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Republicans are doing their best to drag the entire Democratic party under the ethical cloud hanging over Reps. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) and Maxine Waters (D-CA). That strategy makes many vulnerable House members wish the two would step aside or admit wrongdoing so the controversy would die. But Democrats are hoping that a bit of political jiujitsu can flip this attack on its head: they would like to show that Democrats are dealing with their ethically compromised members publicly, and officially while the GOP protects its own and keeps its sins private.

A top Democratic strategist tells TPMDC that Democrats plan to seize on two stories from the past year, suggesting that Republicans aren't free of their own ethical problems, but that they just deal with them behind closed doors.

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Immigration reform advocates said they intend to aggressively challenge new calls for an examination of the birthright allowed by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, with top officials saying the mainstream push is alarming.

"Many of these positions have been coming from the extreme side," Janet Murguía, president of the National Council of La Raza, said in response to a question from TPM. "Now we're starting to see obviously more mainstream voices with that push and it's extremely troubling to us."

Murguía was referring to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Sen. John McCain and other top Republicans who say they are open to hearings looking at whether the Constitution should be changed to deny citizenship to children born of illegal immigrants who are on U.S. soil.

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The Progressive Change Campaign Committee and its new affiliate, the P St. Project, will launch a public campaign this week with the help of Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) to whip up support in the Senate for Elizabeth Warren's nomination and confirmation to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

PCCC, in partnership with the progressive group CREDO, rounded up 200,000 petition signatures in support of Warren, and will now team up with Franken to urge members to publicly commit to voting for her.

"Elizabeth Warren has proven that she is willing to stand up to Wall Street on behalf of consumers and is the logical choice to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau," Franken said. "If appointed by President Obama, I would vote to confirm Elizabeth Warren to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau."

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More than a dozen African American speakers gathered in Washington today to help the Tea Party Express shed its ties to former chair, spokesperson and racial burr in its saddle, Mark Williams. Though the TPE never publicly rebuked Williams after his racially controversial blog post led to his resignation from the group, the speakers from the podium at the event today -- billed as a National Black Conservatives Rally -- were more than willing to call him out.

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Tea Party Express Hosts 'National Black Conservatives Rally']

"How many times do they have to pluck that bad apple out of the barrel before people quit focusing on it?" said Herman Cain, an African American talk show host. "The [tea party] movement is millions of people and hundreds of organizations.

But though the speakers at the podium denied it, Williams was the reason for the event today. His antics -- which rose to the level of national attention after the NAACP passed a resolution claiming that the tea party harbors racism in its ranks -- caused the first serious self-reflection on race relations in the movement and, today, led to some African Americans associated with the TPE to criticize the group over how it dealt with it its one-time star.

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1||August 4, 2010: The Tea Party Express hosts a National Black Conservatives Rally amidst lingering concerns over racist elements within the tea party movement. TPM was on the scene.

Pictured here: Niger Innis, national spokesman for the Congress Of Racial Equality, talk show host Herman Cain and Jim Martin of 60 Plus.||Jeff Malet/maletphoto.com&&

2||Alan Keyes and a young supporter.||Jeff Malet/maletphoto.com&&

3||Selena Owens, Tea Party Express.||Jeff Malet/maletphoto.com&&

4|| ||Jeff Malet/maletphoto.com&&

5||Franz Kebreau, National Director of the National Association for the Advancement of Conservative People of All Colors, and a DC-area tea party activist.||Jeff Malet/maletphoto.com&&

6||Alan Keyes.||Jeff Malet/maletphoto.com&&

7||Niger Innis and Robert Broadus, Republican candidate for Congress in MD-04.||Jeff Malet/maletphoto.com&&

8||Niger Innis.||Jeff Malet/maletphoto.com&&

9||William Owens of the Tea Party Express and Jim Martin of 60 Plus. ||Jeff Malet/maletphoto.com&&

10||Alfonzo Rachel, PJTV.||Jeff Malet/maletphoto.com&&

11||Lloyd Marcus, Tea Party Express, and author of "Confessions of a Black Conservative."||Jeff Malet/maletphoto.com&&

12||Ruth Bryant White, BreakingNewsJournal.Net, leader of Conservative Moms For America, and author of "Life Through The Eyes Of An Interracial Couple."||Jeff Malet/maletphoto.com&&

It isn't enough for Republicans to call on "peaceful Muslims" to "refudiate" the mosque and community center proposed for a site near Ground Zero, or to imply that the funding for it comes from terrorist organizations, or even to tell American Muslims that their religious freedoms should be held hostage to the decisions of the Saudi government. Nope. The new Republican talking point used to try to stop the construction of the community center and mosque -- and to make political hay of that opposition -- is that Ground Zero is their Auschwitz, and the Muslims who seek to build anywhere near it should know better, just like some nice nuns did in the eighties.

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A federal judge in California has ruled that Prop 8 -- the voter initiative that banned gay marriage -- is unconstitutional.

Supporters of Prop 8 (that is, opponents of gay marriage) have already promised to file an appeal. The judge also approved a two-day stay on the ruling, asking lawyers to respond by Friday, when he will decide whether to suspend his ruling pending appeal.

So, for now, same-sex couples in California can't get their marriage licenses quite yet.

The case is expected to eventually get to the Supreme Court.

From Judge Vaughn Walker's decision:

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National Review has now made its opposition to the Muslim community center in the neighborhood of Ground Zero very clear -- by calling for a boycott of any company or group involved in its construction:

Beyond that, Americans should make their displeasure with this project felt economically and socially: No contractor, construction company, or building-trades union that accepts a dime of the Cordoba Initiative's money should be given a free pass--nobody who sells them so much as a nail, or a hammer to drive it in with. This is an occasion for boycotts and vigorous protests -- and, above all, for bringing down a well-deserved shower of shame upon those involved with this project, and on those politicians who have meekly gone along with it. It is an indecent proposal and an intentional provocation.


It is interesting to point out that back in the 1950s and 1960s, National Review strongly opposed the Civil Rights movement, which often employed boycotts as part of its demonstrations and lobbying for government action to further the cause of human rights. But here is a boycott that National Review can get behind.

It's also fun to note that the unemployment rate in New York City is 9.5%. And the job market for the construction industry is typically higher during bad times, and more sensitive to changes in the overall economic tides.

It's official. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi broke the news on Twitter this afternoon, announcing officially what's been rumored for hours: The House will return from recess briefly next week to pass state aid legislation.

"I will be calling the House back into session early next week to save teachers' jobs and help seniors & children," Pelosi Tweeted.

The legislation, expected to soon pass the Senate, will prevent teacher layoffs across the country, and help states cover their Medicaid costs.

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If Republicans seriously want to amend the Constitution to do away with birthright citizenship, they're right about one thing: the first place to start is with Congressional hearings. Today, in a statement to TPMDC, the senator who would chair those hearings says that's not gonna happen.

"We can and should address the problem of illegal immigration head-on without amending the Constitution," says Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI). "The way to do that is to pass bipartisan comprehensive legislation improving border security, protecting American jobs and addressing those currently in the country illegally. It is past time for Congress to resume the bipartisan effort that was started by President Bush and enact meaningful federal immigration reform."

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