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He knew pop culture: "What is The Simpsons." He knew British history: "Who is John Milton." He knew medicine: "What is narcolepsy." He knew world languages: "What is ancient Greek." And though his US geography skills were a little shaky, IBM's supercomputing trivia machine named Watson easily bested his human opponents at the end of a two-game exhibition series of the quiz show Jeopardy!.

After two games of play, the final score for the series was $77,147 for Watson, $24,000 for Ken Jennings, and $21,600 for Brad Rutter. Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter had both previously mademultimillion-dollar runs on Jeopardy!.

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Ever fantasize about being in a shoot-out with murderous cartel members in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico? This summer, the video game company Ubisoft is scheduled to release "Call of Juarez: The Cartel," the latest installment in the "Call of Juarez" series. A couple of real life Texas lawmen are already expressing worries about the game.

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A coalition of watchdog groups are calling for congressional hearings into what they regard as systematic failings of the Federal Election Commission, the agency charged with enforcing campaign finance law.

In a letter to the top Republicans and Democrats on the House and Senate oversight committees, the coalition urges the panels to hold hearings on the FEC's "frequent refusal to enforce the campaign finance laws passed by Congress."

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Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, expanded a prior investigation into the Countrywide Financial Corporation's infamous VIP loan program by issuing a wide-ranging subpoena aimed at exposing more information about the mortgage giant's efforts to win friends and influence people at the highest levels of government.

Issa's subpoena, announced Wednesday night, was sent to Bank of America, which purchased Countrywide just before the height of the economic crisis. The subpoena asks for all documents and requests related to Countrywide's VIP program, which implicated Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) and former Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), the then-chairman of the Banking Committee.

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In the mind of Governor Bob McDonnell (R-VA), if the President doesn't take the first step on entitlement reform, than it's time for House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to take up the mantle.

On Fox's Your World this afternoon, McDonnell talked to fill-in host Stuart Varney, saying that he hoped that the national party's majority in the House would bring the "tough message to the American people" on entitlement reform.

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If Democrats want to fight about NASCAR teams, it seems NASCAR teams are ready to fight back.

Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) started it when she offered up an amendment to the federal spending bill calling on the Army stop spending millions of dollars to splash its logo all over, among other things, the Sprint Cup car driven by Ryan Newman. Now Newman, and the owners of his ride, are gearing up to spin out McCollum's plan on the opening lap.

Rubbin', as they say, is racin' -- and it looks like NASCAR is ready to put the Democrats into the wall.

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Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI), who has proposed a budget that would remove key bargaining powers for public employee unions, now says that he and Republican legislators are considering some changes -- but not so far as to change its principle.

"We're willing to (make changes), but we're just not going to fundamentally undermine the principle of the proposal which is to let not only the state but local governments balance their budgets," Walker told reporters, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports.



Specifically, the proposed changes coming from state legislators -- who have been deluged by protests over the past two days -- would involve extending some civil service protections to local government workers, in exchange for the loss of most collective bargaining.

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The deputy U.S. Marshal who was killed while serving an arrest warrant on a residence in Elkins, West Virginia this morning was a 24-year-old who graduated from the U.S. Marshals Academy just over a year ago.

Deputy U.S. Marshal Derek Hotsinpiller of Bridgeport, W. Va., had worked for the U.S. Marshals Service's Clarksburg office since his graduation just over a year ago from the U.S. Marshals Academy, spokesman Jeff Carter told reporters in an e-mail.

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It turns out defunding the health care law is almost as unpopular as repealing it.

And yet, Republicans haven't really slowed their assault on the law down at all. Jon Chait and Greg Sargent among others have scratched their heads about this in recent weeks. Chait in particular raised the fun possibility that the GOP had really bought into a false reality.

I see it a little bit differently. Nobody's better at claiming a mandate than Republicans, and that's what they're doing here. They're trying to move the ball on this debate and turn the law's unpopularity into more than that -- a public demand for destroying the law.

Maybe it'll work and maybe it won't. But I really doubt that the GOP will keep charging this hard these poll numbers worsen. Of course, they can't fully abandon the repeal push -- their base won't allow it. But they could easily move it to the back burner, and if they can't get any traction, I suspect they will.

Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY), the man charged with winning back the House for Democrats, told reporters Wednesday that Republicans have made his job easier thanks to their string of controversial abortion bills.

"They haven't focused on revitalizing jobs," he said at the briefing held at Democratic Party headquarters. "They've focused on redefining rape."

House Republicans were forced to back off from a plan to change the rape exemptions in federal bans on abortion funding to include only "forcible rape" after a flurry of controversy about what exactly the change would mean.

But Israel said the damage was done, and now the GOP will have to suffer the consequences.

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