TPM News

EMILY GERTZ

It looks as though the 2011 U.N. climate talks will go down in history as another failed attempt to achieve international agreement on fighting global warming.

That's at least the feeling of U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, who on Tuesday addressed the COP17 (Conferences of the Parties 17) summit in Durban, South Africa, saying in a prepared statement: "The ultimate goal for a comprehensive and binding climate change agreement may be beyond our reach -- for now."

That news came as China upended the second week of the UN climate talks with an announcement Monday that the country would agree to legally binding cuts in carbon emissions after 2020, a historic shift.

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So what exactly did Huntsman flip-flop on today when it comes to climate change? The campaign seems to think he flip-flopped on nothing, and Huntsman himself said Tuesday he wasn't changing his position.

But he did. Huntsman went today from the candidate who attacked others for rejecting climate science to joining with them in the conspiracy theories about falsified science and the extremist view that the jury's still out on whether or not climate change is real.

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(Reuters) - Verizon Communications Inc plans to launch a standalone service allowing customers to stream movies and television shows over the Web, in a fresh challenge to Netflix Inc and the traditional cable TV business, according to several people briefed on the plan.

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There's some good news and bad news in cybersecurity software company Symantec's final monthly intelligence report for the year, published Tuesday: The good news is that the global rate of email spam fell to its lowest level since 2008. The bad news is that targeted cyber attacks, the kind that can lead to advanced persistent threats such as Duqu and Stuxnet, increased by an astonishing 400 percent over the course of the year.

"In November, approximately 94 such attacks were blocked by Symantec.cloud each day, four times the number blocked in January of the same year," the report states.

A targeted attack is defined as a cyber attack directed at a specific individual, group of individuals or organization, as opposed to more broad-based malware designed to infect as many individuals as possible.

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Updated: Dec. 7, 4:31PM

Karl Rove isn't officially affiliated with any of the GOP candidates, but if you listen to him, it's becoming increasingly clear he has a favorite. We're not the first to notice, but Karl Rove seems firmly in the Mitt Romney camp. What's more, he's goes on TV a lot to lob attacks at just about every other candidate.

Rove has taken a stab at just about every candidate other than Romney, and on Tuesday it was Newt Gingrich's turn. With multiple polls showing Newt Gingrich surging in Iowa, Rove took to Fox News, to undermined the former speaker:

"If in the polls newt is leading by 10 or 11 or 12 points going into the Iowa caucuses and doesn't win by that margin people are going to say, well, he didn't meet his mark. That is a challenge for somebody who has not built organization."

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In an interview Tuesday with Neil Cavuto on Fox News, Mitt Romney announced that he will not be participating in the NewsMax debate on December 27 -- which will be hosted by Donald Trump, the businessman, media personality and, most controversially, prominent birther activist.

Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum have so far accepted the invitation. Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman have turned down the invitation, and gone out of their way to reject Trump himself as a debate moderator who would demean the process. In Romney's case, however, he is simply chalking it up to scheduling.

"No, I'm not participating in that," Romney said, when asked by Cavuto. "We have two debates in December that I've agreed to participate in. The rest of the month is gonna be spent campaigning, doing the political work that you've got to do, to get the support of people in Iowa and New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida.

"So we'll be hitting the trail, I spoke with Donald Trump earlier today, indicated that we just can't make this debate, we're gonna focus on the other two we've got, and on some campaigning."

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A campaign finance lawyer flags this part of the Washington Post's story on Newt Gingrich's massive $1.2 million campaign debt:

One of the campaign's biggest creditors is Gingrich himself, who billed the campaign more than $125,000 for a mailing list and travel expenses, about half of which remained unpaid at the end of last quarter.

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Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's administration held its first informational session Tuesday on the new rules for state Capitol protests -- under which demonstrators would have to pay potentially large amounts of money up front, in order to get a permit.

Stacy Harbaugh, communications director for the ACLU of Wisconsin, attended the session, which was hosted by officials from the Department of Administration -- and in an interview Tuesday afternoon, told TPM that the group is still reviewing its legal options.

"Unfortunately, a lot of our questions continued to be unanswered," Harbaugh told TPM. "The big thing that I think was a problem today was that the state Department of Administration didn't provide an attorney to represent their position.

"People have a lot of legitimate questions, legal questions, about how these rules could even be enforced. So by not providing an attorney and answering their questions, the Department frankly wasted their time today. There are too many questions that are unanswered."

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Awkward!

Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell brought a bunch of rank and file members to the microphones with him after a conference lunch Tuesday to discuss consumer finance regulation. But one of those Republicans -- Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) -- is introducing legislation to fund economic growth measures with higher taxes on millionaires and oil companies. And reporters took the opportunity to ask McConnell to address her plan publicly, in her presence.

After trying futilely to pass the mic to Collins, McConnell said pretty unequivocally that his caucus will overwhelmingly reject her plan.

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Well, we all thought we'd heard the last of Donald Trump when he was laughed out of the room after President Obama knee-capped his main presidential platform by producing his much talked about birth certificate.

However, it seems that in the roller-coaster of the 2012 GOP primary, Trump has emerged as some sort of king-maker. Candidates have flocked to his side, eager to get his endorsement (or whatever else they talk about over pizza) and The Donald is even hosting his own Presidential debate.

Evan McMorris-Santoro combs his way through the story.

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