TPM News

Joe McGinniss' highly-anticipated Sarah Palin tome, The Rogue, landed with a bit of a thud when it was released last week. Reviewers hated it, readers didn't buy it and the Palin 2012 speculators were uninterested or unwilling to push McGinniss' salacious revelations.

This is all of course, bad news for McGinniss, who's already complaining that the press isn't giving his work a fair shake. But it might also be bad news for Palin, who was due for another of her trademark long, drawn-out battles with the national press after The Rogue published. Those generally net her a lot of coverage and riled-up supporters.

Enter the lawsuit, sure to get the book and the feud some of the headlines both parties involved are interested.

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The threat of a government shutdown, and the possibility that FEMA will run out of money this week, will both be averted, thanks to some clever accounting and the GOP's lack of will to keep holding disaster relief funds hostage to budget cuts.

On the Senate floor late Monday, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced an agreement by which the Senate (and presumably the House) can dispense with all the sturm und drang about offsetting disaster aid and pass legislation that will keep the entire government -- including FEMA -- open after September.

The measure passed 79-12.

What ultimately broke the impasse was FEMA's announcement Monday that it won't run out of funds early this week -- a presumption House Republicans had hoped would force Senate Democrats to accept a partisan budget cut, on the threat that disaster victims would otherwise be deprived of assistance for days or even weeks.

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Rick Santorum, who has stepped up his attacks on Rick Perry in the last two debates, now is accusing the Texas governor of being soft on drugs.

In his book, Fed Up!, Perry wrote that while he did not believe drugs like marijuana should be legal, he emphatically supported the right of states like California to legalize it themselves.

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House Speaker John Boehner said that he got 98 percent of what he wanted in the final debt ceiling deal this summer. But the percentage of Americans that trust the GOP to do what's right on the deficit is significantly lower than that -- nearly three times lower.

As Americans' stomachs turn at the possibility of a government shutdown over yet another spending battle, everyone seems to be at fault. On Monday morning Gallup released the news that more people are dissatisfied with the way government is being run than they were after Watergate, a very high (or low) bar that Washington has hit a few times during the last decade or so. Later on Monday the Pew Research Center released some delineations about that sentiment.

Pew conducted a survey on how Americans feel about political leaders' ability to handle the deficit, an issue that has been eclipsed as the highest priority by jobs, but is still a major concern. The data showed that only 35 percent of Americans have confidence that GOP congressional leaders will do the right thing on the deficit, 43 percent thought the same about congressional Democrats, but a majority of 52 percent felt that President Obama will do the right thing on the issue.

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The world's largest social network is seeking to expand its political influence in America: Facebook is forming a political action committee (PAC), the company confirmed to The Hill on Monday.

The company also appeared to have registered the domain names FBPAC.us and FBPAC.org, but has yet to effectively secure FBPAC.com, FBPAC.net or FB.com, which are all claimed by the American Farm Bureau, according to Domain Name Wire.

"FB PAC will give our employees a way to make their voice heard in the political process by supporting candidates who share our goals of promoting the value of innovation to our economy while giving people the power to share and make the world more open and connected," a Facebook spokesman told The Hill via email.

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Here's an item for the annals of weird crimes/past times: One of the latest crazes sweeping the world, according to law enforcement authorities, is the practice of shining cheap laser pens into the eyes of airline pilots as they land.

The FBI on Monday issued a statement and explanatory videos reminding the public that such activity is a federal felony. The bureau also released dramatic footage of an actual incident showing a St. Louis, MO.-man on the ground flashing a green laser into the cockpit of a helicopter. The pilot promptly contacted law enforcement authorities, who quickly arrived and arrested the individual.

That individual was 24-year-old Justin Stouder, who said he had no idea that pointing the laser into the cockpit blinded everyone inside. He apologized in a Monday news conference held by the FBI for his "selfish mistake."

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Democrats are going after Mitt Romney's Harvard bashing, highlighting the Harvard alum's numerous personal and campaign ties to the university he frequently badmouths on the campaign trail.

Romney has repeatedly slammed President Obama for taking his foreign policy advice from the "Harvard faculty lounge." But as TPM noted over the weekend, Romney earned graduate degrees in both business and law from Harvard. In addition, three of his sons are Harvard graduates and his campaign includes multiple advisers who either teach at the elite university or hold a degree from it.

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There is no doubt that Google is shaping our future, but it is also doing its part to preserve the ancient past, creating searchable digital copies of The Dead Sea Scrolls using high-resolution photographs taken by a celebrated anitquities photographer.

To be more specific, Google has digitzed - or made digital copies of - five of the most-complete scrolls, allowing Web users to see them up close in extreme detail (1,200 megapixels), and to search for specific passages in English and Hebrew. The digitized copies of The Great Isaiah Scroll, The Temple Scroll, The Community Rule Scroll and The Commentary on The Habakkuk Scroll are available online at The Israel Museum in Jerusalem's website.

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The food fight between the parties continues. But Democrats see a way out of the latest government shutdown fight -- it's just a question of timing, and, of course, Republican cooperation.

Earlier Monday, we learned that FEMA's disaster relief fund had a bit more money in it than officials expected it would late last week. It's possible, even, that the agency will be able to make it through September 30 (the end of the fiscal year) without needing an emergency cash injection.

If it can, then the grounds for this fight disappear. Here's why:

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