TPM News

First, they brought you a tea party coloring book. Now the publisher is back with more fun for the whole family.

Just in time for the 10th anniversary of September 11, Really Big Coloring Books, Inc., has released "We Shall Never Forget 9/11" -- a "serious children's book," according to the release. In the book, kids will learn "what happens when a terrorist who orders others to bomb our peace loving wonderful nation" and that "terrorism is human made and is very old; it comes in people of all shapes, sizes, and colors."

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We touched on this in our highlight reel but it's worth considering in isolation since the implications for a coming fight over entitlement cuts and taxes are so enormous.

In last night's debate, each of the eight GOP presidential candidates on stage broke a land-speed record for rejecting a hypothetical, massive, multi-trillion dollar spending cut deal. Why? Because, in the hypothetical, the package would also include tax increases amounting 10 percent of the spending cuts.

None of them even had to stop and think about it. Watch in the clip below how quickly they raise their hands.

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The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy on Wednesday convened a meeting with leaders of the science research and development community to reassure them that the Obama administration would fight to keep its research and education funding commitments to keep the U.S. competitive.

The White House made the disclosure about the meeting in a blog post late on Thursday.

Kei Koizumi, assistant director for federal R&D at the White House OSTP wrote:

Yesterday, OSTP Director John Holdren and Deputy Director for Policy Tom Kalil hosted a meeting with science and technology (S&T) community leaders. The gathering, held at the White House Conference Center, provided an opportunity to share perspectives on how the current fiscal and policy environment may affect the Nation's science and engineering enterprise.

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Campaign aides who call Mitt Romney "weird" will be kicked off President Obama's re-election team, according to senior adviser David Axelrod.

The term appeared numerous times in a Politico article quoting a number of named and unnamed Democratic strategists on how they planned to attack Romney in a general election.

Appearing on MSNBC on Friday, Axelrod challenged the report's assertion that the aides quoted were connected to the campaign. "No one on my team believes that," he said, calling the article "garbage."

Asked whether he would fire an aide who used the term, he replied "I would. If someone used words like 'weird,' I would certainly do that."

Despite his protestations, Axelrod was quoted in the Politico article offering up some of the Romney campaign trail stories that were cited as evidence of how playing up Mitt's "weirdness" factor might work in a national race. He never used the word himself, however.

"When he makes jokes about being unemployed or a waitress pinching him on the butt, it does snap your head back, and you say, 'What's he talking about?'" he said in the piece.

Standard & Poors has a specific justification for downgrading the U.S. bond rating, and it's deadly for Republicans. It wasn't just that Congress showed itself to be reckless and dysfunctional, or that the GOP shows no sign of ever ending their anti-tax jihad. It's that for a period of weeks, some lawmakers (read: Republicans) were quite literally shrugging off the risks of blowing past the August 2 deadline, running out of borrowing authority, and missing payment obligations.

"[P]eople in the political arena were even talking about a potential default," said Joydeep Mukherji, senior directior at S&P. "That a country even has such voices, albeit a minority, is something notable," he added. "This kind of rhetoric is not common amongst AAA sovereigns."

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It's been a fractious summer for Congress: the United States came close to the prospect of defaulting on our debt for political reasons instead of economic ones, there's another looming budget crisis when they return, and Americans hate the legislative body more than ever. So it's not a huge surprise in this era of lightning quick political reaction that Americans are swinging back to the party they just kicked out of the House, according to new Gallup data released Friday and a PPP(D)/Daily Kos survey from earlier in the week.

Both polls showed Democrats taking the lead in the Generic Congressional Ballot, a metric showing who voters generally feel they want to control the House and Senate. Gallup consistently measures it, and Democrats held a healthy lead throughout 2007 to the end of 2009, when the GOP started making gains and eventually led. The Republican high water mark was around election time in 2010, but it didn't last very long: early into 2011 Democrats surpassed them again, the data shows, and have opened up a lead. The newest rating is 51% in favor of a Democratic candidate versus 44% for a Republican one.

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By Tina Casey

A research team at Rice University has developed a new strain of E. coli that can create biofuel at a rate that is about ten times faster than other bacteria -- and they can do it on a cheap diet of glucose and mineral salts.

The discovery opens the door to a new generation of renewable biofuels that cost less than petroleum based fuels.

Researchers are beginning to focus on bacteria in biofuel production, using natural metabolic pathways to break plant sugars down more efficiently.

By deploying the bacteria's own energy to push the process forward, they can eliminate several costly, energy intensive steps that are needed in conventional biofuel production.

The Rice team, headed by associate professor Ramon Gonzales, focused on tweaking the metabolic pathway of E. coli. Short for Escherichia coli, the bug is better known as a common source of food poisoning.

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