TPM News

No matter how sensible the protesters in Wisconsin seem, Stephen Colbert is sure that they're downright evil. And if they won't live up to the stereotype of the thuggish union member, he's going to do it for them -- even if it means killing an adorable puppy.

"We know that government workers are greedy goons because we keep saying that they are," Colbert said. "But because they keep refusing to live up to our stereotypes, we must do it for them."

"Then the American people will despise us, by which I mean them," he added.

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While the Wisconsin legislative fight over union rights has devolved into a rhetorical Cold War, the similar struggle between Democrats and Republicans in the Indiana state House is positively cordial by comparison.

Though Republicans, led by Gov. Mitch Daniels, are firm in their insistence there will be no negotiation with the group of AWOL House Democrats currently cooling their heels in Urbana, IL, a member of the Republican House leadership tells TPM there will be no hard feelings if and when the Democrats finally return.

"None," Rep. Eric Turner, assistant GOP leader in the House told TPM Thursday morning. "Certainly, at times, members of the opposite party are our opponents, but they're not our enemies."

"We're legislators, we're colleagues, we're respectful of one another," he added. "We can have a difference of opinion on a piece of legislation and work on another piece of legislation together."

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Jon Stewart was in a forgiving mood when Donald Rumsfeld stopped by The Daliy Show last night.

Before asking any questions, Stewart said he knew how hard it must be for the former defense secretary to vocalize an apology for the Iraq war. So, to make things easy, Stewart said that he accepted the apology he just knew Rumsfeld wanted to make.

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Qaddafi just called into Libyan TV to give a relatively short statement.


He is NOT backing down and insists the protesters are all teenagers who are taking drugs handed out by Al Qaeda. He says the protesters are small in number.


Qaddafi again threatened to cut off oil supplies: "When the oil flow has been stopped, how are the people going to sustain a living. Will Bin Laden provide for them?"


However, Qaddafi tried to talk down his own authority. He called himself a symbolic leader like the Queen of England, who is there only to provide "parental advice."
He offered small concessions: "You can put anyone who is suspected of corruption on trial. It is your call." Also: "Maybe there can be a revision of  salaries or other income." "We are urging people to form committees." He even talked about giving people interest-free loans.

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MADISON, WI -- The debate is moving forward in Wisconsin on Republican Gov. Scott Walker's budget proposal and its controversial provisions weakening the power of public employee unions -- or at least, it's moving forward in the state Assembly. The state Senate remains effectively shut down.

As the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports, the Republican and Democratic leaders in the Assembly have reached a deal to limit debate on the many amendments that Democrats had been offering to the bill -- which have been voted down on party-line margins -- narrowing the list down to just 38 more, with ten minutes of debate for each.

At that rate, the Assembly could come to a vote later on Thursday.

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At a time when some Republicans are calling to defund public broadcasting, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting has added a link on its homepage to an appearance Fred Rogers made before the Senate Subcommittee on Communications on May 1, 1969, when President Nixon was proposing to cut federal funding for public broadcasting from $20 million to $10 million. In the video, Rogers offers a defense for his show over the other kinds of programs made for children at the time.

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Last year, Utah voters ousted incumbent Sen. Bob Bennett (R) -- and now, a majority of them say it's time for the state's other Senator, Orrin Hatch (R), to go as well.

In a new Utah Policy poll, 54% of Utah voters said it was time to send someone else to Washington in Hatch's place, while only 31% said Hatch should be reelected to the seat he has held for 34 years. The poll also had dire news for Hatch's chances of surviving a primary challenge. In a hypothetical match-up with two-term Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Hatch only managed a tie at 42% apiece.

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If Mike Huckabee enters the GOP presidential primary, his opponents will batter him over the case of Maurice Clemmons. Clemmons was a prisoner in Arkansas to whom Huckabee granted clemency, who went on to murder four people in Washington state.

Huckabee isn't the first national political figure to face this line of attack. It often plagues former governors who run for president. And when it's true,their response options are often limited. That said, at a round-table discussion with reporters hosted by the Christian Science Monitor on Wednesday, Huckabee rose to the moment and said he made the right decision.

"There was a kid who was 16 years old, he committed a burglary, he was aggravated, but not armed. And for that he got 108 years," Huckabee said. "One-hundred-and-eight years."

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