TPM News

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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The new Mason-Dixon poll of the Nevada Senate race shows Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid continuing to have a narrow lead over Republican nominee Sharron Angle.

The numbers: Reid 46%, Angle 44%. The survey of likely voters has a ±4% margin of error. The previous Mason-Dixon poll from two weeks ago gave Reid a one-point edge of 43%-42%. The TPM Poll Average puts Reid ahead by 45.7%-42.6%.

Fun fact: This poll comes the day after Angle claimed that the polls currently show her ahead. In fact, there has not been a publicly released survey showing her in the lead since a month ago.

The director of the government's newly reorganized offshore drilling agency conceded yesterday that the agency has relied too heavily on the oil and gas industry when creating regulations.

"I think there is the perception and the reality that we have been heavily reliant on the domestic oil and gas industry in setting standards," Michael Bromwich, the director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, said Thursday, the WSJ reports. "We're going to be exploring borrowing from alternative models."

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In the battle to replace the retiring Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY), don't expect either candidate to run afoul of Big Coal. Kentucky is one of the nation's largest producers of environmentalists' least-favorite fuel source, and both Republican nominee Rand Paul and Democratic nominee Jack Conway have made it clear that when it comes to energy policy, coal comes first.

"I'm going to judge any energy legislation by four criteria," Conway told me in an interview over the weekend. "Number one: does it do the right thing by Kentucky coal?"

The other criteria are mostly related to coal's influence on things in Kentucky, too. Conway wants an energy bill that he says will protect the state's historically low energy rates, which he claims helps draw business into the state. On cap-and-trade, the phrase du jour in energy policy, Conway says he's worried by a plan that allows "fat cats" to get rich trading pollution credits without much real benefit. He's also concerned by an energy law that doesn't produce a "level playing field" with other polluters around the globe.

In short, Conway is no, say, Barbara Boxer when it comes to energy policy. But that doesn't mean Paul won't try to paint him with a hemp-green brush anyway. Paul is making a huge issue of cap-and-trade, which he says Conway supported before he opposed it. Conway takes issue with that, claiming he's been consistent on energy all along.

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Obama To Sign $600 Million Border Security Bill Friday The Associated Press reports: "Determined to show a commitment to stopping the flow of illegal immigrants, the Senate convened a special session Thursday and passed a $600 million bill to put more agents and equipment along the Mexican border. The voice vote in the nearly empty Senate chamber sends the legislation to President Barack Obama, who planned to sign it into law on Friday. Obama had urged Congress to channel more money toward border security amid complaints from states besieged by undocumented immigrants and illegal drug trafficking."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will receive the presidential daily briefing at 10 a.m. ET, and will meet at 10:30 a.m. ET with senior advisers. At 11 a.m. ET, he will sign the Southwest Border Security Bill. At 8:30 p.m. ET, he will host an Iftar dinner, celebrating the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

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Oh, wow. Last night, Anderson Cooper hosted none other than Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), the main propagator in Congress of the "terror babies" conspiracy theory -- an alleged diabolical 20- to 30-year plot by terrorists to have babies born in the United States, then taken abroad and trained as terrorists before eventually returning here as U.S. citizens (thanks to birthright citizenship) to commit heinous crimes.

Gohmert previously went to the House floor in June and warned about this evil plan, saying he had heard about it from an unnamed former FBI agent. Then on Wednesday night this week, Cooper hosted an actual former FBI official, who explained that there are no reports of this at all.

Cooper brought Gohmert on last night, and began by asking him whether he had even called the FBI agent. And from there, it turned into a nice one-way shouting match -- that is, Gohmert yelling at Cooper repeatedly. At one point Gohmert did admit that he did not check with the FBI itself: "No, I didn't talk to them, because the point is: when we did the research, we found the hole existed."

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Birther queen Orly Taitz has spent the better part of a year fighting a $20,000 fine slapped on her by a federal judge for filing frivilous birther lawsuits contesting President Obama's elibility to hold the office. A few weeks ago, she applied to the Supreme Court to reverse the fine.

When Justice Clarence Thomas denied her application, she vowed to apply to each of the other justices in turn. The next justice she applied to was Samuel Alito, who has now referred the matter to the to the entire court.

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