TPM News

Democrats Allow Trims To Favored Programs The New York Times reports: "After a bruising battle with Republicans over financing the government through the rest of the fiscal year, Democrats spoke proudly of their success in staving off painful cuts to programs near and dear to them, ones that became the centerpiece of their fight against huge cuts sought by Republicans. But as some details of the plan to cut roughly $38 billion in federal spending came trickling out Monday, it was clear that many of those programs, while cut nowhere near as much as Republicans had hoped, were significantly nibbled at."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will receive the presidential daily briefing at 9:30 a.m. ET, and meet at 10 a.m. ET with senior advisers. At 12 p.m. ET, the President, Vice President, First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden will deliver remarks at the launch of the First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden's national initiative to support and honor America's service members and their families. Obama will meet at 2:15 p.m. ET with Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry. Obama and Biden will meet at 4:30 p.m. ET with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and meet at 5 p.m. ET with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

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D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray and 40 other protesters -- including members of the city council -- were arrested by Capitol Police on Monday after they blocked Constitution Avenue near the Capitol in protest of aspects of the budget deal reached by Congress which limit the city's autonomy, specifically prohibiting the use of DC public funds for abortions.

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The government of Iraq voted on Monday to shut down Camp Ashraf, home to members of the Iranian dissident group Mujahedin-e Khalq, or MEK. The move comes a few days after a deadly clash at the camp, which prompted criticism of Iraq from the State Department, the United Nations and others.

The U.S. State Department classifies the MEK as a foreign terrorist organization. But, as TPM has reported, the group has a history of support from American officials, which has been recently stepped up.

Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh told the Associated Press on Monday that MEK members "need to leave Iraq by the end of the year."

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The hazy situation in the very narrow Wisconsin Supreme Court race -- where the results were upended on Thursday, when Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus (R) announced that human error had resulted in the omission of a municipality's votes, and a more than a net 7,000-vote gain for conservative Justice David Prosser -- saw more developments on Monday.

On Thursday of last week, Nickolaus announced the discovery of un-tabulated votes in the city of Brookfield, saying that her own error had resulted in them not being properly imported and saved into the county's database.

On Friday, the state Government Accountability Board -- which oversees elections -- had announced that it sent staff to Waukesha County, to examine procedures there. A spokesman for the GAB told TPM that they are examining both the individual precinct returns and the manner in which they were reported to the media on election night. While they cannot at this point comment on the substance of that examination, the GAB said that the County Clerk is being cooperative.

Separately, GAB Director Kevin Kennedy told WisPolitics this evening that the numbers in Brookfield appear to match up: "We don't see, at this point, any criminal activity, but we certainly see practices that need to be changed to bolster public confidence."

And today, in a potentially significant development, the Democratic member of the county canvassing board, county Dem vice chair Ramona Kitzinger, has released a statement seriously walking back the corroboration she had previously given at Nickolaus's press conference on Thursday.

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The man who taught President Obama constitutional law is now accusing him of violating it in his own administration. Laurence Tribe, who was one of Obama's professors at Harvard and served as a Justice Department legal adviser until last December, has signed onto a letter with over 250 other legal scholars assailing the Obama administration for its treatment of Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of divulging classified documents to Wikileaks.

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A University College London research study suggests that liberal and conservative political views might be connected to differences in the structure of the brain. According to an article by Cognitive neuroscientist Ryota Kanai and colleagues, published in Current Biology, political conservatives may have a larger right amygdala, and liberals a larger anterior cingulate cortex. This increased brain activity, says Kanai and crew, may show liberals as more apt at juggling conflicting information and more open to new experiences, and conservatives better able to identify and assess risk but more anxious of the uncertain.

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Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is one step closer to officially announcing what nearly everyone already expects -- that he'll seek the Republican nomination for president of the United States in 2012. On his website Monday, Romney kicked off the exploratory committee phase of his campaign in the style of the day with a YouTube clip and a tweet.

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Fresh off last week's down-to-the-wire spending showdown, President Obama and Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) are locking horns again on fiscal matters -- and this time the stakes for the U.S. economy are even more monumental.

The White House is demanding a "clean" bill to raise the nation's debt ceiling rather than using it to cut additional spending or for policy additions like last week's attempt to attach legislation defunding Planned Parenthood, but Boehner has already said that idea is dead on arrival. There's no way a debt-ceiling bill would pass the House (i.e. the muster of his unruly GOP conference) without some spending cuts for balance.

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The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday struck down Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer's appeal of a preliminary injunction against the state's controversial immigration law, upholding the decision by a District Court judge to block key parts of the law until the Justice Department's lawsuit against it is decided.

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