TPM News

On Thursday night, Stephen Colbert sought to sate Muslim anger over Florida pastor Terry Jones' trial and subsequent burning of a Quran, an act that sparked deadly protests in Afganistan.

To do so, Colbert first announced that he was converting to Islam -- part of his ongoing series in religion swaps since he decided to give up Catholicism for Lent.

"I am not an extremist folks, I am a moderate Muslim," Colbert said. He then looked down at his hands and shouted in shock, "Oh my God! We do exist!"

Read More →

Incumbent Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser, who came from behind in the vote count Thursday after the Republican stronghold of Waukesha County announced that a data-entry error had resulted in the omission of a whole town and its over 7,000 net votes for Prosser, appeared Thursday night on Fox News with Wisconsin native Greta Van Susteren.

At one point, Van Susteren asked Prosser whether he had called his liberal-backed opponent JoAnne Kloppenburg, who had declared victory on Wednesday, at any time since election day.

"I have not spoken to my opponent. It's not at all anything personal," said Prosser. "It's simply I thought, I'm not conceding, and I'm not congratulating, and I'm not claiming victory. We're simply waiting out the process."

Read More →

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has laid a final offer at Republicans' feet, and it will require them to drop their insistence on defunding Planned Parenthood, and accepting what Reid insists is an agreed upon level of spending cuts. If Republicans don't take it, and if Reid's not bluffing, the government will shutdown.

"The number we're not bending on," he told reporters in a press briefing Friday morning. "We're not bending on that and we're not bending on women's health."

Read More →

Jon Stewart took it upon himself Thursday night to get to the bottom of whatever ludicrous conspiracy had forced Glenn Beck off the air. And in doing so, he discovered that President Obama is not Kenyan, but is in fact the ancient Mesoamerican god Quetzalcoatl, who is prophesied to destroy the world in 2012.

Donning glasses and mimicking Beck's mannerisms, Stewart bounced around his set wildly, in front of several blackboards covered with diagrams that ostensibly showed the links between such entities as George Soros and Burger King.

Read More →

Just over a year ago, President Obama debated House Republicans at their retreat in Baltimore, Md. The session lasted about an hour and a half, and covered several issues -- particularly the health care bill, which was at the time imperiled by Republican Sen. Scott Brown's special election victory in Massachusetts.

About halfway through, Obama scolded Republicans for characterizing the legislation -- which was inspired by Republican policy ideas -- as a "Bolshevik plot." That was politics, but, he warned, overblown rhetoric like that would make it difficult for the two parties to come to an agreement on anything.

"[W]e've got to close the gap a little bit between the rhetoric and the reality," Obama said. "[I]f the way these issues are being presented by the Republicans is that this is some wild-eyed plot to impose huge government in every aspect of our lives, what happens is you guys then don't have a lot of room to negotiate with me."

Read More →

The three state universities with labor studies departments subject to Freedom Of Information Act requests from the Mackinac Center For Public Policy in Michigan haven't made a final decision about what to do about the conservative-leaning think tank's desire to read up on emails about the Wisconsin labor battles and MSNBC's Rachel Maddow.

According to official responses to the FOIAs sent by the universities and shared with TPM by Mackinac, lawyers at Wayne State University and the University of Michigan have asked for 10 more days to decide how to proceed with the requests. Michigan State is still within the original 5-day window to respond, because they received their FOIA several days after the other schools.

Under FOIA rules, government agencies have five business days to respond to an FOIA and can take ten more days after that to announce their final response. Each school has taken that time, meaning it will be several more days before we know how they'll respond to the requests faculty have called extraordinary.

Read More →

According to a new Harvard study, "Partisan taunting" accounts for more than a quarter of all the communication made by members of Congress. Harvard Professor Gary King, who headed up the research, called the discovery "jarring and surprising" in an interview with The Washington Post, reported on Wednesday. And although it's no secret that legislators relish in playing the "blame game," especially amidst an increasingly volatile partisan budget battle, the study quantifies just how large a role insult and castigation play on Capitol Hill today.

Read More →

In the near future, retweets could actually be matters of national security.

According to a draft Homeland Security Department plan obtained by The Associated Press, the U.S. government will soon replace the old - and much maligned - five color-coded terror alert system. The new system will have only two warning levels -- elevated and imminent -- and "will be relayed to the public only under certain circumstances for limited periods of time." Among the changes: threats will sometimes be relayed using Facebook and Twitter.

Read More →

Negotiations between Democrats and Republicans to avoid a government shutdown ended for the night a few hours ago without a breakthrough. Still bedeviling the talks is the issue of abortion. Republicans want a bill to fund the government for six months to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood and Democrats won't allow it. But according to Republicans, there may be some flexibility on the riders if Democrats would pony up a few billion dollars more in cuts -- and, according to one top Republican aide, they've drawn the line at $34.5 billion in cuts to current spending.

Read More →

The Price Of A Shutdown CNN reports: "So if the federal government shuts down, taxpayers would save a lot of money, right? Not quite. It would actually cost taxpayers money. And for every day the shutdown continues, the bill would go up."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will attend meetings at the White House today. There are not currently any scheduled events.

Read More →