TPM News

New York City Mayor Bloomberg re-upped his support last night for the right of Muslims to build the Cordoba House Islamic center near Ground Zero. Speaking to Muslims celebrating the end of Ramadan with an Iftar dinner, Bloomberg reiterated that "we are not at war with Islam. We are at war with Al Qaeda."

He added that the debate over the proposed site must be "civil and respectful."

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The AARP -- one of the most influential advocacy groups in the country -- isn't taking too kindly to Alan Simpson's off color characterization of Social Security: "Senator Simpson's latest attack on Social Security is offensive for several reasons, particularly for belittling a bedrock program that is the foundation of family security for all generations," reads a statement from AARP Senior Vice President Drew Nannis.

The vast majority of the 310 million Americans he insulted - particularly 156 million women and younger Americans for whom the traditional pension will be a relic of history - don't have access to the type of traditional pension retirement security that Sen. Simpson has from his decades in Congress. Perhaps that's why his comments demonstrate a woeful disconnect from or disinterest in the challenges facing many American families for whom Social Security is literally a lifeline.

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The man accused of stabbing a Muslim NYC cab driver hardly has the background one might expect from someone charged with a hate crime committed in a drunken rage.

Michael Enright is a film student at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan and has been working with the Intersections International, an interfaith and multicultural effort which seeks to promote justice and peace. The project's website is strongly supportive of the Cordoba House project in lower Manhattan and videos of its leader, Imam Faisel Rauf, are posted on their website.

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Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), has a new TV ad going after her Democratic opponent, state Sen. Tarryl Clark, on taxes. Interestingly, this mega-star of the Tea Party right does not showcase any of her own exploits, and is not present in the ad at all beyond her mandatory statement that she approved this message.

Instead, the ad features a man introducing himself as "Jim the election guy," who will "be around to sort things out" in the campaign, and then tells the viewers about how Clark loves taxes, in the fashion of some kind of friendly tech-support representative.

Is this some pop culture reference that I'm just too out of touch to get? I've asked around the TPM office, and nobody else here understands it.

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The conservative group Let Freedom Ring is organizing a series of nationwide readings called "We Read The Constitution," during which -- you guessed it -- attendees will read the Constitution.

In an interview with TPM, Let Freedom Ring president Colin Hanna said that "a lot of people who revere the Constitution aren't themselves intimately familiar with its details," but the hope is that these events will help Americans "become even more enamored of that document."

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You probably already know all about how Alan Simpson, co-chair of President Obama's commission on fiscal reform, compared Social Security to a "milk cow with 310 million tits" in an angry email to one of his critics. Well, it turns out he has a bit of a habit of hitting send before thinking.

Shortly after influential progressive economist, Dean Baker wrote this post at TPM Cafe, Simpson sent him an intemperate, condescending missive as well, seemingly unaware that one of Baker's main areas of expertise is Social Security.

"I only recently came across your column Alan Simpson: A Man Who intensely Wants to Cut Social Security," Simpson wrote. "If this is the way that you do your reporting, I would think that you would have damn few fans or readers! I'm not out to 'cut' anything. I'm out to stabilize the Social Security system and so, let me share with you what Stephen C. Goss, Chief Actuary of the Social Security Administration shared with the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform on May 12, 2010."

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Democrats are strongly considering swift legislative action to allow embryonic stem cell research to continue in the wake of a district court judge's ruling that abruptly stopped all research.

Rep. Diana DeGette, who has championed stem cell research measures for years, briefed House Democrats via phone yesterday on the surprise ruling that experts told us puts scientific research back to a more restrictive level than it was under President George W. Bush.

DeGette (D-CO) told TPM in a phone interview last night that Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other members of leadership are "very concerned" and she believes legislation could be passed as early as next month.

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The first public poll of the general election cycle in Florida should make Democrats smile -- after the brutal Republican primary campaign for Governor, Democratic nominee Alex Sink is on top heading into November. The new survey of 567 likely voters, conducted by PPP (D) in the two days before the Aug 24 primary vote, shows Sink leading newly-crowned Republican nominee Rick Scott 41-34. Independent candidate Bud Chiles -- expected to draw Democratic votes, if any -- has 8% of the vote.

Polls at the end of the Republican primary, which saw Scott negative campaign his way past Republican establishment pick Bill McCollum, showed Sink was benefiting from the ugly fight. The new PPP poll suggests that Scott turned many voters off with his scorched-earth strategy against McCollum and will now have to regain their support.

Scott's certainly shown he has the resources to try and buy his way back into the voters' good graces. But with Sink leading by eight with a Democratic-leaning independent on the ballot, Scott may have found himself in a deeper general election hole than he expected.

The TPM Poll Average for the race shows Sink leading Scott 38.8-30.5. Chiles draws 11.0% of the vote.

Former Sen. Mark Dayton (D-MN), the Dem nominee for governor of Minnesota, is now chiming in on a controversy surrounding the business that was originally founded by his family: Target's $150,000 donation to a business group supporting Republican gubernatorial nominee Tom Emmer.

As the Star Tribune reports, Dayton responded to the controversy while speaking to reporters:

Dayton: "Personally, I'm disappointed in that decision. I am very proud of what my father and his brothers, who are my uncles, and thousands of Minnesotans built as the Dayton-Hudson Corporation and Target is one of those subsidiaries. You know, my family's been out of the operating side of the business for about the last, almost the last 30 years. I don't hold any stock directly in Target in my own holdings. I don't know the percent of my family's holding in Target but I would estimate it is less than one percent of the actively traded shares in the company and certainly my family has no voice in the actions of Target corporation."

Reporter: "Had your family still be involved do you think that Target would have given to MN Forward."

Dayton: "I don't believe so. No."

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