TPM News

In another sign that the FBI is picking up the fight against online hackers, agents arrested a 23-year-old Arizonian allegedly affiliated with "LulzSec" for hacking Sony and a homeless man in San Francisco allegedly affiliated with Anonymous for attacking government websites on Thursday.

Cody Andrew Kretsinger, who allegedly went by "recursion" online, was charged in federal court in the Central District of California for allegedly hacking user information from Sony's Playstation games system along with other members of "Lulz Security" or "LulzSec."

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Maybe Rick Perry is on to something.

The Public Religion Research Institute is out with a poll exploring Americans' beliefs on a number of big issues. While belief in evolution is held by a majority of citizens (57 percent) as is global warming (69 percent), majorities still say that a Presidential candidate's belief in either would not affect whether they would vote for them.

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Looks like House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) will try to close GOP ranks around existing legislation to fund the government rather than scrap a controversial requirement that disaster relief funds be offset with an unrelated budget cut. And that means they'll be moving ahead without Democratic support -- a risky gamble that could lead to a government shutdown if it fails.

"The Speaker's seeking more Republican votes," Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who led a House conservative rebellion on Wednesday, told reporters after an impromptu Thursday GOP meeting.

According to other Republicans, Boehner will swap out the existing disaster relief offset -- a hybrid vehicle manufacturing incentive -- with new cuts.

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As expected, the embattled technology company Hewlett-Packard has named former eBay CEO and Republican candidate for California governor Meg Whitman as its CEO.

The news of her candidacy for the job was first reported Wednesday by Kara Swisher at the Wall Street Journal's blog AllThingsD.

The market's reaction to the news has been mixed, with shares of the company plunging along with the rest of the stock market on Thursday, but it ticked back up one percent in after-hours trading to around $23.

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It looks like the Senate won’t be voting on legislation needed to avert a government shutdown, TPM’s Brian Beutler reports.

Sen. Joe Lieberman joked, “If you’re not confused, you don’t know the situation.”

Here’s what Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on the Senate floor, The Hill reports:



“I just talked with the House Democratic leadership, and right now the Republicans are still trying to get enough votes to pass something over there,” Reid said, referring to the House. “[I] have to say we are having a caucus [meeting] in a few minutes, but I can’t see us doing anything tonight.”

Thad, we hardly knew ye! Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R- MI) has ended his quixotic bid for the White House, throwing his support behind Mitt Romney instead.

According to The Detroit News, McCotter informed the paper of his decision on Thursday afternoon. His campaign never had much momentum, failing to garner much press, money, or grassroots buzz either on a state or national level. McCotter was not invited to the last several Republican debates, including one preceding the Ames Straw Poll in Iowa, an event he participated in. He ended up coming in dead last, with 35 votes, or 0.21% of the total.

McCotter may have his own issues at home to tend to: The Detroit News reports that he faces a challenge for the Republican nomination from State Senator Mike Kowall, who is expected to announce his candidacy soon.

This has been quite a week for amateur scientists. On Thursday, astronomers at Yale University announced that with the help of 40,000 participants in an online project called Planet Hunters launched in December, they have identified two potential Earth-like planets beyond our solar system.

On Wednesday, an amateur astronomer in France spotted NASA's bus-sized satellite on its way to an anticipated crash landing, and the day before that, gamers on the popular Foldit site solved a vexing problem in AIDS research.

Yale's online helpers used actual data from NASA's Kepler mission, which searches for potentially habitable planets in other solar systems.

"This is the first time that the public has used data from a NASA space mission to detect possible planets orbiting other stars," said Yale astronomer Debra Fischer in a statement for the press.

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Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's (R) legislation stripping public employee unions of most collective bargaining rights, and imposing new restrictions on their organization, is set to have its logical conclusion on Thursday -- when the major state employee unions officially decline to seek recertification.

As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports, today is the deadline for unions to file petitions seeking a recertification election, and to pay a fee to the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission. And that is a process upon which the larger unions are not embarking, with only a few locals thus far taking on the challenge. The unions can continue to exist, but will lose many important advantages of certification.

The paper reports: "The decertification won't happen, however, until it's requested by either the employer or a citizen, [Employment Relations Commission chairman James Scott] said. That's in part because the agency doesn't have a master list of all the public employee unions in the state, he said."

The law requires that unions win new certification elections each year -- with the added threshold for victory being 50%-plus-one of all affected workers, not just a majority of those who turn out to vote. As the Journal Sentinel and others have pointed out, this is itself a much higher bar than Walker and the Republican state legislators who passed the law must themselves meet in order to win their offices.

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