TPM News

It's only been a few days since Al Jazeera English launched in New York City, but a spokesperson for the network says the response so far has been overwhelmingly positive.

While most of the evidence has been anecdotal, more than 200 emails have come through the network's Demand Al Jazeera English campaign since the NYC launch.

Al Jazeera -- the network that dominated with its coverage of the Arab Spring -- on Monday launched in New York City on Time Warner Cable and will be available on Verizon FiOS in the city in the coming days.

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Republicans' pledge to never raise taxes is inviolable whereas the government's pledge to provide retirees with health care will have to be broken at some point, according to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. And we'll see evidence of this, he hinted, if and when the House of Representatives refuses to pass future deficit reduction legislation if it calls for bringing new tax revenue into the Treasury.

In a meeting with editors of the Wall Street Journal, Cantor said Americans must "come to grips with the fact that promises have been made that frankly are not going to be kept for many."

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Rick Santorum may not have raised a lot of money or attracted much support in the polls, but his campaign for the presidency will be trying a new tack for votes at the Ames Iowa Straw Poll: Some delicious homemade peach jam.

The Des Moines Register reports that Santorum told an Iowa audience on Tuesday that his family has fruit trees back home, and he and his children harvested peaches, peeled them, and made them into jelly. And now, they will be bringing 40 jars to Iowa.

"We are bringing them to the Straw Poll and we are going to give everybody a sample," said Santorum, dubbing the product "Pennsylvania Presidential Peach Preserves."

Don't count out this tactic completely. In the 1840 presidential election, one thing the opposition Whig Party did to cement its momentum from the economic depression was to mount a national effort of handing out hard cider at campaign events, tying it to the manufactured image of nominee William Henry Harrison as a rugged outdoorsman. Though come to think of it, 40 jars of peach jelly probably isn't as convincing as hard cider.

Remember a few months ago how John Boehner decided to step in to keep the Defense of Marriage Act in place after the Justice Department decided it was discriminatory? Well the legal team Boehner hired to defend the law has a few interesting things to say about gays and lesbians.

A briefing submitted on Monday by Paul Clement on behalf of the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the House of Representatives notes that "gays and lesbians have achieved and continue to achieve substantial political success." In sum, he argues that there hasn't been enough of a history of discrimination against gays and lesbians because most were in the closet throughout so much of history.

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Students at a high school in Red Wing, Minnesota brought school spirit to new lows with a "Wigger Wednesday" dress-up day tradition, according to a lawsuit filed against the school district.

Quera Pruitt, a Red Wing high school alumna, is suing the school district and administrators over creating a hostile and racist educational environment.

Here's what happened: Students during the 2008 and 2009 homecoming celebrations wore "oversized sports jerseys, low-slung pants, baseball bats cocked to the side and 'doo rags' on their heads," according to the suit. About 60 or 70 students took what was supposed to be "tropical day" and turned it into "wigger day," the suit claims. To the unfamiliar, and as the case points out, the term "wigger" is a derogatory term for a white person who emulates African-American culture.

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RNC chair Reince Priebus, a former chair of the Wisconsin Republican Party, says there's no need for national political reporters to try and glean anything about the 2012 elections from the state Senate recall fight underway in his home state, where Democrats seem to have the momentum.

"I don't think its a test run," Preibus said on a conference call with reporters this morning. He added that even though some of the key issues on the ballot in the coming weeks in his home state are "a similar debate to what we're having in the country," the "the localized nature of it doesn't allow it to be analogous to the 2012 election."

If the polls are to be believed, that's good news for the GOP.

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By John Voelcker

Driving is often a pain, particularly in dense, congested urban cores.

Start and stop, brake suddenly, stay carefully in your lane, drive defensively, then park in tight spaces.

What if the car could do all that for you?

Last week, BMW showed off its new BMW i3 Concept, which points the way toward the 2014 BMW i3 battery-electric car that it will put on sale in late 2013.

The i3 may have the highest degree of autonomous driving we've yet seen--though no one present at the event actually drove the cars, so for the moment, all we have to go on is BMW's description of the "visionary mobility services" it plans to offer on the car.

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Before yesterday, Republicans on Capitol Hill liked to feign anger about Senate Democrats' failure to pass a budget in over two years.

Now that the debt limit deal is done -- and it's essentially a 10-year budget, with the force of law -- Republicans are...still attacking Democrats for...not passing a budget!

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RNC chair Reince Priebus is raining on President Obama's 50th birthday fundraiser in Chicago, saying the president is too focused on campaigning.

"I suppose the White House thinks he should stick to the job he really likes, raising money from fat cat donors, while the rest of America struggles with trying to make ends meet," Priebus said in a call with reporters on Wednesday.

The messenger for the attack was a bit odd given that the RNC's primary duty is fundraising for Republican campaigns. In Priebus' case, he campaigned for the job specifically based on his ability to reel in big-money donors that had left during Michael Steele's tenure. "We will work to regain the confidence of our donor base and I will personally call our major donors to ask them to rejoin our efforts at the RNC," he wrote in a letter to committee members last year.

Priebus was asked by a reporter on Wednesday's call why Obama's fundraising crossed the line.

"I think it's another case of this president's rhetoric not matching his deeds," Priebus replied. "He's tried all week to try this spin that now the White House is pivoting to jobs, which they've tried many times before, and the first job Obama is interested in saving is his own."