TPM News

The exodus continues...

Apple has become the latest big-name company to defect from the Chamber of Commerce, thanks to the group's uncompromising opposition to serious efforts to stop global warming.

In a letter to the Chamber released today, Apple CEO Catherine Novelli wrote that her company "strongly object[s] to the Chamber's recent comments opposing the EPA's effort to limit greenhouse gases."

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Kevin Jennings, the director of the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, has become a major target of the right as Fox News, anti-gay marriage groups and Rep. Steve King (R-IA) pile on the openly gay Department of Education appointee.

"Despite serving as the 'safe schools' czar, Jennings has demonstrated a willingness to look the other way on sexual abuse," said King in a statement today urging President Obama to fire Jennings. "His life's work has been the promotion of homosexuality, even in elementary schools."

One could say that Jennings, the former executive director and founder of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, has devoted his life to the safety of homosexual students, who are disproportionately the victims of violence and harassment at school.

But, according to King, that means "Jennings is committed to the 'safety' of only a narrow portion of American students, while expressing disdain for religion and traditional values."

Many of the attacks have centered around a conversation Jennings describes in his autobiography. When he was a 24-year-old teacher, he wrote, he spoke with a male student, a sophomore, who'd had a sexual encounter with an older man. Jennings didn't report the encounter; instead, he gave the student advice and sent him on his way.

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I just spoke to Jarrod Agen, the communications director for California state Insurance Commissioner and current Republican gubernatorial candidate Steve Poizner, and he sharply criticized rival Meg Whitman for having donated to liberal Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer in 2003.

"Well, the issue is that Meg Whitman did not vote for 28 years, and then her initial foray into politics was to support Barbara Boxer," said Agen. "And it is hypocritical of her to campaign as a 'darned good Republican' throughout California with a record that would suggest something very much the opposite."

However, Poizner may have his own problem that Whitman could attack, if this fight keeps up: In 2000, he wrote checks to Al Gore. The explanation here was that the donations came from a joint checking account, and that Poizner's wife is a Democrat.

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Here's how the Get Crackin folks are pegging this YouTube video, which is definitely the hottest thing on the Internet today:

Levi Johnston, father of Sarah Palin's grandchild, shows us how he Gets Crackin'. Show us how you do it. Show us how you Get Crackin' and you could win $25,000 and see your spot on TV!

Watch and, um, learn(?):

The brand of nuts is indeed sold in the greater D.C. area, and are harvested by the same group who does Everybody's Nuts.

President Barack Obama may not be meeting soon with the Dalai Lama. But the man he ran against in last year's presidential election is.

The Washington Post reported earlier that President Obama's meeting with the Dalai Lama -- who's visiting Washington for the first time since 1991 -- will be delayed until after Obama meets with China's Hu Jintao next month. The Post said the move was "an attempt to gain favor with China."

Well, now Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) announced in a press release this afternoon that he'll "give remarks to honor His Holiness the Dalai Lama" Tuesday morning at the Tom Lantos Human Rights Prize Award Ceremony in Washington. It's not clear that McCain's event with the Dalai Lama has anything to do with Obama's postponement -- though it does have the faint whiff of a consolation prize.

A new survey of Congressional leadership effectiveness shows a surprising result in the House -- Democrats are happier with the leadership of Nancy Pelosi than Republicans are with John Boehner. The survey, appearing in this week's National Journal magazine (sub req'd), asked 102 Democrat heavy-hitters (including former DNC chairs Howard Dean and Terry McAuliffe among dozens of pollsters, consultants and other politicos) to grade the party's leadership on both sides of the Capitol. A similar list of 101 Republicans (including former presidential wannabe Gary Bauer and current Senate wannabe/FL Gov. Charlie Crist) were asked to do the same with GOP leaders

The worst report card went to Harry Reid -- and the best went to Nancy Pelosi. Sixty-nine percent of the surveyed gave her an A or a B. By contrast, 64 percent gave Boehner the same grades.

Things were a lot more lopsided in the Senate, where continuing intraparty strife has left many Democrats questioning the ability of Harry Reid to pass major bills. Just four percent of Dems gave Reid an A, and more than half gave him a C or a D. Republican leader Mitch McConnell did a lot better: 18 percent gave him an A, and just 35 percent gave him a C or D.

In the wake of Bob McDonnell supporter Sheila Johnson insulting Democratic candidate Creigh Deeds for stuttering, condemnations have come in from national stuttering-awareness groups, weighing in on the latest development in the Virginia gubernatorial race:


The National Stuttering Association has a question for Sheila Johnson, who ridiculed Virginia gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds' stuttering:

Do you also make fun of people in wheelchairs, or do you believe that stuttering is the only disability it's okay to ridicule?

The fact is that stuttering is a brain-function disorder that's mostly physiological rather than psychological, and is often genetic in origin. It has nothing to do with intelligence, temperament or leadership ability. Stuttering affects 1 percent of the population, including 77,000 residents of Virginia.

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The news that a mysterious private security contractor has been hired to take control of a prison in the tiny Montana town of Hardin has set off some outlandish conspiracy theories -- like the notion that the deal represents the first wave of President Obama's plan to "have all major cities locked down" by the end of October.

But one related concern -- that the contractor, now calling itself the American Private Police Force, could take over law enforcement duties for Hardin -- turns out not to be far-fetched at all. Indeed, the agreement that APPF -- at the time known simply as American Police Force (APF) -- signed with city's economic development arm, the Two Rivers Authority (TRA), specifically provides for that possibility.

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It gives a sense of how tough the health care battle is that Democrats could only get 22 of the 28 governors from their own party to sign a letter to Congressional leaders urging they pass a bill this year.

It's a standard letter addressed to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader Boehner, telling them states "will only achieve the health care security and stability they need if we succeed in working together with the Congress and the President to achieve health care reform."

But missing from the signatures at the bottom are six governors: Mike Beebe (AR), Jay Nixon (MO), Bev Perdue (NC), John Lynch (NH), Dave Freudenthal (WY) and Brad Henry (OK).

The letter, circulated by Reid's office and the Democratic Governors Association late Friday, is by no stretch of the imagination controversial.

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The head of a California defense contractor says that American Private Police Force brazenly copied information from its Web site and that it's considering legal action against APPF.

CEO Edward Angelino of Allied Defense Systems told TPMmuckraker that APPF's "Mike Hilton came to us for our help looking for supplies and equipment" for the mysterious project at an empty jail in Hardin, Montana.

After a bit of due diligence, Angelino deemed that Hilton and APPF were not fit to do business with -- but not before referring APPF to Allied Defense Systems' Web developer.

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