TPM News

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) announced today that he'd vote "no" on Elena Kagan's Supreme Court nomination -- but that he would vote "yes" on cloture, which will help secure an up-or-down vote. Still, he's the first Democrat to say he'll oppose Kagan's nomination. Here's the full statement:

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The district attorney in Portland, Ore., announced today that he will not pursue charges against former Vice President Al Gore stemming from allegations of sexual assault.

From local TV station KOIN:

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The lead House ethics investigator in the case against Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) said this afternoon that he misspoke when he said his subcommittee had recommended a reprimand for Rangel.

Rep. Gene Green (D-TX), who lead the investigation subcommittee, told reporters earlier today that the panel had recommended a reprimand for Rangel, who is charged with 13 ethics violations.

Returning a call for clarification from TPMmuckraker, Green's spokesman now says the congressman "misspoke."

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Rick Scott -- the extremely wealthy frontrunner in Florida's Republican gubernatorial primary -- scored a major victory today, when a federal appeals court ruled that his primary opponent, state Attorney General Bill McCollum, can't get a dollar-for-dollar match from the state when Scott exceeds Florida's campaign spending cap.

State law allows McCollum to get a match from the state for every dollar Scott spends over $24.9 million. Scott had argued that the law significantly chilled his First Amendment rights by forcing him to slow his spending. A lower court had rejected Scott's attempt to block the public financing law, but today a federal appeals court overturned the earlier ruling.

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The Citizens United case opened the door for corporations to directly spend big money on political campaigns -- and now the Target company is finding that actually doing so is posing a risk in its home state of Minnesota, where the company is supporting Republican Tom Emmer for governor and facing a backlash from the LGBT community.

Target donated $150,000 to a group called MN Forward, a pro-business group backed by the state Chamber of Commerce, and which is actively supporting the very conservative Emmer. As a result, they've come under fire from gay rights organizations, due to Emmer's support for a proposed state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, and his close associations with the religious right.

"This is inconsistent with their values to support the only candidate for governor who stands up for discrimination and divisiveness in Minnesota," said Monica Meyer, interim executive director of OutFront Minnesota.

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Staffers for Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) are expected to testify before a grand jury on their boss's sex-and-lobbying scandal.

The Senate this week approved a resolution allowing the staffers to speak to the grand jury. Senate employees are normally prohibited from testifying outside of Congress.

Ensign's staff has reportedly already been speaking to the Senate ethics committee, and Ensign's campaign is paying for several of their related legal bills.

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1|| July 30, 2010: Chelsea Clinton, daughter of former President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, will be getting married this weekend in Rhinebeck, NY. Here's a look at some other special days for First Daughters...

Here, President Richard Nixon dances with his daughter Tricia in the East Room at her wedding reception on June 12, 1971. ||Newscom/CNP&&

2||August 6, 1966: Luci Baines Johnson and her father, President Lyndon B. Johnson. ||The Lyndon B. Johnson Library&&

3||May 10, 2008: President George W. Bush and Jenna Bush pose before her wedding at Prairie Chapel Ranch in Crawford, Texas.||Newscom/Zuma&&

4||July 19, 1986: Caroline Kennedy waves to onlookers before her wedding at Our Lady of Victory Church in Centerville, Massachusetts, as Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) walks by her side. ||Newscom/Zuma&&

5||December 9, 1967: The wedding of Lynda Baines Johnson, President Johnson's other daughter. ||The Lyndon B. Johnson Library&&

6||April 21, 1956: Margaret Truman Daniel, daughter of Harry Truman, marries Clifton Daniel. ||The Harry Truman Library&&

7||1906: Alice Roosevelt, daughter of President Teddy Roosevelt, at her wedding to Nicholas Longworth||Library Of Congress&&

The progressive webscape has been alight for the past couple days with the story of a truly amazing bit of racism -- the Tea Party Comix. These black and white pages, resembling one of those free zines the nerds among us used to pore through before the days of blogs, are reigniting the debate over tea party racism in the days before the movement's latest diversity-themed event.

Today, some top tea partiers are disavowing the truly impressively bigoted comic books, claiming that they're an obvious plant by tea party opponents. But at the same time, no one seems to know much about them. The mystery is still unsolved and the comics remain.

The books were first flagged by Ethan Persoff, the comic book blogger who brought us the hilarious Defense Department Don't Ask, Don't Tell explanation comic book "Dignity and Respect." Pershoff told Rachel Maddow's blog that he bought the first issue of the comic (there are at least three) somewhere in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Here's a taste of what that looked like:

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Notwithstanding his 2007 prostitute scandal and a more recent controversy surrounding his retention of a top aide who attacked his girlfriend with a knife, Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) is seeking the endorsement of the Louisiana Sheriffs' Association.

"I write to request that you support a Louisiana Sheriffs' Association endorsement of me for the U.S. Senate at your conference in Destin next week," writes Vitter in letters he sent to Sheriff's around the state, obtained by TPMDC. "I have worked hard to earn your support in a number of ways."

Among his pitches, Vitter notes, "Just recently, for example, I strongly opposed and helped defeat attempts to impose mandatory collective bargaining on your departments. This was included in a U.S. House-passed bill, which received the support and vote of my opponent Congressman [Charlie] Melancon."

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