The Upshot
  • moneyThe U.S. Chamber of Commerce won't bow to Democrats' requests to reveal donors behind its $75 million midterm-election push. But based on information gleaned from corporate filings and "obscure places," the New York Times offers what it calls a "glimpse" into the money that funds some of the chamber's enormous lobbying and political advocacy efforts.

    While the chamber has billed its membership as a mix of major corporations and tens of thousands of small businesses around the country, the Times finds nearly half of the $140 million the group has raised in 2008 came from just 45 companies. That includes one still-unknown entity that contributed $15 million, according to the chamber's tax returns, and 21 unidentified companies that contributed $1 million apiece.

    Among the donors the Times could identify: Dow Chemical, which contributed $1.7 million to the chamber, and Prudential Financial, which kicked in $2 million in 2009 to support the chamber's lobbying efforts against Wall Street reform. Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs, Chevron Texaco and the insurance giant Aegon collectively contributed $8 million to a chamber-related foundation that has been critical of financial regulation. More recently, News Corp., parent company of Fox News, contributed $1 million to the chamber's efforts.

    Read More »from Corporate donors fund chamber’s 2010 political push
  • Obama tells gay teens ‘It Gets Better’

    AP0802240120560President Barack Obama has joined the viral "It Gets Better" campaign, filming another in the series of high-profile videos urging troubled gay teens not to take their own lives. The title of the series is a reassurance that bullying over their sexuality will eventually stop.

    "I don't know what it's like to be picked on for being gay.  But I do know what it's like to grow up feeling that sometimes you don't belong.  It's tough," Obama says in the video. He said he was "shocked and saddened" to hear of bullied young people who recently took their own lives.

    "The other thing you need to know is, things will get better," he says. " And more than that, with time you're going to see that your differences are a source of pride and a source of strength. You'll look back on the struggles you've faced with compassion and wisdom. And that's not just going to serve you, but it will help you get involved and make this country a better place."

    You can watch his comments below:

    Read More »from Obama tells gay teens ‘It Gets Better’
  • Welcome to "First Shots," a daily roundup of early-bird news and a preview of what's to come.

    • The president campaigns today for vulnerable Nevada Sen. Harry Reid. He also makes a stop in California (Reuters)

    • Broadcasters around the country are caught in the middle as candidates demand attack ads be taken off the air. (USA Today)

    • Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi today will announce a multi-billion dollar U.S. aid package for Pakistan. (AP)

    Read More »from FIRST SHOTS: President campaigns in CA, NV; Diabetes for 1 in 3 Americans?

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