TPM News

Google on Wednesday announced its long-awaited cloud-based music storage service, the unimaginatively but aptly titled "Google Music," is now live for all users in the United States, following six months of beta testing.

The service, available at music.google.com, allows users to store up to 20,000 songs online for free and listen to them on any computer or Android device running Android version 2.2 or higher. Users can upload songs they already own using Google Music Manager (even uploading iTunes songs!) or buy them from the Android Market's new Music section, which will include 8 million tracks at launch and 13 million tracks eventually, the Verge reported.

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Texas provided "incomplete" information that does not enable federal officials to determine whether their proposed voter ID law would be discriminatory, the Justice Department said in a letter Wednesday.

Essentially, the letter from DOJ Civil Rights Division Voting Section Chief T. Christian Herren Jr. restarts the clock on when the Department has to make a decision about whether the law signed by Gov. Rick Perry complies with the Voting Rights Act. They have 60 days from when Texas sends them complete information.

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Fits and starts. That's how Google's product launches have been lately (ahem, Google Plus Pages for businesses), and its much-hyped native Gmail app for iOS devices is no exception.

Google proudly re-launched the mobile app Wednesday, two weeks after it debuted in Apple's app store only to be abruptly yanked down within hours due to a massive bug that, in Google's words, "broke notifications and displayed an error message."

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You know it; I know it; probably a stranded Martian hiding under a rock in Somalia knows it: Mitt Romney's Massachusetts healthcare reforms were the intellectual underpinning for the policy Republicans now deride as "Obamacare." It's been the albatross around the former governor's neck ever since he entered the 2012 race, with even President Obama acknowledging its origins.

The GOP frontrunner has put up a valiant effort to claim there are major differences. That hasn't always prompted a happy reaction from the less partisan advisers who helped him craft the law he's now running away from.

Foremost among that group of disgruntled wonks is MIT professor Jonathan Gruber. He's come out in the past saying it's "sad" that Romney is running from his signature achievement, but now he's turned things up to eleven.

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Eleven survivors and family members of victims of the January 2011 shooting in Arizona that nearly killed Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D) are criticizing Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) for what they say was a "dismissive and political response" to Tucson shooting survivor Patricia Maisch's testimony in support of legislation which would close holes in the gun background check system.

In a letter sent to Grassley on Wednesday and obtained by TPM, Retired Colonel Bill Badger, Nancy Bowman, Carol Dorushka, Kenneth Dorushka, Randy Gardner, John Maisch, Patricia Maisch, Angela Robbinson, Faith Salzgeber, Foger Salzgeber and Mavy Stoddard write of their "profound disappointment" with Grassley's "obvious disregard for the gun violence survivors in the room" as well as his "apparent ignorance of the deadly serious issue we came to discuss with you."

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Google's policy counsel gave a compelling argument against the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act in Wednesday's hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, but there were multiple other witnesses who testified in support of the bill's passage, saying it is necessary to protect American intellectual property and American jobs.

Four of six total witnesses argued in favor of the bill, countering the criticisms of those who weren't represented at the hearing, including many Web companies, consumer rights advocates, lawyers and other groups who say SOPA, as it is abbreviated, is ill-advised and would damage the Internet economy.

Maria Pallante, the U.S. Registrar of Copyrights, started things off with a bang, saying in her prepared statement: "It is my view that if Congress does not continue to provide serious responses to online piracy, the U.S. copyright system will ultimately fail."

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At a campaign event in western Iowa, Michele Bachmann spoke about the key foreign policy issues of defending Israel and challenging Iranian influence in the Middle East -- and declared that other countries ought to be afraid of the United States.

"That's the problem today in foreign policy: You want the other nations to fear us," Bachmann said, the Des Moines Register reports. "They don't fear us today. They laugh at us. This is serious. The United States is being mocked at and laughed at. We're the military super power of the world and we're being mocked at and laughed at and being disrespected?"

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Updated 4:55 PM Rick Perry's campaign is up with a new ad titled"Lazy." It goes after President Obama for recent comments he made to CEOs suggesting that US lawmakers have "been a little bit lazy over the last couple of decades" by assuming foreign competitors would have a hard time catching up.

Here's what he said, responding to a question specifically on policy barriers to trade: "We've been a little bit lazy over the last couple of decades. We've kind of taken for granted -- 'Well, people would want to come here' -- and we aren't out there hungry, selling America and trying to attract new businesses into America."

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Mention "flip flops" to anyone in political circles and two things will probably come to mind instantly: Mitt Romney and a mind-blowing ability to be strongly in favor of one position, before getting behind another, as though it has been your firmly-held belief all along. This strategy has been a favorite of politicians since the dinosaurs lined up to vote (sorry, creationists).

Newt Gingrich, however, has elevated the flip-flop to a finely-honed art form. The ability to hold one position, then the opposite; then if anyone questions you, to smack them down in their ignorance that, not only are the two views not mutually exclusive, but they were wrong to even question you and that whatever you did and whatever you said, you retained the moral high ground the entire time.

Benjy Sarlin explains...

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