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Catherine Thompson

Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at catherine@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Catherine

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is introducing a bill in Albany Tuesday that would strengthen abortion rights in the state.

The 10-point Women's Equality Act would "protect a woman's freedom of choice," as well as address other roadblocks to full equality that New York women face, such as unequal pay and sexual harassment in the workplace.

In Tuesday's Albany Times-Union, Cuomo counsel Mylan Denerstein asserts that the bill would simply codify Roe v. Wade into New York state law, not push the boundaries of abortion rights.

"There is no expansion of abortion rights in this bill," she writes in an op-ed. "The governor is simply seeking to align our outdated state law to existing federal law and protect the rights women already have."

The proposal itself states that the "state shall not deny a woman's right to obtain an abortion as established by the United States Supreme Court in the 1973 decision Roe vs. Wade."

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Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) said Tuesday that an increasing number of working mothers are the root of America's educational troubles.

In a Washington Post Live discussion with Delaware Gov. Jack Markell (D) and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez (R) on early childhood literacy, moderator Mary Jordan asked the three participants how America's educational outcomes became "so mediocre." Bryant was the first to respond.

"I think both parents started working," Bryant said. "The mom got in the work place."

The governor realized the implications of his answer and quickly clarified the response, stressing the role of parents in education.

"In today’s society parents are so challenged," he said. "They’re working overtime.”

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Dzhokar Tsarnaev, the Boston marathon bombing suspect, said he was eating well and doing fine in a military prison outside Boston in his first phone call to family since the event.

Zubeidat Tsarnaev, the suspect's mother, recorded the phone call last week. She shared the tape, the first recording of Tsarnaev's voice since the marathon bombing, with the U.K.'s Channel 4 News in an emotional interview on Monday. 

"They are giving me rice and chicken now, everything's fine," Tsarnaev told his mother.

"You are my life, you need to be strong," his mother replied.

"Everything is good, please don't say anything," Tsarnaev asked.

Tsarnaev's mother continues to assert her son's innocence, suggesting that he was framed by police.

Watch: 

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Retired Navy SEAL Kristin Beck published a memoir titled Warrior Princess on Tuesday describing her 20-year military career and and her experience coming out as transgender.

Beck was a member of SEAL Team 6, famous for carrying out the mission that killed Osama bin Laden, although she retired from the military shortly before the team was sent to Abbottabad, Pakistan in 2011. Previously, Beck went by the name Chris and decided to undergo hormonal therapy after leaving the service.

Although the 2011 repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell brought an end to discrimination against gays and lesbians in the military, transgender men and women are still banned from service. 

Beck's fellow SEALs were supportive of her gender transition, according to the Atlantic Wire.

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New Jersey state Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D) said that the special election to replace Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), who died Monday of complications from pneumonia, should be held in November--or he'll take legal action against Gov. Chris Christie (R).

“It needs to be happen in November,” Sweeney told the Newark Star-Ledger. “I know there is some conflicting information, but you cannot disenfranchise voters for 17 or 18 months.”

The state senator admitted that there is conflict between state laws outlining the process for filling a senate seat before a term expires, but said that the governor must allow New Jersey residents to vote as soon as possible.

Sweeney told the Star-Ledger that if Christie ignores his advice, “We’ll take it to court.”

This post has been updated.

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Jill Kelley, the Tampa, Fla. socialite swept up in the sex scandal involving former CIA director David Petraeus, filed a suit with her husband against the FBI and Department of Defense on Monday for defamation and violation of privacy.

The complaint, filed in federal court in Washington, alleges that FBI director Robert S. Mueller and unnamed Department of Defense employees "willfully and maliciously" implicated the couple in the scandal surrounding Petraeus' extramarital affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell after they approached the FBI with private information to report cyberstalking and threats.

Emails between Kelley and General John Allen, the former commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan , surfaced during the probe into Petraeus' affair. In an interview published in January, Kelley denied the claim that she exchanged upwards of 30,000 emails with Allen.

Read the complaint here.

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Several residents of Security-Widefield, Colo. received invitations to join the Ku Klux Klan on Sunday, according to the El Paso County Sheriff's Department.

The Daily Gazette reports that residents of three suburbian streets found ziploc bags taped to their mailboxes containing racist literature with a phone number that when dialed leads to a voice message advocating white supremacy. The U.S. Postal Inspector will investigate the mailings, as the invitations appear to violate federal law.

At least one resident contacted the FBI to request that the bags be tested for ricin, according to KMGH Denver.

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The latest salvo against the Internal Revenue Service came from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Sunday, who called for abolishing the agency and instituting a flat tax. 

In an interview with Fox News, Cruz said that the agency's scope of power, which is set to increase as it assists the Obama Administration in implementing the Affordable Care Act, is an "invitation to being abused."

“We ought to abolish the IRS and instead move to a simple flat tax, where the average American can fill out our taxes on a postcard," Cruz said. “Put down how much you earn, put down a deduction for charitable contributions, for home mortgage and how much you owe. It ought to be just a simple, one-page postcard.”

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New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) decided to forgo his planned address to the Governor's Conference on Women Monday and instead gave an impromptu eulogy for Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), the 89-year-old World War II vet who passed away earlier in the day.

Christie admitted that he and the senator had disagreed on many issues, but praised the politician for a "life well lived," via a transcript released by his office:

I think the best way to describe Frank Lautenberg in the way he would probably want to be described to all of you today is as a fighter. Senator Lautenberg fought for the things he believed in and sometimes he just fought because he liked to.  He always reminded me that he was a kid from Paterson whose father died at a very young age, who served in the military and served his country, and then built a business which he was extraordinarily proud of, just as proud of his time at ADP as he was of his many years, nearly thirty years, in the United States Senate, and so today is a sad day for the people of New Jersey.

 

Whenever we lose someone who’s committed to public service and has been an honest and dedicated public servant as Senator Lautenberg was it’s a loss for everyone. Most particularly it’s a loss for his wife Bonnie and his family, and so our thoughts and prayers are with them today because whatever loss we feel as New Jerseyans and whatever loss his colleagues feel in the United States Senate is minuscule compared to the loss that his family feels, his loved ones, and so I think it would be inappropriate for me to give any other speech today except to ask all of you to pray for the Lautenberg family today, to pray for the soul of Senator Lautenberg, and to give a prayer of thanks for his service to individual New Jerseyans and to our country.

 

And in the end, all of you who decide to get involved in public service, should aspire to have the same things said about you in whatever role that you play. That you were honest, that you were a fighter for the things that you believe in, and that you gave as good as you got. All those things can be said about Frank Lautenberg. And so I’m sure we’re going to have a number of times over the course of the next few days to reflect upon his life and to pay him tribute in even a more public way. But for this morning, as the leader of this state and our people, I extend to the Lautenberg family and to his staff and friends, our deepest condolences. 

Governor Christie On Senator Lautenberg: I Give Him Praise On A Life Well Lived from Gov Chris Christie on Vimeo.

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Terri Lynn Land, Michigan's representative to the Republican National Committee, announced Monday she will run for Michigan's open Senate seat in 2014.

Land served two terms as Michigan's secretary of state from 2003 through 2010 before being elected to the RNC in 2012. She announced her candidacy on her Facebook page:

I would like to thank everyone who has been encouraging me to run for US Senate. Representing our magnificent state of Michigan and your interests in Congress would be the greatest honor. We need conservative leadership now more than ever because of high unemployment, huge deficits, and a spendthrift Congress.

 

Beginning today, I am putting together a campaign strategy and a policy team. I will be filing the appropriate paper work by July 1 to become a Republican primary candidate.

 

Now is our chance to win. I eagerly look forward to speaking with you face-to-face about ways to launch our country to prosperity while defending our liberty and freedoms. 

Land's presumed challenger for the seat being vacated by current Sen. Carl Levin (D), who will not seek re-election, is Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI).

 

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