TPM News

Intrigue. Deceit. And forbidden love on a sun-kissed tropical island -- with billions of dollars on the line.

No, this isn't a Danielle Steel bodice-ripper. Or Mark Sanford's latest confession about crossing "the ultimate line". Instead, it's the story of the tangled, high-stakes relationship between Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) and accused Ponzi schemer Allen Stanford.

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Widespread protests broke out in Iran over the last couple days, followed by a brutal crack down by the government. Several protesters have reportedly been killed, including the nephew of the opposition leader. In the first video, pro-reform protesters flood the street on their way to Azadi Square.

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Remember Dawn Johnsen?

It seems like eons have passed since newly-inaugurated President Obama nominated the Indiana University law professor to serve as head of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, but in reality it's been about 10 months. After months of sitting in limbo, Johnsen has not received a confirmation vote in the Senate. And now, if Obama still wants her to serve in has administration, he will have to renominate her and start the confirmation process largely from scratch.

Senate rules require that nominees who have not received a vote by the end of the legislative session must either be carried over to the following session by unanimous consent, or be resubmitted by the administration. At the end of last week--presumably unable to achieve universal agreement--the Senate returned a handful of nominees to the White House, including Johnsen.

That prompted a number of posts by progressive bloggers--who admire Johnsen and blame the blame the administration for failing to push for her confirmation--declaring her nomination officially dead.

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It looks like Sen. George Allen (R-VA) could still be a viable political name in Virginia, according to newly-released (albeit months old) polling data from Public Policy Polling (D). In a potential 2012 rematch with Democratic Sen. Jim Webb, it's a dead heat.

PPP posts this on their blog:

Last week George Allen opened the door to a possible rematch against Jim Webb in 2012. Two polls we've conducted in the last year indicate such a contest would be about as much of a toss up as you can have.

When we looked at it in July of 2008, Webb led Allen 45-43. This August, in numbers we're now releasing publicly for the first time, Allen led Webb 44-43.

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A new Rasmussen poll shows that the Northwest Airlines attack has seriously increased Americans' fears about terrorism.

The poll, which was conducted last night, shows that 79% of likely voters think another terrorist attack is likely within the next year. This is up from 49% of Americans who said the same thing in Rasmussen's poll in August. The new poll also contains 42% of likely voters who think another attack is "very likely," up from 16% of Americans in August.

The pollster's analysis admits that there is a difference between polling likely voters compared to all Americans. However, the difference is usually within the 3-5 point range, meaning that this poll's 30-point jump is still significant.

The poll also finds that voters are following the Northwest story in large numbers: "Eighty-three percent (83%) say they are following those news reports at least somewhat closely, including 44% who are following very closely. Just 15% are not following news about the terrorist incident very closely or at all."

A career prosecutor whose promotion to Main Justice was quashed by Monica Goodling during the Bush years has been nominated to be a U.S. Attorney, in President Obama's latest reversal of a politicized decision of the Bush Justice Department.

William Hochul, who has been an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York for nearly 20 years, was nominated to be the U.S. Attorney there last week after a recommendation from Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

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This isn't exactly reassuring.

A day after saying that "the system worked" -- despite the fact that a Nigerian man on the terrorist watch list was allowed to board an Amsterdam-Detroit flight with explosives strapped to his body -- Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is backtracking.

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It's no secret that conservative Democrats from coal, oil, and manufacturing states have long been wary about capping greenhouse gas emissions, but in the wake of the health care slog, they're letting their leadership and the White House know they want cap-and-trade off the table in 2010. Stand-alone energy legislation might stand a chance, but nothing nearly as ambitious as a bill the House passed in July to create an economy wide market for global warming emissions.

And there's at least some signs leadership is listening.

"At this point I'd like to see a complete bill but we have to be realistic," Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) said last week.

If the Senate fails to act on climate change this Congress, all of the House's hard work will be swept into the dustbin, and Democrats will have to start largely from scratch in 2011.

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Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) appeared on Fox News on Sunday and said that it's fair to hold the Obama administration accountable for the near bombing of a Detroit-bound Northwest Airlines flight on Christmas day.

When asked by host Chris Wallace whether it's fair to blame the White House for the incident, Hoekstra replied, "Yeah, I think it really is.

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