TPM News

A prestigious bi-partisan boutique lobbying firm in Washington, D.C. has hired a former top Intel lobbyist and Republican aide on the Senate Judiciary Committee -- perhaps signaling what the next hot-button issues for Silicon Valley are going to be for the next few years.

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New York State Sen. James Alesi is the first Republican to say he'll back a bill to legalize gay marriage when it's brought up, which likely means the legislation only needs two more votes to pass.

Alesi announced his support after a private meeting with Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), who says the bill will get a vote in the state Senate before the end of the legislative session next Monday. "This becomes a matter of equality for people, our sons and daughters, (who) deserve the same freedom and the same equality in this great country and in the state of New York that each of every one of us enjoy in our everyday life," Alesi said of his decision, the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reports.

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An elephant never forgets. And when it comes to Lebron James, it appears that Ohioans don't either.

On Monday, Ohio Governor John Kasich (R) issued a declaration lauding the Dallas Mavericks for winning this year's NBA championship by defeating the Miami Heat, and naming the entire Mavericks organization and their fans honorary Ohioans. But that declaration was less a commendation for Dallas as it was a snide dig at James, the Ohio-born phenom who conducted a giant press circus last summer to announce he was jumping ship on the Cleveland Cavaliers and taking his game to Florida.

"The Dallas Mavericks displayed the loyalty, integrity and teamwork essential to victory before the entire country, affirming that these admirable traits are as crucial as talent and athleticism," Kasich wrote in a statement.

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Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), who is expected to soon officially launch her campaign for president, is taking on more former staffers from Mike Huckabee's insurgent campaign in the 2008 cycle.

Fox News reported over the weekend that Alice Stewart, who served as a national press secretary for Huckabee's bid, is now joining Bachmann's campaign in a similar role.

Bachmann, who began her political career with the Christian right and has shot up through the Tea Party movement, has already signed on other former Huckabee staffers, most notably national campaign director Ed Rollins, and Iowa field organizer Wes Enos.

(Via Minnesota Independent.)

Provisions added to Wisconsin's budget bill would force the University of Wisconsin system to return $37 million in federal grants meant to expand broadband Internet access in the state, and also prevent the university system from supporting the non-profit cooperative WiscNet, which provides high-speed Internet to local governments, schools, libraries, universities and hospitals.

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Workers tend to bear the brunt of the American economy's boom and bust cycles. When recessions hit and unemployment rises, workers' share of the national income -- the money people earn through wages and salaries, as opposed to corporate profits and capital gains -- tends to decline. And when the economy recovers, workers' portion of the country's income rebounds to somewhere around its level prior to the recession.

At least that's how it went in the 20th century. But since the recession of the early 2000s, we've seen the decline without the recovery -- even after the recession ended, workers' portion of national income continued to drop consistently, declining up to and through the recession of the late Bush and early Obama years. Which raises the question: Has the economy changed in a fundamental way that will prevent workers from enjoying the benefits of the current incipient recovery?

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Mitt Romney bolstered his status as the clear early frontrunner in the GOP presidential field, as two polls conducted just ahead of Monday night's debate show Romney pulling away from the pack.

In each poll, Romney earned the support of one-fourth of respondents, giving him comfortable leads over the rest of the field. And in each poll, a candidate who will not be participating in the debate and who has not made a final decision about a potential candidacy claimed second place: Sarah Palin.

In a Gallup poll released Monday, Romney came out on top at 24%, a seven point increase from where he stood last month. That boost gave him a robust eight point lead over Palin, who came in at 16%, and who had trailed Romney by only two points last month. Former pizza chain CEO Herman Cain placed third at 9%, followed by Ron Paul with 7%, and then Tim Pawlenty and Rick Santorum with 6%. Newt Gingrich, who just a few months ago typically finished in the top tier, dropped down to 8th place at 5% after a bruising month of gaffes and bad press.

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