Parents will be parents
May 20, 2014

The first step in confronting a bully is to make sure you have the right one. A Santa Rosa, California, mother is learning this the hard way, a sheriff's official said Monday.

Sheriff's deputies said that on Friday, Delia Garcia-Bratcher grabbed a 12-year-old boy by the throat to warn him against bullying her daughter. She had asked her son, who also attends Olivet Elementary Charter School, which student had been bothering his sister, The Associated Press reports. One problem, authorities say, is that there is no evidence linking the boy to bullying, and investigators are looking into whether there is another student who harassed the girl.

The other problem is that, according to kids who witnessed the encounter (no other adults were present) and red marks photographed on the boy's neck, Garcia-Bratcher grabbed somebody's child by the neck. She was arrested Saturday on suspicion of inflicting injury on a child, and was later released on $30,000 bail. Through her lawyer, Ben Adams, she said she never touched the boy. "She does not deny confronting the boy and telling him to 'knock it off,' but she absolutely denies touching him," Adams told The Associated Press. Catherine Garcia

We all scream for ice cream
11:28 a.m. ET

Ben & Jerry's wants ice cream lovers to know their dessert isn't the only thing in danger of melting. They announced new flavor Save Our Swirl, or SOS for short, to draw awareness to December's UN Climate Summit in France. There, global leaders are expected to work toward establishing a universal climate change agreement.

The flavor combines raspberry ice cream, marshmallow and raspberry swirls, and dark and white fudge ice cream cones.

"We created a flavor to bring attention to this historic issue and to send out our own SOS for our planet," the company said in a news release Wednesday.

Ben & Jerry's is also encouraging fans to sign activist group Avaaz' petition to transition to 100 percent clean energy by 2050. Julie Kliegman

it's getting hot in here
11:20 a.m. ET

Parts of India are in the grips of a brutal heat wave that has risen to a hellish 117 degrees Fahrenheit in certain areas. Some 1,100 people have died from causes related to the heat wave, which is expected to continue through next week.

It's gotten so bad that asphalt roads are literally melting, as captured here by The Hindustan Times' Sanjeev Verma, in New Delhi: Ryu Spaeth

beep boop
11:11 a.m. ET
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

If you're a young, technologically inclined person in America, you probably have an opinion on the highest-stakes competition currently dominating the national conversation: Plants vs. Zombies. Lucky for you, so does one of the politicians vying for your vote to be the next president.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), best known as a polished Ivy League debate champion beloved by the far-right Tea Party wing and one of the many Republican candidates for president in 2016, is also a huge video game nerd, The Daily Beast reports. In fact, the senator is so enthralled by the likes of Super Mario Brothers and Centipede that he denies himself a game console "because if I had one, I would use it far too much."

Apparently, Cruz's current vices include Plants vs. Zombies, Candy Crush, and The Creeps!, which are all playable via smartphone. But gaming is a family affair in the Cruz household, with the senator telling the Beast that he and his daughters "curl up and play games," which drives his wife Heidi "crazy." Seeing as President Obama famously gave up his own addiction — smoking — at the urging of the First Lady, perhaps Mrs. Cruz will have similar luck should her husband win the nation's highest office. Kimberly Alters

new york city cops
10:48 a.m. ET
Mario Tama/Getty Images

New York's Metropolitan Transit Authority recently began a campaign to improve etiquette on the subway, plastering signs within carriages encouraging commuters to, for example, give their seats up for the elderly and disabled. One such sign tells man not to "manspread," i.e. sit with their legs spread so far apart that it disturbs other passengers. (It's a problem.)

But it appears a couple of zealous police officers took the MTA's tips a tad too far, arresting a pair of Latino men for manspreading. As Gothamist notes, the men were arrested after midnight, which makes it unlikely their alleged manspreading actually impinged on anyone's space.

Indeed, it's possible that the men were arrested so that the police could meet their quotas, a much criticized aspect of the city's so-called "broken windows" approach to policing, in which even minor crimes are aggressively prosecuted. Ryu Spaeth

10:44 a.m. ET
Brian Bahr/Getty Images

After Wednesday's news that the U.S. has indicted nine FIFA officials and five sports marketers on 47 charges including bribery, money laundering, corruption, and racketeering, some of the organization's largest corporate sponsors — including Visa, Adidas, and Coca-Cola — are threatening to revoke their sponsorships if FIFA doesn't implement reforms. 

"Our sponsorship has always focused on supporting the teams, enabling a great fan experience, and inspiring communities to come together and celebrate the spirit of competition and personal achievement — and it is important that FIFA makes changes now, so that the focus remains on these going forward," Visa said in a statement. Coca-Cola, meanwhile, said the World Cup's reputation is "tarnished" by the FIFA scandal and encouraged the organization to make changes.

Nike, another huge FIFA sponsor, has so far stayed mum, and some suspect that the "multinational sportswear company headquartered in the United States" mentioned in the indictment in relation to 1996 bribery allegations involving a sponsorship deal with Brazil is a reference to the athleticwear giant. For its part, Nike said it was concerned about the "very serious allegations" — though the company did not directly admit it was the multinational sportswear company in question. Meghan DeMaria

10:42 a.m. ET

In 1996, Bill Clinton turned 50 while running against 73-year-old Bob Dole. Clinton's camp took the opportunity to emphasize his comparative youth with a giant, custom birthday cake:

(via The Weekly Standard)

In 2015, Marco Rubio turned 44, and his campaign released a birthday cake graphic that looks very familiar:


Rubio is 23 years younger than Hillary Clinton, who is 67 — just as Bill Clinton was 23 years younger than Dole. It's a clever knock at Clinton's age, though ironically a reference that only be understood by people who are old enough to remember mid-1990s politics.

Rubio is not the first GOP candidate to address Clinton's age in light of a comparatively young Republican field — though others, like 52-year-old Rand Paul, have been a little more indirect. And speaking of Paul and Rubio, a poll released today finds that these two poll strongest against Clinton in a national matchup. Bonnie Kristian

10:27 a.m. ET
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Sen. Liz Warren (D-Mass.) is best known for her populist opposition to big banks on Wall Street, often critiquing their role in the 2008 housing crisis and the devastating spike in foreclosures it entailed. And in All Your Worth, a book Warren published in 2006, she says it is a myth that "you can make big money buying houses and flipping them quickly."

These two facts combined make it curious that, as National Review reports, Warren made $240,500 (before deducting unknown remodeling costs) in the mid-1990s by flipping five houses in Oklahoma. Several of the homes were foreclosures, and a lack of permits on file with local government suggests she did not make significant improvements in some of the houses before flipping them.

Warren has also come under fire this week for the $1.6 million advance she earned for her 2014 memoir, A Fighting Chance. In her financial disclosures, Warren split the payment across two years' forms. Bonnie Kristian

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