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After weeks of avoiding direct confrontation with fellow Minnesotan Michele Bachmann, Tim Pawlenty is calling her out for her thin record in Congress.

"Her record in Congress, as I mentioned before, is, you know - again, great remarks, and great speeches, but in terms of results and accomplishments - nonexistent," he said Monday on Fox and Friends.

"It's not a stretch to say that we need somebody in the Oval Office - who's going to be President of the United States and Commander in Chief - who has executive experience leading a large enterprise in a public setting," he added. "With all due respect, she just doesn't have that kind of experience."

He offered a similar argument to NBC's Meet The Press just the day before.

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Nearly nine years ago, the Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis challenged the Drug Enforcement Administration's classification of marijuana as a schedule I drug, asking them to reschedule cannabis as a schedule III, IV or V drug instead. In other words, they wanted it downgraded in federal eyes. On Friday, they got their answer: no thanks.

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A new poll, commissioned by The Iowa Republican, shows Michele Bachmann leading among Republicans in the key first caucus state, with the insurgent Tea Partier edging out national frontrunner Mitt Romney.

The numbers: Bachmann 25%, Romney 21%, Pawlenty 9%, Cain 9%, Paul 6%, Gingrich 4%, Santorum 2%, and Huntsman 1%.

[TPM SLIDESHOW: The Year Of Michele Bachmann]

The poll was conducted by Voter/Consumer Research, a Republican firm headed up by Jan van Lohuizen, who was previously President George W. Bush's pollster for primaries. The survey of 500 likely caucus-goers was conducted from June 26-30, and has a ±4.4% margin of error.



A Scientology-backed Republican pharmacist from Temecula, California is upset that he lives in the liberal welfare state of California, so he's doing what any rational right winger would do: He's proposing a 51st state, "South California." It would include the counties of "Fresno, Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Mono, Orange, San Bernardino, San Diego and Tulare" -- all of which have high concentrations of white pick-up trucks and meth heads.

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By Emily Gertz

That chicken breast or pork loin sitting on your plate may look innocent enough -- yet meat production is among humanity's most environmentally destructive activities.

It is estimated that livestock raised for meat drink up eight percent of the fresh water supply, create 18 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and use about 30 percent of the world's non-ice-covered land. Clearing land for livestock is also a major driver of the destruction of forests and other wildlife habitat.

Enter "cultured meat," or meat grown "in vitro:" beef, sheep, and other animal muscle cells grown in laboratories, using the well-established tissue cultivation method of immersing a few cells in a nutrient-dense glop, and then leaving them alone to divide and increase.

Proponents say that cultured meat could feed billions cheaply. It could be grown in any shape, and even texturized to improve palatability: Sheets of meat cells could be stretched mechanically, imitating how an animal uses its muscles.

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Wisconsin Democrats face the latest step this week in their efforts to win control of the state Senate in recall elections, triggered by opposition to Republican Gov. Scott Walker's anti-public employee union legislation. On Tuesday, six Democratic challengers are running in primaries against some rather unusual opponents, before they can move on to the general elections -- and even then, the battle is likely to go on even after the elections.

They key thing to remember is that if there were no primaries -- that is, if only one Democrat had filed in each race, with no other Republicans than the incumbents -- then the six GOP incumbents would be on the ballot Tuesday, with the potential to change control of a chamber where Republicans currently have a 19-14 majority.

Soon after the recall elections were triggered, Republicans declared a strategy to plant fake candidates in the Democratic primaries -- which they have called "protest candidates" -- in order to delay the general elections from July to August, while the GOP incumbents run unopposed.

The candidates range from a GOP activist in his 20s, to a former Republican state representative who is in his 80s. Also, it turns out the whole scheme will cost local governments throughout the state over $400,000.

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It doesn't have a name, but it probably should: the axiom that when budgets and taxes and debt increasingly dominate politics in Washington, utterances of the words "Reagan" and "Thatcher" climb exponentially.

As detailed at length here, high-profile GOP presidential hopefuls constantly extol the former British Prime Minister. That's true whether it's to bash President Obama, or burnish their own conservative bona fides, or both.

And, of course, Ronald Reagan's decades-long reign as the Patron Saint of conservatism never really lets up, no matter what the issue du jour in DC.

But two days after Congressional Republicans took a pass on a $4 trillion fiscal reform grand bargain because Democrats insisted that a minority of the deficit reduction come from new tax revenue, it's worth reviewing the Thatcher and Reagan records on spending, taxes, and debt -- and recalling that the transatlantic Tory twins didn't mind spending money, and weren't nearly as averse to tax increases as are their idolators in the U.S. Congress today.

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