August 25, 2019

There's about to be more Mickey Mouse, Frozen, and Marvel inside Target stores across the United States.

Disney and Target announced on Sunday they are partnering to open permanent Disney stores inside select Target locations, with 25 launching on Oct. 4. By October 2020, the plan is to open 40 more stores within the store. The designated Disney areas will cover about 750 square feet adjacent to the children's clothing and toy section, with at least 450 items, including apparel, games, and some collectible merchandise.

The first Disney stores will open in several major cities, including Philadelphia, Chicago, and Denver. Catherine Garcia

4:16 a.m.

"This was a huge day in the Ukraine scandal," thanks mostly to Gordon Sondland's "explosive testimony," Stephen Colbert said on Wednesday's Late Show. The U.S. ambassador to the European Union's "biggest bombshell" was his admission that that yes, there was a "quid pro quo" with Ukraine, President Trump was calling the shots, and a who's who of senior officials "were in the loop," too. Sondland also explained why he called Trump from that restaurant in Kyiv. "Yeah, A$AP Rocky was the primary purpose of the call," Colbert deadpanned, "as in, 'Zelensky better launch the Biden investigation ASAP, or his life's about to get pretty rocky. Put a beat behind that.'"

Colbert's wish was The Late Show's command.

"We have moved past Watergate into floodgate," Jimmy Kimmel said on Kimmel Live. Since the beginning, "Trump's been saying Ambassador Sondland will say there was no quid pro quo," but then Sondland testified, "and just like that, Donald Trump's defense disappears faster than he downs a bucket of KFC."

"Staffers in the White House were said to be shocked and blindsided by the testimony this morning, as it appears our president has been caught orange-handed," Kimmel said. "Sondland screwed the president so thoroughly today, Trump reflexively paid him $130,000 to be quiet," and "the vice president, secretary of state, chief of staff, Rick Perry, John Bolton ... they all went under the bus," too. Comedian Jeff Ross stepped in to play Sondland, colorfully.

"Sondland's testimony was explosive, shocking, and jaw-dropping" — just watch Rep. Devin Nunes' (R-Calif.) slack-jawed reaction, Seth Meyers said at Late Night. He provided "some context for why today was the most shocking day of testimony so far" and explained why it's bad news not just for Trump, but for "virtually everybody at the highest levels of the administration."

"I think we can all take our impeachment balls and go home now, because that is the whole ball game," said Full Frontal's Samantha Bee. "The Democrats have been going about this all wrong." Their previous passel of "cautious, sober" witnesses "laid out a damning case, but they didn't exactly give good soundbites," she said. It's now obvious that "in order to catch a selfish, idiotic hotel business guy you have to send a selfish, idiotic hotel business guy," and "if you're not Devin Nunes, it was honestly really fun to watch Gordon Sondland." Watch her NSFW case below. Peter Weber

1:51 a.m.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) traveled to Europe with three aides from Nov. 30 to Dec. 3, 2018, on a $63,000 taxpayer-funded investigative trip, and Lev Parnas, an associate of Rudy Giuliani arrested last month on federal campaign finance and conspiracy charges, helped arrange meetings and calls for his trip, The Daily Beast reports, citing Parnas lawyer Ed MacMahaon and congressional records. Nunes aide Derek Harvey was involved in the Parnas meeting, and he accompanied Nunes to Europe along with fellow aides Scott Glabe and George Pappas.

At the time of the trip, Nunes was outgoing chairman of the House Intelligence Committee — he is now the committee's top Republican and lead voice in the public impeachment hearings. Nunes was visiting Europe as part of his investigation into the origins of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russia and President Trump's campaign. During the period Nunes was in Europe, Giuliani was in the middle of his ultimately successful campaign to oust U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Maria Yovanovitch, a plot Parnas and partner Igor Fruman were also involved in, according to the federal indictment.

Parnas "believed that what he was doing was furtherance of the president's and thus our national interests," said Joseph Bondy, a member of Parnas' legal team. "President Trump's recent and regrettable disavowal of Mr. Parnas has caused him to rethink his involvement and the true reasons for his having been recruited to participate in the President's activities. Mr. Parnas is prepared to testify completely and accurately about his involvement in the President and Rudy Giuliani's quid pro quo demands of Ukraine." Read more at The Daily Beast. Peter Weber

1:33 a.m.

When Diana Chong and her family found themselves stranded nearly 200 miles from home, they never expected their friendly local bagel shop manager would be the person to come to their rescue.

Last Saturday, Chong ran into Bagels 101 in Middle Island, New York, to grab a few bagels for her husband and kids, who waited in the car. Chong accidentally left her key fob on the counter, but because the car was left running, they were able to drive off. The problem was, they didn't just drive around and go home — the Chongs traveled 189 miles to Honesdale, Pennsylvania, for a family celebration.

Chong tried to get local locksmiths and dealerships to help her, but it was Bagels 101 manager Vinny Proscia who saved the day. He told Chong he would deliver the key fob to her in Pennsylvania, then hit the road, finally arriving in Honesdale after a six-hour trip. "This act of kindness is just unheard of," Chong told CBS New York.

She welcomed Proscia with food, coffee, and gift cards to thank him, but soon, he had to turn around and drive back, in order to get Bagels 101 open at 5:30 a.m. On the way home, Proscia said he was pulled over for speeding, but when the officer heard why he was in a hurry to get back, he let him go with a warning. Catherine Garcia

12:45 a.m.

Trust Exercise by Susan Choi has won the 2019 National Book Award for fiction, while Sarah M. Broom's memoir The Yellow House received the prize for nonfiction.

Trust Exercise is Choi's fifth book, and touches on sexual consent. The judges called the story "timely, mesmerizing, and in the end, unsettling." During Choi's acceptance speech, she said she finds it "an astonishing privilege that this is what I get to do for a living." Her novel American Woman was a 2004 Pulitzer Prize finalist.

The Yellow House centers around Broom's home in New Orleans, and how Hurricane Katrina forced her large family to split up. In her acceptance speech, Broom said her mother "was always wolfing down words, insatiable. Which is how I learned the way words were a kind of sustenance."

Established in 1950, the National Book Award is one of the country's most prestigious literary prizes. This year's ceremony was hosted by actor and longtime Reading Rainbow host LeVar Burton. Catherine Garcia

12:41 a.m.

President Trump made his seventh trip to Texas this year on Wednesday afternoon to tour a Flextronics plant in Austin where Apple assembles Mac Pro computers. After a 90-minute tour of the facility led by Apple CEO Tim Cook, Trump praised Apple and said "we're seeing the beginning of a very powerful and important plant." He later tweeted: "Today I opened a major Apple Manufacturing plant in Texas that will bring high paying jobs back to America."

That isn't what happened.

In his remarks, Cook noted that before Trump's arrival he had broken ground on Apple's new $1 billion corporate campus less than a mile from it's current Austin campus, and that new facility will vastly expand Apple's non-manufacturing footprint in the area. But the Flextronics plant that has been making Mac Pros since 2013 employs about 500 people and hasn't announced any plans to expand. Trump apparently has a history of claiming credit for the creation of existing manufacturing facilities.

Apple's dominant product is still the iPhone, whose production is centered in China. In the latest quarter, Apple's iPhone sales were about five times as high as revenue for all Macs, including laptops. Peter Weber

November 20, 2019

After Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) accused South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg of being woefully inexperienced when it comes to national security and foreign policy, Buttigieg fired back by saying he would never have met a "murderous dictator" like she did.

In 2017, six years after the start of the Syrian Civil War, Gabbard traveled to the country to meet with its leader, Bashar al-Assad. The United States considers him a war criminal who killed his own citizens, and facing criticism for her trip back home, Gabbard refused to denounce Assad or apologize for the meeting.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) brought this up earlier in the debate, mentioning Gabbard's reluctance to call Assad a war criminal.

After Gabbard accused Buttigieg of having no experience and making a "careless statement" saying he would "be willing to send our troops to Mexico to fight the cartels," Buttigieg picked up where Harris left off. He first accused Gabbard of taking the remarks out of context, telling her it was preposterous to think he proposed invading Mexico.

"If your question is about experience, let's also talk about judgment," Buttigieg said. "One of the foreign leaders you mentioned meeting was Bashar al-Assad. I have in my experience, such as it is whether you think it counts or not since it wasn't accumulated in Washington, enough judgment that I would not have sat down with a murderous dictator like that." Gabbard told Buttigieg this was proof he "would lack the courage to meet with both adversaries and friends," and brought up Franklin Roosevelt meeting with Josef Stalin and John F. Kennedy convening with Nikita Khrushchev. Buttigieg interrupted to bring up another dynamic duo: "Like Donald Trump met with Kim [Jong Un]," he said. Catherine Garcia

November 20, 2019

Andrew Yang didn't get much speaking time at Wednesday night's Democratic presidential debate in Atlanta, but he made memorable use of the time he got. Near the end of the debate, Yang was asked what he would say, if elected, in his first call with Russian President Vladimir Putin. "Well, first I'd say I'm sorry I beat your guy," he said. "Or not sorry," he added, after a pause for applause. "And second, I'd say the days of meddling in American elections are over, and we will take any undermining of our democratic processes as an act of hostility and aggression."

Yang continued with a substantive answer, though he got a little in the weeds of mixed metaphors with his proposal for a "new World Data Organization, like a WTO for data, because right now, unfortunately, we're living in a world where data is the new oil and we don't have our arms around it." Peter Weber

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