TPM News

On his radio show today, Glenn Beck tackled a particularly sticky issue when it comes to race. How does it make any sort of sense, he wanted to know, to refer to all black persons as "African American," particularly when so many black individuals don't live in the U.S.?

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Mitt Romney will speak at a Tea Party Express rally in New Hampshire on Labor Day, his first appearance at a high profile event associated with the movement.

Romney's scheduled appearance, first reported on CNN, comes as he faces renewed pressure on his right flank thanks to Rick Perry's surging campaign. Perry was one of the earliest national politicians to jump on the grassroots bandwagon -- he made his famous "secession" comments at a Tea Party rally in April 2009 -- and is currently polling very well with self-identified Tea Partiers. He, Michele Bachmann, and Herman Cain will attend a forum with the Tea Party-leaning Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) in South Carolina on Labor Day.

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The acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms And Explosives (ATF) and the U.S. Attorney for Arizona have resigned their posts in the wake of a scandal involving a program aimed at stopping gun trafficking on the Mexican border. ATF Director Ken Melson and U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke announced their resignations on Tuesday.

An Obama administration official told TPM that the White House and Justice Department were not prejudging the investigations of Operation Fast and Furious being conducted by DOJ's Inspector General and the House Oversight Committee. But the official said that both ATF and the federal prosecutor's office in Arizona had critical public safety missions they needed to carry out and that it was important for proper leadership to be in place.

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DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, is planning on disbursing a $500,000 grant in November for interstellar starship research.

Though the agency's plan sounds more like subject matter for a prequel episode of Battlestar Galactica, the agency is hoping starship research will lead to very real advances in science and industry.

The $500,000 award on November 11, 2011 will be the culmination of a year-long project that was designed to make researchers think big about issues with long time horizons in space travel.

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The local AFL-CIO council in Wausau, Wisconsin, is getting some pushback for its decision to disinvite local Republican politicians from the upcoming Labor Day parade as a result of Gov. Scott Walker's anti-public employee union legislation. Now, the mayor of that city is demanding that the unions re-invite the Republicans -- or reimburse the city for the costs it has agreed to bear for the public event.

On Monday, Wausau Mayor Jim Tipple released the following statement:

The City is a co-sponsor of the Labor Day parade event, because we provided the payment for the insurance premium for the event, and we agreed to erect a stage and provide city services at no cost to the Marathon County Central Labor Council.

The banning of a political party from participation at any event co-sponsored by the City is against public policy and not in the best interest of all the citizens of the City of Wausau. And therefore, we encourage the event organizer to invite all interested parties, or reimburse the city for other costs.

In an interview with TPM, Tipple said that the city's costs for the parade could vary, based on the parade route, but typically range from $1,500-$2,000.

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President Barack Obama on Tuesday pushed back against GOP charges that he is saddling the nation with costly and overly burdensome regulations. In fact, Obama argued, he has led the way in trying to reduce the federal government's regulatory costs on individuals and businesses across the country.

In a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Obama said his efforts to reduce the government's regulatory burden will save $10 billion over the next five years, adding that he hopes to find billions more in additional savings. Earlier this year, Obama issued an executive order imposing a series of requirements designed to reduce burdens and costs and called for a government-wide review of rules now on the books.

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If you're trying to institute a new paradigm in the field of federal disaster relief, you could use a better ally than former FEMA Director Michael Brown, better known to most of you as "Heckuva Job" Brownie.

He's the former International Arabian Horse Association Commissioner and the guy many blame for bungling the federal response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. He's also the first high-profile person in with experience in the field of disaster management to back the new GOP requirement that federal disaster aid be offset with federal spending cuts.

On Fox News Tuesday, Brown gave the policy his seal of approval.

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With four national polls in the last week showing Texas Gov. Rick Perry ahead of the field in the race for the GOP presidential nomination, it looks more like the contention that former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney was a weak frontrunner has proved true. But as the primary season prepares to kick into high gear, how has Perry moved to the front so quickly? Numbers released on Tuesday from a Public Policy Polling (D) poll of crucial primary state South Carolina tell the story not just of Perry's new dominance of conservative voters, and Romney's weakness on the right, but of more concern for him -- they show a real vulnerability in the center as well.

The fact that Perry is now dominating in South Carolina, a conservative state, is probably not news to campaign watchers. The PPP survey shows him with 36 percent of the potential vote, followed by Romney with 16 and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) at 13, the second poll in five days to show Perry with a big lead. But the crosstabs show that Romney, the presumed "moderate" candidate (or at least more moderate), cannot even defend his own turf in the middle of the GOP electorate in a conservative state. He faces an implacable right wing of the party, which is fully in Perry's column, and moderate sect that is willing to support Perry despite his more strident views.

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