Michael Lester

Originally from Scotland, Michael was a freelance video editor before joining TPM in the summer of 2011. He lives in New York with his wife and two cats and is a lifelong fan of The World Famous Dundee United.

Articles by Michael

To round up 2011, TPM put together our 100 seconds of the biggest stories of the year. Protests spread across the world from Madison to the Middle East; politicians kept on gaffing, debates about financial equality raged and Mother Nature let loose her wrath all over the world.

So, settle down with a soothing hot drink and let's all look back at what we've been through over the last 12 months...

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2011 was an eventful and, at times an emotional year. As we draw it to a close with the final Campaign In 100 Seconds, Thomas Lane (with apologies to Monty Python) switches his attention from the GOP hopefuls, to the other side of the aisle and ponders the question that has some already looking to 2012 for more.

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With only six days to go until the Iowa caucuses, the rhetoric has been ramped up as though the contest were make or break.

TPM's Thomas Lane looks back on the history of the first-in-the-nation contest to see the impact it has had on previous winners:

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When it comes to challenging the views of science, you don't have to look too far in a GOP primary.

Two men willing to quietly stand up for climate change and evolution, however are Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman. Another connection between these two? A shared belief in, well, the entire history of Mormonism...

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Rounding out 100 seconds' look at the GOP presidential candidates this year is Jon Huntsman.

As a former ambassador, former governor, a man who is fluent in Mandarin Chinese and someone seen as having a broad appeal in a general election, Huntsman seemed at first like the perfect GOP candidate.

As Thomas Lane explains however, a man who refuses to pander and throw red meat to the masses can quickly find himself shouting from the background:

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It's that time of year again, when cable news anchors get distracted from the issues at hand to speculate over the plans of Rudolph and Jolly Old St Nick.

Chatter turns to everything from the danger of Christmas trees to what Santa is doing on Twitter and even (if you're Fox), the oppressive ongoing battle to redefine the whole season as a secular socialist nightmare.

Happy holidays!

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With Christmas just around the corner, leave it up to those jolly little elves on the curvy couch to remind us all that this is actually a very dangerous time of year.

The Friends were filled with holiday cheer this morning as they reminded us all that the government will make things worse next year. And the best thing you can do this Christmas? Buy insurance!

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The latest to ascend to the top of the GOP pile in Iowa is Ron Paul and with the role of front runner comes added scrutiny.

The issue that is getting the most attention is an old one, but one that still has the potential to put a drag on a candidate seen as having a more broad appeal than most.

Benjy Sarlin goes a little deeper in to Paul's past and puts it in to perspective:

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As the campaign has pressed on, the candidates have used traditional tactics to secure conservative voters and one issue that has many iterations - gay rights. There are many things that conservatives believe gay people should be prevented from doing.

One thing they didn't count on? Well, the gays have started to fight back. Confronted by voters at various public events, the candidates have stuck to their guns and even brought forth a new tack. You want gay rights? Go vote for Obama.

Evan McMorris-Santoro gets all up in your face about it:

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Today's media narrative was driven by congressional wrangling over the payroll tax. As explained by Brian Beutler here and here this is a fairly complicated issue that overall is pretty bad news for the Republicans. However, you wouldn't know that if all you were going by was our favorite footage of the day: those tax experts at Fox News who tell you that everything you know about tax is wrong.

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