TPM News

by Marian Wang ProPublica, Jan. 24, 2011, 11:37 a.m.

Concerned about the potential for corrosion, inspectors for the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System flagged a segment for replacement in a 2008 risk assessment, according to Reuters [1] and The Hill [2]. As we've noted [3], a leak was detected along that segment earlier this month, necessitating emergency shutdowns of the pipeline.

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A majority of Americans do not expect President Obama's State of the Union speech to alter their opinion of the country's direction, according to a Marist poll conducted in the run up to Tuesday's address.

Fifty-nine percent of respondents said they thought the address would not change their level of confidence in the direction the country is heading. Only 28% said they thought the speech would boost their confidence, while 8% said they expected to feel less confident following the speech. An additional 11% said they were unsure how the address would impact their view of the nation's future.

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Lawyers for Milton McGregor, the proprietor of Alabama's VictoryLand -- who the government says illegally bribed members of the state legislature to support legislation which allowed electronic bingo -- says the feds are dragging their feet in their case against him and demanded an immediate trial.

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Former Sen. George Allen (R-VA) has officially launched his campaign to run again for the Senate seat he held from 2001-2007, before he was defeated in a major upset by Democrat Jim Webb in 2006. Allen's campaign is being pitched as part of an "American comeback."

"The pivotal elections coming up in 2012 are gonna determine the trajectory of our country," Allen said in his YouTube announcement video. "Whether the opportunity to achieve the American Dream will continue to decline, or begin to ascend again.

"Friends, it's time for an American comeback. A comeback with leaders in Washington who listen to 'We the People,' adhere to foundational principles, rein in spending, and start creating opportunities for more jobs."

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A quick update on the substance, as opposed to the process, of filibuster reform in the Senate.

Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) will pick up where he left off in pursuit of his filibuster reform proposals when the Senate reconvenes this week. But parallel negotiations between Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) on a more modest rules reform framework are ongoing. And there's emerging consensus on three flanks.

New to that slate, according to a Senate aide, is a proposal to that would forbid "individual senators [from forcing] the reading of certain pieces of legislation, if they've been posted for certain periods of time." There's still no clarity on what categories of legislation would be exempted from this, or how long they'd have to be public.

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With news of Google co-founder Larry Page set to become the company's new CEO this April, should Americans be bracing themselves for an abrupt about-face on net neutrality at Google as the more ideological and product-focused Page takes the reins?

Don't hold your breath, according to industry experts. It's unlikely that Page will make any huge policy changes.

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With news of Google co-founder Larry Page set to become the company's new CEO this April, should Americans be bracing themselves for an abrupt about-face on net neutrality at Google as the more ideological and product-focused Page takes the reins?

Don't hold your breath, according to industry experts. It's unlikely that Page will make any huge policy changes.

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Fresh off dominating the New Hampshire straw poll over the weekend, Mitt Romney got another boost to his presidential aspirations in the form of a new national Rasmussen poll that shows the former Massachusetts Governor leading his potential competition for the GOP nomination.

In the poll, 24% of respondents went for Romney, while 19% supported Sarah Palin, and 17% said Mike Huckabee was their top choice. Newt Gingrich came in fourth at 11%, followed by Tim Pawlenty (6%), Ron Paul (4%), and Mitch Daniels (3%). An aditional 16% said they were either undecided or planned to vote for another candidate.

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Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) had an interesting take this weekend on America's first European settlers, who she said "had different cultures, different backgrounds, different traditions."

"How unique in all of the world, that one nation that was the resting point from people groups all across the world," she said. "It didn't matter the color of their skin, it didn't matter their language, it didn't matter their economic status."

"Once you got here, we were all the same. Isn't that remarkable?" she asked.

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