TPM News

Finally fed up with Orly Taitz's repeated frivolous and conspiracy-ridden filings in a Birther lawsuit, the judge in the case has fined the crusading attorney $20,000.

Opening with a quote from Justice Cardozo on the privilege of bar membership, Judge Clay Land of the U.S. District Court in the Middle District Of Georgia goes on for some length -- the order is 43 pages -- explaining his reasoning:

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Accounting giant PricewaterhouseCoopers has issued a statement about the audit it performed for America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) that we have been following closely.

Most notable about the statement, issued late last night, is an acknowledgment the cost savings from the bill weren't included, though PWC points out that is noted on page one of the report.

The statement in full after the jump.

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Ever wonder what happened to the SEC staffers and supervisors who, for nearly two decades, managed to miss Bernie Madoff's multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme, despite a persistent whistle-blower and multiple inquiries -- a monumental level of incompetence that "astonished" even Madoff himself?

Well, some saw their failures rewarded with high-paying private-sector jobs, while others are still at the agency, charged with catching the next Madoff.

Via CNN, here's a quick look at what happened to some of the major players.

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An Obama administration has told The Advocate that the administration is in talks with Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), who sits on the Armed Services Committee, about repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell.

Lieberman has opposed the policy -- which prohibits openly gay servicemen and women in the military -- since its inception in 1993, said a spokeswoman from his office, who confirmed that he is speaking with the White House.

According to the official, Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management John Berry, the goal is to introduce legislation into the Senate that will get bipartisan support.

A bill to repeal the policy was introduced in the House this spring.

President Obama repeated his campaign promise to repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell over the weekend in an address to the Human Rights Campaign, a major gay rights organization.

Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer said this morning that Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) does not support the Baucus bill -- which seemed strange to us, since Lieberman had joined moderate Democrats in a September statement commending the Senate Finance Committee health care reform bill.

"Sen. Joe Lieberman, now an independent, was weighing in on the Senate Finance bill earlier today," Hemmer said. "He was speaking with Don Imus on the Fox Business Network moments ago. (He was) asked whether or not he would vote for the Baucus bill. He's worried about costs. His answer: no."

Well, not quite. Hemmer then showed Lieberman's segment on Imus' show. He never quite said that he doesn't support the Baucus bill -- at least not in the segment Fox News showed.

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The White House will closely monitor the Senate Finance Committee vote today, but aides say they will forge ahead to the next (and more important) steps in the long process.

A senior administration official told TPMDC they fully expect the Baucus bill to pass the committee, and that they aren't laser focused on whether Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) will back it. (The White House has no idea which way she's leaning.)

The official said once it passes through the committee, White House analysts will pore over it as senators merge it with what passed the HELP committee earlier this year.

"The proposals really need to be analyzed closely, and we need to see how they achieve the goals of choice and competition," the official said.

Also, expect Robert Gibbs and maybe even the president to portray this vote as a milestone - you've heard it before, but they are very likely to remind the world this is the longest a health care overhaul has ever survived.

Senate Finance Committee To Vote On Health Care Bill The Senate Finance Committee is expected to vote today on the Baucus health care bill. Democrats hold a 13-10 majority on the committee, so approval is widely expected -- though questions remain as to whether any Dems will vote against it from the left, or whether Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe might vote yes.

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will meet at 11:25 a.m. ET with Vice President Biden. He will meet at 12:15 p.m. ET with President Zapatero of Spain, and the two of them will make statements to the press at 1:05 p.m. ET. He will meet at 2:10 p.m. with Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN). Obama and Biden will meet at 4:35 p.m. ET with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. At 7:15 p.m. ET, the Obamas and Bidens will attend a performance on the South Lawn, "Fiesta Latina."

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Later this morning, after tense months of negotiating and arguing, the Senate Finance Committee will vote on its health care reform bill. The package, which is expected to pass on a party-line or nearly party-line vote, will be a precursor to a Senate bill, which will be compiled in the coming days, and reach the floor later this month.

Of the five Congressional committees with jurisdiction over the nation's sprawling health care system, Finance is the last to act, though it began preliminary hearings on the issue about one year ago.

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Creigh Deeds and Bob McDonnell met in Richmond tonight for their first prime-time televised debate in the Virginia gubernatorial race -- and the big news tonight is that nothing appeared to happen that would upset the current status quo, with McDonnell ahead and Deeds working to catch up.

McDonnell remained unflappable -- none of Deeds' attacks or the questions from moderator Judy Woodruff threw him off from his steady pace. In the first question, he was asked whether the recent Democratic or Republican presidents and Virginia governors have done a better job for Virginia's economy -- a potential curveball, in light of how unpopular George W. Bush still is, as well as the state's most recent Republican governor, Jim Gilmore.

"You might suspect the likely answer from me would be the Republicans have done a better job," McDonnell said. He credited Republican ideas such as low taxes, right-to-work laws and other pro-business policies with helping the state: "I think those are the ideas that have helped. What this election really is about here in Virginia is job creation and economic development."

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