TPM News

With Mitt Romney desperately trying to redefine the nomination fight as a battle between a man who understands the importance of Social Security (Romney) and a man who wants to get rid of it (Rick Perry) -- and the Perry campaign seemingly willing to let him, there's a big question for all involved.

How will all this play in Florida? The state's early primary and huge population makes it a potential game changer in the nomination hunt, and a fight over Social Security seems tailor-made to the electorate there.

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Make no mistake about it: Rick Perry is running against Social Security. Last night in the debate, Perry stood by his oft-repeated claims that the popular government retirement program is a Ponzi Scheme and a "failure."

And after the debate, Team Perry refused to rule out ending the program all together under a Perry presidency.

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The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has just dismissed Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s challenge to the Affordable Care Act, upholding the law’s individual mandate. The appeals court threw out a lower court ruling that had declared a provision of the law unconstitutional, as Reuters reports.

Your cell phone signal could soon be getting a huge boost thanks to a relatively minor tweak, if researchers at Rice University have their way.

A team led by Rice professor of electrical and computer engineering Ashutosh Sabharwal has managed to successfully demonstrate their method of increasing wireless network throughput - the rate of successful message delivery - by 70 percent, with mostly existing mobile device and cell tower hardware.

That ultimately means wireless network providers can provide more customers with faster and smoother transmitting of all data-intensive operations - including calls, video streaming and downloading apps - without having to install expensive new cell towers.

"Our solution requires minimal new hardware, both for mobile devices and for networks, which is why we've attracted the attention of just about every wireless company in the world," Sabharwal said in a release. "The bigger change will be developing new wireless standards for full-duplex. I expect people may start seeing this when carriers upgrade to 4.5G or 5G networks in just a few years."

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Google has acquired the popular restaurant review and recommendation service Zagat. From a Google blog post announcing the deal:

So, today, I’m thrilled that Google has acquired Zagat. Moving forward, Zagat will be a cornerstone of our local offering—delighting people with their impressive array of reviews, ratings and insights, while enabling people everywhere to find extraordinary (and ordinary) experiences around the corner and around the world.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Preliminary data from the U.S. Geological Survey shows last month’s record earthquake in the eastern United States may have shaken a Dominion Resources nuclear plant twice as hard it was designed to withstand, a spokesman for the nuclear safety regulator said on Thursday.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – George Mitchell, former U.S. special envoy for Middle East peace, said on Thursday there was little chance U.S. officials would be able to persuade Palestinian leaders not to seek greater recognition at the United Nations.

Applications for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose to 414,000 last week, up 2,000 from the week before, the Labor Department reported today. Stocks slipped on the news of continued weakness in the labor market, with the Dow dropping 27.81 points and the S&P falling 5.46 points.

The report follows on the heels of jobless data from last Friday showing that no jobs were created in the month of August. The President is expected to address the dire economic news when he reveals a new jobs plan in his address to a joint session of Congress this evening.

Protesters outside the deficit super committee’s first hearing can be heard shouting, “Jobs! Now!” Watch the hearing’s live stream on C-SPAN here.

The former chairman of the Texas Forensic Science Commission spoke out on Wednesday, alleging that Perry had him replaced after he got into a confrontation with the governor’s aides while reviewing evidence in a case of possible wrongful execution. Sam Bassett headed the investigation into the 2004 execution of Cameron Todd Willingham, whose murder conviction rested on testimony that arson experts call ‘outdated’ and ‘incorrect.’ After Bassett was replaced, his successor halted the investigation, citing the same concerns as Perry’s aides had.

Without referring specifically to the Willingham case, moderator Brian Williams asked Gov. Perry if he had ever struggled with the idea that someone who was killed via capital punishment was innocent. Perry responded ‘No, sir. I’ve never struggled with that at all’ and proceeded to defend the ‘thoughtful’ and ‘clear process’ that Texas goes through before carrying out capital punishment.