TPM News

Facebook is expected to raise $5 billion in a preliminary initial public offering on Wednesday, International Financing Review reports. It’s less than initially expected. The report suggests the decision was made to start small and then decider later whether to increase.

President Obama sacrificed an awful lot last year to take the debt limit off the legislative table until his second term, or some lucky Republican's first term. More importantly, he wanted it off the table until after the 2012 elections, to prevent a replay of last year's debt limit fight from playing out in the middle of election season, when the political consequences would be farther-reaching. And by "farther-reaching" we mean the doomsday scenario of legislators succumbing to a collective action problem and allowing the country to default on its debt.

Well, it looks like Obama will probably get his wish, but it will be an awfully close call.

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The U.S. economy will suffer over the next few years as a result of fiscal austerity measures including the recent spate of spending cuts, according to the Congressional Budget Office's latest forecast issued Tuesday.

Economic growth and the employment rate will be reduced for many years to come as a result of the August debt limit law's steep $2.4 trillion in spending cuts and expiration of expiring tax provisions including the Bush-era tax cuts, the budget office report concluded.

To illustrate this point, CBO made separate projections pegged to two baselines -- current law, in which the spending cuts and tax increases go into effect, and an alternative fiscal scenario in which these fiscal policy changes are voided.

Without the austerity measures, deficits are higher, but real GDP growth is projected to be as much as 0.8 percent higher this year and up to 2.9 percent higher next year, when the debt limit law's sequestration cuts kick in and the Bush-era tax breaks expire. The baselines even out after a decade but the near term hit to the economy is salient.

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On the heels of Rep. Cliff Stearns' (R-FL) call for Google to brief lawmakers on its new privacy policy, Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) released a statement blasting the search engine for the new policy, which Markey said “undermines privacy safeguards for consumers” and doesn’t allow a satisfactory “opt-out” provision. Markey also requested that Google meet with him.

Markey’s statement in full:

“Sharing users’ personal information across its products may make good business sense for Google, but it undermines privacy safeguards for consumers. Despite Google’s recent response, it still appears that consumers will not be able to completely opt-out of data collection and information sharing among Google’s services. Congress and consumers need more details, and I look forward to meeting with Google to get clarification about what the options are for consumers who wish to say no to these new changes.”

Markey and Stearns are among the eight House lawmakers who signed a letter to Google CEO Larry Page on Friday, asking for Google to answer 11 in-depth questions about its new privacy policy.

Google responded on Tuesday with a lengthy explanation, again saying its policy was meant to “simplify” its user experience, allowing the search giant to collect and combine data across its myriad products — including Gmail, YouTube and Google Search.

Jack Gillum of the Associated Press is reporting that American Crossroads “super PAC” and its nonprofit arm has raised $51 million to defeat President Barack Obama:

Financial documents obtained by The Associated Press show Crossroads has $15.6 million in cash on hand to spend on general election ads this year.

The documents had not been filed with the Federal Election Commission as of Tuesday afternoon.

With two stories in the past two days of sarcastic '"tweets" being taken seriously and landing the account-holders in various forms of trouble, it's time to raise the alarm: Be careful what you tweet.

In the first case, originally reported Monday by UK newspaper The Sun, 26 year-old Irish bartender Leigh Van Bryan was blocked from entering the United States for a trip due to tweets he had posted in the weeks before embarking reading "Free this week, for quick gossip/prep before I go and destroy America," and "3 weeks today, we're totally in LA pissing people off on Hollywood Blvd and diggin' Marilyn Monroe up!"

"Destroy," is common UK slang for partying and the "diggin' Marilyn Monroe up" tweet was a quote from Family Guy, according to The Sun.

Bryan told the Sun that he and his travel companion Emily Bunting were intercepted by U.S. Department of Homeland Security agents at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) upon arrival and refused entry to the U.S.

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Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) on Tuesday released a statement saying he was glad Google decided to answer lawmakers' questions about the company’s privacy policy update, but that “lingering questions” remained. Further, Stearns said that he wanted Google to take the “next step” and “come in and brief us” on the privacy policy before it goes into effect on March 1.

Stearns, Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, was the leading signatory on a letter sent by eight House lawmakers to Google on Friday requesting that the search giant answer 11 in-depth questions about its new privacy policy.

Google responded on Tuesday, saying again that it is implementing the new policy in an effort to “simplify” its user experience across its myriad products. The new policy will combine over 60 separate privacy policies for Google products into one meta-privacy policy.

Here’s Smith’s response to Google’s answers in full:

“I appreciate Google’s quick attention and response to the important questions posed for the company last week. Strong consumer privacy means notice and choice online. I applaud Google’s goal of creating a shorter, simpler privacy policy, as well as its efforts in alerting its users about the change in its privacy policy. This notice is key. However, Google correctly notes in its response that consumer’s ability to opt-out, i.e. consumer choice, is ‘at the heart’ of my concerns. Essentially, it appears that the new policy would allow Google to apply information it collects from a signed-in user to Google Search and YouTube. While Google clarifies in the letter a number of ways consumers can control their privacy settings, oftentimes consumers remain automatically logged-in to Gmail services. I am interested to learn more about how this issue will be addressed. Thus, Google’s response has significantly clarified its new privacy policies but I still have lingering questions remaining. I believe the next step is to have Google come in to brief us on these responses so that we can assure true privacy protections are in place before the new policy goes into affect on March 1st.”

Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign brought in $9.8 million and spent $8 million in the final three quarters of 2011, according to a report the campaign just filed with the Federal Election Commission. The report indicates that Newt 2012 had $2.1 million on hand at the end of the year.

But the campaign was still carrying a debt of $1.19 million, according to the report.

A federal judge has denied the Occupy DC protesters' petition to be able to keep camping in the two city’s two parks, Reuters reports.

See picture of the Occupy DC protesters here.

Sarah Palin’s VP nomination as psychological thriller? That seems to be the angle for HBO’s adaptation of the Mark Halperin and John Heilemann campaign tome ‘Game Change.’ Take a look at the trailer, out today: