TPM News

Rep. Dennis Rehberg (R-MT), who's expected to face Sen. John Tester (D) in the Montana Senate race next year, is worried that some families who receive federally-subsidized lunches may be gaming the system and therefore bilking you out of your hard-earned taxpayer dollars.

It's about waste, fraud and abuse, he suggests. But Democrats say it's about something else: A Republican looking to scrimp on a program that benefits the least fortunate of all Americans, poor children, while he fights to protect subsidies for multi-billion dollar oil companies.

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Not even the failed appearance of British rockers Radiohead, whom had been rumored to be thinking of holding a surprise concert at the Occupy Wall Street protests on Friday afternoon, could dampen the spirits of the estimated 5,000 people who gathered in the base camp in Zuccotti Park near Wall Street in Manhattan on Friday.

A visit by at least 100 members of New York Transit Workers Union (TWU 100), who had on Wednesday voted unanimously to support the demonstrations, coupled with the addition of hundreds of people of all ages getting out of work and traveling into New York for the weekend from around the country, boosted the the total number of participants of the mass demonstrations to their highest levels since the movement began on September 17.

"Just seeing all the young people made me want to come out here," TWU member Robert Taylor told TPM Idea Lab, "Seeing the new generation coming out here, turning off their reality TV and taking a stand, it's inspiring."

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Herman Cain, responding to Sarah Palin calling him the “flavor of the week,” said his flavor is “black walnut.”

On the Tonight Show, Cain told Jay Leno, “I happen to believe there’s iced milk, and then there’s Haagan-Daas Black Walnut. Substance, that’s the difference. I got the substance. I’m the Black Walnut. It lasts longer than a week.”


Neville Thurlbeck, a former reporter at the now-defunct News of the World, is threatening to break his silence in a civil case, the New York Times reports. Thurlbeck was one of 16 people arrested in the ever-widening phone hacking scandal that has rocked Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.

President Obama in his weekly radio address sought to rally Republican support for his jobs bill. Obama said if Republicans like parts of the bill, he would like to know which parts. And likewise if Republicans disagree with it.

The bill is ultimately not about what the president wants, he said. “This is about what the american people what.”

The United States Justice Department on Friday asked a bankruptcy court in Delaware to assign control over the solar panel maker Solyndra to a trustee because its top executives are refusing to answer any questions in the ongoing bankruptcy proceeding.

The trustee, which is part of the Justice Department, said that its motion with the court wasn't about the company's wrongdoing, but about being able to proceed in a manner that would most benefit the company's creditors.

"The issue is whether management's refusal to answer questions about the debtors' finances and operations prevents the Debtors' current management from properly exercising their fiduciary responsibilities," wrote Roberta A. DeAngelis, the United States Trustee in a brief filed with the court on Friday.

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On a conference call with reporters Friday afternoon, senior RNC officials addressed the situation of their now disrupted primary calendar, which was caused by Florida moving its primary to January 31, ahead of the officially sanctioned early states that were supposed to go in February. However, the senior officials still claimed success in the calendar overall -- even though Florida has broken the rules, and now the official early states are likely to lose half their delegates, too.

The formal rules, adopted last year, provided for four states to vote in February: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. Then other states could hold contests in March under various methods of proportional representation, and states that voted from April onward could be winner-take-all. But all of that has been up-ended by Florida's decision to vote on January 31, which will cause the official four early states to move even earlier into January .

The officials discussed how the RNC's rules were done as a reaction to the 2008 calendar, when Super Tuesday in early February became almost a de facto national primary: "The intent of it all was to get away from having a national primary and really try to start a bit later, but really have more states participate, and have more people able to participate in a meaningful way...And I think for the most part we're going to accomplish that."

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With the solar energy company Solyndra going belly up, some Republicans have started to question the Energy Department's entire loan program. Not House Speaker John Boehner (R), who on Friday called for the Obama administration to send some of that federal cash back to a company in his Ohio district.

Boehner's office wants the Energy Department to approve USEC, Inc.'s application for a loan to construct a uranium enrichment plant for the American Centrifuge Project. They say that USEC's proposal is solid and would "bring thousands of good-paying, long-term jobs," which they said stood "in stark contrast to the 'stimulus'-centric Solyndra saga."

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Conservative blogger Erick Erickson over at RedState is having a lot of fun with what they're calling "P-Day." That's the blog's term for the last day of September, the final day Sarah Palin has said would pass without her making an announcement one way or another about her presidential campaign.

Obviously, no announcement has come, leading to mocking by the RedState gang. Palin's fans, to put it mildly, are not happy.

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