TPM News

Najibullah Zazi planned to carry out an attack on the New York City subway on the anniversary of September 11, a federal prosecutor said today.

Zazi was "intent on being in New York on 9/11," U.S. prosecutor Tim Neff told a federal court in Denver.

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The Chicago Sun-Times reports today that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel asked then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich to appoint a Cook County commissioner to Emanuel's House seat. Blagojevich claims in a new book that Emanuel wanted to be able to run again in 2010 or 2012.

But House members, unlike senators, can never be appointed. Instead, they must be elected -- it's written into the Constitution.

So how could it be that Emanuel -- who served in the House for six years and was chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee -- didn't know that?

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The Massachusetts Republican Party has issued a statement in the wake of a judge's ruling against their effort to stop the appointment of Sen.-designate Paul Kirk -- and there is no mention of an appeal. So it looks like this thing is probably over, and Kirk will be sworn in this afternoon.

Key quote from the statement:

I urge the voters of Massachusetts to not allow the courts the final say in this matter. I believe the ultimate remedy to the untenable situation on Beacon Hill can be found in the voting booths.

It is up to the voters of Massachusetts to finally decide enough is enough and to refuse to re-elect the entrenched incumbents responsible for raising our taxes in the middle of a recession, turning a blind eye to public corruption, and manipulating the law to keep their grip on power.

Shortly before the statement went out, a spokesperson for the state GOP told us that there would be no further comment on their plans, beyond the statement itself. So it looks like they're very angrily waving the white flag.

Full statement after the jump.

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Kimberly Young of Oxford, Ohio, died Wednesday morning a few days short of her 23rd birthday. Hospital officials have said she appeared to have the H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu.

But here's why Young's death is news beyond her southwest Ohio community: people who knew her are saying she resisted treatment that could have saved her life -- because she didn't have health insurance.

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Vice President Biden last night helped raise money for three freshman House Democrats from Virginia -- Gerry Connolly, Glenn Nye and Tom Perriello -- and very prominently noted that two of them are from swing seats that could be in real danger in 2010. From the Washington Post pool report:

VPOTUS noted that two of the three Democrats in attendance - U.S. Reps. Glenn Nye and Tom Perriello - would face difficult challenges in their more rural, southern Virginia districts.

"I don't have to tell you that you're in a very competitive state," he said. "You got some tough votes coming up." He noted that the third Virginia House Democrat - U.S. Rep. Gerry Connelly - had a "few liberals" in his left-leaning Northern Virginia district. He called the triumvirate "independent minded" and "damn competent," but united on several core Democratic Party themes, including energy policy and health care.

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A judge in Massachusetts has just ruled against the state GOP's effort to stop the appointment of Democratic Sen.-designate Paul Kirk to Ted Kennedy's Senate seat.

From the Boston Globe: "Judge Thomas Connolly deliberated for more than four hours before dismissing the GOP's claim that Democratic Governor Deval Patrick overstepped his authority by declaring an emergency so Kirk's appointment could be made immediately."

Kirk is set to be sworn in this afternoon.

The AP has now taken a crack at the story of the sale of Rep. Mike Ross's family pharmacy, for a possibly inflated price of $420,000, to a big drug store chain.

And it elicited yet another response from Ross, Democrat of Arkansas, on the 2007 sale of the pharmacy. He can't remember how he and USA Drug settled on the price for the land and the building. From an interview with AP:

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Just before the Senate Finance Committee wrapped up for the long weekend, members debated one of Sen. Jon Kyl's (R-AZ) amendments, which would strike language defining which benefits employers are required to cover.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) argued that insurers must be required to cover basic maternity care. (In several states there are no such requirements.)

"I don't need maternity care," Kyl said. "So requiring that on my insurance policy is something that I don't need and will make the policy more expensive."

Stabenow interrupted: "I think your mom probably did."

The amendment was defeated, nine to 14.

Video after the jump.

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The new CBS/New York Times poll not only shows overwhelming support for the public option -- it shows that a plurality of self-identified Republicans are for it, too.

The poll asked this question: "Would you favor or oppose the government offering everyone a government administered health insurance plan -- something like the Medicare coverage that people 65 and older get -- that would compete with private health insurance plans?"

The top-line result is 65% in favor, 26% opposed. Among Democrats only, it's 81%-12%, and independents are at 61%-30%. And among Republican respondents, 47% are in favor, to 42% opposed.

Although they were originally scheduled to do so today, Senate Finance Committee members won't discuss public option amendments until Tuesday.

"We don't have time today to bring that up," Chairman Max Baucus said, according to the Washington Independent.

Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) are pushing for a public option in the Finance bill. On a conference call last night, Schumer said today would be "the opening day in our big fight."

The committee is adjourning early today and won't meet Monday due to Yom Kippur.