TPM News

At former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's sentencing hearing today, two of DeLay's former aides and associates of Jack Abramoff -- who pleaded guilty to corruption charges years ago -- may testify against their old boss.

The two ex-aides, Mike Scanlon and Tony Rudy, were offered immunity in Texas in exchange for their testimony, the Austin-American Statesman reports. The two have been convicted on federal corruption charges, and their testimony won't get them off the hook there -- but they could get a state prosecutor to testify on their behalf at their own sentencings.

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Conservatives are circling their wagons around Sarah Palin and other incendiary figures on the right in the wake of Saturday's shooting spree in Arizona. The latest is Weekly Standard editor, and Palinisto Bill Kristol, who said that Palin's critics are practicing "McCarthyism."

On C-SPAN's "Washington Journal" Monday morning, Kristol claimed there's no evidence to suggest that shooting suspect Jared Lee Loughner is an acolyte of Palin's. "The attempt to exploit this tragedy is distasteful," Kristol said.

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Members of the hate group known as the Westboro Baptists Church, infamous for their inflammatory anti-gay protests celebrating the deaths of American soldiers, plan to show up to the funerals of those killed in the Tucson, AZ shootings which killed six and severely injured Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ).

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Virginia state Del. Bob Marshall (R) is joining the parade of conservative state legislators who are proposing a direct challenge to the federal government's authority over the monetary system -- and is getting ready to introduce a proposal that the state mint its own gold and silver coins!

The Manassas News & Messenger:

"We can't mint money, but we can mint gold and silver coins," Marshall said Wednesday night. "It sounds like a small difference, but it is a difference legally. If you look closely on a [dollar] bill, it doesn't say that it's money. It says it is legal tender 'for all debts, public and private.'"

...

He also believes that this could only be the beginning of a change to the current economic system.

"Once Virginia leads the way, other [states] will see this," Marshall said. "We need to get out of a lethargic mode of acceptance. A gold and silver system puts the power back with the people and not with a private group of bankers."

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Meet your newest nemesis, Batman: the right-wing American blogosphere.

First, a little back story. In the December issues of the Batman comics, the superhero has set up Batman Incorporated to recruit an ally in cities across the globe, the AFP reports.

Enter Nightrunner -- the alter ego of Bilal Asselah -- the 22-year-old Muslim son of immigrants who seeks to make things right in his riotous neighborhood of Paris. He's trained in parkour acrobatics, and his Muslim upbringing encourages him to reject hate and fear.

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Emerson Begolly, a 21-year-old Penn State student who allegedly expressed pro-jihad and anti-Semitic sentiments, was arrested in the parking lot of a Burger King in Pennsylvania last week after he allegedly went for a gun in his pocket and then bit two FBI agents when they tried to question him about his online activities.

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There's a partial portrait of Jared Lee Loughner -- the 22-year-old charged in the mass shooting Saturday which left Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) fighting for her life and several others, including federal judge John Roll, Giffords staffer Gabe Zimmerman and and a 9-year-old girl, dead -- emerging from the suspect's online tracks, interviews with former friends and classmates and law enforcement sources.

Here's what we know so far: Loughner's classmates at his community college expressed worries about him, and he had at least five run ins with campus police which led to his suspension. Loughner dropped out of high school during his senior year. He was rejected from the Army, reportedly for failing a drug test. On YouTube and MySpace, he ranted against government "mind control" and illiteracy. We also know that Loughner's family were described as "loners" by neighbors.

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