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

With 80% of the country's schools poised to be stripped of federal aid next year under the Bush-era law, the White House has announced it will bypass Congress and offer exemption waivers to states seeking relief from No Child Left Behind.

The override comes months after Obama called on Congress to replace the nine-year-old law by the start of the 2011 school year. Now a month away from that deadline, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said he will take action to stop the "slow-motion train wreck" of unfulfillable and escalating requirements, which resulted in 38,000 of the country's 100,000 schools not meeting standards last year. Duncan said that number would rise to 80,000 this year if relief is not offered.

"This is not a pass on accountability," White House domestic policy adviser Melody Barnes told the NYT. "There will be a high bar for states seeking flexibility within the law."

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Scott Bloch, the former Bush administration official who pleaded guilty to using Geeks On Call to scrub his computer while under investigation for retaliating against his employees, has just had his month-long jail sentence overturned.

Bloch pleaded guilty to misdemenor contempt of Congress in February 2010, which carried a sentence of "not less than one month nor more than twelve months" in jail, according to statute. As TPM reported in July, Bloch's lawyers had worked out a plea deal that would keep him out of prison.

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The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is not as fundamentally split as it previously appeared on the issue of post-Fukushima U.S. nuclear regulation, as a Tuesday Senate hearing showed. By the end of the hearing, the majority of the 5-person commission sounded reasonably ready to vote on at least a few of the recommended safety measures within 90 days.

It is, however, not doing much to dissuade rising murmurs and recent reports that the commission is too close to its industry, as it became evident that the primary roadblock to voting on the recommended safety measures was a concern for the lack of stakeholder input.

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When the five members of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) appear before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Tuesday, they will not be speaking as a unified body. Since the NRC task force released its report on what changes should be implemented at American reactors to prevent a Fukushima-like catastrophe on U.S. soil, the committee has been publicly split and struggling on how to respond. The NRC chairman and another commissioner formed a two-person minority, calling for decisions on the recommendations within 90 days, while a three-member majority opposed swift action, saying they lacked sufficient basis to alter nuclear standards.

The committee chairman, Gregory Jaczko, has been outspoken in his support of the task force's recommendations to establish a uniform framework of regulations, while Commissioner William C. Ostendorff told the NYT, "I personally do not believe that our existing regulatory framework is broken."

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Texas billionare Allen Stanford, on trial for allegedly orchestrating an $8 billion international ponzi scheme, has sent a Louisiana bank on an "impermissible fishing expedition"—and the bank is refusing.

According to court filings, Stanford faxed Whitney Bank a subpoena two weeks ago, summoning them to testify at his criminal trial, and bring with them an "overbroad" list of documents.

The fax reads:

"To bring: Any and all bank records, account records, documents, papers, memorandum, electronic or otherwise, including but not limited to, checking accounts or any other bank relationships related to Robert Allen Stanford or any of the Stanford entities from the inception of your relationship until the present or end of your professional relationship."

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Spill victims suing BP in the Deepwater Horizon case have filed a joint brief that claims the oil company is implementing a deeply flawed and deliberately confusing claims process, and is taking advantage of their economic situation by offering a one-time low-figure lump sum from its relief fund in exchange for their signature on releases promising no future claims.

The $20 billion dollar fund headed by high-profile lawyer Kenneth R. Feinberg is under attack by the claimants as an "abject failure" for leaving some 84% of initial "interim" claims unfiled or unpaid, which the brief claims is illegal.

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After being fast tracked by a House panel and passing the House last week, a bill that would strip fundamental powers of the EPA to regulate water toxins crept closer to a Senate vote.

It bears a striking resemblance to several pieces of "model legislation" recently leaked from The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and might be the newest testament to the organization's potency.

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The EPA's controversial 2008 decision not to regulate a drinking water contaminant long connected to impaired brain development and decreased learning capability in infants had more to do with the interests of the Bush administration than with scientific findings regarding its safety, according to a report released Tuesday by a congressional watchdog agency, the LA Times reports.

Perchlorate is a toxin in rocket fuel and fireworks, is present in most states' drinking water, lettuce and milk, and is found in high concentrations near current and former military bases as a byproduct of weapons testing. The E.P.A. currently says it could be contaminating the public wells supplying anywhere from 5 million to 17 million Americans.

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Faced with mounting personal injury claims, Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling Inc. is pushing hard for survivors of the Deepwater Horizon disaster to submit to physical and mental exams before their cases can be heard in court. The drilling giant, who owned the rig, has preselected doctors and scheduled appointments for 15 of its former employees who say they sustained psychological and physical injuries from the April 20, 2010 explosion that killed 11 members of the 126-person crew.

The motion takes a brusque tone with the employees' refusal thus far to comply with previous urgings from Transocean.

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Three years after pleading guilty to violating conflict of interest laws, the former U.S. Department of Justice lawyer involved in the Jack Abramoff corruption scandal has been disbarred, Legal Times reports.

Robert E. Coughlin II was the former Deputy Chief of Staff of the Criminal Division at the DOJ, the division which oversaw the probe into the Abramoff lobbying bribery case.

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