TPM News

Last night, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow cited our interview with James Horne, the sleep expert who says his work was distorted by Steven Bradbury in one of the OLC torture memos, to justify keeping people awake for 11 days.

Thanks for the shout out, Rachel!

A new Gallup poll finds that a majority of Americans favor ending the Cuba embargo -- and in fact, this isn't a new opinion.

The numbers: 51% favor ending the embargo, to only 36% against it, with a ±3% margin of error. Back in 1999 it was 51%-39%, in 2000 it was a plurality of 48%-42%, and in 2002 it was 50%-38%.

At this point it's worth asking: Why is it seen as so controversial and politically risky to favor ending the embargo, or even making lesser moves towards rolling back sanctions against Cuba, when those views in fact have such consistent popular support?

And here is where we meet the political reality. The folks who really care about keeping the embargo are largely concentrated in Florida, a perennially super-close swing state with 27 electoral votes.

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has just released documents from his investigation into Bank of America, its receipt of government money, and those billions in bonuses that went to Merrill Lynch executives.

Here's one quick nugget we found: It looks like then-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson didn't keep the SEC -- whose role, of course, is to protect investors -- informed on the government's intense December 2008 discussions with B of A about Merrill's losses, and possible government assistance for B of A.

Read More →

In a widely-expected development, two Minnesota Supreme Court justices are officially recusing themselves from Norm Coleman's appeal of his defeat in the election trial.

Chief Justice Eric Magnuson and Associate Justice Barry Anderson, who were both appointed by GOP Gov. Tim Pawlenty, did not participate in a routine order to admit two of Al Franken's attorneys to practice before the court in this matter. It was expected that Magnuson and Anderson would recuse themselves, as they were members of the state canvassing board in the recount, and they'd previously recused themselves from other litigation in this election.

It's worth noting that two other justices who have received some media scrutiny did not recuse themselves from this order: Associate Justice Christopher Dietzen, who donated to Norm Coleman's campaign in the years before he was appointed to the bench by Pawlenty, and Associate Justice Helen Meyer, who had donated to Paul Wellstone before she was appointed by Independence Party Gov. Jesse Ventura.

Guess who's footing the bill for those fancy lawyers the Stevens Six have hired? We are.

The Justice Department confirmed to TPMmuckraker that the prosecutors -- who are being investigated for criminal contempt in connection to misconduct in the Ted Stevens case -- requested representation under a DOJ provision that applies to employees who run into legal trouble while doing their jobs, and that the request was authorized.

Read More →

A new national survey from Public Policy Polling (D), already looking forward to 2012, shows President Obama ahead of four potential Republican opponents.

Obama leads Newt Gingrich 52%-39%; he's ahead of Mike Huckabee 49%-42%; he beats Sarah Palin 53%-41%; and he leads Mitt Romney 50%-39%.

"Barack Obama might not have the same overwhelming approval rating he did in the earlier days of his administration," PPP president Dean Debnam said in the polling memo. "But he's certainly still more popular than any of the major Republican figures in the country."

Another day, another advance by CQ's Jeff Stein on his Harman-AIPAC story...

Late last night, Stein reported that, after Alberto Gonzales quashed the FBI probe into Rep. Harman for political reasons, intelligence officials, angry about Gonzo's move, told Nancy Pelosi about the wiretap that had picked up Harman talking to a suspected Israeli agent -- defying the AG's order that Pelosi not be informed.

Read More →

The labor-backed group Americans United For Change is continuing its public campaign against Congressional Republicans and in favor of the Democrats, with this new ad attacking them for saying "No" to progress during a time of crisis:

"Just days into the new session of Congress, Democrats expanded health insurance for children -- the Republicans said 'No,'" the announcer says, repeating the same point about equal pay for women, the Obama budget and long-term prosperity.

The ad will run on national cable for a week.

A major alliance of progressive interest groups--including labor, environmental, and veterans organizations--has launched a new campaign to advance President Obama's energy agenda.

The groups include the Service Employees International Union, the League of Conservation Voters, Political Action, VoteVets, Center for American Progress Action Fund, and others. Their efforts include both targeted, local advertising and a national ad campaign, and come just as the House begins deliberations on a major climate change bill written by Reps. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Ed Markey (D-MA)

Ads below the fold.

Read More →

With Congress back in session, and major liberal interest groups throwing throwing their weight behind her, is the conservative campaign to defeat Dawn Johnsen ramping up?

Some signs certainly point in that direction.

Yesterday, The Washington Times--one of the country's leading conservative newspapers--published an op-ed calling her a "radical" and urging Republicans (and, comically, Democrats) to filibuster the President's choice to head the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel.

Read More →