TPM News

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs released the following statement today on recent unrest in Kyrgyzstan:

The President has been closely following the events in Kyrgyzstan, and continues to monitor the situation with his National Security Team. We urge that calm be restored to Bishkek and other affected areas in a manner consistent with democratic principles and with respect for human rights.

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Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano released the following statement today in response to a national security scare involving a Qatari diplomat aboard United Airlines flight 663:

I commend the Federal Air Marshals on board United Airlines flight 663 last night, who swiftly responded to a potential threat to passenger safety while the plane was in flight. These highly trained individuals took appropriate and immediate action to secure the aircraft and communicate the potential threat to authorities on the ground--ensuring that the flight was met by TSA and law enforcement officials when it landed safely in Denver.

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Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) took so much flak this week for declaring April "Confederate History Month," without mentioning slavery, that he eventually had to apologize and add an extra clause to his proclamation declaring that slavery was evil and led to the Civil War.

But McDonnell is certainly not alone. Over the past several years, other states that were part of the Confederacy-- Texas, Georgia, Mississippi and Alabama -- have also proclaimed that April, the month the Civil War began and ended, be dedicated to the study of the Confederate side of the Civil War.

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Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-FL), the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination in the Florida Senate race, is sitting back watching the fight between his two Republican rivals, Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio, insisting that the contest over which one is more right wing will help him in the general election. On a conference call with liberal bloggers just now, he may have added some fuel to the fire when he said that Rubio winning the GOP nomination would provide a clearer choice.

"I think there would be more clarity with a Rubio nomination out of the Republican primary, because he has made a number of statements that have place him in a position in that primary to attract the most conservative voters in the state of Florida," said Meek, when asked by TPMDC how he might have altered his strategies since a year ago, as the nature of the GOP race has changed significantly.

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Former Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) last night defended embattled RNC Chairman Michael Steele as "doing a great job" and just a victim of the Washington establishment.

"Michael Steele is an outsider, the machine is tough to penetrate," Palin told Sean Hannity on Fox News. "It's been good to have an independent outsider trying to create some change in the Republican Party."

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An East Texas man who federal prosecutors allege left explosive devices including pipe bombs in multiple area mail boxes, was motivated in part by anger at the government, Brit Featherston, first assistant U. S. attorney for the Eastern District of Texas tells TPMmuckraker in a phone interview.

"It does appear that there were two motives: one, that he was disenchanted with the federal government, and, two, he was disenchanted with an individual who he perceived that had wronged him," says Featherston of 52-year-old Larry North, who was arrested today.

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The man who runs the unofficial Chicago Republican website where a photo of a naked woman was posted yesterday tells TPM he won't take the picture down, saying it's all about free speech.

"I think I'm just gonna let this thing ride and take the heat," said Tom Swiss, 42, a self-employed Chicago man who runs ChicagoGOP.com.

The NSFW picture is here.

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In an audio tape recorded by an undercover FBI agent while members of the Hutaree Christian militia were allegedly in a van en route to a militia "summit" in Kentucky, alleged Hutaree leader David Stone denounces Interpol and other "law enforcement mercenaries called the brotherhood working for the New World Order."

CNN got its hands on the audio, which was played during the bond hearing for Stone, who is being held in an alleged plot to kill police.

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