TPM News

This 4th of July Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who just took over at the Pentagon on Friday, has a lot more on his mind than patriotism and fireworks.

Panetta is already being forced to walk a fine line between those in his party looking for even bigger defense cuts than his predecessor Roberts Gates recommended and critics who worry that too much streamlining will produce a hollow force.

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It's Rick Perry v The World. On Thursday the Texas Governor (and possible Republican presidential player) will face a stark choice: allow the execution of Mexican national Humberto Leal Garcia, or listen to high-ranking international figures and grant a last-minute delay.

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Former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain is a grassroots sensation on the 2012 presidential campaign trail. Now we know what that looks like as a dollar figure: Cain brought in $2.46 million in campaign contributions, a number the campaign tells TPM it expects to see rise to closer to $2.48 when all the final reporting is done.

"It's not Mitt Romney money, it's not [President] Obama money, but we're excited," spokesperson Ellen Carmichael told TPM late Friday night.

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Remember the BP "top hat"? It was one in a series of desperate attempts by the company to capture the oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion last year. The top hat, mocked though it was, managed to capture and remove 679,000 barrels of oil from the crippled well, pumping it to nearby tankers.

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The House Ethics Committee is investigating Reps. Greg Meeks (D-NY) and Jean Schmidt (R-OH) on allegations that they violated House ethics rules.

The panel announced the probe Friday afternoon in a terse letter saying only that Reps. Jo Bonner (R-AL), the committee's chairman, and Linda Sanchez (D-CA), its ranking member, have "jointly decided to extend matters" regarding Meeks and Schmidt.

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A federal appeals court struck down Proposal 2 on Friday, a 2006 ballot initiative in Michigan that banned Affirmative Action in college admissions and government hiring.

In a 2-1 decision, the Appellate panel ruled that Prop 2 violated the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment. "The majority may not manipulate the channels of change in a manner that places unique burdens on issues of importance to racial minorities," Judges R. Guy Cole and Martha Craig Daughtrey wrote in the majority opinion.

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