TPM News

Yesterday, the Obama campaign launched Attack Watch, a new website in the tradition of Fight The Smears, a 2008 effort to push back on misleading and erroneous stories about Obama floating around in the days before the election.

The concept of the Attack Watch website is simple -- see something you think is false, send it in, and the Obama campaign will debunk it. Discussion of the site was so popular on Twitter Wednesday that it reached #3 on the service's top trending topics in the nation. But driving the conversation wasn't the debunking of headlines that could make it harder for Obama to win a second term -- it was a TweetDeck blur of conservative tweets mocking the concept that pushed the site's #AttackWatch hashtag near the top of the trending list.

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The world's most popular social network, and the one whose founder promotes openness and sharing as cardinal values of the new digital society, is going to remain private until at least 2012, according to a new report in The Financial Times.

Facebook is delaying it's long-rumored initial public offering (IPO) until September 2012 because CEO Mark Zuckerberg wants employees to not to get distracted from developing new products by the anticipated waves of cash, the FT reported, citing sources close to the company.

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Democrats and Republicans all agree that the nation needs to move on a jobs agenda. And Republicans have a new plan: unleash the reins of snake commerce.

GOP members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee today called attention to a proposed regulation that would restrict the transportation and importation of nine types of snakes, including the Burmese Python.

In a new report entitled "Broken Government: How the Administrative State has Broken President Obama's Promise of Regulatory Reform," GOP members cited the proposed snake ban as one of seven examples of red tape choking off job growth in an already ailing economy.

One witness invited to testify, snake breeder David Barke, told lawmakers that the rules "threatens as many as a million law-abiding American citizens and their families with the penalty of a felony conviction for pursuing their livelihoods, for pursuing their hobby, or for simply moving with their pet to new state."

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In a development that smacks of Terminators and SKYNET, startup Narrative Science has created a program that can turn data into a news stories -- stories that include, most humanely, inferences and an angle.
PopSci reported the development.
Whether statistics from a football game or housing sales figures, the robot journalist culls the numbers and puts a journalistic spin on them, writing stories faster than human competitors can for $10 per 500-word article.
Narrative Software is promoting the software as a tool to expand and supplement coverage in budget-conscious newsrooms.

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President Obama has inextricably linked his administration to the green energy technology sector with the many photo opportunities and speaking engagements that he's undertaken to promote it in order to achieve the dual goals of reducing harmful emission that contribute to climate change, and to reduce U.S. reliance on foreign oil.

The problem for advocates of these goals is that clean energy technologies are emerging technologies and so when big bets fail, the policy becomes political baggage, and fodder for opposition soundbites, as Wednesday's hearing over the Energy Department's half a billion dollar loan guarantee to the failed solar panel maker Solyndra demonstrates.

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The Guardian -- the UK newspaper that has dominated with its coverage of the ongoing News of the World phone-hacking scandal -- is expanding its presence in the states with the launch of a new U.S. homepage, and expanded U.S. staffing to match.

The Guardian's U.S. editor in chief, Janine Gibson, told TPM she hopes the site will behave "like a start-up and be a bit disruptive," starting small and learning and responding to readers as it grows.

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If there's ever any doubt about the momentum former White House financial reform adviser Elizabeth Warren brings to the Massachusetts Senate race, just check in with the national fundraising effort led by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.

The fundraising drive began a couple months before Warren got in the race, and on the first day of her official candidacy, the PCCC surpassed $200,000 raised. That's around $105,000 for the Draft Warren effort and around $99,000 for Warren's actual campaign.

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Two weeks ago, Solyndra remained unknown to many people outside of Washington and the alternative energy circuit.

On Wednesday, it was beating Scarlett Johansson on Google Trends, as the Republican National Committee's research arm was only to happy to point on on its Twitter feed.

That's particularly incredible given that a.) Scarlett Johansson is one of the most famous actresses in the world b.) Nude photos allegedly of her stolen by hackers showed up online on Tuesday night c.) There's few things the Internet loves as much as porn.

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The White House is pushing back on an emerging Republican talking point in the Solyndra debacle: that the failure of one solar panel company spells doom for the future of green energy.

"As the Department of Energy has made clear, they have always recognized that not every one of the innovative companies helped would succeed, but we can't stop investing in game-changing technologies that are key to America's leadership in the global economy," White House spokesman Eric Schultz said in an email.

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Michele Bachmann's opposition to vaccinating young girls against HPV, a policy Rick Perry once championed -- and her allegation that it can lead to mental retardation -- is now getting further pushback from outside of the regular political sphere, with the American Academy of Pediatrics chiming in.

The Academy released this statement late Tuesday, joining the list of people rebutting Bachmann's comments, and the theory that vaccines cause brain damage:

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