TPM News

The man in charge of keeping John Wayne's legacy alive in his native Winterset, Iowa says he's not blaming Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) for her apparent gaffe regarding the actor's birthplace this morning.

But Brian Downes, executive director of the John Wayne Birthplace Museum, pointed out that other presidential candidates -- Ronald Reagan in 1984 and Barack Obama in 2007 -- have found their way to John Wayne's boyhood home.

Read More →

Wisconsin Republicans just hit a bump in the road in the state Senate recall campaigns, with one of their chosen candidates against a Democratic incumbent having just gotten knocked off the ballot -- leaving another candidate who is less than ideal.

The state Government Accountability Board, which oversees elections in the state, knocked GOP state Rep. John Nygren off the ballot Tuesday in his effort to unseat Dem state Sen. Dave Hansen. Nygren's campaign had initially only turned in 424 petition signatures for Nygren, just over the 400 minimum -- but following Democratic challenges, this was busted down to 398, just two short of the required total.

As WisPolitics reports, Nygren is vowing to appeal the decision in court, saying in a statement: "Since Dave Hansen has chosen legal maneuvers to silence the voters of northeastern Wisconsin, I feel obligated to my supporters to fight this decision and pursue further legal options."

However, another Republican will remain on the ballot: GOP activist David VanderLeest, whose signatures passed muster against Dem challenges. Thus, the good news for Republicans is that Hansen will not run unopposed.

But the bad news for the GOP is, VanderLeest is going to be Hansen's opponent.

Read More →

Federal Trade Commissioner Julie Brill said Monday that there is an international push for technical ways to prevent websites from tracking the movements of consumers online and that the amount of tracking of individual behavior has reached an "unprecedented" level.

"There is tremendous momentum internationally for do-not-track mechanisms," Brill said.

"We want to build a rich online environment where individuals can make meaningful choices about how they present themselves to the world, and that can only come about when individuals control information about what we say, where we go and what we do in cyberspace, mobile space and beyond," Brill said.

Read More →

Updated 6:45 p.m.

With just over one month left until the government begins to default obligations to creditors, vendors, and entitlement beneficiaries, leaders of both parties in Washington made clear Monday that the underlying gridlock isn't going anywhere. That means a half-trillion dollar impasse will have to be bridged, quickly, if the country's to avoid a domino effect of economic consequences. And with the White House and Congressional Republicans staking out incompatible positions, it's unclear how that will happen.

In the hours before an evening meeting with President Obama, and in a number of different venues, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell renewed his insistence that Republicans will not accept any tax increases as part of a trillion-dollar deficit reduction package the GOP is demanding before agreeing to let the country pay all its bills on time.

But according to a top Democratic aide, Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) agreed at a White House meeting Monday morning that any such package must take "a balanced approach, and that revenues need to be a part of that approach, especially ending taxpayer-funded giveaways to corporations that don't need them."

Read More →

In the latest development on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, where conservative Justice David Prosser has been accused of physically assaulting liberal Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, the principal investigation of the matter has now been turned over to the Sheriff's Office in Dane County (Madison).

The sheriff's office said in a statement issued Monday:

Today, at the request of the Wisconsin Capital Police Department, the Dane County Sheriff's Office opened an investigation into the June 13th incident involving an alleged altercation at the offices of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

The Dane County Sheriff's Office recognizes the significance and sensitive nature of this investigation. Beginning today, detectives will work diligently to conduct a thorough and timely investigation. Because this case is in the very early stages, no further information is available at this time.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports that Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs, whose office had originally received a report of the alleged incident, has instead turned the matter over to the Dane County Sheriff's office after consulting with members of the Supreme Court itself.

Read More →

A Chicago jury has found former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich guilty of 17 of the 20 charges in his corruption trial, including multiple charges of wire fraud and bribery, and attempting to sell Barack Obama's Senate seat.

Read More →

The Bachmann campaign staff might want to double-check their Google searches. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), who on Monday launched her presidential campaign in her original hometown of Waterloo, Iowa, appears to be just a bit confused about the town's history of favorite sons.

In an interview with Fox News, Bachmann boasted: "But what I want them to know, just like John Wayne was from Waterloo, Iowa, that's the kind of spirit that I have, too."

About that spirit of "John Wayne" in Waterloo...

In fact, the actor John Wayne (real name, Marion Morrison) was from Iowa, but not from Waterloo -- he was from Winterset, Iowa, about 120 miles away. But as it turns out, there was another "John Wayne" with some history in Waterloo: Serial killer John Wayne Gacy, known as the "Killer Clown," who raped and murdered over 30 young men before he was finally incarcerated and put to death.

Though if it helps Bachmann at all, Gacy is not known to have committed any murders when he lived in Waterloo, though he was imprisoned for a sexual assault case that was committed there.

Read More →