TPM News

By Neal Ungerleider

The United States Naval Research Laboratory has unveiled its latest piece of high-tech equipment designed to help U.S. troops in the battlefield: A sophisticated satellite that will allow Marines in mountainous regions to use radios without having to stop to position special antennas. The satellite, called the Tactical Satellite 4 (TacSat-4), is scheduled for a September 27 launch in Kodiak, Alaska.

The satellite will "support forward deployed forces at sea and Marines on the ground," said Larry Schuette, director of innovation at the Department of Defense's Office of Naval Research.

While TacSat-4 is not specifically intended for Afghanistan, the satellite will make troop communications there much easier.

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Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe is scheduled to appear Tuesday afternoon before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee to discuss the quasi-government agency’s dire financial situation. The USPS lost $8 billion last year and is expected to lose at least that much this year as well. The post office is being squeezed on both revenue and costs; losing business due to the Internet revolution and bound by a law that prevents them from raising postage fees faster than inflation.

Officials warn that they may not be able to make this month’s $5.5 billion payment to cover future employee health costs without increasing their borrowing limit, which requires Congress to take action. In an interview with The New York Times, Donahoe called the situation “extremely serious.” The agency is considering a variety of cost-cutting measures, including ceasing Saturday deliveries, closing up to 3,700 postal offices and eliminating 120,000 workers.

Mitt Romney is set to deliver a detailed address on how he plans to turn around the economy this afternoon, but he offered up a preview in USA Today this morning.

Mitt Romney is set to deliver a detailed address on how he plans to turn around the economy this afternoon, but he offered up a preview in USA Today this morning.

Congress is back from recess this week, and as TPM has pointed out, the 2012 election starts Thursday. The President will be delivering his highly anticipated jobs speech then, after former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney lays out his plan on Tuesday. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, ahead in the polls for the GOP presidential nomination, has been talking about his record as a job creator at home, but hasn't been particularly specific about what he would do as president.

As voters tune back in again as fall approaches, there will be effectively one question on their minds: who can revive the economy? It remains the most important issue, and unless something drastically changes, it will be the issue that the 2012 election hinges on. So when it comes to the economy, who's on the best ground in prelude to this weeks' big events?

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Everyone knows the unemployment rate is painfully high and not falling. Friday's monthly jobs report from the Department of Labor put a cruel point on this fact: In August, job gains in the private sector were entirely offset by job losses in the public sector, netting precisely zero new payrolls for the month.

Zero is a striking number in this context, but it's also a bit misleading. For instance, private sector job creation appeared artificially lower than it should have because 45,000 Verizon workers were on strike when the survey was taken. What happened in August has been happening for months, as policy makers allow federal spending to fall and, thus, for government jobs to disappear, placing a significant drag on overall growth.

Experts disagree to some extent over the precise measures lawmakers should take to stanch this bleeding -- but overwhelmingly they agree it can be stanched. Their recommendations give the lie to the idea -- pushed by conservatives and adopted by some Democrats -- that government is growing out of control and deficits need to be addressed urgently. And yet nearly all major news outlets ignore, or bury this fact -- indeed, most reports of this month's jobs figures place no emphasis on the contraction of the public sector, and the implications thereof.

Here's a sample.

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Texans don't like the government interfering with their business, especially campaign donations, where state laws allow contributors to fork over unlimited cash. No one has benefited more from this arrangement than Rick Perry, who has raised $100 million over the last decade, nearly half of which came from just 204 ultra-wealthy donors.

You're going to be hearing a lot about those donors over the next few weeks, for a couple of reasons. One is that Perry has a reputation for being especially friendly with his most loyal backers: separate analyses by the Washington Post and Los Angeles Times concluded that large percentages of his top donors received some benefit from the state during his tenure as governor. Perry's camp told both papers, as they've told the Texas press for years, that they were doled out on the merits.

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Rep. Michele Bachmann's campaign manager and longtime Republican strategist Ed Rollins announced today that he would be stepping out of the presidency and into an advisory role for his candidate, and explained on CNN tonight that his decision was based primarily on health reasons. But he also had some fascinating insights for Anderson Cooper and John King: it's currently a Rick Perry/Mitt Romney campaign, but in order to remain relevant, Perry has to win either Iowa, New Hampshire, or South Carolina: all uphill battles for the Texas governor.
Rollins was emphatically sincere about his reasons for taking on a smaller role in the campaign, telling Cooper that "I'm 64 years old, I had a stroke a year and a half ago... I just don't have the endurance to go for fourteen-hour days." He added that he still had "great affection" for the campaign and the candidate, and that he wasn't "going away," just assuming a different role.
Cooper then inquired on how Perry had redefined the race since entering it, which Rollins answered was a good question as "Rick Perry is a very serious candidate" and means that "we now have two very serious money people" in the race (Jon Huntsman, despite having a strong economic backing, seemed not to concern him). Perry had several challenges to face, however: "the vast majority of people don't know who Rick Perry is outside of Texas," he noted, which meant that polls, to him, would not show the extent of his popularity until his name recognition improved. That said, he admitted that "we're going after the same voter base" and that his entry "took a lot of the momentum that we would've gotten out of the straw poll victory" away.
That the race was "Romney-Perry" also seemed not to disturb Rollins too much: "it was different and better than we thought," as Rep. Bachmann was "very much in this thing." That said, King then turned to ask him about the optics of this change, and whether "for a candidate who has a new competitor" and a history of gaffes, it will be interpreted as "another misstep." "People will say that," Rollins responded, "but it doesn't matter." "The key here is, 'Where did you win?'" Rollins concluded, noting that Perry "has to win somewhere" to remain relevant, and the first three races are far more winnable for Rep. Bachmann or Romney.
The segment via CNN below:





The original version of the story appears here: http://www.mediaite.com/tv/bachmann-campaign-head-ed-rollins-stepped-down-for-health-reasons-but-its-a-perryromney-race/

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It was quite a performance. But was it enough?

Mitt Romney ended his tour through Tea Party country on Monday with a late-scheduled slot at Sen. Jim DeMint's (R-SC) Palmetto Freedom Forum. DeMint backed Romney's run for the White House in 2008, but has not extended him much love this time around.

As he did at a New Hampshire tea party rally over the weekend, Romney laid out his case that the haters on the right are wrong and, truly, the former governor of Massachusetts is just the man the angry wing of the GOP is looking for.

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Updated: September 5, 2011, 6:30PM

Teamsters union president James Hoffa would say it all again if he could, he told TPM Monday.

Hoffa riled up Fox News and the right wing Monday with a Labor Day speech in Detroit in which he called Republican members of Congress "sons of bitches" and said union workers are ready to "go to war" with the tea party next year and "take out" Republicans at the ballot box.

Hoffa said he'd say the exact same words all over again.

"I would because I believe it," he said. "They've declared war on us. We didn't declare war on them, they declared war on us. We're fighting back. The question is, who started the war?"

The speech came shortly before President Obama took the stage in Detroit -- and Hoffa's remarks certainly overshadowed Obama's on Fox. But the Teamsters chief said he was just matching fired-up conservative rhetoric when it comes to organized labor and Obama with some fired-up rhetoric of his own.

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