TPM News

Democrats are bracing for a possible loss in New York's 9th district, where Queens and Brooklyn residents will go to the polls on Tuesday to decide on a replacement for Anthony Weiner, who resigned earlier this year over lewd messages that he had sent over Twitter.

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It is the best of venues for a brawl about Social Security, and it is the worst of venues to stand up for it.

That's the conundrum facing the Republican candidates who'll gather tonight in Tampa, FL to debate once again. A central theme of the televised debate is expected to be Social Security, the popular program Rick Perry loves to hate and many of his competitors are falling all over themselves to defend.

Florida is the logical place to make this stand, for obvious population reasons. But Monday's debate, co-sponsored by the Tea Party Express and CNN, could also be the best place for Perry stick with the whole "Social Security is a monstrous lie" routine.

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RNC Chairman Reince Priebus seeks to make the bankruptcy and investigation of solar energy firm Solyndra into a liability for President Obama. ‘Solyndra is now the prime example of stimulus failure,’ Priebus siad in a statement. The firm was given $500 million in loan guarantees from the Department of Energy and touted by the president as a provider of green jobs. Two weeks ago, however, the company announced its bankruptcy and laid of 1,100 workers. In the aftermath, the FBI executed a search warrant as part of an investigation into whether the firm misled the federal government while securing its loans.

What Priebus failed to mention in his statement is that while the Solyndra loan was funded in part by funds from the 2009 stimulus program, it was issued and managed by a federal loan guarantee program created in 2005 under the Bush administration. The House Energy and Commerce Committee will be holding a hearing this week to investigate the loans. Solyndra President Brian Harrison and CFO W.G. Bill Stover are expected to testify.

The AP reports that North Carolina will debate a constitutional ban against gay marriage on Monday. It is currently the only southeastern state without such a ban already in its constitution and its GOP-controlled legislature seeks to correct that. The proposed amendment would also give voters in 2012 the option of making North Carolina’s state law defining marriage mirror the proposed constitutional amendment.

The amendment could serve as a major draw for conservative voters; bringing them to the polls large numbers in the 2012 election in a state Obama won by the most miniscule of margins in 2008. It could also serve as a wedge issue for the GOP against the incumbent Democratic governor, Beverly Perdue.

PARIS (Reuters) – One person was killed in an explosion at the nuclear site of Marcoule in southern France, France’s ASN nuclear watchdog said on Monday, but there was no leak of radioactive material.

RAS LANUF, Libya (Reuters) – Muammar Gaddafi loyalists attacked an oil refinery on Monday, killing 15 guards, in an apparent attempt to disrupt a drive by Libya’s new rulers to seize the ousted leader’s last bastions and revive the oil-based economy.

(Reuters) – Britain’s banks face some of the world’s toughest regulations under reforms outlined on Monday, which require them to insulate their retail lending activities and store up billions in extra capital at a cost of up to 7 billion pounds ($11 billion).

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, said on Monday at least 2,600 people had been killed in Syria since the uprising against the Assad regime began in March.

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