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Triumph: Gabrielle Giffords leads the Democratic National Convention in the Pledge of Allegiance.
  • Mo' Money:
    A Federal Election Commission opinion issued Tuesday expands the scope of text-message based political contributions to allow contributors to donate the maximum amount allowable by law.

    Previously, the FEC had limited donations that are made via mobile short codes that appear on the phone bills of contributors to $50 per billing cycle and $200 per election cycle. The system that was first backed by the FEC was designed to allow for the same level of donations that can be made on a cash basis, without triggering reporting requirements.

    Under the new guidelines, campaigns will be responsible for ensuring the eligibility of donors and identifying people who donate more than the $50 and $200 limits, as is currently required for other types of donations.

    Mo' problems? There are still outstanding questions (posed by AT&T to the FEC) about whether discounted transaction fees constitute an in-kind donation to the campaign.
  • PriceWaterHouseCoopers and the Romney campaign are working with the Secret Service in response to an extortion threat. Hackers say they've obtained Romney's pre-2010 tax returns, PriceWaterhouseCoopers denies there was a security breach. Hacker's claims are specious, but there's those darn tax returns back in the news again. Hey Mittens, know how you could neutralize their shakedown efforts? #ReleaseTheReturns to the public yourself.
  • The Week sums up Gawker's Bain files: 7 revelations about Mitt Romney's finances.
  • Lee Fang at The Nation gets ahold of a letter House Representative Paul Ryan sent to Department of Health and Human Services in Dec. 2010, lobbying for a grant to build a health facility in his district.
    The grant Ryan requested was funded directly by the Affordable Care Act, better known simply as healthcare reform or Obamacare.

    The letter, among several obtained by The Nation and The Investigative Fund through a Freedom of Information Act request, is a stark reminder that even the most ardent opponents of Obamacare privately acknowledge many of the law’s benefits

  • Via press release: Detroit Public Schools experience unprecedented attendance levels and large numbers of students returning from charters/out-of-district schools:
    Detroit Public Schools Emergency Financial Manager Roy S. Roberts today announced that the school district had reached nearly 85% attendance on the second day of the school year and that more than 1,600 students had enrolled in DPS schools from charters and out-of-district schools as of Wednesday, Sept. 5.
    A rather less-sunny picture of Detroit is presented in a new documentary Detropia, opening this weekend. It appears worth checking out.
  • We'll get the sticky-fingered culprits! A Canadian manhunt commences for dastardly scoundrels that have absconded with $30M—or 10 million pounds—of maple syrup.
Tracks from the first drives of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity are visible in this image captured by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
We built that! Tracks from the first drives of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity are visible from space
in this image captured by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
  • Educators, now's the time to submit your request to NASA to obtain authentic space program artifacts for your school. More 411 here.
  • Gayest convention ever, empirically: according to the National Stonewall Democrats, 486 of the 5,963 delegates—or just over eight percent—identified themselves as LGBT.
  • Sarah Posner at Salon asks, "Why did Democrats allow the cardinal to give a right-wing prayer?" and answers the question herself: "The party still can't speak truth to power." But Adele Stan at AlterNet has a different take: "At DNC Podium, War for the Soul of Catholic Church."
  • Oh, Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin! Please, promise you'll never change?
  • France proposes a 75-percent tax on income exceeding one million euros, a centrepiece of Francois Hollande's presidential campaign earlier this year. Finance minister Pierre Moscovici said the president "made a very clear and strong commitment on very high earnings being imposed at 75 percent... This commitment by the President of the Republic, will be strictly respected" in the 2013 budget.
  • Where are those Chick-Fil-A chowing right-wing "free speech" champions now? Maryland state delegate goes on a rampage because Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo expressed his support for marriage equality. State Del. Emmett C. Burns Jr. (D) wrote the National Football League demanding they sanction Ayanbadejo:
    I am requesting that you take the necessary action, as a National Football League Owner, to inhibit such expressions from your employees and that he be ordered to cease and desist such injurious actions. I know of no other NFL player who has done what Mr. Ayanbadejo is doing.
    (Psst, Del. Burns? Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe is another who's done what Mr. Ayanbadejo is doing. See also Carolina Panthers linebacker Nic Harris, New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie and Arizona Cardinals linebacker Isaac Keys.) The takeaway from Burns is apparently it's OK to try to silence, bully and threaten the livelihoods of marriage equality supporters, just don't dare try it with detractors.

    Ayanbadejo responded by thanking the delegate for drawing national attention to the topic. But of his free speech rights, Ayanbadejo added, "I was surprised. It's what our country was founded on. For somebody to try to take that away from me I was pretty surprised, from a politician especially." The ballplayer also spoke his mind on Twitter.

  • Beloved free speech icon, author Judy Blume discloses her recent struggle with breast cancer on her blog: !@#$% Happens:
    I've joined The Club - not one I wanted to join or even thought I would ever be joining - but here I am.
    Best wishes to Blume, she reports she's "lucky" and doing fine.
  • Registering to vote just got easier. With this little widget, you can fill out a registration form, print it off and mail it in ... or, if you're lucky enough to be in a state where you can register online, it will take you directly to your Secretary of State's website. Do it now! And share it with family and friends. Remember, as Rep. John Lewis said, voting is "the most powerful, nonviolent tool we have to create a more perfect union."

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