FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
July 23, 2014

After ditching Cleveland for Miami four years ago, LeBron James is coming back to Ohio — and he's trying to butter up to his neighbors. Late Tuesday night, a Reddit user named scrabblydab, whose parents live on the same block as LeBron in Bath Township, Ohio, posted this picture in the r/nba subreddit:

Apparently, LeBron sent each of his neighbors in the community a dozen cupcakes along with a note apologizing for the media circus in their neighborhood surrounding the announcement of his free agency decision. Each box reportedly contained six "Just A Kid From Akron Cherry Cola" cupcakes and six "Homecourt Chocolate Chunk" cupcakes, sent on behalf of the LeBron James Family Foundation. Yum! Kimberly Alters

12:19 p.m. ET
Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Bigger storms and rising seawater aren't the only bad thing about climate change. Birds are reportedly going to get a lot "uglier" as the Earth warms, The Independent reports.

Most of what makes birds interesting or even spectacular comes from characteristics used for attracting mates or intimidating rivals. But in the case of male flycatchers, who have a brilliant white patch on their forehead during mating season, the warming habitat has resulted in the birds having smaller and smaller patches. “Just as climate change will lead to winners and losers in terms of species' abundance and distribution, it seems it may also lead to winners and losers in the global beauty pageant," researchers Cody Dey, of Windsor University, and James Dale, of Massey University, wrote for Nature Ecology & Evolution.

And it's not just the flycatchers: "The researchers said other studies suggested this reduction in 'ornamentation' could be happening all over Europe and that more species could be similarly affected," The Independent reports, although the direct link between the vanishing mating characteristics and the warming global temperatures isn't yet clear. Jeva Lange

12:05 p.m. ET

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Tuesday warned President Trump that continuing to make baseless claims about voter fraud could "undermine his ability to govern this country." In a statement released the day after Trump repeated claims at a meeting with congressional leaders that he lost the popular vote because of the millions of illegal votes cast against him, Graham said he is "begging" the president to either offer up evidence of this alleged fraud, or stop talking about it.

"As a matter of fact, I'd like you do more than stop saying it, I'd like you to come forward and say, 'Having looked at it, I am confident the election was fair and accurate and people who voted voted legally,'" Graham said.

Read Graham's statement in full below. Becca Stanek

12:00 p.m. ET
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he plans to announce his "truly great" Supreme Court nominee next week. Trump said he would make the decision on the nominee this week; the president is meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Chuck Grassley, and Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Dianne Feinstein on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the vacancy.

President Trump's shortlist is believed to include conservative judges Neil Gorsuch, Diane Sykes, Joan Larsen, Steven Colloton, Thomas Hardiman, and William Pryor Jr., who many believe is Trump's frontrunner for the position. Jeva Lange

11:53 a.m. ET
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Contrary to what the screaming voice in the back of your mind told you during your last delayed flight, airline service in the U.S. is actually improving. In 2016, 7 percent fewer flights arrived late, fewer bags were lost per passenger, and the number of canceled flights dropped 21 percent — all despite last summer's major technical glitches at Delta and Southwest Airlines. Overall, 80 percent of all U.S. and international flights arrived on time, up from 78 percent in 2015, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Alaska Airlines led the pack for overall best performance, scoring number one for on-time arrivals, least number of delays, and fewest customer complaints. Spirit Airlines was the most tardy, experiencing the most "extreme delays" and fewest number of on-time arrivals. But the overall worst airline of the year? That ignominious title goes to American Airlines.

Read more about 2016's best and worst airlines at The Wall Street Journal. Kelly Gonsalves

11:51 a.m. ET

At his Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday, Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.), President Trump's nominee for director of the Office of Management and Budget, clarified that he does not think Social Security or Medicare are "unconstitutional" — despite his vote in the South Carolina Senate in 2009 declaring both programs exactly that. He also reassured the Senate Budget Committee that his description of Social Security as a "Ponzi scheme" was simply a way of explaining the program's cash flow. "I wouldn't read too much into [my] description of it as a Ponzi scheme," Mulvaney said.

However, while Mulvaney said he would not "be arguing to the president of the United States" that either of those programs are "unconstitutional," he did indicate he would push Trump to make changes to entitlement programs, which Trump has promised not to cut. "The only thing I know to do is tell the president the truth," Mulvaney said, arguing that the programs are not sustainable and that funds would soon run dry; he suggested means-testing Medicare or raising the retirement age for Social Security.

Even before Mulvaney's hearing began, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was tweeting his concerns, suggesting Mulvaney's nomination meant Trump "doesn't intend to not cut Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid":

Watch Sanders question Mulvaney below. Becca Stanek

11:50 a.m. ET
Jens Schlueter - Pool/Getty Images

This summer, America will open its first new privately owned passenger rail service in more than a century. Called Brightline, the new train line will link Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach in a bid to alleviate some of the traffic-choked highways along the Florida coast. The project will convert a "lightly used freight rail corridor" into a passenger line able to carry thousands of people a day, with the additional benefit of "adding millions of square feet of residential and commercial space" around it, Slate reports. Critics warn that residents of these auto-centric communities won't ditch their cars in sprawling cities where businesses are still far from downtown. Kelly Gonsalves

11:31 a.m. ET

President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed executive actions that will allow for the advance of TransCanada's Keystone Pipeline and Energy Transfer Partners' Dakota Access Pipeline. He signed at least five orders related to energy projects, Bloomberg Politics reports.

Keystone was outright rejected under former President Barack Obama in 2015, while the Dakota Access Pipeline stalled late last year in part due to massive protests about drilling under Native American water supplies and through sacred lands. Environmentalists heavily oppose both the Keystone and the Dakota Access pipelines.

On Monday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Trump intended to grow jobs with the pipeline projects. Jeva Lange

See More Speed Reads