TPM News

Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY) just can't seem to stick to his new diet goal of abstaining from steering millions of federal dollars to his cash-strapped district.

Earlier this year, the chairman of the top House spending panel who made a career out of earmarking millions of dollars to district pet projects, joined the GOP budget austerity movement spurred by the Tea Party-fueled GOP takeover of the House.

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Chris Christie didn't become governor of New Jersey the easy way. He first had to overcome a gauntlet of scandals in which he was accused of crony capitalism, big spending, and using his government title to get himself out of legal trouble. These stories may be yesterday's news in New Jersey, but should Christie run for president, he'll have to fight his old battles all over again on the national stage.

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Former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney was knocked from frontrunner status by Texas Gov. Rick Perry about a month ago. Last week, Romney returned the favor.

Perry became the leader as a true conservative that also seems electable to the GOP base. Then he turned in poor debate performances and couldn't shake a pile-on when other candidates went after the few areas where Perry didn't completely subscribe to conservative ideology: his Texas mandate of a vaccine that prevents HPV in women and his defense of what is in effect a Texan DREAM Act.

So the GOP is back to square one with Romney and a changed dynamic. Instead of Romney and a field of also-rans that occasionally pose as credible candidates, there is another true contender that resonates with the conservative base. So what's the next move? Look for the GOP field to go back to hammering the new (and previous) frontrunner, Mitt Romney.

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New York police officers arrested at least 700 Occupy Wall Street protesters late Saturday afternoon, including a freelance reporter for the New York Times, for straying off the sidewalk and onto the roadway in the midst of a march on Brooklyn Bridge. Most were released early Sunday morning after being issued citations for disorderly conduct and court summons, the BBC reports.

The march of over 1,000 protesters began around 3:30 pm ET Saturday, the two-week anniversary of the beginning of the movement. According to the Occupy Wall Street website, the arrests began around 5:00 pm. The police shut down the bridge, came up behind the body of marchers and began using orange mesh barriers to corral the protesters. By about 8:40 pm, at least 400 protesters had been arrested, the website reported.

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The Obama administration this week announced millions of dollars in new grants for dozens of projects related to advanced solar technology and other new clean energy technologies.

On Thursday, the Department of Energy said that it had awarded $156 million to fund 60 different cutting edge technology projects in five categories: low cost biofuels, substitutes for rare earths (the expensive minerals used in electric vehicle motors and wind turbines), advanced thermal storage systems including systems for storing solar energy, "smart grid" technology that integrates renewable energy alongside coal and nuclear power, and low cost utility-scale solar systems.

This particular grant program is administered by the department's Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E.) The agency is modeled after DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, credited with developing the Internet and the computer chip.

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We already know a lot about the all-electric 2012 Tesla Model S sedan -- but at a press event ahead of Saturday night's exclusive VIP event at the former Toyota NUMMI facility in Fremont, California, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced Tesla was making a faster Model S for those with a sporty side.

Cutting the brisk 0-60 time of the standard Model S from 5.6 second to under 4.5 seconds, the sportier version features the same 85 kilowatt-hour, 300 miles-per-charge battery pack found in the 2012 Model S Signature series.

"That's quicker than a [Porsche] 911 [Carrera]," joked Musk. "Not bad for an electric luxury sedan."

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Republican savior-in-waiting Chris Christie is just too soft on immigration, the environment and the creeping threat sharia law to win the GOP nomination, Herman Cain told a pair of talk shows Sunday.

Capping off his post-P5 straw poll victory lap this week, Herman Cain stopped by Fox News Sunday and ABC's This Week, where he accused Rick Perry of being "insensitive to a lot of black people in this country" and said Christie was just too much of a left-winger to carry the Republican banner in 2012.

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Updated below with Team Perry's response to Cain.

Rick Perry's campaign is pushing back hard on a tough Washington Post story published Sunday that described the history of Perry family hunting plot in Texas once decorated with a rock bearing its name: "Niggerhead."

But as the campaign worked to shoot the story down -- telling Politico it "contains 'incorrect, inconsistent' claims" -- one of Perry's rivals for the GOP nomination, businessman Herman Cain, pounced.

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