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

Legally blind and completely blind Iowans can obtain permits to carry guns in public due to a 2011 adjustment to state law banning sheriffs from denying permits based on physical ability, the Des Moines Register reported Sunday. 

Polk County officials have issued weapons permits to at least three people who "can’t legally drive and were unable to read the application forms or had difficulty doing so because of visual impairments," according to the Register. Sheriffs in three other counties told the newspaper they've done the same.

“I’m not an expert in vision,” Delaware county Sheriff John LeClere told the Register. “At what point do vision problems have a detrimental effect to fire a firearm? If you see nothing but a blurry mass in front of you, then I would say you probably shouldn’t be shooting something.”

But Jane Hudson, executive director of Disability Rights Iowa, said excluding the blind from weapon permits would violate the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Register reported.

Special training for blind permit holders is on the table in at least one Iowa county, where the sheriff, whose legally blind daughter plans to obtain a permit, demonstrated a practice shooting session for the Register.

h/t Maddowblog

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By: MARCIA DUNN NASA is poised to return to the moon.

An unmanned rocket is scheduled to blast off late Friday night from Virginia with a robotic explorer that will study the lunar atmosphere and dust. Called LADEE (LA'-dee), the moon-orbiting craft will measure the thin lunar atmosphere.

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President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin shook hands as Obama arrived in St. Petersburg Thursday for the G-20 summit.

The exchange "appeared pleasant" but "not over friendly" (sic), according to a White House pool report.

The relationship between the two presidents has been less than stellar recently, and Obama's plan to meet with LGBT activists while in Russia is likely to be viewed as a jab at Putin.

“President Obama hasn’t been elected by the American people in order to be pleasant to Russia,” Putin said in a recent interview with the Associated Press. “And your humble servant hasn’t been elected by the people of Russia to be pleasant to someone either.”

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Former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ) joined Instagram Thursday morning, posting a seemingly filter-free image of herself smiling while holding a 'Hello Instagram!' sign.

Updated 4:52pm ET

Oklahoma man Terrance Parker pulled his 7-year-old daughter, Tiana, out of a Tulsa charter school after he said school officials told him Tiana's dreadlocked hair didn't look presentable, local Fox affiliate KOKI reported Wednesday. 

The dress code at Deborah Brown Community School states that "hairstyles such as dreadlocks, afros, mohawks, and other faddish styles are unacceptable." The school feels that could distract from a respectful and serious atmosphere, according to KOKI. School officials declined to speak with reporters.

"She's always presentable. I take pride in my kids looking nice," Parker, who is a barber, told KOKI. He has enrolled Tiana at a new school which does not take issue with her hairstyle, he said.

The founder of the school, who is now its executive director, and the school's board, are all African-American.


h/t Raw Story

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A spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee on Wednesday called Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, who's running to unseat Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in 2014, an "empty dress" who "babbles incoherently."

“Alison Lundergan Grimes seems incapable of articulating her own thoughts, and faced with questions, either directly parrots the talking points handed to her by [Sen.] Chuck Schumer or she babbles incoherently and stares blankly into the camera as though she’s a freshman in high school struggling to remember the CliffsNotes after forgetting to read her homework assignment,” Brad Dayspring, the group's communications director, told The Hill.

Democrats quickly sought to tie the comment to McConnell, calling it "despicably offensive" and "degrading."

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The mother of a 8-year-old boy who was shot in the head by his 6-year-old brother at their Pennsylvania home Sunday afternoon said she was asleep next to loaded firearms at the time of the shooting, according to court documents obtained by local ABC affiliate WHTM.

A loaded revolver and a loaded rifle were next to the bed in the bedroom where she was asleep, the mother told investigators.

Police determined the Shippensburg area home, strewn with trash, open food containers, and piles of dirt, was unfit for children, WHTM reported.

According to the affidavit, the mother appeared to be lethargic, and said she would consent to have her blood tested.

The 8-year-old gunshot victim was flown to Penn State Hershey Medical Center, and was said to be in critical condition, according to WHTM.

Image: Shutterstock / Aleksandar Mijatovic

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In a win for those opposed to a raft of voting restrictions signed into law by Gov. Pat McCrory (R) last month, the North Carolina Board of Elections unanimously sided with a college student who was barred from running for office by a local country election board, the Raleigh News & Observer reported Tuesday.

Montravias King, a college senior, had been barred from running for city council because he used his college dorm address to establish residency in Elizabeth County, where he lived for the past four years. Richard “Pete” Gilbert, chairman of the county Republican Party, challenged King’s bid for a city council seat, arguing that a dorm address was temporary. The state board's decision clears the way for King to seek office. 

King's case was one of three cases that challenged the new voting measure set to be heard by the state board Tuesday. 

The controversial overhaul of the state voting system shortened early voting, required voter IDs, and ended a popular student registration program in high schools, among other new rules. Political figures like Colin Powell and Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) have publically opposed the measure. 

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When an anti-war protester shouted in the middle of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on military intervention in Syria on Tuesday, Secretary of State John Kerry briefly revisited his days as a 27-year-old protester who vehemently opposed the U.S. war in Vietnam.

"Can I just say before -- you know, the first time I testified before this committee when I was 27 years old, I had feelings very similar to that protester," Kerry said. "And I would just say that is exactly why it is so important that we are all here having this debate, talking about these things before the country and that the congress itself will act representing the american people. I think we all can respect those who have a different point of view, and we do."

Immediately after Kerry completed his planned remarks Tuesday, anti-war protester and Code Pink cofounder Medea Benjamin stood up and began shouting.

"We don't want another war!" Benjamin shouted from the gallery. "Nobody wants this war -- cruise missiles, launching cruise missiles means another war! The american people do not want this!"

Benjamin was escorted from the room by security. 

Another Code Pink protester shouted similar anti-war sentiments just before the hearing began.



This post has been updated.

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