Quotables
August 12, 2014
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During a private meeting, President Obama reportedly called criticisms of his Syria policy "horsesh-t."

Hillary Clinton and a number of members of Congress have said Obama could have done more to help Syrian rebels, including giving them weapons. The Daily Beast reports that Obama responded to the bipartisan criticism, arguing the notion that providing weapons to rebels sooner would have helped Syria is complete "horsesh-t."

Obama reportedly issued the expletive in response to Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.)'s inquiry about his Syria policy. Corker recently wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post criticizing Obama's foreign policy, saying the president "left [the Syrian opposition] hanging."

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton says that she proposed an initiative to arm the Syrian rebels in 2012, but her plan was rejected.

"I did believe, which is why I advocated this, that if we were to carefully vet, train, and equip early on a core group of the developing Free Syrian Army, we would, number one, have some better insight into what was going on on the ground," Clinton told The Atlantic.

Watch this
5:08 a.m. ET

Ignore the premise of this bit on Tuesday night's Tonight Show — science shows that if you sing lullabies in the voice of Bob Dylan, kids will fall right asleep (not sit upright in terror) — but do watch to see Ethan Hawke and Jimmy Fallon compete to do the better Dylan impersonation. (Spoiler: Fallon.) And parents, even if you can do a better Dylan, don't try this at home —Peter Weber

Noted
4:34 a.m. ET

Andrew Getty, a 47-year-old heir to the Getty oil fortune, was found dead at his Hollywood Hills villa on Tuesday, his family confirmed late Tuesday. The Los Angeles County coroner's office says preliminary information suggests that Getty died of natural causes or an accident, and that no foul play is suspected at this point. Police were called to the house by a woman on Tuesday afternoon, after Getty was found unresponsive in a bathroom. The woman is being treated as a "cooperative witness," according to LAPD spokesman Cmdr. Andrew Smith.

The Los Angeles Times has some more details, gleaned from court records and an unidentified law enforcement source: Getty was found naked from the waist down "and appeared to have suffered from some type of blunt-force trauma," possibly from a fall; he had been feeling unwell in recent weeks; and two weeks ago he had "sought a restraining order against a woman." Getty's parents, Gordon and Ann Getty, asked for privacy. Smith has more information in the Associated Press video below. —Peter Weber

Bieber Roast
3:55 a.m. ET

Comedy Central broadcast its much-anticipated roast of Justin Bieber on Monday night, and on Tuesday night's Jimmy Kimmel Live, Jeff Ross, one of the head roasters, explained how he prepared to whack his easy target. His gleeful preparations included a chance encounter with Bieber's ex-girlfriend, Selena Gomez.

"Excuse me, my name is Jeff Ross and I'm America's roastmaster general, I'm on official business to roast Justin Bieber vicariously for the whole world, and I need some advice," Ross said he told Gomez when they met at a party at his agent's house. Her response, according to Ross: "Tell Justin the truth. The truth always worked for me." Ross' response doesn't match that level of class, obviously:

On Tuesday's Late Night, fellow roastmaster Chris D'Elia related his totally different Gomez experience — her fans inadvertently goaded him into making lots of Selena Gomez jokes at the roast, he told Seth Meyers. Watch D'Elia explain why roasting strangers is more perilous than mocking your loved ones, and why he gets delighted at the idea of dying at the hands of a 12-year-old Gomez fan. —Peter Weber

RIP
3:24 a.m. ET

In 1975, a freelance copy writer named Gary Dahl got the idea for the Pet Rock — an ordinary rock, packaged in a pet carrier, requiring no food or care — at a California bar, and the Pet Rock's astronomical success made Dahl an overnight millionaire. He died on March 23 in Jacksonville, Oregon, at age 78, and The New York Times remembers him in a delightful obituary posted late Tuesday.

"Despite the boon Pet Rocks brought him, Mr. Dahl came to regret the brainstorm that gave rise to them in the first place," notes Margalit Fox. And it wasn't just because he lost a six-figure lawsuit to one of his two investors:

Though the rock made him wealthy, it also made him wary, for he was besieged ever after by hordes of would-be inventors, seeking his advice on the next big thing. "There's a bizarre lunatic fringe who feel I owe them a living," Mr. Dahl told The Associated Press in 1988. "Sometimes I look back and wonder if my life wouldn't have been simpler if I hadn’t done it." [New York Times]

Simpler, it should be noted, isn't necessarily better. Read the entire obit of Dahl in The New York Times.

Last Night on Late Late Night
2:45 a.m. ET

When Parks & Rec ended its heroic run on network TV, Aubrey Plaza gave each of her costars little vials containing her blood, fingernails, and hair, she confirmed to James Corden on Tuesday's Late Late Show. That sounds a little creepy — at least to Corden's other guests, Matthew Perry and Thomas Lennon — but Plaza's explanation is kind of sweet, in an offbeat sort of way. Sort of like Parks & Rec. Watch below. —Peter Weber

Clemency
2:07 a.m. ET
Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images

On Tuesday, President Obama granted commutations to 22 people serving time in federal prison for drug-related crimes, mostly involving the sale of cocaine.

"Had they been sentenced under current laws and policies, many of these individuals would have already served their time and paid their debt to society," White House Counsel Neil Eggleston said in a statement. "Because many were convicted under an outdated sentencing regime, they served years — in some cases more than a decade — longer than individuals convicted today of the same crime."

Tuesday's acts of clemency roughly double the number of sentences Obama has commented while in office, to 43 total. George W. Bush commuted 11 sentences over his two terms, Eggleston notes; he doesn't mention that Bush pardoned 189 people, versus Obama's 64 pardons so far.

Get Well Soon
1:21 a.m. ET
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell was rushed to a hospital in the Los Angels area on Tuesday, her official website confirmed early Wednesday:

Mitchell, 71, was reportedly taken to the hospital by an ambulance at about 2:30 p.m. from her Bel Air home. While no cause for her hospitalization has been provided, Mitchell said last December that she has a rare skin disorder called Morgellons disease that keeps her from performing.

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