Vice President Joe Biden drew laughter from the audience at a National Urban League conference in Ohio this week when he lamented not having even one Republican child. "I should have had one Republican kid to go out and make money," Biden said. "You know, so when they put me in a home, I get a window with a view. You know what I mean?"
Biden has long made a habit of casting himself as comparatively poor, saying in June that he is the "poorest man in Congress," a claim which is best supported by his high levels of debt. Biden also says he has no savings and no investments, which is true by technicality: The stocks and bonds are in his wife's name.
Biden may indeed be poor compared to the many millionaires who roam the halls of Congress, but surely not compared to the population at large. He has been a senator or vice president continuously since 1973, when congressional salaries were pegged at $42,500 per year, and he now earns an annual salary of $230,700. Median per capita income in 1973 and 2012 was $4,141 and $28,281, respectively.
Biden's poverty rhetoric has been compared to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's much-criticized statement in June that her family was "dead broke" upon leaving the White House at the end of Bill Clinton's term. Bonnie Kristian
President Obama and Bill Nye sat down Friday for an Earth Day chat in the Everglades where they discussed America's lagging interest in, and understanding of, science.
After discussing ways to get American kids excited about science again, the conversation turned to Washington's inability to reach a consensus on climate change. And on that front, Obama lamented the way some lawmakers are "being part of the climate-denier clubs and basically stiff-arming what we know are facts — and not rebutting them with other facts, but rebutting them with anecdote or just being dismissive."
'"Oh, I'm not a scientist,'" Nye chimed in, mocking the standard defense climate change skeptics employ when pressed on their beliefs. —Jon Terbush
A massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked Nepal on Saturday, causing substantial damage and killing at least 1,000 people, according to government estimates. Via the BBC, here's some footage of the quake and the immediate aftermath. —Jon Terbush
Hawaii on Friday passed a bill that would raise the legal smoking age to 21 while also banning the sale and purchase of electronic cigarettes for anyone under that age limit. If Democratic Gov. David Ige signs the bill — he has yet to indicate whether he will — Hawaii would become the first state in the nation to raise its smoking age to 21.
"The activities we've engaged in over the years to manage smoking — our additional efforts in education, the raising of cigarette taxes — this is a continuation of those policies," Democratic state Senator Rosalyn Baker told Reuters. Jon Terbush
Baltimore's police commissioner on Friday conceded that officers made mistakes in their handling of Freddie Gray, the unarmed black man who died last weekend of a severe spinal injury while in custody.
"We know that police employees failed to get him medical attention in a timely manner," Commissioner Anthony Batts said, adding that 30 investigators are probing the incident.
"If someone harmed Freddie Gray, we will have to prosecute him," Batts said.
As they have all week, demonstrators took to Baltimore's streets Friday to protest the incident. Jon Terbush
After a 40th anniversary screening of the cult classic Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the five surviving members of the Monty Python comedy troupe — John Cleese, Michael Palin, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, and Terry Jones — reunited live on stage on Friday for a special Q&A at the Tribeca Film Festival.
The Q&A was moderated by Last Week Tonight host John Oliver, a longtime Monty Python fan who quickly embraced the anarchic spirit of the evening. As he asked the panel about their career-long commitment to a "healthy disregard for authority," John Cleese wandered around the stage, grabbed Oliver's question sheet, and stuffed his microphone into his mouth, as the rest of the Monty Python members repeatedly switched seats in an impromptu game of musical chairs.
When the Monty Python members did settle down, they spoke engagingly (and often coarsely) on a wide variety of subjects, including the filming of Holy Grail, their 2014 series of live shows at London's 02 stadium, and the state of comedy in general. "I think we don't talk enough about this awful political correcteness," complained Cleese. "I do a lot of… I don't know if they're really racist jokes, but jokes like, 'Why do the French have so many Civil Wars? Answer: Because they like to win one now and again."
"I used to do these jokes, and then I would say, 'There were these two Mexicans,' and the room would freeze. And I would say, 'Why's everybody gone quiet? We did jokes about Swedes, and Germans, and Canadians, and the French. What's the problem about the Mexicans? Are they not big enough to look after themselves?' I find a lot of that very condescending."
The group also recalled the 1989 funeral of deceased Monty Python member Graham Chapman, during which John Cleese delivered a legendarily irreverent eulogy. "Graham's whole ceremony was like that, because we were laughing and then crying, and then laughing and crying. It was as though the emotion was sort of flowing through us, instead of getting blocked, like it usually does in England," said Cleese. "When I was writing it, I got that idea, and I thought, 'No, I can't do that.' And then I thought, 'That's exactly what Graham would like.' Because one thing Graham could not stand was what he called mindless good taste."
John Oliver brought the evening to a close by praising Monty Python one last time. "We've established there's nothing less funny than sincerity, but you're the f----ing greatest," he said, to an enthusiastic standing ovation. Scott Meslow
If you've ever wondered what the Joker would look like if he shopped at Hot Topic, now you know.
To celebrate the Joker's 75th anniversary, Suicide Squad director David Ayer on Friday shared a teaser image of Jared Leto as the film's interpretation of the iconic Batman character.
— David Ayer (@DavidAyerMovies) April 25, 2015
In contrast to previous takes on the villain, the film seems to be going for more of a hip, edgy Joker who could just as easily be seen burning down Gotham as he could be seen sneaking cigarettes behind the high school while cursing his parents. The content of the tattoos may scream "crazy!", but the neat artistry of the designs whispers "Crazytown." Jon Terbush
Famed Olympic athlete Bruce Jenner on Friday came out as transgender in an interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer, saying he is transitioning from male to female.
"For all intents and purposes, I'm a woman," Jenner said.
"Bruce lives a lie," the 65-year-old Jenner added. "She is not a lie. I can't do it anymore."
Jenner said his struggles with gender identity began as a child when he would try on his mother's clothing, and it continued in private for decades even as he became a masculine icon while winning gold in the decathlon at the 1976 Olympics. In recent months, tabloid rumors abounded surrounding Jenner's then-alleged transition. Jon Terbush