TPM News

I just received an email from Christopher Ambler, the creator of this website, created in the wake of new efforts by a group called the National Organization for Marriage to stop the normalization of equal rights for gay people. With his permission, I'm publishing it below the fold

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Remember Marc Morano?

He's the staffer for Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) who's turned himself into the go-to guy for climate change denialism, sending out an email barrage to activists, journalists, Hill aides and others, in which he aggregates every misleading and flat-out false piece of "evidence" he can find to support the notion that, despite what scientists say, global warming really isn't something to worry about.

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The degree to which Americans have stopped shopping is getting almost as scary as our over-consumption used to be. Yesterday we learned that men worldwide had stopped buying underwear, a disturbing development because former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan had famously fixed upon the metric as one of the most consistent, recession-proof sales figures in retail.

But it turns out demand for men's underwear is more elastic than we thought (even if, heh, the elastic itself isn't so much anymore.) Sales are projected to drop 2.3 this year. And elsewhere in the shopping universe, the February retail sales released yesterday portended a veritable bloodbath of red ink for the nation's mall retailers. The worst pain was reserved for Nieman Marcus and Abercrombie & Fitch, whose affluent customers cut back their habits to the tune of 30 and 34%, respectively. And the four chains that managed to keep sales flat or modestly up from February 2008 were off-price or discount stores. With one exception...

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Here are the line-ups for the Sunday talk shows this weekend:

• ABC, This Week: Pastor Rick Warren.

• CBS, Face The Nation: Arturo Sarukhan, Mexican Ambassador to the United States.

• CNN, State Of The Union: Gen. Ray Odierno, and Iraqi National Security Adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie.

• Fox News Sunday: Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK).

• NBC, Meet The Press: Special holiday weekend roundtable: Jeffrey Goldberg, from The Atlantic; Michele Norris, from NPR; Robin Wright, author of Dreams and Shadows: The Future of the Middle East"; and Byron York, of the Washington Examiner.

One of the strangest aspects of the misreported defense budget story is that one network seemed to us to be doing better than the rest. That network? Fox News!

Alas, earlier today we had to downgrade them. Because of this:

I'd like to take the opportunity to direct the anchor to this post.

Yesterday we told you about the Obama Justice Department's invocation of a sweeping state secrets privilege in a warrantless wiretapping case. But that may not be the only area in which the new administration's war on terror tactics recall the worst excesses of the Bush years.

Last year, the Supreme Court ruled that detainees at Guantanamo had the right to appeal their detentions in federal courts. But since then, only a few cases have been completed. And in an interview with TPMmuckraker, David Cynamon -- a lawyer for four Kuwaiti Gitmo detainees who are bringing habeas corpus claims against the government -- said that the Justice Department has been consistently dragging its heels in the case, denying detainees their basic due process rights and furthering what he called the "abandonment of the rule of law."

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Michael Steele is at it again -- this time denying that there's a severe economic crisis going on, while guest-hosting Bill Bennett's radio show, and laughing about it:

After a caller said he didn't see anybody spending less money than usual, Steele replied: "I've heard a number of people say that across the country. [LAUGHTER] The malls are just as packed on Saturday. [LAUGHTER]"

In fact, according to market research, malls have been losing stores at an increased rate, as the consumer base has gone down.

You may have noticed some variations on a theme here this week, and we hope you liked it, because we'll surely have more for you next week and the week after and so on all the way until the fight over defense budget has finally ended.

Along the way, we'd like to think that we're having something of an impact. Or, less self-congratulatorily, that not everyone in the media is misportraying the story or letting the misportrayers get a pass.

So, herewith, a montage of the reporters and anchors who got it right:

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Check out this new poll from CNN:

Do you favor or oppose re-establishing U.S. diplomatic relations with Cuba?

Favor 71%
Oppose 27%

If you think this is a drastic turnaround from prior opinion against relations with're wrong. It's only a moderate change from when this question was asked three years ago, and it came out at the time as 62% favor, 29% oppose.