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On October 15, 2009, thousands of Puerto Ricans took to the streets after the government announced that it would lay off 17,000 workers, to help reduce the $3.2 billion deficit. This will add to some 20,000 workers who were already laid off, leaving Puerto Rico with a 15% unemployment rate. According to the SEIU, "300,000 to 400,000 people -- if not more" came out to protest the "massive cuts in essential public services." There were early reports that Gov. Luis Fortuno had threatened protesters with charges of terrorism if they chose to partake in the general work stoppage, but according to SEIU representative Dennis Rivera, the government eventually "backed off." Rivera also said the SEIU has made a formal request to meet with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, in the hopes that it will force Americans "to make a judgment call about what they want to do."

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Roberto Pagán, president of the Sindicato Puertorriqueño de Trabajadores (SPT), the SEIU's branch in Puerto Rico, addresses the crowd.

cc: SEIU International





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The Puerto Rican flag.

cc: SEIU International

Remember how the House sergeant at arms hadn't heard of the call Wednesday by four GOP lawmakers for a probe of alleged infiltration of the Hill by Muslim intern subversives?

It turns out that's because Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC), the de facto leader of the group, who also wrote the foreword for the book on which the charges are based, hasn't yet submitted a request for an investigation, Myrick's office tells TPMmuckraker.

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Rep. Steve Rothman (D-NJ) was quick to respond, and to do so in some pretty strong terms, after PolitickerNJ speculated that the Congressman might retire in light of his low fundraising this past quarter:

I wonder who gave out the creative writing assignment to suggest that I was retiring from Congress? After all, I love helping my constituents, bringing an unprecedented amount of federal dollars back to many regions in New Jersey (as our only Democratic Appropriations Committee member); and working with my House colleagues and the Obama White House in matters of our national security and foreign affairs. And I'm running for reelection in 2010, and for many years more.


Rothman also said that his political standing in New Jersey "is as good as anyone's, maybe better," and that he has more total campaign funds on hand than all but one other member of the state's congressional delegation, and he is 10th highest overall among the House Democrats.

Sen. Blanche Lincoln is asking her supporters to join her for an online chat about health care Sunday night.

"Later this month, the full Senate will begin consideration of health insurance reform and I have made it clear that I will only support the final version if it is best for my constituents in Arkansas," she wrote in a letter to her supporters today. "As we move to the next stage of this debate, I want to hear from you."

In the letter, Lincoln reprised her talking point from the week that she voted for the Senate Finance Committee version of the bill "not because it was a perfect bill but because it was a major step toward improving health care for Arkansas families."

The chat can be found here and will be held Sunday at 5 p.m. central time.

Portions of her email after the jump.

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Here are the line-ups for the Sunday talk shows this weekend:

• ABC, This Week: White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod.

• CBS, Face The Nation: White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH).

• CNN, State Of The Union: White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA).

• Fox News Sunday: Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND), Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA), Sen. John Thune (R-SD), former Bush White House adviser Karl Rove, former DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe.

• NBC, Meet The Press: White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett, Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ), California First Lady Maria Shriver, Center for American Progress president John Podesta.

A former prosecutor with the Justice Department's Public Integrity unit has called the case against Kevin Ring "an extremely problematic prosecution," since the favors that Ring was accused of doing for public officials weren't in themselves illegal.

A mistrial was declared in the case yesterday, after jurors deadlocked on the charges against the former Team Abramoff lobbyist.

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Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), a potential candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, is set to boost his ultra-conservative credentials this weekend, putting in an appearance at the Western CPAC conference -- where he'll be in some pretty interesting company.

Tonight, for example, Pawlenty will be featured at a private VIP reception, which also include none other than Floyd Brown. For those of you who have not heard of him, Brown was the originator of the Willie Horton ad against Mike Dukakis in 1988, and currently runs the Web sites Expose Obama and the Impeach Obama Campaign, which warns: "how long should we sit back and permit Barack Hussein Obama to rip apart the fabric of this country before we take action?"

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The national campaign arm for Senate Democrats outraised its GOP counterpart for the third straight quarter, according to figures released by the DSCC today.

The Democratic group raised $10.2 million in the latest quarter. During the same time, the NRSC raised $8.6 million. And at the quarter's end, the DSCC had $10.3 million cash on hand to the NRSC's $5.2 million.

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The national Republican Party is stepping up its efforts to support moderate GOPer Dede Scozzafava in the upcoming NY-23 special election, sending in money and big endorsements -- which might just make the current split with the right wing on this race even worse.

Scozzafava is being opposed by not just Democratic candidate Bill Owens, but also by Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman, who has the support of right-wing groups such as the Club For Growth, the Family Research Council, and conservative bloggers who are incensed at Scozzafava's liberalism on issues like gay rights and abortion.

The Republican National Committee, after having not put in resources, will now give $85,000 to the coordinated campaign, and transfer an undisclosed six-figure sum to the state GOP to help Scozzafava. In addition, the Scozzafava campaign has rolled out the endorsement of the big conservative icon of the 1990's, Newt Gingrich himself -- which is only making the right-wingers even madder.

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David Safavian, the former Bush Administration official who was convicted for the second time in December for lying and obstruction of justice in the Jack Abramoff probe, was sentenced today to a year and a day in prison, the Washington Post reports.

Safavian, who was chief of staff at the General Services Administration, was also convicted of lying on a financial disclosure form about the costs of Abramoff's famous 2002 golf junket to Scotland, which Safavian attended.

The Post reports that Safavian, whose wife is pregnant, made a plea for leniency to the judge today:

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