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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

Rapper and hip-hop icon Jay-Z talked about his relationship with President Obama in an interview this week with radio station Hot 97.

"I've spoken to him on the phone and had texts from Obama. Of course," Jay-Z said in the interview earlier this week. "He's a regular guy as well. He's very heavy into sports so a lot of his analogies end up in sports."

Asked for an example, Jay-Z responded, "I don't know if this is breaching national security but when he was getting elected the second time, he was like, 'Hey, you know, fourth quarter, just give me the ball,' I said, 'word'."

At a fundraiser last September, Obama told reporters that he and Jay-Z have a lot in common. 

"We both have daughters and our wives are more popular than we are," Obama said, referring to Beyonce. "So, you know, we've got a little bond there. It's hard but it's okay."

Correction: An earlier version of this post cited NME, which misquoted the interview. Jay-Z said "fourth quarter," not "full-courter."

Above photo: President Barack Obama is flanked by Jay-Z at a campaign event at Nationwide Arena, Monday, Nov. 5, 2012, in Columbus, Ohio.


The House voted Wendesday to block the enforcement of light bulb standards that would require the use of compact fluorescent bulbs, the Hill reported.

For a second time, Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) proposed prohibiting the Department of Energy from using any funds towards implement the lightbulb standards. The amendment passed in a voice vote, the Hill reported.

"If the new energy-efficient light bulbs save money, and if they're better for the environment, we should trust our constituents to make the choice on their own move toward these bulbs," he said. "Let the market decide."

[Image via Shutterstock / Alix Kreil]

The United States is tapping into emails and phone calls to collect information on oil and other energy issues in Latin American countries, Brazilian newspaper O Globo reported Tuesday, according to the Associated Press.

"The O Globo newspaper said it has access to some of the documents released by National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden" the AP wrote. "The American journalist who obtained the classified information from Snowden lives in Brazil and is helping write stories for the daily."

The documents detailed the U.S. effort to gather information on oil in Venezuela and energy in Mexico, though no further information was released about what type of data the U.S. collects or which companies were targetted, the AP reported.

"The report also said that Colombia, the strongest U.S. military ally in South America, along with Mexico and Brazil, were the countries where the U.S. program intercepted the biggest chunks of information on emails and telephone calls during the last five years. Similar activities took place in Argentina and Ecuador, among others," according to AP. 

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff says Brazil will bring the issue up at the United Nations.

A video from O Globo shows journalist Glenn Greenwald discussing U.S. surveillence in Latin America, in Portuguese.

The trial of James "Whitey" Bulger, who is charged with killing 19 people, turned into a loud, angry argument Tuesday between the alleged gang leader and his former right-hand man, NBC reported. 

Kevin Weeks, identified by prosecutors as a leader in Bulger's team, gave "graphic" testimony about the murders Bulger is charged with, according to NBC.

Bulger hissed: "F--- you!" when Weeks called him a "rat."

Weeks yelled back: "F--- you! What are you going to do!"

The judge reportedly stopped the exchange, reprimanding Bulger.

Police said a man in San Antonio, Texas wound up shooting his girlfriend by mistake on Monday while he was attempting to confront his ex-girlfriend with a shotgun.

The man grabbed his shotgun when his ex-girlfriend showed up at his house, authorities told TV station KSAT. When his girlfriend tried to intervene, the gun went off, wounding her, according to police. The man was arrested on suspicion of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, television station KENS reported.

The woman was in critical condition at a local hospital.

(h/t Gawker)

A female Texas state representative took to the state House floor on Tuesday with some sharp words for the men in the legislature who were trying to push through a bill to limit abortions.

Texas state Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D) was answering questions about amendment she proposed, which would allow an exemption to the proposed 20-week abortion restriction in cases of rape and incest. Thompson was exasperated about the Republican effort.

"We were these men's first teachers. We taught them how to put their pants on, how to tie their shoes, how to potty," Thompson said. "And all of a sudden when we get to be adults, then we become senile to the extent that we don't know what is good for ourselves, we cannot make decisions for ourselves, like we can't think ourselves out of a paper bag. And we can."

Thompson, a former public school teacher with a history of sponsoring legislation related to women's health and violence prevention, explained the need for victims of rape and incest to have a safe "choice" available.

"I just don't want that choice to be a knitting needle," Thompson said. "I don't want that choice to be a feather. I don't want that choice to be a bottle of turpentine. And I don't want that choice to be a coat hanger."

Edward Snowden, the source of National Security Agency leaks, has not formally accepted Venezuela's offer of political asylum, nor asylum from any country, WikiLeaks tweeted Tuesday afternoon. This contradicts earlier reporting centered around a Russian official's tweet Monday morning, which has since been deleted. 

The Texas House is debating an omnibus anti-abortion bill today, with a vote to follow. The Texas Senate Health and Human Services Committee heard about 13 hours of testimony on Monday, and plans to schedule a vote on the bill following the House vote.  

The bill would place new restrictions on how, where, and when a woman may obtain a legal abortion in Texas. Watch the House debate, courtesy of the Texas Tribune:

Industry group American Petroleum Institute plans to launch an ad campaign Tuesday aimed at drumming up support for the long-contested Keystone XL pipeline.

The 30-second ad, previewed by the Houston Chronicle, centers on a display of bipartisan support for the pipeline. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush are shown shaking hands. 

“Bill Clinton and George Bush both say build the Keystone XL. Warren Buffett too,” the ad says. It will launch in the Washington, D.C. area Tuesday, and expand to New Mexico, Minnesota, Delaware, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Dakota, Missouri and Florida in August, according to API. The group did not say how much money it would spend on the ad.  

The State Department is reviewing whether the pipeline, which would transport tar sands crude oil from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf Coast in Texas, would be in the "national interest."

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