TPM News


By Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield

We've all heard the shock stories -- generally from media outlets which haven't fully researched the topic -- saying that the battery pack in your electric car will only last a few years and then cost you thousands upon thousands of dollars to replace.

We think its unlikely that most electric cars on the market today will need an entire replacement battery pack for the first ten years or more, if ever. But are there any ways you can safeguard your purchase to make sure you've got a replacement battery lined up for if or when something goes wrong?

That's the question that Tesla Motors is trying to answer as its Australian sales team adopts a policy already in other Roadster markets to safeguard against being stuck with a poorly performing battery pack in the blisteringly fast Roadster .

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"Call me crazy," Republican Presidential candidate Jon Huntsman tweeted Thursday. And from a strategic point of view, maybe he is.

The former Utah governor and Obama-appointed ambassador to China has appeared to take glee in poking the Republican base in recent days. Try to convince the base that his appointment by President Obama isn't a fatal handicap? Nah, just mock the base instead.

Huntsman's "Call me crazy" tweet was in response to two prominent blow-ups from Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Within the space of 28 hours he alleged that scientists were making up global warming for profit and had dismissed evolution as "a theory that's out there."

"To be clear," Huntsman tweeted. "I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy."

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It's a good bet that, when challenged to defend the Tea Party, Sarah Palin won't balk from the challenge. Tonight, however, that challenge came in the name of a conservative, as Greta Van Susteren pointed out the group is targeting conservative stalwart Sen. Orrin Hatch for being too liberal. Van Susteren asked Palin how she would respond to their attempt to unseat him, to which Palin replied that she had admiration for the "good things" Sen. Hatch had done, and extremist elements were in "every group."

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It's been a big week for Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and her insurgent presidential campaign. Her victory in the Iowa straw poll forced her fellow Minnesotan and once top-tier candidate, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, right out of the race. But along the way, as could be expected of Bachmann and her boisterous rhetoric, there have been some other memorable moments.

On Thursday, the Tea Party maven told an interesting tale to a South Carolina audience, explaining her former career as a tax litigation attorney working for the federal government. "How many of you love the IRS? No! It's time to change it," she told the crowd. "I went to work in that system because the first rule of war is 'know your enemy.' So I went to the inside to learn how they work because I wanted to beat them."

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In these down times, America needs a president who is a "bad ass," Stephen Colbert said on Thursday.

So it was with disappointment he reported that the U.S. is falling behind Russia in "inspirational leadership." Case in point: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and President Dmitri Medvedev on Wednesday appeared in a rugged front-page photo in the New York Times.

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In one of his signature Fox News montages, Jon Stewart on Thursday highlighted the hypocrisy of conservative commentators railing against Warren Buffett's call to tax the super-rich.

It's "class warfare!" they claim. Because, you see, closing corporate tax loopholes and raising the marginal tax rate would only raise a meager $700 billion over 10 years, Stewart said. And as one conservative commentator noted, that's only a small fraction of the federal deficit.

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Ronald Reagan's chief domestic policy adviser took Texas governor Rick Perry to the woodshed Friday for recent controversial statements -- in particular about his suggestion that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke would be committing treason by printing money to boost economic growth.

"Rick Perry's an idiot, and I don't think anyone would disagree with that," Bruce Bartlett said on CNN's American Morning.

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Former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI), who lost his seat after three terms in the 2010 Republican wave, has announced that he will not run for office in 2012 -- either in the race for state's open Senate seat, or in a potential recall against Gov. Scott Walker -- a development that could possibly lower the chances for success of the latter possibility, or the likelihood of a recall even occurring.

"This was a difficult decision, as I thoroughly enjoyed my tenure in both the State Senate and the U.S. Senate, and I know that progressives are eager to reverse some of the outrageous policies being pursued by corporate interests at both the state and federal levels," Feingold wrote in an e-mail to his supporters.

"I am also well aware that I have a very strong standing in the polls should I choose to run again for the U.S. Senate or in a recall election for governor. After twenty-eight continuous years as an elected official, however, I have found the past eight months to be an opportunity to look at things from a different perspective."

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