TPM News

Bob Turner, the Republican candidate in the NY-09 special election to replace former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D), is criticizing the new law providing health-care aid to 9/11 rescue workers and volunteers who have suffered health problems from exposure to toxic debris.

"I probably couldn't go home if I didn't support the Zadroga bill. I have firemen in my family, but is that bill beyond criticism? No," said Turner, the New York Daily News reports, referring to the law signed this past January by President Obama. The law is named after the late NYPD Detective James Zadroga, who died of a respiratory illness attributed to his having breathed in toxic dust at the World Trade Center site.

"My call would be to protect police, fire, emergency workers, construction workers, etc," Turner explained, also adding: "If someone said, 'I volunteered' or walked through there, it's just not the type."

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The Justice Department Inspector General and Bureau of Prisons officials are investigating several new allegations that employees of federal prisons mistreated Muslim inmates, according to a new report.

As required by the PATRIOT Act, the report discloses several complaints by Muslim inmates who say they were discriminated against by BOP employees. In all, the Inspector General processed 1,065 new civil rights or civil liberties complaints between Jan. 1 and June 30 and found 155 of the complaints required further review. That's down from the previous six month period, when 1,293 new complaints were processed.

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By Susan Crabtree

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is urging families and individuals to incorporate social media elements into their natural disaster and emergency-preparedness plans in the wake of Tuesday's 5.8 magnitude earthquake that rattled the East Coast. FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate told reporters Wednesday that Tuesday's earthquake demonstrated an over-reliance on cell phones during an emergency.

Mobile networks were overburdened in the immediate aftermath of the quake as people tried to reach out to family and friends to check in on their safety.

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Apple achieved a critical victory today in its European patent infringement case against rival Samsung when a Dutch judge granted a preliminary injunction banning Samsung from selling its' line of touchscreen smartphones in much of Europe beginning October 13.

Affected models include Samsung Galaxy S, Galaxy S II, and Ace phones, all of which run variants of Android OS, reports Florian Mueller on his blog FOSS patents.

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All across the DC region, authorities are still picking up the the pieces from Tuesday's historic east coast earthquake. Schools were closed across the region Wednesday and the Washington Monument is shut down while authorities examine several cracks caused by the quake.

The National Cathedral is among the DC landmarks to have suffered the most from the quake, and staff at the site say it will be a while before things are back to normal.

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Vice President Joe Biden is in a fix: he criticized China's one-child policy, but then found himself in trouble for *not* criticizing it.

The trouble began on Sunday, when Biden was delivering a speech at a Chinese university. Discussing a possibly looming entitlements crisis, he told the crowd: "You have no safety net. Your policy has been one which I fully understand -- I'm not second-guessing -- of one child per family. The result being that you're in a position where one wage earner will be taking care of four retired people. Not sustainable."

Right now, Biden's office is engaged in stating the obvious: that this was a criticism of the policy. Despite the polite diplomatic throat-clearing that preceded his attack, he was still, as his spokeswoman Kendra Barkoff states, "point[ing] out, in China, that the policy is, as a practical matter, unsustainable."

However, conservative critics seized on quite a different part of the remarks: they lathed onto the word, "second-guessing."

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Mitt Romney will not be attending a Labor Day candidate forum in South Carolina -- hosted by the very conservative Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), who had previously endorsed Romney back in the 2008 cycle.

As CNN reports, Romney spokesman Ryan Williams has cited scheduling conflicts, saying the candidate will be spending the day in New Hampshire.

Five candidates thus far have accepted invitations: Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich. Invitations were also extended to Sarah Palin and Rudy Giuliani, though they are not actually in the race. Romney is thus the only active candidate to turn down the event.

Romney has become the target of many conservative attacks, mainly over his Massachusetts health care reform -- which later became the basic blueprint for President Obama's national health care reform. DeMint, of course, has reversed his own position on his past praise for Massachusetts health care reform, back when he endorsed Romney in the 2008 cycle.

Figuring out Rick Perry's current position on the 16th Amendment and the so-called Fair Tax is the parlor game of the moment in politics. See Greg Sargent here, and CBS here. His campaign released a recent statement suggesting that though Perry backs the "Fair Tax" option in his book, altering the Constitution and implementing an actual national consumption tax is probably too heavy a lift.

"The 16th Amendment instituting a federal income tax starting at one percent has exploded into onerous, complex and confusing tax rates and rules for American workers over the last century," reads a statement from Perry spokesman Mark Miner. "The need for job creation in the wake of the explosion of federal debt and costly entitlement programs, mean the best course of action in the near future is a simpler, flatter and broader tax system that unleashes production, creates jobs, and creates more taxpayers. We can't undo more than 70 years of progressive taxation and worsening debt obligations overnight."

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