TPM News

1||More than 120 suspected mobsters were arrested by the feds in January in what the FBI in New York called the biggest mafia bust ever. TPM submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for their mugshots, and so far we've got back photos of 14 of the defendants charged in New Jersey. Here's Albert Cernadas, 75, AKA "The Bull" who was the President of International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) Local 1235.

According to the indictment, around every Christmas for the past 30 years, Cernadas and associates would extort payments from ILA port workers, taking their year-end bonus checks. Cernades is also accused of threatening to inflict harm on others. ||U.S. Marshals Service&& 2||According to the indictment, the principal purpose of the Genovese crime family was to generate money for its members and associates. This was achieved through various criminal activities, including fraud, extortion, illegal gambling and loansharking. Shown here is Anthony Alfano, 76, AKA "Brooklyn," who, along with others, is accused of running an illegal gambling business.||U.S. Marshals Service&& 3||Members of the family "at times used the resources of the crime family to settle personal grievances and vendettas," according to the feds. Fifty-one year old Edward Aulisi, AKA "Eddie," is accused of extorting money from union members ||U.S. Marshals Service&& 4||Possibly "Eddie's" father, Vincent Aulisi, 78, AKA "The Vet," is also accused of extorting money from union members.||U.S. Marshals Service&& 5||This is 75-year-old Michael Trueba, AKA "Mikey," who the feds say extorted union members and obtained money from John Does #8,9 and 10 by inducing their consent through use of actual and threatened violence and fear.||U.S. Marshals Service&& 6||Here is Tonino Colantonio, 32, AKA "Tony," who "did knowingly and intentionally conduct, finance, manage, supervise, direct and own all or part of an illegal gambling business," according to the indictment.||U.S. Marshals Service&& 7||Richard Dehmer, 75, AKA "Dickie," is also accused of running an illegal gambling business and participating in "extortionate means" to collect extensions of credit from bettors. Dehmer also allegedly used a cell phone "for the transmission in interstate and foreign commerce of information assisting in the placing of bets and wagers on a sporting event and contest."||U.S. Marshals Service&& 8||Stephen Depiro, 55, AKA "The Beach," is accused of running an illegal gambling business and participating in "extortionate means" to collect extensions of credit from bettors.||U.S. Marshals Service&& 9||Nunzio Lagrasso, 60, is accused of extorting money from union members.||U.S. Marshals Service&& 10||Salvatore Lagrasso, 60, is accused of extorting money from union members.||U.S. Marshals Service&& 11||Thomas Leonardis, 53, AKA "Tommy," is also accused of extorting money from union members. ||U.S. Marshals Service&& 12||Guiseppe Pugliese, 32, AKA "Pepe," was also allegedly part of an illegal gambling business.||U.S. Marshals Service&& 13||Ramiro Quintans, 52, AKA "Romo," is accused of extorting money from union members.||U.S. Marshals Service&& 14||Robert Ruiz, 52, AKA "Bobby," is also accused of multiple accounts of extorting money from union members.||U.S. Marshals Service&&

House Republicans have questions to answer back in their districts about the spending cuts they've recently voted for and continue to support. Back in Wisconsin, where state Republicans are already under attack after their broadside against collective bargaining rights, GOP freshmen in competitive districts are catching earfuls from locals about budget cuts.

The Green Bay Press Gazette flags one example. House bill HR 1 -- the Republican House majority's flaship legislation this Congress -- eliminates funding for the Workforce Investment Act, which funds job training for people out of work.

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Wisconsin state Senator Van Wanggaard, one of the Republican legislators whose home has been picketed in the political battle over Gov. Scott Walker's newly-passed law curtailing public employee unions, told the Racine Journal Times that he will be writing a new bill -- to outlaw picketing at private homes.

"When they come to my house it's intimidating and threatening," said Wanggaard, a freshman who defeated a Democratic incumbent in the 2010 Republican wave.

He told the paper that some municipalities already have ordinances against such demonstrations at private residences, but he would like to see a statewide statute, and is in the early stages of writing a proposal.

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Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips is claiming that the hacker collective 'Anonymous' is attacking the Tea Party Nation website by getting supporters to pose as Tea Party members and post racist pictures and porn.

'Anonymous', however, has seemingly not taken credit for the attack, nor is there much evidence the attack came from them.

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Three of the eight Wisconsin Senate Republicans eligible for recall, who just last week voted to strip state employees of most of their collective bargaining rights, trail generic Democratic challengers in hypothetical recall matchups, according to a PPP poll of registered voters commissioned by Daily Kos.

Democratic activists in Wisconsin have been circulating petitions to gather the requisite number of signatures to trigger a recall election for each of the GOP Senators legally eligible to be recalled this year, with a goal of overturning the current Republican majority. Democrats would need to flip three seats in order to reclaim the majority.

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As Wisconsin Democrats mobilize recall campaigns against Republican state Senators, in response to Gov. Scott Walker's newly-passed law curtailing public employee unions, one targeted GOP legislator is facing a negative side story: A messy divorce -- and claims by his estranged wife that he "now lives mostly in Madison" after having an affair.

As the local NBC affiliate in Milwaukee and the CBS affiliate in Madison report, state Sen. Randy Hopper's (R) wife Alysia Hopper has written a letter stating:

"It is correct that my husband, Randy Hopper, started an affair in January 2010 with a then-25-year-old Republican aide. This affair has caused great emotional pain for my children and me. Randy moved out, without attempting marital counseling, as of May 2010 and now lives mostly in Madison."


Randy Hopper's campaign spokesman Jeff Harvey told the Milwaukee NBC station: "Senator Hopper maintains an apartment in the district where he lives and works. He and his wife separated roughly a year ago and are divorcing, which is a private family matter."

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Nearly two-thirds of Americans now say the Afghan war has not been worth fighting according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll, a record high that comes as the war, already the longest in American history, approaches its eleventh year.

In the poll, 64% of all Americans said the Afghan war hasn't been worth fighting -- including 49% who feel that way strongly -- both record highs. Further, only 31% said the war had been worth fighting, a record low.

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NPR may be in a defensive crouch, but at least one Democratic lawmaker is publicly pushing back against James O'Keefe's war on public broadcasting: Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL).

Durbin took to the Senate floor on Monday to mount a defense of NPR and PBS and attack O'Keefe's credibility. Noting that previous O'Keefe tapes have been found to be misleadingly edited, including his footage of ACORN in which he posed as a pimp, Durbin said that the same tactics were being used to go after NPR. He cited a widely circulated analysis by Glenn Beck's website, The Blaze, as evidence.

"Mr. O'Keefe appears to be engaged in creative editing again, and this time his target is National Public Radio," he said. "That's not just my opinion. The website of none other than Fox News' own Glenn Beck -- that's right, Glenn Beck -- compares the edited and unedited versions of Mr. O'Keefe's latest video and concludes that the edited version appears to be deceptively edited in order to portray statements by one of the secretely recorded NPR execs out of context."

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Eleven people -- including the mayor, police chief and a town councilman in Columbus, N.M. -- have been indicted by the feds for alleged involvement in an international gun running scheme that may have fueled violence south of the border.

Ten out of the eleven defendants charged in the trafficking ring will be arraigned Tuesday on charges of conspiracy, smuggling and making false statements in connection with firearms purchases, according to federal officials.

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There's been an explosion of both state and federal money flowing into counterterrorism training for law enforcement in the years since Sept. 11. But it is becoming increasingly clear that some of the experts who are providing counterterrorism training for local law enforcement officers are sometimes not well vetted and have provided training which is based on bias against all Muslims and relies on falsehoods and exaggerations.

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