March 24, 2014

Parents, British singer-songwriter Tom Fletcher is just like you: He also took photos of his wife's growing abdomen while she was pregnant with their first child — then wrote a charming song about it, performed that song alongside a stop-motion video of his wife's increasingly pregnant belly, then uploaded the project to YouTube where, like your newborn baby video, it was seen by more than four million people within days. Needless to say, the "aww factor" here is very, very high. But give wife Giovanna her props, too: By agreeing to share her baby bump with the world, she has facilitated Fletcher's biggest hit in the U.S.

Fletcher, singer with the band McFly, is no stranger to late nights, bad food, and forgoing showers — as he noted on Twitter — but before you watch how he totally upstaged your videographic tribute to your first child, know that in many ways he actually is just like the rest of us: Fletcher and nine-day-old son, Buzz, spent hours at the doctor's office on Saturday, for what turned out to be normal nine-day-old-baby fussiness. --Peter Weber

Nuclear negotiations
11:27 a.m. ET

After missing a June 30 target date for nuclear talks with Iran, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and other world leaders have agreed to extend conversations to July 7. The extension will allow more time for negotiations, with a desired agreement curbing Iran's nuclear program in exchange for world powers lifting economic sanctions against the country.

July 9 is the final deadline for Congress to receive an agreement. Congress would then have 30 days to review the deal; an agreement reached after July 9 would give Congress a 90-day review period, due to summer recess. The Obama administration is concerned that the extra time might allow opponents an opportunity to mobilize against the agreement. Jeva Lange

Uh oh
11:13 a.m. ET

New Jersey governor Chris Christie announced his bid for the presidency today at his high school, Livingston High in New Jersey. While having a high-profile politician making news at his alma mater might seem like a boon for the school's popularity, some teachers, as well as the school district's superintendent, are less than thrilled by his venue choice.

"All this guy's done since day one is denigrate hardworking teachers," a Livingston High School teacher, Anthony Rosamilia, told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

"I don't think it's any secret that most of my political and educational views are about 180 degrees from the governor's," Livingston School District's interim superintendent, Jim O'Neill, said. O'Neill refused to attend the announcement, telling the Inquirer that he'd "watch it on the news later, like most people." He only agreed to let the school act as a host for the event out of an "obligation" to the governor, he said.

"I'm getting all kinds of hate emails," O'Neill said. Jeva Lange

What is 'impressive'?
11:05 a.m. ET

On yesterday's episode of the long-running game show Jeopardy!, host (and budding hip-hop artist) Alex Trebek got yet another chance to show off his rapping skills. This time, the subject was a theme song near and dear to the hearts of anyone who watched NBC in the early 90s:

Coming just a year after the "It's a Rap" category challenged Trebek to spit rhymes from Public Enemy and Doctor Dre, it's increasingly clear that Jeopardy!'s clue writers are just curious to see what they can get Trebek to rattle off on television. Maybe try some Twista next time? Scott Meslow

supremely awkward
11:03 a.m. ET
Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz has taken a confessional turn in his new bookA Time for Truth, which reveals that as a Supreme Court clerk in the 1990s, he looked at pornography with Justices William Rehnquist and Sandra Day O'Connor.

The court was considering a case which involved internet regulation, and a demonstration of the ubiquity of porn on the internet was set up to explain the situation to the elderly judges. As Cruz, Rehnquist, and O'Connor watched, a court librarian searched for a misspelling of "cantaloupe." 

"A slew of hard-core, explicit images showed up onscreen," Cruz recalls in his book. "As we watched these graphic pictures fill our screens, wide-eyed, no one said a word. Except for Justice O'Connor, who lowered her head, squinted slightly, and muttered, 'Oh, my.'" Bonnie Kristian

10:49 a.m. ET
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

While some colleges have ponied up more than $200,000 to secure a speech from Hillary Clinton, the University of Missouri at Kansas City wasn't willing to drop quite that much cash. After being quoted $275,000 for an appearance by the former secretary of state herself, the school opted to bring in her daughter, Chelsea Clinton, instead.

At $65,000, Chelsea's own speaking fee is considerably less than her mother's — albeit still well above the national median household income of about $52,000. For this price, the University of Missouri got a 10-minute speech followed by 20 minutes of moderated Q&A time. The Clinton camp also carefully dictated the terms of the event, from the temperature of Chelsea Clinton's on-stage water to the content of the introduction read by a local high school student.

Clinton donated her fee to her family's foundation, which has been criticized in recent months over its alleged use by the Clinton family for personal profit and public corruption. Bonnie Kristian

Supreme Court
10:14 a.m. ET
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Supreme Court Justices said Tuesday that they will weigh in on a dispute between unions and California teachers who are contesting public employees' requirement to pay union dues. The teachers believe that it's a violation of their First Amendment rights to be required to pay fees to a union if they disagree with its positions, or are not members of it.

As the 38-year-old law stands now, unions can require non-members to pay union dues for the purpose of collective bargaining costs, so long as those collected fees are not used for for political purposes. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of the teachers, the power of public employee unions to collect fees would be limited, which union officials worry could weaken unions and jeopardize membership. Becca Stanek

Nuclear negotiations
10:08 a.m. ET
John Moore/Getty Images

Iran has converted "a substantial amount" of enriched uranium — a material that is crucial to the production of nuclear weapons — into a material that can't be used to make a bomb, The Associated Press reports. This reduction, which was "a key condition of a preliminary nuclear agreement" reached in November 2013, is expected to be officially announced Wednesday by the International Atomic Energy Agency, diplomats tell the AP.

Today is the deadline for a more comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran, although both U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif have agreed to extend the conversation as a deal draws nearer. An agreement would curb Iran's nuclear program in exchange for world powers lifting economic sanctions against the country. Jeva Lange

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