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July 23, 2014

On Tuesday, Apple reported a better-than-forecast $7.7 billion in quarterly profits, on $37.4 billion in revenue. Apple's iPad sales declined somewhat in the quarter, but the 35.2 million iPhones it sold clearly made up the difference — and more than half of Apple's quarterly revenue. "We're thrilled with the results, and we're thrilled with where we are going," Apple CEO Tim Cook tells The Wall Street Journal.

Apple's $37 billion in quarterly revenue, including $19.8 billion in iPhone sales, didn't impress investors much — the company's stock rose only a hair in after-hours trading — but they are impressive numbers. How impressive? At Slate, Jordan Weissmann looked at how big various Apple divisions would be if they were stand-alone companies. The supposedly struggling iPad unit's $5.89 billion in quarterly revenue makes it bigger than the combined earnings of Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, Groupon, LinkedIn, and Tesla. But the real eye-opener is when you look at how Apple's iPhone division would fare on its own:

[Slate]

No wonder Apple is putting so much stock in its upcoming iPhone 6.

Really?
10:51 a.m. ET
Screenshot/KATU.com

After an Oregon family's elderly pony escaped from its stall to wander the neighborhood, a local police officer shot and killed the miniature horse for reasons its owner finds suspect.

When Crista Fitzgerald noticed Gir, her 30-year-old pony, had gone missing one morning, she immediately started looking for him. Spotting Gir laying down in a neighbor's yard, she assumed he'd gone to sleep, but, "We walked up closer and I bent down to pet him, and that's when I saw the pool of blood behind his cheek bones."

When Fitzgerald contacted the officer who had shot the pony, he claimed Gir had been hit by a car and broken his back legs — but two separate vets said there was nothing wrong with Gir when he was killed. The sheriff's office also said the officer contacted the local humane society before shooting the pony, which the humane society denies.

At the Fitzgeralds' request, the sheriff's department will investigate the incident. Gir "was part of our family," Fitzgerald says. "There's no way to replace him."

Boston Marathon Bombing
10:49 a.m. ET

Rebekah Gregory, who lost part of her left leg in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, on Wednesday condemned accused attacker Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in a letter posted to her Facebook page.

"You are a coward," she wrote. "A little boy who wouldn't even look me in the eyes to see that. Because you can't handle the fact that what you tried to destroy, you only made stronger."

The trial of Tsarnaev, who faces 30 charges and a potential death sentence, began Wednesday with the defense admitting Tsarnaev carried out the attack. Gregory was one of several survivors of the attack who testified on the trial's opening day.

You can read Gregory's full letter here.

we dare you to eat it
9:56 a.m. ET

Is there any holiday treat as polarizing as marshmallow Peeps?

If you're in the pro-Peeps camp, you'll be thrilled to learn that starting this week, Prairie Farms is releasing a limited-edition collection of Peeps-flavored milk. The delicacy will be available in three flavors, "Marshmallow Milk," "Chocolate Marshmallow Milk," and "Easter Egg Nog."

Unfortunately, the milk will only be available at stores in the Midwest. And if you're lucky enough to get your hands on Peeps milk, be warned that it has 37 grams of sugar per serving, so you probably don't want to overindulge.

hypocrisy
9:46 a.m. ET

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been under fire this week after the revelation that she and several of her top aides used private email addresses while at the State Department, a move which fails to comply with federal transparency regulations. In 2007, however, Clinton explicitly said that the use of similarly private email accounts by the Bush administration was an attack on the Constitution. The quote begins at the seven minute mark below:

Our Constitution is being shredded. We know about the secret wiretaps, the secret military tribunals, the secret White House email accounts....It’s a stunning record of secrecy and corruption, of cronyism run amok. It is everything our founders were afraid of, everything our Constitution was designed to prevent. [Clinton, via a Daily Caller transcript]

In a tweet published late last night, Clinton said she has asked the State Department to release her emails, but critics have noted the emails to be released have already been reviewed and culled by her staff.

Watch this
9:28 a.m. ET

It's been almost 20 years since the release of Happy Gilmore, but Adam Sandler and Bob Barker's feud is as red-hot as ever. In a promo for Comedy Central's charity event Night of Too Many Stars, the unlikely comedy duo rekindle the brutal feud they first acted out as golf partners in Happy Gilmore — and take their violent fight to its logical conclusion:

Night of Too Many Stars airs on March 8.

This just in
9:20 a.m. ET
Mario Tama/Getty Images

Soon, elephants will no longer be a part of your visit to the circus.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will get rid of elephant acts by 2018, according to The Associated Press. The move comes after public concern about animal rights. Before the announcement, some cities had passed ordinances against circus elephants during performances.

Feld Entertainment, the circus' parent company, told AP the elephants will retire to the company's Center for Elephant Conservation in Florida. "Things have changed," Kenneth Feld told AP. "How does a business be successful? By adapting."

The circus will still showcase other animals, such as camels.

Marvel-ous News
9:12 a.m. ET
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

To ring in the release of the blockbuster superhero sequel Avengers: Age of Ultron, select AMC and Regal theaters will host a screening of every movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe — a marathon screening that will span about 27 hours. The full roster:

Iron Man

- The Incredible Hulk

- Iron Man 2

- Captain America: The First Avenger

- The Avengers

- Iron Man 3

- Thor: The Dark World

- Captain America: The Winter Soldier

- Guardians of the Galaxy

The marathon screening event will culminate with Avengers: Age of Ultron — not that any of the attendees will be awake to see it.

Cameo cancelled
9:05 a.m. ET
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was slated to appear on Parks and Recreation but backed out at the last minute, according to the show's co-creator, Mike Schur.

"I think he thought we were making fun of him, or something, which we were not, at all," Schur told Hitfix. "We were in fact flattering him, by linking him to Ron."

Added Schur of the potential 2016 presidential candidate: "I get the sense that maybe interpreting writing and humor is not his strong suit."

Ferguson
8:34 a.m. ET
Michael B. Thomas/Stringer/Getty Images

Roughly 50 protesters gathered outside the police headquarters in Ferguson, Missouri, on Wednesday night following two landmark announcements from the Justice Department.

The Department of Justice announced on Wednesday that white police officer Darren Wilson, who killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, will not be charged. In a separate report released Wednesday, the department found that Ferguson's police department was guilty of routine racial discrimination.

Four protesters were arrested on Wednesday night, but reporters described the scene as relatively peaceful, with no accounts of violence from the demonstrators. The demonstrators held hands outside the police department, chanting and occasionally blocking traffic.

New Jersey
8:32 a.m. ET
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

In late February, New Jersey quietly and unexpectedly settled its $8.9 billion lawsuit against Exxon Mobile for about $250 million, after more than a decade of hard-fought litigation and a finding that Exxon was liable for damages. And the driving force behind that pennies-on-the-dollar settlement was not the state attorney general but Gov. Chris Christie's (R) chief counsel, Christopher S. Porrino, The New York Times reported late Wednesday, citing "two people familiar with the negotiations."

One of those people spoke to The Times on the condition of anonymity, but the other, former commissioner of New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection Bradley M. Campbell, made his allegation in an op-ed in The Times. The leaders of the state legislature, controlled by Democrats, said they would hold hearings and try to prevent the deal from being approved.

"The reported settlement is appalling and disturbing," said Assemblyman John KcKeon, chairman of the judiciary committee. "The Christie administration appears more interested in rewarding Exxon Mobil — for whatever reason — than protecting taxpayers and our environment." Christie's office and Exxon declined to comment, when asked by The Times.

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