TPM News

Neville Thurlbeck, a former reporter at the now-defunct News of the World, is threatening to break his silence in a civil case, the New York Times reports. Thurlbeck was one of 16 people arrested in the ever-widening phone hacking scandal that has rocked Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.

President Obama in his weekly radio address sought to rally Republican support for his jobs bill. Obama said if Republicans like parts of the bill, he would like to know which parts. And likewise if Republicans disagree with it.

The bill is ultimately not about what the president wants, he said. “This is about what the american people what.”



The United States Justice Department on Friday asked a bankruptcy court in Delaware to assign control over the solar panel maker Solyndra to a trustee because its top executives are refusing to answer any questions in the ongoing bankruptcy proceeding.

The trustee, which is part of the Justice Department, said that its motion with the court wasn't about the company's wrongdoing, but about being able to proceed in a manner that would most benefit the company's creditors.

"The issue is whether management's refusal to answer questions about the debtors' finances and operations prevents the Debtors' current management from properly exercising their fiduciary responsibilities," wrote Roberta A. DeAngelis, the United States Trustee in a brief filed with the court on Friday.

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On a conference call with reporters Friday afternoon, senior RNC officials addressed the situation of their now disrupted primary calendar, which was caused by Florida moving its primary to January 31, ahead of the officially sanctioned early states that were supposed to go in February. However, the senior officials still claimed success in the calendar overall -- even though Florida has broken the rules, and now the official early states are likely to lose half their delegates, too.

The formal rules, adopted last year, provided for four states to vote in February: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. Then other states could hold contests in March under various methods of proportional representation, and states that voted from April onward could be winner-take-all. But all of that has been up-ended by Florida's decision to vote on January 31, which will cause the official four early states to move even earlier into January .

The officials discussed how the RNC's rules were done as a reaction to the 2008 calendar, when Super Tuesday in early February became almost a de facto national primary: "The intent of it all was to get away from having a national primary and really try to start a bit later, but really have more states participate, and have more people able to participate in a meaningful way...And I think for the most part we're going to accomplish that."

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With the solar energy company Solyndra going belly up, some Republicans have started to question the Energy Department's entire loan program. Not House Speaker John Boehner (R), who on Friday called for the Obama administration to send some of that federal cash back to a company in his Ohio district.

Boehner's office wants the Energy Department to approve USEC, Inc.'s application for a loan to construct a uranium enrichment plant for the American Centrifuge Project. They say that USEC's proposal is solid and would "bring thousands of good-paying, long-term jobs," which they said stood "in stark contrast to the 'stimulus'-centric Solyndra saga."

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Conservative blogger Erick Erickson over at RedState is having a lot of fun with what they're calling "P-Day." That's the blog's term for the last day of September, the final day Sarah Palin has said would pass without her making an announcement one way or another about her presidential campaign.

Obviously, no announcement has come, leading to mocking by the RedState gang. Palin's fans, to put it mildly, are not happy.

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Poor Jon Huntsman. Not only did Donald Trump reject the candidate's request for a meeting, he then used social media to publicly mock the former Ambassador to China.

"@JonHuntsman called to set up a meeting. Haven't returned his call," Trump tweeted on Friday.

The tweet is only the latest in what has quickly become an escalating feud between the two men.

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A transcript of former President Richard Nixon's testimony on the Watergate scandal before a grand jury in 1975 is going to be unsealed thanks to a lawsuit filed by Public Citizen on behalf of an historian.

Over the objection of the government, a federal court granted Public Citizen's request to unseal the 36-year-old transcript in July. The order became final this week when the Justice Department declined to appeal.

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Yes it's early, and it's Connecticut. It's a strongly Democratic state, and it's highly unlikely that anyone else but President Barack Obama will win it in the 2012 election.

But former Mass Gov. Mitt Romney within two points?

A new poll from Public Policy Polling (D) shows Obama with a nearly split approval rating in the very blue state, with 48 of CT voters approving of his job performance and 49 against. The President's struggles with his job approval numbers have been well documented, and Dean Debnam, President of PPP, got right to it in the release: "Connecticut probably won't be a swing state at the end of the day," he said. "But the fact that it's even close there at this point is symbolic of his broader issues."

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A trio of government agencies are working to develop a project that sounds like something out of a science fiction novel: They're working to create a tiny chip, made with bioengineered human tissue that researchers hope will allow them to model how drugs and vaccines could potentially affect the human body.

The new project is a joint effort between the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA,) the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH.)

The chip, which was created through DARPA's Accelerated Manufacture of Pharmaceuticals Program, is intended to help the Defense Department quickly develop and distribute medical countermeasures against attacks against American troops. According to a recently released agency announcement, the completed chip will simulate the circulatory, endocrine, gastrointestinal, immune, musculoskeletal, nervous, reproductive, respiratory and urinary systems.

DARPA expects to have chips available and ready for research by 2016. The tiny chips will contain integrated cells from a variety of organs including the liver, heart and muscles. DARPA and the FDA will both be investing more than $70 million each into the project.

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