TPM News

Following the $315 million sale of the Huffington Post to AOL, Stephen Colbert is now trying to hop in on the same gravy train. And he's doing it with HuffPo's own business model.

"HuffPo is famous for its extensive, comprehensive coverage of things other people already produced and put on the Internet," Colbert said last night on his show.

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House Republicans will wait until the budget fight this spring to attack Social Security head-on. But in the meantime, they're coming after America's favorite entitlement at an angle. In the current spending bill, they're proposing to slash the administrative funds that federal employees use to run the program. Democrats warn this will lead to furloughs and other service interruptions that could delay checks and prevent new retirees from enrolling.

"To jeopardize a lifeline for half a million new Social Security beneficiaries in order to score short term political points is simply bad policy," said Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI), ranking member on the House Ways and Means Committee. "This reckless proposal would mean hundreds of thousands of Americans won't get their Social Security checks this year. It's a perfect example of how little House Republicans seem to care if their rigid ideological crusade hurts real people."

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"Americans love lists," Sen. Joe Lieberman told reporters yesterday as he and other members of Congress gathered at a news conference to discuss the Government Accountability Office's "High Risk" list -- a group of programs that are susceptible to waste, fraud and abuse.

That list, Lieberman noted, isn't one you want to be on if you're a federal worker. It chronicles 30 government programs, many of which have been on the list for a long time, that are at high risk for waste and will help provide a "roadmap" for Congressional oversight in the coming months.

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President Obama is adding his two cents to the showdown taking shape in Wisconsin, where Republican Gov. Scott Walker has proposed a state budget that would strip public employees of most collective bargaining rights. And while Obama says that fiscal "adjustments" are needed, he also says that from what he has heard the bill "seems like more of an assault on unions."

Under Walker's plan, as TPM has reported, most state workers would no longer be able to negotiate for better pensions or health benefits or anything other than higher salaries, which couldn't rise at a quicker pace than the Consumer Price Index. Walker and state Republican leaders have said the plan is necessary to deal with the state's budget shortfall.

According to the Associated Press: "The proposal would effectively remove unions' right to negotiate in any meaningful way. Local law enforcement and fire employees, as well as state troopers and inspectors would be exempt."

In the past week, the state Capitol has been deluged with protests, and some schools have closed as a result of teachers calling in sick en masse.

In an interview with the NBC affiliate in Milwaukee, Obama was asked about the controversy.

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Apparently not content with his original musings on the popular uprising in Egypt (" The entire Mediterranean is on fire.") Fox News host Glenn Beck has expanded the scope of his theories to include the sinister engineers at Google, about whom he says:

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As President Obama and Congress wrangle over how to wring savings from the federal budget, Jon Stewart took his own crack at doing that last night on The Daily Show. Yet even with the help of Watson, the supercomputer that beat human competitors on Jeopardy this week, he couldn't make the math work.

So why is it so hard to produce a federal budget?

"The trick is to get it to vastly increase the deficit," Stewart said "while still giving Americans the shoddy and indifferent government bureaucracy we've come to expect."

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Speaking on Morning Joe Thursday morning, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) compared the current situation in Wisconsin, where Gov. Scott Walker (R) has inspired days of protests by proposing a budget that would remove key bargaining powers for public employee unions, to the recent unrest in Egypt that toppled the 30-year authoritarian rule of Hosni Mubarak, saying it's "like Cairo has moved to Madison these days."

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The South Dakota Legislature is shelving a bill that would allow for killing in defense of an unborn child to be considered "justifiable homicide," until it decides whether to hold a vote, amend the controversial language, or throw the bill out entirely.

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Obama To Meet Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg AFP reports: "President Barack Obama will meet ailing Apple chief Steve Jobs and other US high-tech gurus Thursday in California, US officials have said. Google CEO Eric Schmidt will also participate in the closed doors meeting, part of an event with business leaders in Silicon Valley, an official told AFP on condition of anonymity."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama and Vice President Biden will receive the presidential daily briefing at 9:30 a.m. ET. Obama will hold a meeting at 9:55 a.m. ET, on the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Obama and Biden will have lunch with the House Democratic leadership at 12:15 p.m. ET. Then at 1:45 p.m ET, Obama will sign the John M. Roll United States Courthouse Bill. Obama will depart from the White House at 3 p.m. Et, and depart from Andrews Air Force Base at 3:15 p.m. ET, arriving at 8:45 p.m. ET in San Francisco, California. He will meet at 9:45 p.m. ET with business leaders in technology and innovation.

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