September 15, 2014
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The Department of Justice is launching a new program today in partnership with the White House, the Department of Homeland Security, and the National Counterterrorism Center that will train "community leaders" like teachers and social workers to monitor their communities for signs of radicalization. If the trainees think they have observed burgeoning radicalism, they are to report the potentially radicalized person(s) to law enforcement so the government can intervene before any crime has been committed.

In his announcement of the initiative, Attorney General Eric Holder described the program as a way to "be both innovative and aggressive in countering violent extremism and combating those who would sow intolerance, division, and hate" in the homeland. He labeled it an expansion of existent efforts to "to identify threats before they emerge, to disrupt homegrown terrorists, and to apprehend would-be violent extremists." Presumably this is only a stop-gap program until precogs can be developed for war on terror use. Bonnie Kristian

3:49 p.m. ET

A former Playboy model who says she had an affair with President Trump is suing the media company that paid her to stay silent about the allegations back in 2016, The New York Times reports. The model, Karen McDougal, filed a lawsuit Tuesday to be released from the agreement.

The New York Times reports that McDougal was paid $150,000 by American Media Inc., the parent company of The National Enquirer, in the summer of 2016. The media company then buried the story, never publishing her allegations. David Pecker, the CEO of AMI, once called Trump a "personal friend," Rolling Stone noted last month.

In the lawsuit filed Tuesday, McDougal argues the contract is invalid because AMI and her lawyer at the time misled her about the agreement. She also alleges that Michael Cohen, Trump's personal lawyer, was secretly involved in the negotiations to bury the story and provide payment.

McDougal's allegations and details of AMI's payment were first reported by The Wall Street Journal in November 2016, as were strikingly similar allegations from adult film star Stormy Daniels, who is also involved in litigation to speak freely about Trump. After McDougal spoke of the 2006 affair in an interview with The New Yorker published last month, AMI told her that "any further disclosures" would be considered a breach of contract and "cause considerable monetary damages," reports the Times.

Trump has denied all allegations of an affair with both McDougal and Daniels. Read the full report on McDougal's lawsuit at The New York Times. Summer Meza

2:29 p.m. ET

United Airlines won't load any more large animals on flights until it figures out what's going wrong with its furry passengers.

Last week, a dog died after it was put in an overhead compartment. The next day, a German Shepherd from Kansas was swapped with a Great Dane and sent to Japan. Two days after that, another flight was diverted to drop off a pet that had been loaded on the wrong plane.

The mistakes prompted United to announce it would suspend PetSafe, its program for transporting large animals in climate-controlled compartments, "to conduct a thorough and systematic review" of how to improve the program. Any PetSafe reservations made before Tuesday will be honored, but the program will be shuttered from now on.

United already said it would review its animal transport system before making the announcement Tuesday. It's decided to introduce color-coded tags to identify carry-on pets as one solution to the overheard compartment debacle.

Passengers can still bring small animals as carry-ons during thePetSafereview, which United expects to wrap up by May 1, per its website. Kathryn Krawczyk

2:08 p.m. ET
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Update 2:26 p.m. ET: The San Antonio police chief told the Austin-American Statesman that he "misspoke when he claimed a second suspicious package was found at a FedEx facility in Schertz." A second device was not found, and The Washington Post has likewise amended their reporting. Our original article appears below.

Police have discovered a second explosive device at a FedEx facility in Schertz, Texas, where an early morning explosion left one employee injured, The Washington Post reports. The second device had not yet detonated when it was uncovered by the police, and authorities hope it will offer clues to help identify a suspect believed to be serially bombing residents of Austin, where the devices at the Schertz facility were reportedly headed.

The Schertz police chief told reporters that investigators are "confident that neither this facility nor any location in the Schertz area was the target" of Tuesday's bombs.

To date, the Austin bombings have killed two people and injured an additional four. "In bomb investigations, unexploded devices can be critical to narrowing the search for suspects, because the materials used to assemble the device can be traced back to the supplier — and, in many cases, the individual purchaser," writes The Washington Post. Jeva Lange

1:50 p.m. ET

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos testified on her department's budget before the House Appropriations subcommittee Tuesday, on the heels of her disastrous appearance on 60 Minutes last week. The hearing did not go much better: DeVos found herself facing a hostile crowd of Democrats, who expressed open frustration with her lack of answers. Watch some of the most uncomfortable moments below. Jeva Lange

Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.): Is there some problem? Yes or no. Will you guarantee—

DeVos: I think I've been clear—

Clark: Then say yes or no!

DeVos: Yes!

Clark: Okay, great. Thank you. Wow, it took a year.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.): Madam Secretary, you just don't care much about the civil rights of black and brown children. This is horrible.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.): What's the best way to prevent another young person from taking lives at the hands of a gun?

DeVos: I think there are a number of ways to address this, the president has been very clear in his focus.

DeLauro: What are they?

DeVos: There are ways to prevent young people from getting guns, who should not be having guns, from having them.

Clark: What about after-school programs? You also eliminated the 21st Century Community Centers, that's 80,000 kids in Florida alone.

DeVos: … There's no data to show [after-school programs] are effective in what the stated goal has been —

Clark: What do you mean there is no data? There is study after study after study.

1:39 p.m. ET

A Scottish man who was arrested after he trained a dog to give a Nazi salute was found guilty of a hate crime Tuesday.

In 2016, Mark Meechan posted a video that showed him teaching his girlfriend's pug to raise his paw upon hearing "sieg heil" or "gas the Jews." The video was viewed more than a million times. Meechan defended his behavior as a way to prank his girlfriend, and said after he was arrested that he doesn't "actually hate Jewish people."

In the video, Meechan says that his girlfriend often talked about "how cute" her dog was, "so I thought I would turn him into the least cute thing I could think of, which is a Nazi." But officials in the U.K. disagreed that it was a harmless joke. The judge involved in the case said that Meechan "knew that the material was offensive" and that he must have known it was "grossly offensive to many Jewish people," reports The Jewish Chronicle.

Meechan's sentencing will take place in April. Read more at The Jewish Chronicle. Summer Meza

1:32 p.m. ET

The first trailer for the Mister Rogers' Neighborhood documentary is here, and it's a tearjerker.

Won't You By My Neighbor follows the classic children's show from its low-budget start on a Pittsburgh public TV station to earning its place in pop culture history. It promises an inside look at how Fred Rogers introduced tough topics to children, how he used the show as a vehicle for equality, and an explanation for his welcome message that became documentary's title.

It also promises to give you goosebumps.

Tuesday would've been Rogers' 90th birthday, and there are a few other ways to celebrate beyond watching the trailer: Twitch is hosting a marathon of the show, while Entertainment Weekly picked up fresh details on another Rogers-inspired film, You Are My Friend. The latter film is not a biopic, director Marielle Heller insists, and stars Tom Hanks as Rogers as he befriends a "cynical journalist."

We're still waiting for a glimpse of Hanks in a cardigan, but in the meantime, you can watch the trailer for Won't You By My Neighbor below. Kathryn Krawczyk

1:14 p.m. ET
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Former New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn dismissed Cynthia Nixon as being an "unqualified lesbian" after the actress announced she is going to challenge New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the Democratic primary. Quinn, who made her comments to the New York Post, also expressed irritation that Nixon endorsed her Democratic primary opponent for New York City mayor in 2013, Bill de Blasio.

"Cynthia Nixon was opposed to having a qualified lesbian become mayor of New York City," Quinn said. "Now she wants to be an unqualified lesbian to be the governor of New York. You have to be qualified and have experience. She isn't qualified to be the governor."

Quinn additionally praised Cuomo, saying the incumbent has "accomplished [a lot] including a $15 minimum wage" and "opposing fracking."

Nixon responded to Quinn in a statement, saying "her being a lesbian and my being a lesbian" is not the issue, and that the race is about "the corruption in Albany."

Cuomo has also taken shots at Nixon, a former Sex and the City star, telling reporters: "If it's just about name recognition, I'm hoping that Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, and Billy Joel don't get into the race."

Update 2:57 p.m.: Christine Quinn has apologized for her remark in a series of tweets: "To be clear, Cynthia Nixon's identity had no bearing on her candidacy and it was not my intention to suggest it did," she said. "I want to be clear about that. I would never, EVER criticize someone because of their identity." Read her full response here. Jeva Lange

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