TPM News

A municipal court judge in New Jersey resigned this week after the state Supreme Court advised him not to promote his new movie -- a satire about President Obama's life that depicts him making a deal with the devil in order to become a communist dictator.

"It put me in an impossible position," the ex-judge, Kenneth Del Vecchio, told TPM in an interview today. "I had two choices: Either I could remain as a judge and shut up and have no free speech rights whatsoever ... or I had to resign."

Del Vecchio, a prolific filmmaker and author, produced, wrote and stars in "O.B.A.M. Nude," a movie about a coke-addled college student who sells his soul to the devil in order to impose his socialist will on the country. Satan starts him out by hooking him up with the "Righteous Reverend," a "close friend" of the devil's.

An excerpt from the trailer:

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Lt. Gov. Bill Halter (D-AR) has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission over racially-tinged attack ads in which Indian actors thank Halter for helping to get them jobs.

The conservative group Americans For Job Security paid for the ads, which Halter opponent Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) denounced as "offensive" -- before launching an India-themed mailer of her own.

The TPM Poll Average for the May 18 Arkansas Democratic Senate primary shows Lincoln leading Halter 45.2% to 31.8%.

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As David flagged on the Editors Blog last night, the Pentagon yesterday banned four journalists from covering trials at Guantanamo after they reported the name of a former military interrogator (which, the reporters note, has been public for years, including from a media interview the interrogator himself gave).

In any case, here's the striking video of Department of Defense spokeswoman Maj. Tanya Bradsher announcing the banning, and the military's rationale, to members of the press yesterday. Watch:

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The new Rasmussen poll of the Ohio Senate race shows Democratic Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher enjoying a bump from his win in this past Tuesday's primary, gaining a one-point edge on Republican former Congressman and ex-Bush administration official Rob Portman.

The numbers: Fisher 43%, Portman 42%. The survey of likely voters has a ±4.5% margin of error. A month ago, while Fisher was fighting it out with Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner for the Democratic nomination, Portman led Fisher by 43%-38% and led Brunner by 45%-38%. The TPM Poll Average for the race currently gives Fisher a lead of 41.5%-39.8%.

As the pollster's analysis notes: "But as is often the case after a primary is over, party support lines up behind the chosen nominee. It remains to be seen whether the new numbers reflect a temporary bounce or a lasting change in the race."

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Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele appeared on MSNBC this afternoon and found himself defending the RNC's decision to hold a recent meeting in Hawaii, maintaining that there's nothing "lavish" about the way the RNC operates. He also dismissed questions about a visit to an unsanctioned visit to a bondage-themed nightclub, saying it's "what happens in a business."

When host Andrea Mitchell asked why the RNC would choose to hold a meeting in Hawaii in a recession -- a location she called "lavish" -- he was aghast.

"Lavish? What evidence do you have of lavishness at our winter meeting in Hawaii?" he said.

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A new Mason Dixon poll shows Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) leading Bill Halter 44% to 32% in the Arkansas Democratic Senate primary.

The TPM Poll Average for the May 18 primary shows Lincoln leading Halter 45.2% to 31.8%.

Still, Halter has outraised Lincoln, with Halter bringing in nearly $580,000 between Apr. 1-28, his campaign told the AP. Lincoln's camp reported it raised just over $300,000 in the same period.

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The Gulf oil spill has been such a public relations catastrophe for BP that the oil giant now scores lower on a "buzz" index than even beleaguered automaker Toyota, according to consumer research outfit YouGov BrandIndex.

The company says it interviews 5,000 Americans each weekday and asks, among other things, "If you've heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, was it positive or negative?"

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