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
Around 700 migrants from Libya may be dead after the three small boats they were using to cross the Mediterranean capsized on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, the United Nations' refugee agency reported Sunday.
The largest boat was carrying some 670 migrants and did not have an engine. So far, only about 100 of its passengers have been rescued, while 15 bodies have been found.
All three boats were attempting to cross from North Africa to the southern shores of Italy. Libya has remained in chaos since the NATO-assisted overthrow of dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011, a power vacuum which permitted the Islamic State terrorist organization to set up shop in the seaside city of Sirte. Bonnie Kristian
A federal judge ordered the release of internal Trump University documents as part of an ongoing lawsuit against the presumptive Republican presidential nominee's company, The Washington Post reported Saturday. Donald Trump's attorneys had argued that the documents, including "playbooks" for salespeople, revealed trade secrets.
Judge Gonzalo Curiel issued the ruling hours after Trump disparaged his Latino heritage and called him a biased "hater" at a San Diego rally. In the order, Curiel said Trump "has placed placed the integrity of these court proceedings at issue."
With 7 in 10 Americans reporting they are "frustrated" with the 2016 presidential election, this year could be the Libertarian Party's big chance — and America's largest third party is holding its national convention in Orlando, Florida, this weekend.
On the agenda: picking a presidential nominee from among three contenders. Though the contest is considered close, greatest name recognition belongs to former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, who was the Libertarian nominee in 2012, when he picked up more than 1 million votes. Johnson recently polled at 10 percent nationally against Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and he would need 15 percent support to make it into the general election debates.
Martin Short and Maya Rudolph stopped by The Tonight Show on Friday, so naturally host Jimmy Fallon had to find something totally outlandish for them to do together. The gang spoofed '80s cop shows with The Windy City Blue, a gag that gets progressively sillier — and windier — with each new bit. Hold onto your hat and watch below. Julie Kliegman
The World Health Organization dismissed a call Saturday to move or cancel the Rio Summer Olympics due to the spread of the Zika virus. The U.N. agency was responding to a Friday open letter from 150 health experts urging them to delay or relocate the event "in the name of public health," citing the mosquito-borne virus' link to birth defects.
"Based on the current assessment of the Zika virus circulating in almost 60 countries globally and 39 in the Americas, there is no public health justification for postponing or cancelling the games," the group's statement read.
The Zika virus is thought to have originated in Brazil. Julie Kliegman
Yellen noted that "growth looks to be picking up from the various data that we monitor," referencing rising oil prices and a weaker, stabilizing dollar as the rationale for her decision, which corresponds with recent remarks from other Fed policymakers.
She argued that a gradual increase from the near-zero rate the central bank has maintained since the 2008 financial crisis "would be appropriate" to push inflation toward the Fed's 2 percent goal. Bonnie Kristian
Things are looking good for Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James, and not only because he's expected to star in the long-awaited Space Jam sequel.
James scored 33 points Friday in the Cavs' 113-87 rout of the Toronto Raptors. With the win, his team earned a spot in the NBA Finals against either the Oklahoma City Thunder or the Golden State Warriors, which would be a rematch of last year's contest.
This means, as The New York Times reports, that James is set to appear in his sixth-straight NBA Finals, and seventh overall. He's a two-time champ, both from when he took his talents to the Miami Heat. Julie Kliegman