TPM News

Former Wisconsin governor and US health secretary Tommy Thompson offered up an intense psychoanalytic take on the thorny issue of end-of-life care this week, saying that "guilty" children who ignore their elders then overcompensate at their deathbed are responsible for spiraling costs.

"What happens? Mother or father or grandpa and grandma, you've been away, you haven't done very much. Children come home, mother or father's on their deathbed, they feel guilty because they haven't being paying attention to mother or father," Thompson said at a luncheon in Madison. He continued: "Let's face it. So they say 'let's do everything we can for mother or father. Don't spare the costs.' I'm not talking about denying anybody anything. I'm just saying let's let mother and father have their wishes. They may not want to be on a respirator the last six months of their life."

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Conservatives are continuing their counter-protest against the so-called "47 percent." Specifically, that's the share of recession-era households that pay no federal income taxes. Most of them pay payroll taxes and other federal taxes (not to mention state taxes), but Republicans have chosen to depict them as the free-riding half of the country.

The fact of the matter, though, is that those other taxes constitute a huge chunk of federal revenues. Check out the charts below. Over the 58 years preceding the Lesser Depression, the share of federal revenues that came from individual income taxes has remained fairly stable, fluctuating between 40 and 50 percent, and peaking just before George W. Bush slashed rates in 2001.

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The Justice Department has a message for the Senators worried that federal funds are flowing to anti-Muslim training programs: no worries, we've got this thing.

TPM obtained a copy of a letter DOJ sent to Sens. Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins nearly six months after the lawmakers first asked for answers about biased counterterrorism training sessions being funded by taxpayers.

Basically there are two ways that federal dollars from the Justice Department could potentially fund biased training. First, there's DOJ's State and Local Anti-Terrorism Training (SLATT) program, which officials say they've got a pretty good handle on.

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President Obama continued to hammer away at Republicans to stop obstructing his jobs bill after Senate Republicans, along with three conservative Democrats, prevented any traction on the portion that would have provided states $35 billion to hire or retain teachers and emergency responders.

The Thursday vote to stop floor debate came as no surprise. Democrats and President Obama had expected the bill to fail and likely chose the teachers and first responders spending portion because they knew Republicans would vote against it in lockstep and the move would play into the Democratic message of Republicans obstructing job creation. Just last week, Republicans, along with three Democrats, voted down the entire jobs package when it was offered as a whole.

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Democratic group American Bridge is up with a video highlighting the Washington Post’s recent expose on Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) family history. The article noted that Rubio’s parents, despite his claim they fled Cuba after Fidel Castro’s takeover, actually left the country more than two years before. Take a look at the video:

Reuters reports:

A growing number of News Corp shareholders with voting rights are considering sending a strong message of discontent to Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch by voting against several long-standing board members including his sons James and Lachlan.

President Obama and Congress have had some of their lowest approval ratings on record in 2011, and Gallup’s data for Obama’s 11th quarter bore that out: he averaged 41 percent approval during the period from July 20th to October 19th, a six point drop from the previous three months.

Gallup noted that the 11th quarter is a particularly tough time for Presidents approval-wise, but also pointed out that Obama has more trouble than previous office-holders:

“From a broader historical perspective, Obama’s 11th-quarter approval average of 41% ranks 220th out of the 262 presidential quarters for which Gallup has data since the Truman administration. That translates to the 16th percentile, placing it in the bottom fifth of presidential quarters. Thus, Obama’s recent approval ratings are well below average.”