Catherine Thompson

Catherine Thompson is a news writer for Talking Points Memo. Before joining TPM, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett and interned at The L Magazine. At New York University she served as the deputy managing editor of NYU's student newspaper, The Washington Square News. She can be reached at catherine@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Catherine

Tennis star Serena Williams issued a statement Wednesday saying she was "deeply sorry" for a quote attributed to her in a Rolling Stone profile that suggested the Steubenville rape victim "shouldn't have put herself in that position."

"I am currently reaching out to the girl’s family to let her know that I am deeply sorry for what was written in the Rolling Stone article," Williams said in a statement on her blog. "What was written – what I supposedly said – is insensitive and hurtful, and I by no means would say or insinuate that she was at all to blame."

Here's William's quote from the Rolling Stone article in its full context:

We watch the news for a while, and the infamous Steubenville rape case flashes on the TV – two high school football players raped a drunk 16-year-old, while other students watched and texted details of the crime. Serena just shakes her head. "Do you think it was fair, what they got? They did something stupid, but I don't know. I'm not blaming the girl, but if you're a 16-year-old and you're drunk like that, your parents should teach you: Don't take drinks from other people. She's 16, why was she that drunk where she doesn't remember? It could have been much worse. She's lucky. Obviously, I don't know, maybe she wasn't a virgin, but she shouldn't have put herself in that position, unless they slipped her something, then that's different."

Internal FBI investigations determined that shots fired by its agents in 150 cases over the years were justified, the New York Times reported Wednesday.

According to interviews and internal FBI records obtained by the Times, FBI agents fatally shot 70 "subjects" and wounded 80 others from 1993 to early 2011. In none of those cases was a shooting deemed improper, according to the Times investigation.

The Times' survey of 289 deliberate shootings evidenced in the documents, including shootings in which no one was harmed, showed that only five were designated "bad shoots" that didn't comply with bureau policy--but in none of those cases did a bullet hit someone. These findings are "predictable," the Times wrote.

Last month an FBI agent fatally shot a Chechen man who was questioned in Orlando, Fla. about his relationship to Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarneav. Conflicting reports on whether the subject was armed or not called into question the FBI agent's justification in shooting him.

“The F.B.I. takes very seriously any shooting incidents involving our agents, and as such we have an effective, time-tested process for addressing them internally,” an FBI spokesperson told the Times.

Maine Gov. Paul LePage's (R) administration will no longer comment on stories reported by newspapers that officials believe "oppose" the governor's work, the Portland Press Herald reported Tuesday.

When a Press Herald reporter requested the governor's public events calendar, a spokesperson, Adrienne Bennett, declined, and said the administration would not participate in further stories reported by the Press Herald, the Kennebec Journal, or the Morning Sentinel. Bennet said that the newspapers' parent company, MaineToday Media, "had made it clear that it opposed this administration." 

The no-comment policy comes in the wake of an investigation the Press Herald published this week that found the state's Environmental Protection Commissioner Patricia Aho, a former corporate lobbyist, thwarted programs that clashed with the interests of her former clients. Bennett did provide comment for that article -- she accused the newspaper of having a political agenda.

Colorado state Senate President John Morse (D) will be the first state-level official to face a recall election, the Colorado Springs Gazette reported Tuesday.

Morse was targeted by a group called El Paso Freedom Defense Fund because he supported state gun laws. The secretary of state's office said 10,137 registered voters signed a petition to recall Morse through election. Only 7,178 were necessary to bring the issue to a ballot.

Shortly after the signatures were verified, however, a voter in Morse's district filed a protest saying the recall petition hadn't included language necessary to mandate the election of a successor should Morse be removed from office. If the challenge fails, a recall election could be held in August.

Outgoing Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D) said Tuesday that he has plans to eventually run for governor of California.

Villaraigosa said in a interview with KPCC-FM that his interest in pursuing higher office was a product of his belief in public service. Before running the city of Los Angeles for eight years, Villaraigosa served in the California State Assembly and the L.A. City Council.

“You mentioned governor," he told KPCC. "Look, I believe in public service. I want to run for governor. In fact, I fully expect that I will. I’m going to tell you something. I will never have a job like this. This city has given me more than I could have ever hoped for."

Gov. Jerry Brown (D-CA) is expected to run for reelection next year.

A Basset, Va. man pleaded guilty Tuesday night to charges of voter fraud and forgery of thousands of signatures on Newt Gingrich's campaign ballot, Charlottesville's WVIR reported

Prosecutors said Adam Ward, 28, collected more than 11,000 signatures in December 2011 to get Newt Gingrich's name on the Virginia presidential primary ballot. Investigators were unable to verify 4,000 of those signatures.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) sniped at the Obama administration's gun control agenda Tuesday, asking his Twitter followers if the president would run background checks on the Syrian rebels he recently

Obama authorized sending lethal aid to Syrian rebels last week.

Vice President Joe Biden also drummed up support for gun control legislation at the White House Tuesday afternoon and hinted that members of Congress who opposed background checks would face retribution from the American people who "demanded" the checks.

The Wall Street Journal's James Taranto argued Tuesday that the discussion about sexual assault in the military has become "a war on men."

Taranto brought up the case of Capt. Matthew Herrera, an Air Force officer accused of sexual assault by a fellow servicewoman, in a column as an example of Congress' "effort to criminalize male sexuality." Capt. Herrera was ultimately not convicted of sexual assault by his commander, Lt. Gen. Susan Helms--but as a consequence, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) put a "permanent hold" on Helms' nomination to serve as vice commander of the Air Force Space Command, a career setback Taranto laments.

Capt. Herrera had testified before Helms that his accuser "flirted" with him, and a lieutenant who was present at the time of the alleged assault agreed. Therefore, Taranto reasons, Herrera's accuser was equally at fault.

"It's fair to say that Capt. Herrera seems to have a tendency toward sexual recklessness," Taranto wrote. "Perhaps that makes him unsuitable to serve as an officer in the U.S. Air Force. But his accusers acted recklessly too. The presumption that reckless men are criminals while reckless women are victims makes a mockery of any notion that the sexes are equal."

New York state Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin (R) floated a potential 2014 gubernatorial run on Monday against Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), whom he accused of being a "schoolyard bully" on gun control laws.

McLaughlin told the Albany Times-Union that New York's 4 million gun owners, who live mostly upstate, are his support base. He previously criticized Cuomo's championing of the SAFE Act that put constraints on assault weapons, saying "Hitler would be proud" of the law's passage.

"Could it be viewed as a David vs. Goliath? Yes — but David won," McLaughlin told the newspaper. "I'm not a wallflower."

McLaughlin told the Times-Union that would further capitalize on his upstate appeal by focusing on economic revitalization of the region. He criticized Cuomo's economic proposals that benefit the governor's "cronies," saying "a two-day canoe trip" doesn't cut it with constituents.

McLaughlin's exploration of a challenge to Cuomo was first reported Monday by the New York Post.

The New York Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on Tuesday on behalf of Muslim New Yorkers accusing the NYPD of operating an unconstitutional surveillance program based on religious profiling without proof of criminal suspicion.

The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, accuses the NYPD of "mapping" both individuals and institutions in Muslim communities, "deploying NYPD officers and informants to infiltrate mosques and monitor the conversations of congregants and religious leaders without any suspicion of wrongdoing," and carrying out "other forms of suspicionless surveillance."

“When a police department turns law-abiding people into suspects because they go to a mosque and not a church or a synagogue, it violates our Constitution’s guarantees of equality and religious freedom,” said Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU National Security Project, in a statement. “No one questions that the NYPD has a job to do, but spying on innocent New Yorkers because of their religion is a wrong and ineffective way to do it. We are asking the court to end the NYPD’s unconstitutional religious discrimination.”

The lawsuit seeks no damages but asks the court to terminate all future surveillance based on religious profiling without prior suspicion of criminal activity, as well as to compel the NYPD to destroy all information it collected on Muslims in violation of their Fourteenth Amendment rights.