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August 18, 2014
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Taco Bell rolled out its Dollar Cravings Menu on Monday, with many items priced at $1 each.

While $1 is pretty tough to beat in terms of fast food prices, some of the items on the menu — cinnamon twists and Cinnabon delights, for example — were previously 99 cents, meaning the new dollar menu actually increased prices.

Other items on the new menu include the Beefy Fritos Burrito, Triple Layer Nachos, and a Shredded Chicken Mini Quesadilla. If those options don't sound appetizing to you, Taco Bell also launched a new fast-casual concept store, U.S. Taco Co., in California. The U.S. Taco Co. serves a lobster taco, appropriately named the One Percenter. Meghan DeMaria

2:39 p.m. ET
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Hillary Clinton held an early voting campaign event in Des Moines, Iowa, on Thursday, focusing on her lifelong fight "for kids and families," which she said would be "the mission of my presidency."

Clinton and other Democrats are hoping to encourage voters to cast ballots early for fear that a lack of enthusiasm this election cycle could lead to lower voter turnout than it did for President Obama's election, The Associated Press reports. Four in 10 Iowans voted early in 2012, and this year Democrats hope that number will be even higher, as more Republicans tend to turn up for the polls in November.

While early voting is now open in a handful of states, Iowa is the first among the battleground states. At this time, Trump leads the state in the RealClearPolitics average of a four-way election, at 43 percent to 38 percent. Jeva Lange

2:19 p.m. ET
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America's millionaire class is expanding rapidly. In just five years, the number of households whose investable assets totaled more than $1 million jumped 41.5 percent, from 4,797,879 millionaires in 2010 to 6,789,666 millionaires in 2015. Moreover, the growth spreads out across every level of the wealth pyramid, Barron's reports. For example, the number of households that crossed the $20 million mark soared a remarkable 64 percent in that time frame. And in a historical first, more than 1 million Americans can be considered penta millionaires, meaning their assets surpass $5 million total. Kelly Gonsalves

2:07 p.m. ET

A New Jersey Transit commuter train crashed Thursday morning at a station in Hoboken, New Jersey. At least 108 people were injured, with many in critical condition; at least one person is confirmed dead.

"I got off my train on the way into work and as I was walking through the station, we could see that a train had come through the place where it's supposed to stop, all the way into the station — not into the waiting room but into the outdoor part," said Nancy Solomon of New York radio station WNYC. Photographs of the crash show significant damage to the station, including a partial collapse of the roof.

The crash happened at the height of the morning commute, around 8:45 a.m., though the number and severity of injuries is still unclear. Preliminary investigation suggests the incident was either accidental or caused by operator error. Full service is expected to resume for evening rush hour.

This post has been updated throughout. Jeva Lange

12:33 p.m. ET

Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf appeared before Congress on Thursday, for the second time since news broke that his bank opened up 2 million fake accounts without informing its customers. Stumpf faced the Senate Banking Committee last week, where he incurred the wrath of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who demanded he resign.

At Thursday's hearing before the House Financial Services Committee, Stumpf continued to face outrage from Democrats and Republicans alike, with Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) accusing Stumpf of running "a criminal enterprise":

Stumpf stressed he would cooperate with lawmakers: "I am fully accountable for all unethical sales practices in our retail banking business, and I am fully committed to fixing this issue," he said. "We will not stop working until we get this right." Jeva Lange

12:20 p.m. ET
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Donald Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski traded his decidedly partisan post for the purportedly neutral job of CNN commentator back in June — and it hasn't been the smoothest transition. Lewandowski has come under fire for, to be kind, the optics of the whole thing, as he presents as a neutral news commentator while analyzing the campaign he actively tried to guide to success.

The situation was made worse when it was revealed in July that Lewandowski was still being paid by the Trump campaign while also receiving a paycheck from CNN, throwing those ethical concerns into stark relief. And after it was reported last week that the checks were still rolling in to Lewandowski from Trump, it appears Lewandowski got his erstwhile boss to do something he doesn't often do: pay up.

Politico reported Thursday that Lewandowski is no longer receiving payments from the Trump campaign, as the two parties agreed to pay out Lewandowski's severance in a lump sum. The decision was apparently made to "avoid future distractions," Politico's source at CNN said.

Lewandowski was originally scheduled to receive payments through the end of 2016. Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks said the lump sum payment to Lewandowski will be noted in the campaign's next FEC filing. Kimberly Alters

11:30 a.m. ET
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Conventional wisdom says the 2016 presidential race is about personality. Is Donald Trump too offensive? Is Hillary Clinton too imperious? Would voters like to have a beer with them? Does either of them have any idea what a beer costs? I mean, it's one beer — what could it cost? Ten dollars?

But a new study by Martin Wattenberg, a political scientist at the University of California at Irvine, finds voters are increasingly uninterested in matters of personality. Instead, partisanship and policy are the primary determining factors for candidate selection in the United States today.

As Wattenberg explains at The Washington Post, "over the last 60 years, presidential candidates' personal attributes have actually become less important to voters and less correlated with election outcomes." In 1952, for instance, 8 in 10 Americans described personal qualities (like character, appearance, and personal history) when discussing why they liked their candidate. That personal interest has steadily declined up through 2012, the most recent year of available data, when only 6 in 10 offered similar answers to the same question.

To the extent that voters care about personal qualities today, their perception is heavily colored by partisanship. "In our increasingly polarized politics, people have come to hold more black-and-white views of the candidates," Wattenberg says, "and judge personal character through the lens of political bias." Bonnie Kristian

11:14 a.m. ET
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After an awkward gaffe during an MSNBC townhall event Wednesday, Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson has received some good news from Michigan. The Detroit News on Thursday gave Johnson its endorsement for president, a big break from 143 years of backing only Republican candidates.

"Since its founding in 1873," the editorial board explained, the paper "has backed a Republican every time it has made a presidential endorsement." But in 2016, "we abandon that long and estimable tradition this year for one reason: Donald J. Trump."

While critiquing Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton, the endorsement essay also devotes considerable space to highlighting Johnson's own merits. "We recognize the Libertarian candidate is the longest of long shots with an electorate that has been conditioned to believe only Republicans and Democrats can win major offices," the paper admits. "But this is an endorsement of conscience, reflecting our confidence that Johnson would be a competent and capable president and an honorable one." Bonnie Kristian

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