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July 20, 2014

Weird Al Yankovic's Lame Claim to Fame is the seventh song to be released off the jokester's new album, Mandatory Fun. And though the song doesn't parody a well-known pop tune, it still offers a witty commentary on our celeb-obsessed culture, with the narrator remarking on all his unimpressively tangential relations to famous folks.

The Vicar of Yanks is releasing a video per day, for eight days, to mark the release of his 14th studio album. Jon Terbush

8:01 a.m. ET
MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP/Getty Images

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, 88, was freed Friday from imprisonment, six years after he was ousted from his three-decade reign by Arab Spring protesters, The New York Times reports.

Mubarak's fall had once been seen as a hopeful model of Arab citizens holding their leaders accountable for human rights abuses and corruption, only for Mubarak's example to eventually fizzle out in court, where he received just one conviction on a minor corruption charge. "At this point, I really don't care," said activist Ahmed Harara, who lost sight in both eyes after being shot by police in the 2011 Cairo protests. "I realized years ago that this is not just about Mubarak and his regime — it's an entire system that has now resurrected itself." Jeva Lange

7:59 a.m. ET
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The Trump administration issued a presidential permit on Friday approving the construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, The Associated Press reports.

President Trump had earlier signed an executive order to move the project forward, arguing that the pipeline would create thousands of jobs, although the State Department expects it to eventually only employ 35 people after construction is completed. The $8 billion pipeline has also faced fierce protest from environmental activists, who point to its use of Alberta's carbon-laden tar sands as a contributor to climate change. "We cannot let the Trump administration undo the progress that people all over the country have made to ensure we avoid catastrophic climate change," said Greenpeace's Diana Best.

Former President Obama blocked the project in 2015, claiming it would contribute to climate change and would not reduce fuel prices for American drivers. Jeva Lange

7:43 a.m. ET
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House Republicans plan to hold a vote on the American Health Care Act on Friday, probably in the late afternoon, and they are apparently still tinkering with the legislation. On Thursday night, President Trump sent White House budget director Mick Mulvaney to Capitol Hill with an ultimatum: He would agree to no more changes, the dealmaking is done, and House Republicans can take it or live with ObamaCare. House Freedom Caucus chairman Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) wasn't buying it. "Anytime you don't have 216 votes, negotiations are not totally over," he said.

So what will be in the final bill? House Republicans already started amending the original bill on Monday, agreeing to moderate-wooing sweetheart deals for upstate New York and Illinois, a quicker end to the Medicaid expansion, an option to let states require able-bodied Medicaid recipients to work in order to get benefits, $85 billion set aside to possibly help people 50 to 64 afford insurance, and other changes to win over holdouts.

The House Rules Committee is meeting Friday morning to discuss more amendments, notably one filed Thursday night by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). According to Catherine Reynolds at CBS News, the four-page amendment would scrap ObamaCare's 10 "essential health benefits" that every insurance plan must offer — a key demand of the Freedom Caucus — and let states decided what insurance companies have to cover for individual plans; add $15 billion more to a "stability fund" that will help states subsidize coverage for benefits dropped by insurers, most likely maternity care, substances abuse treatment, and mental health services; and delay the repeal of a 0.9 percent Medicare tax for wealthy Americans until 2023.

The heart of the bill remains — repealing the individual mandate that all adults have health care, scrapping subsidies that help most individual insurance buyers for less-generous tax credits, making significant cuts and changes to Medicaid, allow insurers to change older people more, pulling funding for Planned Parenthood, and repeal taxes on health companies. "In my district right now, there's a lot of misunderstanding about what it is we're doing, and once we get it done," Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y), one of Trump's biggest backers in the House, told MSNBC on Thursday, "then we can have the chance to really explain it." Peter Weber

2:23 a.m. ET

"House Republicans were forced to delay a vote on their health-care bill today after acknowledging they didn't have the votes to pass it," Seth Meyers said on Thursday's Late Night. "So what was Trump up to on this crucial afternoon that would decide the future of our nation's health care?" Well, he did meet with House conservatives to flip votes in favor of the bill — in a meeting filled with so many "middle-aged white dudes" it looked like a "Cialis commercial," Meyers said — but he also hopped in a long-haul semi, pretended to drive, and actually honked the horn. "In fairness, he had just seen this bumper sticker," Meyers joked: "Honk If You're Tragically Unqualified."

"The last 24 hours in politics have been truly mind-boggling," he said. "You've got the president doubling down on his false wiretapping claim, Republicans scrambling to cobble together a health-care [bill] before anyone even knows what's in it, and new reports that Trump associates may have coordinated with Russia," including revelations about Paul Manafort's recent $10 million contract with a Kremlin-tied Russian oligarch. "So Trump campaign chairman's previous job was working to advance Vladimir Putin's agenda," Meyers said. "That's like finding out your babysitter's previous job was baking children into pies."

But "as troubling as the Russian revelations are, what the Republicans have been doing with health care may be just as outrageous, and it certainly will affect more Americans," Meyers said. He spent the rest of his "Closer Look" looking at what Republicans are planning to do with their bill, including scrapping ObamaCare's requirement that health plans cover things like maternity care, mammograms, and hospitalization. ("Don't worry," he said, "every American gets one free ride on the cart that picks up your dead.")

"Republicans are radically reshaping one-fifth of the economy in a matter of hours, behind closed doors, with no public input," Meyers said. "That is insane, cruel, and reckless." But Trump has been pushing the bill hard, there's a vote on Friday, and Republicans are still writing the extremely consequential legislation. This is really, really unpopular, but Republicans have one pitch they're making to voters and their own caucus, Meyers said: "Just imagine a great health-care plan." Watch below. Peter Weber

2:07 a.m. ET
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

When New York Police Department Officer Yadarquiris Molina began working in the 42nd Precinct, she wasn't the only person on the squad with that last name, as Officer Jasmine Molina had just transferred over from the 41st.

Neither woman thought much of it until they began talking in the locker room in 2014, and discovered that they had more than a last name in common — they had the same father. "When she told me his name — which is the exact same as mine — I stood speechless," Jasmine told NBC New York. "I didn't have anything to say."

Yadarquiris recalled that when she was a child, her father brought Jasmine, who is younger, to visit her, but they never saw each other after that. Jasmine found out that she also has another sister and two brothers, and when their father was dying, all the half-siblings were at his bedside. The sisters have been spending a lot of time together to make up for the years they were apart, and say they're not upset that it took so long to be reunited. "The relationship that we have now is what matters at this point," Yadarquiris said. Catherine Garcia

1:36 a.m. ET
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With quips like this, it's almost as if Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) got his degree from the Mike Huckabee School of Joke-Telling.

On Thursday, Talking Points Memo reporter Alice Ollstein tweeted that she had asked Roberts if he supported getting rid of "essential health benefits" as part of the American Health Care Act, the Republicans' proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act. His response? "I wouldn't want to lose my mammograms."

Roberts quickly became a prime example of a boob that doesn't need a mammogram. People immediately started calling him out, including Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.), who tweeted: "Cancer is no joke. Mammograms save lives. Same reason we pay for prostate exams. Government shouldn't decide what care women can access." Roberts did tweet an apology, saying he "deeply" regretted his comments "on a very important topic. Mammograms are essential to women's health, and I never intended to indicate otherwise." Catherine Garcia

1:19 a.m. ET

Somebody, at some point, must have told former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee that he was funny. Maybe they were right, Jimmy Kimmel said on Thursday's Kimmel Live. Huckabee writes daily topical jokes on Twitter, "but like a lot of great comedy voices, not everyone 'gets it,'" Kimmel said. "Some people have been posting tweets criticizing his joke-writing," drawing this retort from Huckabee:

"Maybe he's right, maybe these jokes are over our heads," Kimmel said. "Maybe what Mike Huckabee needs is a stronger presentation — jokes don't always have the same punch when you read them to yourself." He turned the show over to comedian Patton Oswalt who, maybe, did his best with the material he was handed. Watch below. Peter Weber

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