July 21, 2014

After serving in Iraq, Army National Guard veteran Darin Welker came home to West Lafayette, Ohio with a back injury and PTSD. He underwent surgery in 2012, but the physical therapy recommended by his surgeon was not approved by the VA. Willing to give anything a try, Welker turned to ducks for both physical and mental therapy, and to his surprise, it worked.

Today, Welker owns 14 ducks, and has been cited with a minor misdemeanor; in 2010, a law was adopted that states no chickens, turkeys, ducks, or live poultry can live in his village. Welker — who has a letter from the Mental Health Department of the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs saying he needs to keep the ducks — says it's hard to think about not having them: "[The situation] is aggravating in a lot of ways."

The ducks help him both physically and mentally, he said. He enjoys feeding them, spending time with them, and watching as the ducks interact. Welker is hopeful the law can be changed, like it was last year for a woman with spina bifida who owns a therapy pot-bellied pig.

Welker's hearing is set for Wednesday, and he said he will share with the court just how much the ducks have helped him with his physical and emotionally well-being. Catherine Garcia

The Daily Showdown
4:04 a.m. ET

The Daily Show is probably best known for Jon Stewart skewering conservatives, cable news, and Arby's, but some of its greatest segments don't have Stewart in them at all. Over the years, Daily Show correspondents have delivered field pieces from as far away as India and as close as midtown Manhattan, and some of the most memorable interviews involve people saying really crazy things on camera. The most-asked question of Stewart in his recent sadistic Q&A, he said on Tuesday's show, is "are the people in the field pieces real?"

Senior Correspondent Correspondent Jessica Williams came on to answer that: "They are real, and they do know who we are, and they don't care because we bring a camera with us.... Jon, it's like Girls Gone Wild, except they flash us their controversial ideas." To prove her point, Williams went and re-interviewed two previous subjects who, as she said, are "still returning our calls." One man, gun rights advocate Noel Flasterstein, said enthusiastically that he still likes to watch his interview with friends, and the doubling-down by Harlem pastor James David Manning — with a new, unpalatable flavor of crazy thrown in — has to be seen to believed. You can watch below. Peter Weber

last night on late night
3:01 a.m. ET

"Somebody's lying," said Larry Wilmore on Tuesday's Nightly Show, in a segment dedicated to the effort to strip Planned Parenthood of all federal funding. The most recent Republican attempt to defund the women's health organization was spurred by videos showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing how they deal with tissue from aborted fetuses — Planned Parenthood says it makes no profit from donating the tissue for research, while the group that secretly filmed and edited the videos says the officials are admitting they do sell the tissue.

In context, Wilmore said, it seems clear that the Center for Medical Progress is the one lying, and "context really matters when it comes to Planned Parenthood videos, just like context matters for that text you sent last night." There's no context allowed on Fox News or in GOP talking points, so "that's why I'm calling this Planned Parenthood attack for what it really is: It's a pap smear campaign," he said. "That's exactly what it is. And in a pap smear campaign, people don't care about facts." The segment ends with an absurdist enactment of what it would look like if the GOP succeeds in its ongoing effort, and you can watch it all below. Peter Weber

Clinton Emails
2:19 a.m. ET
(Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The FBI has started looking into the server that Hillary Clinton used for email while she was secretary of state, focusing on the security of sensitive information once housed on the server, at her and Bill Clinton's New York home, and now held on a thumb drive by Clinton's lawyer, David Kendall, The Washington Post reports. In the past week, the FBI has also contacted Platte River Networks, an IT firm the Clintons hired to help manage the server in 2013, after Hurricane Sandy shut it down for a period. The investigation is preliminary, and the FBI isn't targeting Clinton or accusing her of any wrongdoing, two officials tell The Post.

"The government is seeking assurance about the storage of those materials," Kendall told the newspaper. "We are actively cooperating." The Justice Department and Platte River Networks declined to comment. You can read more at The Washington Post. Peter Weber

who needs 21 bedrooms?
2:15 a.m. ET

What has 21 bedrooms, nine kitchens, and keeps bankrupting people? That would be the Farmington, Connecticut, home that rapper 50 Cent says costs $72,000 a month to maintain and has previously been owned by Mike Tyson and a millionaire convicted of bankruptcy fraud.

On Monday, 50 Cent (aka Curtis Jackson) filed documents in a Connecticut bankruptcy court showing how much he spends a month on the enormous home, which sits on 17 acres and boasts 52 rooms, including a casino. Jackson purchased the house from Tyson’s ex-wife, who ended up with the property as part of a divorce settlement after Tyson lost his millions, MarketWatch reports. Jackson bought the home for $4.1 million, and part of the $72,000 he spends a month goes to gardening ($5,000) and household supplies ($1,500).

The Boston Globe says the estate has a rather sordid history when it comes to the finances of its owners. It was built in 1985 for Benjamin Sisti, founder of commercial real estate brokerage firm Colonial Realty. Sisti, who paid $2.3 million for the home, eventually wound up in prison for bankruptcy fraud. The property went into foreclosure, and was bought by an import-export businessman named Romas Marsinkiavitchous for $2.7 million. He sold it to Tyson in 1996 for $2.8 million, reportedly while facing bankruptcy himself.

Best wishes to whoever winds up with the house next. Catherine Garcia

yo quiero meth
1:35 a.m. ET
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

If you like your Chalupas with a side of methamphetamine, well, you're out of luck.

Police in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, have arrested two men after the remnants of a meth lab were discovered inside a Taco Bell. The men were found by officers outside the restaurant early on Tuesday, The Associated Press reports, and one said he was a Taco Bell employee. Police entered the restaurant and found the remnants in a utility area. Christopher Adam Matous, 31, and Kent Jerome Duby, 56, were arrested and charged with conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine.

In a statement, Taco Bell said the employee has been fired, and the restaurant will be fully sanitized before reopening. Catherine Garcia

last night on late night
1:32 a.m. ET

"This song is called 'Chocolate Muffins' and it is not, I repeat, it is not a double entendre," Craig Robinson said on Tuesday's Late Night, "not if you're thinking sexually." And if you believe that, his musical preview of his new NBC show, Mr. Robinson, is totally safe for work. Watch below. Peter Weber

1:04 a.m. ET

It's a badge of honor to be insulted by Don Rickles, and Mr. Warmth dished it out to Jimmy Fallon and the Roots on Tuesday's Tonight Show. After telling Questlove that the "barber convention needs him," he congratulated Fallon on "the big crowd — 12 people" in the audience and admitted he never really liked him. Of course, Rickles also accused Fallon of faking his broken finger for laughs ("tomorrow night, come out with your neck wrapped") and ended the bit with the most backhanded of compliments regarding The Tonight Show's success. Watch the insults fly in the video below. Catherine Garcia

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