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All six of the Alaska militia members accused of plotting to kill two state troopers and a federal judge appeared together in court for the first time Tuesday, after five of them pleaded not guilty to the charges late last month.

Investigators said in a court filing last week that they have over 130 hours of audio and video recordings, among other evidence, garnered with the help of two confidential informants over a 10-month investigation of the suspects, who were members of the Alaska Peacemakers Militia.

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All 100 percent of the precincts appear to be counted in the Wisconsin Supreme Court race, which has become a proxy political battle over Republican Gov. Scott Walker's anti-public employee union legislation. And while a recount now appears certain, the very stunning result is that incumbent conservative Justice David Prosser -- who should have been re-elected easily as of just a few weeks ago -- now narrowly trails his liberal-backed challenger, Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg.

The local NBC affiliate in Milwaukee reports that the final precinct has reported: the town of Lake Mills gave Prosser a net pickup of only two votes: Prosser 366, Kloppenburg 364.

Adding those figures to the Associated Press's current spreadsheet (which continues to be corrected and adjusted on a running basis), Kloppenburg leads by 204 votes, out of nearly 1.5 million cast.

As WisPolitics reported this afternoon, Team Prosser is gearing up for a recount:

"We are assembling our legal team and continuing to watch our vote totals," [Prosser campaign director] Nemoir said. "We are encouraged by the turnout and believe in a record-setting Supreme Court election there's plenty of reason to believe there's unrecognized opportunity to deliver a victory.

One of the claims you'll hear a lot about the new GOP budget is that its plan to privatize Medicare has been blessed by Alice Rivlin -- a budget expert at Brookings who used to work for Bill Clinton. Except it's not quite true.

Rivlin did indeed work with GOP Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) on a version of his plan. But in an interview with Politico Tuesday she said she can't support the specifics of the Ryan plan.

"We talked fairly recently and I said, 'You know, I can't support the version that you have in the budget," Rivlin said. "I don't actually support the form in which he put it in the budget."

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While President Obama and Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) remain optimistic that Republicans and Democrats can strike a budget deal and avert a looming government shutdown by Friday's deadline, the White House's Office of Management and Budget is planning for the worst.

"From a good housekeeping perspective, we're cognizant that it's Wednesday and the deadline is Friday and so we need to take appropriate steps should appropriations lapse," a senior administration official told reporters on a conference call Wednesday.

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After widespread criticism that its analysis of Paul Ryan's budget was optimistic to the point of absurdity, an author of the Heritage Foundation is admitting to reporters that his numbers may have been a tad off. But he firmly lays the blame at the feet of the CBO, the independent analyst tasked with evaluating the impact of congressional legislation on the budget, for any of his errors.

The most glaring number was Heritage's unemployment projection, which they saw dropping to 6.4% in 2012 and an unprecedented 2.8% in 2021. In an interview with Slate's Dave Weigel, the director of the Heritage Foundation's Center for Data Analysis, William Beach, admitted his study's figures might strain belief.

"Am I comfortable with a 2.8 unemployment rate?" asked Beach. "It's pretty low. The model's predicting a low unemployment rate -- that's how to take it. The thing is that the model stops in 2022. If it had continued into 2022-2031, then the unemployment rate would start to rise again."

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A Neighborhood Research poll of likely Iowa caucus voters released this week found Mike Huckabee once again leading the pack, while Donald Trump placed a surprising third place, ahead of big-name GOPers including Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich.

That affirms previous polls that have shown Huckabee comfortably leading all comers in Iowa, which holds the nation's first -- and therefore highly important -- primary nominating contest. And it seems to show that Trump, the eccentric business tycoon who has recently made some noise about a possible presidential bid, may be a viable candidate after all.

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In another sign of just how big a contest the Wisconsin Supreme Court became -- going from sleepy spring election and likely easy win for incumbent conservative Justice David Prosser, to a hot race in which liberal-backed challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg now has a very narrow lead -- the results show that turnout was incredibly high.

Craig Gilbert at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports:

With 99% of the returns in, almost 1.5 million people had voted in the state Supreme Court race, which would represent a turnout of 33.5% of voting-age adults.

That's 68% higher than the official state prediction of 20% turnout, which was based on recent historical norms.

A 20% turnout would be about 874,000 votes. Tuesday's turnout exceeded that by almost 600,000 votes.

Another way to look at it: Each candidate has just under 740,000 votes right now -- compared to the 874,000 votes total that would have occurred under typical conditions.

A Senate Democratic leadership aide tells me that top negotiators for House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) are nearing an agreement that would cut federal spending by somewhere between $33 billion and $40 billion dollars but "much closer to 33."

The men quarterbacking that side of the spending fight are Boehner's chief of staff Barry Jackson and Reid's chief of staff David Krone. They're working with multiple frameworks that contain somewhat different allocations, and mixes of discretionary and mandatory spending, but according to the aide, are close to resolving that side of the issue.

However, another side of the equation is still holding up a final deal. That's where things get tough.

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Fox News and Glenn Beck's production company have announced that Beck will "transition off" his daily television program later this year, and that the two companies plan to work together "to develop and produce a variety of television projects for air on the Fox News Channel as well as content for other platforms including Fox News' digital properties."

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According to results of Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday morning, the percentage of Floridians who now approve of Gov. Rick Scott's (R) job performance has remained unchanged since two months ago. But at the same time, the percentage who disapprove of his job performance has more than doubled, putting his net approval rating deep underwater.

In the latest poll, a 48% plurality of registered voters now disapprove of how Scott has handled his job, a huge leap from February when only 22% of voters disapproved of the new Governor's job performance. Meanwhile, 35% of voters currently approve of Scott's job performance, the exact same percentage who gave Scott a thumbs up two months ago.

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