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

NASA's Curiosity rover will be put into a "protective" sleep and "no new data gathering will take place" for as long as the U.S. government shutdown lasts, NASA spokesperson Allard Beutel told the International Business Times on Monday.

The news comes less than a week after the Curiosity rover discovered that the surface soil on Mars contains 2 percent water by weight, or roughly 2 pints of water in every cubic foot.

The Hubble Space Telescope will also be affected by the shutdown: the instrument will continue to take pictures in space, but there will be no one in to analyze the images until the shutdown ends and staff are allowed to return to work, the Independent reported.

Only 549 of NASA's 18,250 employees are at work today, according to CBS News.

This post has been updated.

Read More →

The Twitter handle affiliated with NASA's efforts to detect "potentially hazardous asteroids & comets that could approach Earth" announced Tuesday it would not be updating its feed while the U.S. government remained in shutdown mode, as all the program's employees were told to stay home. 

The Near Earth Object Office at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasedena, California coordinates asteroid detection and operates the AsteroidWatch Twitter account.  Along with most of NASA's employees, all Asteroid Watch specialists are off the job Tuesday.

Read More →

NASA posted a message on Tuesday morning to its popular Instagram account, alerting followers that the feed would not be updated due to the government shutdown.

"We're sorry, but we will not be posting updates to Instagram during the government shutdown. Also, all public NASA activities and events are cancelled or postponed until further notice. We'll be back as soon as possible! Sorry for the inconvenience," the caption read.

President Obama announced Monday that NASA would close almost entirely during a government shutdown, but that Mission Control would remain open to support the two astronauts currently living on the International Space Station. 

Read More →

A sign reading "Because of the Federal Government SHUTDOWN, All National Parks Are Closed" was posted Tuesday morning in front of the Lincoln Memorial. Congress sent the U.S. government into a partial shutdown at midnight, forcing about 800,000 federal workers to stay home and shuttering most "nonessential" services, like national parks. 

Photos: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Read More →

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) became tongue-tied Thursday while attempting to honor the Tuskegee Airmen, the first black military airmen in the United States, at a ceremony in Phoenix. 

Local Fox TV affiliate KSAZ captured video of Brewer's seemingly endless fumble of the word "Tuskegee." Brewer, exasperated, noted that she even practiced the word ahead of time. 

It also happened to be the governor's birthday. She turned 69.

h/t Gawker

Read More →

A new Tumblr promoting the Affordable Care Act was rolled out this week, presumably to target those Americans susceptible to the influence of small, fuzzy animals.  

Taking a page from Reddit's ecosystem of all things cute and meme-like, AdorableCareAct.tumblr.com overlays images of baby sloths and very wee pigs with text related to provisions of the Act. Some posts direct viewers to visit healthcare.gov for more information about the health care exchanges, which are set to open Tuesday. 

The White House tweeted a post from the account Thursday, and its official Tumblr reblogged an image of a sad panda Wednesday evening.

Read More →

National Security Agency director Gen. Keith Alexander pleaded Wednesday for the help of the "American people" to improve perception about the agency's surveillance programs, the Hill reported.

“We need your help. The American people have to weigh in and help us get the tools we need to defend this country,” Alexander said in a speech to the National Press Club, according to the Hill. 

Former Obama administration cybersecurity official Chris Finan told the Hill that the administration has begun aggressively defending the NSA since Edward Snowden leaked a flurry of revelations about its programs earlier this year. 

“Initially, they took a more reactive approach and would only respond when directly asked things,” Finan said. “And now, we’re seeing the beginning of them being more proactive in explaining and justifying [the programs.]”

Read More →

A Missouri House staffer reportedly left his loaded 9mm pistol on top of the toilet paper dispenser in a men's restroom in the state Capitol basement Friday, according to a police report obtained by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The report noted that the gun, claimed by Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones’ legislative assistant Dave Evans, “was fully loaded with one round in the chamber and six rounds in the magazine.”

Missouri passed a law 2011 allowing lawmakers and their staff to carry guns in the Capitol with concealed carry permits. Evans, 64, had a permit, according to police.

No charges are expected in the incident, the Post-Dispatch reported.

Read More →

Married same-sex couples who live in Tennessee, where gay marriage is banned under the state constitution, are being denied name changes on their driver's licenses, the Tennessean reported Saturday.

Tennessee residents married in one of the 13 states or Washington D.C. where gay marriage is legal are turned away from state driver’s license stations when they try to obtain licenses with their married names, according to the Tennessean. Gay marriage is banned both in state statute and by a majority vote in the Tennessee constitution.

“I went into Cookeville for my new Social Security card using my marriage certificate, and they said I should have it in four days to two weeks,” Tennessee resident Neil Stovall, who wants to become Neil Irby after his marriage to Harry Irby, told the Tennesean. “But what about the name on my driver’s license? My concealed handgun carry permit? To me, they’re denying me my constitutional right to happiness. The state government seems to have a problem with it when no one else does.”

The federal government recognizes same-sex marriages for the purpose of identification, and couples can use their marriage certificates to change their names on forms of federal ID like Social Security cards and passports.

Photo: Julia Tate, left, and her wife, Lisa McMillin, read results of Supreme Court decisions regarding gay rights as they are posted on the Internet Wednesday, June 26, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Read More →

TORONTO (AP) -- BlackBerry to lay off 4,500 employees, or 40 percent of global workforce.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.