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A Justice Department spokeswoman is hitting back at allegations made today at a U.S. Commission on Civil Rights hearing on the New Black Panther Party Case that the department is politicizing the enforcement of voting rights laws.

"[T]his so-called investigation is thin on facts and evidence and thick on rhetoric," Tracy Schmaler, a DOJ spokeswoman told TPMMuckraker in an e-mail. She added it was important to place Coates' testimony in the context of the "politicization that occurred in the Civil Rights Division in the previous administration."

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The Texas State Board of Education today passed a resolution warning textbook publishers to scrub their books of "gross pro-Islamic, anti-Christian" bias. The vote was 7 to 6.

The board passed the nonbinding resolution after more than three hours of debate.

Proponents of the measure, including board members and witnesses, argued that world history textbooks spend too much space discussing Islam, and in too positive a light, when compared with Christianity.

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Here's yet another golden oldie from Christine O'Donnell. Back in 2003, when she was defiantly asked by a pro sex education campaigner whether she wanted to stop everyone from having sex, she defiantly answered right back: "Yeah."

As Greg Sargent reports on some newly-unearthed video, of an appearance on Scarborough Country, O'Donnell debated Eric Nies of the Moment of Hope foundation about what to teach teenagers about sex -- O'Donnell obviously for abstinence-only education, and Nies for encouraging condom use for teens who will have sex. (Fun fact: The panel also included Dr. Ruth!)

At one point, an exasperated Nies asked: "You're going to stop the whole country from having sex?"

"Yeah. Yeah," O'Donnnell said strongly, apparently attempting to continue her point particularly pertaining to teenagers, amidst a whole lot of crosstalk. "Come on. Young people take their cues--"

Nies shot back: "You're living on a prayer if you think that's going to happen."

"That's not true," O'Donnell responded. "I'm a young woman in my thirties and I remain chaste. Come on. It's unrealistic to think they're just gonna do it anyway."

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The Wisconsin Office of Lawyer Regulation has reopened its investigation into District Attorney Kenneth Kratz, who allegedly sent sexually suggestive text message to four women, including one whose domestic abuse case he was handling.

Kratz has admitted to sending Stephanie Van Groll inappropriate text messages in October 2009, when he was handling her domestic abuse case. Since then, three other women have reportedly come forward alleging that Kratz sent them suggestive text messages. One of the women also accused Kratz of inviting her to an autopsy on a date.

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Let's say you're running for Congress as a war hero. And let's say you want to run a TV ad showing some interviews you did with national news outlets talking about your heroism. There's only one problem -- the interviews also mention the heinous double murder you were accused of committing while wearing a Marine Corps uniform in Iraq.

What do you do? If you said "cut out all the murder stuff and just go with the parts that make me look good," you might be Ilario Pantano, the Republican nominee for Congress in North Carolina's 7th District.

As Daily Beaster Benjy Sarlin pointed out in this opus earlier this year, Pantano is actually running on the fact that he was once brought up on murder charges for while serving in Iraq. Here's what went down, as Sarlin told it:

In April 2004, Pantano killed two unarmed Iraqi detainees, twice unloading his gun into their bodies and firing between 50 and 60 shots in total. Afterward, he placed a sign over the corpses featuring the Marines' slogan "No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy" as a message to the local population.

Pantano admits the killings and turned the story into a huge net positive, writing a book about the tale that earned him rabid support from conservatives and even, as Sarlin writes, "sympathetic treatment from Jon Stewart on The Daily Show." Pantano contends the shooting was in self defense and the military dropped its murder charges against him after a witness' testimony could not be corroborated.

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A newly released Rasmussen poll of the Texas gubernatorial race shows Republican Gov. Rick Perry up 48%-42% on Democratic former Houston Mayor Bill White.

When Rasmussen took a look at this race in late August, Perry was ahead 49%-41%. A September 6 PPP survey also had the race favoring the incumbent Governor 48%-42%.

The TPM Poll Average has Perry ahead of White 46.8%-40.8%.

For more on the race, check out TPMDC's full coverage here.

The former chief of the Voting Section of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division says it was a "travesty on justice" for the DOJ not to allow attorneys to fully pursue a civil case against members of the New Black Panther Party.

Christopher Coates, now an assistant U.S. attorney in South Carolina, testified Friday at the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights hearing on the handling of the New Black Panther Party case. The conservative-dominated commission is preparing a report on how the DOJ handled the case and whether officials pursue the race-neutral enforcement of voting laws.

In his prepared testimony, Coates says there is a "hostility in the Civil Rights Division (CRD) and Voting Section toward the equal enforcement of some of the federal voting laws."

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There was a lot of hand-wringing over Stephen Colbert's testimony before Congress today, and now that it's over, can we safely say the Republic is not coming to an end? Colbert himself also had high hopes for another outcome: "I trust that following my testimony both sides will work together on this issue in the best interest of the American people. As you always do."

[TPM SLIDESHOW: The Whole Truthiness: Stephen Colbert Testifies On Capitol Hill]

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