TPM News

A helicopter has crashed into New York’s East River, the Coast Guard has announced, and rescue operations are currently underway. MSNBC reports that two people are still trapped in the helicopter. CNN reports that at least three people are being brought to shore. This is a developing story.

Nebraska Attorney General Jon Buning (R) is pushing back against ethics attacks from state Democrats over a vacation home he purchased with executives at a student loan company his office gave a favorable ruling to only a year earlier.

"Big deal," he told a local NBC affiliate on Monday when asked about the issue. "It's where I teach my kids to waterski, right? I'm like a lot of families in Nebraska: I love Nebraska, I got a lake house in Nebraska. So what?"

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by Lois Beckett ProPublica

Bloomberg has published an in-depth investigation into business practices at Koch Industries, run by the politically influential brothers Charles and David Koch. The story lays out what it suggests is a decades-long pattern of illegal and unethical behavior at Koch.

Both Bloomberg's story and Koch's official response are long and full of complicated details, and it's not easy to untangle it all.

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Despite recent warnings about unchecked fraud and abuse associated with wartime contracting, the number of private contractors and the costs associated with them are set to dramatically increase in the coming transition from the military to the State Department in Iraq and Afghanistan

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, estimated that the State Department is set to increase its manpower in Iraq and Afghanistan from 8,000 to 17,000 -- the great majority of whom will be contractors for security, medical, maintenance, aviation, and other functions.

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A few dozen progressives sat in a room in the Washington Hilton on Monday during the Take Back the American Dream Conference discussing how restrictive voter ID laws would affect the 2012 election.

"The groups of voters that are going to be most impacted, what do you all think?" asked moderator Megan Donovan. "Who does this affect primarily?"

"College students!" someone said. "Minority groups!" said another. "Elderly voters!" chimed in one person. "Disabled voters!" said one woman.

"Democrats!" came a voice from the back of the room. The audience burst into laughter.

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Stephen Colbert is "pumped" now that his favorite sport -- "Supreme Courting" -- is back in season.

And all eyes are on the this year's "big match-up": a Supreme Court decision on President Obama's health care law. The heart of the issue is the law's individual mandate, which requires uninsured Americans to purchase health care. Critics say the mandate is unconstitutional and represents government overreach at its worst. Colbert basically agrees.

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Further evidence that the percentage of those Americans unwilling to tax millionaires is much higher within the House GOP conference than the country as a whole: A new CBS News poll shows that 64 percent of those polled support such an increase, versus only 30 percent against.

"Democrats were extremely likely to support such an increase (83 percent did so), and independents also supported it, 65 percent to 28 percent," said the CBS report. "On the other side, 54 percent of Republicans opposed such an increase, while 40 percent supported it."

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Herman Cain back to second place? Perhaps those who can't remember the 2012 GOP primary horse race history are doomed to repeat it.

The latest turn in the Republican primary is back toward Herman Cain, who is showing up in a slew of poll results either tied with or ahead of former (as of this writing) frontrunner Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who has suffered some losses over the last ten days. Of course, the GOP has been here before with Cain: he hit the mid to high teens in national polls behind Romney before the summer and a surge by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), before she herself fell back into the pack and is now hovering around 3 to 4 percent in nationwide surveys.

And before it even begins, let's make this clear: Herman Cain's rise is probably less about Herman Cain. It's about the fickle GOP field grasping for a credible challenger to former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney.

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