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Reps. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) and Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus are laying down a new mark. Though President Obama appears to be laying the groundwork to scrap the public option, and progressives are pessimistic about his upcoming health care speech before Congress, the CPC is digging in on its earlier vow to block health care legislation that does not include a public option, setting the stage for a potential rift in the Democratic party.

"We look forward to meeting with you regarding retaining a robust public option in any final health reform bill and request that that meeting take place as soon as possible," they wrote in a letter to Obama today. "Any bill that does not provide, at a minimum, a public option built on the Medicare provider system and with reimbursement based on Medicare rates--not negotiated rates--is unacceptable."

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An opera, with the lyrics taken directly from the transcripts of the Alberto Gonzales hearings on the U.S. attorney scandal, will be performed this weekend in Philadelphia.

The "Gonzales Cantata," playing at the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, is a 40-minute work made up of songs such as "I Don't Recall," "You Don't Recall," "What Is One To Think," and "This Is Not About Alberto Gonzales."

You can listen to all the songs on the opera's Drudge Report-themed web site. The piece was written by Melissa Dunphy when she was an undergrad at West Chester University in Pennsylvania.

"This is not a partisan piece. ... It's about a man who made some mistakes and is facing the music. It's also an exploration of how a man could so brazenly politicize the Department of Justice without really standing up for the reasons he went into politics in the first place," Dunphy told the Wall Street Journal.

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In the wake of objections by many on the right against President Obama's upcoming address to schoolchildren -- reminding them on the first day of school about the importance of education, and telling them to work hard -- many schools across the country are dealing with objections from parents who don't want their children exposed to such a harmful, socialist message.

"I don't recall ever having a sitting president addressing schoolchildren," said Andrew Palomo, the father of a student in suburban Chicago. "For major events, maybe, but not the first day of school. The whole thing makes me angry as an American."

It should be noted that Obama's address isn't really a new thing, though -- and furthermore, the subject matter of Obama's address is pretty tame compared to past Republican presidents. As DailyKosTV points out, George H.W. Bush gave an address on education policy -- not just education itself as a virtue -- to American classrooms in late 1991. And Media Matters notes that a lame-duck Ronald Reagan spoke via TV to schoolchildren in 1988, and promoted tax cuts during the course of the discussion.

So let's check out some other examples of outrage.

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Supporters of action on climate change are still working to make hay out of those forged letters, sent by a Washington lobbying firm opposing a recent climate change bill.

The National Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club, American Progress Action Fund, the NAACP and the AAUW, a women's rights group, have set up a "hotline" where callers can leave tips about forged letters and other suspected trickery by industry lobbyists, reports The Hill.

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The anti-reform finger biting victim wouldn't speak to us here at TPM. But he would speak to FNC's Neil Cavuto just moments ago.

William J. Rice, 65, verified much of the story we've pieced together today. The pro-reform biter -- who Rice called "a deranged individual" -- had words with Rice at a small anti-reform demonstration across the street from a large pro-reform rally in southern California last night.

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Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) had some harsh words for President Obama at a town hall back home in Oklahoma, the Tulsa World reports -- indeed, Inhofe says Obama is doing such a bad job, he's not sure the country will last long enough for when the next Congress is sworn in, in January 2011.

"Every institution that has made this country the greatest nation in the world is under attack," said Inhofe.

And regarding Guantanamo Bay, Inhofe said: "I don't know why President Obama is obsessed with turning terrorists loose in America."

And Inhofe worries for America's future: "Those of you who think like I do, hope this country can hang on another 16 months."

Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) wants everybody in Washington to know that, though the White House and most Democrats have written him off completely, he's still relevant to the health care debate.

"Despite some reports, I am still working with Sen. Baucus and other members of the so-called Gang of Six," Enzi said in a statement today.

This is the same Mike Enzi who said today that the health care bill he's so meticulously working on will likely fail, and that he probably won't support it in any case.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid may be in jeopardy of losing his seat in Nevada--but it's not because of his stance on health care reform.

A new Research 2000 poll commissioned by Daily Kos finds that, by a significant margin of 52-40, Nevadans favor creating a public option.

As with almost all of these polls, the findings are extremely polarized, with a huge majority of Democrats in favor of creating a government run health insurance plan, and a huge majority of Republicans opposing it.

Reid has said he's in favor of creating a public option that would be administered by a private entity.

Oh this is good...

Remember how Alberto Gonzales came out the other day and said he supports Eric Holder's decision to investigate torture, as long as the probe is limited to CIA personnel who exceeded the lawyers' legal guidance?

Well it looks like even that qualified position was too much for torture supporters on the right. Because now Gonzo has crawled back to the Washington Times to say that, actually, he didn't really mean it.

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Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen held a press briefing today about the increasingly unpopular and violent war in Afghanistan.

"We have to start to turn this thing around ... over the next 12 or 18 months," said Mullen, adding a note of confidence. "We know how to do this."

"Our mission is to defeat Al-Qaeda and to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven again. We need the support of the local population," he said. "The number that counts the most is the number of villagers we protect."

Gates also addressed the recent scandal over private contractors charged with guarding the U.S. embassy in Kabul, who allegedly engaged in hazing and partying while working at the embassy.

"I don't think we have the information to say what ought to be done," he said. "If those allegations are true, those activities are not just offensive to Afghans and Muslims, they're offensive to us, and inexcusable."

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