TPM News

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) may have more than his own embarrassment to deal with in the wake of the prank call from from a progressive blogger claiming to be David Koch.

The police chief in Madison, Wisc. -- site of the protests at the state Capitol -- tells the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel the he found parts of the recorded call between Walker and "Koch" "very unsettling and troubling."

Specifically, Chief Noble Wray says that Walker's claim that he considered sending infiltrators into the crowd (prompted by a suggestion by "Koch," played by blogger Ian Murphy) made him nervous.

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Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) defended Nevada's legal prostitution industry on Wednesday -- putting him at odds with Sen. Harry Reid's (D-NV) call this week to end the brothel business.

"You know, that's a county by county issue and I think and it should be left to the counties," Ensign told local station after a town hall meeting.

On Tuesday, Reid delivered a speech to the Nevada legislature in which he declared "the time has come for us to outlaw prostitution." Many state lawmakers defended the current brothel system after and it's unclear whether Reid's position has enough support to move forward. Governor Brian Sandoval (R) has said the issue should be left to the counties as well.

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Steve Israel promised to take on Congressional Republicans over their push to tighten abortion laws. Now, the DCCC chair is making good on that pledge.

With the 2012 elections well over a year away, Democrats are already up with paid advertising aimed at five Republican members of Congress they hope to defeat in 2012. The program is part of a larger targeted web, radio and email ad program taking on 19 Republicans Democrats say are vulnerable next year.

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Life was more fun for Republicans when they could vote "no" on job-creating bills like the stimulus, then go to ribbon-cutting ceremonies for stimulus projects in their districts.

Now that they're voting "yes" on bills that will slash, delay or eliminate those projects, life's pretty rough.

Check out, for instance, this interview with freshman Rep. Bobby Schilling (R-IL), who's tied in knots over his recent vote to kill a transportation project in his district. Specifically, he voted for the House spending legislation, which would eliminate a $230 million federal grant to build an Amtrak line from Chicago to Iowa City, if it goes into effect.

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No matter how sensible the protesters in Wisconsin seem, Stephen Colbert is sure that they're downright evil. And if they won't live up to the stereotype of the thuggish union member, he's going to do it for them -- even if it means killing an adorable puppy.

"We know that government workers are greedy goons because we keep saying that they are," Colbert said. "But because they keep refusing to live up to our stereotypes, we must do it for them."

"Then the American people will despise us, by which I mean them," he added.

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While the Wisconsin legislative fight over union rights has devolved into a rhetorical Cold War, the similar struggle between Democrats and Republicans in the Indiana state House is positively cordial by comparison.

Though Republicans, led by Gov. Mitch Daniels, are firm in their insistence there will be no negotiation with the group of AWOL House Democrats currently cooling their heels in Urbana, IL, a member of the Republican House leadership tells TPM there will be no hard feelings if and when the Democrats finally return.

"None," Rep. Eric Turner, assistant GOP leader in the House told TPM Thursday morning. "Certainly, at times, members of the opposite party are our opponents, but they're not our enemies."

"We're legislators, we're colleagues, we're respectful of one another," he added. "We can have a difference of opinion on a piece of legislation and work on another piece of legislation together."

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Jon Stewart was in a forgiving mood when Donald Rumsfeld stopped by The Daliy Show last night.

Before asking any questions, Stewart said he knew how hard it must be for the former defense secretary to vocalize an apology for the Iraq war. So, to make things easy, Stewart said that he accepted the apology he just knew Rumsfeld wanted to make.

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