TPM News

Rick Perry's tough words for Ben Bernanke Monday weren't just idle talk. By going after the Federal Reserve, he immediately brings to the forefront one of the few major policy distinctions between him and Mitt Romney.

A successful investor who is well-versed in monetary policy, Romney has been extremely wary about joining in on the Republican party's populist revolt against the Federal Reserve over the last two years. Perry, by contrast, is clearly all too happy to ride the anti-Fed tide, perhaps making a play for some of the Bernanke haters more naturally drawn to Ron Paul.

As recently as April of this year, well after Tea Partiers had taken to vilifying Bernanke as the face of the 2008 bailout, Romney defended the Fed Chair in an interview with CNBC's Larry Kudlow after being repeatedly pressed to criticize him for "depreciating the dollar."

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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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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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