give peace a chance
July 15, 2014
Hulton Archives

The Peace Corps plans to announce major changes aiming to attract more volunteers as its applications plummet, leaving it at its lowest level of participation in more than a decade. One of the changes will be letting people pick the country where they will serve. The Peace Corps, started by then-president John F. Kennedy more than 50 years ago, sends thousands of volunteers to 65 countries for two-year service projects. Read more about the changes at The Washington Post.

Foreign affairs
6:29 a.m. ET
Anthony Behar-Pool/Getty Images

On Tuesday, President Obama lifted a ban on U.S. weapons sales to Egypt that he had imposed after Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, general turned president, overthrew President Mohamed Morsi in 2013. The unfreezing of arms deliveries and purchases is widely seen as driven by the U.S. need for allies in the tumultuous Middle East and as a win for Sisi, who has done little or nothing to address the concerns about Egypt's democracy that Obama cited when initiating the ban, says Peter Baker at The New York Times.

But "Obama's decision does include elements that may irritate Mr. Sisi," Baker adds:

Until now, Egypt and Israel were the only countries permitted to buy American arms by drawing credit from future foreign aid. Mr. Obama said he would halt that for Egypt, barring it from drawing in advance money expected in the 2018 fiscal year and beyond. He will also channel future military aid to four categories — counterterrorism, border security, maritime security, and Sinai security — rather than give Egypt broad latitude to decide how to use it. [New York Times]

That will, among other things, make it easier for the U.S. to cut off military aid in the future.

Things that make you go hmmm
5:42 a.m. ET

Josh Gad's house is a funhouse-mirror version of most homes with young children, he told David Letterman on Tuesday night's Late Show. Gad, who voiced the snowman Olaf in Frozen, said his daughter is the one who is no longer enthralled with the Disney blockbuster, and he is still a fan. When his daughter starts talking about how much she loves Big Hero 6, he points out that Frozen is paying for her house and private school, Gad joked. "We love Olaf in this house."

Which led to an odd discussion about how much Gad earned from the movie. "The thing made a couple of billion, and I made a couple of thousand," Gad said. Letterman protested that surely he was joking, to which Gad replied "no, they actually paid me very well" — while shaking his head to signal they didn't. "I love you Disney, I really do," he added with a laugh, when Letterman called him out on his mixed signals. "They actually really took care of us," he added, somewhat cryptically, before confirming that Disney is making a Frozen sequel. Smart move, Gad. —Peter Weber

Watch this
5:08 a.m. ET

Ignore the premise of this bit on Tuesday night's Tonight Show — science shows that if you sing lullabies in the voice of Bob Dylan, kids will fall right asleep (not sit upright in terror) — but do watch to see Ethan Hawke and Jimmy Fallon compete to do the better Dylan impersonation. (Spoiler: Fallon.) And parents, even if you can do a better Dylan, don't try this at home —Peter Weber

Noted
4:34 a.m. ET

Andrew Getty, a 47-year-old heir to the Getty oil fortune, was found dead at his Hollywood Hills villa on Tuesday, his family confirmed late Tuesday. The Los Angeles County coroner's office says preliminary information suggests that Getty died of natural causes or an accident, and that no foul play is suspected at this point. Police were called to the house by a woman on Tuesday afternoon, after Getty was found unresponsive in a bathroom. The woman is being treated as a "cooperative witness," according to LAPD spokesman Cmdr. Andrew Smith.

The Los Angeles Times has some more details, gleaned from court records and an unidentified law enforcement source: Getty was found naked from the waist down "and appeared to have suffered from some type of blunt-force trauma," possibly from a fall; he had been feeling unwell in recent weeks; and two weeks ago he had "sought a restraining order against a woman." Getty's parents, Gordon and Ann Getty, asked for privacy. Smith has more information in the Associated Press video below. —Peter Weber

Bieber Roast
3:55 a.m. ET

Comedy Central broadcast its much-anticipated roast of Justin Bieber on Monday night, and on Tuesday night's Jimmy Kimmel Live, Jeff Ross, one of the head roasters, explained how he prepared to whack his easy target. His gleeful preparations included a chance encounter with Bieber's ex-girlfriend, Selena Gomez.

"Excuse me, my name is Jeff Ross and I'm America's roastmaster general, I'm on official business to roast Justin Bieber vicariously for the whole world, and I need some advice," Ross said he told Gomez when they met at a party at his agent's house. Her response, according to Ross: "Tell Justin the truth. The truth always worked for me." Ross' response doesn't match that level of class, obviously:

On Tuesday's Late Night, fellow roastmaster Chris D'Elia related his totally different Gomez experience — her fans inadvertently goaded him into making lots of Selena Gomez jokes at the roast, he told Seth Meyers. Watch D'Elia explain why roasting strangers is more perilous than mocking your loved ones, and why he gets delighted at the idea of dying at the hands of a 12-year-old Gomez fan. —Peter Weber

RIP
3:24 a.m. ET

In 1975, a freelance copy writer named Gary Dahl got the idea for the Pet Rock — an ordinary rock, packaged in a pet carrier, requiring no food or care — at a California bar, and the Pet Rock's astronomical success made Dahl an overnight millionaire. He died on March 23 in Jacksonville, Oregon, at age 78, and The New York Times remembers him in a delightful obituary posted late Tuesday.

"Despite the boon Pet Rocks brought him, Mr. Dahl came to regret the brainstorm that gave rise to them in the first place," notes Margalit Fox. And it wasn't just because he lost a six-figure lawsuit to one of his two investors:

Though the rock made him wealthy, it also made him wary, for he was besieged ever after by hordes of would-be inventors, seeking his advice on the next big thing. "There's a bizarre lunatic fringe who feel I owe them a living," Mr. Dahl told The Associated Press in 1988. "Sometimes I look back and wonder if my life wouldn't have been simpler if I hadn’t done it." [New York Times]

Simpler, it should be noted, isn't necessarily better. Read the entire obit of Dahl in The New York Times.

Last Night on Late Late Night
2:45 a.m. ET

When Parks & Rec ended its heroic run on network TV, Aubrey Plaza gave each of her costars little vials containing her blood, fingernails, and hair, she confirmed to James Corden on Tuesday's Late Late Show. That sounds a little creepy — at least to Corden's other guests, Matthew Perry and Thomas Lennon — but Plaza's explanation is kind of sweet, in an offbeat sort of way. Sort of like Parks & Rec. Watch below. —Peter Weber

See More Speed Reads