TPM News

The James Webb Space Telescope -NASA's overbudget, delayed successor to the Hubble Space Telescope- will see the light of day the stars after all in 2018, if all goes according to plan, thanks to a lifeline thrown out to it by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

A detailed report on the 2012 science budget resolution released by its Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Friday clarified that although NASA's overall budget is slated to be slashed by 2.8 percent in 2012 (from $18.5 billion to $17.9,) the agency will actually receive even more money that it asked for specifically to continue building the giant, infrared orbital telescope.

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Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) has spoken publicly on the apparent investigation of former aides from his time as Milwaukee County Executive -- saying that he does not know any of the details.

"We don't know what exactly is involved," Walker told the Associated Press on Friday, when asked at an unrelated event in Milwaukee.

He also added: "Until we know, obviously it's a concern but again, I don't know any more details than what I've seen reported in the media outlets around the state."

The "John Doe" investigation -- a secret proceeding in which witnesses can be subpoenaed to testify under oath, but are forbidden from talking publicly about the case -- is reported to have originally stemmed from a staffer resigning in 2010, when she was found using her county time to post reader comments on online newspaper article promoting Walker's gubernatorial candidacy and criticizing his opponents.

While Rick Perry has been touting his record of creating jobs in Texas as a key reason he'd make a great president, it turns out employment numbers aren't so peachy in his homestate either.

NBC's Michael Isikoff reports that the Texas unemployment rate "increased to 8.5% in August -- the highest level in more than 24 years and more than twice the rate when Perry took office in December 2000."

That's still below the 9.1 percent average nationwide. But remember how the latest national figures showed zero job growth? Well Perry's Texas lost territory, shedding 1,300 in August. The private sector added 8,100 jobs, but the public sector lost 9,400.

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Some members of the hactivist collective Anonymous announced late Thursday on Twitter that they're adding a new tool to their online arsenal.

The new tool, simply called #Ref#Ref, alludes to the way that the script works. It exploits a vulnerability in servers that causes the servers to refresh over and over again in rapid succession until the server freezes or crashes.

One Anonymous member described it this way: "Imagine giving a large beast a simple carrot, [and then] watching the beast choke itself to death."

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Ever since Labor Day, President Obama has been engaged in the always transparent-but-nonetheless-necessary quadrennial game of presidents pretending events aren't campaign-oriented or politically motivated when they undoubtedly are.

On Thursday White House spokesman Jay Carney was pummeled with questions about whether the President's trip next week to a crumbling bridge a stone's throw from Speaker John Boehner's Ohio district is politically motivated, especially considering that the bridge connects Cincinnati to northern Kentucky, home to none other than the Senate's Republican leader, Mitch McConnell.

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Mitt Romney took an interesting step in his ongoing efforts to marginalize Rick Perry as too right-wing to be elected. During an appearance Thursday on CNN, Romney disagreed with Perry calling President Obama a "socialist" -- the dreaded label that countless Republicans have used ever since the 2008 election.

Wolf Blitzer played an audio clip of Perry saying the Obama administration policies were, "on its face, socialism," and asked Romney whether he agreed with that.

"Well, you know, words have a lot of unintended meanings," said Romney. "And calling people socialists probably goes beyond the fact that -- it is true that President Obama's team, and the president himself, seem to believe that government has a better approach to our economy than does the private sector.

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Google's Chairman Eric Schmidt is going to be on the hot seat next Wednesday.

The Senate Judiciary Committee's antitrust subcommittee on Friday released its list of witnesses who are expected to air their grievances against Google's business practices. They include Yelp co-founder and CEO Jeremy Stoppelman, Expedia's outside counsel Thomas O. Barnett and Jeff Katz, the CEO of Nextag, a comparison shopping search company.

Google's outside counsel Susan Creighton, a widely respected attorney from the Silicon Valley law firm of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati will be on hand as well. Google had first wanted to only send a lawyer to represent it at the highly anticipated hearing, but offered up Schmidt after the committee's chairman Herb Kohl (D-WI) and ranking member Mike Lee (R-UT) threatened to subpoena the company.

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The New York Times reports:



Syrian security forces shot dead 29 people Friday in some of the country’s most restive locales, in yet another round of bloodshed that has led some there to fear Syria’s six-month uprising may be headed toward an even more violent turn.

Michele Bachman is pressing her case against Rick Perry's 2007 Gardasil order, labeling the move "Perrycare" in a low-budget campaign video on Youtube.

In the video, which features awkward lighting and a strong echo on Bachmann's voice, the Minnesota Congresswoman decries Perry's "crony capitalism" and compares the HPV vaccine decision to President Obama's health care law.

"Whether it's Obamacare or whether it's Perrycare, I oppose any governor or president who mandates a family's health care choices and in turn violates the rights of parents on these issues," Bachmann tells the camera.

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