April 21, 2014

The Discovery Channel is canceling its Everest Jump Live special after an avalanche killed 13 people on Friday. The program, which was to air on May 11, had planned to follow a climber equipped with cameras as he jumped off the world's tallest mountain.

"In light of the overwhelming tragedy at Mt. Everest and respect for the families of the fallen, Discovery Channel will not be going forward with Everest Jump Live," a statement released Sunday from the network read. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the whole Sherpa community."

The Associated Press reports that all of the victims were from Nepal's ethnic Sherpa community, who make a living helping visitors navigate the treacherous mountain. Three people are still missing in what is the deadliest avalanche to ever hit the mountain. An NBC News crew was at the base camp preparing for the special when the avalanche struck, but they were not hurt. Jordan Valinsky

1:11 p.m. ET
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Former Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) missed over 75 percent of his Senate Armed Services Committee hearings while he was a member between 2003 and 2011, BuzzFeed News reports. Bayh recently came out of political retirement to run for the Senate seat against Rep. Todd Young (R-Ind.) following the retirement of Republican Sen. Dan Coats.

While Bayh remains slightly ahead in the polls, his participation, or lack thereof, in the Armed Service Committee presents ample fodder for his opponents. As indicated by attendance data, Bayh only attended five of the 24 Armed Services hearings between Jan. 1, 2003 and April 9, 2003, in the thicket of the Iraq invasion.

Even more concerning is the fact that on the morning of the Iraq invasion, Bayh did not attend the committee's 9:45 a.m. hearing, which concerned that year's defense authorization bill, including a testimony from the Energy Secretary on the department's atomic energy defenses. But Bayh did manage to attend an "informal breakfast" held by the Investment Company Institute that morning.

Bayh also apparently missed other hearings around that same time to attend receptions and go to Vail, Colorado with his wife to attend fundraisers and a charity event. A GOP operative who spoke with BuzzFeed News said the absences proved Bayh's "cavalier approach … to sending us into a decade-long war."

In response to the accusations, Bayh's spokesman Ben Ray said that "the documents being provided to press by a political opponent of Evan's in the final days before an election are at best incomplete and not reliable sources of information on how his time was spent." Ray added, [Bayh's] opponent, Congressman Young, either didn't show or didn’t speak at more than 80 percent of his Armed Services hearings." Jeva Lange

1:06 p.m. ET

Many Secret Service officials have not been paid overtime in months due to a combination of the intense presidential campaign and a cap on federal income, BuzzFeed News reports:

When overtime payments drive an agent's aggregate income for the year past the federal limit of $160,300 — no matter how early — the agent no longer earns paid overtime, even as they regularly clock in long past the 50-hour work week, traveling around the clock with the candidates, their families, the Obamas, the Bidens, and the press.

Ask any agent on the campaign trail when they "maxed out" during the course of the year — or hit the federal salary cap — and they will be ready with an answer: May, April, March, or for some of the most senior agents in the field, even earlier. The result? Hundreds of agents working months of overtime for which they will never be paid. [BuzzFeed News]

Adding to the strain is the fact that a hiring freeze from a couple years ago has resulted in a smaller pool of active agents in the field to draw from. Also, this election year is more demanding than most, with the president and vice president both frequenting the campaign trail, in addition to the fact that other, routine events like the Democratic and Republican conventions required extra security, as well as the United Nations General Assembly.

Of 3,300 active Secret Service agents, nearly a third have or will go over the federal pay cap, BuzzFeed News reports. Nearly all of them have worked to some extent on the election, and most of their work has demanded daily overtime. "It's been an incredible sacrifice," Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy, who has no control over the federal cap, said. Jeva Lange

1:01 p.m. ET

Hillary Clinton is turning 69 today, and it's pretty clear she is enjoying every minute of it:

Clinton even went ahead and wished herself happy birthday:

In celebration of the big six-nine, Clinton's campaign released a timeline of Clinton's entire life, so supporters can find out what the candidate was up to the year they were born (if you're older than 69, though, you're of course out of luck). Check it out here. Jeva Lange

10:37 a.m. ET
Craig Barritt/Getty Images

In the future, we might not watch TV on screens. It might be all in our heads.

That, at least, is the theory held by Reed Hastings, the CEO of Netflix, The Telegraph reports. Hastings warned audiences at a Wall Street Journal event earlier this week that technology and entertainment have a funny way of making the mediums that came before go bust — for example, how cinema and TV have made "the opera and the novel" less appealing to consumers. Streaming, he said, could face the same fate.

"In 20 or 50 years, taking a personalized blue pill you just hallucinate in an entertaining way and then a white pill brings you back to normality is perfectly viable," Hastings said. "And if the source of human entertainment in 30 or 50 years is pharmacological, we'll be in real trouble."

Other tech billionaires, like Elon Musk and Sam Altman, think we're already living in a simulated universe. Life itself, they have alleged, could be one giant drug-induced hallucination, like it is in The Matrix. Jeva Lange

10:21 a.m. ET

Donald Trump's campaign manager Kellyanne Conway wants to know where the outrage was when Hillary Clinton took time off the campaign trail to go to an Adele concert. While defending Trump's Wednesday morning stop at his hotel opening in Washington, D.C., Conway argued that his "pit stop" there 13 days ahead of Election Day just really "shows Americans the tangible accomplishments of Donald Trump." "He's somebody who builds things. He's somebody who fixes things," Conway said in an interview with NBC's Today show Wednesday morning. She added: "And you know, respectfully, Hillary Clinton has time to go to an Adele concert and everybody thinks that's really cool."

And, Conway pointed out, Clinton has diverted her attention from the campaign for more than just some soulful tunes. "Hillary Clinton took five days off to prepare for one debate and everybody looked at that as some kind of noble exercise, with 23 days to go. Nobody covered that as: Where is she? Why doesn't she campaign much? What is she doing? Where is she hiding?" Conway said.

It's hard to imagine anyone would've been upset if Trump had done the same prep work. Watch Conway defend her candidate, below. Becca Stanek

10:01 a.m. ET

Donald Trump's Hollywood Walk of Fame star has been wrangled behind a wall, muted, stomped, and flipped off, but with two weeks left to go before the presidential election, a vandal decided to take a drastic next step.

A man dressed as a city construction worker pulverized the star with a sledgehammer around 5:45 a.m. PT Wednesday. The culprit, Jamie Otis, said he had wanted to actually remove the star to auction it off as a means of raising money for the women who have accused Donald Trump of sexual assault, Deadline reports. Trump has threatened to sue his accusers.

Otis failed, to say the least. The star ended up smashed into pieces but couldn't be removed:

Trump was awarded the star in 2007 for his work on The Apprentice. Jeva Lange

9:38 a.m. ET
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Victoria Gotti may be the daughter and former wife of Gambino Mafia bosses, but she said even they didn't talk about women the way Donald Trump has. "I was married to the #1 gangster and would have cut his throat if he ever said such a foul thing to me," Gotti told a pen pal at The Daily Beast, referring to the Access Hollywood tapes in which Trump brags about kissing and groping women.

Gotti, who was also a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice in 2012, added that she considers Trump a "spoiled, rich brat" and "an embarrassment to the country." On Facebook, Gotti added she was "hoping you women out there who have any ‘class or dignity’ remember what this ‘crude obnoxious megalomaniacal mutt’ really thinks about women." Jeva Lange

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