TPM News

Members of the Democratic state House caucus in Indiana have found an unlikely ally in their quest to stop the GOP majority from pushing through a bill that critics say would destroy union organizing in the state. Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) took to the airwaves today to call on members of his party to drop the controversial "right to work" bill that led to Democrats going AWOL.

Daniels' statement, from WISH-TV:

"I'm not sending the state police after anybody. I'm not gonna divert a single trooper from their job of protection the Indiana public. I trust that people's consciences will bring them back to work. ... For reasons I've explained more than once I thought there was a better time and place to have this very important and legitimate issue raised."


Daniels has said for months that he's in favor of the idea behind the controversial bills, that critics say would make it nearly impossible for unions to organize in Indiana. But he's urged Republicans not to go ahead with their plans because he said their controversial nature would take the legislature off track.

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Rep. Allen West (R-FL.) became irate at a town hall meeting when Nezar Hamze, Executive Director of the Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR) South Florida chapter, asked him to name the passage in the Quran that commands Muslims "to carry out attacks against Americans and innocent people." West brushed off the criticism -- and told Hamze not to "try to blow sunshine up my butt."

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As Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) continues to push for a bill that would eliminate collective bargaining rights for almost all of the state's employees, a Gallup/USA Today poll taken amid the standoff finds that most Americans would oppose a similar measure in their own state.

In the poll, 61% of adults nationwide said that they would oppose a law that would take away some collective bargaining rights for state employees, including teachers. Only one third, 33%, said that they would support that measure if it were proposed in their state.

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Democrats and Republicans can't even agree on the size of a stopgap measure to fund the government for one month -- let alone until the end of the fiscal year on Sept 30. But they have just a handful of working days to bridge that impasse because, if they don't, the government will shut down on March 4.

While top Republican and Democratic staffers from both chambers negotiate longer-term federal spending legislation, House and Senate Democrats say that the government should continue to operate at current spending levels until April. Those levels, they point out, are already reduced to a level set by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell last year. And further across-the-board cuts would be too disruptive.

"Since this bill is intended to fund vital services like Social Security, our military and border security, it should have no legislation or riders tied to it," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in a statement. "This bill will include the $41 billion in budget cuts that Democrats and Republicans agreed to in December, and will keep the government running for 30 days while both sides can negotiate a common-sense, long-term solution.

No way, say Republicans.

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Another abortion bill up for vote in the South Dakota House of Representatives would require women to obtain consent from their doctors before having an abortion, after the doctor determines that the decision is "voluntary, uncoerced, and informed."

The bill would also require women to attend counseling sessions at a "pregnancy help center" before the doctor can give his consent, and to schedule the appointment at least 72 hours after that consultation.

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Wisconsin State Rep. Gordon Hintz (D), who's been getting attention for an impassioned speech he delivered last week in defense of those opposing the state's anti-union budget bill, is now getting attention for a sexual misconduct citation he received earlier this month. In an e-mail to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Hintz says he's willing to take responsibility for his actions, but is also concerned that his "personal situation is distracting from the much more important issue facing the state."

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A group of government whistleblowers wants a special prosecutor appointed to handle the case of former Bush administration official Scott Bloch. The whistleblowers wrote in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder that Bloch "gravely damaged the federal civil service" and say they are concerned about "about the appearance of impropriety" because the federal prosecutor currently handling the case supported a plea agreement before Bloch withdrew his guilty plea.

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Memo to any Muslim cleric being interviewed by Gretchen Carlson: Prepare to be asked if you are associated with terrorism.

On Fox and Friends this morning, the co-host had a contentious interview with Anjem Choudary, the head of the controversial UK-based Islamic group Al-Muhajiroun, who is planning a March 3 protest outside the White House to call for the establishment of Sharia law in America. And it reached a boiling point when Carlson asked Choudary if, given his background, he would even qualify for entry into the United States.

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