October 4, 2012

It's no wonder people are increasingly faking disabilities to cut airport lines, says The New York Times: Airlines are required to supply anyone claiming a disability with a free wheelchair (no proof required), and anyone who's wheelchair-bound gets to board the plane first. The only hitch: People in wheelchairs must disembark last. Consequently, many fakers ignore the wheelchairs waiting for them once they arrive at their destination. Flight attendants drolly call the incidents "miracle flights" — since "they all needed a wheelchair getting on, but not getting off." The Week Staff

4:46 a.m. ET
Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images

On Friday, President Obama landed in Hiroshima, making him the first sitting U.S. president to visit the city destroyed by a U.S. atomic bomb at the end of World War II. Obama has said he won't apologize for the bombing, which killed 100,000 people, mostly civilians, but it's not clear what he will do in the city other than visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and lay a wreath. Other activities would be risky in an already fraught visit. Security is tight at the memorial park, but hundreds of people are lined up along Peace Boulevard, waving for Obama, The New York Times reports, including bombing survivors, a Buddhist monk, and families and office workers.

"Even if all he does is come here, that is enough," said Jitsuo Mizuta, 84, who survived the Hiroshima bombing. "I am so happy. I don't need any apology or anything." Peter Weber

4:25 a.m. ET

On Thursday's Late Show, Stephen Colbert had a little announcement: "Just today, Donald Trump received his 1,237th delegate, clinching the Republican nomination." He let that sink in a bit. "So, that's it," he said. "It's official. The die is cast. Trump's the nominee." Colbert laid down on the floor. Then he explained what put Trump over the top: really unenthusiastic Republican delegates agreeing to back the now-really-presumptive nominee. Seriously, the quote he read from a Pennsylvania delegate is hilariously cold — and Colbert reluctantly got off the floor to offer some suggestions to spice it up.

"But wait, there's more," Colbert said, bringing up the tentative debate between Trump and Bernie Sanders. The audience cheered. "I don't know why you're applauding," he said. "That's going to be two angry New Yorkers shouting at each other. It'll be like the whole country is trapped in a subway car." Colbert also noted that Trump's condition is raising somewhere near $15 million for a charity — and Colbert had a guess the one Trump would choose. Watch below. Peter Weber

3:55 a.m. ET

On Wednesday's Jimmy Kimmel Live, Kimmel got Donald Trump to agree to a debate with Democratic contender Bernie Sanders. On Thursday's show, Kimmel asked Sanders if he saw what he did for the Vermont senator. "You made it possible for us to have a very interesting debate about two guys who look at the world very, very differently," Sanders said. The Trump camp has gone back and forth on the debate, asking for payment that would go toward some charity. But if it happens, "that would be some debate," Kimmel said. "I mean, I really think it might be one of the highest-rated events in televisions history." Sanders nodded and said "the goal would be to have it in some big stadium here in California"

Kimmel noted that Hillary Clinton had decided not to debate Sanders, and asked him if he understood the political logic of Clinton's decision. Sanders said no. Then Kimmel played a clip of Clinton telling CNN's Chris Cuomo that she was going to be the nominee, and Sanders got a little animated, saying, "Just a pinch of arrogance there, I think." He acknowledged that he has to win really big in California and the other five states voting June 7 to catch Clinton in pledged delegates, then criticized superdelegates and pointed to polls showing him doing better against Trump than Clinton. Watch below. Peter Weber

3:05 a.m. ET
Win McNamee/Getty Images

On Thursday night, the House voted down an energy and water spending bill, 305-112, after Republicans held a private meeting to air grievances about an amendment approved Wednesday night to protect LGBT employees of federal contractors. That amendment passed, with 43 Republicans joining 180 Democrats, but only six Democrats voted to support the overall bill on Thursday. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R) blamed Democrats for thwarting the annual spending bill, telling reporters the minority party was "looking to sabotage the appropriations process."

Democrats noted that Republicans had also added objectionable amendments to the bill, including ones on Iran's nuclear program, LGBT students, and blocking the Obama administration from punishing North Carolina for its anti-transgender bathroom bill. The embarrassing failure of the energy bill points to conflicting goals of Ryan's speakership: returning to the normal order of passing individual spending bills, and allowing House members to propose amendments on the House floor.

Rep. Sean Maloney (D-N.Y.) said he would continue offering his LGBT anti-discrimination measure, which evidently has majority support in the House. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) warned that the failure to pass the energy appropriation bill points toward another standoff on spending, or even a government shutdown, in the fall. "It's a terrible way to govern," he told The New York Times. Peter Weber

2:31 a.m. ET

"Hillary Clinton's email scandal is the story that just won't die," Seth Meyers said on Thursday's Late Night —or to use the preferred cable news analogy, Wednesday's State Department inspector general's report is just the latest "drip, drip, drip" in the ongoing investigation. "You know, if you're wondering why so many Democrats are attracted to Bernie Sanders, this is kind of why," Meyers said. "Bernie doesn't have any drip-drip-drips — which for a 74-year-old man, is pretty remarkable."

Clinton never sought permission to use a private email server, the report said, and failed to turn over all department-related emails before she left office — a process that would have involved printing out and filing each email, Meyers noted. "Ugh, the only way this scandal could be more boring is if Wolf Blitzer talked about it. Here, I'll prove it." But he dug up some interesting tidbits from the IG report, like that Clinton's emails were going to the spam folders of State Department employees. Will this change anything? "For Hillary supporters, yesterday's report probably won't seem too scandalous, whereas it's a bombshell to Hillary detractors" who already see her as untrustworthy, Meyers said. And if you get to the point about U.S. nuclear weapons being run using 1970s-era floppy disks, well, there's a reason for that. You can get up to speed on the Clinton emails below. Peter Weber

2:05 a.m. ET

So, you had to walk five miles to school, uphill, in the snow? That's absolutely nothing compared to the route children living in an isolated mountain village in China have to take.

In the Atuler village in Sichuan province, 15 children between the ages of 6 and 15 have a treacherous 90-minute journey to school that takes them down a 2,600-foot rock face — some areas have unsteady ladders, while in other sections the children have only rocks to grab onto. When photographer Chen Jie of the Beijing News first witnessed this dangerous commute, he was "shocked by the scene I saw in front of me," he told The Guardian. He hopes that the photos he took of the children carrying their backpacks as they make their way down the sheer rock will change this "painful reality."

The village's oral history says its founders selected this mountaintop to avoid war. The community is home to 72 people, and the head of the village, Api Jiti, told the Beijing News "seven or eight" people have died after losing their grip and falling down the mountainside, with even more injured. The children now have to board at school so they don't have to make the trek every day, and they only go home twice a month to visit their families. The community is very poor, The Guardian reports, with villagers living on an estimated $1 a day or less, and there isn't room to build a school. The region's Communist Party spokesman said while they develop a permanent solution to the village's accessibility problem, a steel staircase will be constructed to connect the townspeople to the outside world. Catherine Garcia

1:22 a.m. ET

As a child growing up in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 2nd Lt. Alix Schoelcher Idrache was fascinated by the U.S. forces he saw conducting humanitarian missions, in awe of their technology, military hardware, and Chinooks. He says he didn't dare dream that one day, he'd be among their ranks.

No greater feeling than that of accomplishment! #DutyHonorCountry (@usarmy photo by: Staff Sgt. Vito T. Bryant)

A photo posted by U.S. Military Academy (@westpoint_usma) on

"People where I'm from don't grow up to be pilots, right?" he told a military reporter. "You don't just say I'm going to be a pilot and make it happen. There's no aviation, there's no helicopters, no flight schools. There's none of that." Idrache, 24, ended up proving himself wrong — on May 21, seven years after immigrating to the United States, he graduated from West Point as the top physics student. In July, he will enter the Army Aviation Center for Excellence at Fort Rucker, Alabama, going in as the recipient of the Brigadier General Gerald A. Counts Memorial Award for earning the highest rating in physics.

Idrache's joy at being a West Point graduate was immortalized by a photographer at the ceremony, who captured Idrache's tear-stained face right before the graduates threw their caps. His father, Dieujuste, had to drop out of school at 14 to care for his family, and he encouraged his son to use education as a way to improve his life. Idrache was lured to the Maryland Army National Guard "because of a free T-shirt," he said, and thought the closest he would get to West Point was a sticker his sister brought home from a high school presentation. With the support of his platoon leader and unit's office administrator, he applied, and he left the National Guard in 2012 to enter the 214th class of West Point cadets. The administrator, Sgt. 1st Class Christi McKinney, was at his graduation, tears streaming down her face as well, as she became the first person to salute Idrache. Catherine Garcia

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