TPM News

Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) said on CNN's State of the Union this morning that any health care reform bill will have to prohibit federal funding for abortions if it's going to muster enough legislative support to get to President Obama's desk.

"What is clear is at the end of the day, for this bill to be successful, that there cannot be taxpayer funding of abortion," Conrad said.

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On CNN's State of the Union this morning, Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) added his voice to a chorus of Republicans critical of the upcoming civilian trials in New York City for Guantanamo detainees -- including self-proclaimed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

"They shouldn't be tried in our criminal justice system, they should be tried in our military justice system," Gregg said. "And it's absolutely inexcusable we're not using our military justice system to try these people. That's why we have such a system."

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White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod said on CNN's State of the Union this morning that the civilian trials in New York City for Gitmo detainees -- including self-proclaimed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed -- will ensure that "justice will be done."

"We believe that these folks should be tried in New York City, as you say, near where their heinous acts were conducted, in full view in our court system, which we believe in," Axelrod said. "We're very confident about these cases and we believe this is the appropriate thing to do."

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When Washington Times Publisher Thomas McDevitt was fired last Sunday, his successor Jonathan Slevin and two security guards escorted him from the Times headquarters to his car and confiscated his cell phone and computer, according to an internal Unification Church memo provided to TPM by multiple church members.

Issued Friday and addressed to "District Directors, State Leaders, all Blessed Central Families and Members," the memo appears to be the first official statement from the church that addresses the turmoil at the Times which has threatened the very future of the newspaper founded by church leader Rev. Sun Myung Moon in the early 1980s and long subsidized by the church's business empire.

The conservative Washington Times is controlled by Preston Moon, son of Rev. Moon and chair of the Times' parent company, News World Communications. TPM has reported that Preston's feud with the rest of his family -- rooted in his displeasure at the way the elderly Rev. Moon divvied up the church and its business empire -- is driving the chaos at the Times.

The departure of the newspaper's executive editor was announced late last week.

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Obama: Fort Hood Shooting Will Be Fully Reviewed In this weekend's YouTube address, President Obama said there will be a full investigation of the shooting at Fort Hood, and whether better steps could have been taken to prevent it:

"The purpose of this review is clear: We must compile every piece of information that was known about the gunman, and we must learn what was done with that information," said Obama. "Once we have those facts, we must act upon them. If there was a failure to take appropriate action before the shootings, there must be accountability. Beyond that - and most importantly - we must quickly and thoroughly evaluate and address any flaws in the system, so that we can prevent a similar breach from happening again. Our government must be able to act swiftly and surely when it has threatening information. And our troops must have the security that they deserve."

Kirk: Dem Health Care Bill Would Make Top Taxes Worse Than France This weekend's Republican address is by Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL), a candidate for President Obama's former Senate seat in 2010. Kirk attacks the Democrats on health care -- and even says it would make some Americans worse off than if they were in France:

"The Pelosi health care bill has no significant lawsuit reforms and does not guarantee your medical rights from government waiting lines or restrictions," said Kirk. "In the teeth of the Great Recession, the Pelosi bill would impose ten new taxes on the American economy. The top combined tax rate for my state of Illinois would be four percentage points higher than France."

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On the same day the Washington Times announced the firings of three top executives -- all Unification Church members -- the daughter of Rev. Sun Myung Moon delivered an allegorical sermon about a conflict between two brothers that appears to track closely to a feud said to be playing out within the Moon family.

Delivered Sunday at the church-owned Manhattan Center on west 34th Street in New York, In Jin Moon's sermon centers on a "wonderful garden" owned and cultivated by a family before harvest. The garden is seized by an elder brother in defiance of a younger brother, according to notes from the sermon given to TPM by a church member, and authenticated by another Unificationist.

The sermon goes on to explore the question of what the younger brother, "knowing that the garden actually belongs to God, and to his parents," should do. And it touches on the elder brother's paid "workers," who, if they love him, In Jin says, should walk away.

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Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) has strong words for the Republicans opposing Attorney General Eric Holder's plan to bring five 9/11 suspects to New York City to face trial.

"They see this as an opportunity to demagogue," he said. "They will seize on any opportunity to do that, and that means they'll even take a stand that's un-American."

"It's un-American to hold anyone indefinitely without trial," Moran added. "It's against our principles as a nation."

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Doug Hoffman, the Conservative Party candidate in the NY-23 election, appeared today on the Neil Cavuto show, where he kept the door open to challenging his narrow defeat by Democrat Bill Owens, who was sworn into office last week after Hoffman had conceded the race.

Hoffman said "I don't think we'll have an answer to this for at least a week or two," and thats when the totals are completed, "each candidate will still have another week to protest." He also said that with "20-20 hindsight," he would not have conceded on Election Night. Hoffman's concession allowed Owens to be sworn in quickly, even though the full vote-counting process was not completed -- and in this same interview, Hoffman attacked Speaker Nancy Pelosi for swearing in Owens.

Adjustments to the vote totals -- which came from a standard process of correcting human errors in election night spreadsheets -- showed Owens' lead shrinking from about 5,000 votes to 3,000, and spurring a a lot of talk in conservative media outlets about how Hoffman will be able to pull ahead from the several thousand absentee ballots yet to be counted. The math suggests that Hoffman is still highly unlikely to win, absent some other monumental error being discovered, because he would need to win the absentees by overwhelming margins.

November 12: In his first visit to the "Last Frontier State," President Obama stopped by the Elmendorf Air Force Base to speak with members of the armed forces on his way to Tokyo.

Official White House photo by Pete Souza

Obama greets troops and their families at Elmendorf.

Official White House photo by Pete Souza

Obama addresses armed service members and their families. He promised support both material and political.

"I want you guys to understand I will never hesitate to use force to protect the American people or our vital interests. But I also make you this promise -- I will not risk your lives unless it is necessary to America's vital interests," he said.

"And if it is necessary, the United States of America will have your back. We will give you the strategy and the clear mission you deserve. We will give you the equipment and support that you need to get the job done. And that includes public support back home. That is a promise that I make to you."

Before speaking to the troops, the President had met with the family of Cpl. Gregory M.W. Fleury, a 23-year-old Marine from Anchroage who was killed in a helicopter crash on Oct. 26 in Afghanistan.

Obama speaks more intimately with a handful of troops stationed at Elmendorf.

Official White House photo by Pete Souza

Obama boards Air Force One to continue on to Japan.

Official White House photo by Pete Souza


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