TPM News

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) isn't relying on U.S. intelligence officials alone to find out whether the Pakistani government was helping harbor Osama bin Laden.

Feinstein, who chairs the Senate intelligence committee, told TPM she has "her own people looking into it" and will hold closed-door classified hearings on the increasingly frayed relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan soon.

Despite her deep concerns about what the Pakistani government knew about bin Laden's compound before a U.S. assault team raided it and killed the notorious al Qaeda leader, Feinstein tempered remarks Monday in which she questioned continuing to send billions of dollars in humanitarian and military aid to the country and said the relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan "makes less and less sense."

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Senate Democrats are pushing hard on ending tax breaks for oil companies, linking the issue to the deficit and high gas prices, which have boosted profits in the industry to new heights.

In a floor speech on Tuesday, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said the Senate would target $4 billion in benefits for oil companies with the intention of using the savings to help address the nation's growing debt.

"If we're serious about reducing the deficit, this is an easy place to start," Reid said. "It's a no-brainer. Let's use the savings from these taxpayer giveaways to drive down the deficit, not drive up oil company profits."

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Are Senate Republicans prepared to throw House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) under the bus in the debt limit fight?

Some apparently would be -- though they obviously don't come right out and say it. Senate Republican leaders and aides say they will not vote for a debt limit hike without deep spending cuts, including to entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. But they also say that defaulting is not an option. That leaves two possible outcomes. Either Democrats fold and agree to dramatic cuts, with no new revenues. Or Democrats hold firm, in which case Senate Republicans would be happy to let Democrats raise the debt limit in an up or down vote.

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The Justice Department wants Congress to mandate that internet service providers retain data on their users' internet usage for a longer period of time. And to illustrate how important the feds think the having access to that IP data is, they're using the story of how law enforcement failed to track down the maker of a video depicting the rape of a two-year-old girl.

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A mosque in the Shreveport-Bossier community of Louisiana was vandalized this week with strips of pork, which were put on the door handles of the building to evidently force worshippers to touch pork before entering.

Many Muslims refrain from eating pork, as Islam considers pigs unclean. Something similar occurred in South Carolina in October, when strips of bacon were left outside an Islamic Center, spelling out "PIG CHOPS."

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American Crossroads -- the political money group backed by Karl Rove -- has chosen to get behind the Republican in the tightening three-way race to fill the New York Congressional seat vacated by the humiliated Rep. Chris Lee (R).

And in keeping with American Crossroads' m.o., the group is backing Republican nominee Jane Corwin in a big, big way. The group has purchased $350,000 in television ad time this week on Corwin's behalf in the western New York district. A second run has been reserved as well. The first seven-day round of ads, which will be released publicly on Tuesday night, will begin running Wednesday. Election day is May 24.

Crossroads says it hopes the blanket of spots will help set things right in the Republican district, which appears in danger of falling into Democratic hands thanks to perennial candidate (and former Democrat) Jack Davis, who is this time running on the Tea Party platform.

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