Using "pglcmd force-update" it removes /var/spool/pgl and doesn't recreate it so the lists.xml download fails:
2014-06-09 12:55:09 CDT Begin: pglcmd force-update
Forcing update of all lists. Removing /var/spool/pgl.
Updating blocklists ...
/var/spool/pgl/lists.xml~: No such file or directory
Error 171: No connection to http://www.iblocklist.com/lists.xml. Aborting! ... failed!
The connection is there and works fine. The error is a side effect of not having /var/spool/pgl directory to write to.