TPM News

Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC) is setting the stage for an official challenge to Nancy Peolsi's bid to lead the Democratic minority in the next Congress. Shuler, a moderate from the North Carolina mountains, will make his intentions official on the national stage this weekend, The Hill reports.

Shuler pitched himself as a moderate alternative to Pelosi as leader of the House caucus before she officially announced her run for Minority Leader in the next Congress.

Now, with most observers thinking Pelosi has the position locked up, Shuler appears ready to make good on his promise to take her on.

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Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX), who just won re-election, is set to take the leadership of the Republican Governors Association, the campaign group tasked with helping to elect GOP governors across the country, Politico reports:

Perry recently released a book taking aim at the federal government and both the subject of the tome, "Fed Up!," and his promotion of it have increased speculation that he's eyeing a presidential bid.

But his appointment to helm the RGA heading into 2011 - when three states will hold governors' races - amounts to the first concrete evidence that the Texan is serious when he says he has no interest in pursuing the White House. It would be nearly impossible to raise money for the committee and help direct the gubernatorial contests in Louisiana, Mississippi and Kentucky while simultaneously running for president.

There is possibly an even more important question here. By taking part in a truly national organization to strengthen the Republican Party across the whole country, does this mean Perry has truly given up on secession?

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AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka is standing with Speaker Nancy Peolosi and other progressives urging Democrats not to compromise and extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest earners in the upcoming lame duck session.

"It is absolutely insane that in these tough economic times some people want to continue George W. Bush's tax giveaways to millionaires," Trumka said in a statement. "Speaker Pelosi is exactly right that there should not be a so-called compromise on this issue."

Trumka's declaration sets up the battle lines on the tax cut fight. On the side of extending all the cuts for everyone no matter what are House Republican leaders like Eric Cantor and the party's allies in the tea party and business communities. On the side of eliminating the cuts on the wealthiest Americans no matter what are Pelosi and the progressive movement's traditional allies in labor and the netroots activist community.

In the middle, it seems, is President Obama, who is continuing to suggest compromise is possible even as both sides dig in.

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The legal filings are already flying around in the impending Minnesota gubernatorial recount, with Republican nominee Tom Emmer and the state GOP filing lawsuits against two counties, St. Louis and Pine, for not satisfying their data requests immediately.

Now just to be clear, this is not the lawsuit you might be thinking of for a Minnesota recount -- known as an election contest, which would come after the recount itself, and potentially delay the swearing-in of the new governor.

Rather, these are complaints that the counties involved have not delivered important election-related data to Team Emmer, such as voting-machine data, poll rosters, the names of poll workers, incident reports, ballot security information, information on absentee ballots, any communications with the campaign of Democratic nominee Mark Dayton, etc., in a timely manner.

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Maryland's Attorney General filed a complaint in federal court this week alleging that the company and two individuals behind election day robocalls that told mostly Democratic voters to "relax" and not bother voting violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

The court filing by Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler also revealed that the phone calls, which began two hours before polls closed, went out to more than 100,000 Maryland residents, more than double the number originally reported.

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Two Justice Department prosecutors involved in the botched investigation of former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens have asked a federal appeals court to review a judge's ruling which upheld a civil contempt finding against them.

A motion was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Friday on behalf of federal prosecutors William Welch II and Brenda Morris, reported Mike Scarcella of the Legal Times.

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The Supreme Court this afternoon declined to halt the Obama Administration's enforcement of the military's Don't Ask Don't Tell policy while an appeals courts decides whether to uphold a lower court ruling that the policy is unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court denied without comment the Log Cain Republicans' request to vacate the stay issued by the Ninth Circuit Court Of Appeals on November 9, 2010. That stay stopped Judge Virginia Phillips' October injunction against enforcing DADT from going into full effect following her ruling that the policy is unconstitutional.

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Human rights groups and criminal justice organizations are criticizing President Barack Obama's nomination of Stacia A. Hylton for director of the U.S. Marshals Service because of her ties to the for-profit prison industry.

Hylton was a 29-year career employee of the Justice Department until she left her post earlier this year and accepted $112,500 in consulting fees from the GEO Group, a for-profit prison industry group. Hylton awarded contracts worth up to $88 million to the GEO Group during her nearly six years as DOJ's Federal Detention Trustee, according to a press release. The GEO Group is the second largest operator of for-profit prisons in the United States.

"Sounds like the fox watching the henhouse to me," Ken Kopczynski, the director of the nonprofit watchdog group Private Corrections Working Group, told TPMmuckraker.

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1||President Barack Obama was in Seoul, South Korea this week, attending the G-20 world summit with other world leaders.|| YOUNG HO/SIPA/Newscom&&

2|| South Korean President Lee Myung-bak (center) delivers a speech at the opening session of the summit.||GREENFIELD/SIPA/Newscom&&

3|||| YOUNG HO/SIPA/Newscom&&

4||From left: Mexican President Felipe Calderón, Argentina President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and President Obama.||JuanJo Martin/EFE/Newscom&&

5||||Yonhap News/YNA/Newscom&&

6||President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.||YOUNG HO/SIPA/Newscom&&

7||President Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak.||YOUNG HO/SIPA/Newscom&&

8||President Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.||YOUNG HO/SIPA/Newscom&&

9||Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al Faisal and President Obama.|| YOUNG HO/SIPA/Newscom&&

10||President Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.||JuanJo Martin/EFE/Newscom&&

11||President of Indonesia Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and President Obama.|| YOUNG HO/SIPA/Newscom&&

12||President of Brazil Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and President Obama.||YOUNG HO/SIPA/Newscom&&

13|| || &&

14||||YOUNG HO/SIPA/Newscom&&

15||President Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak.||YOUNG HO/SIPA/Newscom&&

16||President Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao.||Liu Jiansheng/Xinhua/Photoshot/Newscom&&

17|| ||imago stock&people/Newscom&&

Republican Joe Miller's fight over the Alaska Senate write-in count just got a little help from an old friend. Sarah Palin's SarahPAC donated $5,000 to Miller's campaign yesterday, The Associated Press reports.

Miller beat Sen. Lisa Murkowski in the Republican primary, but now appears to trail her write-in campaign in the general election. Write-in ballots are currently being examined to see how many are for Murkowski.

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