TPM News

Just days after Hurricane Irene swept up the East Coast, causing massive flooding in Vermont and leading to almost 40 deaths, Fox Business Network personality Charles Payne just had to ask, is global warming really to blame?

His guest, Bill Nye "The Science Guy," said there is evidence to suggest it is a result of global warming, but that climatologists will need more time to fully connect the dots. Nye went on to lay out in plain terms some of the facts of climate change, including rising temperatures in the Pacific ocean. The two debated a Newsweek story claiming radical weather is the "new normal," with Payne asking Nye if that was "irresponsible, or is there any science behind it?"

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Another Republican has thrown his hat into the ring for the Wisconsin Senate seat being opened up by the retirement of Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl. And the latest candidate has a big name: State Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald -- who along with his brother, state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, and Gov. Scott Walker, has been instrumental in passing the anti-public employee union legislation that sparked the wave of protests, recall elections, and other big controversies in Wisconsin.

Fitzgerald confirmed his candidacy to the Wausau Daily Herald on Monday:

He said he would apply his experience in the Wisconsin Legislature to the Senate.

"We have the same problems here (in Wisconsin) as we have in D.C.," he said, citing excessive taxation as an example. He said the national debt must be brought under control and that "we need to start making stuff in this country."

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With Texas Governor Rick Perry's college grades out in the open, the question of whether he has the intellect for the nation's top job was put on the table this morning, much to conservatives' chagrin, by Politico, officially turning it into a campaign talking point. On his program tonight, Sean Hannity tried to turn the tables on those who would question Perry, asking his panel whether the media were missing the point that President Obama was the stupid one.

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In an interview with NBC's Matt Lauer on Tuesday, former Vice President Dick Cheney defended many of the most controversial decisions made during his tenure, including waterboarding ("the fact is it worked") and the decision to go to war in Iraq ("I think it was sound policy that dealt with a very serious problem").

"I don't think that it damaged our reputation around the world," Cheney said of Iraq. "I just don't believe that. I think critics here at home would argue that."

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By John Voelcker

Starting with the 2013 model year, you will see a new and more informative gas-mileage sticker on the window of new cars for sale.

There are several changes, both graphic and informational, that are meant to provide consumers with more information so they can make more informed choices among different new-car alternatives.

One we applaud is the larger "combined mileage" number, which is a more realistic estimate of the overall gas mileage that any car will return over time in mixed use.

The earlier design had a small combined number, almost hidden, and much larger City and Highway ratings. The eye was naturally drawn to the highway rating, whereas now, the most prominent number is the most realistic one.

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By Kurt Ernst

Wouldn't it be great if old newspapers and junk mail could be used to generate biofuel, instead of taking up space in landfills?

Tulane University scientists have discovered a strain of bacteria capable of turning old newspaper into butanol. Better yet, the newly-discovered bacteria is capable of doing so in the presence of oxygen, something other strains of cellulose-eating bacteria are not.

To be precise, the bacteria is the first to convert the cellulose found in old newspapers directly into butanol, which can then be used to fuel vehicles or create a gasoline/butanol blend. Since the research is still in its infancy, we won't be seeing any "brew it yourself" butanol kits on the market just yet.

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The polls show Texas Gov. Rick Perry is the clear frontrunner at the moment when it comes to Republican support in the presidential nomination fight. But as he treads further into the center stage, Perry's facing down growing media scrutiny -- especially over his own past statements.

How he plays this next phase of his campaign will be key to his viability over the long haul -- if Perry ignores the growing questions about his record, he risks damaging the electability quotient that has helped rocket him ahead of Michele Bachmann by appealing more to Republicans beyond the Tea Party. But if he bows too much to critics, shifting his stances to be more in line with a mainstream electorate, he risks alienating those Tea Partiers who are still the voters Republicans running for president are afraid of.

So far, it seems that Perry is sticking with the Tea Party and letting the attacks fall where they will.

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Sarah Palin is expected to make up her mind about a presidential campaign by the end of September, but it's not clear it matters much either way. Polls show relatively few Republicans clamoring for a Palin run on a national level as the one-time supernova is eclipsed by a crowded presidential contest and an array of new rising stars. About two-thirds of Republicans say they're satisfied with the current primary field.

It feels as if Palin's fabled 2012 run, a source of fervent speculation since before the 2008 contest even ended, has already gone out with a whimper. Palin is polarizing even within her own party and has shown little indication she can reverse the nation's long-settled perception of her as a media phenomenon with little appeal outside her limited fan base.

But how did she end up this way? And who is to blame? Here's a look at five of the leading culprits.

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A presidential panel is nearing the conclusion of a study on research conducted by the United States in the 1940s in which prisoners, prostitutes and mental patients in Guatemala were infected with sexually transmitted diseases. The panel says it's clear that the scientists who conducted the experiments knew their work was unethical.

The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues isn't set to issue its final report on the Guatemalan medical experiments until next month. But as the Associated Press reports, members of the commission discussed some of their findings at a meeting on Monday, disclosing that the experiments funded by the U.S. government infected 1,300 soldiers, prostitutes, prisoners and mental patients with syphilis.

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A powerful union will escalate a fight with Republicans over the party's push to make it harder for rail and airline workers to unionize.

This week, the Communications Workers of America will launch direct mail and robocall campaigns against the GOP's top transportation policy maker, and about two dozen other GOP members of the House of Representatives, according to officials.

The campaign stems from a months-long fight over legislation to permanently reauthorize Federal Aviation Administration programs. House Republicans want to use that bill to fiddle with mediation rules, so that airline workers who abstain from voting on whether to form a union would be tallied as having voted "no."

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