The NCAA is a massively profitable business; its March Madness TV deal is worth $10.8 billion alone. And to ensure that profitability, the NCAA has a bunch of strict rules to protect its bottom line, such as its ban on college athletes making any money off their own labor.
But the association's heavy-handed enforcement of its rules goes beyond that, extending all the way to mugs covered in tiny little cats. Yes, the NCAA bans all unofficial cups from tournament games that do not, as The Wall Street Journal's Jason Gay puts it, feature the logo of a "Prominent Hydration Drink." So Gay, thinking the rule was ridiculous, decided to "wage a tiny protest against the NCAA by bringing my kitty cat beverage holder" to cover Sunday's game between Michigan State and UConn.
NCAA has very strict rules for NCAA-only cups at March Madness. I have brought my cat mug. Stay tuned. pic.twitter.com/jEi3Q0e6ry
— Jason Gay (@jasonWSJ) March 30, 2014
A tournament official eventually noticed and confiscated the mug, though Gay got it back after the game. That may seem coldhearted, but the NCAA has a solid case in its defense: It's a slippery slope from cat mug to dog stein, which then leads inexorably toward shopping cart full of Big Gulps.
President-elect Donald Trump has stressed that he has "nothing to do with Russia," but that isn't, strictly speaking, true. Trump has pursued business interests in the nation since as far back as 1987, and continually over the years since, The New York Times reports.
Russia has never tried to use leverage over me. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA - NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2017
"I really prefer Moscow over all cities in the world," Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr., said in 2008, adding that he had visited Russia a half-dozen times in 18 months. Don Jr. and his siblings, Eric and Ivanka Trump, have made several visits to the nation on their father's behalf over the years.
Trump himself long pursued construction of a "Trump Tower Moscow," failing to have the deal come to fruition; Trump Jr. called Russia a "scary place" to business because of legal complications as well as rampant corruption. But that doesn't mean Trump hasn't repeatedly attempted to get a foothold elsewhere:
Trump Super Premium Vodka, with the shine of bottles glazed with 24-karat gold, was presented at the Millionaire's Fair in Moscow in 2007, and large orders for the spirits followed. The vodka was sold in Russia as late as 2009, but eventually fizzled out. In a news release, Mr. Trump heralded it as a "tremendous achievement."
He tried — and failed — to start a reality show in St. Petersburg in 2008 starring a Russian mixed martial arts fighter.
But real estate developments remained a constant goal. From 2006 to 2008, his company applied for several trademarks in Russia, including Trump, Trump Tower, Trump International Hotel and Tower, and Trump Home, according to a record search by Sojuzpatent, a Russian intellectual property firm. [The New York Times]
Alan Garten, the general counsel for the Trump Organization, explained to the Times that Trump's assertion that he has "stayed away" from Russia is true due to the fact that none of the business deals ever took root. See a full timeline of Trump's attempted dealings with Russia at The New York Times. Jeva Lange
U.K. Prime Minster Theresa May stressed Tuesday that the Brexit vote to leave the European Union was the "moment Britain chose to step back from the world but to build a truly global Britain." In what was her most significant speech since becoming prime minister last year, May described the nation as "proudly internationalist" and reassured that members of the EU are still "welcome" in Britain.
"We will continue to be reliable partners, willing allies and close friends," May said. "We want to buy your goods, sell you ours, trade with you as freely as possible, and work with one another to make sure we are all safer, more secure and more prosperous through continued friendship." The number of migrants, May added, will be "controlled."
— DailySunday Politics (@daily_politics) January 17, 2017
Parliament will vote on the final deal between the U.K. and the EU before it comes into effect, May went on. "When future generations look back at this time, they will judge us not only by the decision we made but what we made of that decision. They will see we shaped them a brighter future and they will know we built them a better Britain," said May.
Some critics have already expressed disappointment over May's speech: "EU citizens are living in limbo and Theresa May has done very little to reassure them today," Nicolas Hatton, the founder of the grass roots campaign group the3million told The Guardian. " We are not bargaining chips, we are human beings." Jeva Lange
Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), Donald Trump's nominee for health and human services secretary, invested between $1,000 and $15,000 in medical device manufacturer Zimmer Biomet last March, less than a week before introducing legislation that would greatly benefit the company, CNN reports, citing House records. Less than three months after Price introduced the HIP Act, which would have delayed implementation of a regulation to change how Medicare paid and reimbursed hip and knee implant manufacturers and providers, Zimmer Biomet's PAC sent Price's re-election committee a $1,000 check; the company's PAC had also sent Price's campaign a $1,000 check two days after he fruitlessly wrote the Medicare administrator urging him to delay implementation of the rule, CNN says.
Trump transition spokesman Phil Blando said Price wasn't aware of the transaction, apparently executed by a broker, until weeks after Price had introduced the legislation, and "any effort to connect the introduction of bipartisan legislation by Dr. Price to any campaign contribution is demonstrably false." Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) suggested that Price may have violated the 2012 STOCK Act, a law designed to combat insider trading by members of Congress with special knowledge of coming legislation. "The president-elect claims he wants to drain the swamp, but Congressman Price has spent his career filling it up," Schumer said. Last month, The Wall Street Journal reported that over the past four years, Price has traded about $300,000 in shares in health companies while pursuing legislation that could affect the companies.
Price may have had entirely pure motives in his stock transactions, but "it clearly has the appearance of using your influence as a congressman to your financial benefit," says ethics law expert Larry Noble at watchdog group the Campaign Legal Center. "When you join the government, you are held to a higher standard. And you are supposed to work for the public and not for yourself." Price will likely be asked about the Zimmer Biomet trade and other transactions at his confirmation hearing this week and next. Peter Weber
CNN's Jake Tapper explains how Trump's war on the press compares with Obama's fight against Fox News
Last week, after CNN reported that top U.S. intelligence officials had presented President-elect Donald Trump with unverified claims that Russia has compromising personal and financial material on him, Trump and his press aides attacked CNN as "fake news" and conflated its report with BuzzFeed's publication of the entire raw Russia dossier. The BuzzFeed dossier was "pretty salacious," Seth Meyers reminded CNN's Jake Tapper on Monday's Late Night, with "obviously some details that comedy shows were really happy to read," but for CNN and other news organizations, "this must be a crazy time."
Meyers noted that Tapper used to be a White House reporter like CNN's Jim Acosta, who was berated by Trump and his designated press secretary, Sean Spicer. "Do you feel as though you're under attack, being a member of the press right now?" he asked. Tapper said he's been yelled at by presidents and press secretaries from both parties, "but I've never seen the effort to delegitimize an organization for a story that you don't like that has been proven," like CNN's Trump story, 100 percent accurate. Trump "was obviously trying to get us to stop focusing on the story, and just to discredit all of us," Tapper said. "And you know, that's too bad — it's not a huge shock that he would try to do that."
Meyers asked if it is unreasonable to expect the press corps to band together to try and force Trump's administration to answer questions, and Tapper took a little walk down memory lane, to when he was a White House correspondent for ABC News. In President Obama's first term — "and I'm not saying these things are equivalent — but the Obama White House went to war against Fox News, and they tried to say that the entire organization was illegitimate," Tapper said. "And when they were doing that, I challenged them for that, specifically because it's an important principal to stand up for — we're all supposed to be in this together." If you're part of a news organization that's not CNN and Trump doesn't like your accurate story, Tapper warned, "you're next." Watch below for Tapper's impression of Obama hitting him with an Obama burn. Peter Weber
If you had Martin Luther King Jr. Day off, Stephen Colbert hopes you celebrated it the traditional way — "by sleeping in so you, too, could have a dream" — he joked at the beginning of Monday's Late Show. President-elect Donald Trump spent his day canceling a visit to the National African American Museum, Colbert noted, "although I guess in a way that might be good — the last thing we need is Trump learning more about segregation."
The big Trump news, of course, comes from his Twitter account. "Trump spent the weekend attacking civil rights icon John Lewis on Twitter," Colbert said, though "to be fair, Congressman Lewis kind of started it," telling NBC's Chuck Todd he doesn't consider Trump "a legitimate president," because Russia helped get him elected. Colbert read Trump's tweets. "Yes, well said — John Lewis is 'all talk, talk, talk," he said, "unlike a real leader like Trump, who's all tweet, tweet, tweet."
"So Trump spent the Martin Luther King weekend attacking a leader who marched and was beaten with Dr. King," Colbert said. "What's he going to do on Easter?" He imagined the Trump tweet: "Loser Jesus dead for 3 days and then we're supposed to believe he just wakes up? Fake news. I like gods who don't die. Where's the rebirth certificate?" Also: "Buddha, you're fat. You're a 6 at best."
Colbert ended by noting that the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is shutting down in May, after 146 years putting on "The Greatest Show on Earth" — and connecting that to Trump. "Apparently, the circus doesn't think it could compete against the Trump presidency," he said, poking Trump: "What with all the marriages, he does have three rings." Colbert noted the parallels between Trump and Barnum, including a late turn to politics and similarly titled books, then wrapped up: "And of course, though P.T. Barnum is famous for saying 'There's a sucker born every minute,' Donald Trump is famous for proving it." Watch below. Peter Weber
Republicans in Congress have voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act more than 60 times since Democrats enacted it, but this year they won't have President Obama's veto to keep the law in place. They have already started the process of repealing big parts of ObamaCare, Stephen Colbert said on Monday's Late Show, but President-elect Donald Trump promised over the weekend that the replacement plan will cover everybody "beautifully." Without specifics, Colbert wasn't reassured: "Oh, don't worry, if you're losing your ObamaCare, you will be beautifully covered, either by insurance or six feet of dirt."
"We know Republicans are going to replace it, and they haven't told us with what, but I think they've given us a hint," Colbert said. "And that brings us to tonight's WERD." Like Colbert's old WØRD segment, most of the jokes are a combination of the host's words and the text in the box, and Colbert walked through the upsides and downsides of replacing ObamaCare before noting tartly that Republicans forbade the Congressional Budget Office from scoring the cost — estimated at 3 million jobs and $1.5 trillion — of repealing the Affordable Care Act. "That's right, the GOP is so confident that repeal will save money, that they don't want to know if that's true," Colbert said. "And if Congress can make it illegal for us to know how much it costs to repeal ObamaCare, I think they might have stumbled on the replacement: Just make it illegal for your doctor to tell you your diagnosis." Watch below. Peter Weber
Nearly three years after Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, the underwater search for the missing plane has been suspended.
The plane vanished over the Indian Ocean on March 8, 2014, with 239 people on board. "Despite every effort using the best science available, cutting edge technology, as well as modeling and advice from highly skilled professionals who are the best in their field, unfortunately, the search has not been able to locate the aircraft," Chinese, Australian, and Malaysian officials said in a statement. "The decision to suspend the underwater search has not been taken lightly nor without sadness." Last July, it was decided by Australia, China, and Malaysia that if the aircraft was not found by the time 46,000 square miles had been covered, the search would be suspended. Some wreckage has been found, including three pieces off the coast of Africa.
In a statement, Voice370, a support group for relatives of those aboard the flight, said commercial airplanes "cannot just be allowed to disappear without a trace. Stopping at this stage is nothing short of irresponsible, and betrays a shocking lack of faith in the data, tools, and recommendations of an array of official experts assembled by the authorities themselves." Catherine Garcia