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

Drunk History
5:12 a.m. ET

Jenny Slate, who famously lost her job at Saturday Night Live for inadvertently saying the F word on live TV, doesn't swear when she gets drunk and tells the history of how Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson earned their Nobel Prize for finding proof of the Big Bang theory. She does discuss her dog's genitalia, however, in the season premiere of Comedy Central's Drunk History. And more importantly, she makes the story of a big moment in science relatable and fun — with a big assist from Justin Long (Penzias) and Jason Ritter (Wilson).

Slate is "the perfect Drunk History narrator: silly but focused," says Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya at AV Club. "And she weirdly cares about the story she's telling, giving endearing — if ahistorical — details to the characters." The video is mostly safe for work, so feel free to sit down and learn about of how two scientists made history with New Jersey's Holmdel Horn Antenna:

If Slate's slightly inebriated storytelling piqued your interest, there are plenty of more sober (and more accurate) versions out there waiting. Peter Weber

4:36 a.m. ET

Has any demographic endured such scrutiny as the poor, overly understood millennials? On Thursday, Pew Research Center released the latest deep-dive into the group of Americans age 18 to 34, and the results don't speak well of millennials, according to millennials. According to Pew's findings, 59 percent of millennials think millennials are self-absorbed, 49 percent say they're wasteful, 43 percent say they're greedy, and 31 percent say their generation is cynical.

On the other hand, only 24 percent of millennials say millennials are responsible, 36 percent say they're hard-working, and only 17 percent think their generation is moral. Those numbers get progressively higher for each generation, just as they get progressivly smaller for the negative attributes.

One explanation for this apparent self-hatred — or perhaps more proof of it — is that only 40 percent of millennials consider themselves part of the millennials generation; an almost equal number, 33 percent, identify (wrongly) as members of Generation X (age 35 to 50). Then again, by those metrics, the most self-hating generation is the "Silent Generation," age 70 to 87, most of whom think they're Baby Boomers or the Greatest Generation (34 percent each). Because, who wants to be silent when you can be great?


You can see all the results at Pew. Peter Weber

last night on late night
3:38 a.m. ET

Thursday is "unnecessary censorship" night on Jimmy Kimmel Live, and if you like to let your filthy mind fill in the blanks when newscasters, celebrities, Donald Trump, and even a cartoon panda say perfectly innocent things, watch below. The last bleep is the cruelest, but everything's safe for work — which is kind of the point, in a twisted way. Peter Weber

Iran nuclear deal
3:10 a.m. ET
Behrouz Mehri/AFP/Getty Images

On Thursday, three more Senate Democrats backed the Iran nuclear deal, giving President Obama 37 votes, enough to ensure that a bill to sink the accord won't survive his veto and just four votes shy of keeping the bill from even getting to his desk. But also on Thursday, Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that Iran's legislature will also get a binding vote on the deal, giving supporters of the accord a new round of parliamentary politics to worry about.

"Parliament should not be sidelined on the nuclear deal issue," Khamenei said in a nationally broadcast speech. "I don't have any advice to the parliament about how to examine it, approval or disapproval.... I have told the president that it is not in our interest to not let our lawmakers review the deal." The ayatollah has not publicly endorsed or rejected the deal. The speaker of Iran's parliament, Ali Larijani, does support the accord, but later on Thursday he reiterated Khamenei's decision, adding, "There will be heated discussions and debates." President Hassan Rouhani and his team of nuclear negotiators had hoped to avoid a vote in parliament.

Nobody is sure how Iranian lawmakers will vote, but the influential 15-member committee that examined the deal expressed strong reservations, The Wall Street Journal reports. Either way, Khamenei will have the final say, and some analysts suggest he is letting parliament weigh in as a way to keep his options open. Peter Weber

1:57 a.m. ET
Michael Hickey/Getty Images

If you drew a Venn diagram with one circle being rap fans and the other Rolling Stones partisans, the group in the overlapping oval will probably be pretty conflicted over Keith Richards' new interview with the New York Daily News. "Rap — so many words, so little said," Richards told the Daily News' Jim Farber. "What rap did that was impressive was to show there are so many tone-deaf people out there... All they need is a drumbeat and somebody yelling over it and they're happy. There's an enormous market for people who can't tell one note from another."

Richards, 71, was just getting started. "Millions are in love with Metallica and Black Sabbath," he said. "I just thought they were great jokes." He went on to say he stopped appreciating the Beatles in 1967, considers bandmate Mick Jagger a snob ("your friends don't have to be perfect," he added), and thinks most other rock guitarists are egotists who play too much without enough taste. For more of Richards' thoughts on the world, his upcoming (reluctant) solo album, and his drug of choice these days, read the interview at the Daily News. Peter Weber

Trump Fever
12:37 a.m. ET

On Thursday, while Donald Trump was inside New York's Trump Tower signing his pledge of allegiance to the Republican Party, protesters were outside railing against what they called his harsh rhetoric regarding Latinos. Trump's security guards started taking away their signs, and one protester, identified as Efraín Galicia, went to grab back a big blue sign reading "Trump: Make America Racist Again" — and he also grabbed at the security guard, who turned a delivered a pretty vicious punch to the head. You can watch the encounter, courtesy of NY1:

Galicia compared his treatment to that of TV news personality Jorge Ramos, who was escorted out of an earlier Trump press conference by a guard who bears a striking resemblance to the one who punched Galicia. The Trump campaign, meanwhile, said that a member of Trump's security detail had been "jumped from behind," and that it would "likely be pressing charges." Peter Weber

Change in Guatemala
12:00 a.m. ET
Rodrigo Arangua/AFP/Getty Images

Little more than 12 hours after Otto Perez Molina became the first Guatemalan president ever to resign early Thursday, his vice president, Alejandro Maldonado, was sworn in to replace him. Perez Molina, 64, was ordered locked up until a court hearing on Friday to face corruption charges, and was seen being escorted into a military prison in central Guatemala City.

Maldonado was Perez Molina's second vice president, after the first was forced to resign and then jailed in the bribe-taking scandal that also brought down the president and much of his cabinet. In his inaugural speech, Maldonado ordered all remaining top government officials to resign and vowed to replaced them with a broadly representative administration that will "leave a legacy of honesty." Addressing the protesters that have filled the street in anger over the five-month-old corruption scandal, the new president said "you can't consider your work done," adding: "In what is left of this year, there must be a positive response."

Guatemala holds presidential elections on Sunday, and Maldonado will serve until the new president is sworn in in January. None of the three main candidates are expected to earn 50 percent of the vote, meaning there will likely be a runoff election in October. Regardless, the peaceful resignation of Perez Molina — who says he is innocent — is being hailed as an unprecedented step toward political accountability in a country with a long history of often brutal repression. Peter Weber

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