July 22, 2014

If you're under 21 in California, congratulations, you can legally drink! But, there's a catch: You must be at least 18, enrolled in an accredited beer-brewing or winemaking class, and you can only swish the drink around and not actually swallow.

Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed AB 1989 (aka "the sip and spit" bill) into law Monday. Now, California is one of 13 states that lets students under 21 sample alcohol for educational reasons. Andrew Waterhouse, a professor in the department of viticulture and enology at UC Davis, is excited that his students can now try what they make. "It's an experience they can't really get any other way," he told NBC LA. "And it's much better if they do it in an educational setting where they can ask a lot of questions."

Tara Pattison, who studies brewing science at UC Davis, thinks being able to taste the drinks will make the end product much better. "If you cannot test the final products you will never know what mistakes you have made or, in a perfect world, didn't make," she said. Catherine Garcia

11:24 a.m. ET

If you want more affordable housing available to low-income renters, the best solution can be to build more expensive apartments. This isn't as counterintuitive as it first sounds. In fact, it's based in simple rules of supply and demand: If you increase the overall supply of housing — even by adding on the high end — competition for low-end units declines and so do their prices (or, at least, the rate of price growth).

A new report from the California Legislative Analyst's Office provides the data to back this up. In the San Francisco area, the study found, neighborhoods with heavy construction of market-rate buildings saw half the displacement of low-income residents that low-construction neighborhoods suffered since 2000:

The report concludes that boosting private construction would do more to broadly help poor households than expanding small and costly affordable housing programs that can serve only a fraction of them. Those programs also don't resolve the underlying cause of high rents — the housing shortage itself.

And that shortage actually undermines affordable programs like housing vouchers, because it's a lot harder for the poor to use vouchers in a market where they're fiercely competing with everyone else. [Washington Post]

Building new housing also allows older units to look worse by comparison, so old housing becomes affordable to the poor and middle class while the rich move into new luxury options. Bonnie Kristian

11:05 a.m. ET
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus is fine with any of the current GOP candidates becoming president — even Donald Trump. In an interview Friday with CBS This Morning, Priebus denied rumors that the Republican establishment has been fretting about Trump possibly winning the nomination.

"I'm not afraid of any of these folks running for president," he said. "I think all of them can beat [Democratic presidential front-runner] Hillary Clinton, who is under investigation by the FBI, or a socialist from Vermont," he added about the Democratic competition, Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

As far as any rumors that may be going around about establishment anxiety, Priebus dismissed those as just part of the competition. "In a competition, sure, candidates say, 'I'm going to be the best choice, this person isn't going to be that great,'" Priebus said. "That happens all the time. After a while, when you have six serious competitors out there on the campaign stump every day, you hear all kinds of things." Becca Stanek

10:48 a.m. ET

Donald Trump took to Twitter Friday morning to question whether fellow Republican candidate Ted Cruz is really a Christian. His tweet followed up on a post from Thursday night in which Trump said Cruz "is the worst liar, crazy or very dishonest. Perhaps all 3?"

Both tweets come in response to Cruz's suggestion that Trump (along with Marco Rubio) shared "the talking points of Barack Obama" on gay marriage. Trump's actual record on the issue is more complicated than Cruz implied.

Most of Trump's statements on the subject have been negative. In August, for instance, Trump said he is "against [same-sex unions] from the standpoint of Bible," and if he had a child who was gay he "wouldn't speak to them at all about it." Back in 2000, however, Trump said he supported a robust domestic partnership law, because "I think it's important for gay couples who are committed to each other to not be hassled when it comes to... simple everyday rights." More recently, he said gay marriage should have been left to the states, but that post-Obergefell it is the law of the land. Bonnie Kristian

10:11 a.m. ET

Ted Cruz is never one to miss the opportunity to take a swipe at Hillary Clinton over her email scandal, but his campaign took it to a hilarious new level on Friday with an ad that spoofs the printer-destroying scene in Office Space.

As a woman in a pantsuit and two male companions take bats, feet, and fists to a server in a field, a man raps, "Damn it feels good to be a Clinton":

A Clinton never needs to explain what, why it is, what they've done or with who

A real Clinton knows that they're entitled and you don't get to know what they do.

Watch the shenanigans below. Jeva Lange

9:58 a.m. ET
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Yeezy Season 3

It's been less than 24 hours since Kanye West debuted his new album, The Life of Pablo, in a splashy live show at Madison Square Garden — but true to form, the album is already stirring up controversy. Much of the backlash has stemmed from a couplet from the song "Famous," which seems to throw a cup of gasoline on the dying embers of West's long-standing feud with Taylor Swift: "I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / I made that b---h famous."

In the hours that followed, several members of the Swift camp reacted; her brother Austin posted a video of himself throwing away a pair of shoes from West's Yeezy fashion line, and friend Jaime King deleted her initial, enthusiastic posts about West's show, declaring herself, "so sad right now & disappointed right now."

Kanye West, being Kanye West, responded to the controversy via his preferred medium: a typo-laden tweetstorm, in which he claimed (1) that he ran the lyric by wife Kim Kardashian first; (2) that he had an hour-long phone conversation with Swift, in which she said the line "was funny" and "gave her blessings"; (3) that the line originated with Swift anyway, who allegedly told a mutual friend that she couldn't be mad at Kanye because he "made [her] famous!"

Does that settle things? Probably not, since Swift's rep has already issued a statement claiming that Swift was totally unaware of the specifics of the lyric. Instead, the rep says, she declined a request from West to promote the song via her Twitter account, and "cautioned him about releasing a song with such a strong misogynistic message." For now, it's he-said/she-said — until West starts tweeting again. Scott Meslow

9:44 a.m. ET

Widely despised 'pharma bro' Martin Shkreli strikes again and this time, he's after Kanye West's new album The Life of Pablo. As if hiking the price of a cancer and HIV drug by 5,000 percent wasn't bad enough, Shkreli now wants to ensure that no one but him can listen to West's new album.

On Thursday — the day West debuted his album alongside his latest fashion line, Yeezy Season 3, at a Madison Square Garden event — Shkreli offered on Twitter to buy it for $10 million. Shkreli assured West and his partners that they will find this offer "more attractive" than their "current course of action."

Then, Shkreli contends, if he can't get his way, he could at least delay the rest of the world hearing The Life of Pablo "by a few days."

In his offer letter, Shkreli says that that he should own the album because he has "been a tremendous fan of [West's] music for many years." He cites West's album, The College Dropout, as integral to inspiring him to "succeed at a young age."

Shkreli is the sole owner Wu-Tang Clan's Once Upon a Time in Shaolin. He reportedly paid $2 million for the single existing copy of the album. Becca Stanek

9:24 a.m. ET

Barack and Michelle Obama are celebrating their last Valentine's Day in the White House this weekend, and to mark the occasion, they recited poems to each other on The Ellen Degeneres Show.

In the segment — which was taped Thursday but will air in full on Friday — Michelle Obama sends her husband a classic "roses are red, violets are blue" poem, which Degeneres prompts Obama to respond to on her show. Surrounded by rose petals, Obama gets creative: "Somebody call the Situation Room because things are about to get hot," he says, adding, "I Obamacare about you more than you even know!"

Watch the wooing, below. Jeva Lange

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