×
FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
August 1, 2014
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys have gone 8-8 each of the past three seasons, and the Tony Romo-led team hasn't reached the NFL playoffs in four years. So season ticket holders will probably be a bit surprised when they open their envelopes this week and find not just the usual preseason and regular-season slips, but also a sheet of playoff tickets — along with a ticket to the NFC Championship game, which hasn't featured the Cowboys since 1995.

ESPN Dallas notes that the seemingly cocky move may actually just be smart business; NFL teams struggled to sell out playoff games last season, because season-ticket holders were understandably wary of paying for a slate of additional tickets up front. The league changed its policy following that debacle, so now season-ticket holders can buy playoff tickets after a team clinches a certain game. On the Dallas tickets, fans merely have to pay for the additional tickets if the team reaches the playoffs, at which point the barcodes on the extras will activate. And, the team is betting that since seat holders already have the physical ticket, they're more likely to pay for it in the event of a playoff game, leaving fewer open tickets for the team to move.

Logical, this plan is. But sports fans are not logical, and sending out playoff tickets before a single preseason game — let alone a regular season one — has been played may prove to rub Cowboys fans the wrong way. You don't talk about the no-hitter in progress, and you don't touch the Stanley Cup until you've earned it. The Cowboys may have just jinxed themselves into a fourth 8-8 season. Sarah Eberspacher

2:36 p.m. ET
Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump's nominee to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, White House physician Ronny Jackson, is deciding whether to drop out of consideration, Trump told reporters Tuesday.

The Senate on Monday postponed Jackson's confirmation hearing following allegations that he drank excessively on the job, improperly dispensed medications, and created a hostile work environment, The Washington Post reports. Lawmakers were reportedly also concerned that Jackson is unqualified for the position because he lacks large-scale management skills.

Trump said that Jackson is "making a decision" on whether to remain in the mix, noting that "if I were him, I wouldn't do it." Trump said that he hadn't heard of the "particular allegations," but that he'd still support Jackson if he decided not to withdraw his nomination. "I don't think personally he should do it," Trump said of Jackson, characterizing a possible Senate investigation as an "ugly" and "disgusting" process. "What does he need it for? To be abused by a bunch of politicians?"

Jackson has told reporters that he wants to go through with a confirmation hearing. If Trump doesn't ask him to drop out, his hearing will be delayed until May at the earliest, CNN's Manu Raju notes, after senators complete an investigation into his qualifications and alleged misconduct. Summer Meza

2:25 p.m. ET

Jazz musician turned Schoolhouse Rock! composer Bob Dorough died Monday at 94, WNEP reported.

And he was more than just a Bill … er, Bob.

Dorough kicked off his career in 1956 with an album titled Devil May Care. Miles Davis rerecorded the title track and turned it into a jazz standard, per NPR.

Despite that success, Dorough still had a day job at an advertising agency with a boss whose kids couldn't remember multiplication tables. Dorough's boss asked Dorough to set the math to music, and Schoolhouse Rock! was born.

After penning Three is a Magic Number and other multiplication hits, Schoolhouse Rock! was sold to ABC and Dorough stayed on to continue writing educational jams. He didn't love creating grammar songs, per NPR, but Conjunction Junction still became one of his most well-known tunes.

Celebrate Dorough's legacy with this live performance of Conjunction Junction in 2014. Kathryn Krawczyk

2:07 p.m. ET

When news broke that French President Emmanuel Macron was coming to visit President Trump at the White House, there was really only one question on everybody's minds:

Macron and Trump have a history of weirdly aggressive handshakes. Sure enough, this trip hasn't disappointed:

Enjoy a visual history of Trump's most awkward handshakes here. Jeva Lange

1:41 p.m. ET
PURPLE MARBLES/Alamy Stock Photo

If the idea of Amazon opening your front door to deliver a package is a little uncomfortable, just let them pop your car trunk instead.

The company is launching a new version of its Amazon Key, which gives Amazon delivery drivers a special internet-connected key to open customers' front doors, Reuters reported Tuesday. Now, with an app on compatible cars, deliverers can unlock trunks and leave packages there.

Customers in 37 U.S. cities will soon get to try the new Key, per Reuters. It can hook up to GM's OnStar and other car services, and it's free for Prime customers — unlike the $220 version for in-home deliveries.

Porch thieves, your days are numbered. Kathryn Krawczyk

1:17 p.m. ET
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Attorney General Jeff Sessions will not recuse himself from the ongoing investigation into President Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, Bloomberg reports. Last year, Sessions announced he would recuse himself from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, and while the Cohen probe was sparked by a tip from Mueller's team, it is being carried out by the Southern District of New York.

Sessions will consider recusal specifically on a "matter-by-matter basis as may be needed," the Justice Department said. "To the extent a matter comes to the attention of his office that may warrant consideration of recusal, the attorney general would review the issue and consult with the appropriate Department ethics experts." Otherwise, Sessions is "entitled to briefings on the status of the investigation," Bloomberg writes, which "could put [him] in the position of being asked by Trump … to divulge information about the Cohen investigation."

FBI agents raided Cohen's office earlier this month, reportedly looking for evidence of possible bank and wire fraud and campaign finance violations, as well as documents related to the $130,000 payment Cohen made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels right before the 2016 presidential election. Trump called the raid a "whole new level of unfairness." Jeva Lange

1:03 p.m. ET

A few months ago, Kim Jong Un was "little rocket man" and a "sick puppy" to President Trump.

Now, he's "very honorable."

Trump discussed his impending meeting with the leader of North Korea amid Tuesday's White House visit with French President Emmanuel Macron. There's no set date for the summit yet, but Trump said he and Kim agreed to meet "as soon as possible."

Kim has been "very open" and the two men have had "very good discussions" prior to the meeting, Trump effused, though he did clarify that he's still not sure if the meeting will be "wonderful" and is prepared to walk out if it's not. Kathryn Krawczyk

12:33 p.m. ET
PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP/Getty Images

The next census is getting another update.

Aside from the addition of a controversial citizenship question, the 2020 census will also count same-sex couples for the first time in U.S. history, the Census Bureau recently announced.

Previously, the census gathered data about coupled households with two options: "husband or wife" or "unmarried partner." Now, people will able to check "opposite-sex husband/wife/spouse," "same-sex husband/wife/spouse," "opposite-sex unmarried partner," or "same-sex unmarried partner."

The Census Bureau told NBC News that the 2015 Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage on a federal level made the change necessary. The number of same-sex couples has previously been estimated by cross-checking spouses' answers to the form's gender question.

Census data, collected once a decade, helps determine how to allocate federal funding to state and local governments, as well as assists in assigning the number of seats in the House of Representatives for each state. Many advocacy groups have pushed for the census to include a question about same-sex couples, NBC News reports. Summer Meza

See More Speed Reads