TPM News

At least one senator doesn't want last night's newly-minted State of the Union ritual of mixed-party seating to be a one-time thing -- or even a once-yearly thing, either. Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE), perhaps the most conservative Democrat in the caucus, has put out a press release saying that the whole party aisle system should be ditched entirely -- and he's invoking some serious language in his cause.

From Nelson's press release:

"So, to paraphrase former President Reagan, whose declaration about the need for unity rings true today in a different context, I hope colleagues will join me and say, 'Get Rid of This Aisle!'

"Let's close the Partisan Divide and let the Democrats, Republicans and Independents all sit together. I'm going to advocate--if there truly is an interest in working together--that we get rid of the aisle on the Senate floor. We could sit not by party but by state, or by alphabet, or some other way that erases the partisan divide. Others will probably join in. We've already gone through the exercise of last night so it should not be difficult to get others to sign onto the idea. The idea would be to send a joint letter to the leaders suggesting mixed seating.


And after the aisle comes down, Republicans will be able to buy those forbidden Western rock albums.

Read More →

Jared Loughner, the suspected shooter in the Jan. 8 attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, researched lethal injection, solitary confinement and political assassins in the weeks before the shooting.

Law enforcement sources tell the Washington Post that a computer seized from Loughner's home shows that he was researching the consequences to an assassination.

Read More →

There are now multiple fronts to Republican health care repeal efforts in the Senate.

The first began quietly Tuesday night, when Minority Leader Mitch McConnell used a procedural prerogative to bypass the committee process and usher the House-passed repeal bill on to the Senate calendar.

Wednesday morning, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), spearheaded a separate effort by introducing a separate repeal bill of his own, along with 34 cosponsors.

Read More →

A woman who embezzled $6 million from the insurance company where she worked, spent $175,000 on political campaigns and blamed it all on her split personalities has been sentenced to six years in prison.

Prosecutors say that Phyllis Stevens, who is 59, siphoned money off Des Moines-based Aviva USA for years by creating fake insurance agents and paying them huge commissions, which were wired into a bank account that Stevens and her wife, Marla, held in another state.

The Stevenses donated some $175,000 to state and federal candidates in 2006 and 2008, They chose mostly Democrats, including former Rep. Betsey Markey (D-CO) and Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN) and Democratic groups, like MoveOn and the Democratic Party of Iowa, but also gave to some Republican women.

Read More →

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA), who is reportedly about to jump into the 2012 presidential race, is quickly making the rounds to blast President Obama's State of the Union address from last night.

Gingrich appeared this morning on Fox & Friends, and had some stern words of ridicule for Obama -- along the lines of the common attack that Obama is an elitist who looks down on ordinary folks.

"Look, the tragedy of this president is that he's very, very clever -- and assumes the rest of us are very, very slow," said Gingrich. This country's in a constant conversation with itself. Within three or four days, the average American is gonna realize, he didn't offer to cut spending, he didn't focus on jobs, he didn't tell us the truth about reforming government.

Read More →

The bomb found along a Martin Luther King Day parade route in Spokane, Wash., may have been packed with a blood-thinning chemical that's found in rat poison in an effort to inflict worse injuries.

Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich told the Spokesman-Review that the bomb -- which officials have already described as sophisticated, with the potential to be devastating -- had some sort of chemical in it, and authorities have speculated that it may be a chemical found in rat poison. The bomb, which was defused without incident last Monday, has been sent for testing to a lab at the Marine Corps base in Quantico, Va..

Read More →

LiveWire