TPM News

A senior Senate Democratic aide told TPM today there won't be a vote on extending the Bush tax cuts in the upper chamber before the November election, a blow to party leaders and President Obama who believed this would have been a winning issue.

It's also a signal that the House won't take action -- though nothing has been decided for certain, since leaders there have said all along they are waiting for the Senate.

"Absent a stunning turn of events, we're not going to do tax cuts before the election," the aide told TPM.

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After the Senate blocked a vote on the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," Jon Stewart wondered: "Are we run by assholes?"

The repeal, he pointed out, "is supported by 82% of Democrats, 64% of Republicans and 100% of Ladies Gaga." But it still managed to join other "popular bills Congress has somehow managed to snatch from the jaws of victory." So, Stewart said, "are we run by assholes? Indeed."

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Last night, Stephen Colbert decided to help out everyone who "wants to know what the next exciting Christine O'Donnell clip is going to be." So he introduced his "Christine O'Donnell Clip Predictor 3000," which predicts what she did, who she did it with, and on which TV show she will talk about it.

The results? She "killed a drifter with a zombie on Anthony Bourdain's 'No Reservations,'" and she "robbed a bank with a merman on 'Meerkat Manor.'"

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Joe Arpaio, the Arizona sheriff infamous due to his attention-grabbing immigration enforcement related stunts and the accusations his office discriminates against Latinos, allegedly misused millions in funds intended for jail operations, Maricopa County officials said Wednesday.

Excerpts of the reports, obtained by TPMMuckraker, show officials from Arpaio's office made trips to Orlando, D.C., Honduras, Tempe, Belize, Alaska and Puerto Rico on the county's dime and racked up other questionable expenses, like $741 at Sardella's Pizza and Wings. The county was also charged $350 for a hotel room upgrade for one official's spouse. One employee went on multiple extradition trips without submitting receipts for the $62,750 he or she spent -- including $1,341 on Disney World Yacht Club Resort food and entertainment.

Others expenses charged to the county, according to the report, include $1,684 for a portable generator for parade lights on an army tank; $635 at Buca di Beppo when members of the Honduran National Police were in town; and $500 on a carriage ride.

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The Harry Reid campaign is pushing a newly-released video of Republican Senate nominee Sharron Angle, taped a year ago, of her opposing -- and apparently even mocking -- mandated health insurance coverage of autism.

The video, posted on the Nevada Democratic Party's YouTube account, shows Angle at a Tea Party Express rally in late August 2009: "...take off the mandates for coverage in the state of Nevada and all over the United States. But here, you know what I'm talking about, you're paying for things that you don't even need. They just passed the latest one, is every, everything that they want to throw at us now is covered under 'autism,'" Angle said using her fingers to make air quotes for the word "autism." "So that's a mandate that you have to pay for. How about maternity leave? I'm not gonna have any more babies, but I sure get to pay for it on my insurance. Those are the kinds of things that we want to get rid of."

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A 50-year-old Army veteran who was arrested after an eight-hour standoff with federal agents was charged on Wednesday with threatening to kill President Barack Obama. Officials said he planned to ignite a war between Muslims and Christians and "start an apocalypse," and his Facebook page showed that he planned to burn a Koran.

Roman Otto Conaway, 50, was arrested at his home in Fairview Heights, Illinois in the early morning hours Wednesday and was scheduled to appear in federal court on Thursday. During the standoff, Conaway allegedly said a bulky belt he wore and three storage containers on his property were packed with explosives, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

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Two new polls of the California gubernatorial race are out, and continue to show a tight race between Democratic state Attorney General Jerry Brown and Republican former eBay CEO Meg Whitman. A SurveyUSA poll shows Brown leading Whitman by three points, 46%-43%, while a Field Poll has the contest deadlocked, 41%-41%.

SurveyUSA's new findings paint a very different picture than the firm's September 1 poll of the race -- Whitman led in that survey, 47%-40%. There has not been a Field Poll conducted on the contest since a July 5 survey saw Brown leading 44%-43%. Yesterday, a Rasmussen poll produced a similarly narrow margin in the race, finding the Democrat leading 47%-46%. While Whitman led every mainstream poll conducted from August 11-September 11, Brown has not been seen trailing in a poll since.

The latest SurveyUSA poll's margin of error is ±4.0 percentage points, while the Field Poll's is ±4.1 percentage points. The TPM Poll Average still has Whitman ahead in the contest, leading 45.8%-44.4%.

For more on the race, check out TPMDC's full coverage here.

Two new polls of the New York gubernatorial race show Democrat Andrew Cuomo leading Republican nominee Carl Paladino -- though by widely varying margins.

A SurveyUSA poll shows Cuomo leading Paladino 49.0%-40.0% among likely voters, while a Siena poll puts Cuomo much farther ahead, with a 33-point lead over Paladino among registered voters.

This is the first SurveyUSA poll of the race. But Paladino has gained ground since the last Siena poll, taken in mid-August, when he trailed Cuomo by 42 points, 56%-14%. (Rick Lazio polled at 16%).

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President Obama has apparently reached the 'can't do anything right' portion of his presidency. Last night at a fundraiser in New York City President Obama was loudly heckled by a group of people protesting over AIDS funding and DADT. It's unclear how the protesters were allowed into the event, and why they weren't ushered out once they started yelling, but the end result is a large group of people hollering at the President, which truth be told is a little unnerving. Does anyone recall this happening to President Bush?

The protesters held signs up saying "Obama broken promises KILL" and "no retreat, fund AIDS" and yelled "President Obama" so loudly and consistently Obama was forced to respond, something he did rather calmly one might add, saying that "you don't need to yell" and noting that he had increased AIDS funding. Then he encouraged the DADT protesters to find a Republican event to yell at:

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Billionaire Warren Buffett thinks that the Bush-era tax cuts for the superrich have had their day. Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway and one of the richest people in America, told Politico's Mike Allen after a small business program commencement ceremony at LaGuardia Community College, in Long Island City, Queens that it takes time for economic "wounds" to heal. He said he still supports President Obama.

"I'd vote for him all over again. ... I think he's got the same vision about America I do. ... I think he has the same social goals, very much, that I do," Politico reported.

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