TPM News

Jon Stewart reported yesterday on the crisis that has been gripping the nation: 'Crazed madman' Richard Shelby, reputed to be a representative from 'Al-Abama,' has put a blanket hold on all of Obama's nominees until the government provides funding for programs in his home state. 'Unlike many of today's hostage-taking religious extremists," said Stewart, "Shelby has no problem with pork."

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The new survey of Texas by Public Policy Polling (D) finds Republican Gov. Rick Perry with a narrow lead over the likely Democratic nominee, Houston Mayor Bill White, in a general election match-up -- at the same time as Texans disapprove of Perry's performance.

The numbers: Perry 48%, White 42%. Perry is facing a primary challenge from Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and conservative activist Debra Medina, in which Perry is currently in the lead. In the other general election scenarios, Hutchison leads White by 45%-38%, and Medina leads White by 44%-38%.

The interesting part, however, is that Perry's approval rating is at only 33%, to 50% disapproval, and yet he still leads White in the general election. The reason for this is that Perry's approval among Republicans is only 51%-28%, but they pick him over White by 83%-10%. The Republican primary is serving to drive down both Perry's and Hutchison's favorables among their party base, as they compete for votes, but the base is sticking with the eventual party nominee (whoever it might be) for now.

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John Yoo has no regrets.

At a University of Chicago Law School event, the author of the torture memos was asked whether he would do anything differently if he had the assignment to do over again. According to a correspondent for the Above The Law blog:

Yoo said that he would draw the line in "exactly the same place," but that he would have been sure to "say nice things about everyone, I guess" if he had known that the torture memos would have been made public.

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President Obama told BusinessWeek yesterday that he doesn't "begrudge" the CEOs of JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs their multi-million-dollar bonuses.

"I know both those guys; they are very savvy businessmen," Obama said. "I, like most of the American people, don't begrudge people success or wealth. That is part of the free-market system."

Jamie Dillon, the CEO of JPMorgan, received a $17 million bonus; Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein got $9 million. As BusinessWeek points out, both companies have repaid their government bailout money.

Obama did say he wanted to see more shareholder say over executive compensation.

"That serves as a restraint and helps align performance with pay," he said. "Shareholders oftentimes have not had any significant say in the pay structures for CEOs."

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Rep. Steve King (R-IA) has been busy promoting the "Declaration of Health Care Independence," which he helped formulate with Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN). And King says there are some clear physical similarities between this document and its namesake, the original Declaration of Independence.

"It's actually set up on parchment paper in Old-English longhand writing script," King told Radio Iowa. "It actually looks like the Declaration (of Independence) and it says a lot of things like the Declaration."

This new "Declaration" is a political manifesto against Democratic health care proposals, which borrows language and turns of phrase from America's two key founding documents, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. It does not set out any detailed health care program of its own, but rather accuses Democrats of violating liberty and the principles of the Constitution. It has been publicly promoted by Bachmann, King and other members of the House GOP, and so far has picked up 88 signatures within the caucus.

On close scrutiny, this week's intense debate over Miranda rights for Umar Abdulmutallab -- culminating in GOP calls for a top Obama aide to resign -- largely falls apart.

The key point of dispute -- whether four Republican leaders should have assumed that the Christmas bombing suspect had been Mirandized after a phone call from Obama aide John Brennan, in which the GOPers were told that Abdulmutallab was in FBI custody -- is moot in light of the facts of the case.

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