Eric Lach

Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website?s front page. He has previously written for The Daily,, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at

Articles by Eric

In case you missed it (as we sorta did) Friday night's Real Time with Bill Maher featured a moment one rarely sees on live television: the very convincing sparking of a joint by guest Zach Galifianakis. The host seemed somewhat taken aback, as did the guest panelists, particularly Fox News contributor Margaret Hoover, whose reaction to the scent of the hand-rolled smokey treat seemed to confirm that it was marijuana. Watch below.

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A new PPP Poll of the Illinois Senate race shows Republican Mark Kirk with a four-point lead over Democrat Alexi Giannoulias, 46%-42%, with the Green Party's LeAlan Jones and Libertarian Mike Labno each at 3%.

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White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has just issued a statement addressing the searches of cargo planes at airports in Philadelphia, PA and Newark, NJ today. Gibbs said the security precautions triggered by the discovery of two suspicious packages, one on a plane in East Midlands, United Kingdom and one on a plane in Dubai, resulted in the searches of the planes here in the United States. According to the statement, both packages originated in Yemen.

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The Illinois Senate race has been close for months. Democrat Alexi Giannoulias and Republican Rep. Mark Kirk have attacked each other viciously over their respective scandals, attempting to gain advantage in a tight contest. So who is ahead? Well, it depends which polls you look at. Because while Giannoulias and Kirk are the headliners, two other candidates, the Green Party's LeAlan Jones and Libertarian Mike Labno, are each pulling in enough support to sway the results of this close race.

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Stranger Than Fiction? TPM Casts The 2010 Midterms Movie]

One note: support for third-party candidates often comes up much lower on Election Day itself than compared to the pre-election polls. In many cases, voters who were thinking of casting a protest vote ultimately pick one of the two major-party candidates. However, this effect is very hard to predict.

That said, let's break down the numbers:

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