TPM News

Fortune is out with a story today on California Senate candidate Carly Fiorina (R), reporting that she orchestrated unstable deals in an effort to grow the telecom company she lead in the 1990s as quickly as possible -- and make headlines.

Fiorina has run largely on her experience leading Hewlett Packard. But before she joined HP, she worked for a telecom company called Lucent Technologies.

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A new Orion Strategies/Marshall University poll of the West Virginia Senate race has some good news for Democrats -- with Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin sporting a double-digit lead against Republican businessman John Raese in the contest to succeed the late Dem Sen. Robert Byrd.

The numbers: Manchin 48%, Raese 38%. The survey of likely voters has a ±4.6% margin of error. There is no prior Orion/Marshall poll for direct comparison.

The TPM Poll Average now gives Manchin a lead of 46.8%-45.2.

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Yesterday's blow-up on The View between Bill O'Reilly, Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg has sparked an interesting discussion about semantics, politics and the power of words. During yesterday show, the conversation turned to the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque" and O'Reilly said "Muslims attacked us on 9/11," greatly offending two of the co-hosts of The View. Both Behar and O'Reilly have explained their part in the kerfuffle, and today Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade got in the act, defending his FNC cohort by saying not all "Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslim." Huh.

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Stephen Colbert had a startling realization last night, after hearing Christine O'Donnell equate being gay in the military to having an affair in the military during this week's Delaware Senate debate. Colbert was alarmed because she also has said that "lust in your heart is committing adultery. "So you cant masturbate without lust."

"Let's follow O'Donnell's ironclad logic," he said. "Being gay in the military equals committing adultery in the military. 'Military' is on both sides so let's reduce that equation. So, being gay equals committing adultery, and masturbating equals committing adultery. So by the transitive property of O'Donnell, masturbating equals being gay."

"How could I not see this?" Colbert wondered. "All this time I've been doing it with a dude!"

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Christine O'Donnell: Anti-Masturbation Crusader. Witchcraft Dabbler. Republican Senate Nominee]

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Stephen Colbert popped in on Jon Stewart last night for a reason that became apparent to Stewart very quickly: "You didn't get a rally permit did you?" Colbert replied that he's an American, he doesn't need a permit: "Would I need a permit to hold a 100,000 person get together in my backyard?"

When Jon finally agreed to add Colbert to his own rally permit, the latter was triumphant: "You just made the biggest mistake of your life, Jon Stewart, or should I say Neville Chamberlain?"

But after Colbert claimed that he had stolen Jon's "mojo," Oprah stepped in to mediate. She also gave everyone in the audience tickets to the rally, leaving even Colbert impressed: "Jon, I gotta say, your rally is supposed to be about sanity, and that was insane."

Jon disagreed: "Oprah could have built these people an ark, flooded the northeast corridor, and floated them down to the rally. She has her own network of angels."

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Remember last year, when Pajamas Media gave Joe The Plumber a camera and sent him off to do some serious investigative work in Israel? Well, they're doing it again -- except this time instead of Joe the Plumber it'll be as many Pajamas Media readers as they can find, and instead of Israel it'll be every polling place where those readers suspect there might be voter fraud.

The conservative website announced the launch of a "Voter Fraud Watch" this week.

J. Christian Adams, the former Justice Department employee who quit the Civil Rights Division and testified before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights on the DOJ's handling of the New Black Panther Party case, has "agreed to lend his legal expertise" to Pajamas Media, where he is a contributor.

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Yesterday, a District Court judge in Florida ruled that a lawsuit filed by 20 states and other plaintiffs can proceed. The development represents decidedly mixed news for the Obama administration and supporters of the health care law. The good news is that the judge -- Reagan appointee Roger Vinson -- threw out four of the plaintiffs' six complaints. The bad news is that he will hear the weightiest of their contentions -- that the individual mandate exceeds Congress' power to regulate under the Commerce Clause. And according to one of the foremost experts on the health care lawsuits, the ruling indicates that the judge is sympathetic to the plaintiffs.

"On the Commerce Clause argument he suggested it was going to take a lot to convince him that the government is right," says Professor Timothy Jost of Washington and Lee University. "They're going to really have to come up with something because [at least in the judge's mind] the law is pretty clear on that."

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Ron Johnson's campaign for Wisconsin Senate is premised largely on the notion that he's a successful businessman who knows how to create jobs.

Johnson owns a plastics company called PACUR in Oshkosh, WI. According to a recent report by the business research firm Investext, PACUR enjoyed estimated annual sales of $36 million, and employeed 100 people in 2009. His spokeswoman, Sara Sendek says it's a bit bigger than that -- about 120 employees.

With unemployment sky high, Johnson's been able to capitalize, politically, on his success, and has been leading his opponent, Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI), in the polls since July. "I'm not a politician," Johnson says in a recent ad. "I'm an accountant and a manufacturer. I know how to balance a budget, and I do know how to create jobs.'

However, Johnson's usually mum about the fact that one of his largest clients is Bemis, a publicly traded company founded by his now-deceased father in law, and currently run by his brother in law, Jeffrey Curler.

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The Texas sheriff working most closely on the "lake pirates" shooting incident told TPM Thursday that reports over the weekend of suspects in the case may have been distributed by drug cartels. Reports from both sides of the border about the case have conflicted often, and Zapata County Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez himself has been at the center of some of the confusion. But in an interview with TPM Thursday, he said his office had spoken with Mexican authorities, who told him they had not given information about suspects to the media.

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Billboards are, arguably, the most American way to advertise. So it follows that the country's tea party folk and libertarians -- the people who see a threat to the very American ideals a billboard represents -- would use the giant tributes to capitalism to express their displeasure with President Obama.
Here, we have a billboard put up by a birther in Wheat Ridge, Colo., last November. The owner of the sign went on MSNBC to decry Obama as "anti-Christian."


A group called -- what else -- Billboards Against Obama posted a series of billboards in Atlanta.

This billboard, which showed up recently in Grand Junction, Colo., shows four cartoon personas of Obama -- a terrorist, a bandito, a gangster and a gay man -- gambling with the Constitution while surrounded by vermin named "trial lawyers" and "Fed." The artist, Paul Snover, hasn't revealed his patron.

The North Iowa Tea Party put up this billboard, comparing Obama to Adolf Hitler and Vladimir Lenin, in July. Then they took it down.

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This gem appeared in Minnesota, in, perhaps not surprisingly, Rep. Michele Bachmann's home district.

We've chronicled the perceived threat of Sharia, or Islamic, law to the U.S. Constitution at TPMmuckraker. In Michigan, a group called the United American Committee, warned about the before it was cool, in November 2008.

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Let's take a break from the anti-Obama billboards. This is one of many that appeared of Obama's trip the African country of Ghana last July.


The folks in Grand Junction, Colo., don't seem to be fans of Jimmy Carter or Obama. The billboard company that posted this said they got hundreds of messages of support and only a handful of detraction.

A simple message in Oshkosh, Wisc.


Cedar Rapids, Iowa.