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Catherine Thompson

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 catherine@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Catherine

NSA leaker Edward Snowden told the Huffington Post on Thursday that news organizations have been "misled" by associates of his father into printing "false claims" about his legal situation.

"I would like to correct the record: I've been fortunate to have legal advice from an international team of some of the finest lawyers in the world, and to work with journalists whose integrity and courage are beyond question," Snowden wrote in an email to the Huffington Post's Michael Calderone. "There is no conflict amongst myself and any of the individuals or organizations with whom I have been involved."

"Neither my father, his lawyer Bruce Fein, nor his wife Mattie Fein represent me in any way," the email continued. "None of them have been or are involved in my current situation, and this will not change in the future. I ask journalists to understand that they do not possess any special knowledge regarding my situation or future plans, and not to exploit the tragic vacuum of my father's emotional compromise for the sake of tabloid news."

Snowden's email "correcting the record" came on the heels of a Wall Street Journal report published Thursday, in which Mrs. Fein said the lawyers of Snowden's father believed journalist Glenn Greenwald and Julian Assange's WikiLeaks organization had been working to promote their own interests over those of Snowden.

An advisor to Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) on Thursday dismissed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's (R) speech at a luncheon for the Republican National Committee, in which the governor argued the GOP needs to govern rather than brainstorm.

"I think that we have some folks who believe that our job is to be college professors … for our ideas to matter we have to win," Christie said at the closed-door luncheon, according to media reports. "Because if we don't win, we don't govern. And if we don't govern, all we do is shout to the wind."

"So if I translate Gov. Christie correctly, we shouldn't be the party of ideas," Paul adviser Doug Stafford wrote CNN in an email. "We shouldn't care what we stand for or even if we stand for anything. We reject that idea. Content-free so-called 'pragmatism' is the problem, not the solution."

Christie's speech hearkened back to a heated feud between he and the Kentucky senator over the direction of the party. Christie had called the strain of libertarianism in the GOP "dangerous," dismissing politicians like Paul as "esoteric" and too caught up in "intellectual debates."

Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (D) plans to travel to Iowa later this month to speak at a labor convention, the New York Times reported Thursday.

An aide for Democracy for America, the grassroots progressive PAC Dean founded, told the Times that the former presidential candidate will speak about the group's efforts to elect more Democrats to state legislatures at the Iowa Federation of Labor convention in Altoona on Aug. 21. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) urged Dean to speak at the convention, according to the aide.

Dean recently told CNN that he would consider launching another presidential bid. 

"This isn’t the last you’ll be hearing of Dean and Democracy for America in Iowa leading up to 2016,” the aide told the Times.

Molly Crabapple is a New York illustrator and artist who has aptly been called "equal parts Hieronymus Bosch, William S. Burroughs and Cirque du Soleil." She recently visited the detention facility at the US military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba as only the third person allowed to draw the prison and court proceedings at what has become one of the most iconic and controversial plots of land in the world in the last decade. Her visit coincided with the pre-trial hearings of admitted 9/11 plotter Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his co-conspirators. And she wrote about it in an illustrated essay for VICE. TPM's Catherine Thompson spoke to Crabapple last week about what she hoped to accomplish with her sketch pad in the face of 24/7 military escorts and in the midst of what she wrote was "a concentration camp on the Caribbean." She returns to Gitmo later this month.

WHY I DRAW

TPM: I'd like to ask some about your sketches and your drawing process. How did people react to the act of you sketching while you were there? Watching the trials, for instance?

MOLLY CRABAPPLE: People in general liked it. Sketching in general - anywhere, not just in Gitmo, but in life, in the world - is a profoundly disruptive act. Because you're creating something when you're kind of expected to consume or sit passively. I've always sketched things as a way to get into them, whether it was a fancy nightclub or, you know, to have kids think I was cool, whatever. I always used drawing as a bridge.

I think a lot of the Army people liked my drawings. When I was in court, I wasn't allowed to take my sketchbook out of the courtroom without an official censor stickering each page. And they were kind of disturbed initially that there were two sketch artists there. Because there's this one brilliant woman named Janet Hamlin who's been coming for seven years and who documents everything. They're super-used to Janet and how she works. She's an amazing court artist. But I think it kind of freaked them out that there were two of us, because we get to bring extra things into the courtroom. Normal journalists aren't allowed to bring anything into the courtroom at all except a notebook and a pencil. They can't bring a bag; they can't bring contact solution, nothing. And we get to come in with our art supplies.

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Former Rep. Gabby Giffords' (D-AZ) gun control group plans to return a donation it received from actress Bette Midler's private foundation, the Center for Public Integrity reported Thursday.

Campaign records showed that among other donations from nonprofit organizations to the group, Midler's foundation had given $10,000 to Giffords' Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC, according to the Center for Public Integrity. Tax experts told the center that such donations from private foundations could be "very problematic."

Because it is a 501(c)(3), Midler's foundation is barred from participating directly or indirectly in political campaigns, the center noted. In addition, private foundations are also barred from lobbying to influence legislation.

"These are not illegal contributions for us to take, but it’s our understanding that the donations are not appropriate for the donors to make,” Katie Hill, the communications director for Americans for Responsible Solutions, wrote the Center for Public Integrity in an email. “Thus, we are processing refunds, which will be disclosed on our next report.”

Campaign finance records showed that Americans for Responsible Solutions raised more than any other super PAC during the first half of 2013, taking in $6.6 million.

A great-grandmother employed by the city will come forward and accuse San Diego Mayor Bob Filner (D) of sexual harassment in a news conference with attorney Gloria Allred on Thursday, KGTV reported.

A news release said the woman was the "victim of continuous inappropriate sexual advances by the Mayor while trying to do her job at City Hall," according to KGTV.

The release also stated that the woman would give a news conference at 1:00 p.m. PST in San Diego alongside Allred, who was representing the senior citizen and several other accusers.

An attorney became the fifteenth woman to came forward Thursday morning to accuse Filner of making an "inappropriate movement" on her body. The city employee would then be the sixteenth woman to level allegations of sexual harassment against the mayor.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) issued a statement Thursday in response to President Barack Obama's announcement that the U.S. would no longer participate in a joint military exercise with Egypt, calling on the president to "stop skirting the issue" by cutting off all foreign aid to the conflicted nation.

"While President Obama 'condemns the violence in Egypt', his Administration continues to send billions of taxpayer dollars to help pay for it," Paul said in a written statement. "The law is very clear when a coup d'état takes place, foreign aid must stop, regardless of the circumstances. With more than 500 dead and thousands more injured this week alone, chaos only continues to grow in Egypt."

"So Mr. President, stop skirting the issue, follow the law, and cancel all foreign aid to Egypt," he added.

The Washington Post said its website was hacked Thursday by a group known for its support of the Syrian government. 

"The Washington Post Web site was hacked today, with readers on certain stories being redirected to the site of the Syrian Electronic Army," an editor's note on the Post's website read. "The group is a hacker collective that supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad."

The Post wrote that it is working to resolve the issue.

A fifteenth woman came forward Thursday to San Diego's KFMB claiming that Mayor Bob Filner (D) made an "inappropriate movement" on her body at a public event years ago. 

Attorney Kathryn Vaughn, who is one of four local women organizing a rally and march on Sunday calling on Filner to resign, told KFMB that the incident occurred a decade ago but she chose to "let it go."

"He came up to me and I had a very uncomfortable moment with him," Vaughn said. "And at the time, I froze and looked around for my husband and there were a lot of other people in the room."

When a KFMB anchor asked to clarify that Filner waited until her husband walked away, then groped her, Vaughn affirmed.

"He made an inappropriate movement on my body, yes," she said.

Watch the interview below, courtesy of KFMB:

 

San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

A parody video calling on San Diego Mayor Bob Filner to resign has drawn criticism from some Southern California media outlets this week.

U-T TV, a news station launched by the U-T San Diego newspaper that has been extensively covering the Filner scandal, released a parody version of the ubiquitous music video for Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" on Monday. Tightly-clothed women and suited men, one of whom's head has been replaced by an image of Filner, dance to Thicke's song in the video.  

Some Southern California media outlets slammed the spoof. The Los Angeles Times's Robin Abcarian wrote that the U-T TV station "has chosen to demean women to get its message across," while the Voice of San Diego's Sara Libby wrote the parody "seizes on a subject ripe with potential for legitimate news, and instead produces something vapid and embarrassing."

The news station altered the "Blurred Lines" lyrics to riff on the accusations of sexual harassment against Filner. At one point, the actors sing "it's time you take a good look/ he thinks you want it/ but you don't want it/ it makes us vomit."

Watch the parody video below: 

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