TPM News

Thanks to the magic of the Internet, TPM stumbled onto a photo album of lovably wacky Republican National Committee Chairman Michael "Moo" Steele posing with his interns. With permission from the photographer, Mark Odell, we present them to you. Enjoy!

Odell Photos

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Gov. Pat Quinn said they are encouraged that a draft memo has surfaced indicating Thomson Correctional Center may be the choice to replace the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Andrew Breitbart has the memo here.

An administration official tells TPMDC it is a "draft, predecisional document that lawyers at various agencies were drafting in preparation for a potential future announcement about where to house GTMO detainees."

"Drafts of official documents are often prepared for any and all possibilities, regardless of whether a decision has been made about the policy or if the document will be used," the official said.

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In a statement just posted on his website, Tiger Woods announced that he's taking "an indefinite break from professional golf."

Woods has been dogged by rumors and allegations of infidelity in the days after his car accident in Florida late last month.

Woods acknowledged the infidelity in his statement: "I am deeply aware of the disappointment and hurt that my infidelity has caused to so many people, most of all my wife and children."

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The AARP released the following release in response to Sen. Kent Conrad's (D-ND) proposal to control deficit spending:

AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond today announced the Association's opposition to a measure that would require Congress to fast track votes on spending reductions that could jeopardize Medicare and Social Security benefits that millions of Americans have earned through a lifetime of hard work. In a letter to Senate leaders, AARP pledged to work constructively with Congress and the Administration in open, bipartisan efforts to advance solutions to address the nation's long-term fiscal challenges, but made clear that it does not support efforts that could harm the Social Security and Medicare programs that older Americans depend upon for their health and economic security.

Key excerpts of the letter follow below:

"AARP acknowledges that the nation's long-term debt requires attention... We oppose, however, providing fast-track authority to a task force that will function with limited accountability outside of the regular order of Congress and will be exclusively focused on debt reduction. We further oppose the establishment of such a taskforce in light of the targeted Medicare savings and proposed Medicare Advisory Board (that would have further authority to reduce Medicare spending) in the pending Senate health care reform legislation."

"AARP believes the issues that the fiscal task force is meant to address--including the revenue gap, health care costs and the long-term solvency of Social Security--are among the most fundamental challenges we face as a nation. As such, they are issues that Congress itself, through its regular order, should tackle. "

"A task force that is directed to identify proposals to restore the nation's long-term fiscal health cannot do so without regard to the impact its recommendations would have on individuals. Broad, deep cuts to the nation's health and economic security pillars -Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security -could reduce long-term imbalances, but would do so by shifting significant burdens and risks to older Americans and millions of others who rely on these benefits."

"Furthermore, we urge that Social Security not be considered in the context of deficit reduction--the program does not contribute to the deficit, and its long-term solvency can be resolved by relatively modest adjustments if they are made sooner rather than later."

"...AARP is committed to working on a bipartisan basis with Congress to develop and advance responsible policies to address the nation's long term fiscal challenges. However, given the significance of these programs to the well-being of nearly all Americans, AARP believes a full and open debate is essential to ensuring the development of equitable solutions. As such, we oppose legislation that would bypass or short circuit the protections afforded by regular order."

After a health insurer group was caught bribing Facebook users with virtual cash to write anti-health care letters to Congress, a prominent health care supporter is trying to turn the stunt against them.

Health Care for America Now tells TPM it has taken out ads on the Facebook game Mafia Wars, calling out the group for its astroturfing.

The ads read, "Insurance companies are bribing players on Mafia Wars & Farmville to claim that they oppose health care reform. Join us and fight back!" The ads will run in "liberal cities," HCAN says.

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A judge has put an injunction on Congress's ban on ACORN funding.

U.S. District Judge Nina Gershon today ruled to put a preliminary injunction on the Congressional resolution that barred ACORN or its affiliates from receiving federal funds, according to a press release from Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), who blasted the move. Congress had acted in the wake of the scandal in which ACORN employees were caught on camera giving advice on how to break the law to two people posing as a pimp and a prostitute.

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Republicans on Capitol Hill were overjoyed today by a new Department of Health and Human Services audit of the Democratic health care reform bill in the Senate they say shows the reforms will weaken America's health care system rather than strengthen it.

"This report should put the dagger in the heart of the Reid bill," Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) told reporters this afternoon.

But the Democrats and the White House say Republicans are just reading the report wrong to further their plans to scuttle the bill.

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White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs issued a statement on the declaration the European Council issued about Iran's nuclear weapons program. It pointedly mentions human rights.

The United States echoes the grave concerns expressed by the European Council today regarding Iran's nuclear program, and is united with our international partners in calling on Iran to comply fully with its international obligations.

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This afternoon, the House of Representative passed the most expansive financial regulation bill since the Great Depression. But before the bill went to a final vote, its sponsor, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), took to the House floor to address what he dubbed the "wildly excessive hyperbole" of Republican lawmakers.

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Here's how Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) characterizes the behind-the-scenes discussions that could very well result in a change in the abortion language in the Senate health care bill.

"There are a lot of people talking. So there might be something that comes up, and there might not. I've been very vocal about the Stupak-type language, and I haven't seen anything yet that would adequately replace the Stupak language at this point in time. That doesn't mean that people aren't going to continue to work on it, and perhaps they'll find it."

Not a definitive statement, but seems like leadership is looking into it.