April 11, 2014

Watch out Citi Bike, there's a new sharing system in town.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the company 'brellaBox will set up 500 green boxes full of umbrellas throughout the city. Pedestrians will be able to rent an umbrella for $2.50 for 12 hours, or purchase one for $15. The pilot program will roll out this May in Manhattan's Financial District, and if all goes well, the program will be in full effect next spring.

Like any New York sharing system, there are bound to be obstacles (and maybe a ridiculous logo). But the thought of never having to run to the corner store in water-filled shoes again makes this idea seem pretty genius. Kaitlin Roberts

smoke weed every day?
5:01 p.m. ET

"Smoke weed every Wednesday" could become a new mantra for members of Indiana's First Church of Cannabis, which held its first formal service today.

Indiana made waves a few months ago when it passed a controversial version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), banning state and local laws that could "substantially burden" religious freedom. Critics of the legislation were concerned it would permit discrimination against the LGBT community, using religion as justification. Though the law was later amended to prevent such occurrences, Bill Levin, founder and "Grand Poobah and Minister of Love," created the First Church of Cannabis as a way to test the law.

"Of course I'm going to test this law," said Levin, a religious smoker himself, in an interview with U.S. News. "We're building a church with the cornerstone of love, the way religions are supposed to be built.”

In the middle of Wednesday afternoon, when plenty of attendees apparently had time on their hands, the church held its first-ever service. The proceedings had many things a regular church-goer would expect — including a performance of "Amazing Grace", a collection, and even a sermon — though there were, of course, some eccentric flourishes (church leaders took shots of "Kool Aid" at one point).

Though there were no illegal substances permitted during the service, I think it's safe to say they were there in spirit. Read more at Mashable. Stephanie Talmadge

Guacpocalypse Now
3:36 p.m. ET

Some things in this life are unforgivable. Peas in guacamole is one of them.

Um... how about no?

Following the offending tweet from The New York Times, the internet has responded in the only way it knows how: with collective outrage.

Even the Texas GOP weighed in, calling The New York Times' suggestion a "war on Texas" (never mind that pretty much everything is a war on Texas):

Many others, however, were similarly offended.

Uh, Minnesotan grape salad instead, anyone? Jeva Lange

what's in a name
3:20 p.m. ET
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Sorry, Redskins: No name change, no new stadium. The Obama administration is really putting its foot down, and plans to block Washington, D.C. authorities from building a new stadium for the city's football team because of the controversy surrounding the racist origins of its name. And because the land where city leaders and Redskins officials want to move the new stadium is the property of the National Park Service (NPS), they're in a bit of a pickle.

Right now, the team plays out in suburban Maryland, but officials have been discussing the possibility of bringing the team back into D.C. to play at the 54-year-old Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, which is two miles east of the Capitol. Officials were hoping to demolish the old stadium, where the Redskins played from 1991 to 1996, and replace it with a brand new one.

Obama has previously said that he wishes the team's name were changed, and the Patent and Trademark office has canceled the team's trademark. However, the Redskins might once again scrape by unchanged and get their stadium. While NPS explicitly said it would not support the stadium's construction, it did say that those in favor of the stadium are "nonetheless free to pursue legislation that would authorize the construction." Moreover, with Obama's limited time left in office, blocking a pass on the football stadium likely isn't a top priority. Becca Stanek

knew you were trouble
2:39 p.m. ET
Phil Inglis/Getty Images

The U.S. Justice Department is investigating the possibility that airlines have been colluding to keep ticket prices high, The Associated Press has learned. Justice Department spokeswoman Emily Pierce confirmed the report, saying that the antitrust investigation seeks to uncover any "unlawful coordination" among some airlines. Although Pierce would not name the companies under investigation, some airline stocks have already begun to drop in the wake of the report.

Mergers have left American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines in control of 80 percent of the seats available in the United States, AP says. Tactics like eliminating unprofitable flights and filling higher seat percentages are allegedly used to keep the supply of tickets down, thus boosting prices. Jeva Lange

uber drama
2:32 p.m. ET
AP Photo/Nelson Antoine

Talk about some global issues. After last week's protests in Paris led to the indictment of two Uber executives in France, the ride-sharing company has already hit another roadblock — on the other side of the world.

In Brasilia, Brazil's capital, the city council voted to ban ride-sharing apps. And now Sao Paolo, the country's biggest city, is on its way to doing the same, voting 48-1 on Tuesday to prohibit its 12 million citizens from using smartphone-based ride-sharing apps. While Sao Paolo's ban still needs another vote and then approval from its mayor, and Brasilia's needs a final sign-off from its governor, Uber has remained defiant, posting on its Facebook page that the company "defends the right of users to choose the way they want to move about the city."

Uber has assumed a similarly flippant attitude in response to similar allegations in France, which a spokesperson for Uber called a "piece of pure calumny," The Wall Street Journal reports. The two Uber executives in France are facing charges including the illicit storage of personal data and the enabling of illegal taxi services. Becca Stanek

Takei Takedown
2:13 p.m. ET

Former Star Trek star George Takei and MSNBC's The Last Word host Lawrence O'Donnell agree that there's nothing especially "traditional" about Donald Trump's view of marriage — come on, the man's been married three times! But during an appearance on The Last Word, Takei was able to offer the insider scoop to O'Donnell.

Takei had formerly appeared on the fifth season of Celebrity Apprentice, and during a press conference for the show, Takei — himself an LGBT activist — asked Trump to discuss marriage equality over lunch. Trump, to his surprise, agreed. During the lunch, Trump further surprised Takei by revealing he'd just come from the gay wedding of a "very important Broadway personality."

"He said, 'You know what, George, I just came from a gay marriage,' and he told me, 'They are good friends of mine, it was a beautiful marriage,'" Takei said. "And I said, 'Then why can't you support marriage equality? You go to weddings of same-sex couples.' And he said, 'Well, I'm for traditional marriage.'"

But Trump's own marital history is "not traditional," according to Takei, who himself has been wedded to his husband, Brad Altman, for seven of their 27 years together.

"I think Donald Trump's interpretation of marriage is something that he really himself doesn't really believe in," Takei said.

Takei added that he believes Trump could come around on his so-called "traditional marriage" opinion, though. "He's a businessman," Takei said. "I think he's capable of saying anything that will be good for business or in whatever situation he should find himself in." Watch the full interview below. Jeva Lange

1:52 p.m. ET
Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

In 1938, a British stockbroker traveled to Czechoslovakia, and through a combination of hard work, fundraising, bribes, and great personal risk, rescued 669 Jewish children from the Nazis. He then said nothing about what he had done for 50 years.

His name was Nicholas Winton, and he died today at 106 years old. The dramatic rescue only came to public attention after his wife discovered a scrapbook about it in 1988. He was subsequently hailed as the "British Schindler," and given the Czech Republic's highest award, among many others, though he was reportedly baffled by all the attention.

By the end of the war, practically all of the children were orphans, their parents having died in Nazi extermination camps. Today, they and their descendants number over 6,000. Ryan Cooper

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