March 28, 2014

Italy's new government is cleaning out its garage. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is putting 150 flashy government-owned vehicles for sale on eBay in an attempt to cut costs as the country aims to reduce a 2 trillion euro debt. Bidding ends April 15 for dozens of Alfa Romeos, BMWs, Lancias, and even a Maserati.

Although selling the cars won't do much to dent Italy's massive debt, the move is a symbol of Renzi's promise to cut back on ostentatious spending during a time of economic hardship. Currently, most of the bids are for a grey Alfa Romeo 166 that's going for 8,600 euros. Jordan Valinsky

9:06 a.m. ET

A young protester interrupted Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-Texas) rally in LaPorte, Indiana, on Sunday with a simple message: "You suck!" Cruz wasn't having it.

"Children should actually speak with respect," Politico reports he said. "Imagine what a different world it would be if someone told Donald Trump that years ago."

The senator then went even further, suggesting some corporal punishment may be in order.

"You know, in my household, when a child behaves that way, they get a spanking," Cruz said.

This isn't the first time Cruz has suggested spanking in political contexts. In January, he said Hillary Clinton should "get a spanking" at the polls. Someone might want to tell Cruz about the new study out suggesting spanking causes long-term psychological damage to children. Julie Kliegman

8:56 a.m. ET

A tablet discovered in Turkey on Monday proves that 2,000 years before American Pharoah won the Triple Crown, people believed there was more to winning than, well, winning.

Archaeologists have found ancient horseracing rules written on a slab uncovered in the Beyşehir district of the Central Anatolian province of Konya. The tablet appears to have been part of the Lukuyanus Monument, which honored an ancient Roman jockey. Hittites are thought to have erected such monuments and considered them holy.

But even more intriguingly, the tablet offers insight into a world of unbelievably courteous sportsmanship.

"There are horseracing rules on the tablet. It says that if a horse comes in first place in a race it cannot participate in other races, while another horse of the winning horse's owner also cannot enter another race," Professor Hasan Bahar of Selçuk University told Hurriyet Daily News. "In this way, others were given a chance to win. This was a beautiful rule, showing that unlike races in the modern world, races back then were based on gentlemanly conduct."

Lakers, Packers, and Yankees fans, take note. Jeva Lange

8:21 a.m. ET

Donald Trump's big mouth might have gotten him into trouble once again after he called the trade imbalance between China and the United States a "rape."

"We can't allow China to rape our country. And that's what they're doing. It's the greatest theft in the history of the world," Trump said Sunday during a rally in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

"I thought those were a really bad use of words. But whatever. That's what he does, and I guess that's what gets him those primary voters," Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski observed afterward.

While Sunday was the first time Trump used the word "rape" to describe the actions between China and the U.S. this election season, CNN reports he used similar language in 2011 when he claimed "China is raping this country" while touring a defense manufacturer in New Hampshire.

Trump has also come under fire for bragging about an endorsement from boxer Mike Tyson, who was convicted of rape in Indiana. Ted Cruz has spoken out against the endorsement, telling CBS' Face the Nation on Sunday, "I don't think rapists are tough guys. I think rapists are weak, they're bullies, and they're cowards. And Donald may be really proud of his support from a convicted rapist." Jeva Lange

7:59 a.m. ET
Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

On Sunday, Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said he has accepted the resignation of his chief of staff, Tom Angel, amid mounting criticism of racist, sexist, and anti-Muslim emails Angel had sent as the No. 2 official in the Burbank Police Department in 2012 and 2013. "This incident is one that I find deeply troubling," McDonnell said. "Despite the Sheriff's Department's many recent efforts to fortify public trust and enhance internal and external accountability and transparency, this incident reminds us that we and other law enforcement agencies still have work to do." The Los Angels Times had obtained Angel's emails through public records request, and published 15 pages of them on Wednesday.

McDonnell, elected as a reformer in 2014, said he will begin random audits of the work emails of sheriff's department employees and meet with different community groups to "share thoughts and ideas about improving our understanding of the varied cultures and orientations and deepening our appreciation of the many ethnicities and religions that are part of the vibrant fabric of the population we serve." Several of the emails mocked Muslims, and another one was a forwarded joke about a student who did poorly on an exam: "I took my Biology exam last Friday. I was asked to name two things commonly found in cells. Apparently 'Blacks' and 'Mexicans' were not the correct answers."

Angel did not respond to requests for comment from the L.A. Times, but previously he told the newspaper that he never meant to embarrass or demean anyone and that he found it unfortunate that his work emails were subject to the state's public records law. Peter Weber

7:48 a.m. ET
Christophe Archambault/AFP/Getty Images

The ultimate underdog story is on the cusp of unfolding in England's Premier League as a team with 5,000-to-one odds at the start of the season waits with bated breath to learn if they will be crowned the champions.

Leicester City is small fry in the legendary Premier League, which boasts the distinction of being the richest and most-watched soccer league in the world. But up against giants like Manchester United, Liverpool, and Chelsea, the Leicester City Foxes only narrowly dodged relegation last season and have stunned the nation as they've fought their way this season to the impossible.

Leicester City had their first shot at taking the title on Sunday but failed to clinch the championship by drawing 1-1 against Manchester United. Because of the standings, Tottenham must tie or lose to their archrival, Chelsea, during Monday's 3 p.m. EDT match in order for Leicester to win the championship.

Because of the standings, Chelsea has very little to play for, while Tottenham is fighting to stay in the title race for another week. However, Chelsea might fight especially hard to knock their rivals out of the race.

"It’s not ours until we've got both hands on the trophy," Leicester City captain Wes Morgan said Sunday. "We'll be watching and waiting tomorrow night."

Catch the game on TV at 3 p.m. EDT, on NBCSN for an English stream or NBC Universo for the game in Spanish. The match will also be streamed online at NBC Sports Live Extra. Learn more about the key players and matchups in the game at SB Nation. Jeva Lange

7:00 a.m. ET

The Obamas have decided to stay in Washington, D.C., for a couple more years — well, not Malia — so youngest daughter Sasha can finish up high school. "Our decisions has actually presented a bit of a dilemma, because traditionally presidents don't stick around after they're done," President Obama said at Saturday night's White House Correspondents' Dinner. That was the set-up for a pre-recorded video in which Obama broods about his post–White House plans. In the short film, Obama seeks advice from Vice President Joe Biden, takes advice from former House Speaker John Boehner, tells NBC's Chuck Todd to do something rude to himself, and pokes fun at his own "mom jeans."

The whole video is good, but the highlight is probably when Obama decided he had to get his Washington, D.C., driver's license and visited the local DMV. "What's the name?" the DMV employee, Kat, asked when Obama's number was finally called. "Barack Hussein Obama," he said. "Yikes," she grimaced. "Well, since you don't have a driver's license, you're going to need a birth certificate." If you remember the whole "birther" flap, you can probably guess where that is going, and they go there with pretty impressive acting chops and impeccable comedic timing. Watch below. Peter Weber

5:57 a.m. ET

Children ages 1-3 have shot somebody with a gun they found more than once a week in the U.S. this year, and in most cases, they were the victim, too. According to a Washington Post count, toddlers were involved in at least 23 shootings between Jan. 1 and the April 29. In 18 of those cases, the children shot themselves, and nine of those toddlers died. In the other five cases, the toddler shot another person, and two died — on April 27, a 2-year-old boy fatally shot his mother in the car after a gun slid out from under the front seat, and in February, a 3-year-old boy shot and killed his 9-year-old brother in Alabama.

The rate of toddler-involved shootings is not uniform across states, with Georgia notching eight such shootings since the beginning of 2015, Texas and Missouri tied for second place with seven shootings, while Michigan and Florida each have six. There are probably some legal and cultural reasons for the variations in toddler shootings, but it's "still largely a guessing game," says The Post's Christopher Ingraham. "And it's a game made much more difficult by Congress' efforts to restrict the type of gun research that agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are allowed to conduct." You can read more at The Washington Post. Peter Weber

See More Speed Reads