2014 midterms
August 7, 2014
CC by: AMSF2011

Lamar Alexander, the 75-year-old Republican senator from Tennessee, has successfully fended off a Tea Party primary challenge, defeating Rep. Joe Carr. From The Associated Press:

Unofficial results Thursday showed Alexander with 52.4 percent of the vote. Carr had 38.4 percent of the vote with 20 percent of the precincts reporting. [AP]

The result marks a shutout for the Tea Party, which was unable to unseat any sitting Republican senator this election season. Ryu Spaeth

Coming Soon
4:28 p.m. ET
Facebook.com/EmpireFOX

Empire's first season aired its finale in March, and fans have been eagerly waiting to find out when they'll finally get to see all those dangling cliffhangers resolved.

Unfortunately, the season two premiere date is still pretty far away — but at last you can put it down on your calendar. Taraji P. Henson, who plays Cookie, took to Twitter to reveal that Empire will return on September 23. Set your DVRs accordingly. Scott Meslow

court reports
4:15 p.m. ET
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Creator of black market website Silk Road, Ross William Ulbricht, 31, was sentenced to life in prison Friday.

After its 2011 launch, Ulbricht ran the underground cyber-bazaar, where anonymous users used the cryptocurrency bitcoin to purchase drugs, hacking tools, and fake identification, for about two years before he was arrested.

Ulbricht received the maximum sentence for his felony convictions of conspiracy, money laundering, and drug trafficking. Stephanie Talmadge

Only in America
3:52 p.m. ET
iStock

A Texas high school senior was suspended and barred from graduation this week after a can of Bud Light was found in a cooler in his truck. Quintin Walker says he didn't realize the single beer can was still in the soda-filled cooler that his mother had packed for a family picnic the previous weekend. "I worked 12 years to walk across that stage," Walker said. "It's just crazy." The Week Staff

indictments
3:19 p.m. ET
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Former U.S. House speaker Dennis Hastert reportedly paid off a man to conceal past sexual misconduct, two federal law enforcement officials told the Los Angeles Times. A federal grand jury indicted Hastert on Thursday for allegedly evading currency reporting requirements. He reportedly withdrew the cash to give to an unidentified person, who one official claimed is a man Hastert wanted to conceal a past relationship with.

The alleged misconduct, which one source called "sex" and the other confirmed involved sexual abuse, dates back to Hastert's stint as a Yorkville, Illinois, high school wrestling coach and teacher, LAT reports.

"It goes back a long way, back to then," one source told the paper. “It has nothing to do with public corruption or a corruption scandal. Or to his time in office." Julie Kliegman

raise a glass
3:14 p.m. ET

Yes, we know that Bud Light basically tastes like water anyway. But for victims of the devastating floods in Texas and Oklahoma, actual drinking water is essential right now. Brewing giant Anheuser-Busch, which makes big-name beers like Budweiser, Michelob Ultra, Corona, and tons more, decided to halt beer production at its Georgia brewery in order to produce 2,000 24-packs of drinking water, which are currently en route with the Red Cross to flood victims in Texas and Oklahoma.

"It's something we're uniquely positioned to do," brewery manager Rob Haas told NBC. And for once, we can truly say we are thankful for Big Beer. Samantha Rollins

2016 Watch
2:43 p.m. ET
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee is expected to formally enter the 2016 presidential race June 3, a source told Politico on Friday. Chafee's spokesperson told MSNBC there'd be a "major announcement."

Chafee, 62, became a Democrat midway through his term as governor, which ended earlier this year. He served in the U.S. Senate from 1999 to 2007 as a Republican.

Chafee is slated to speak at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia, at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. He would face Hillary Clinton, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and likely former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (expected to announce Saturday) in a Democratic primary. Julie Kliegman

guitar-player-in-chief?
2:23 p.m. ET

There have been rumblings that former two-term Maryland governor Martin O'Malley will seek the Democratic nomination for president in 2016. But if you prefer guitar picking to "rumblings," let the video below help you make your decision:

O'Malley, who BuzzFeed reports is trying to position himself as a more authentic alternative to frontrunner Hillary Clinton, is set to make a special "announcement" Saturday in Baltimore, and will head to the crucial election states of Iowa and New Hampshire soon after. Samantha Rollins

See More Speed Reads