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September 25, 2018

Stephen Colbert ran through the new allegations of sexual misconduct by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, and they are mildly NSFW. His new accuser, Deborah Ramirez, "acknowledges that she has gaps in her memory, because she had also been drinking that night, but she remembers that somebody yelled down the hall, 'Brett Kavanaugh just put his penis in Debbie's face,'" he said on Monday's Late Show. "And a little further down the hall, a 50-year-old Chuck Grassley yelled, 'Get that man on the Supreme Court!'"

Colbert noted that the allegations originated not from Ramirez but from emails among Ramirez's classmates in July, before Kavanaugh's first accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, came forward. "Obviously this is a disturbing allegation that has to be investigated," he said. "You don't want to confirm a perv to a job where you get to wear a robe every day." Kavanaugh, to rebut Ford's allegations, "is attempting a bold new defense strategy," Colbert said: Handing over his calendars from 1982. "Who hangs on to their high school calendars?" he asked. "The only things I have left over from high school are deep emotional scars."

The Late Show also had some jokes about Kavanaugh's yearbook, the focus of some real questions on Monday.

On The Daily Show, Trevor Noah also mocked Kavanaugh's 1982 calendars gambit. "Come on, man, a calendar just says what you plan on doing, not what you actually did," he said. "It's also pretty ballsy that Kavanaugh, as a judge, would bring up an old calendar as his defense, because I wonder if that would hold up in his court?" Look, Noah said, "I get why Republicans are doing this. Getting five conservative justices onto the Supreme Court is something they've been dreaming of for 40 years, so they'll do anything to get it done, even if it means normalizing sexual assault." He had a focus group to prove it. Watch below. Peter Weber

12:36 a.m.

More than 150 companies, including major tech organizations and online retailers, made arrangements with Facebook to have special access to users' personal data, even as the social media platform assured people that they had control over their data, The New York Times reports.

The Times reviewed more than 270 pages of documents Facebook generated in 2017 to track the partnerships, and spoke with more than 50 former employees of the company and its corporate partners. Under the arrangement, partners were essentially exempt from the usual privacy rules, the Times reports, with Netflix and Spotify granted permission to read users' private messages; Amazon able to obtain the contact information of users through their friends; and Bing, the Microsoft search engine, allowed to "see the names of virtually all Facebook users' friends without consent."

The records show the deals involved the data of hundreds of millions of users every month, with all active in 2017. The first deals were made in 2010. Steve Satterfield, Facebook's director of privacy and public policy, told the Times these partnerships did not violate the privacy of users or run afoul of the Federal Trade Commission's 2011 consent agreement that prohibited Facebook from sharing user data without permission. Read more about the arrangements — and why data privacy experts are skeptical of Facebook's claim that these partnerships were exempt from regulatory requirements — at The New York Times. Catherine Garcia

12:14 a.m.

Former first lady Michelle Obama had a little fun with Jimmy Fallon for Tuesday's Tonight Show, and they threw in a little light exercise to boot. The elevator surprise idea is pretty simple — people believing they are taking a normal tour of 30 Rockefeller Center stop at a floor, only to get a glimpse of Fallon and then Obama, and then the doors close. Maybe the conversations inside the elevator got awkward and political on the ride down — this is still 2018, after all — but from what we can see, everyone seemed to have fun, there is legitimate elevator music, and you can watch below. Peter Weber

December 18, 2018

As 2018 winds to a close, "it feels like the whole country is still nursing a hangover from the 2016 presidential election — Trump is still obsessed with Hillary, Mueller is still investigating Trump, and Democrats are about to launch a slew of new investigations into his campaign," Trevor Noah said on Tuesday's Daily Show. "But now, over two years later, we're still about how deep the Russian rabbit hole goes," including the Kremlin's trolls targeting of one particular group. "It turns out, the Russians spent a lot of effort specifically trying to convince black Americans not to vote," Noah said — or to vote for Green Party candidate Jill Stein, same difference.

"Real black American" Dulcé Sloan came out to give her mixed reaction to the news. "Trevor, I feel disgusted, I feel manipulated, and I feel special," she said. "Russia could have gone after anyone — Latinos, Asians, millennials — but they said, We're going after the ones who count: black people. Can you believe that? I mean, some white people actually do think black lives matter." She had some suggestions for Washington. Watch below. Peter Weber

December 18, 2018

You say border wall, President Trump says "artistically designed steel slats."

On Twitter Tuesday night, Trump declared that he's figured out the real problem Democrats have with funding a wall along the southern border. "The Democrats, are saying loud and clear that they do not want to build a Concrete Wall — but we are not building a Concrete Wall, we are building artistically designed steel slats, so that you can easily see through it .... it will be beautiful and, at the same time, give our Country the security that our citizens deserve. It will go up fast and save us BILLIONS of dollars a month once completed!"

"Build the artistically designed steel slats!" sure doesn't have the same ring to it as "Build the wall!" Catherine Garcia

December 18, 2018

In a bipartisan vote, the Senate on Tuesday passed the First Step Act, the biggest overhaul of the federal criminal justice system in decades.

The bill passed with a vote of 87-12, and was backed by conservative and liberal groups. Lawmakers spent more than a year negotiating the bill, which creates more rehabilitation programs, eases mandatory minimum sentencing, reduces the three-strike penalty from life in prison to 25 years, and lets some federal inmates earn time credits by taking part in special programs.

Now, the bill moves to the House, where it also has bipartisan support. After the Senate passed the measure, President Trump tweeted that he looks "forward to signing this into law!" Catherine Garcia

December 18, 2018

Over the course of a decade, the late George H.W. Bush sponsored a boy living in the Philippines who had no idea that the money, letters, and gifts coming to him from the United States were being sent by a former president.

Bush learned about Compassion International, a nonprofit that connects sponsors with children from poor communities, in 2001, the organization's former president, Wess Stafford, told CNN on Tuesday. Bush's security team did some digging, and after vetting Compassion International, they agreed that he could sponsor 7-year-old Timothy. There were some rules, though; he had to use a pseudonym, to protect Timothy from someone who might target him due to his link to Bush.

For 10 years, Bush sent letters — signed "George Walker" — and funds that paid for Timothy's education, activities, and food. Stafford screened Bush's letters, describing them to CNN as being "the most sweet, spirited letters I have read from any sponsor, but he kept giving hints as to who he could be. He was really pushing the envelope." Bush sent photos of his dog, Sadie, and told Timothy that he was invited to the White House for Christmas. Timothy drew pictures for Bush, who in turn sent him sketch pads, colored pencils, and paint, even though gifts were not allowed.

Timothy didn't find out who his sponsor was until he turned 17 and graduated. He was stunned, Stafford said, never having a clue that his pen pal and benefactor was once the president of the United States of America. Catherine Garcia

December 18, 2018

A panel of eight federal judges on Tuesday dismissed 83 complaints filed against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh by "lawyers, doctors, professors, and concerned citizens, among others."

Most of the complaints lodged against him stem from his heated Senate confirmation hearings, with petitioners accusing Kavanaugh of misconduct and making disrespectful statements to senators, Reuters reports. The panel threw out the complaints because the federal law governing judicial conduct does not apply to Supreme Court justices, only lower court judges.

Kavanaugh was a federal appellate court judge when President Trump announced in July he was nominating him for the Supreme Court. Before he was confirmed in October, Kavanaugh was accused by several women of sexual misconduct, allegations that he denied. Catherine Garcia

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