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Solyndra was the pie in the face, but Keystone XL is the rake in the yard the White House needs to avoid.

Approval of controversial pipeline is bad for the environment, and bad politics, as it would offend not just environmentalists, but voters of all stripes across America's heartland who would have the pipeline run through their backyards. It is another ethics landmine that would invite more attack from the WH's political enemies about pay to play politics-- this time because of copious amounts of Big Oil influence-peddling.

We've previously talked about Solyndra. It's not a problem with solar or of federal investment, but of questions about campaign finance and due diligence, problems which also exist in the much larger loan program for nuclear, especially when nuclear energy companies have been such big campaign backers of Obama's.

In fact, worth reading is Brad Plummer's Five Myths About Solyndra from the Washington Post, a great take from Climate Progress about the Solyndra timeline and this post from Blue Virginia showing there's plenty of blame to go across the partisan aisle for this mess.

Money in politics will ALWAYS create these problems. You can see here how a wireless company was trying to trade on their big dollar donations to get access to the White House. This is why Obama must champion REAL campaign finance reform, specifically full disclosure of all independent expenditures and public financing options for people running for Congress.

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I've heard a lot of suggestions on ways the Green Lantern movie could've been improved. I thought I had heard them all. Then, an email from former Congressman Alan Grayson suggested the film could've been improved by including an exchange from Green Lantern #76. A (poor) African-American man approaches Green Lantern and Green Arrow and asks them why, if they spend so much time fighting for people with orange, purple, and blue skins why he doesn't do anything for people like him.

This exchange obviously rubbed off on the young Alan Grayson, who told us he wrote this particular email blast himself. "That particular issue was a real breakthrough. . . connecting what teenagers like me were experiencing in the world." Grayson also has taste. Green Lantern #76 was awarded the comics equivalent of an Oscar or Emmy for the best story that year.

Grayson admitted he read this run on Green Lantern for several years, one which included Green Lantern and the Robin-Hood-esque Green Arrow fighting slumlords, drug dealers, and your typical aliens and Nazis. In fact, writers Dennis O'Neil and Neal Adams are credited with bringing a new social conscience to comics, and saving a title (Green Lantern) from cancellation due to lackluster sales, revitalizing it with new, fresh storylines and relevance.

When I contacted Denny O'Neil about whether he expected his story to inspire so many, or even a future Congressman, he was completely modest. "No,  I wasn't anticipating anyone being inspired. I might have hoped for  that, but it seemed a lot to really expect.  I mean...it was just a  comic book,  As to how I feel...A little amazed." Adding to Congressman Grayson specifically, "I hope our stuff does you some good."

Grayson as a Congressman was know for his terse and bombastic rhetoric, a quality he may have learned from comics. His social conscience, obviously, was also impacted by this. "It's important enough for me to remember it in 2011 and write about it."

This clash of populism and superheroism that is depicted in the issue is so iconic, I would agree with the Congressman that it was what was missing from the recent film, though O'Neil gracefully reminds us about the Ryan Reynolds vehicle, "there's nothing wrong with turning out a good popcorn movie."

I asked O'Neil about what issues someone today could confront Green Lantern with, and he had several ideas:
"A legislative process that seems to be hopelessly broken.
Global warming.
Exploitation of kids.
Abuse of power."

I could not agree more. And this is exactly the message Grayson picked up on and used in his plea for help: that those in power, if confronted about the lack of jobs or health care or the numerous other problems in our country would be forced, when asked to account for their selfish actions by We the People, would have to answer. . "I. . .  can't. . ."

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Dear Republican Party,

I don’t know how to do this. The only things I know about Interventions are from watching reality TV, listening to Dr. Drew, and this wikiHow. But what I do know is that an intervention is what’s necessary when someone has a problem they refuse to admit to, specifically problems with addiction.  It also has to come from a place of love, and even though this is a liberal blog, I need all of us to reach down into the deep recesses of our soul and talk about the Republican Party, why we love it, and why it has a serious addiction to money.

Republicans, you have a Koch problem. And when you’re under that influence, we don’t like you very much. We miss the old Republican Party, where even if we disagreed, we still were colleagues. You never had to call us Fascist, or Socialist, or whatever other epithet just sounded bad. Our politics ended at the water’s edge, and you never tried to stop an arms reduction treaty just for partisan reasons.

But you have a problem with money. Specifically corporate money. Specifically from people like the Kochs. You’ve been legislating under the influence- and it’s gotten intolerable so that we almost don’t recognize you any more. And we have a great solution for you to get cleaned up: citizen-funded elections, otherwise known by the more wonky name “public financing”, most recently introduced in Congress as the Fair Elections Now Act.

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I'm proud of Larry Craig.  He is a pioneer, as our first gay Senator.  Not only that, but he has shattered the myth that gays can't have "family values."  He was equally as homophobic and bigoted in his voting record as all of his other heterosexual colleagues, showing that, yes, even in ultra Red State Idaho, a gay senator can represent their values just as well as anyone else.  So why all the calls to resign now?  I mean, he's been engaging in this same deviant, dangerous, sometimes predatory, and compulsive sexual behavior for years, so why shouldn't he continue being a Senator?  He did fine representing the people of Idaho while he was engaging in it before-- and now that he's caught he probably won't do it again, or at least less.  That's what we call a "win-win" situation.  Plus, as many of us know, there is no one more anti-gay than a self-hater.  It seems only logical to perenially send Senator Craig back to Washington to promote the anti-gay agenda publicly so he can live it shamefully privately.

And it just makes you wonder about Rick Santorum even that much more. . .

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The White House released today the President's full schedule for the 5th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, including a public reading of "My Pet Goat," saying "The President wanted to commemorate the day by doing what he did five years ago."

White House spokesman Tony Snow told members of the press, "The President will begin his day by reading 'My Pet Goat,' followed by ten minutes of silence in which he will just sit and look uncomfortable.  He will then be rushed to Air Force One where he will fly around all day escorted by fighter jets, trying to figure out how to blame the terrorist attacks on Saddam."

Snow also released that several weeks ago Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice delivered a commemorative copy of the daily briefing "Bin Laden determined to attack inside US."  This document remained unread by the President, for "historical accuracy's sake," and also due to the president being distracted by a copy of "Curious George and the Dirty Bomb," which First Lady Laura Bush claimed he "devoured right before bedtime, right after having his juice cup."

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