TPM News

Kim Dvorak, a conservative reporter in San Diego, has published a police message that she claims is evidence that a Mexican drug cartel really did invade the country in July and take control of two remote ranches near Laredo, Texas. And while local law enforcement says the message proves nothing, Dvorak's latest report does provide clues to how the whole story came to life in the first place.

Dvorak was one of the two bloggers who originally reported the story, which was denied by law enforcement, and then debunked. But Dvorak always stood by the story, and pledged to return with proof.

This week, Dvorak published her follow-up, unearthing a police document that she's holding up as confirmation of the incident.

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The new Rasmussen poll of the Connecticut Senate race finds Democratic state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal's lead over Republican former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon shrinking.

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Bringing The Smackdown: Linda McMahon's Campaign For Senate, And Her Colorful Pro-Wrestling Past]

The numbers: Blumenthal 47%, McMahon 40%. The survey of likely voters has a ±4.5% margin of error. In the previous poll from a month ago, Blumenthal led by 53%-40%. Interestingly, McMahon hasn't seen a conventional bump in her own support from winning this past Tuesday's primary -- she's stayed in the same place, while Blumenthal has declined a bit.

The TPM Poll Average shows Blumenthal ahead by 49.9%-39.9%.

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The American Patriot Foundation, which set up a legal defense fund for birther Army doctor Lt. Col. Terrence Lakin, is claiming that lead prosecutor LTC Steven Brodsky "threatened" Lakin, suggesting it would be easier to "just taser [Lakin] and throw him in the van" to avoid having him speak to the press.

In response, Lakin apparently had this message for Brodsky: "Don't tase me, bro."

That account is according to the American Patriot Foundation, and has not been independently confirmed. Calls to the APF, Brodsky and Walter Reed Army Medical Center were not returned.

Lakin faces a General Court Martial for refusing orders to deploy to Afghanistan, citing his uncertainties about President Obama's place of birth and eligibility to be Commander-in-Chief.

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The new Rasmussen poll of the Minnesota gubernatorial race gives the Democratic nominee, former U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton, a substantial lead over Republican state Rep. Tom Emmer and Independence Party candidate Tom Horner, coming on the heels of Dayton's narrow win in Tuesday's Democratic primary.

The numbers: Dayton 45%, Emmer 36%, and Horner 10%. The survey of likely voters has a ±4% margin of error. In the previous poll from three and a half weeks ago, Dayton led Emmer and Horner by 40%-36%-10%. The TPM Poll Average gives Dayton a lead of 44.2%-33.6%-9.9%

The poll shows that Dayton, who defeated the state party convention's official choice of state House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher by less than one point -- with the help of some self-financing on his own part -- has solid favorable ratings at 53% favorable to 43% unfavorable. By contrast, Emmer is at only 40%-50%, probably thanks to extensive press coverage of some gaffes and right-wing positions. Horner, a former moderate Republican, is at 35%-36%.

Yesterday we told you that Justice Samuel Alito had referred birther lawyer extraordinaire Orly Taitz's request for a stay to the full Supreme Court.

Taitz, who's been fighting a $20,000 fine from a federal judge in Georgia, had applied to the Supreme Court for a stay in an apparent effort to reverse the fine. The application first went to Justice Clarence Thomas, who has jurisdiction over Georgia's circuit. When he denied it, she applied to Alito.

And then Alito referred it to the full court, which a few of our commenters took as a sign of his true sympathies. Some examples:

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New York Democrats are done celebrating Charlie Rangel's 80th birthday party, but apparently the hangover is going to last a little bit longer...

In new web videos, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Attorney General Andrew Cuomo are hit by their Republican opponents for their ties to the Harlem Congressman, who is under investigation for ethics violations.

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Not A Care In The World? Charlie Rangel's Birthday Celebration]

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The new Rasmussen poll of the Colorado gubernatorial race shows Democratic Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper ahead, aided by a split conservative vote between Republican businessman Dan Maes and Constitution Party candidate Tom Tancredo, a famously anti-illegal immigration ex-Republican Congressman.

The numbers: Hickenlooper 43%, Maes 31%, and Tancredo 18%. The survey of likely voters has a ±4% margin of error. In the previous poll from earlier this month, before Tuesday's primary, Hickenlooper led Maes and Tancredo by 42%-27%-24%. So it appears that Maes could be getting a slight bump from his primary win, but is still being kneecapped by Tancredo.

From the pollster's analysis: "Hickenlooper's level of support has been fairly steady for months, but he has clearly benefitted from Tancredo's entry in the race which splits the Republican vote. The Democrat had run roughly even with Maes in two earlier surveys."

The TPM Poll Average gives Hickenlooper a lead of 44.8%-26.3%-22.0%.

A new Tarrance Group (R) poll shows Florida Attorney General leading former health care executive Rick Scott in the Republican gubernatorial primary. This is the second poll in as many days to show McCollum ahead, after many more previous polls that showed the self-financing Scott leading the establishment pick McCollum.

The numbers: McCollum 44%, Scott 40%. The survey of likely primary voters has a ±3.3% margin of error, and there is no prior publicly-released Tarrance poll for direct comparison. The survey was sponsored by the Florida Medical Association, which has endorsed McCollum.

This follows a Mason-Dixon poll released yesterday, which gave McCollum a lead of 34%-30%. The TPM Poll Average gives Scott an edge of 36.7%-35.7%, with McCollum quickly catching up. The primary is August 24.

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Stephen Colbert agreed with critics last night who say that the "Ground Zero mosque" is a "weapon of mass construction" and a "slapping eye-stab" to America. In fact, Colbert said he agrees with Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association "who blogged where angels fear to tweet," and said that there should be "no more mosques, period."

"Every permit granted to a mosque," Colbert continued, "is one denied to an American house of worship" -- "a mall."

He added that we should also ban barns since Timothy McVeigh used one of those. And since Unabomber Ted Kaczynski used a shack "let's get rid of shacks. And just to be safe, let's get rid of Shaq. After all, I think I've seen him in a turban," Colbert said, referring to the 1996 movie Kazaam.

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The Louisiana ad war between Rep. Charlie Melancon (D) and Sen. David Vitter (R) continues today with a new volley from Melancon -- and it's a doozy. Earlier this week, Melancon accused Vitter of not being "honest" with Louisiana; Vitter responded with an ad linking Melancon to "millionaires [and] illegals." So Melancon broke out the big guns, and linked Vitter's prostitution scandal, his abusive staff member and his legislative record in a new ad.

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