TPM News

Republican Iowa State Rep. Jeff Kaufmann, speaker pro tem of the Iowa State House, was caught joking on a hot mic that a proposal which would allow state residents to carry weapons in public without permission from a sheriff and without any training or a background check might better be called the "give-a-handgun-to-a-schizophrenic-bill."

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New Hampshire State Rep. David Bates, chairman of the House Election Law Committee and supporter of the state's controversial 'birther' bill told TPM he can't say for certain where President Barack Obama was born. "I don't know where the guy was born, I don't care," Bates said in a phone interview on Friday. He later hedged, saying he had to accept that Obama was born in the United States because he didn't "have any evidence to the contrary."

The proposed legislation, which was unanimously defeated in committee on Wednesday, would have required candidates competing in New Hampshire's presidential primary to provide their long-form birth certificates.

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President Obama says he is "absolutely" concerned about Libyan Leader Muammar Qaddafi prevailing against opposition rebels but said the U.S. and its allies are "slowly tightening the noose" around him in an effort to push the dictator from power.

"I've not taken any options off the table at this point," Obama said in Friday press conference. "...We've moved as swiftly as any international coalition has ever moved to take sanctions...I have not foreclosed any options."

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The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, which coordinates campaigns for state legislatures, has a new ad up in Wisconsin -- attacking one of the Republican state Senators who the state Dems have targeted with a recall petition drive, in the wake of Gov. Scott Walker's new law curtailing public employee union rights.

"Last month, Sen. Olsen said eliminating collective bargaining is, quote, 'pretty radical,'" the announcer says. "But last week, Olsen voted for Gov. Walker's back-room deal to destroy collective bargaining. Now, Walker is pushing a budget that will devastate public schools and health care -- and Sen. Olsen refuses to stand up to him."

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Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), the national Tea Party star who is eyeing a possible run for president, now already meets one requirement to mount a primary campaign: An endorsement in Iowa.

As CNN reports, Tea Party figure and Republican state Sen. Kent Sorenson now says he will support Bachmann if she runs.

"There is a void out there that needs to be filled," Sorenson said. "I hope she decides to run. She is somebody that has the credentials to fire up the grassroots. She would be someone who could unite different factions of the party. She is a strong fiscal and social conservative."

(Hat tip to Iowa Independent.)

1||March 11, 2011: An 8.9 magnitude earthquake struck Japan's northeastern Honshu island on Friday, causing extensive damage and unleashing a giant tsunami. It is the most powerful earthquake ever recorded to strike Japan.

Click here for the latest report.||Kyodo/Newscom&&

2||According to early reports, hundreds of people were killed in the disaster, with even more still missing. ||Kyodo/Newscom&&

3||A petrochemical plant burst into flames after being hit by the earthquake. ||Kyodo/Newscom&&

4||The earthquake struck about 250 miles Northeast of Tokyo, creating 33 foot high waves, according to the Kyodo news agency. ||Xinhua/Photoshot/Newscom&&

5||Hawaii and much of the American West Coast were put on tsunami alert as the earthquake's ripple effects spread. ||CHINE NOUVELLE/SIPA/Newscom&&


7||The United States Geological Survey measured close to 70 aftershocks of a 5.0 magnitude or greater in Japan.||x99/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

8||It was the fifth largest recorded earthquake in the last century.||Kyodo/Newscom&&

9||Airplanes and cars were washed into a heap at Sendai airport in Miyagi Prefecture. ||Kyodo/Newscom&&


11||The Sendai airport was left completely submerged after the tsunami struck. ||Kyodo/Newscom&&

12||Dozens of fires broke out in coastal towns and cities, according to the Kyodo news agency. ||imago stock&people/Newscom&&

13||||x99/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

14||||jn1/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&




18||The tsunami capsized boats all along the coast. One report said a ship carrying some 100 people was swept away.||jn1/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&


20||A petrochemical plant in Ichihara, Chiba Prefecture, Japan burst into flames. Japan closed down chemical and nuclear plants as a precaution following the quake. ||Kyoto/Xinhua/Newscomv&&

21||People took cover as a ceiling collapsed at a bookstore in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture.||Kyodo/Newscom&&


23||||x99/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

24||Video footage showed homes across Northeastern Japan submerged or washed away.||SIPA/Newscom&&


26||Smoke rose over Tokyo following the earthquake. ||Xinhua/Photoshot/Newscom&&



29||The earthquake collapsed a wall inside Tokyo City Metropolitan Hall. ||jn1/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&


31||Debris from a mudslide blocked a road in Waki, Fukushima Prefecture ||Kyodo/Newscom&&


33||Students remained at school to wait out the earthquake and its aftershocks.||Xinhua/Photoshot/Newscom&&

34||||jn1/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

35||In Taiwan, fishermen secured their boats to prepare for the tsunami's ripple effects. ||photo mall/Xinhua/Newscom &&

36||The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency produced a graphic showing wave heights created by the earthquake. ||

37||Fires burned amid a flooded coastal neighborhood in Natori, Miyagi Prefecture. ||Kyodo/Newscom&&



40||People huddled inside a shelter in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture. ||Kyodo/Newscom&&



43||Huge swells were reported along the west coast, including in North Monterey County in CA. ||he1/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

44||Footage from a Japanese news station showed collapsed buildings in Iwate, Japan. ||Xinhua/Photoshot/Newscom&&

45||People took shelter after evacuating their homes in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture. ||Kyodo/Newscom&&

46||One day after the tsunami struck, television footage showed people seeking refuge on rooftops, waving flags to call for assistance. ||CNN&&

Newt Gingrich has some explaining to do if he wants to be president, and a lot of it has to do with his past marital problems, according to Stephen Colbert.

"Newt knows that before he can through his giant hat into the ring, he has to explain his past positions," Colbert said last night on his program. "Specifically why those positions were so often on top of women who weren't his wife."

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Rep. Keith Ellison's emotional testimony before the House Homeland Security Committee's hearing on Muslim radicalization as he recounted the tale of a 9/11 first responder who died in the attack was powerful stuff. But some conservatives had a different reaction -- suggesting Ellison was putting on a show and even that there were not false rumors about the 9/11 first responder in the heated period after the attacks.

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According to Jon Stewart, Irish terrorists don't count as real terrorists to Rep. Peter King (R-NY.)

That's because King, who on Thursday opened his hearings into the radicalization of American muslims, used to be a staunch supporter of the Irish Republican Army, a group that for decades launched terror attacks against the British government, often killing civilians in the process.

"I see your charges of hypocrisy," Stewart said, channeling his inner King, "and raise you a 'Go fuck yourself.'"

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Chris Abele, the Democrat who's running to replace now-Governor Scott Walker as Milwaukee County Executive, is targeting his Republican opponent in a TV ad for -- you guessed it -- voting for Walker's plan to scrap public sector unions.

Republican Jeff Stone is currently a member of the Wisconsin state assembly. He voted for the just-signed plan to eliminate collective bargaining rights for state and local government employees, before waffling a bit in public statements.

Ultimately, though, Stone insisted "This needs to be clear; I support the Governor and the provisions in the budget repair bill.

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