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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 federal judge on Wednesday ruled against New York City's use of graphic anti-smoking ads, saying that only the federal government can regulate smoking warnings.

"Even merchants of morbidity are entitled to the full protection of the law, for our sake as well as theirs," said U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff, who issued the written decision.

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Surprise, surprise, historians have found glaring errors in a textbook claiming that African Americans fought in large numbers for the South during the Civil War.

A number of additional errors have been found in other textbooks being used in some Virginia classrooms, since the state ordered a review of the books, the Washington Post reports.

Among the textbooks' errors are claims that the Confederacy included 12 states and the U.S. entered World War I in 1916. Five professional scholars reviewed the books, with three of them finding "disturbing" results. State officials are scheduled to meet January 10 to review the results.

"I absolutely could not believe the number of mistakes -- wrong dates and wrong facts everywhere. How in the world did these books get approved?" said Ronald Heinemann, a former history professor at Hampden-Sydney College who reviewed "Our Virginia: Past and Present." The other book mentioned in the report was "Our America: To 1865."

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County music legend Merle Haggard -- a 2010 Kennedy Center honoree -- told Rolling Stone he finds President Barack Obama to be "very different" than his depiction in the media.

"It's really almost criminal what they do with our president," Haggard said. "There seems to be no shame or anything. They call him all kinds of names all day long, saying he's doing certain things that he's not. It's just a big old political game that I don't want to be part of."

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From lecturing President Barack Obama on racial sensitivity to inflating threats of terror, Fox News offered more than a few journalistic lessons this year. Fox's ratings continued to top the other major cable networks, while its news coverage ... well, let's just let it speak for itself.

Here's a list -- though hardly an exhaustive one -- of some memorable moments from Fox News this year.

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White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs today called the conviction of former Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky deeply concerning, adding that "the apparent selective application of the law to these individuals undermines Russia's reputation as a country committed to deepening the rule of law."

Earlier today, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also condemned the verdict. Khodorkovsky on Monday was found guilty of money laundering and theft of billions of dollars. He told Reuters he plans to appeal the verdict. Khodorkovsky is nearing the end of his current eight-year prison term.

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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today condemned the conviction of former Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, saying the case "raises serious questions about selective prosecution -- and about the rule of law being overshadowed by political considerations."

Khodorkovsky on Monday was found guilty of money laundering and theft of billions of dollars. He told Reuters he plans to repeal the verdict. Khodorkovsky is nearing the end of his current eight-year prison term.

Here is Clinton's full statement:

Today's conviction in the second trial of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev on charges of embezzlement and money laundering raises serious questions about selective prosecution -- and about the rule of law being overshadowed by political considerations. This and similar cases have a negative impact on Russia's reputation for fulfilling its international human rights obligations and improving its investment climate. We welcome President Medvedev's modernization plans, but their fulfillment requires the development of a climate where due process and judicial independence are respected. We will monitor the appeals process.





Pat Robertson more commonly garners media attention for blaming various things he doesn't like on things that have little or nothing to do with them (e.g. the Haitian earthquake on the nation's supposed pact with Satan, or the September 11th attacks on the ACLU and "the gays"). Yet this week he's making headlines for comments that sound a lot less Pat Robertson and a lot more Cheech and Chong. Apparently, Pat Robertson supports decriminalizing marijuana.

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The Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority has granted preliminary approval for a creationist theme park to get up to $37 million in tax incentives, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports.

The theme park -- dubbed Ark Encounter -- is backed by both Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D) and Answers in Genesis, a Christian organization that also built a similar attraction, the Creation Museum.

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1||December 17, 2010: President Barack Obama reads "'Twas The Night Before Christmas" and his new children's book, "Of Thee I Sing," to a group of Long Branch Elementary School students in Arlington, Virginia. Obama wrote the book before he took office in 2009.

Here are more pictures of storytime with the president.||newscom/Washington Pool/SIPA&&

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7||After reading, Obama took questions from the approximately 90 students.||newscom/Olivier Douliery/UPI&&

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