TPM News

Update 7:13 pm ET, Tuesday, September 20 Solyndra CEO Brian Harrison and CFO W.G. Stover will plead the Fifth Amendment and refuse to answer any and all questions put to them at a congressional hearing into the solar panel company's collapse on Friday, Reuters reports, citing letters obtained from Solyndra attorneys.

The two executives are still expected to appear before the House Energy and Commerce's Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, which has since February been investigating the Department of Energy's decision to grant Solyndra a $535 million loan guarantee back in 2009.

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Updated: Sept. 20, 2011, 5:01PM

About 175 mostly wheelchair-bound protesters took to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to protest cuts to Medicaid in deficit reduction proposals.

The protest, organized by the disability group ADAPT, started in the Hart Senate Office Building and proceeded down Constitution Ave. to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The GOP proposal would reduce federal spending on Medicaid by $1.4 trillion from 2012 to 2021. Obama's plan would reduce federal Medicaid spending $66 billion.

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Rick Santorum took his well-known Google problem to the next level Tuesday, telling Politico that he's reached out to the search giant to have his results cleared up and accusing the company of ignoring him for political reasons.

"I suspect if something was up there like that about Joe Biden, they'd get rid of it," Santorum told Politico. "If you're a responsible business, you don't let things like that happen in your business that have an impact on the country."

There's just one problem with Santorum's new line on Google, one search engine expert tells TPM -- it's utter garbage.

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Corrected: September 20, 2011 4:45PM

A new survey of Texas from Public Policy Polling (D) finds that the state's voters do not actually like Gov. Rick Perry, who is now a leading candidate for the Republican nomination for president -- but they like President Obama even less, and as a result Perry would be favored to carry the state in the general election.

The numbers: Perry 51%, Obama 44%. In the previous PPP survey from late June, before Perry was an actual candidate, Obama edged him by 47%-45% -- and what's more, a 59%-33% majority did not want Perry to even run for president. But now that he's actually in the race, things appear to have changed.

Perry's approval rating as governor in the new poll is only 45%, to 48% disapproval. However, Obama's approval rating as president is even lower, at 40%-55%.

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A federal judge rebuffed the Justice Department's attempt to send Kevin Ring, the lobbyist affiliated with Jack Abramoff convicted of bribing public officials, to jail for 17 years, ruling federal prosecutors can't punish him for fighting the charges against him at trial.

Instead of the 17-22 year sentence the government wanted to impose, Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle ruled that Ring will face 46 to 57 months in jail when he's sentenced on Oct. 26.

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) insisted Tuesday that Democrats will not back down in their disagreement with Republicans over how much disaster relief money to provide FEMA and therefore that the threat of a government shutdown is very real.

House Republicans and Senate Democrats are at odds over a provision in legislation to avoid a government shutdown to provide relief to disaster-stricken parts of the country. Democrats are pushing for several billion additional dollars in disaster relief, and are livid over GOP insistence that these funds be offset (specifically with a controversial budget cut to a hybrid vehicle program.)

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A Hill staffer, who spoke with TPM by phone, sends this dispatch from the Senate side in the wake of today's PPP poll showing former White House financial reform adviser Elizabeth Warren leading Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA):

"Just walked passed Senator Brown's office and in the hallway was the man himself, lamenting into his cell phone, 'I don't understand how she can be down 20 points one week and is now up 2. What is going on?'"

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Rick Perry's small-government screed "Fed Up!" has been a major source of trouble for the presidential candidate, but his previous book, "On My Honor: Why the American Values of the Boy Scouts Are Worth Fighting For," is also noteworthy for its detailed defense of anti-gay discrimination.

The Boy Scouts have been a culture war battleground for years over their refusal to allow openly gay Scout leaders. The Huffington Post notes that Perry strongly took their side in the 2008 tome, railing against "homosexual activists" and comparing gays to alcoholics.

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Former President Bill Clinton has some tough words for Republican climate-change deniers: quit making the U.S. "look like a joke."

Kicking off his Clinton Global Initiative in New York, the former president said Americans should make it "politically unacceptable" for people to engage in climate change denial, according to Politico.

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