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As if Rick Perry needed another reason to dislike the federal government.

The Justice Department's decision to oppose the redistricting plan Perry signed as Governor of Texas is raising questions over whether he and state Republicans tried to dilute the voter power of Latinos by gerrymandering them into particular districts.

DOJ's opening serve sets the scene for a major court battle over how the lines will be drawn in the Lone Star state. Federal attorneys are expected to offer more details of their objections in a filing Tuesday and in federal court in D.C. on Wednesday.

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Hey, he had to do something.

Coming up on three years as President, the unemployment rate remains stubbornly high, and the American public is fretting about a double-dip recession. Its taken a real toll on President Obama's economic approval rating, which has been locked in the mid to low thirties: the TPM Poll Average is at 33.6 percent approval versus 60.7 percent disapproval, down from slightly higher approval earlier in the year.

The post-summer solution? Pivot to the issue voters care about the most -- jobs.

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Politico reports that Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) will resign from his leadership post as Republican Conference chairman, the No. 3 job in the Senate GOP hierarchy and abandon his hopes to ascend to the Republican whip job in the next Congress.

In a letter sent to Republican senators this morning, Alexander says the decision was rooted in his desire to foster consensus in the gridlocked Senate, a role he felt he was unable to play while tasked with leading the Republican Conference.

‘Stepping down from leadership will liberate me to spend more time working for results on the issues I care most about,’ Alexander said in the letter. ‘I want to do more to make the Senate a more effective institution so that it can deal better with serious issues. There are different ways to provide leadership within the Senate. After nine years here, this is how I believe I can now make my greatest contribution.’

KABUL (Reuters) – The U.S. embassy in the Afghan capital Kabul on Tuesday sounded its “duck and cover” alarm warning of a possible attack, and told diplomats the alert was not a drill.

President Obama's first term has been marked by a tendency to take the liberal policy consensus on any issue, move five clicks to the right, and begin negotiations having already conceded quite a bit to conservatives.

His new push to pass a $447 billion jobs plan, and reduce out year deficits in large measure by raising taxes on the rich marks a significant departure from the status quo ante. And it sets Obama up for a risky, but important and necessary fight with Republicans over the country's future.

Put it all together and his plan would juice the economy in the near-term, and pursue a vision for the country that's just about the opposite of the GOP's. In effect, it serves as a rebuke to House Republicans -- and particularly House Speaker John Boehner -- who walked away from an equally far-reaching plan that would have been much friendlier to conservative interests.

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So this is what MoveOn.org sounded like on Saturday in the Washington Post: "MoveOn.org, other liberals grapple with idea of supporting Obama's reelection campaign."

And this is what MoveOn's Campaign Director, Daniel Mintz, sounded like in an interview with TPM on Monday: "I mean I think our members are still going to have the same concerns, but the president lately, on the economy particularly, has been moving really in the right direction to address a lot of those concerns."

Ah, so that's what the power of the bullypulpit is all about.

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Although he did so in a slightly tongue-in-cheek way, tax-hater extraordinaire Grover Norquist amped the "class warfare" rhetoric against President Obama's "Buffett Tax" all the way to eleven.

Shortly after the President announced his plans to adjust tax formulas and make the hyper-wealthy "pay their fair share," Americans For Tax Reform president Norquist tweeted, "Obamas [sic] "new" strategy to divide America: Get the Kulaks."

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President Obama's deficit-reduction plan--complete with tax increases on the wealthiest Americans--won high marks from his liberal base encouraged to see Obama back in fighting mode, but the plan is set to hit a brick wall in Congress -- even in the Democratically controlled Senate and the bipartisan super committee.

Moderate Senate Democrats are signaling strong resistance to tax increases in the President's deficit-reduction plan, and the early disapproval within his own party will no doubt give Republicans on the deficit super committee plenty of cover to block any and all revenue-raising aspects of Obama's plan.

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Celebrating the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, President Obama said “patriotic Americans in uniform will no longer have to lie about who they are in order to serve the country they love.”

Read Obama’s full statement below:



Today, the discriminatory law known as ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is finally and formally repealed. As of today, patriotic Americans in uniform will no longer have to lie about who they are in order to serve the country they love. As of today, our armed forces will no longer lose the extraordinary skills and combat experience of so many gay and lesbian service members. And today, as Commander in Chief, I want those who were discharged under this law to know that your country deeply values your service.

I was proud to sign the Repeal Act into law last December because I knew that it would enhance our national security, increase our military readiness, and bring us closer to the principles of equality and fairness that define us as Americans. Today’s achievement is a tribute to all the patriots who fought and marched for change; to Members of Congress, from both parties, who voted for repeal; to our civilian and military leaders who ensured a smooth transition; and to the professionalism of our men and women in uniform who showed that they were ready to move forward together, as one team, to meet the missions we ask of them.

For more than two centuries, we have worked to extend America’s promise to all our citizens. Our armed forces have been both a mirror and a catalyst of that progress, and our troops, including gays and lesbians, have given their lives to defend the freedoms and liberties that we cherish as Americans. Today, every American can be proud that we have taken another great step toward keeping our military the finest in the world and toward fulfilling our nation’s founding ideals."

The AP reports:



Georgia’s pardons board rejected Tuesday a last-ditch plea for clemency from death row inmate Troy Davis despite high-profile support for his claim that he was wrongly convicted of killing a police officer in 1989.

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