TPM News

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By John Voelcker

Despite lack of an official confirmation from Audi of America, we'd bet significant money on the arrival of the Audi A6 Hybrid in the U.S. market.

Why? Because the U.S. has the highest hybrid penetration of any market in the world except Japan, and "hybrid" means "high gas mileage" to a large number of U.S. buyers, particularly the affluent ones who buy imported luxury cars like Audis.

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Some of the Senate's most committed hawks are parting company over the debt deal's prospects for broad defense cuts if Congress gridlocks on entitlement or tax reform.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is supporting the debt deal despite its potential for severe defense cuts while his usually likeminded colleague, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) says he's a solid no in large part because of the threatened reductions in military spending.

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A fire this past weekend in La Crosse, Wisconsin, destroyed several buildings, including six apartments and a warehouse -- plus the local office of the labor-backed group We Are Wisconsin, a major player in the state Senate recalls taking place next week.

The La Crosse Tribune reported that multiple buildings were seriously damaged by the fire, with We Are Wisconsin's office being one of several entities who were affected.

When contacted by TPM, the La Crosse Fire Department said that the investigation is still ongoing, with no determination yet as to the cause or place of origin for the fire.

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House Democrats convened Monday afternoon in an underground conference room in the Capitol Visitor's Center to hear Vice President Joe Biden explain the debt limit deal he helped broker with Congressional Republicans, and to vent to reporters in the strongest possible terms about the deal many of them are being asked to consider supporting.

"They expressed all their frustrations," Biden told reporters after the meeting. "I feel confident that this will pass."



He must've gotten an earful. The meeting, scheduled to last an hour, dragged on for over two. During that stretch, a steady trickle of Dems, entering and exiting, stopped to complain about the legislation, and the extent to which they'd been closed out of the process of crafting it.

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Since she entered the presidential contest, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has leaped up the polls and, wowed audiences, and dominated a nationally televised debate. She's taken a strong stand on the central political issue of the day -- the debt ceiling -- drawn a frontrunner's press attention.

Or, as Jon Huntsman puts it, she gets coverage because she's pretty.

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The Naval Medical Research Center (NMRC) in Silver Spring, Maryland, quietly conducted a rapid-response exercise against two undisclosed bacterial and viral threats.

The study required a participating biotech company to synthesize drugs on short notice for two unknown biological warfare agents.

This exercise, which took place in June, was conducted in collaboration with the Joint Project Manager-Transformational Medical Technologies and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency--two government institutions specializing in countering weapons of mass destruction.

The exercise proved to the military officials that drugs to prevent a presumed new biowarfare threat could be synthesized within 18 days.

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Twitter just published a post acknowledging a significant funding round led by DST Global.
It's reportedly an $800 million deal, which skyrockets Twitter to an $8 billion valuation. Kara Swisher of All Things Digital says Twitter will use half of the money to cash out investors and employees.
Twitter says it will use the money to hire more people and continue to improve the product.

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Updated: August 1, 2011, 4:40PM

Is the Koch-backed conservative group Americans For Prosperity up to no good in the Wisconsin state Senate recalls?

As Politico reports, mailers have now turned up from Americans For Prosperity Wisconsin, addressed to voters in two of the Republican-held recall districts, where the elections will be held on August 9. The mailers ask recipients to fill out an absentee ballot application, and send it in -- by August 11, after Election Day for the majority of these races.



"These are people who are our 1's [solid Democrats] in the voterfile who we already knew," a Democratic source told Politico. "They ain't AFP members, that's for damn sure."

There are two other recall elections being held on August 16, targeting two Democratic incumbents, but they are both a distance away from the recipients of these particular mailers.

Furthermore, a close look at the mailer shows a continuation of irregularities that have already involved conservative groups and absentee ballots in the state.

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