TPM News

Like most Americans, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) has plans to celebrate our nation's independence on July 4. But an email that appears to have come from his Congressional campaign shows his staff is hoping to boost turnout at a Kenosha, WI parade by promising miniature flags and free T-shirts.

Some Democrats think that means Ryan -- who's under fire for his plan to convert Medicare into a voucher system -- is having trouble getting people to turn out and walk with him in Kenosha. Now some are driving the point home with a series of satirical Craigslist posts that goad him over the budget plan that he wrote, that the House Republicans passed, and that polls show the public is rejecting in droves.

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White House spokesman Jay Carney may have played a direct role in MSNBC's decision to sack -- er, suspend indefinitely -- Time magazine's Mark Halperin for calling President Obama a "dick" on Morning Joe.

Carney said he personally told MSNBC that he didn't appreciate Time magazine's Mark Halperin's obscene name-calling.

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Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Justice Department is conducting a full investigation into the deaths of two individuals in CIA custody during the Bush administration.

Holder said that special prosecutor John Durham, who is leading the inquiry, reviewed a "tremendous volume of information pertaining to the detainees" that included "both information and matters that had never previously been examined by the Department."

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By John Voelcker

Spare a thought, if you will, a momentary tear, for 85,000 doomed drivers of three models of hybrid car in California.

They are the unlucky losers of a privilege that saved them time, raised the value of their vehicle, and undoubtedly increased their karmic contentment, all because of a set of tiny stickers.

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Turns out President Obama will come to the Capitol to talk debt ceiling...just not today.

At a Thursday Senate press conference, scheduled minutes before it began, Democratic leaders called out their GOP counterparts, who invited Obama to the Hill without notice in order to swipe at him later for declining. Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that Obama will come, along with the Vice President Joe Biden, to visit Senators on Wednesday.

"Next week, on Tuesday, we're going to have Sen. [Kent] Conrad who's worked really hard with the people on the Budget Committee to come up with a way forward on the budget," Reid said.

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Hmm, is Herman Cain trying to take the spotlight back from Michele Bachmann?

Cain is set to make a campaign stop this Sunday in a special town: Winterset, Iowa, the hometown of actor John Wayne -- whose name has suddenly re-entered the American political psyche, thanks to a gaffe during Bachmann's campaign rollout.

And that's not all: Cain will be visiting a Godfather's Pizza restaurant -- the corporation that he used to head up -- on John Wayne Drive in Winterset.

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The board of a prominent U.S. science association has issued a strongly-worded statement decrying the personal attacks, death threats and increasing levels of harassment against climate scientists.

"AAAS vigorously opposes attacks on researchers that question their personal and professional integrity or threaten their safety based on the displeasure with their scientific conclusions," reads the statement from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, issued Tuesday. "The sharing of research data is vastly different from unreasonable, excessive Freedom of Information Act requests for personal information and voluminous data that are then used to harass and intimidate scientists."

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The Federal Election Commission gets it -- Stephen Colbert is punking them. But the FEC treated the Comedy Central host's request for an advisory opinion like anyone else, and on Thursday granted him the ability to form a "super PAC."

Their ruling allows his parent company Viacom to pay for most of their "coverage" of Colbert Super PAC's activities under a press exemption without having to disclose such expenditures as in-kind donations.

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Massachusetts state Rep. John Binienda (D) apologized Thursday for comparing a proposal to make lobbyists wear badges when talking to lawmakers to Adolf Hitler's forced tattooing of Jews during the Holocaust.

"Yesterday, I made an inappropriate analogy regarding a proposed change to the House Rules," he said in a statement. "No comparison can be made between the Nazi regime and a rules proposal made by members in good faith. I apologize to the sponsors as well as the people of Massachusetts for my words and look forward to working with the sponsors on these proposals."

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