Because a clown with a blood-red smile wasn't nightmarish enough, McDonald's has unveiled a new mascot: Happy, a sentient Happy Meal box with dead, unblinking eyes and a disturbingly lifelike set of human teeth.
— McDonald's (@McDonalds) May 19, 2014
Happy's introduction comes alongside McDonald's debut of Go-Gurt as a Happy Meal side. The new mascot will serve as a "brand ambassador" to promote healthy nutrition for kids — if only by terrifying them into making better choices. Scott Meslow
Democrat Steve Stern is the winner in New York's 10th Assembly district's special election, flipping a seat on Tuesday that had been held by Republicans for more than 30 years.
The district, on Long Island, was won by Hillary Clinton in 2016 with 52 percent of the vote, and by former President Barack Obama in 2012 with 51 percent. This is the 40th legislative flip since President Trump's inauguration, The Daily Beast reports. Catherine Garcia
He just came right out and said it — on Tuesday, in front of 1,300 bankers and lobbyists at the American Bankers Association conference, Mick Mulvaney let them know that if they want lawmakers to vote in their favor, they better make some campaign donations, The New York Times reports.
Now the acting interim director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and director of the Office of Management and Budget, Mulvaney used to be a Republican congressman from South Carolina. During his speech at the conference in Washington, Mulvaney shared that there was a "hierarchy in my office in Congress. If you're a lobbyist who never gave us money, I didn't talk to you. If you're a lobbyist who gave us money, I might talk to you."
Mulvaney is a critic of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was created in 2010 in order to keep banks from exploiting vulnerable consumers. He wants Congress to pull funding of the independent watchdog group from the Federal Reserve, and told the audience on Tuesday that he needs their help making this happen, and that's where their donations come into play. Since becoming acting interim director, Mulvaney has frozen new investigations and slowed down existing ones, the Times reports, and has curtailed efforts to go after payday lenders — an industry that donated to his congressional campaigns — and other financial services companies that prey on the poor.
His spokesman, John Czwartacki, told the Times Mulvaney was just "making the point that hearing from people back home is vital to our democratic process and the most important thing our representatives can do. It's more important than lobbyists and it's more important than money." Catherine Garcia
U.S. District Judge John Bates on Tuesday rejected the Department of Homeland Security's legal reasoning for the decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
In his opinion, Bates, a Republican appointee, said the agency "failed adequately to explain its conclusion that the program was unlawful." He gave the Department of Homeland Security three months to come up with a better reason for ending the program, and said if they couldn't do this, DACA would be restored. One argument was that conservative state attorneys general planned on suing to end DACA, but Bates said this was "so implausible that it fails even under the deferential arbitrary and capricious standard."
In September, President Trump announced he would wind down DACA, only allowing renewals through March 5, but this has been challenged in court several times, and Bates is the third judge to rule against the administration. DACA, created by former President Barack Obama, protects certain undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. by their parents as children from deportation and makes them eligible for work permits. Catherine Garcia
During a meeting in the Oval Office on Tuesday afternoon, President Trump told White House physician Ronny Jackson, his nominee to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, that he will continue to support him, two senior administration officials told CBS News.
Jackson is under fire, accused of drinking on the job, improperly dispensing drugs, and creating a hostile work environment, and his confirmation hearing has been postponed. Jackson has said he wants to share his side of the story, but the White House cannot force the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee to hold a hearing.
Earlier Tuesday, when asked about whether Jackson will pull his name from consideration, Trump told reporters he let the doctor know "if I were him, I wouldn't" go through the vetting process. Catherine Garcia
Rapper Meek Mill was released from prison on Tuesday, after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court directed a judge to release him immediately on unsecured bail.
Mill, whose real name is Robert Williams, was sentenced in November to two to four years in prison for violating probation stemming from a 2009 gun and drugs case. Mill was arrested in St. Louis, after allegedly getting into an altercation at the airport, and also in New York City, accused of recklessly driving a dirt bike. The prosecutor recommended not sending Mill to prison, but the judge disagreed.
The 30-year-old had a variety of public advocates, from New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft to comedian Kevin Hart. On Twitter, Mill said he plans to "work closely with my legal team to overturn this unwarranted conviction," and will use his platform to "shine a light" on the issue of people of color being unfairly sent to prison. Catherine Garcia
On Tuesday, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt proposed a rule that would restrict the scientific research used by the agency to make regulatory decisions.
Under the rule, only studies where the data is publicly available could be used, something conservatives have long wanted. "The science that we use is going to be transparent," Pruitt said. "It's going to be reproducible." Scientists and public health experts are concerned because long-standing studies on pollution and pesticides often rely on confidential personal and medical data, and they'll likely struggle to find participants if they know their information will be made public.
"The best studies follow individuals under time, so that you can control all the factors except for the ones you're measuring," former EPA head Gina McCarthy told The Washington Post. "But it means following people's personal history, their medical history. And nobody would want somebody to expose all of their private information." There will be a 30-day comment period, and if the rule goes through, it's expected to be challenged in court. Catherine Garcia
Video may have killed the radio star, but Spotify and Apple Music are poised to resurrect him.
Streaming services are bringing in more revenue than CD sales and digital downloads for the first time in recording industry history, Reuters reported Tuesday.
A trade group released an annual music industry report that showed revenues up to $17.3 billion in 2017, an 8.1 percent jump from the year before. Paid music streaming services, like Apple Music, Spotify, and Tidal, have specifically helped move music lovers away from illegal downloads, which robbed the industry of sorely needed revenue.
Reuters reports that music sales dropped by 40 percent between 1999 and 2014, when download sales from programs like iTunes didn't compensate for the sudden drop in CD purchases and rise in music piracy. Now, the industry reports that 176 million users were paying for streaming subscriptions in 2017 — funneling that cash back to the industry. Read more at Reuters. Summer Meza