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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

Former Rep. Gabby Giffords' (D-AZ) gun control group launched a TV ad Wednesday in support of Colorado state Senate President John Morse (D), who is facing a Sept. 10 recall election spurred on by his support of state gun control laws.

Americans For Responsible Solutions' ad, titled "Fighting for Us," doesn't rely on Morse's support of background checks for gun purchases. Instead, the 30-second spot urges Colorado residents to vote "no" on the recall and remember Morse's record of community safety, including championing a law that uses DNA technology to track down child molesters.

"My children's safety and my family are his number one priority," Colorado Springs resident Kristen said in the ad. "We need more people like John looking out for us."

The six-figure ad buy will run on both network and cable channels in the Colorado Springs, Colo. market, according to a press release. 

A reporter was taken off the air Wednesday from Russian-based television network RT after interrupting a panel on Bradley Manning's sentencing to speak for several minutes against the country's recently passed anti-gay laws.

“Being here on a Kremlin-funded propaganda network, I’m going to wear my gay pride suspenders and speak out against the horrific, anti-gay legislation that Vladimir Putin has signed into law,” reporter James Kirchick said.

"RT has been Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden 24/7. I haven't seen anything on your network about the anti-gay laws that have been passed in Russia," he continued.

RT hosts frequently interjected to try to steer the discussion back to Bradley Manning, but were unsuccessful. One host pointed out to Kirchick that the network aired a panel discussion with members of the LGBT community the previous week to discuss the new laws.

"You have 24 hours a day to lie about the United States and to ignore what's happening in Russia," Kirchick said over the hosts. "I'm going to take my two minutes and tell people the truth."

Shortly afterward, Kirchick disappeared from the panelists' splitscreen, according to the Washington Free Beacon.

Watch the video below:

White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest released a statement Wednesday that called on the United Nations to investigate reports that hundreds of Syrians have been killed in what opposition groups said was a chemical weapons attack by the Syrian government.

Full statement below: 

The United States is deeply concerned by reports that hundreds of Syrian civilians have been killed in an attack by Syrian government forces, including by the use of chemical weapons, near Damascus earlier today. We are working urgently to gather additional information.

The United States strongly condemns any and all use of chemical weapons. Those responsible for the use of chemical weapons must be held accountable. Today, we are formally requesting that the United Nations urgently investigate this new allegation.  The UN investigative team, which is currently in Syria, is prepared to do so, and that is consistent with its purpose and mandate. For the UN’s efforts to be credible, they must have immediate access to witnesses and affected individuals, and have the ability to examine and collect physical evidence without any interference or manipulation from the Syrian government. If the Syrian government has nothing to hide and is truly committed to an impartial and credible investigation of chemical weapons use in Syria, it will facilitate the UN team’s immediate and unfettered access to this site.  We have also called for urgent consultations in the UN Security Council to discuss these allegations and to call for the Syrian government to provide immediate access to the UN investigative team.  The United States urges all Syrian parties including the government and opposition, to provide immediate access to any and all sites of importance to the investigation and to ensure security for the UN investigative team.

A 3-year-old was shot and killed Tuesday night in the midst of a family dispute, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Gwinnet County police Cpl. Jake Smith told the newspaper the boy was shot in the driveway of his Lilburn, Ga. home by a shooter believed to be a family member. Smith said investigators believe a family dispute resulted in shots being fired, and that the alleged shooter had intended to hit another relative, not the child.

Luis Efrain Torres, who lived at the Lilburn address where police said the shooting occurred, was booked Wednesday on charges of murder and aggravated assault, according to the Journal-Constitution.

[Image via Varlanov Anatoly / Shutterstock]

A San Diego businesswoman told CNN Wednesday that Mayor Bob Filner put his hands on her buttocks at a meeting.

Diane York, the 18th woman to allege that Filner improperly touched her, told CNN that Filner touched her backside during a photo opportunity after the meeting three months ago. York is scheduled to hold a press conference at 1 p.m. PST Wednesday, according to San Diego's KGTV.

A 17th accuser, real-estate agent Caryl Iseman, had said during a rally Sunday that Filner grabbed her breast at a fundraiser 25 years ago, according to San Diego Gay and Lesbian News

Filner's lawyers have been in mediation talks since Monday as the mayor faces both a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by his former communications director and a vocal recall effort. The Democratic National Committee will vote on a resolution that would call Filner's resignation, CNN reported Tuesday.

This post has been updated.

A bookkeeper at McNair Elementary School in Decatur, Ga. told television station WSB that she was able to talk down a gunman who entered the school Tuesday and fired shots before he was able to cause any injuries.

"I knew that if he got outside, he was unstable enough to start shooting at everybody," the bookkeeper, Antoinette Tuff, told WSB.

Tuff told the news station that she related her personal story to the shooter in hopes of keeping him calm and preventing him from going outside where he could potentially shoot at schoolchildren who had been evacuated. She told the shooter she had raised a disabled child and a law school student after losing her husband of 33 years, then bounced back to start her own business.

"I started communicating to him and to the police and to Channel 2 News, and then just started trying to talk him down, to calm him down, to let him know I understand how he was feeling," she said.

Watch the full interview with Tuff below, courtesy of WSB-TV: 

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) plans to meet with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Wednesday at the company's campus in Menlo Park, Calif., CNN reported.

A source with knowledge of the informal meeting told CNN that Rubio's and Zuckerberg's "shared commitment to fixing America's broken immigration system" is expected to be a topic of conversation.

Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald spoke with CNN's Anderson Cooper Tuesday night about his partner David Miranda's nine-hour detention in London's Heathrow Airport, excoriating British authorities for equating journalism to "terrorism."

Greenwald said that U.K. authorities' seizure of a laptop, thumb drives, and other materials from Miranda amounted to "criminalizing" journalism. Miranda was detained under Section 7 of the nation's Terrorism Act while he was en route to Brazil after picking up the materials in Germany from Greenwald's colleague Laura Poitras, who assisted him on stories about National Security Agency surveillance programs.

"If you want to start criminalizing that, it means that you’re asking as a citizen to be kept ignorant and to allow people in power to conceal what they’re doing behind a wall of secrecy and to have no accountability or transparency," Greenwald told Cooper. "Journalism is not a crime and it’s not terrorism.”

"I truly believe they will come to regret what they have done," Greenwald later added. "Aside from being oppressive and dangerous, it’s also quite incompetent and really quite dumb.”

Watch the interview below, courtesy of CNN: 

The co-chairman of Iowa's Polk County Republican Party has stepped down and registered as an Independent, writing in a resignation letter that the GOP is "headed in the wrong direction," the Des Moines Register reported Tuesday. 

Chad Brown told the newspaper he resigned his post on Aug. 5. Brown cited Rep. Steve King's (R-IA) recent comments comparing undocumented immigrants to drug mules as an example of his disagreement with the party, along with its positions on gun control and climate change. 

From Brown's resignation letter, as quoted by the Register:

In 2012, the Polk GOP lost Polk County by over 32,000 votes. Until 2002, Republicans were elected to the State House from Des Moines. In 2012, Republicans lost 2 State House seats in suburban, Republican-leaning districts and came two dozen votes from losing a third. Facts are stubborn things. I think we are now headed in the wrong direction on several fronts and regretfully must step aside.

 

It’s my opinion that rather than fix the problems that led to such a massive 2012 defeat, the GOP does not seem to seriously want to fix the issues. I think helping a dysfunctional Party that does not want to address its problems is enabling. I do not believe in enabling. I debated this for weeks and am certain this is the only course.

Commissioners in Colorado's Weld County voted unanimously Monday in favor of putting a 51st state initiative on the November ballot, Denver television station KDVR reported.

The initiative read "Shall the Board of County Commissioners of Weld County, in concert with the county commissioners of other Colorado counties, pursue becoming the 51st state of the United States of America?” according to KDVR.

Ten counties in the state held meetings throughout June and July to discuss seceding to form "North Colorado," partly in reaction to state legislation restricting the oil and gas industries and tightening gun control. Should a ballot initiative pass in each county, the secession plan would still require the approval of the state legislature, the governor and Congress.

[Image via spirit of america / Shutterstock]

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