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Conservatives edge away from anti-ACORN filmmaker caught in wiretap scandal

On Monday morning, Joseph Basel and Robert Flanagan, both age 24, dressed up as telephone company workers and walked into the New Orleans office of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.). Inside the office, waiting for them, was James O’Keefe, the 25-year-old conservative activist who posed as a pimp in 2009 for a series of undercover videos that badly damaged the national community organization ACORN. As Basel and Flanagan clumsily worked on the phones, O’Keefe was recording them for a reason that remains unknown. When the “repairmen” and accomplices were asked for ID, they gave themselves up and were arrested.

Cable news conservative Carlson launches Daily Caller

The offices of the Daily Caller evoke a long-ago era of journalism, circa 2005 or 2006, before The Los Angeles Times closed its big-city bureaus, The Washington Times fired 60 percent of its staff, and magazines from Gourmet to Portfolio shuttered for lack of revenue. A staff of 21 reporters and editors sit in blindingly white offices and a wide-open center space, cranking out content for the site’s January 11 launch. Other possible hires walk in and out of Editor-in-Chief Tucker Carlson’s office, past a lounge inhabited by liquor bottles and a sleeping dog, and decorated by clocks that tell the time in far-flung and random locations: Pyongyang, Jackson Hole, Washington, Honolulu.

GOP plan to ‘repeal health care’ faces high hurdles

As soon as the Senate passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on Dec.24, Republicans and conservative activists started making a promise to voters. Give them a victory in the 2010 midterm elections, and they’ll repeal the bill.

Deal with Big Pharma haunts Democrats

Democratic leaders face a major decision now on health care reform-- yet another one this year that will throw into relief the interests that compete in American representative democracy. They have to choose between either closing the "doughnut hole" and offering full coverage for millions of low-income seniors on Medicare who need to buy prescription drugs or sticking to a deal they made with the nation's major drug companies. According to the deal, the government agrees not to use its bulk buying power to lower the cost of drugs, so long as the drug companies dole out $80 billion over the next decade to subsidize health reform.

Homeland Security hearing lays out immigration battle ahead

A House Homeland Security Committee hearing Thursday morning highlighted the sharp divide in Congress over illegal immigration and what should be done about it, presaging the difficult fight ahead when Congress eventually begins to tackle proposals for comprehensive immigration reform.

Study: Millions to lose unemployment benefits

For millions of unemployed workers, the recession is poised to go from bad to worse. More than 3.2 million laid-off Americans will prematurely exhaust their unemployment insurance in the first quarter of next year unless Congress intervenes, an advocacy group warned Monday.

Jobless benefits extension muddled by lawmaker wrangling

Mike Lillis at the Washington Independent sends the following dispatch from the frontlines in the partisan war to extend benefits to the vast ranks...

Employment bill called ‘corporate giveaway’

WASHINGTON-- Last week, as House Democrats took to the floor with near-unanimous praise for legislation to help the unemployed and stimulate the fragile economy, Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) offered a wildly different message.

“This bill,” he said, “represents a textbook example of how not to deal with the economic challenges that our country faces.”

Band of Dems blasts Geithner plan

WASHINGTON-- Appearing before a House panel on Thursday, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner made his best pitch for legislation granting the White House broad new powers to seize Wall Street firms when their collapse might torpedo others in the industry. It didn’t go so well.

Fear of fascism, ‘gay agenda’ dominates conservative midterm elections kickoff

ST. LOUIS — Kitty Werthmann has made a career out of warning Americans that fascism is on its way. The 84-year-old native Austrian survived the Third Reich and, in her dotage as a leader of the South Dakota branch of the Eagle Forum, has recorded tapes and videos explaining just how Hitler took power. She made her case during George W. Bush’s presidency, but the audience was small–fringe conservative activists, radio hosts like Alex Jones. Then came President Obama. On Saturday, at the “How to Take Back America” conference here, Werthmann found herself speaking to an packed room of conservative activists about the parallels between the rise of Obama and the rise of Hitler.