FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
April 4, 2014
Twitter.com/gudetama_sanrio

It's a good thing Hello Kitty doesn't have a mouth, or Gudetama might not be long for this world.

The newest Sanrio character, Gudetama isn't an adorable frog (see: Keroppi) or even a penguin with an attitude (Bad Badtz-Maru); rather, he's an egg. The Los Angeles Times reports that last year, fans voted in a contest for new characters based on Japanese food items. Gudetama came in second place, losing the top spot to a salmon head named Kirimi-chan, whose visage now graces tote bags, glassware, and other items at Sanrio stores.

In case you think this is an April Fools' joke with a very delayed punch line, well, here's another reason to think so: To go along with Gudetama's debut, Sanrio dropped a very unusual video featuring interpretive dancing by a cartoon person in what appears to be an egg costume. Maybe they can follow it up with a clip of Chococat explaining what is going on. --Catherine Garcia

12:18 p.m. ET

"I don't have any plans" to primary President Trump in 2020, Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) said Sunday in an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper. "I'm rooting for him to get it together. We all are. I mean, we're only like seven months into this presidency," he added.

Kasich decried a political discourse in which "all we're doing is questioning [Trump's] motives" and "fighting back and forth," averring that America doesn't "do well when all we do is fight."

He also weighed in on Trump's much-criticized responses to the white nationalist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, last week. Asked by Tapper whether he believes Trump is "concerned about alienating bigots because they might be a part of his base," Kasich praised Trump's Saturday remarks on the related demonstrations in Boston. "It's all about ... explaining to [Trump] we've got to bring the country together," the governor continued, "and, you know, blaming one side or another when we're talking about the KKK or white supremacists — there is no comparison between these hate groups and everybody else."

Watch Kasich's full interview below. Bonnie Kristian

11:48 a.m. ET

GOP Sen. Tim Scott (S.C.), the Senate's only black Republican, did not mince words in his assessment of the Trump administration during an interview on Face the Nation Sunday.

"As we look to the future, it's going to be very difficult for this president to lead if in fact his moral authority remains compromised," Scott told CBS host John Dickerson. "Sometimes you have positional authority, and that is very helpful," Scott continued, "but the reality of it is this nation responds to moral authority, when we believe that our president has the entire nation's best interest at heart."

Trump's "comments on Tuesday," in which he said there were some "very fine people" marching on the white nationalist side in Charlottesville, Virginia, "erased his positive comments on Monday," Scott added. The senator recommended Trump meet with Civil Rights movement leaders "who endured the pain of the '60s ... the humiliation of the '50s and the '60s" to better understand "the painful history of racism and bigotry of this country."

Watch an excerpt of Scott's comments below. Bonnie Kristian

11:34 a.m. ET
Alex Wong/Getty Images

A group of alumni of Liberty University are returning their diplomas to their alma mater with a letter protesting the close association between the school's chancellor and president, Jerry Falwell Jr., and President Trump.

The letter's focus is Trump's response to the white nationalist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, last week. While some evangelical leaders joined a broad array of voices criticizing the president's "on many sides" equivocation and "very fine people" remark, Falwell remained among Trump's staunchest defenders. The alumni letter asks Falwell to reverse his position:

"While this state of affairs has been in place for many months, the Chancellor's recent comments on the attack upon our neighbors in Charlottesville have brought our outrage and our sorrow to a boiling point. During the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, white supremacists, nationalists, and neo-Nazis perpetrated brutal violence against anti-racist protesters, murdering one woman and injuring many. Instead of condemning racist and white nationalist ideologies, Mr. Trump provided equivocal and contradictory comments. The Chancellor then characterized Mr. Trump's remarks, which included the claim that some of the persons marching as white nationalists and white supremacists at the rally were 'very fine people,' as 'bold' and 'truthful.' This is incompatible with Liberty University's stated values, and incompatible with a Christian witness." [via NPR]

"I'm sending my diploma back because the president of the United States is defending Nazis and white supremacists," said one Liberty alumnus who signed the letter, former student government president Chris Gaumer. "And in defending the president's comments, Jerry Falwell Jr. is making himself and, it seems to me, the university he represents, complicit." Bonnie Kristian

11:10 a.m. ET
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Ousted White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon expressed little optimism for a united, productive GOP in the near future while speaking to The Washington Post for an article published Saturday evening.

"If the Republican Party on Capitol Hill gets behind the president on his plans and not theirs, it will all be sweetness and light, be one big happy family," Bannon told the Post, adding that this is not an outcome he expects in the foreseeable future, because no "administration in history has been so divided among itself about the direction about where it should go."

That assessment contributed to the Post's conclusion that Bannon's exit to resume his erstwhile position at Breitbart News will not end the Trump White House's internal division and apparently endless controversy. (Read The Week's Ryan Cooper on why Bannon's departure won't change much here.)

"I think it raises the morale of staffers and brings more of a sense of normalcy to the White House on a day-to-day basis," said an unnamed Republican strategist with access to the administration. "What it does not do is remove the person who's creating the most drama in the White House, and that's Donald Trump."

What Bannon will do at Breitbart remains to be seen. Some of his post-firing remarks and comments from those near him suggest he will use the outlet to attack the Trump administration, or at least figures within it who oppose his "economic nationalist" agenda. However, Bannon himself told Bloomberg News he is "going to war for Trump against his opponents — on Capitol Hill, in the media, and in corporate America." Bonnie Kristian

9:32 a.m. ET
AFP/Getty Images

A train derailment in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh Saturday evening killed at least 23 people and injured 120 more, local authorities reported, and the death toll is expected to continue to rise as search and rescue efforts proceed.

"Twelve coaches of the train derailed, with some crashing into a residential area nearby, damaging a few houses," said a statement from Arvind Kumar, the Uttar Pradesh home secretary. "Passengers in eight other coaches escaped unhurt."

A team from the state's anti-terrorism squad is involved in investigating the crash, which is the fourth large-scale derailment in India this year. Such accidents are tragically common because of poor infrastructure conditions, so the train network is undergoing a $130-billion improvement program. Bonnie Kristian

9:25 a.m. ET

The wreckage of the USS Indianapolis, the American warship used to deliver parts for "Little Boy," the atomic bomb later dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, was discovered after 72 years Saturday.

The World War II heavy cruiser was sunk on July 30, 1945 by a Japanese submarine. It went down in just 12 minutes, too quickly to send a distress signal. About 900 of the 1,197 sailors and Marines on board survived the initial sinking, but only 316 were alive to be rescued several days later, when help arrived.

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen led the team that found the wreck. "To be able to honor the brave men of the USS Indianapolis and their families through the discovery of a ship that played such a significant role in ending World War II is truly humbling," Allen said of the discovery. "As Americans, we all owe a debt of gratitude to the crew for their courage, persistence and sacrifice in the face of horrendous circumstances." Bonnie Kristian

8:23 a.m. ET
Associated Press

Activist and comedian Dick Gregory died Saturday, his family announced, reportedly following a bacterial infection. He was 84.

A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Gregory became popular with black and white audiences alike in the 1960s even while offering sharp racial commentary and forthright advocacy of equality. He was an active participant in the Civil Rights movement, joining the 1963 March on Washington and integration protests in the deep South. Gregory reminisced of one such effort in 2003 with characteristic humor:

"We tried to integrate a restaurant, and they said, 'We don't serve colored folk here,' and I said, 'Well, I don't eat colored folk nowhere. Bring me some pork chops.' And then Ku Klux Klan come in, and the woman say, 'We don't have no pork chops,' so I say, 'Well, bring me a whole fried chicken.' And then the Klan walked up to me when they put that whole fried chicken in front of me, and they say, 'Whatever you do to that chicken, boy, we're going to do to you.' So I opened up its legs and kissed it in the rump and tell you all, 'Be my guest.'" [Dick Gregory, via NPR]

Gregory was also outspoken about other political issues, including the Vietnam War, police brutality, sexism, and animal rights, often using hunger strikes as a tool of activism. He is survived by his wife of half a century, Lillian, and 10 children. Bonnie Kristian

See More Speed Reads