TPM News

Despite recent warnings about unchecked fraud and abuse associated with wartime contracting, the number of private contractors and the costs associated with them are set to dramatically increase in the coming transition from the military to the State Department in Iraq and Afghanistan

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, estimated that the State Department is set to increase its manpower in Iraq and Afghanistan from 8,000 to 17,000 -- the great majority of whom will be contractors for security, medical, maintenance, aviation, and other functions.

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A few dozen progressives sat in a room in the Washington Hilton on Monday during the Take Back the American Dream Conference discussing how restrictive voter ID laws would affect the 2012 election.

"The groups of voters that are going to be most impacted, what do you all think?" asked moderator Megan Donovan. "Who does this affect primarily?"

"College students!" someone said. "Minority groups!" said another. "Elderly voters!" chimed in one person. "Disabled voters!" said one woman.

"Democrats!" came a voice from the back of the room. The audience burst into laughter.

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Stephen Colbert is "pumped" now that his favorite sport -- "Supreme Courting" -- is back in season.

And all eyes are on the this year's "big match-up": a Supreme Court decision on President Obama's health care law. The heart of the issue is the law's individual mandate, which requires uninsured Americans to purchase health care. Critics say the mandate is unconstitutional and represents government overreach at its worst. Colbert basically agrees.

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Further evidence that the percentage of those Americans unwilling to tax millionaires is much higher within the House GOP conference than the country as a whole: A new CBS News poll shows that 64 percent of those polled support such an increase, versus only 30 percent against.

"Democrats were extremely likely to support such an increase (83 percent did so), and independents also supported it, 65 percent to 28 percent," said the CBS report. "On the other side, 54 percent of Republicans opposed such an increase, while 40 percent supported it."

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Herman Cain back to second place? Perhaps those who can't remember the 2012 GOP primary horse race history are doomed to repeat it.

The latest turn in the Republican primary is back toward Herman Cain, who is showing up in a slew of poll results either tied with or ahead of former (as of this writing) frontrunner Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who has suffered some losses over the last ten days. Of course, the GOP has been here before with Cain: he hit the mid to high teens in national polls behind Romney before the summer and a surge by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), before she herself fell back into the pack and is now hovering around 3 to 4 percent in nationwide surveys.

And before it even begins, let's make this clear: Herman Cain's rise is probably less about Herman Cain. It's about the fickle GOP field grasping for a credible challenger to former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney.

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It’s official. Apple has just announced the iPhone 4S. The new phone looks very similar to the iPhone 4, but will have enhanced hardware inside, including the A5 chip which is used in the iPad2. See a photo of the new phone here.

Rick Perry was doing so well. After launching a presidential campaign, he quickly catapulted to frontrunner status. But, Jon Stewart said, that all changed once Perry started talking.

"Watching Governor Perry, you really do picture a squadron of tiny little men inside his head, running around frantically, trying to find the right paper, one of them knocks over the coffee on the control panel," Stewart said on Monday.

But people can recover from a poor debate performance, Stewart said. "It's not like those words are written in stone."

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When last we checked in on Meghan McCain's legal battle with conservative blog RedState, her lawyers were threatening the site over a parody of her columns by a user named "Totally Meghan McCain." RedState may have taken the posts down, but the author, Leon Wolf, is taking his act to Pajamas Media and calling out McCain for "bullying" in a letter to her attorney.

"My client will not be bullied out of exercising his First Amendment right to make clear his belief that your client is a spoiled, brainless twit who is cheapening the political discourse in this country," Wolf's attorney wrote. "Therefore, henceforth, the 'Totally Meghan McCain' series may be found at for your client's reading pleasure."

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Apple is currently unveiling its new mobile operating system, and one new announcements is the “Cards” app, which allows users to create and mail actual cards.

Ellie the Elephant is here to show our children just how exceptional their country really is. In "Sweet Land of Liberty," Callista Gingrich's latest children's book, Ellie learns about American history by traveling through time to relive some of our nations greatest historical moments.

Obviously, the Boston Tea Party is one such event.

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