TPM News





Facebook is reportedly set to reveal its own email application on Monday.


If Facebook's email service is a success, it's bad news for Yahoo and AOL, which are already losing users. It's also bad news for Google, which uses Gmail as a launch point into search, Google Apps, and to small degree social stuff through Buzz.

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Dems have little reason to be happy about this month's election results. Gone for at least two years -- and probably more -- are their hopes of passing anything like the historic legislation they enacted during this Congress. Additionally starting next year they will have to contend with ascendant adversaries in the House, bent on unraveling those accomplishments and embarrassing President Obama with aggressive use of subpoena power.

But Democrats still control the Senate. So while the House passes legislation the Senate has no interest in considering, Majority Leader Harry Reid will have much more time, if he chooses, to devote to confirming a large backlog of Obama's judicial and executive branch nominees -- particularly numerous non-controversial picks, who will have to be renominated next year.

That's certainly what advocates would like to see.

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New court documents from the Wisconsin Department of Justice show that one of the state's witnesses against former District Attorney Kenneth Kratz was a woman who alleged that in 1999 she had a "sexual encounter" with Kratz at her home, while he was handling her domestic abuse case against her husband.

There are reportedly five women who have accused Kratz of behaving inappropriately during his time as DA, including several women who claim he sent them sexually suggestive text messages. Another woman claimed Kratz invited her on a date to an autopsy.

Kratz was scheduled for a court hearing on October 8, but resigned before he was due in court.

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Rep. Eric Cantor's office is clarifying a statement it put out last week about the meeting between Cantor, the likely next House Majority Leader, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Cantor spokesperson Brad Dayspring told The Washington Post that Cantor's comment to Netanyahu that the new Republican majority in the house 'will serve as a check on the Administration' was 'not in relation to U.S./Israel relations.'

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Lame duck session begins today -- time for Democrats to squeeze through as much of their remaining agenda items as they can while they still enjoy large majorities, right?

Maybe eventually. The lame duck session could last until Christmas. But for now, Congress will only be in session for a few days before adjourning for a brief Thanksgiving recess. In that time the Senate plans to address -- or attempt to address -- three issues, leaving most of the big ticket items to be dealt with in December.

On Wednesday, the Senate will attempt to end filibusters on three pieces of legislation: one to promote natural gas and electric vehicles; one to close the pay gap between men and women; and food safety legislation third to enhance federal inspection and recall authority.

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In an impromptu moving news conference after he walked out of his ethics hearing on Monday, Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) told reporters he didn't think there was much he could say about the charges against him.

"I wish I could make a statement... I don't think there's anything that I can say," Rangel said in front of a row of cameras set up just outside the 3rd floor hearing room in the House Longworth Building.

Then he said a lot.

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Republican Joe Miller is still confident about his lead in uncontested write-in ballots in the Alaska Senate race against Sen. Lisa Murkowski, despite Murkowski's steady gains since the count started five days ago. "If current trends hold, Miller and Murkowski will likely end up in a dead heat in the uncontested ballot count," the Miller campaign said in a press release.

But even if his lead among the uncontested ballots gives Miller hope, the departure of half of his legal team from Juneau over the weekend could be a sign that the Miller team thinks a lawsuit over contested ballots will be unnecessary, and that Murkowski will win outright with uncontested ballots.

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After accusing the House ethics committee of denying his right to a lawyer, Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) threatened to leave the hearing.

Rangel parted ways from his lawyers last month. He told the committee today that they quit, not sure he could pay the already $2 million legal bills he had racked up over the committee's two-year investigation. He also claimed the committee told him only two weeks ago that he could set up a legal defense fund to pay his lawyers, and that he didn't have enough time to create such a fund and hire counsel.

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