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Catherine Thompson is a news writer for Talking Points Memo. Before joining TPM, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett and interned at The L Magazine. At New York University she served as the deputy managing editor of NYU's student newspaper, The Washington Square News. She can be reached at email@example.com.
An international panel of scientists has determined with "near certainty" that human activity is the cause of rising global temperatures, the New York Times reported Monday.
“It is extremely likely that human influence on climate caused more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010,” a draft of the scientists' United Nations climate report read, as quoted by the Times. “There is high confidence that this has warmed the ocean, melted snow and ice, raised global mean sea level and changed some climate extremes in the second half of the 20th century.”
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a Nobel-Prize-winning group of several hundred scientists, publishes findings every five to six years that are considered the authoritative reports on climate change. Its latest report said the odds are at least 95 percent that humans are the primary cause of warming, according to the Times.
Embattled San Diego Mayor Bob Filner's attorneys were in a mediation session Monday that included a review of a potential resignation, San Diego's KGTV reported.
Two anonymous sources inside the session told KGTV that Filner's attorneys were meeting with City Attorney Jan Goldsmith and attorney Gloria Allred, who is representing Filner's former communications director in a sexual harassment lawsuit. One of the sources told the news station that the session was scheduled for late morning and had no set end time.
Another source told KGTV that a federal judge was presiding over the mediation, held at an undisclosed location.
Filner said in a news conference last month that he would go back to work on Aug. 19 upon completion of a two-week behavioral therapy program. The mayor was reportedly nowhere to be seen when San Diego City Hall opened Monday.
Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Monday that the U.S. "overestimated" its leverage in Egypt after violent clashes continued despite several top officials' efforts to diffuse the situation.
"We obviously don't have the leverage that other countries have in the region," Corker said on MSNBC's "Andrea Mitchell Reports." "We have overestimated what our leverage is and underestimated, as I said before, the leverage that Saudi Arabia has and the Emirates have."
Saudi Arabia's minister of foreign affairs pledged Monday that Islamic countries would fill the gaps should Western nations withhold aid to Egypt. The U.S. supplies $1.3 billion to the nation in military aid each year; but along with the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, Saudi Arabia has already pledged $12 billion in aid to Egypt's new government since the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi in July.
"There's no question the monetary part of this is minuscule compared to what's being supplanted by these other countries," Corker added. "But we still have influence. We need to use it as much as we can."
The Tennessee senator said Sunday on ABC's "This Week" that he had "no doubt" the bloodshed in Egypt last week will lead the U.S. to suspend foreign aid until it can "recalibrate" its relationship with the conflicted nation.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) said Monday that Republicans in Congress need to develop a concrete agenda that isn't defined by just opposing Democrats, as well as be able to articulate that agenda to voters in terms they understand.
"As governors, as state leaders, we’re more optimistic than our friends in Washington,” Walker said on MSNBC’s 'Morning Joe.' “We’re not just against something, we’re laying out a plan, laying out a vision. You don’t just sit back and nick the other side – you got to lay out a plan.”
"We talk in terms that are more relevant,” Walker added. “Sequester, for most people it just goes right over their head. Debt ceilings, fiscal cliffs — we talk about making our kids’ schools better, we talk about balancing our budgets so we can live within our means, we talk about helping our neighbor get a job again.”
When host Joe Scarborough asked Walker why he opposed a government shutdown to defund Obamacare, the governor said he had "real problems" with the healthcare law but that the GOP wasn't correctly addressing the problem.
“I think most Americans, even if they don’t like the size or growth of government, they still want something to work, something very fundamentally to work, and that’s a difference again between Washington and the state level," he said.
Salon political writer and former TPM reporter Brian Beutler powerfully recounted his own personal story about getting shot by a black man wearing a hoodie in an article published Monday that dressed down the practice of racial profiling.
Beutler was shot in the shoulder when two hoodie-wearing, young black men attempted to mug him and a friend five years ago in Washington, D.C. He wrote that recent high-profile events -- like public reaction to the George Zimmerman trial -- prompted him to share the episode. Beutler wrote that he was also partly responding to actor and former Obama administration official Kal Penn, who recently made comments in favor of the New York Police Department's stop-and-frisk practice after being held at gunpoint in Washington.
From Beutler's case against racial profiling:
Penn got in trouble for touting the supposed merits of New York’s stop-and-frisk policy. To the objection that the policy disproportionately targets blacks and Latinos, he responded, “And who, sadly, commits & are victims of the most crimes?”
But that’s a non sequitur. A false rationale. Take people’s fear out of the equation and the logical artifice collapses. Canadians are highly overrepresented in the field of professional ice hockey, but it would be ridiculous for anyone to walk around Alberta presumptively asking strangers on the street for autographs. When you treat everyone as a suspect, you get a lot of false positives. That’s why above and beyond the obvious injustice of it, stop and frisk isn’t wise policy. Minorities might commit most of the crime in U.S. cities, and be the likeliest victims of it, and that’s a problem with a lot of causes that should be addressed in a lot of ways. But crime is pretty rare. Not rare like being a professional hockey player is rare. But rare. Most people, white or minority, don’t do it at all.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) signed legislation Sunday that compels gun owners to report missing firearms to police and run background checks on potential buyers.
The legislation closed a loophole in Illinois law that allowed private parties to sell guns without a background check, even though gun show merchants and licensed firearm dealers had to perform the check, according to the Chicago Tribune. Beginning on Jan. 1, individual gun owners will be required to contact state police to verify the purchaser is allowed to have a gun before selling or transferring ownership of a firearm.
Gun owners were also required under the law to notify police within 72 hours of a weapon being lost or stolen, effective immediately, according to the newspaper.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (R) backtracked Sunday after initially thanking a supporter who called Abbott's potential 2014 opponent in the governor's race, state Sen. Wendy Davis (D), "retard barbie."
The offensive language was used in a tweet to the attorney general on Saturday, with the supporter also writing that Abbott would "demolish" Davis in a match-up and calling her an "idiot." Abbott replied on the same day, telling the supporter, "Jeff, thanks for your support."
But Abbott backtracked on Sunday with a second tweet. He did not apologize, but he wrote that he did not "endorse anyone's offensive language." An Abbott campaign spokesperson told the Dallas Morning News that the attorney general writes all of his tweets himself.
Davis has fueled speculation about a gubernatorial run after her marathon filibuster of an abortion bill earlier this year. Recently Davis said she will either be running for re-election to her state Senate seat or for the governor's office.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus on Sunday brushed off criticism of the organization's debate ultimatum from a former senior advisor to Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign.
"This Week" host George Stephanopoulos asked Priebus to respond to Eric Fehrnstrom's tweet, which said it was "bad optics" for the party and a "loser's game" to ban CNN and NBC from partnering with the RNC for 2016 presidential debates over pending film projects about Hillary Clinton.
"Well, I don’t know if his Etch a Sketch is on tilt, George," Priebus said. "I’m not really taking advice from Eric Fehrnstrom right now.”
The remark referenced Fehrnstrom's memorable comment on the 2012 campaign trail that seemed to imply Romney would change his position on key issues as need be to get elected.
“Well, I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign,” Fehrnstrom said. “Everything changes. It’s almost like an Etch-A-Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all over again.”
Correction: This post has been updated to correct the title of the show to "This Week."
An Alabama Republican Party member's Facebook post in support of gay marriage catalyzed a proposed amendment to the state party's bylaws that would remove anyone publicly supporting a position contrary to the national GOP platform from its steering committee, Yellowhammer News reported Thursday.
Alabama College Republicans Chairwoman Stephanie Petelos posted a positive reaction to the Supreme Court's striking down of the Defense of Marriage Act on Facebook this summer and invited her friends to "like" a page called "Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry," according to the news website.
“I feel like as a member of the Steering Committee and leadership, that you have a higher duty to support the party’s platform in your official capacity,” Don Wallace, the president of the Alabama Republican Assembly and the party member who proposed the amendment, told the Yellowhammer News. “When the College Republican Chairwoman made official statements in conflict with the party platform’s support for traditional marriage, as well as the Governor and Chairman Armistead, I believe that requires action by the Republican Party on both procedural and moral grounds.”
The Alabama GOP's executive committee will vote on the amendment on Aug. 24, according to the news website.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) on Friday expressed concern that the National Security Agency is not giving "straightforward answers" about its surveillance activity after a Washington Post report revealed the agency broke privacy rules thousands of times a year.
"The American people rely on the intelligence community to provide forthright and complete information so that Congress and the courts can properly conduct oversight. I remain concerned that we are still not getting straightforward answers from the NSA," Leahy said in a written statement.
"I plan to hold another hearing on these matters in the Judiciary Committee and will continue to demand honest and forthright answers from the intelligence community," the statement continued. "Using advanced surveillance technologies in secret demands close oversight and appropriate checks and balances, and the American people deserve no less than that."