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Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) told MSNBC's Chris Jansing that President Obama's deficit-reduction plan -- which calls for increased taxes on wealthy Americans -- only "hurts" the economy.

Fleming -- a businessman who owns Subway sandwich shops and is responsible for more than 100 UPS stores across the south -- said that taxing wealthier people hurts job creation. Jansing pointed out that, as the Wall Street Journal estimated, Fleming raked in more than $6 million last year. Chump change, Fleming said!

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Updated: September 19, 2011, 4:27PM

The Justice Department said Monday that Texas' state House and congressional redistricting plans didn't comply with Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), indicating they thought the maps approved by Gov. Rick Perry (R) gave too little voting power to the growing Latino population in the state.

Officials with DOJ's Civil Rights Division said the proposed redistricting plan for the State Board of Education (SBOE) and the state Senate complied with the Voting Rights Act, but indicated they had concerns with the state House plan and the plan for congressional redistricting.

The federal government "[denied] that the proposed Congressional plan, as compared with the benchmark, maintains or increases the ability of minority voters to elect their candidate of choice in each district protected by Section 5," DOJ lawyers write in a filing. "Defendants deny that the proposed Congressional plan complies with Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act."

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Pivoting off of Warren Buffett's claim that the billionaire investor pays less in taxes as a share of his income than does his secretary, the progressive group has released a new ad linking said secretary to other ordinary Americans.

The message wastes no time taking the populist tack. "I'm Warren Buffett's secretary," say a series of people who look nothing like office assistants but who are likely to share the same tax bracket.

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GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) – Three earthquakes struck southern Guatemala Monday within 90 minutes, shaking buildings in the capital and killing three people.

Democrats are already mobilizing politically behind President Obama's debt reduction proposal, which he formally announced earlier on Monday. Massachusetts Democrats quickly sought to make an issue of it for Republican Sen. Scott Brown, who is up for re-election in 2012.

In a press release titled, "Does Scott Brown Support the Buffett Rule?":

"As part of his vision for a balanced approach to reducing our deficit and creating jobs, President Obama today proposed the Buffett Rule to make sure that people who make more than $1 million a year do not pay a smaller portion of their income in taxes than middle class Americans do."

"We're all Americans first and all of us, including millionaires and billionaires, should pay our fair share to help get our nation's fiscal house in order. There is no reason in the world why Scott Brown should be talking about cutting one dime from Social Security or Medicare without insisting that CEO's and hedge fund managers step up to the plate."

Connie Schultz, a Pulitzer Prize-winner who writes for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, is ending her political column to avoid a potential conflict of interest.

Schultz, who happens to be married to Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), said she was quitting her column because "my independence, professionally and personally, is possible only if I'm no longer writing for the newspaper that covers my husband's senate race on a daily basis."

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Congressional Democrats will draw a sharp distinction between themselves and Republicans by pushing for a vote on the "Buffett Rule" -- that millionaires should, at the very least, pay taxes at the same overall rate as middle class workers.

In a sign that Democrats on the Hill see this as both effective politics and a significant step toward erasing medium term deficits, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) -- tasked with helping the party more effectively message its policies -- said members of Congress should have to go on the record on this issue.

"I'd find it very useful to make some proposal along the lines that fits within the confines of the Buffett rule and put it on the floor," Schumer told reporters in a Monday conference call. "When the President goes around the country and keeps talking about it, as I believe he will do, we are going to win this fight."

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