TPM News

A Guantanamo detainee has died in what the military are calling an "apparent suicide" -- and civil liberties groups are calling for action.

Guards found 31-year-old Muhammad Ahmad Abdallah Salih, known as Al-Hanashi, unresponsive and not breathing in his cell Monday night, U.S. military officials announced, according to the AP.

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Earlier today we brought you a letter signed by conservative Manuel Miranda and dozens of other activists calling for Republicans to consider a filibuster of Sonia Sotomayor. On Hardball tonight, though, Manuel Miranda characterized things a bit differently.

A "great debate" (followed by a sixty vote requirement for confirmation. Cough.) Chris Matthews insisted that what Miranda and other Sotomayor critics really want is to slow her confirmation process down, but Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, said he'd speed the confirmation process up if the unfair attacks continue.

A new polling analysis from Gallup shows that as President Obama prepares to tour the Middle East, the Arab world now has significantly higher approval of the U.S. leadership than they did last year under George W. Bush -- though it's still far from being a thumbs-up.

In Egypt, the approval rating of the American leadership rating last year was only six percent, to 74% disapproval -- a number that has now gone up to 25%-52%. Saudi Arabia has gone from 12%-81% last to 29%-52% now; and Syria from 4%-91% to 15%-71%, among others.

It hasn't been all positive, though. In the Palestinian Territories -- which have seen a lot of political strife thanks to the recent war with Israel -- things have gone from 13%-81% to 7%-80%.

From the pollster's analysis: "Gallup Polls show that Obama will deliver his message Thursday with an arguably stronger basis of support than his predecessor ever had in many Arab countries. Nonetheless, approval remains low and underscores the work that remains as Obama seeks to pave a new, more positive way forward."

Did a failure of law enforcement help lead to the murder of Kansas doctor George Tiller?

Earlier today we told you about evidence that the FBI may have failed to follow up on a tip it got about Scott Roeder, who this afternoon was charged with Tiller's killing. CNN reported that, just a day before Tiller was slain, a worker at a Kansas abortion clinic had seen Roeder trying to tamper with the building's locks, and reported the incident to the Feds. He said he was told in response that the bureau couldn't do anything unless a grand jury was convened.

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On Tuesday, June 2, Sonia Sotomayor visited Capitol Hill and met with several Senators - pictured here with Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT).

So with the Minnesota Supreme Court having heard arguments yesterday in Norm Coleman's appeal of his defeat in the Senate election trial (check out our coverage here, here, here and here), what comes next?

I spoke today with Prof. Larry Jacobs of the University of Minnesota, and he predicts that the state Supreme Court will likely put out a ruling by the end of the month -- and that this ruling will be for Franken, based on their very sharp questioning of Coleman's lawyer yesterday. "I would take from that session that the judges may have already written a good part of their decision," said Jacobs, "because their thinking was very far along, and there were a number of them on the same page."

At that point, the outcome here really hinges on one man: Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who announced today that he is not running for a third term in 2010.

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Not a great day for Rep. Pete Visclosky.

First, he announces that, amid a federal probe of a lobbying firm to which he has close ties, he's handing off responsibility for a key appropriations bill. Now, the Northwest Indiana Times reports that, according to a spokesman for the Indiana Democrat, his top aide has unexpectedly "retired."

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General Ricardo Sanchez, the former top commander of coalition forces in Iraq, has added a bit more detail to his claim last night that his soldiers were "abandoned on the battlefield" by civilian leaders in the Bush administration.

Speaking this afternoon to CNN's Rick Sanchez (no relation), General Sanchez repeated the charge that he and his soldiers were abandoned on the battlefield on the issue of harsh interrogations. General Sanchez explained that this occurred "because of a lack of policy guidance, a lack of structure, a lack of training." He added: "And even when commanders were asking for this help, it didn't come."

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A group of 11 Arkansas business leaders met with the state's congressional delegation today to voice their opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act. According to Arkansas Business, the the group included Michael Keck, whose St. Vincent Health System has been found time and again to be in violation of federal labor law.

Nurses there successfully joined a union in 2000 after a previous failed attempt was overturned by the National Labor Relations Board "amid charges that St. Vincent officials improperly tried to influence staff."

Two years later, St. Vincent was found to be involved in a similar attempt to decertify the union by "illegally lobby[ing] unions to end union representation."

Altogether, negotiations dragged on for nearly three years before before a contract was finally ratified. Those quotes come from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, but were aggregated by the Service Employees International Union before Keck's meeting with the delegation was announced. SEIU has been pressuring key Democrats in Arkansas to end their opposition to EFCA.

A new CNN poll finds that there is no immediate frontrunner for the Republican nomination in 2012. Here are the numbers, with a ±4.5% margin of error among GOP respondents:

Mike Huckabee 22%
Sarah Palin 21%
Mitt Romney 21%
Newt Gingrich 13%
Jeb Bush 6%
Someone else (volunteered answer) 10%

At this point there really doesn't need to be an immediate Republican frontrunner. It's even quite plausible that the lack of a current leading candidate could have its own mix of pluses and minuses.