TPM News

The NRSC is firing back at Harry Reid's reposting of Sharron Angle's old website -- by posting a fake Harry Reid website as a parody.

After she won the Republican primary a month ago, Angle's campaign took down most of its website, and later replaced it with a relaunched version that toned down her right-wing positions. But the Reid campaign saved the old version, and put up a website called "The Real Sharron Angle," reproducing the old content. Then last Friday, the Angle campaign sent them a cease-and-desist letter, alleging violation of copyrights and that the site was Angle's intellectual property. In response, the Reid campaign briefly took down the site -- then made some slight modifications, and put it right back up again. And in response, Angle is still threatening legal action.

Now the NRSC has come out with "The Real Harry Reid," taking the current layout and overall look of Reid's website, but with headlines about high unemployment and the national debt.

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West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw (D) has issued a legal opinion saying that there can be a special election this year for the Senate seat formerly held by the late Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd. This decision will likely set the process in motion for an election, with the possibility of an interim appointment made by Dem Gov. Joe Manchin -- who would also be the Democrats' strongest possible candidate.

Secretary of State Natalie Tennant (D) announced last week that there would not be an election, but instead a gubernatorial appointment to last through November 2012, when the term would have been up anyway. This result struck many people as odd or counter-democratic, but was actually the product of the state's very confusing statute on the subject, and in fact had a binding legal precedent from the 1990s.

However, Tennant herself stated her disagreement with this outcome, and Manchin sought the legal opinion from McGraw on the subject, with Manchin also preferring to hold an election this year and to potentially change the law if necessary. Manchin has categorically ruled out appointing himself, but with this ruling he could potentially appoint another person and then run for the election this November.

At a press conference announcing his recommendation of Gen. Jim Mattis to lead U.S. Central Command today, Defense Secretary Robert Gates addressed the memo he recently issued regarding the military's interactions with the media.

The memo, issued last Friday, requires top level military personnel to notify the public affairs office before interviews "with possible national or international implications." It was issued in the wake of a Rolling Stone profile of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, in which the general and his aides publicly trashed members of the Obama administration. McChrystal has since been relieved of his command.

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Can you guess why eight Republican senators -- including one who backed her for solicitor general -- are opposing Elena Kagan's nomination to the Supreme Court? In the year of the tea party, it's perhaps not so hard to figure out. Most of them are facing, have faced or might eventually face voters who think that they aren't conservative enough.

Sens. Jim DeMint (R-SC) and James Inhofe (R-OK), both of whom announced their opposition already, were probably always going to vote against Kagan anyway. But the other senators who have made their disapproval public have, at times, been considered of a more moderate persuasion. Sens. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), John McCain (R-AZ), Robert Bennett (R-UT), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) have something in common besides their already announced "No" votes on Kagan -- political targets on their back.

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In an interview on Israeli TV, President Obama said that his middle name -- "Hussein" -- was one cause of distrust that some Israelis feel toward him.

"Some of it may just be the fact that my middle name is Hussein, and that creates suspicion," the president said.

On the other hand, he also pointed out, his Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel's middle name is "Israel."

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Not recently, of course, as Lindsay Lohan was sentenced to 90 days in jail on Tuesday and will have to report for her sentence on July 20. But whereas most politicians have to live down photographs with far less photogenic felons -- Jack Abramoff and George W. Bush come to mind -- Florida Senate candidate Jeff Greene will only have to live down several recently-surfaced pictures of him hanging out over New Years with Lindsay Lohan.

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A group of marine scientists just got back from a science-type voyage with a bunch of totally bizarre, creepily beautiful new species. Wanna see 'em?

You want to know what is cool? The ocean, that's what's cool. A six-week trip in the Atlantic turned up tons of new species, some of which may be "close to the missing link in evolution between backboned and invertebrate animals," and all of which look like the kind of thing you encounter on serious psychotropics. Here are ten of them, beautifully photographed by David Shale. We named them all, to encourage you to be friendly!

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Sharron Angle, the Republican nominee for Senate in Nevada against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, has very quickly reversed herself on comments she made on a radio show yesterday, in which she slammed the $20 billion escrow account that BP negotiated with the Obama administration to pay damage claims resulting from the Gulf oil spill. Angle's reversal -- she now says her description of the account as a "slush fund" was "incorrect" -- provides a further data point that while bashing the fund may play well with some on the right, it is also politically untouchable with the wider electorate.

Angle released this statement:

Setting the record straight about BP and the Obama Administration

There's been some confusion this morning regarding my position on BP and the oil spill.

Having had some time to think about it, the caller and I shouldn't have used the term "slush fund"; that was incorrect.

My position is that the creation of this fund to compensate victims was an important first step-- BP caused this disaster and they should pay for it. But there are multiple parties at fault here and there should be a thorough investigation. We need to look into the actions, (or inactions) of the Administration and why the regulatory agency in charge of oversight was asleep at the wheel while BP was cutting corners. Every party involved should be held fully accountable.

Angle's rapid walk-back on this mirrors the same path followed by Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, who apologized to BP for the creation of the fund. Barton was forced by GOP leadership to retract his statements that same day. Of course, the curious thing here is that Barton's comments happened three weeks ago -- so Angle really should have had enough time to learn from this prior example.

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It's all starting to make sense. In continuing to deny that he assigned his former aide, Brent Furer to be his point man on women's issues after Furer was charged with domestic violence, Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) now says it's all a big misunderstanding. Furer's job, it turns out, had nothing to do with women at all.

If, like Vitter, you don't count abortion as a woman's issue, that is.

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