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

Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) announced Tuesday they detained U.S. diplomat Ryan Fogle, a third secretary at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, the Associated Press reported. FSB claimed Fogle was a CIA agent, and that they had caught him attempting to recruit a Russian agent.

Fogle was reportedly carrying "special technical equipment, disguises, written instructions and a large sum of money" when he was detained.

A Milwaukee second-grader at Downtown Montessori Academy wrote to Vice President Joe Biden suggesting that if guns shot chocolate bullets, no one would get hurt. 

On Monday, the boy received a hand-written response, the Associated Press reported, in which Biden agrees that chocolate bullets would probably solve a whole lot.

The letter read:

Dear Myles,

I am sorry it took me so very long to respond to your letter. I really like your idea. If we had guns that shot chocolate, not only would our country be safer, it would be happier. People love chocolate. 

You are a good boy,

Joe Biden

Read the original letter here.

The U.S. National Security Agency has published a 643-page document titled, "Untangling the Web: A Guide to Internet Research," Wired reports.

The book offers advice on how to use search engines, the Internet Archive, and various online tools, but Wired points out that the most interesting chapter is titled, "Google Hacking".

Google hacking is nothing new but this previously classified document was released to the public because of a request filed by a website called MuckRock, which charges fees to process public records for activists.

While nothing in the book is illegal, the chapters detail ways the average citizen can discover spreadsheets full of passwords in Russia just by typing random strings of characters into Google.

Wired explains further, 

Misconfigured web servers "that list the contents of directories not intended to be on the web often offer a rich load of information to Google hackers," the authors write, then offer a command to exploit these vulnerabilities -- intitle: "index of" site:kr password.

Before you run off and start trying to become an amateur hacker, the author warns that users must be careful with handling Microsoft file types on the internet. "Never open a Microsoft file type on the internet," the authors warn. "Instead, use one of the techniques described [in the book]" they write.

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A 2-year-old boy died Wednesday after accidentally shooting himself in the head in the Texas town of Corsicana, the Associated Press reported.

The child reportedly found a handgun in a bedroom while his father was in another room.

This came a day after a Florida 3-year-old fatally shot himself with a gun belonging to his uncle, and a week after a 2-year-old girl in Kentucky died after reports that her 5-year-old brother accidentally shot her in the chest. 

Charlie Crist, the former Republican governor of Florida who recently became a Democrat, announced his support for gay marriage on Wednesday evening by way of his Facebook page

Some great news: On Tuesday, Delaware became the 11th state to allow marriage equality. And just a few days ago, Rhode Island adopted a similar measure, which followed victories last fall in Maine, Maryland and Washington. I most certainly support marriage equality in Florida and look forward to the day it happens here.

Back in December, Crist said he regretted having signed a petition calling for a gay marriage ban in the Florida state constitution. 

Crist is considering a challenge to Florida's current Republican Governor Rick Scott in 2014.

(h/t HuffPo)

A 3-year-old boy in Tampa, Florida fatally shot himself with his uncle's gun on Tuesday evening, the Tampa Bay Times reports. The boy found the 9mm gun in a backpack in the bedroom he shared with his 29-year-old uncle, Jeffrey D. Walker, and accidentally discharged it.

Walker was arrested Tuesday and charged with culpable negligence. He held a concealed weapons permit, authorities told the Tampa Bay Times.

The boy's parents, Jasmine Bell, 21, and Trentin Speights, 22, were in their bedroom at the time of the shooting.

This comes a day after a 13-year-old shot his 6-year-old sister, also in Florida.

Correction: The 6-year-old girl shot by her 13-year-old brother in Florida on Monday survived and is now "improving," per the Sun Sentinel. We regret the error.

New York City Assemblyman Eric Stevenson, a Democrat who represents the Bronx, arrived in federal court yesterday after being accused of pocketing over $20,000 in bribes. Stevenson pleaded not guilty and told the judge he didn't have enough money to defend himself against the charges, according to the New York Post. He then left the court and hopped into a Mercedes-Benz sedan, though it is unclear if the car belonged to him.

Stevenson denies taking the bribes, but investigators say they have video footage of Stevenson accepting envelopes stuffed with cash. He is charged with taking cash from adult day care center developers and scheming to pass legislation protecting the centers from competition. He was reading the Bible when agents came to arrest him, according to the New York Daily News.

Keystone Sporting Arms, the company that makes Crickett rifles for kids -- one comes in hot pink for girls -- has taken down the web site, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook pages it used to target its gun marketing at the under-10s.

The ads have been yanked following the death of a 2-year-old girl who was shot by her 5-year-old brother.

Crickett's marketing is controversial because, as Mother Jones reported, the company had a "Kids Corner" on its site, and also carried customer photos of children and even babies carrying holding firearms.

Crickett's commercial even shows a mom accidentally pointing a rifle at her son's head:


But it is perhaps the Kids Corner that's most disturbing.

Here are some screengrabs of the imagery the company had on it prior to its disappearance:

Crickett 2 630

Here's the commercial:

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Business Insider is a new business site with deep financial, entertainment, green tech and digital industry verticals. The flagship vertical, Silicon Alley Insider, launched on July 19, 2007, led by DoubleClick founders Dwight Merriman and Kevin Ryan and former top-ranked Wall Street analyst Henry Blodget.

State Senator John Sampson is reportedly set to turn himself into the authorities, the latest New York legislator to be caught up in a corruption investigation by federal officials.

Sampson has apparently been implicated in part thanks to evidence gathered by former state senator Shirley Huntley, who wore a wire to gather information about wrongdoing in the Capitol, but who neverthless didn't get a deal with prosecutors, since she gave so many misstatements regarding her own corruption case.

This latest set of revelations would seem to bolster U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's claim, after an earlier announcement of charges against sitting officials, that New York has a massive corruption problem.

Senate Democrats had already distanced themselves from Sampson, ousting him from his leadership post.

The Huntley probe is expected to ensnare two other elected officials whose identities have not yet been disclosed.

Capital New York is a website about how New York City works, featuring news, analysis and investigations on politics, media, culture and sports. For more, visit http://www.capitalnewyork.com/. (c) 2012 Capital New York.