, businesses, and economy of a nation - all of which simply cannot afford what the president and Congressional Democrats have been selling for the past year. While the president's bravado sounds great, almost inspiring, it falls flat when the president tells Americans to make their voices heard. We have, Mr. President. You haven't been listening.

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In his response to President Obama's latest call for Congress to finish off health care reform--a process that will involve invoking a filibuster-proof maneuver called reconciliation--Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell insisted that, if the legislation passes, "every" Republican candidate will campaign this fall to repeal it. However, he would not go so far as to say he'd actually move to repeal it if Republicans take back the Senate next fall.

"There's an overwhelming likelihood that every Republican candidate will be campaigning to repeal it," McConnell intoned at a press conference this afternoon. "I think virtually all Republican candidates will say [the bill] is something they would not have supported."

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