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Perry Stein

Perry is a News Writer for Talking Points Memo based in Washington D.C. Prior to TPM, she was a reporter-research at The New Republic and worked for her hometown paper, The Miami Herald. Perry can be reached at perry@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Perry

NSA Leaker Edward Snowden hasn't been out of the Russian airport long, but the now legal Moscow resident--who has been granted temporary asylum--has received a number of job offers, according to the The New Republic.

"I have to say he's getting a lot of job offers coming in," Snowden's self-appointed lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, told reporter Julia Ioffe. "Offers from journalists to work together, and the like. I've passed them on to him, he'll make the decision himself."

Snowden received an offer from VKontakte, Russia's Facebook rip-off, which also provides access to pirated music, TV shows and movies.

Russian businesses aren't the only ones seeking out Snowden. The former government contractor is also getting calls from Russian women, the lawyer said.

After being stuck in a Moscow airport for 39 days, Russia granted Snowden a year-long asylum Thursday.

The United States announced Thursday that it would close an unspecified number of embassies around the world Sunday over security concers, the AFP reported.

A State Department spokeswoman said the closures were "precautionary," but would not speak to the threat or why they were being closed.

The decision was made "out of an abundance of caution and care for our employees and others who may be visiting our installations," said State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf, according to the AFP.

After Sunday, the threat will be assessed and additional days of closure are possible.

Texas is once again running low on the lethal drug it uses to execute people, and officials are exploring other alternatives before the state's supply of pentobarbital expires in September, the Austin American-Statesman reported Thursday.

The state was forced to locate another source of the drug twice in three years because manufacturers stopped producing the lethal agent under pressure from death penalty opponents.

Prison officials said last year that if the pentobarbital ran out, they would consider switching to propofol--the anesthetic that was found to be partially responsible for Michael Jackson's death in 2009.

Texas has executed more people than any other state since the Supreme Court restored capital punishment in 1976, according to the New York Times. The state has executed five times more people than Virginia--the state that ranks second for most executions.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) will be in Las Vegas Thursday to attend a private fundraiser hosted by Sheldon Adelson, the CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp. and a major Republican donor.

The event is technically for Christies's 2013 gubernatorial reelection campaign, but Nevada is an early primary state and the event could be just as much about his 2016 presidential ambitions, according to the Las Vegas Sun.

“Why is the New Jersey governor coming here in the middle of the summer if he’s not running for president, and particularly hosted by an individual who has actively been involved in fundraising for Republicans?” Eric Herzik, a UNR professor of political science, told the Sun. “He’s giving every indication that even though he’s running for re-election as governor, he could be tempted to run for president. It wouldn’t surprise me if this is a get-to-know-you session on behalf of both sides (Christie and Adelson).”

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) called Russia's decision to grant NSA leaker Edward Snowden temporary asylum Thursday "a slap in the face of all Americans."

"Now is the time to fundamentally rethink our relationship with Putin’s Russia," McCain said in a statement Thursday. "We need to deal with the Russia that is, not the Russia we might wish for. We cannot allow today’s action by Putin to stand without serious repercussions."

“The first thing we should do is significantly expand the Magnitsky Act list to hold accountable the many human violators who are still enjoying a culture of impunity in Russia. We should push for the completion of all phases of our missile defense programs in Europe, and move expeditiously on another round of NATO expansion, including the Republic of Georgia," he continued. "We should challenge the political convictions and detentions of Russian dissidents such as Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Alexei Navalny. And perhaps most importantly, we should speak out on behalf of the many people in Russia who increasingly are finding the courage to peacefully demand greater freedom, accountability, and rule of law in Russia."

“Today’s action by Putin’s Russia should finally strip away the illusions that many Americans have had about Russia the past few years. We have long needed to take a more realistic approach to our relations with Russia, and I hope today we finally start," he said.

Former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum believes the media is taking Pope Francis' comments on gays out of context, refuting the notion that the Roman Catholic Church is softening on the issue.

Pope Francis told reporters earlier this week during a press conference on the papal airplane that, “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”

Santorum, a social conservative and a Catholic himself, told Buzzfeed Wednesday that the media has taken the quote out of context.

“I’ve read the whole transcript, and what he said early on was that ‘I don’t know anybody who puts gay on their identification card.’ He said it in that context,” Santorum told Buzzfeed. “I think all believers need to understand that we need to respect and love everybody and treat everybody with dignity and respect. There’s no room for harshness in respect to this issue — but that doesn’t mean the church doesn’t have the right to believe what is right and wrong.”

Santorum referred to the rumored "gay lobby"--a group of gay priests that is said to have inappropriate influence within the church. Francis also commented on the issue, saying “so much is written about the gay lobby. I have yet to find on a Vatican identity card the word ‘gay.'"

The woman charged with vandalizing the Washington National Cathedral was carrying what looked like a soda can with green paint in it when she arrested, WTOP reported Wednesday. She also had paint on her clothes, shoes and body.

The woman, Jiamei Tian, 58, has a Chinese passport and appeared in D.C. Superior Court Tuesday with a Mandarin translator, charged with defacing and destroying private property. She was ordered to be held without bail.

Authorities say they believe she is also connected to the green paint that was splattered last week on the Lincoln Memorial and on a statue of Joseph Henry outside the Smithsonian headquarters on the National Mall.

She is also suspected of vandalizing a statue of Martin Luther on Thomas Circle with green paint.

The woman arrived in the District a few days ago and was traveling on an expired visa, prosecutors said, according to WTOP.

 

Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn referred to minorities as "dark ones" on Wednesday, prompting criticism from several state lawmakers, MLive reported. 

Debating whether Michigan should adopt the Common Core State Standards at the state legislature, Arnn recalled receiving a Department of Education letter that voiced concerns about racial diversity at Hillsdale College. 

"They said we violated the standards for diversity because we didn't have enough dark ones, I guess is what they meant," Arnn said in his opening remarks.

After receiving criticism for the "offensive" language from several state Democrats, Arnn doubled down.

“The State of Michigan sent a group of people down to my campus, with clipboards ... to look at the colors of people’s faces and write down what they saw," Arnn later said, according to M Live. "We don’t keep records of that information. What were they looking for besides dark ones?"

Listen to his opening remarks below, around the 1:40 mark: 

Unlike Gov. Bob McDonnell (R), Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) will not be returning more than $18,000 in gifts he received from political donor and Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams.

McDonnell said Tuesday he plans to return and repay all the gifts that he received from Williams. But Cuccinelli told reporters Wednesday he didn't recieve the kinds of gifts that can be returned, saying "there are some bells you can't unring," according to NBCWashington.

Among the gifts Cuccinelli received from the embattled donor: a $1,500 catered Thanksgiving dinner, private jet trips and vacation accommodations.

 

The self-proclaimed "president" of the sovereign citizen group Republic for the united States of America (RuSA) was sentenced Wednesday to 18 years in federal prison following his conviction on fraud and tax charges.

James Timothy Turner, who goes by the name Tim Turner, was convicted in a federal jury in Alabama in March after court filings and evidence showed that he went around the country in 2008 and 2009, holding seminars on how to submit fraudulent bonds to the government as payment for federal taxes. Turner even once sent a $300 million bond in his own name to the Treasury Department.

He was convicted on conspiracy to defraud the United States, attempting to pay taxes with fictitious financial instruments, attempting to obstruct and impede the IRS, failing to file a 2009 federal income tax return and falsely testifying under oath in a bankruptcy proceeding, according to a Justice Department press release. 

"This sentence should send a message that if you attempt to use retaliatory tax liens and fraudulent tax schemes as weapons against the United States and its citizens you will be punished," said acting U.S. Attorney Sandra J. Stewart for the Middle District of Alabama in the release. "We cannot and will not tolerate those who violate the law for financial gain.  I would like to thank the law enforcement officers who worked vigilantly on this case to bring this criminal to justice."

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