TPM News

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty (R), who is mulling a 2012 presidential bid, appeared on CNN's Parker-Spitzer last night and said he had the "fortitude" to get things done in Washington. Yet that purported fortitude was not on display when he was pressed to name how he'd address contentious spending issues.

"The country is going to have to look for a leader who's going to have an uncommon amount of fortitude," Pawlenty said. "Not just to flap their jaw out, not just to offer failed amendments, not just to give a speech, but to get it done."

However, when host Eliot Spitzer asked him repeatedly to show that fortitude by outlining how he'd deal with ballooning defense spending, Pawlenty offered few specifics good for only slim savings. Pawlenty embraced a proposal by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to peg DOD spending increases to inflation and to eliminate ineffective weapons programs for an estimated savings of $93 billion over five years, and suggested trimming the size underused military bases.

Spitzer then asked Pawlenty if he'd go further and support calls from several conservatives, including Obama's deficit panel co-chair Alan Simpson, who've said defense should shed $1 trillion over 10 years. Pawlenty said he would not.

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We told you last week that Rep. Steve King (R-IA) was passed over as chair of the House immigration subcommittee. King is prone to outrageous statements about immigration and a range of other subjects, and it seemed like a signal that the new Republican leadership wanted to take a more moderate tack -- at least on immigration.

But the person assigned to the subcommittee, Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-CA), is just about as far-right as King -- he's just quieter about it.

Gallegly has been trying to strip birthright citizenship from the children of illegal immigrants since 1991, when he introduced his first bill to do so. His proposals to change the 14th Amendment have failed repeatedly for 20 years. But now, as changing the birthright citizenship laws becomes increasingly mainstream, it looks as if Gallegly may finally have a chance.

Gallegly -- whose southern California district, like King's, is about 15% Hispanic -- supports amending the Constitution itself to change who counts as a citizen.

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Californians that own cars in cities like San Francisco, where parking is scarce and public transportation is not, have a new option to earn back some of the money they pay to keep their cars: renting those cars to strangers.

A recent change to California's law -- spurred by one entrepreneur's business idea -- will allow individuals to rent out their cars commercially but keep their insurance. And technologies pioneered by companies like ZipCar, proponents say, will help by overcoming people's concerns about giving their car keys to strangers.

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Californians that own cars in cities like San Francisco, where parking is scarce and public transportation is not, have a new option to earn back some of the money they pay to keep their cars: renting those cars to strangers.

A recent change to California's law -- spurred by one entrepreneur's business idea -- will allow individuals to rent out their cars commercially but keep their insurance. And technologies pioneered by companies like ZipCar, proponents say, will help by overcoming people's concerns about giving their car keys to strangers.

Read More →

Jon Stewart last night celebrated the news that the iPhone will soon be available on Verizon's network, relieved that he'll finally be able to make actual calls with his cell phone.

"For the past three or four years, those of us in the iPhone community have sacrificed one thing for the ability to carry around every photograph we've ever taken, or song we've ever listened to, or home video or compass: the ability to make phone calls," Stewart said. "For years, struggling with the world's most popular almost-phone."

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For a 22-year-old high school dropout, some of Jared Lee Loughner's concerns were typical. He had trouble landing a minimum wage job. Girls didn't get him. He fixated on weight lifting.

But other postings allegedly made by Loughner on a private forum associated with the online game Earth Empires under the names Heroin, XTC and Erad were much more disturbing.

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