Let's hear it for the weirdos
July 23, 2014

Before last week, the world had pretty much forgotten about popular music parodist Weird Al Yankovic. But after the mastermind behind songs like "Another One Rides the Bus" and "Amish Paradise" re-emerged with a viral video campaign designed to take the internet by storm, he's finally hit his biggest career milestone yet.

Yankovic's 14th studio effort, Mandatory Fun, which was released July 15, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts this week, marking the first time in Yankovic's nearly four-decade career that he's topped the charts (Yankovic has landed two albums in the Top 10 before, 2006's Straight Outta Lynwood and 2011's Apocalypse, but neither ever ascended to No. 1).

Mandatory Fun's chart success also marks the first time a comedy album has debuted at No. 1 since 1960, BuzzFeed notes, a pretty impressive feat considering the way we consume comedy in 2014. Yankovic announced his achievement on Twitter with humble surprise:

If this is really Weird Al Yankovic's last album, at least he's going out with a bang. Samantha Rollins

1:37 p.m. ET
Al Bello/Getty Images

One day before the New York Yankees take on the Houston Astros in the American League's Wild Card matchup, the team announced left-handed pitcher CC Sabathia has checked himself into an alcohol rehabilitation center.

"I love baseball and I love my teammates like brothers, and I am also fully aware that I am leaving at a time when we should all be coming together for one last push toward the World Series," he said in the statement Monday. "It hurts me deeply to do this now, but I owe it to myself and to my family to get myself right. I want to take control of my disease, and I want to be a better man, father, and player."

Sabathia, 35, is widely considered one of the best pitchers in baseball, notching a Cy Young Award, World Series title, and six All-Star nods since he got his start with the Cleveland Indians in 2001. The pitcher said he plans to rejoin the Yankees after completing rehab.

"Being a baseball player means that others look up to you," Sabathia said. "I want my kids — and others who may have become fans of mine over the years — to know that I am not too big of a man to ask for help."

The Star-Ledger has the full statement here. Julie Kliegman

This just in
1:24 p.m. ET
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A red-eye American Airlines flight from Phoenix to Boston was diverted Monday morning after the pilot flying the plane became ill mid-flight and died, CBS reports. A spokesperson for the airline did not specify if the pilot died during the flight, although the co-pilot landed the plane alone and can be heard posting a call to air traffic control, describing a "medical emergency" in which the pilot was "incapacitated."

US Airways Flight 550 had 147 passengers on board; the co-pilot landed the plane safely in Syracuse, New York, where a replacement crew took over the flight and flew the rest of the way to Boston. "This is a terribly sad event and American Airlines is focused on caring for the pilot's family at this time," the airline's spokesperson said. Jeva Lange

feel the bern
1:05 p.m. ET

It's no secret Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) isn't an obvious presidential pick for many black voters. "On the surface, he looks like a concerned 74-year-old grandfather who has spent most of his political career serving the people of a state that is 95 percent white," Ebony quipped.

When the magazine sat down with the Democratic presidential contender for an interview published Monday, Sanders vowed he'll face the odds and work on engaging the black community:

Yes, it's true, I am from a state that is overwhelmingly white. I am also aware that I am running against somebody whose husband is very popular in the African-American community. But, we plan to take our message to the community and so you will see me getting out soon around the country speaking in black communities, telling people about my life history and my message like the fact that I have one of the strongest civil rights voting records in the Congress. I believe once we explain, it will all make sense. [Ebony]

After Black Lives Matter protesters interrupted Sanders on the campaign trail, he agreed to meet with the activists to talk race. He told Ebony those meetings have gone well, highlighting the connection between activists' goals and his own platform of reforming the criminal justice system.

"I think for most whites, their experience with the police has been good or neutral because they don't interact with the police as much as those in the black community," Sanders said. "That was made very clear to me, and so I have found those meetings to be very useful. It speaks again for the need for criminal justice reform in a very significant way."

Check out his full interview here. Julie Kliegman

Payback time
12:25 p.m. ET
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Want proof that the onslaught of LinkedIn emails crashing your inbox is just as annoying as you always thought? Here it is: LinkedIn has agreed to pay users $13 million to settle a class-action lawsuit over what Gizmodo describes as an "endless torrent" of emails and the professional networking site's "overzealous email habits."

Because LinkedIn sent oh so many emails that name-checked people you might know, many users thought the barrage of emails "made them look needy (the email mentions your contact's name no less than five times), which is why they launched a class-action suit against the company," Engadget says.

So, if you were a member of LinkedIn's "add connections" program between September 2011 and October 2014 — and the subject line: "Hi, I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn" — is seared into your memory, you may very well be eligible to get some money for the hassle of clicking delete so many times.

Granted, the payout will likely only be about $10 — and hopefully the end of all those emails. Becca Stanek

This just in
12:23 p.m. ET

A southbound Amtrak train derailed Monday morning just north of Montpelier, Vermont, WPTZ reports. First responders said that two train cars, the engine and the conductor's car, went over an embankment; the conductor was injured but not severely. Four people in total were reportedly injured, and no fatalities have been reported so far. The train, which belonged to Amtrak's daily Vermonter line, was en route from St. Albans, Vermont, to Washington, D.C.

The accident is the second major incident for Amtrak this year. In May, seven people died and over 50 were injured when an Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia. Jeva Lange

12:19 p.m. ET

Next time you accidentally frequent a cash-only bar, you better think twice about settling for the nearest ATM. The average fee for using an out-of-network ATM is now a record-high $4.52, according to a Bankrate survey released Monday. If you live in a city like New York or Atlanta, average fees top $5, and you might wind up forking over as much as $8 in some cases.

The new average is a 21 percent spike from five years ago, The Wall Street Journal reports, chalking it up to a combination of pressure on banks to lower other fees and a sizable decrease in ATM withdrawal popularity.

U.S. banks don't disclose how much they earn in non-customer ATM fees, but overall, they've collectively brought in less money from all fees in recent years.

San Francisco boasts some of the lowest ATM fees out of the cities surveyed — $3.85 on average — but when you weigh that against the city's exorbitant housing market, it's a safe bet you're better off staying put. Julie Kliegman

2016 election
11:23 a.m. ET
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Jeb Bush is polling at 4 percent among Republican voters, according to the latest survey from Pew. While his handlers say that the campaign is built for the long haul, and political scientists will tell you that the laws of political gravity will ultimately drag down renegade candidates like Donald Trump, we've also seen how low poll numbers sparked a death spiral in dried-up funds and plummeting enthusiasm for the likes of Scott Walker and Rick Perry.

So a rattled Bush campaign is reportedly contemplating bringing out a big gun to woo disaffected conservative voters: George W. Bush, who is still popular with the party's base, even as he remains a divisive figure with the voting public at large. The New York Times reports that the decision to campaign with the former president is "an agonizing one for the campaign":

While dispatching George Bush to a state like South Carolina could shore up his brother's standing with conservatives, and remind voters there of a political family they still admire, it could also underscore the impression that Jeb Bush is simply a legacy candidate at a time when voters are itching for change.

What is more, given the former president's unpopularity among many in the broader electorate, joint appearances by the brothers could provide irresistible footage for Democratic attacks against Jeb Bush if he wins the Republican nomination. The continued instability in the Middle East, in particular, could remind voters of George Bush's decision to invade Iraq and make joint images of the Bush brothers potent fodder for the opposition. [The New York Times]

Then again, if Jeb Bush were to cling more tightly to his brother, he couldn't do worse than his competitors, who for the most part have embraced George W. Bush's legacy on issues of national security and taxes. Appearing with the former president on stage would just make the connection explicit. Ryu Spaeth

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