TPM News

A coalition of civil and immigrants rights groups has filed suit against Arizona's draconian immigration law. But efforts to challenge the law could be complicated by a memo written by one of the Bush Justice Department lawyers who also drafted some of the key opinions greenlighting torture.

Fourteen groups -- among them the ACLU of Arizona, the NAACP, and MALDEF -- filed the suit yesterday. They charge, among other things, that Arizona's law violates the federal Supremacy Clause by trying to bypass federal immigration law, and that it deprives minorities of their equal protection rights.

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Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN), a champion of abstinence education and traditional family values, will resign effective Friday after an affair with a female staffer in his district office, he announced today.

He said in a statement that he "sinned against God, my wife and my family by having a mutual relationship with a part-time member of my staff." And he blamed the atmosphere in Washington for forcing him to make the move:

"In the poisonous environment of Washington, D.C., any personal failing is seized upon, often twisted, for political gain. I am resigning rather than to put my family through that painful, drawn-out process."

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The New York Times reported last night that Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut's attorney general and the Democratic frontrunner in the Senate race there, has made misleading remarks about serving in the Vietnam War.

Blumenthal never fought in Vietnam. He received five deferments before joining the Marine Reserve.

But in speeches to veterans' groups, he's sometimes given a different impression.

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This is the day we've been waiting for. By the end of Tuesday night, we'll know if Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) could still have a job next year, if angry progressives are a threat and if the tea partiers will hand Mitch McConnell a defeat in his home state.

It's 2010's first Super Tuesday -- and the political landscape could look much different when all is said and done.

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May 17, 2010: The Thai government accepts a cease-fire offer from Red Shirt leader Nattawut Saikuwa, following five days of clashes in downtown Bangkok.

The latest unrest comes amid a two-month standoff between the Red Shirts and government forces. The protesters are attempting to unseat Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and force new elections, claiming the Prime Minister came to power undemocratically and through manipulation and intimidation.

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The Red Shirts, who have taken camp in the business district of Bangkok, wish to reinstate Thaksin Shinawatra, who was democratically elected as prime minister twice, but who is now a fugitive after the army ousted him in 2006.

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The protesters are primarily of Thailand's poverty-stricken classes, and believe the rise to power of Prime Minister Vejjajiva symbolizes the indifference of the Thai elites to the lower classes.

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The deteriorating health of popular Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej could potentially complicate matters if Thailand ends up facing a succession, which threatens to further destabilize the country.

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Thirty-seven are dead and 266 wounded after five days of riots, which brings the total to around 66 dead and 1600 wounded since the clashes began.

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Rep. Joe Sestak said he learned an important lesson from the Massachusetts special election that resulted in Sen. Scott Brown taking over a seat held by the Democrats for a generation, and he's sounding pretty confident that voters may reach the same conclusion and nominate him on Tuesday.

"Massachusetts said it best, 'A pox on both your houses.' They voted for change in politics," Sestak told me in an interview tonight on the eve of Pennsylvania's Democratic primary Tuesday. Sestak peppers his political talk with critiques of Sen. Arlen Specter's long record as a Republican using language you'd expect from a retired Navy admiral. "When you run a ship aground you're relieved for cause," Sestak said.

He maintains he's the better general election candidate to keep the seat for the Democrats this fall, saying that since he's running against the party establishment voters will reward him as an independent voice should he win the nomination. The TPM Poll Average of this race has Sestak in the lead with 45.3 percent and Specter with 42.6 percent.

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Today, President Obama and Vice President Biden released their 2009 financial disclosure reports.

Obama reported making more than $1 million last year in royalities from each of his two books -- "Dreams From My Father" and "The Audacity of Hope." He also claimed his dog Bo as a gift from Ted and Vicki Kennedy -- worth $1,600.

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The national GOP is already spinning tomorrow's Democratic primaries as a defeat for President Obama -- that even if Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) and Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) win against their intra-party challengers, the fact that there have been close races at all show that Obama is in political trouble.

In an e-mail sent out to reporters by National Republican Senatorial Committee Executive Director Rob Jesmer, much light is made of news reports saying that Obama did not want to be seen campaigning for Specter, who could potentially lose tomorrow:

But the fact that the President of the United States and the most popular member of the Democratic Party sees serious political risk in publicly campaigning for a Democratic Senator, in a Democratic primary, and in a key swing state, speaks volumes. At best the White House political operation will narrowly win two Democratic primaries tomorrow, at worst they lost both after being heavily involved at the outset. It should raise serious questions in the minds of Democratic Senate candidates whether the President and the Democrats' Washington agenda will be a benefit or a detriment to their campaigns this November. Recent history and current polling suggests strongly that it will be the latter.


The full memo is after the jump.

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