TPM News

The U.S. Navy's bomb squads have a weight problem. To keep their field gear powered up, the typical explosive ordnance disposal unit has to haul fifty pounds of specialized chargers and related devices around, creating an unwieldy and potentially dangerous drag on the operation.

Now help is coming from an unexpected source: the sun.

The Navy's Explosive Ordnance Disposal Training and Evaluation Unit 2 in Virginia has been testing five prototype lightweight field power kits that include solar cells as a key component. The kits replace fifty pounds of equipment with a compact system that weighs only about nine pounds.

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Why is Josh Brolin's character from "W." running for president? Jon Stewart asked on Monday. Oh right, that's Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R). It's not the first time Perry's been compared to George W. Bush -- but "on steroids." Maybe it's the southern drawl, or that "west-Texas swagger." But Stewart thinks Perry is much, much more than that.

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The UK Parliament has published a bombshell of a letter from convicted News Of The World phone hacker Clive Goodman that alleges that the practice was not only "widely discussed" among senior staff and editors at the tabloid, but that then-editor Andy Coulson tried to cover-up the extent of the practice.

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Texas governor, and freshly minted GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry will have to explain what he meant when he said "we would treat [Fed chairman Ben Bernanke] pretty ugly down in Texas" if he prints money -- or, more charitably, printing more money than usual. Likewise, he'll have to explain why he thinks printing money -- or prints more money than usual -- would be "almost treasonous," at least as compared to, say, secession.

But what's gone completely unnoticed in the wake of candidate Perry's first big flap is his rationale for opposing a looser Fed policy in this depressed economy: specifically that it would work, boost the economy, and thus make it harder for the GOP to defeat President Obama.

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A special prosecutor has been named to investigate the alleged physical altercation at the Wisconsin Supreme Court -- in which liberal Justice Ann Walsh Bradley has accused conservative Justice David Prosser of grabbing her neck in a chokehold during an argument over the state's anti-union law -- with Sauk County District Attorney Patricia Barrett having agreed to the task of reviewing the case and deciding whether to pursue charges.

Barrett's profile could potentially help her be seen as politically insulated in this case. As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports, she was elected as a Republican, but has long advocated making DA offices nonpartisan: "Politics should play no role in what we do." In addition, she has announced her intention to retire, when her current term comes up in the 2012 election cycle.

Given the political sensitivities of the story, this case has been transferred through various offices, before ultimately being taken by Barrett.

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It's no secret that Team George W. Bush and Team Rick Perry are not exactly close. And with Perry flailing after he accused Federal Reserve chair Ben Bernanke of "almost treasonous" behavior, one of Team W's biggest names is taking the opportunity to twist the knife.

"You don't accuse the chairman of the federal reserve of being a traitor to his country. Of being guilty of treason," Karl Rove told Fox News Tuesday. "And, suggesting that we treat him pretty ugly in texas. You know, that is not, again a presidential statement."

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Today will be the end of the great Wisconsin recall saga - at least for 2011 - with Democratic incumbents Jim Holperin and Robert Wirch facing the voters, though after last week, majority control of the chamber is not at stake.

Wisconsin Democrats, faced with a 19-14 Republican majority in the state Senate, attempted to mount a backlash against Gov. Scott Walker's anti-public employee union legislation, by recalling their way to a majority. However, they were also hampered by the fact that the only recall-eligible districts were ones where the incumbent had won their terms in 2008, even during that year's Democratic wave. Last Tuesday, when six Republicans were on the ballot, the Dems picked up two seats, just short of the magic three.

Democrats still hope to go for the big target next year, of recalling Walker himself. For now, it remains to be seen whether they will be able to sustain the kind of political momentum and enthusiasm necessary for that task.

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An insufficiently redacted regulatory filing mistakenly filed with the Federal Communications Commission last week reveals how AT&T plans to roll out its next generation wireless network. At the same time, it gives the world a glimpse into how the the nation's largest telecommunications carrier is trying to persuade regulators that its proposed merger with T-Mobile will be good for America.

As TPM reported last week, the botched AT&T filing shows that its executives were not willing to spend $3.8 billion to extend its next-generation LTE wireless technology from 80 percent of the country to 97 percent -- unless it is allowed to acquire T-Mobile in a $39 billion proposed deal.

TPM has posted a copy of the controversial filing, and it contains some interesting factoids.

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