I hope you're not like me, because if you are, you had a hard time falling asleep last night and so you made the mistake of checking your bracket in the midst of all that tossing and turning. And if you're really like me, your bracket is a total nightmare, so that was a bad idea.
Turns out, we're not alone: There are no perfect brackets left for this year's NCAA men's basketball tournament after this weekend, and according to NCAA.com, only one bracket — out of the tens of millions filled out across NCAA.com, Bleacher Report, CBS, ESPN, Fox Sports, and Yahoo — even made it unscathed through most of Saturday. Just one prescient user on Yahoo picked the tournament's first 39 games correctly, including upsets by No. 12 Middle Tennessee State, No. 11 Xavier, No. 11 USC, and No. 11 Rhode Island. Despite correctly predicting No. 8 Wisconsin would upend No. 1 Villanova on Saturday afternoon, the user's streak ended later in the evening, on the tournament's 40th game, when No. 5 Iowa State fell to No. 4 Purdue. (Don't feel too bad, though: Not even the best bracketeer of the year predicted No. 2 Duke would be upset by No. 7 South Carolina on Sunday.)
The good news is that with several powerhouses going down over the weekend, brackets that bet heavily on one or the other emerged less ruined than expected. In ESPN's bracket game, 45.5 percent of brackets suffered when Villanova went down in the round of 32 rather than making it to the Final Four — but because 39.2 percent of users picked Duke to make it out of the region instead, the Blue Devils' loss late Sunday evened things out between most brackets. In ESPN's Tournament Challenge, only 4.8 percent of brackets chose South Carolina to advance to even the Sweet 16, and only 9.1 percent had Wisconsin doing the same.
For the lucky few who picked No. 3 Baylor or No. 4 Florida to advance out of the East Region and make the Final Four — just 8.2 percent of ESPN's brackets — it might be time to send Wisconsin and South Carolina some flowers, because they just took you a big step further toward winning your office pool. Kimberly Alters
Burger King has apologized for an ad that ran on VK, the Russian equivalent of Facebook, promising 3 million rubles ($47,000) and a lifetime supply of Whoppers for any woman impregnated by a soccer player competing in the World Cup.
Burger King's Russian division is known for dreadful campaigns, The Guardian reports; in one advertisement for a buy one burger get one free deal, the company used the image of a 16-year-old rape victim. After pulling the World Cup ads, Burger King apologized on VK, calling the campaign "too offensive." Catherine Garcia
Republican lawmaker shuts down Trump's claim that his jokes about a departing colleague were well-received: 'People were disgusted'
President Trump patted himself on the back for trash-talking Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) in front of House Republicans, but not everyone enjoyed the show.
Trump claimed that GOP leaders loved it when he joked about Sanford's recent election loss. "I want to congratulate Mark on a great race," Trump reportedly said in the meeting, calling Sanford a "nasty guy." Most accounts say that lawmakers were simply silent, and Fox News reports that some audience members booed the "low blow," but Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) made his disapproval publicly known.
Amash called it a "classless cheap shot," and set the record straight that no House members applauded, despite Trump's claims. Summer Meza
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) June 20, 2018
Russia thinks the U.S. may trigger another space race.
President Trump directed the Pentagon to add a Space Force to the military Monday, declaring that this new branch of the military would preserve "American dominance in space." The first few goals include a mission to Mars and a system for space traffic management, Trump said.
But to the Russian Foreign Ministry, that sounds like the U.S. might deploy weapons over Earth, a spokeswoman told AP. That could spark consequences "no less harmful than the nuclear arms race," the spokeswoman said.
Russia and China did draft a treaty to preserve space as neutral territory, but the U.S. opted out. Regardless of a treaty, U.S. intelligence cautioned in February that the two countries are developing weapons that could be used to shoot down American satellites. Officials under past presidents have suggested defensive measures in space as well.
Looks like this star war could be heating up. Kathryn Krawczyk
Three major airlines have told the Trump administration not to use their planes to separate migrant families
American Airlines, United Airlines, and Frontier Airlines on Wednesday all asked the federal government not to use their aircrafts to transfer migrant children who have been separated from their families at the border.
United said it wants "no part" of the Trump administration's zero tolerance immigration policies, reports The Hill. "Based on our serious concerns about this policy and how it's in deep conflict with our company's values, we have contacted federal officials to inform them that they should not transport immigrant children on United aircraft who have been separated from their parents," said United CEO Oscar Munoz.
American issued a statement explaining that the airline had requested that the government "refrain" from using their services. "We have no desire to be associated with separating families, or worse, to profit from it," the company wrote. In a tweet, Frontier said it would "not knowingly allow our flights to be used to transport migrant children away from their families."
All three airlines said they weren't completely sure whether or not the government had used their planes to transport migrant children to shelters or foster families, but emphasized that they wanted their stance to be clear regardless. The Department of Homeland Security responded by calling the requests "unfortunate," lamenting the fact that the airlines didn't want to "partner with the brave men and women of DHS to protect the traveling public." Summer Meza
President Trump has signed an executive order reversing his administration's own policy of separating children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. "We're going to have a lot of happy people," said Trump, who in the past week doubled-down on his false claims that there was nothing he could do to stop it.
"We're going to have a lot of happy people," Trump says, attempting to make his reversing his own policy that separated thousands of migrant children sound like he is generously fixing the problem. (There's still no plan to reunite the parents & children btw). pic.twitter.com/slHWvI4aHF
— David Mack (@davidmackau) June 20, 2018
The executive order is titled "Affording Congress an Opportunity to Address Family Separation," despite the family separation policy not being a law; it was introduced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in May. The executive order states: "It is ... the policy of this administration to maintain family unity, including by detaining alien families together where appropriate and consistent with law and available resources." The New York Times more critically described the order as allowing authorities to detain "families together indefinitely."
Trump's executive order has to contend with the 1997 Flores settlement, which prohibits the government from holding minors in immigration detention for more than 20 days, regardless of whether they are with a parent or not. The order appears to declare a challenge to the settlement: "The Attorney General shall promptly file a request with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to modify the Settlement Agreement in Flores v. Sessions ... in a manner that would permit the [homeland security secretary], under present resource constraints, to detain alien families together throughout the pendency of criminal proceedings for improper entry or any removal or other immigration proceedings." Read the full order here. Jeva Lange
Michael Bloomberg wants the Democrats back on top.
The former New York mayor and businessman will infuse $80 million into the 2018 election, mostly helping Democratic congressional campaigns, The New York Times reports. While Bloomberg is politically independent, he has vocally opposed Republicans during the Trump presidency and will likely support candidates who lean the other way.
"Republicans, who control both houses of Congress, have done little to reach across the aisle to craft bipartisan solutions — not only on guns and climate change, but also on jobs, immigration, health care, and infrastructure," Bloomberg said in a statement Wednesday. "As a result, Congress has accomplished very little."
While helping Democrats pick up 23 seats and win the majority is Bloomberg's main focus in the House, Bloomberg also explicitly said he'll support gubernatorial candidates on both sides of the aisle. And he's only here for moderate candidates — aka, no one who wants to impeach the president, per Bloomberg's statement.
Republicans in small congressional races usually land stronger financial support than Democrats, but Bloomberg could upset that dynamic, the Times suggests. Bloomberg-funded ads could tip moderate suburban districts to the left — and tip the House as well. Kathryn Krawczyk
Attorney Michael Cohen is stepping back from politics and the current administration.
President Trump's former fixer stepped down from his position as deputy finance chair of the Republican National Committee's Finance Committee, ABC News reported Wednesday.
In a rare move, Cohen diverged from Trump in the announcement, condemning his former boss' policies that have been separating immigrant families at the border. "As the son of a Polish Holocaust survivor, the images and sounds of this family separation policy [are] heart-wrenching," Cohen wrote. "While I strongly support measures that will secure our porous borders, children should never be used as bargaining chips."
Cohen is entangled in the ongoing investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller that is probing the Trump campaign's role in Russia's meddling in the presidential election. He said that his legal troubles were one reason he decided to leave his role at the RNC, which he had held since April 2017. "This important role requires the full-time attention and dedication of each member," wrote Cohen. "Given the ongoing Mueller and [Southern District of New York] investigations, that simply is impossible for me to do." Read more at ABC News. Summer Meza