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Zoe Schlanger

Zoë Schlanger is Frontpage Editor at TPM. Zoë was a TPM intern in 2011, and prior to returning here she was editor in chief of NYU Local, the alternative independent student news site at NYU. Zoë has interned at places like the Nation, InsideClimate News, The Rachel Maddow Show and Gothamist. She can be reached at zoe@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Zoe

A man appeared to accidentally shoot himself in the face Tuesday during a standoff with sheriff's deputies in the Denham Springs area of Louisiana, the Advocate reported.

Sheriff’s deputies responded to a report of suspicious activity at an apartment building where the man had barricaded himself inside, the Sheriff's office spokesman said in a statement. The deputies used "nonlethal chemical agents" to get the man out, and noticed a "self-inflicted gunshot wound" on this face, according to the statement.

He was taken to a nearby hospital, the Advocate reported.

A government audit of the Agriculture department found that millions of dollars in farm subsidies are paid each year to farmers who have been dead for a year or longer, the New York Times reported Tuesday.

Between 2008 and 2012, The Natural Resources Conservation Service, which oversees conservation assistance and farmland protection programs, sent $10.6 million to more than 1,000 people who died more than a year prior. The Risk Management Agency, which manages crop insurance, paid $22 million to more than 3,400 people who had died at least two years prior, according to the Times.

According to the audit, the Agriculture Department lacked adequate data to make sure the payments were going to living farmers. "The auditors suggested that the Agriculture Department use the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File to identify payments made to dead individuals," the Times reported.

Photo: Shutterstock / smereka

A man in Concord, New Hampshire accidentally shot himself in the knee shortly after midnight Tuesday, the Concord Monitor reported. The man's wife told police that he appeared to be sleepwalking and was awoken when the gun discharged. 

Concord police Chief John Duval told the Monitor he doesn’t expect charges to be filed. 

“This is a good opportunity to remind our citizens of safe storage of weapons and other practices,” Duval said, per the Monitor. “If this is an accident, accidents do happen.”

The man, who was not identified, was taken to an area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Pope Francis encouraged protesters to make their voices heard and for authorities to listen to them, in an interview with Globo television aired Saturday evening, Bloomberg reported.

“A young man who doesn’t protest doesn’t suit me,” he said in the interview. “A young man is essentially a nonconformist, and that is a very beautiful thing. You need to listen to young people, giving them outlets to express themselves and ensure they don’t get manipulated.”

Francis added that he was not familiar with all of the protesters' demands.

The interview reiterated the speech he made to the millions gathered in Copacabana, where he urged youth to overcome "apathy" and "offer a Christian response to social and political worries," Bloomberg reported.

While Pope Francis toured Rio on Saturday, demonstrators protested against government spending and rallied for women's rights nearby, in a continuation of the massive street rallies which began in June, per Bloomberg.

NPR's Scott Simon, who hosts Weekend Edition, has spent the past several days live-tweeting his experience at the bedside of his dying mother in ICU. In 2008, Simon and his mother, Pat Simon Newman Gilband, recorded a family story with the StoryCorps project.

President Obama dismissed the Republican claim that the Keystone XL pipeline would do anything to lower unemployment in the country, calling the project a "blip" in terms of job creation in an interview with the New York Times published Saturday. 

“Republicans have said that this would be a big jobs generator,” Obama told the Times. “There is no evidence that that’s true. The most realistic estimates are this might create maybe 2,000 jobs during the construction of the pipeline, which might take a year or two, and then after that we’re talking about somewhere between 50 and 100 jobs in an economy of 150 million working people.”

Republican supporters of the pipeline have long said the project would be a major job creator. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce took out a full page ad in the New York Times last year, warning President Obama not to say "no" to "20,000 jobs," an often-repeated number gleaned from the pipeline company's estimates.

TransCanada, the Canadian pipeline company behind the Keystone XL, stood by its claim that 20,000 jobs would result from the project, the Canadian Press reported Sunday. Last year, a Cornell University study concluded the pipeline would create far fewer jobs than TransCanada's figure. According to the study, very few jobs would be locally sourced, and over half of the steel used for the pipeline would be manufactured overseas. 

 

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine (R) is seeking to overturn a federal judge's decision to allow a dying man to have his husband listed on his death certificate, Cincinnati.com reported Tuesday.

Ohio couple John Arthur and Jim Obergefell flew to Maryland earlier this month to be married, after more than 20 years together, the Associated Press reported. Their home state has not legalized gay marriage, and Arthur, who suffers from ALS, was told he has days, or weeks at most, left to live. Arthur wanted Obergefell to be listed as his surviving spouse on his death certificate, so that Obergefell can one day be buried next to him in a family burial plot.

On Monday, a federal judge ruled in their favor. Judge Timothy Black wrote that denying the request would prohibit "Mr. Arthur from being buried with dignity constitutes irreparable harm," the AP reported. "This is not a complicated case," Black wrote. The ruling was temporary and confined strictly to the couple.

DeWine said he would appeal the judge's decision.

h/t ThinkProgress

Update: Contrary to initial reports, DeWine's spokesperson clarified to Buzzfeed Thursday that he has no plans to appeal because temporary orders like the one in this case are not generally appealable. However, the attorney general does plan to “continue to defend Ohio’s constitutional amendment and law banning same-sex couples from marrying and banning the state from recognizing such marriages."

North Carolina lawmakers passed a bill Tuesday to allow permit holders to bring their concealed firearms into places where alcohol is served, like bars and restaurants, as well as onto playgrounds and parks, local TV station WTKR reported.

The final version of the bill was stripped of a particularly controversial provision that would have dropped background check requirements for handguns. According to a recent PPP poll, 78 percent of North Carolina residents support background checks. 

The Republican bill now heads to the desk of Gov. Pat McCrory (R) to be signed into law.

A Russian-made assault rifle housed in a glass case in the CIA's private museum is identified simply as “Osama bin Laden’s AK-47," NBC reported Wednesday.

The gun, found next to the body of Osama bin Laden after Navy SEALs killed him in a midnight raid in Pakistan, is part of a collection most people will never have a chance to see. NBC recently became the first news organization to get a camera inside the museum, which is open only to employees and invited guests.

The agency will not specify how the rifle was recovered, but it is in good working condition, curator Toni Hiley told NBC.

"Because of its proximity to (bin Laden) there on the third floor in the compound, our analyst determined it to be his. It's a Russian AK with counterfeit Chinese markings," Hiley said.

The museum's exhibits fill three hallways at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va. and house artifacts from the organization's 70 years of clandestine operations, according to NBC.

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