March 13, 2014

There has been quite an uproar over Obama's mandate that (nearly) all health insurance plans cover female contraception. But the tens of millions Medicare pays for penis pumps each year "has never been debated once," says Samantha Bee on Wednesday night's Daily Show. "Not once. Never." Bee brings a woman's health advocate on the show to explain why birth control pills are often used for non-sexual health issues, but what's more impressive is that she finds somebody — sexual health expert Beatty Cohan-Vrettos — willing to vehemently defend federally financed penis pumps on camera. --Peter Weber

Coffee or Bust
12:10 a.m. ET
Craig Mitchelldyer/Getty Images

The overlap between fans of Peet's Coffee & Tea, the Berkeley coffee stalwart known for its dark-roast blends, and Stumptown Coffee Roasters, the Portland upstart that made lightly roasted single-origin beans fashionable, is probably not huge (though larger than the overlap between Peet's and Dunkin Donuts partisans, surely). Starbucks, the Seattle coffee juggernaut, reacted to Stumptown and its light-roast peers by developing a "blonde roast" line. On Tuesday, Peet's announced it is simply buying Stumptown, for an undisclosed amount.

Stumptown and Peet's both say customers won't really notice any difference — you won't find Stumptown beans in Peet's stores or vice versa. But if Stumptown fans are concerned that their favorite roaster is selling out to a corporate giant like Peet's, well, that's only partly true: Peet's is majority owned by a secretive German family and its investment company in Luxembourg, JAB Holdings Co., that also has a majority stake in Caribou Coffee. The upside for Stumptown drinkers is that the coffee — and especially its bottled cold brew, which is what drew Peet's attention — will probably become available in more markets. The downside: If you want to drink local, well, that Starbucks on the corner at least sends its money to Seattle. Peter Weber

el faro
October 6, 2015

Friends and family of the El Faro crew say they are confident their loved ones will soon be found safe.

The U.S. Coast Guard is still searching for survivors of the cargo ship, which sank last week during Hurricane Joaquin. The remains of one unidentified crew member have been found, but there are 32 others who are still missing, many from the Jacksonville, Florida, area, the Miami Herald reports. TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico, which owns the ship, has not publicly named the 28 Americans and five Poles who worked on El Faro, but at least 15 have been identified in the media. Lonnie Jordan, 33, was a cook who "loves sailing," his grandmother, Faye Cummings, told the Florida Times-Union. She said her family was upset that the El Faro went out knowing about Joaquin. "It's in God's hands," she said, "but we feel like they made the wrong decision."

Danielle Randolph, 34, was second mate, and sent her mother, Laurie Bobillot, an email from the ship, The Washington Post reports. "Not sure if you've been following the weather at all," she wrote, "but there is a hurricane out here and we are heading straight into it. Winds are super bad and seas are not great." Bobillot said her daughter knew at an "extremely young age she wanted to work on the ocean." Deb Roberts, whose son Michael Holland, 25, was an engineer on the ship, started a Facebook page called "Making waves for Mike: Bring the El faro crew home safely." Thousands of people have shared memories of Holland, including his best friend Corey Wells, who wrote: "I REFUSE to believe that he is doing anything short of everything that he can to make it home. Hope is not lost. He WILL make it back!" Catherine Garcia

from the archives
October 6, 2015

In May of 1968, Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy called for stricter gun control measures during a campaign stop in Roseburg, Oregon — the same town where a gunman killed nine people at Umpqua Community College last Thursday.

CBS News shared a clip Tuesday from the May 25, 1968, edition of CBS Evening News, with anchor Walter Cronkite saying Kennedy was answering "criticism from those who say legislation would deny Constitutional guarantees on the right to possess arms." Kennedy told the crowd that it was too easy for some people, like convicted murderers, to obtain guns through mail orders.

"A man on death row in Kansas, who killed half a dozen people, someone there sent for a rifle through the mail from Chicago for him to have a rifle while he was waiting on death row after killing people, and the rifle was sent to him," he said. "Does that make any sense that you should put rifles and guns in the hands of people who have long criminal records, people who are insane, people who are mentally incompetent, or people who are so young they don't know how to handle rifles or guns?" Kennedy was assassinated two weeks later in Los Angeles. Catherine Garcia

October 6, 2015

Russia says that its warplanes accidentally violated Turkey's air space over the weekend due to weather conditions, but NATO said Tuesday it rejected the explanation.

The Russian Defense Ministry claims an SU-30 warplane entered Turkish air space along the border with Syria "for a few seconds" on Saturday due to bad weather. NATO said a plane also entered Turkish air space Sunday, an incident that Russia said it is looking into. U.S. officials told Reuters the planes were in Turkish air space for much longer than a few seconds, and it was "far-fetched" to say it was accidental. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said he would not speculate on Russia's motives, "but this does not look like an accident and we have two of them." He also said there are reports of a substantial increase in the number of Russian ships in the eastern Mediterranean and ground troops in Syria. Catherine Garcia

the sky's the limit
October 6, 2015

Putting LAX and JFK to shame, the most posh airport in the world opened up at Paris' Grand Palais on Tuesday.

For Chanel's aviation-themed show at Paris Fashion Week, Karl Lagerfeld pulled out all the stops, recreating an entire airport complete with check-in desks for Chanel Airlines, an electronic passenger information board, rows of lounge chairs, and baggage carts emblazoned with the Chanel logo. The runway show took place in Terminal No. 5 (a nod to the brand's famed perfume), and Lagerfeld told The Associated Press, as he drank mineral water delivered on a silver platter, that the inspiration was "travel, long-distance travel to every destination."

It was interesting timing, as French union activists involved in a labor dispute ripped the suit jackets and shirts off of two Air France executives earlier in the day in another part of Paris. Lagerfeld said the thought of changing the show because of the protests never crossed his mind. "These shows are planned six months in advance," he told AP. "[Chanel's] an oracle of the times, but it takes months and months and months. Not 24 hours." Catherine Garcia

October 6, 2015

The U.S. Treasury's Terror Financing unit has launched an inquiry into how Islamic State is obtaining large numbers of Toyota pickup trucks and SUVs.

The world's second-largest automaker said it is "supporting" the investigation, with Ed Lewis, Toyota's director of public policy and communications in Washington, telling ABC News the company has briefed the Treasury on supply chains in the Middle East and procedures in place to safeguard supply chain integrity. Toyota, he said, has a "strict policy to not sell vehicles to potential purchasers who may use or modify them for paramilitary or terrorist activities."

ISIS propaganda videos filmed in Iraq, Syria, and Libya show numerous Hilux and Land Cruiser vehicles marked with ISIS seals, including one video ABC News says was shot in Raqqa, Syria, featuring an ISIS parade where more than two-thirds of the vehicles were Toyotas. "Regrettably, the Toyota Land Cruiser and Hilux have effectively become almost part of the ISIS brand," said Mark Wallace, CEO of the Counter Extremism Project and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. "ISIS has used these vehicles in order to engage in military-type activities, terror activities, and the like. But in nearly every ISIS video, they show a fleet — a convoy of Toyota vehicles and that's very concerning to us."

Toyota's Lewis said most of the Toyotas appearing in the videos are not new models, and the company cannot track down stolen vehicles or ones that have been bought and re-sold by middlemen. An Iraqi military spokesman told ABC News he thinks trucks are being smuggled into Iraq by outside middlemen, and Toyota distributors in the region said they are unsure how the trucks are getting to ISIS. Wallace said he doesn't think Toyota is "trying to intentionally profit from it, but they are on notice now and they should do more." Catherine Garcia

stand up
October 6, 2015
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

It seems that, like the rest of us, the White House has been reading some hysterical articles about how sitting all day will kill you. And it also appears that, like the rest of us, the Executive Office of the President is now wondering if it's time to ditch chairs and exercise balls in favor of standing desks.

National Journal reports that, according to a recent public solicitation, the Executive Office of the President is seeking up to $700,000 worth of standing desks over a five-year period — though the remaining four years after the end of the Obama administration are optional. The government even has a brand preference for the desks, specifying that they must be "Varidesk brand name or equal." Large Varidesks cost in the $400-$500 range.

If the whole office has standing desks, though, one has to ask: How will your ultra-fit co-workers find a way to appear athletically superior? Samantha Rollins

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