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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

Esquire magazine's editorial philosophy can be summed up as "Booze, Bacon, Bourbon, Books, Broads, Boobs, and Bros Talking About Fashion But Uh, Not in a Gay Way." Actually, we're just giving them a hard time. The real editorial philosophy of Esquire, as stated by Esquire's UK editor, is simply: "Women are objects."

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Twitter has finally patented the unique style of communication that its messaging service provides. The patent, issued yesterday, describes a system where users follow each other and messages don't have specific recipients.

Which is exactly how Twitter works! In fact, the patent--which lists Twitter founders Jack Dorsey and Biz Stone as inventors--makes a big fuss about the fact that senders needn't know where their messages will end up. From USPTO:

The system beneficially allows for device independent point to multipoint communication. The destination endpoints are independent of the source entry points, and the message sender does not need to have knowledge of the endpoints, or endpoint-specific user addresses.

But now its got its hand on the patent--originally filed way back in 2007!--don't expect to see it doggedly pursuing litigation against competitors. In fact, Twitter has publicly promised to only use patents defensively. In a statement, Twitter explained:

"Like many companies, we apply for patents on a bunch of our inventions. We also think a lot about how those patents may be used in the future, which is why we introduced the Innovator's Patent Agreement to keep control of those patents in the hands of engineers and designers."

Which, in this modern world of trolling, is a refreshing and heartening thing to hear indeed. [USPTO via Verge]

Gizmodo is dedicated to gadgets, gizmos, and cutting-edge consumer electronics. Its tech-hungry audience stops by frequently to check out the newest products and recommendations for laptops, cell phones, PDAs, digital cameras, home entertainment, and other shiny new toys. Widely viewed as an authority in tech media, Gizmodo publishes breaking news and reviews 60 times per weekday.

By the end of today, the inhabitants of the Westboro Baptist Church compound in Topeka, Kansas, should have a new view out their windows, just past their FAG MARRIAGE DOOMS NATIONS sign: a new gay-rights center across the street, painted in brilliant rainbow colors, with a pride flag flying from a 30-foot flagpole.

Right now, a crew of volunteers is at work on the siding of a house opposite the headquarters of the publicity-hunting hate-preacher Fred Phelps.

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A United Methodist Church in North Carolina is taking a dramatic stand on the issue of marriage equality by announcing the immediate cessation of all its marriage-related services until the right to marry is granted to all couples, including ones of the same sex.

"North Carolina prohibits same sex marriage and all the rights and privileges marriage brings," the Green Street United Methodist Church said in a statement released through Equality NC. "The Leadership Council has asked that their ministers join others who refuse to sign any State marriage licenses until this right is granted to same sex couples."

The Council's request that its senior pastor, Kelly Carpenter, "refrain from conducting wedding ceremonies" for straight couples is unlikely to be met with resistance, as the pastor told WXII News he believes all congregants should be allowed to "share a sense of the love that they have found."

In lieu of marriages, the church plans to hold "relationship blessings" until such time as the right to marry is recognized by both the denomination and the state.

While other UMCs have taken a similar stance, the Green Street UMC is believed to be the first southern Methodist church to do so.

The battle is certain to be an uphill one: Though a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll found that 58 percent of all Americans believe same-sex marriage should be legal, North Carolina voters just last year overwhelmingly (61%) approved a constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman alone.

[H/T: The Raw Story, photo via Facebook]

Gawker dishes the nation's most current and cutting gossip across media, entertainment, technology, and business. Founded in 2002 and namechecked frequently in mainstream publications, the site is essential reading for those who want big media hypocrisy debunked and faux-sincerity exposed, all with a healthy dose of snark.

Ten years after the Iraq war, we asked veterans to tell us how they feel looking back at the time they spent serving abroad. To read this story at the Guardian, click here.

Ten years after the Iraq war, we asked veterans to tell us how they feel looking back at the time they spent serving abroad

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War. As a part of our ongoing effort to open up the topics discussed on Cif to readers with common experiences, we asked Iraq and Afghanistan veterans from all over the world to weigh in on the issues that have arisen in our series Iraq war: 10 years on. In a call out on the Guardian, we asked them to reflect on their time serving in the Middle East. Their stories show the diversity of experiences - in the field and coming home - of those who served:

Steve, US Army Reserves Sergeant in Iraq

I don't regret my time there - I regret that the US government decided to go to war. I asked a Shiite Iraqi Colonel, who I helped train and who later died in an assassination, whether he was for or against the US-led invasion. He said that under Saddam Hussein, most people were afraid to express political opinions in public for fear of arrest or worse, but they had regular water and electricity; now, he noted, free expression or even wearing a military uniform makes Iraqis targets in their own homes. Water and electricity aren't reliable services in urban centers. For me, after witnessing the destruction of Iraq's infrastructure and political institutions, it became abundantly clear that the war hurt scores more than it saved.

Marcus, Australian Colonel in HQ Multi-National Forces in Iraq

I am very proud of being part of the multi-national forces in Iraq. I did not meet one Iraqi who was sorry to see the back of Saddam Hussein. I think the challenge of reforming and rebuilding the deeply fractious and traumatised state that Saddam had created was enormous. Sure there may have been flaws in the post-occupation plan to return to normalcy but let's not fail to place the blame for the descent into violence at al-Qaida's feet (where it remains to this day) and to some degree those Iraqi's who chose to participate in sectarian violence. While there remains much to be done, I still believe that Iraq will be a better place in the future had there not been an intervention.

Rp578, UK Infantry Corporal, Afghanistan and Iraq

I served on both Iraq and Afghanistan as an Infantry NCO, being called up as a reservist on both occasions. I do believe that on a local level we did bring some measure of good, in the form of security, to the people of Sangin where I was based in Afghanistan (2009), although nationally I did struggle to see any kind of coherent strategy. Iraq by contrast was more disillusioning. I'd been sceptical about the reasons for the invasion, but by the time I deployed there (2005-2006), I believed that now we were there, we could engineer some good for that country. I believe that removing Saddam Hussein was in itself a good thing to do and perhaps something that the 'west' might actually have been obliged to do, given that his dictatorship had in part, at certain periods, been supported by us. There is a tendency amongst military men to blame politicians for our shortcomings, but I think our recent experiences have caused many to start looking within. During my Iraq tour, I was exposed to the environment of the Brigade HQ on a regular basis and was stunned at how much heat and noise was generated by the massed ranks of a bloated HQ formation rather than any light. During my Afghan tour, I was far removed from any level of HQ element, but transiting in and out of the country you did glimpse the mini-cities that had sprouted up. I think that their very existence was at some level a part of our problem.

Liz, US Army Captain, Iraq

I served in the US Army, and anyone who has will tell you there are no individual efforts. No one person won (or lost) the war in Iraq. I cannot say that I personally made the country better or worse for the Iraqis. I truly feel that I assisted in making the country safer for American troops, though I know the vast population would not say that's reason to send soldiers to war. And yes I agree it sounds contradictory. I think that as an Army, it taught us we need to train better. That having the best technology does not necessarily mean you won the war.

Darren, UK Radio Operator, Iraq

My experiences in Iraq changed my life dramatically. Having served 2 tours in Iraq (firstly in the initial invasion, and secondly in 2005), I have very differing feelings resulting from each tour. My feelings after both tours were mixed, I made a number of Iraqi friends, one I will never forget called Ibrahim, he was our air conditioning engineer, and a former soldier in Saddam's Army. He would tell me stories of how he and his family were treated under Saddam, the beatings he would receive as a Shiite soldier and the oppression of the people of Basra. He said he would take Coalition troops over Saddam's troops any day. For this I felt a small bit of pride, yet looking at the bigger picture, I do not. I feel embarrassment for the way we may have behaved towards some Iraqi civilians, we were after all outsiders in their nation, and also I feel betrayal on the forces by our political masters. The British Army I joined put a big focus on hearts and minds and had acted professionally in more recent conflict prior to Iraq; however the quagmire of Iraq (and the way a certain few UK troops behaved during the conflict) has damaged that image greatly, I do not think this is reflective of the Armed Forces as a whole.

Jennifer Pacanowski, US Army medic, Iraq

My time in Iraq during the year of 2004 was the best and worst time of my life. I met some of the best friends I will ever have. However, the leadership was concerned primarily with their own agenda of promotion. The missions were unnecessarily and consistently dangerous hardly ever having the lives and moral health of the soldiers and marines as their priority. I live in dream called life, where nothing good seems real or sustainable. I live in a nightmare of Iraq and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that never runs out of fuel. I also learned that creating community and healing holistically is the best way to transition from war. The military is not addressing the suicide rate of its active duty because they refuse to approach mental health as a priority when returning. It is treated like a stigma and the soldier or marine is treated as damaged goods.

Siv, US Army, Sergeant in Iraq

I am proud of the work we did helping the local populace and the stability we provided, but I don't feel we did anything that will have a lasting impact. I would love to be proven wrong though. If Iraq and Afghanistan survive with some democratic functionality, it could have a huge beneficial impact on history. It was grueling and a relentless deployment, but it was an experience I will never forget, but at times wish I could. We did some good and dealt with the terrible. I am not down-trodden or overly prideful. I did what I was ordered to do and served my country, but I hope my children do not. I hope my children enjoy their freedom and do right by themselves and their family. Ground-force occupations are a dated and absurd strategy to use in today's era of warfare. Big Army is as dated of a strategy as colonial warfare was with standing lines. Politicians like to take pictures with us, but very few actually care about anything but enhancing their talking points. A soldier at the very least deserves to be spoken to, not used as an idle prop or in some display of North Korean-like parade propaganda.

Joe Glenton, UK Lance Corporal, in Afghanistan

I learned that I am not willing to just go along with thing because "it's my job". That position, often repeated, is a contender for the biggest cop-out statement in history. The war made me political and made me realize that imperialism is not a thing which used to happen; it did not end when pith helmets went out of vogue.

Isaac Sherman, US Air Force, Staff Sergeant, Security Forces, Iraq

I feel like I was able to witness first hand the souring of good intentions. I was stationed at Camp Bucca, the leading internment facility in Iraq, and I got to see the constant attempts to win hearts and minds go south because of cultural rifts. I have no doubt in my mind that the intentions, at least in the lower echelons, were pure; we were really trying to help these people, to educate them, to feed their families, to provide health care. But our success had minimal impact. On the whole, they may be a little bit better off for our efforts, but it wasn't worth the cost in lives or coffers.

Tom Fenwick, US Michigan Army National Guard, E-5 Sergeant, Iraq

Our mission was to train the Iraqi Police officers in Baghdad and Sadr City. They loved seeing us every day, it meant they were getting training and equipment that they severely needed. Even more importantly, however, were the civilian Iraqi people with whom we interacted daily. You could see in their eyes how grateful they were for us being there. Whether we accomplished it or not can be debated, but these civilians were given hope for a better life by us being there. I learned the mainstream media was quick to point out any mishaps, injured/killed soldiers and civilian casualties. They were much more reluctant to post the positives such as when my unit helped secure polling places in Baghdad during the elections of January 2005. The stories about the Iraqi people taking democracy into their own hands were able to be found but they were generally buried beneath stories of a surprisingly few insurgent attacks on the polling places.

Ray Facund, US Army, Specialist/Sergeant, Iraq:

After returning from Iraq and separating from active duty service, I learned that it isn't easy to make the transition to civilian life. I didn't want to go to the VA, and I didn't want to talk about the things I'd experienced, and it took a long time to get over my post-traumatic stress. I heard someone say that there is a boot camp to break you down and submit to a life of orders, but no "reverse boot camp" to build you back up and give you the confidence to move forward after your service has ended. Some may find it easy, but most combat vets need more support.


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For years, Jesse Angelo had been a rising star in the editing ranks of Rupert Murdoch's Australian, British and U.S. tabloids.

Now, fresh off his doomed voyage as editor of News Corp's tablet title, The Daily, which the company killed off last December, Angelo is getting his hands dirty on the advertising end.

In one of his first moves as publisher of the New York Post, the position to which he was elevated after The Daily died, Angelo has announced a business-side restructuring in which the paper's "sales marketing and digital ad operations are being moved directly into the sales department to create a more integrated team," according to a memo obtained by Capital.

Nine positions have been eliminated as a result.

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A 20-year-old Greek soccer player has been banned for life from Greece's national teams for throwing up a Nazi salute after scoring a game-winning goal on Saturday.

Giorgos Katidis maintains he didn't know what the Nazi salute meant, and was merely pointing at a teammate in the stands. (Hitler.) According to the Guardian, he described himself as "not a fascist" on Twitter before deleting his account.

Katidis' coach Ewald Lienen (incidentally: a German) defended his player's total lack of self-awareness, historical knowledge, and general brainpower, saying it was very likely that this adult human being who had grown up in the world had no idea what a Nazi salute looked like or stood for.

What "most likely" happened, according to Lienen, is that Katidis saw a picture of the move on the Internet one night while performing a Google Image search for "cool moves to do --no context," then blindly copied it.

"He is a young kid who does not have any political ideas. He most likely saw such a salute on the internet or somewhere else and did it without knowing what it means."

In other words: Katidis doesn't even know if he's a Nazi yet.

Unfortunately, Greece's national soccer federation, the EPO, isn't giving the (now former) AEK Athens player any time to make up his mind on that one. They've already released a statement banning Katidis from the federation for life:

"The player's action to salute to spectators in a Nazi manner is a severe provocation, insults all the victims of Nazi bestiality and injures the deeply pacifist and human character of the game."

To help you avoid blunders like this, here's a quick refresher on how to point to a friend:

  1. Extend one arm in the direction of your friend and (IMPERATIVE) fold all of your fingers except the index into a fist.
  2. Use the index finger to pinpoint the location of your friend.
  3. Don't salute the Führer.

[Guardian // Image via AP]

Gawker dishes the nation's most current and cutting gossip across media, entertainment, technology, and business. Founded in 2002 and namechecked frequently in mainstream publications, the site is essential reading for those who want big media hypocrisy debunked and faux-sincerity exposed, all with a healthy dose of snark.

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