TPM News

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg thinks the New Yorker magazine cover, showing him staring adoringly at his own reflection, is "great."

"I thought it was cute looking into the mirror," Bloomberg said.

The magazine cover -- titled "Bloom in Love" -- shows Bloomberg blushing into a mirror, red hearts floating above his head and a Valentine's day box of chocolates labeled "To: Me."

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Bad news if you were thinking of hitching a ride on Brand Palin. The former Alaska governor and Fox News contributor is way ahead of you. According to Suzi Parker at Politics Daily, Sarah Palin has filed paperwork with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to trademark both "Sarah Palin®" and "Bristol Palin®."

Parker reports the patent office applications were filed back on November 5, just after the mid-term elections. The application for Bristol Palin was filed earlier, in September, just before the Palin daughter began her run for glory on Dancing with the Stars. Why Sarah Palin®? Well, bigtime celebrities sometimes trademark their names to protect the brand, but Parker points out Palin's effort has a few glitches:

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Virginia's Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli wants the Supreme Court to declare "Obamacare" unconstitutional. But in the meantime, the rest of the state's government is moving right along to get the law implemented.

By a vote of 95-3, the Virginia General Assembly agreed to develop health insurance exchanges states, which each state will be required to have by 2014 under the Affordable Care Act.

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As the instability in Egypt continued unabated yesterday, Stephen Colbert worried that the conflict would strain Americans' willingness to watch it on the news. Even worse, Colbert feared that coverage of the riots could detract from coverage of America's biggest sporting event, the Super Bowl.

"Egypt continues to be rocked by violent unrest in a major test not only of the power of Democracy, but of the American attention span," Colbert said.

"Ten days? Really?" he added. "I say free yourselves or get off the pot. We've got a Super Bowl coming."

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Virginia Thomas, the conservative activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, has emerged in yet another role -- as a "self-appointed ambassador" to the GOP freshman class. However, nobody has yet confirmed her claims of these extensive ambassadorial duties.

When we last heard from Ginni Thomas this past October, she had left a voicemail with Anita Hill -- the woman who accused Clarence of Thomas of sexual harassment during his Supreme Court confirmation hearings way back in 1991 -- asking for an apology. (Ginni Thomas later said the call was "probably a mistake.") Now, as Politico reports, Ginni Thomas has gone to great lengths to promote her expertise and influence at her new firm, Liberty Consulting:

Thomas already has met with nearly half of the 99 GOP freshmen in the House and Senate, according to an e-mail she sent last week to congressional chiefs of staff, in which she branded herself "a self-appointed, ambassador to the freshmen class and an ambassador to the tea party movement."

An interesting thing, though -- Politico had a hard time finding a freshman who has actually met with Ginni Thomas. "This is the spouse of Justice Thomas?" said a seemingly surprised Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ). "No, I've never met her. It's not something I've heard about. And I hang out with a lot of freshman," he said.

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A House GOP plan to carve State Department spending out of the sacrosanct pool of "security" appropriations, and lump it in with "non-security" appropriations could upend the Obama administration's strategy in Iraq, says the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

"I'm not sure the House folks [considered] it runs flat into our strategy in Iraq," Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) told me Thursday after an evening vote.

The House took its first step in executing the plan Thursday, when Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan introduced spending limits that would leave the State Department with $9.7 billion -- or 17 percent -- less than Obama requested.

The timing couldn't be worse.

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Daily Show viewers may have been expecting a typically madcap program last night when the show led off with a sketch about Jon Stewart and Justin Bieber switching bodies. Yet when Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, sat down to discuss the unfolding situation in Egypt, Stewart adopted a far more sober tone, asking Mullen just what the Egyptian uprising meant for the U.S.

"I think starting the show with Justin Bieber and ending the show with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff makes this perhaps the weirdest Daily Show anyone has ever seen," Stewart said.

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In a letter to the Radio-Television Correspondents Association, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said he is willing to expand media access in the House of Representatives.

"I agree that enhancing opportunities for media coverage can make the House more open and transparent to the American people," Boehner wrote.

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