TPM News

The Justice Department sent a letter to school districts in Alabama on Tuesday reminding them that they can't deny a child access to public education due to his or her immigration status.

Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez's letter comes after he expressed concern that Alabama's anti-illegal immigration law was keeping children out of school because their parents are scared about the impact of the law. A federal judge has blocked portions of the harsh anti-illegal immigration measure.

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Are you upset? Looking for someone to blame for the mortgage crisis? Blame Congress, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Tuesday morning.

Bloomberg at an Association for a Better New York breakfast -- a New York business organization -- was asked his opinion of the ongoing Occupy Wall Street protests, Capital New York's Azi Paybarah reports. "I hear your complaints," Bloomberg replied, before shifting the conversation to the housing crisis.

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The Washington Examiner reports:



Speaking at an education forum in Des Moines Tuesday afternoon, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who has suffered from lackluster performances in Republican presidential debates, said flatly, "I hate debates."

"I hate debates like I used to hate spinning in an aircraft," said Perry, a former Air Force pilot. "I finally did it and did it and did it, and finally I got better at it." Perry, who has agreed to take part in five more GOP contests, says he might improve at debating, too.

A Super PAC supporting Rick Perry, called "Make Us Great Again," has a new round of ads set to air in the key early caucus and primary states of Iowa and South Carolina, Real Clear Politics reports.

The rollout includes two biographical spots, highlighting Perry's humble beginnings as the son of a tenant farmer, and his staunchly conservative record. The Iowa version highlights Perry's fiscal record, while the South Carolina version touts Texas's manufacturing jobs.

The Iowa ad has a buy of $200,000 behind it, and is set to begin airing Wednesday. The very similar South Carolina ad has a buy of $180,000, and begins today.

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Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) questioned Justice Department official Lanny Breuer at a hearing on Tuesday about Attorney General Eric Holder's knowledge of ATF's flawed Operation Fast and Furious, the day after Breuer apologized for not connecting the "gun walking" tactics that took place during a Bush-era ATF operation to the more recent anti-gun trafficking operation.

Breuer said during his testimony that he trusted officials at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to make sure that agents weren't allowing guns to "walk" across the Mexican border, as they learned happened back in 2006 and 2007 during Operation Wide Receiver.

"At the time, I thought that dealing with the leadership of ATF was sufficient and reasonable, and frankly given the amount of work I do, at the time I thought that was the appropriate way of dealing with it," Breuer said. "I thought we had dealt with it by talking to the ATF leadership."

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Recall that Rick Perry's so-called "flat tax" plan isn't flat at all, but rather an alternative tax system that would constitute a massive tax cut for the rich. For people above a certain income, his plan would be worth opting into, and for the rest of earners, it would make sense to stay in the current tax system.

The Tax Policy Center has posted data neatly illustrating this bug (or feature, depending on your point of view). Here it is in handy graph form.

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