David Taintor

David Taintor is a news editor at Talking Points Memo. Previously, he worked at NBC News and Adweek. He's a native of Minnesota. Reach him at taintor@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by David

A Florida police officer who was fired for bringing targets resembling Trayvon Martin to a training session has claimed that the targets were used as a no-shoot training tool, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday.

Port Canaveral, Fla. Police Sgt. Ron King on Saturday posted a video on YouTube explaining his side of the story.

"I am being accused of using a Trayvon Martin silhouette target for firearms training in a manner that is less than professional," King said near the beginning of the video. "I take these allegations seriously, and I find that others are accusing me of something that I just plain did not do."

King explained the nature of the targets in question.

"As a result of last year's Trayvon Martin shooting, a company offered for sale a target of a faceless silhouette wearing a hoodie, with its hands in its pockets, one of which was holding two objects," he said. "These objects in the hand were non-threatening, and the target was something that I viewed as an example of a no-shoot situation. While others have used it as a novelty, I view it as a tool for scenario-based firearms training. Although to date the targets have never been used, I did possess those targets for those training reasons."

Watch King's full video: 

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James O'Keefe has come out in support of David Corn's reporting on a secretly recorded meeting of Mitch McConnell campaign aides. In a column for The Daily Beast, he also argued that laws concerning secret recordings could discourage whistleblowers from surfacing information in the public interest. 

From O'Keefe's column, titled "James O’Keefe in Defense of Taping Mitch McConnell, and Everyone Else":

While the two young people who allegedly recorded McConnell, Shawn Reilly and Curtis Morrison, may have overstepped the line this time, conservatives need to understand that the potential punishment they face is incommensurate with the crime under the present law. Raw and unfiltered recordings are the best tools we have to expose things as they really are. Last year John Fund referred to our video showing Eric Holder’s ballot to vote offered to a stranger as “cinema verité.” Now David Corn said of his McConnell tape, “No one needs to listen to me or any commentator to know what it means ... It’s all there ... It’s journalism verité.” As someone who shares David Corn’s vision of bringing veritas to the vulgate, or truth to the people, I wholeheartedly agree.

O'Keefe has faced scrutiny and made plenty of headlines for his secret recordings and antics, and he recounted his experience as an activist journalist in the piece. Read the whole thing here.  

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Matt Drudge took to Twitter on Monday, April 15 -- Tax Day in the U.S. -- to stress how much is at stake in the 2014 midterm elections:


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Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel, a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay, has published an op-ed in the New York Times in which he describes being force-fed after participating in a hunger strike along with other detainees. From the piece, titled "Gitmo Is Killing Me," published in Monday's newspaper:

I will never forget the first time they passed the feeding tube up my nose. I can’t describe how painful it is to be force-fed this way. As it was thrust in, it made me feel like throwing up. I wanted to vomit, but I couldn’t. There was agony in my chest, throat and stomach. I had never experienced such pain before. I would not wish this cruel punishment upon anyone.


I am still being force-fed. Two times a day they tie me to a chair in my cell. My arms, legs and head are strapped down. I never know when they will come. Sometimes they come during the night, as late as 11 p.m., when I’m sleeping.

According to the Times, Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel "told this story, through an Arabic interpreter, to his lawyers at the legal charity Reprieve in an unclassified telephone call."

Over the weekend, guards and prisoners clashed at the prison over the hunger strike, the Associated Press reported. According to the Huffington Post, 43 detainees are on hunger strike, and 13 of those prisoners are being force-fed. 

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Former President George W. Bush has opened up about his recent foray into painting, telling the Dallas Morning News in an interview published over the weekend that he likes to shake up stereotypes. 

“People are surprised,” Bush told the paper. “Of course, some people are surprised I can even read.”

Here's more from the interview:

Asked why a semi-retired 66-year-old is spending his free time on frustrating and potentially humiliating activities like mountain biking, painting and golf, Bush laughed.


“I don’t know,” he said. “You’ll have to call all the people who’ve written these books about me, who claim they know me, the psycho-babblers.”

The Dallas Morning News has photos of several Bush paintings. 

h/t Politico.

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Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) has canceled a Monday trip to Iowa after being hospitalized, his Patriot Voices PAC said in a statement Sunday evening.

"While traveling in South Carolina on Saturday, Rick Santorum became ill and was admitted to the hospital for a gastro-intestinal illness and dehydration," the group said in a written release. "He is feeling better today but remains in the hospital and is unable to travel to Iowa on Monday, April 15 for previously scheduled events. He is expected to resume a full schedule later this week and looks forward to returning to Iowa soon," said Virginia Davis, spokesperson for Patriot Voices."

Santorum, who is leaving the door open on a potential 2016 bid, was scheduled to speak at an Iowa Faith & Freedom event, The Hill reported

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An anti-Margaret Thatcher crowd gathered Saturday for a death party in London's Trafalgar square. Attendees chanted "Ding Dong! The With is Dead" and drank champagne, the Associated Press reported

There were conflicting reports on the size of the crowd. 

Reuters reported earlier Saturday that only about 200 people showed up, a smaller crowd than had been predicted, but later revised its figure to several hundred. The Guardian, meanwhile, reported that around 1,700 people were in attendance. The BBC reported that around 500 protested. Thatcher, former British prime minister, died Monday at 87.

This post has been updated.

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Kentucky Democratic official Jacob Conway appears to be changing his story. After initially claiming that two members of the liberal group Progress Kentucky bragged to him about recording a private meeting of Mitch McConnell campaign aides, he has now said it's possible he spoke to only one of the activists about the tape. 

The Courier-Journal reported Saturday:

In an interview with The Courier-Journal, Jacob Conway, a member of the Jefferson County Democratic Executive Committee, said he is certain he talked with Curtis Morrison about the recording — but he may not have spoken with Shawn Reilly as he told members of the media Thursday.


“I had a lot of conversations with both of them during that time period, and maybe I was just confused, and maybe Shawn never said anything,” he said.

Reilly's attorney had already refuted Conway's version of events. In a press conference posted by the Courier-Journal, Reilly's lawyer, Ted Shouse, said his client is innocent of criminal behavior and is "at most a witness to potential criminal activity."

Conway told the paper that he reached out to Shouse to say his recollection of the events may be incorrect. 

In an interview with TPM earlier this week, Conway said the two Progress Kentucky operatives told him of the secret tape independently. He also said he wasn't the only person who knew the group was behind the recording, which was first reported on by Mother Jones magazine earlier in the week. 

Read more here

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Tactical Response CEO James Yeager -- whose handgun carry permit was suspended after he threatened to "start killing people" if President Obama took executive action on guns -- has his gun license back, WBBJ-TV reported Friday. 

The state of Tennessee suspended Yeager's permit in January after a video of Yeager railing against new gun control measures went viral. "I am not letting my country be ruled by a dictator. I'm not letting anybody take my guns. If it goes one inch further, I'm gonna start killing people," Yeager said in the video.

Yeager told WBBJ-TV that he believes his video "sparked a national discussion of, 'Okay, what is going to happen, you know, if things continue down this path?'" But he added that he's "not optimistic" things will go his way on gun control.

"Folks in middle America, we'll pay our taxes, just leave our guns alone," Yeager said in the interview. "And it seems like they're not willing to do that. I'm not overly optimistic things are gonna go well."

Late update: Yeager posted a video on April 10 announcing that his permit had been reinstated. "I am pleased with the result, and I learned some valuable lessons along the way,” Yeager said in a statement in the video.

Watch the WBBJ-TV report:


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