Morning News and Stuff

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty on Sunday said they refuse to aid in raising the nation’s debt ceiling without major cuts in the federal budget deficit. McConnell told NBC’s Meet the Press that he is prepared to keep the ceiling in place “unless we do something really significant about debt and deficit,” while Pawlenty challenged the Obama administration's assertion that not raising the debt limit would trigger a default.—-

The United States has until Aug. 2 to raise the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling, according to Treasury Secretary Time Geithner. Failing to act before then would mean “catastrophic” consequences. But Pawlenty says that the consequences of failing to raise the cap may not be as calamitous as the White House has claimed. “There are some serious voices challenging that very premise,” he said. “And the answer is nobody really knows, because we’ve not been at this point before.”

Read: “Catastrophic”

Sarah Palin rumbled through Washington yesterday on the back of a Harley Davidson as she and her family began an East Coast tour. After completing the Memorial Day weekend ride from the Pentagon to the Vietnam Veterans’ memorial, Palin refused to comment on politics but did ask: “How do you wear all this leather and stay cool?”

The next stop after the “Rolling Thunder” rally is unknown because Palin has kept her itinerary secret. Palin’s organization has declined to publish a list of dates for the bus tour, baffling supporters and the media alike. Chris Healy, chairman of the Connecticut Republican Party, said he “heard nothing, nor have I been contacted,” about a visit despite vague hints from Palin that she’d head “up through New England.” Similarly, the New Hampshire Republican Party heard that Palin was coming to their state by watching the news, confirming that details of where she will stop and what she will do when she gets there remain a mystery to anyone outside of Palin’s camp.

PBS briefly carried a fake story on its website claiming that Tupac Shakur was alive and living in New Zealand after a group of hackers took over the organization’s computer systems Saturday night. In addition to posting the news story, the group who identified itself on Twitter as @LulzSec or The Lulz Boat, began posting passwords and e-mail addresses of people from a wide range of news organizations and other information belonging to PBS. “Anyway, say hello to the inside of the PBS servers, folks. They best watch where they’re sailing next time,” the group said after indicating they were unhappy with a Frontline program about WikiLeaks that recently aired on PBS.

Rep. Robert Weiner (D-N.Y.) maintains that this could be the same group that hacked his Twitter account and uploaded a photo of an erect penis covered only by underwear, but 21-year-old Gennette Nicole Cordova ain’t buyin’ it. Cordova posted to Twitter: “I wonder what my boyfriend @RepWeiner is up to right now.” After “WeinerGate” ensued on Saturday, Cordova’s Twitter and Facebook accounts were deleted causing speculation about the incident.

Avril Lavigne embarked on a profanity-ridden rant while performing at a Tampa Bay Rays game on Saturday night. Avril aimed her hate at fans that booed the technical difficulties that occurred during her first song, notably a dead microphone.