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August 10, 2018

Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-Texas) supremely Texan insult is sure to destroy his Senate competitor Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas) — if anyone can figure out what it means.

O'Rourke, the increasingly popular Democrat vying for Cruz's Senate seat, has a campaign logo that looks suspiciously like a package of spicy ketchup from Texas fast food chain Whataburger. When asked for a response to the similarities, Cruz's spokesperson gave the Fort Worth Star-Telegram this intriguing answer:

Unlike the spicy ketchup, when Texans unwrap the O'Rourke packaging, they are definitely not going to like what they see underneath. He's like a Triple Meat Whataburger liberal who is out of touch with Texas values. [Cruz spokeswoman Emily Miller, via the Star-Telegram]

And unlike your average play-on-words political insult, this winding metaphor gives Texans a lot to swallow. It begins as a saucy slam on O'Rourke, but unwisely savages the chain's massive signature item as "out of touch" and suggests Cruz dislikes the beloved business as a whole.

Then again, Texas Monthly suggests "Triple Meat Whataburger liberal" means O'Rourke is too elite, like Cruz's tweet blasting Stephen King as a "limousine liberal." That option, however geographically relevant, still disparages the Texas staple.

Or perhaps the super stack is just a substitute for "big," and O'Rourke is just a big 'ol liberal. But that would imply O'Rourke is just a normal guy, seeing as everything is bigger in Texas. Kathryn Krawczyk

6:14 a.m.

The Green New Deal proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) has gotten a lot of blowback and mockery from conservatives, and Kermit the Frog was puzzled by one bizarre critique on Wednesday's Late Show. "It's not easy being green," he sang. "People think you want to outlaw cows and other things." Kermit got in a little dig at President Trump — "So from one puppet to another, please give green a chance" — before things turned a little dark at the end. Watch below. Peter Weber

5:51 a.m.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that constitutional protections against "excessive fines" extend to states through the 14th Amendment, placing limits on the ability of state and local police to seize and keep cars, cash, houses, and other assets used in the commission of crimes, even from people not accused of crimes. The practice, known as civil asset forfeiture, is a common and lucrative source of revenue for states and local governments, and it is frequently abused. The unanimous decision in the case, Timbs v. Indiana, won't end the practice but will allow people whose property was seized to argue in court that the amount taken was disproportionate to the crime.

"The historical and logical case for concluding that the 14th Amendment incorporates the Excessive Fines Clause is overwhelming," Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote for the eight-justice majority. (Justice Clarence Thomas wrote his own opinion.) "For good reason, the protection against excessive fines has been a constant shield throughout Anglo-American history: Exorbitant tolls undermine other constitutional liberties" and "can be used, for example, to retaliate against or chill the speech of political enemies."

In the case at hand, Indiana ordered small-time drug offender Tyson Timbs to pay $1,200 in fines and fees after pleading guilty to selling $225 of heroin, but they also seized his $42,000 Land Rover, arguing that even though he bought it with money from his father's life-insurance policy, he used it to commit crimes. "People are still going to lose their property without being convicted of a crime, they're still going to have their property seized," Wesley Hottot, a lawyer for Timbs, told The New York Times. "The new thing is that they can now say at the end of it all, whether I'm guilty or not, I can argue that it was excessive." Peter Weber

2:27 a.m.

On Wednesday night, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told congressional Democrats and Republicans that the House will "move swiftly" to pass a resolution to terminate President Trump's emergency declaration, and she urged all members of Congress to cosponsor it. "The president's decision to go outside the bounds of the law to try to get what he failed to achieve in the constitutional legislative process violates the Constitution and must be terminated," Pelosi wrote, according to Politico. "We have a solemn responsibility to uphold the Constitution, and defend our system of checks and balances against the president's assault."

Democrats are expected to file the resolution, sponsored by Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), on Friday, after Trump's emergency declaration is recorded in the federal register. But no vote is likely until mid-March, The Associated Press reports. The resolution is expected to pass easily in the Democratic-controlled House, and when the Senate votes no more than 18 days later, it's plausible at least four Republicans will join Democrats to pass it in that chamber. On Wednesday, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) became the first Senate Republican to publicly say she will vote for the resolution. There are probably not enough votes to overcome Trump's expected veto. Peter Weber

1:33 a.m.

Special Counsel "Robert Mueller's report may be delivered as early as next week," Stephen Colbert said on Thursday's Late Show. Among the many unknowns are what kind of "summary" Attorney General William Barr will give Congress, and what, if anything, the public will ever know of Mueller's findings. "We might just get the book report version," he said, stiffly reciting: "The Mueller report was a report written by Robert Mueller. It had many pages and was full of information regarding his report. I found the main character of the president to be cartoonish and unbelievable. And the well represents God."

President Trump would prefer we just don't talk about the Russia investigation, or any of the investigations involving him, as The New York Times tallied on Wednesday, Colbert said. Most of the instances of Trump trying to quash investigations are already public knowledge, and all of them are troubling.

"It's all lies — all of it," Colbert said. "The president attacking his Justice Department, trusting [Russian President Vladimir] Putin over his own intelligence community, calling the FBI a bunch of corrupt deep-state coup-plotters is not normal. It is strange. It's like how Jack in the Box sells tacos for some reason. It may not be illegal but it certainly violates something sacred." The Times had one new revelation, though, and it's quite a doozy.

Yes, "President Trump may have committed obstruction of justice," Trevor Noah said at The Daily Show. "And you're probably thinking, 'Uh, is this a rerun of The Daily Show?' No, it's just that Trump keeps doing the same s--t over and over again. It's like that Netflix show Russian Doll, only with way more Russians." The allegation is that "Trump asked [acting Attorney General] Matt Whitaker to interfere in the Michael Cohen investigation, which is highly unethical," he explained. "Basically right now we're at the point where Trump may be obstructing justice into his obstruction of justice case." Watch below. Peter Weber

1:26 a.m.

The clinking of glasses, the well-wishes from his guests, his new wife saying "I do" — David Alianiello was able to hear all of this during his wedding last weekend.

Alianiello, a 34-year-old teacher from Baltimore, was born with congenital hearing loss. A week before his wedding, he received a cochlear implant, which is an electronic device that partially restores hearing. On the big day, Alianiello could "hear the clapping," he told People. "It was the first time I had ever heard clapping. It was fun to be able to experience the different sounds."

Right after getting the implant, Alianiello heard his daughter, Skyli, singing "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star," which was "very sweet," he said. Alianiello and his wife, Cortney, are expecting their second child, and he's looking forward to listening to more songs from Skyli and "the first words my new baby speaks." Catherine Garcia

12:24 a.m.

"Right now in America, more people are killed by opioids than cars," Trevor Noah said on Wednesday's Daily Show. Opioids "are a national emergency — a genuine national emergency," and "if you listen to the president — which by the way I don't recommend you do — but if you do, he'll point his tiny little blame finger where he normally does: South of the border." Seriously, President Trump "blames Mexico for everything," he said. "But in reality, the opioid crisis is as American as baseball or student loan debt."

It's American doctors who widely over-prescribed large amounts of opioids, but they're "basically low-level henchmen," Noah said, and "at the top of the cartel" are the pharmaceutical companies that make and pushed the drugs — like Insys Therapeutics, which "didn't just bribe doctors to push opioids, they sent strippers to bribe the doctors. And let me just say, when a stripper starts paying you, something fishy is going on." And that's "small-time compared to the Pablo Escobar of opioids, the Sackler family," Noah said. He read some of what he called the "straight-up evil" allegations from the Massachusetts case blaming the Sacklers and their company, Perdue Pharma, for making billions by lying about the addictiveness of OxyContin, blaming the addicts, and trying to get approval for children's OxyContin.

"Knowing all the shady s--t that these people are accused of, you'd think the Sackler family would be shunned from society — but in fact, it's the exact opposite," Noah said. "So really, the Sackler family should be as notorious as Pablo Escobar or El Chapo, because they've also gotten so many Americans hooked on drugs. The one difference is, everyone knows those other guys and they know how bad they are, because they've seen TV shows about them." There's no such show about the Sacklers, but The Daily Show changed that. Watch below. Peter Weber

12:12 a.m.

She arrived at the Grand Canyon as a regular visitor, and left as a junior ranger.

Rose Torphy, 103, went to the national park while vacationing in Arizona last month. Inside the gift shop, she started talking with an employee about the junior ranger program, which educates kids about the Grand Canyon and nature. Before long, she was taking the junior ranger oath to take care of the park and signing her certificate. "I'm happy to protect it for my great-grandchildren to visit one day," she said.

The Grand Canyon will celebrate its 100th anniversary of being a national park on Feb. 26, making Torphy three years older. Torphy says the Grand Canyon was "breathtaking," and even though her vacation is over, her junior ranger pin is still on her coat. "She's a spokesperson for the park now," her daughter, Cheri Stoneburner, told Good Morning America. "Everywhere we go, people ask her about her junior ranger pin and she says, 'You're never too old to see the Grand Canyon.'" Catherine Garcia

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