TPM News

In an interview with WNED today, New York Gov. David Paterson said focusing on "political shenanigans" is taking away from the efforts to close a more than $3 billion deficit.

Those "shenanigans" refer to reports that President Obama is nudging Paterson to drop out of next year's race for governor.

In bringing focus to Albany's budget problems, Paterson said he wants to "show the voters" that despite that gaping deficit, New York isn't in as bad shape as California, Michigan, Massachusetts or other states -- thanks to him.

"New York, which was hit hardest by the budget deficit because 20 percent of our taxes come from Wall Street, has actually weathered the storm the best of all the states. But the decisions I've had to make are tough decisions. They've dismayed people," he said, speaking about drastic cuts to social services such as Medicaid.

"You're not gonna be very popular when you do this, but anyone who's running against you has to say how they'd do it differently," he said.

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Two hundred to three hundred Iraqi civilians are killed each month, a number down a bit over the last year, according to a new study by the Congressional Research Service.

The study, which you can read here, looks at several different counts of civilian deaths, and notes that reporting on the deaths is still irregular, and methodologies variable. It was posted by Secrecy News.

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The DCCC is on the air with a new TV ad in the NY-23 special election, a Republican-held swing seat that opened up when Rep. John McHugh was appointed Secretary of the Army by President Obama. The new ad goes after the GOP nominee, state Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava, for voting for higher taxes -- the sort of attack we typically see Republicans launching against the Dems.

"Scozzafava was criticized for managing the investment arm of a company, whose subsidiaries owe $192,000 in back taxes," the announcer says. "The icing on the cake? She voted for more taxes and fees for you -- 190 times. Typical Albany politician Dede Scozzafava: A tax record we can't afford."

Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) issued the following statement on Thursday supporting the FCC's development of new "net neutrality." Here's the full text:

"I proudly support net neutrality, and applaud Chairman Genachowski's proposal. The Internet belongs to all of us who use it to work, communicate, learn, and explore; telecommunications companies should not be allowed to decide who and what gets privileged access to this vital resource. I will continue to fight to expand broadband Internet access - and the free flow of information - to every community in America."

The White House released the following statement from President Obama on the interim appointment of Paul Kirk to Ted Kennedy's Senate seat:

"I am pleased that Massachusetts will have its full representation in the United States Senate in the coming months, as important issues such as health care, financial reform and energy will be debated. Paul Kirk is a distinguished leader, whose long collaboration with Senator Kennedy makes him an excellent, interim choice to carry on his work until the voters make their choice in January."

Gov. Deval Patrick (D-MA) has officially announced his appointment of former DNC chairman Paul Kirk, a Kennedy family friend, former Ted Kennedy staffer, and head of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, as interim Senator in the late Kennedy's Senate seat.

"Paul will not seek the open seat in the special election that's coming up in January," said Patrick. "But for the next few months he will carry on the work and the focus of Sen. Kennedy, mindful of his mission, and his values, and his love of Massachusetts."

Sen.-designate Paul Kirk then addressed the media. He reaffirmed that he will not run in the special election, and he thanked the Kennedy family for their support, and discussed his own long-time friendship with Ted Kennedy himself. "To also have the encouragement and support of his family, that I be a voice and a vote for his causes, and his constituents, in the Senate that he loved, is a blessing I can only repay by giving my very best efforts to be the best public servant I can be in the few months ahead."

Kirk also said that he is keeping Kennedy's staff for the duration of his service, maintaining constituent service work that the office had been conducting.

Najibullah Zazi has been indicted on a charge of conspiracy to use a weapons of mass destruction -- explosive bombs -- the Justice Department has announced.

Zazi, who lives outside Denver, had previously been charged with making false statements to investigators, after he was questioned by the FBI in connection to that New York City terror probe.

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Najibullah Zazi, the suspect in the ongoing NYC terror probe, has been indicted for a conspiracy to use explosives bombs (weapons of mass destruction) in the United States. Read the full press release from the Department of Justice below.

NAJIBULLAH ZAZI INDICTED FOR CONSPIRACY TO USE EXPLOSIVES

AGAINST PERSONS OR PROPERTY IN THE UNITED STATES

       WASHINGTON - The Justice Department today announced that Najibullah Zazi, 24, a resident of Aurora, Colo., and legal permanent resident of the United States from Afghanistan, has been indicted in the Eastern District of New York on a charge of conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction (explosive bombs) against persons or property in the United States.

FBI agents in Colorado first arrested Zazi on Sept. 19, 2009 pursuant to a criminal complaint charging him with knowingly and willfully making false statements to the FBI in a matter involving international and domestic terrorism.  Zazi made an initial court appearance on those charges in the District of Colorado on Sept. 21, 2009. The government will ask that those charges be dismissed and that Zazi be transferred to New York to face this new charge.

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We told you yesterday about the FBI agent who resigned after superiors found his list of sexual conquests, including a key witness in the corruption probe of Congressman William Jefferson, and who now appears to be hyping the threat of Islamic terrorism professionally.

But what left us scratching our heads, and what a court filing didn't address, is why the exactly the agent, John Guandolo, would write and then keep a document listing affairs with female FBI agents and a witness in a high-profile corruption case.

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Fallout from that New York City terror probe...

The New York Times reports:

The New York Police Department has removed a senior official from one of its two sometimes competing antiterrorism units, after it played a role in disrupting a sensitive federal terrorism investigation, current and former police officials said on Wednesday. He was replaced by a top official from the other unit.

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