Tom Kludt

Tom Kludt is a reporter for Talking Points Memo based in New York City, covering media and national affairs. Originally from South Dakota, Tom joined TPM as an intern in late-2011 and became a staff member during the 2012 election. He can be reached at tom@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Tom

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences on Thursday announced the nominees for the 85th Academy Awards, with Steven Spielberg's biopic "Lincoln" leading the way with 12 nominations, including one for Best Picture.

Along with "Lincoln," eight other films were nominated for the top prize of Best Picture: "Amour"; "Argo"; "Beasts of the Southern Wild"; "Django Unchained"; "Les Misérables"; "Life of Pi"; "Silver Linings Playbook" and "Zero Dark Thirty."

The ceremony will be held Feb. 24 and will be hosted by screenwriter Seth MacFarlane. Read the complete list of nominees here.

A collection of observations on leadership and organization from former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld will be released in May, the Associated Press reports.

The book will be called "Rumsfeld's Rules." 

The National Rifle Association's call for armed guards in schools across the country drew intense criticism in many circles, but a poll released Thursday shows that voters in a key swing state overwhelmingly support the proposal. 

According to the latest survey from Quinnipiac University, 66 percent of registered voters in Virginia favor the idea of placing armed police officers in the Commonwealth's public schools while only 29 percent are opposed. 

But Virginia voters are staunchly opposed to arming educators: 31 percent favor allowing teachers to carry concealed weapons in the classroom, compared with 66 percent who are opposed.

In a tough op-ed published Thursday on CNN.com, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), the second-ranking Republican in the Senate, spelled out why he is opposed to the nomination of Chuck Hagel to lead the Defense Department.

Echoing a now-familiar charge, Cornyn accused the former Republican senator from Nebraska of wanting "to be softer on the Iranians" and "tougher on the Israelis":

It is no exaggeration to say that a nuclear Iran represents an existential threat to Israel. And yet, while Hagel wants us to be softer on the Iranians, he thinks we should be tougher on the Israelis. In October 2000, at the beginning of the second Palestinian intifada, he was one of only four senators who refused to sign a letter to President Bill Clinton affirming U.S. solidarity with Israel. More recently, in January 2009, Hagel signed a letter advising Obama to spearhead direct, unconditional talks with Hamas, a terrorist group that had just fired hundreds of rockets into Israel.

Lest we forget, Hamas is an Iranian proxy whose senior leaders openly pray for genocidal violence against both Israelis and Americans. Last year, for example, a Hamas official named Ahmad Bahr, who serves as deputy speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, declared in a sermon, "Oh Allah, destroy the Jews and their supporters. Oh Allah, destroy the Americans and their supporters. Oh Allah, count them one by one, and kill them all, without leaving a single one."

Read the entire piece here

Researchers have concluded that former NFL star Junior Seau, who committed suicide last May, suffered from a debilitating brain disease attributed to his hard-hitting 20-year playing career, ESPN and ABC News reported Thursday.

Seau's family donated his brain to a team of neuroscientists at the National Institutes for Health after the legendary linebacker shot himself in the chest. 

From ABC News:

A team of independent researchers who did not know they were studying Seau's brain all concluded he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative disease typically caused by multiple hits to the head.

 "What was found in Junior Seau's brain was cellular changes consistent with CTE," said Dr. Russell Lonser, chairman of the Department of Neurological Surgery at Ohio State University, who led the study of Seau's brain while he was at NIH.

Patients with CTE, which can only be diagnosed after death, display symptoms "such as impulsivity, forgetfulness, depression, [and] sometimes suicidal ideation," Lonser said.

Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy (D) on Thursday offered a vote of confidence in Vice President Joe Biden's efforts to institute new national gun laws. Malloy said he had a "great conversation" with Biden on Wednesday, adding that the vice president "understands what we need to do" to curb gun violence.

"I had a great conversation yesterday with Vice President Biden and I know he is preparing his recommendations to the president," Malloy said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "I don't want to get into the details of the discussion but he's got this down pretty well. He understands what we need to do to make it less likely that these things are going to happen in our cities and towns, and these mass murders could be limited at least going into the future if some common sense things are taken."

Malloy also mentioned two areas he would like to see addressed by a new federal gun law: a ban on high-capacity magazine clips and a closure of gun sale loopholes.

"Those are two things that would make a gigantic difference in the amount of violence that's taking place in our urban environments and, yes, under these cirucmstances where somebody goes in and shoots up a movie theater or shoots up a school," Malloy said. 


The judge who is considering evidence brought forward by prosecutors is expected to decide by Friday whether James Holmes, the alleged shooter in the Aurora, Colo. theater massacre, should stand trial, the Associated Press reports.

From the A.P.:

The preliminary hearing, which ended Wednesday, is designed to allow state District Judge William Sylvester to determine whether prosecutors' case is strong enough to put Holmes on trial. Holmes faces more than 160 counts of murder and attempted murder.

Sylvester's decision is likely to come by Friday and if as expected he orders Holmes to stand trial, the next step will be for Holmes to enter a plea.

President Barack Obama will formally nominate chief of staff Jacob Lew to serve as the next secretary of treasury at a 1:30 p.m. ET event today, the White House announced. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will be in attendance at the event, which will take place at the East Room of the White House.

In the announcement, the White House stressed Lew's track record in "tackling some of the toughest domestic and international economic challenges facing our nation in decades."

The announcement:

 Jack Lew will bring an impressive record of service in both the public and private sectors for over three decades and economic expertise to this important role, and his deep knowledge of domestic and international economic issues will enable him to take on the challenges facing our economy at home and abroad on day one.  Throughout his career, Jack Lew has proven a successful and effective advocate for middle class families who can build bipartisan consensus to implement proven economic policies. 


As White House Chief of Staff, Jack Lew led the President’s team in tackling some of the toughest domestic and international economic challenges facing our nation in decades.  That included strengthening our nation’s recovery from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression to dealing with serious fiscal matters and challenges in the global economy.  He also led the Office of Management and Budget under President Clinton and President Obama, negotiating a historic agreement with Congress during the Clinton administration to balance the federal budget and leading the negotiations of the bipartisan Budget Control Act in 2011, which brought discretionary spending to historically low levels. 

As Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources, in addition to managing the day-to-day operations of the Department, Jack Lew managed the State Department’s international economic policy portfolio and traveled the world to advance our nation’s interest.  He also has a distinguished record leading private and public sector institutions and will bring strong relationships in the business community to his new role.  At Citi, he was part of the senior internal management team of this global financial institution, serving as Managing Director and COO of Citi Global Wealth Management and then as Managing Director and COO of Citi Alternative Investments.  As Chief Operating Officer at New York University, he was responsible for budget, finance, and operations, and was a professor of public administration.

Revisiting his proposal for sweeping new gun control laws during his State of the State address in Albany, N.Y. on Wednesday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) made a dramatic and impassioned plea to lawmakers to "set an example for the rest of the nation" while asserting that "no one needs 10 bullets to kill a deer." 

"I know that the issue of gun control is hard. I know it's political. I know it's controversial. But we are proposing today common sense measures. And I say to you: forget the extremists," Cuomo said. "It's simple: no one hunts with an assault rifle! No one needs 10 bullets to kill a deer! And too many innocent people have died already! End the madness now! Pass safe, reasonable gun control in the state of New York! Make this state safer! Save lives! Set an example for the rest of the nation! Let them look at New York and say this is what you can do! And this is what you should do! This is New York, the progressive capital! You show them how we lead!"




New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on Wednesday outlined what he called a "seven-point agenda" to usher in sweeping new state laws during his "State of the State" address in Albany, N.Y.

"We must stop the madness, my friends," Cuomo said. "And in one word, it's just enough. It has been enough." We need a gun policy in this state that is reasonable, that is balanced, that is measured. We respect hunters and sportsmen. This is not taking away people's guns. 

Cuomo said he wants the law to include seven key provisions: the toughest assault weapons ban in the nation; a closure of the private sale loophole and a requirement for federal background checks; a ban on high-capacity magazines; stiffer penalties for illegal gun use, guns on school schools and in violent gangs; an effort to keep guns away from the mentally ill; a ban on direct internet sales of amunition in the state and a background check system for all amunition purchases.

The popular Democrat, who said he owns a Remington shotgun, also offered assurances to hunters and sportsmen, insisting that his proposal is not about "taking away people's guns" but rather "about ending the unnecessary risk of high-capacity assault rifles."