TPM News

Republican National Committee chairman and Wisconsin native Reince Priebus is very upbeat about the results of Tuesday's state Senate recalls, in which Republicans were able to retain their majority. And what's more, he says it presents a valuable lesson -- and a pocket-sized John Galt speech -- for the whole nation.

MSNBC host Contessa Brewer asked Priebus what message could be 'extrapolated' from the recalls, which were launched by the Democrats and organized labor in a backlash against Gov. Scott Walker's new law eliminating most collective bargaining rights that public employee unions had previously enjoyed. Democrats picked up two seats, just short of the three that they needed in order to flip control of the chamber.

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FARK.com Founder Drew Curtis on Wednesday disclosed that he's managed to escape the threats of a patent holding firm called "Gooseberry Natural Resources" -- without having to pay a cent.

"Their patent had nothing to do with Fark," wrote Curtis in a Wednesday blog post on the subject. "The patent troll realized we were going to fight them instead of settle, so they asked for our best offer. I said how about you get nothing and drop the lawsuit? They accepted."

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Wisconsin Democrats are proclaiming great news from Tuesday night's state Senate recalls -- in which they were unable to pick up the needed three seats to gain control of the chamber, instead picking up two seats. And moreover, they are still bullish in their pledge to launch another recall -- this one against Gov. Scott Walker next year.

"Last night's recall elections were tremendously historic," state Dem chair Mike Tate said on a conference call with reporters Wednesday afternoon. "I think they show how vulnerable the Republicans are going into 2012, and how vulnerable Governor Walker is going into a potential recall himself."

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Since the establishment of the congressional super committee to come up with a way to reduce the deficit by over $1.5 trillion over ten years, most of the focus has been on who will be appointed and how those individual personalities will affect the debate, or whether the hearings will be public. But over the past few days news organizations have released new polling data on what policy prescriptions Americans would actually prefer, mostly from a menu of traditional options (cuts to major programs, well known new tax options), to bridge the budget gap.

CNN, Gallup, and Marist all polled some of these options, and here's a quick rundown of what might happen if you put the American people at the table.

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House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) have announced their selections to serve on the new so-called Super Committee -- the panel called for in the debt limit bill that's been tasked with reducing deficits by at least $1.2 trillion.



McConnell's picked his Whip, Jon Kyl (R-AZ), as well as conservative freshman Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), and arch-conservative Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA).

Boehner tapped Reps. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), chair of the GOP conference, and the caucus' top message man; Dave Camp (R-MI) chair of the Ways and Means Committee, which controls tax revenue; and Fred Upton (R-MI), whose powerful Energy and Commerce Committee has broad jurisdiction over just about everything other than taxes, but particularly health care.

As head of the majority party in the House of Representatives, Boehner was asked to name the committee's GOP co-chair, and for that he chose Hensarling -- an extremely conservative member who in recent weeks falsely characterized the debt limit fight as a consequence of spending policies enacted by President Obama and past Democratic congresses. By quite a ways, most existing debt is the result of GOP policies, or bipartisan initiatives like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Hensarling served on President Obama's fiscal commission, headed by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, but ultimately opposed their recommendations, because they included higher revenues.

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In a highly unusual move, Democrats are going after Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN) for suggesting that the American economy might be in better shape than the recent S&P downgrade indicates -- a key White House talking point.

In an interview with a local TV station criticizing the ratings agency's decision, Lugar told an interviewer: "The American economy is still strong, that we're making progress although it's very slow in terms of job creation, and that we still have a dollar that is the world currency and we are still selling bonds to everybody all over the world despite the S&P downgrade."

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesman Shripal Shah said in a statement that Lugar's quote was "out of touch with the struggles that so many Hoosier are facing right now."

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For Michele Bachmann federal cash is absolutely disgusting -- and the portions are so small!

Despite repeatedly decrying the evils of federal spending, records obtained by the Huffington Post show Bachmann repeatedly requested money for her district even from agencies and programs she has vilified in her speeches. They include the stimulus program that she branded "fantasy economics" as well as the Environmental Protection Agency she's said should be renamed the "Job Killing Agency."

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Rooftop fuel cells may one day join refrigerators, furnaces, and yes, chicken dinners among the staples of modern domestic life in the U.S.

That could be the outcome of a new solar-fuel cell hybrid system under development by Duke University researcher Nico Hotz, who foresees that fuel cells may eventually trump rooftop solar panels as the equipment of choice for building owners who want to generate their own clean, cheap, renewable energy.

In contrast to traditional means for creating energy by burning fuels like coal and oil, fuel cells create energy by chemical reaction.

Until now, hydrogen has been the standard ingredient for fuel cells, but hydrogen production involves expensive processes all the way through from production to storage. That's one reason why fuel cells have been slow to make inroads into the alternative fuel vehicle market, let alone development for household use.

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Brittany Laughlin is 25 years old. She has been to all 7 continents, 36 countries, and she hops on a plane every two weeks.
Clearly, she's obsessed with traveling. But until last year, she hadn't found a way to turn that into a career.
The NYU graduate comes from an entrepreneurial family. Her mother started an interior design business, her sister launched a clothing line, and her father founded 12 companies.

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