May 17, 2018

"Much of the English-speaking world has been torn in two over the past 48 hours," Jimmy Kimmel said on Wednesday's Kimmel Live, playing the word that some people hear as "laurel" and others, apparently, as "yanny." Kimmel's audience was divided, and he said he used to hear one but now hears the other. "But whether you hear 'laurel' or 'yanny,' there's one thing I think we can all agree on: Nothing has ever mattered less than this," Kimmel said. And yet, the internet has exploded with theories "about why we hear what we hear, and also comparing this to that blue dress/gold dress thing from a few years ago."

Kimmel had a more philosophical takeaway: "Ultimately, it illustrates that what is real isn't absolute. What we believe to be true depends on who we are, where we are, how we look at it, other individual factors like that — what's real to one person might not be real to another person. And if that is true, which I now think it is, I may now owe Donald Trump an apology." He doesn't, but he did note that it's "good to fight about something stupid again."

On The Tonight Show, Jimmy Fallon and Steve Higgins heard "yanny" while The Roots heard "laurel" — and Questlove did a remix, then punted. "I think it's both," Fallon finally decided. "I spent way too much time on that."

Everybody has, Trevor Noah said on The Daily Show. And "everyone had different theories, trying to figure out if maybe different types of people heard different things — like maybe old people heard 'laurel' and young people heard 'yanny,' or black people heard 'laurel' and the police heard 'He's got a gun!!!'" But he offered a solution that just might heal this divide: "We need President Trump to tell us what he heard, and then everyone will immediately know what they think." Watch below. Peter Weber

9:33 a.m. ET

Twitter has suspended the account of far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones for a week, saying Tuesday that he violated the company's rules against inciting violence by tweeting a link to a video urging supporters to get their "battle rifles" ready against the media and others. Jones will be able to browse Twitter but not tweet or retweet during the suspension.

The account of his media website and show Infowars was not affected. The move came about a week after Apple, Facebook, YouTube, and Spotify announced they were banning Jones due to hate speech. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said at the time that Jones had not violated his company's rules, which prohibit threats of violence and hate speech but not deception and misinformation. Jones has circulated many conspiracy theories, and called the Sandy Hook school shooting a hoax. Harold Maass

8:06 a.m. ET

"All hell is breaking loose in Washington as the battle between President Trump and his former adviser/Apprentice contestant Omarosa rages on," Jimmy Kimmel said on Tuesday's Kimmel Live. "I'm not sure who I'm supposed to root for in this — it's like Lord Voldemort versus King Joffrey." In her new book, Unhinged, Manigault Newman "called the president racist, a bigot, and a misogynist. She also claims to have heard a recording of Trump using the N-word several times," he added, reading some of Trump's tweeted denials, including the one where he celebrated firing "that dog" Omarosa. "Only Donald Trump would defend himself from being racist by saying something sexist," Kimmel sighed. "I think this is what Melania was talking about when she said Be Best."

Manigault Newman got some backup on the N-word tape from fellow former Apprentice contestants Penn Jillette and Tom Arnold, and she also released a secret recording of Trump campaign officials talking about how to respond to a tape of Trump saying the N-word. The White House is worried that Omarosa has dozens of other tapes, that other staffers have tapes, and that the Apprentice tape will come out, "and on top of all those, we uncovered this tape today of the president using all kinds of N-words, N-words galore," Kimmel said.

On The Tonight Show, Jimmy Fallon put on his Trump outfit and makeup and anchored the Trump News Network. "Omarosa calls me a racist and a misogynist, but that is ridiculous — I am not a racist," he said. "My Cabinet is full of African-Americans. There's Ben Carson. Anyway..."

Late Night's Seth Meyers tried actually firing a dog. "We had our fun here," he said after the predictable, adorable debacle, "but in regards to this Omarosa business, let's not forget that anyone who calls a black woman a dog is a racist with a rotted-out soul." Watch below. Peter Weber

7:12 a.m. ET

Lots of cities, maybe all cities, have issues with public urination — well-traveled neighborhoods smell like stale pee, walls become tagged with a sort of organic vandalism, and there's always the risk of public exposure of private parts. Paris is aiming to solve at least two of those problems with a new open-air urinal-planter to provide men with a more sanitary and responsible — though not private — alternative to quaint streets and scenic bridges. Dubbed the "uritrottoir" — a combination of the French words for urine and sidewalk — the red public urinals collect the pee in straw that is supposed to be transfigured into compost, sans odor. Not all locals find this solution ideal, as this Washington Post report shows:

The Paris City Council will review the pilot program in September. If they say "non," Paris could always borrow Hamburg's idea of spraying walls along its beer-soaked Reeperbahn with a water-repellant paint that rewards public urinators with a shower of their own bodily fluids. But that might be too mean for a city that prides itself on love. Peter Weber

4:40 a.m. ET

Before Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) officially won his Democratic nomination in Vermont on Tuesday, he sat down with Stephen Colbert on The Late Show. Colbert asked why he wasn't in Vermont — Sanders said he'd voted that morning — and what democratic socialism means for Sanders and his allies. Sanders said it mean a $15-an-hour minimum wage, a national right to health care, tuition-free public college, and clean energy.

"Other people have espoused those ideas without calling themselves socialists," Colbert noted. The Democratic Party has been "socialist-curious" since the New Deal, he added, so why adopt "socialist," a label "freighted with so much negativity"? Sanders said his ideas are now "mainstream" and broadly popular, "and I think also people, in their gut, understand that we're living in a very strange moment in American history, above and beyond Donald Trump — which is very strange." Colbert asked what could be stranger than Trump, and Sanders said the unbelievably voracious "greed of the people on top," America's yawning wealth inequality, and the limitless dark money in politics.

Colbert brought up the 2020 election, noting that a betting site has Sanders tied with Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) as the likely Democratic presidential nominee. "You want to lay a bet on who gets to face Donald Trump in 2020?" he asked Sanders, who said absolutely not. So Colbert asked if Sanders would "announce to the people here that you are not running in 2020," and Sanders said "no" to that, too. He added that he's focusing on ending the GOP's grip on power in Washington this year, and "it is too early to be talking about 2020." Watch below. Peter Weber

3:08 a.m. ET

When reporters asked White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Tuesday about allegations that President Trump used the N-word and it was captured on tape, Sanders said she "can't guarantee" such a tape doesn't exist, and then she pivoted to jobs. "When President Obama left after eight years in office — eight years in office — he had only created 195,000 jobs for African Americans," Sanders claimed, incorrectly. "President Trump in his first year and a half has already tripled what President Obama did in eight years."

On Tuesday night, Sanders acknowledged her mistake on Twitter: "Correction from today's briefing: Jobs numbers for Pres. Trump and Pres. Obama were correct, but the time frame for Pres. Obama wasn't. I'm sorry for the mistake, but no apologies for the 700,000 jobs for African Americans created under President Trump." The White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) took responsibility for her error. According to government statistics, The Washington Post reports, nearly 3 million jobs were created during former President Barack Obama's two terms in office. Politico's Ben White has the graph:

The CEA explained that it looked at jobs numbers from Obama's election in 2008, during the peak of the Great Recession, and Trump's election in 2016. "The selection of dates is somewhat unusual because it takes into account job gains or losses before Trump and Obama took office," the Post notes. "In any event, economists generally regard a president's ability to shape employment trends as limited." Peter Weber

2:07 a.m. ET
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

On Tuesday, Jahana Hayes, the 2016 national Teacher of the Year and a first-time candidate, beat longtime regional politician and presumptive frontrunner Mary Glassman in the Democratic primary for Connecticut's 5th congressional district. Hayes will face former Meriden Mayor Manny Santos (R) in the general election; Cook Political Report rates the district solidly Democratic. If Hayes wins, she will be the first African-American Democrat from Connecticut in Congress and the first black congresswoman from New England.

Being the first nonwhite Democrat elected to Congress in Connecticut "absolutely plays into everything," Hayes, 46, tells The New York Times. "Because while I see myself as someone who can be a representative of all people, I'd be lying if I didn't say that it would be important to so many people in my community. So many people in this state, and not just blacks, but for all people who want to show that we are a community that welcomes everyone." Peter Weber

1:57 a.m. ET

July 16 was a big day for Jeremiah Dickerson.

Not only was the 4-year-old adopted by his foster parents, Jordan and Cole Dickerson, but he also got to announce to the world that he's going to be a big brother, with his sister due in January. "It was an emotional day," his mom, Jordan, told Good Morning America. "In the end, Jeremiah has blessed our family more than we could ever imagine."

Jordan Dickerson is a pediatric nurse at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital in Memphis, and that's where she met Jeremiah in January 2017. She "fell in love with his smile and joy," she said. He needed to go to a foster home where the parents knew how to take care of his tracheal tube, and Jordan said she couldn't shake the feeling that he was supposed to be with her family. Jeremiah was placed with another foster family, but he soon returned to the hospital, and Jordan and Cole knew they couldn't let him go this time.

They went through training for foster parents and background checks, and in June 2017, Jeremiah was living in their home. A year later, surrounded by friends and family, he was officially adopted, and outside of the Tennessee courthouse he posed for photos holding a picture of his sister's sonogram behind a sign reading, "Today I became a Dickerson. Up next ... big brother." He said he already plans on teaching his sister how to dance and play basketball and baseball. Catherine Garcia

See More Speed Reads