TPM News

Before the midterms, conservative leaders were warning that they'd force a showdown over federal spending much earlier than expected: in the lame duck session, before the newly elected Republicans come to Washington.

They weren't joking. Republican and Democratic leaders are now engaged in a brinksmanship that could result in a temporary shutdown of the federal government. After the election, Republicans voted among themselves to eschew all earmarks for two years, and now they have to make good on their pledge. Yesterday, Democrats' chief appropriator, Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI) unveiled what's known as an omnibus spending bill -- a bundled up package of appropriations legislation, earmarks, and other measures -- which would keep the government running for a year.

In response, most Republicans -- even those whose multimillion dollar earmark requests are included in the legislation -- are saying, "Hell no you can't!"

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Stephen Colbert last night was presented with the first-ever "Golden Tweet" award for his June 16 tweet on the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico: "In honor of oil-soaked birds, 'tweets' are now 'gurgles.'"

"It's official, I won Twitter!" Colbert declared. "I have harpooned the Fail Whale! Tonight, we dine on Kutcher!"

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Barely one in 10 Americans approve of how Congress is handling its job, according to a Gallup poll released today. Just 13% of those surveyed said they approved of the current Congress, the lowest approval rating Gallup has ever recorded. Additionally, 83% percent of those surveyed assessed Congress negatively, also a Gallup poll record.

Gallup has been tracking Congressional approval ratings since 1974. The previous record low of 14% came in July 2008, with the economy floundering and gas prices at a record high of over $4 per gallon.

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After an Army doctor who became a prominent member of the so-called "birther" movement for refusing to deploy to Afghanistan over his doubts that President Barack Obama was born in the U.S. pleaded guilty to one count at a court martial, what will happen to his supporters?

As the court martial of Lt. Col. Terrence Lakin continues for a second day in a military court in Maryland, they're standing by their man. Lakin is fighting off a more serious charge: that he is guilty of "missing a movement" because he missed a flight back on April 12 which would have started his journey to join his unit.

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Despite the tax cut deal they hate, progressive forces will be on the fighting lines for President Obama in 2012. That's the word from Democracy For America, the progressive advocacy PAC forged from the remnants of Howard Dean's 2004 bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

In a wide-ranging interview Friday, DFA communications director Levana Layendecker discussed the ways Obama has hurt progressives over the past couple weeks. But she said that despite it all, the left will still stand by the man they backed in 2008 when he runs again in 2012.

The comments echoed those from Dean himself, who was briefly mentioned as a possible primary opponent for Obama by liberals angered by the tax cut deal's two-year extension of the Bush cuts on the highest incomes. Dean has said he won't run against Obama in a primary and that he doesn't expect anyone else will, either.

But if they don't primary him, will progressives just stay home, leaving Obama without an important part of his activist base? Layendecker says no. They may be mad at him now, sure. But the liberals are coming home to Obama.

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Following in the House's footsteps, the Senate is trying to block the Obama administration from bringing any Guantanamo Bay detainees to the United States, even for trial.

The Senate Appropriations Committee released the text of a 2,000-page omnibus spending bill yesterday, a bill that would fund the government through next September. Like the House's spending bill, the Senate's includes a provision that would ban any funds from being used for the transfer of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed or any other Guantanamo Bay detainees to the U.S.

As TPM reported Monday, the House bill was written solely by Democrats -- meaning Democrats put the detainee transfer ban in. Attorney General Eric Holder wrote to the Senate's majority and minority leaders after that vote, pleading with them to keep such a provision out of the Senate's version.

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Alaska federal Judge Ralph Beistline set an expedited briefing schedule yesterday for Joe Miller's state Supreme Court appeal over the Senate race, and said that "most certainly, Alaska should have a Senator certified by January 3, 2011, even if subsequent events require that the Senator be replaced."

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Fox News D.C. Bureau Chief Bill Sammon e-mailed staffers last December to instruct them not to assert that the "planet has warmed (or cooled)" without "IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question."

Sammon's e-mail, obtained by Media Matters, came less than 15 minutes after Fox correspondent Wendell Goler reported on-air that the World Meteorological Organization at the U.N. said 2000-2009 was "on track to be the warmest [decade] on record."

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