TPM News

The Senate tried twice yesterday to pass the Pigford II settlement, a $1.15 billion authorization for African-American farmers who were discriminated against by the USDA. The Senate failed, twice -- and now the authorization will have to wait until September, when senators return from recess.

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Rep. Anthony Weiner has broken his silence on the controversial Cordoba House Muslim Community Center that will be built a few blocks from Ground Zero, writing a letter to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg that says "elected officials should endeavor to stay out of the business of deciding where houses of worship may or may not be."

Weiner does add, however, that "fair questions" should be allowed to be raised.

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Here's another fun bit from that wacky right-wing questionnaire that Sharron Angle filled out, courtesy of Greg Sargent: She promised not to take contributions from a corporate PAC if the company provides domestic partner benefits to gay employees.

Question 35A asked: "Would you refuse PAC money from those who are fundamentally opposed to your views on social issues?" Angle answered yes. The next question, 35B, asked: "In reference to question 35A, Intel Corporation supports 'equal rights for gays' and offers benefits to 'partners' of homosexual employees. Would you refuse funds from this corporate PAC?" Angle again answered yes.

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Yet another poll of the Minnesota gubernatorial race shows the Democratic candidates ahead of presumptive Republican nominee Tom Emmer -- and by some pretty decent margins, too.

The new poll from SurveyUSA shows former U.S. Mark Dayton ahead of Emmer by 46%-32%, with the Independence Party's Tom Horner at 9%. The polls show that, in a similar three-way race, State House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, the state Dem convention's officially endorsed candidate, would come out ahead by 39%-33%-12%. And former state House Minority Leader Matt Entenza is ahead by 38%-33%-12%. The survey of likely voters has a ±2.7% margin of error.

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Well, that didn't take long.

With the news out that David Vitter's primary challenger, former Louisiana Supreme Court Justice Chet Traylor, is ready to rumble, Vitter's taking a preemptive swing...by trying to convince voters that Traylor is secretly a Democrat.

"Nearly a week ago, my so-called Republican opponent was spotted meeting with two former Democrat elected officials and current trial lawyers in North Louisiana," reads an email Vitter sent to supporters.

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Well, that didn't take long. Less than three weeks after resigning from the Tea Party Express "to free the tea party movement from any more distraction based on my personal comments or blogs," Mark Williams is back at the helm of a tea party group.

As former TPMer Zachary Roth reports, Williams is a leader of the newly-founded "Citizens for Constitutional Liberty," a PAC "that plans to support conservative candidates and promote grassroots activism among Tea Partiers."

Williams, of course, is one of the few tea party leaders to come under direct criticism from other tea partiers. His blog posts and public statements, which tea partiers have endeavored to separate themselves from of late, led to his public grilling for a week following the "satirical" blog post about the NAACP that led to his resignation.

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The Gay Republican group GOProud will host its Homocon 2010 convention in New York City on September 25. Headlining this bash will be none other than "the right-wing Judy Garland" and conservative author Ann Coulter.

"Our gays are more macho than their straights!" the event invitation declares, apparently comparing gay Republicans to straight Democrats.

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A new Rasmussen poll of the California gubernatorial race shows Democratic state Attorney General and ex-Governor Jerry Brown holding a slight edge over Republican nominee and former eBay CEO Meg Whitman. Rasmussen's latest numbers show Brown leading 43%-41%. However, given the poll's ±4.0 margin of error, the race appears to remain up for grabs.

When Rasmussen last looked at the race on July 12, Whitman led Brown 47%-46%. On July 25, a PPP poll painted a slightly different picture, giving Brown a 46%-40 lead. While surveys conducted within the last few months have varied on the race's leader, the point differential has remained slight.

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