On Sunday, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) called in to a New Nation of Islam radio program to talk about racism in the government. He had some thoughts on the topic.
The 11-term congressman argued that racism is behind much of the GOP's strong opposition to and "disrespect" for President Obama, specifically citing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's early pledge to oppose anything Obama proposed ("Now if that's not a racist statement I don't know what is"). Then Thompson called Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas an "Uncle Tom," adding that "it's almost to the point saying this man doesn't like black people, he doesn't like being black."
Even the New Nation of Islam host, who calls himself the Son of Man, was taken aback by the "Uncle Tom" reference. But Thompson stood by the remark in an interview with CNN's Dana Bash on Wednesday — not many members of Congress or the Washington press corps listen to New Nation of Islam radio, so it took a few days for BuzzFeed to pick up the quotes and for everyone to get upset.
Thompson explained to Bash that every decision Thomas has signed on to at the court has "been adverse to the minority community, and the people I represent have a real issue with an African American not being sensible to those issues." When Bash asked if "Uncle Tom" isn't "a racially charged term," Thompson responded: "For some it is, but to others it's the truth." Here's Thompson's interview with Bash:
Thompson further argued that he can call someone an "Uncle Tom" because he's black. I suspect that theory will quickly be put to the test in Washington and in his Jackson-based district — the only majority-black district in Mississippi (Thompson is the only Democrat in Mississippi's congressional delegation). You can listen to Thompson's factually questionable thoughts on Republican racism, via BuzzFeed, or hear his "Uncle Tom" remarks below. --Peter Weber
Kanye West is deep into the first play of his highly anticipated album, The Life of Pablo, at Madison Square Garden — an event that doubles as the debut of his latest fashion line, Yeezy Season 3. And one lyric during the song "Famous," which features Rihanna and Swizz Beatz, already has people buzzing: "I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / I made that b---h famous."
Yes, this very well could be a reference to the infamous "Imma let you finish" controversy in which Kanye rushed the stage to interrupt Taylor Swift's acceptance speech at the 2009 VMAs to declare that Beyoncé should have won. However, this isn't the only questionable lyric spotted on The Life of Pablo so far: Other songs include references to Kim Kardashian's ex Ray J and her brother, Rob Kardashian. Samantha Rollins
In a new campaign ad out Thursday, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders calls on people of all genders, ethnicities, races, ages, and sexualities to come together and bring his political revolution to the Oval Office. The 60-second ad, released just days after the Vermont senator trounced Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton in the New Hampshire primary, flashes face after face onscreen. The individual faces are then torn in half and put together randomly, in a representation of the unity Sanders urges in the ad.
"When we stand together, as white and black and Hispanic and gay and straight and woman and man. When we stand together and demand that this country works for all us, rather than the few, we will transform America," Sanders says in the ad. "And that is what this campaign is about, is bringing people together."
Watch it. Becca Stanek
When will Marco Rubio's troubles end? After being taunted by robots in New Hampshire, the Florida senator's latest struggle has come in the form of a Twix bar that has reportedly gotten the best of his molar.
"I just bit into a Twix bar and I go, 'Man this Twix bar's got something really hard in it. And I go, 'Oh my gosh, I cracked my tooth,'" Rubio told The Washington Post.
— Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) February 11, 2016
Rubio was on a flight to Washington, D.C. when the incident took place. He visited the dentist the next morning to get a temporary fix on his cracked molar, with a permanent replacement planned from his regular dentist when he gets back to Miami.
The last remaining anti-government protester at Oregon's Malheur National Wildlife Refuge surrendered Thursday afternoon, ending the 6-week-long occupation. Authorities confirmed that the final holdout, David Fry, walked off the refuge and turned himself in to the FBI around 2 p.m. ET Thursday, despite his earlier claims that he would "die a free man."
Fry's three remaining comrades had turned themselves over to federal agents earlier Thursday. The final surrender comes hours after protest leader Ammon Bundy's father, Cliven Bundy, was arrested Wednesday night. Becca Stanek
On Feb. 11, 2006, then-Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot his companion, Harry Whittington, while quail hunting in Texas. A decade later, Whittington told the New York Daily News that despite the fact that he still has pellets lodged in his cheek and neck, he never did receive an apology from Cheney.
"[Cheney] never did need to apologize. It was an accident. He expressed his concern about me publicly, but he never had reason to apologize because we knew how seriously he was affected by it," Whittington said, showing exceptional understanding for someone who was literally shot in the face. Whittington, on the other hand, famously apologized to Cheney for the incident back in 2006.
The Daily News added that Whittington only recently fired a gun for the first time in a decade, when his son-in-law and friends took him quail hunting outside his hometown. He stressed that accidents are common while hunting quail, and that he holds "no hard feelings at all" against Cheney. Jeva Lange
Congressman Alan Grayson ran a hedge fund that encouraged buying 'when there's blood in the streets'
Alan Grayson was the Democratic representative for Florida's 8th congressional district from 2009 to 2011, a period during which he happened to have another job as well — as a hedge fund manager. While Grayson's role running a hedge fund as a sitting member of the House has already led to an investigation by the House Committee on Ethics, emails obtained by The New York Times show the extent to which Grayson's jobs were intertwined "and how he promoted his international travels, some with congressional delegations, to solicit business."
Grayson's hedge fund, which until recently had operations in the Cayman Islands, is questionable as well. Grayson has reportedly boasted about traveling to "every country" in the world while creating investment strategies that took advantage of companies suffering because of economic or political turbulence.
[A] hedge fund marketing document cited a quote attributed to an early member of the Rothschild banking family in advising that "the time to buy is when there's blood in the streets."
Mr. Grayson defended his approach. "What creates the opportunity is when people overreact to something bad happening," he said.
At least some of Mr. Grayson's global travel has been paid for by the United States government, congressional records show. Mr. Grayson has traveled in official congressional delegations to Finland, Iraq, Kuwait, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, according to a tally of those records by LegiStorm, a website that assembles data on Congress. He has also traveled to Israel on an official trip paid for by a private group, according to LegiStorm. [The New York Times]
According to House rules, lawmakers are not allowed to hold outside jobs that make more than $27,495, although Grayson has said he didn't report any earned income from the fund despite some investors that would have been paying management fees. Read the full report in The New York Times. Jeva Lange
John Kasich is keeping his expectations low for the upcoming Feb. 20 primary in South Carolina. After pulling off a comfortable second-place finish in the GOP's New Hampshire presidential primary Tuesday, the Ohio governor admitted in a Thursday interview with CNN's New Day that he doesn't expect South Carolina's election to go quite as well. "We're going to compete here," Kasich said of South Carolina's primary. "We don't expect to win here."
Kasich's defense of his campaign — and his concession about South Carolina — follows Republican opponent Jeb Bush's jab that Kasich "has nothing in South Carolina." "But on the other hand, if you look at the person who says that, they spent like well over $100 million — something like that — and they got like nothing," Kasich said, reminding Bush that, for spending more money than any other candidate, his results so far have fallen short.
Bush finished two spots behind Kasich in New Hampshire and two spots ahead of him in Iowa, where Bush came in sixth and Kasich came in eighth. Becca Stanek