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

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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Several new details have emerged from the divisive secession ball held Monday in Charleston, South Carolina -- a gala dedicated to the 150th anniversary of the state's signing of the Ordinance of Secession.

About 120 protesters marched in opposition to the event, carrying signs of protest and singing "We Shall Overcome." South Carolina NAACP President Lonnie Randolph, who joined the protest, told TPM in a phone interview this week that he felt the need to speak out against the ball, calling the secession "the greatest act of terrorism" waged on America.

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The Central Intelligence Agency has created a new group dedicated to analyze the impact of WikiLeaks on the United States's foreign relationships and the agency's operations. The name of this new department is the WikiLeaks Task Force. WTF indeed.

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Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) did pretty well for herself in 2010. A prominent conservative figure who routinely appears on national television, she founded the tea party caucus, and was recently given a seat on the House Intelligence Committee. But after cruising to reelection victory in Minnesota, is she already setting her eyes on a 2012 senate run?

Bachmann's spokesman Doug Sachtleben told The Hill in a statement that "nothing's off the table for the future." Sachtleben declined to comment further to TPM.

Obviously, Bachmann's not running yet. But if she did -- how would she stack up next to first-term Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar?

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South Carolinians literally had a ball last night celebrating the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. The secession ball, organized by the Confederate Heritage Trust -- and sponsored by the Sons of Confederate Veterans -- reportedly featured a 45-minute theatrical play re-enacting the signing of the Ordinance of Secession, where South Carolina declared its intention to secede from the union.

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