August 15, 2014

Richard G. Hendrickson knows a thing or two about the weather. For the past 84 years, he has reported every rain shower and wind storm that has crossed over his Long Island, New York, farm.

Hendrickson, 101, is the longest serving weather observer in the country, according to meteorologist I. Ross Dickman, the head of New York's weather forecast office. In July, Hendrickson was honored for his service with a special award given by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA). "Volunteer observers are the bedrock of weather data collection," Dickman said in a statement

At 18, Hendrickson started reporting weather data to what was then called the U.S. Weather Bureau. "I like being outside in the open," he told National Geographic. "It is delightful when the weather is delightful. It's more challenging when it is wet and winds are blowing at 40 miles per hour."

Using a thermometer, rain gauge, and weather vane, Hendrickson has made more than 150,000 weather observations over his lifetime. He's learned a lot over the past eight decades, including to respect Mother Nature. "The weather is the boss," he said. "Never forget it." Catherine Garcia

12:20 p.m. ET

Numerous sources reported Wednesday that American University of Afghanistan, located in Kabul, is under attack. "Several gunmen attacked the American University in Kabul and there are reports of gunfire and explosions," an Afghan interior ministry official told Reuters.

Hundreds of students and several American professors, as well as Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Massoud Hossaini, are believed to be trapped inside the university compound. Many have reportedly managed to escape through emergency doors.

The attack comes just weeks after two professors were kidnapped on Aug. 8 from the university by five gunmen in Afghan military uniforms. Becca Stanek

11:22 a.m. ET
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Donald Trump's new campaign manager Kellyanne Conway is confident there are more people voting for Trump than polls would suggest — they just don't want to admit it. In an interview with the UK's Channel 4, Conway explained why the polls, which overwhelmingly show Trump lagging behind rival Hillary Clinton, don't tell the whole story. "Donald Trump performs consistently better in online polling where a human being is not talking to another human being about what he or she may do in the election," Conway said. "It's because it's become socially desirable, especially if you're a college-educated person in the United States of America, to say that you're against Donald Trump."

When asked if she had any numbers to support that claim, Conway demurred, saying it's "a project we're doing internally" and that she can't yet discuss the details. "I call it the 'undercover Trump voter,'" Conway said, "but it's real."

Head over to Mediaite to watch Conway explain her theory on Channel 4. Becca Stanek

11:08 a.m. ET

Donald Trump will be sharing a stage with Brexit leader Nigel Farage in Jackson, Mississippi, on Wednesday night. Sky News' Darren McCaffrey reports that Farage will not endorse Trump, but will be "there to tell the Brexit story."

"Brexit is just massive over here," Farage told The Daily Telegraph, referring to the United States. He added: "I went to the [Republican] convention in Cleveland and I just could not believe that ordinary people [were] talking to me about Brexit." Trump has deemed himself "Mr. Brexit" on Twitter, despite apparently not closely following the vote, which took place in June and determined Britain will leave the European Union.

"Trump's GOP is essentially a European far right party. Increasingly making it official," NBC News' Benjy Sarlin said. Jeva Lange

10:31 a.m. ET
Insomniac via Getty Images

Cook County, Illinois, which includes the city of Chicago, has decided that concerts featuring rap — along with country, rock, and electronic music — do not count as music or culture.

The announcement is part of a transparent attempt to bolster tax revenue, as smaller venues hosting such concerts are exempt from a 3 percent amusement tax if the events are classified as "live theatrical, live musical, or other live cultural performances." Cook County now says such musical performances don't count — a rule change that allows the county to demand $200,000 in back taxes from one venue alone.

Questioned on the matter at a hearing this week, the county government held its ground. "Rap music, country music, and rock 'n' roll do not fall under the purview of 'fine art,'" a county official insisted, perhaps to the surprise of Chicago natives like Kanye West, Common, and Chance the Rapper.

Pat Doerr of the Hospitality Business Association of Chicago says he believes the county's decision will eventually be struck down in court, but not before some venues are forced to close by the financial strain of a lengthy legal battle. Bonnie Kristian

10:26 a.m. ET
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

On Wednesday night, the next chapter of Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) political revolution will begin, starting with the launch of an organization called Our Revolution. The group will be focused on tackling economic inequality, which was Sanders' flagship issue during his presidential campaign — but as The New York Times reported Wednesday, this new movement is already being weighed down by lingering problems from Sanders' primary run:

Several people familiar with the organization said eight core staff members have stepped down. The group's entire organizing department quit this week, along with people working in digital and data positions.

After the resignations, Mr. Sanders spoke to some who had quit and asked them to reconsider, but the staff members refused.

At the heart of the issue, according to several people who left, was deep distrust of and frustration with Mr. [Jeff] Weaver, whom they accused of wasting money on television advertising during Mr. Sanders' campaign; mismanaging campaign funds by failing to hire staff or effectively target voters; and creating a hostile work environment by threatening to criticize staff members if they quit. [The New York Times]

Of all those concerns, perhaps the biggest is the fear that Sanders' former campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, would be okay with using "dark money" — something Sanders has frequently railed against for its lack of transparency. Claire Sandberg, who worked on Sanders' presidential campaign and was formerly the organizing director of Our Revolution, told The New York Times that if the group did indeed use dark money, it would "betray its core purpose by accepting money from billionaires and not remaining grass-roots funded and plowing that billionaire cash into TV instead of investing it in building a genuine movement."

Head over to The New York Times for more on the drama behind Sanders' latest project. Becca Stanek

10:20 a.m. ET
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Chicago police have been left scratching their heads over Donald Trump's claim that he met with a "top" officer who told him the city's crime problem could be solved completely in a week.

"How?" Trump told Fox News' Bill O'Reilly on Monday. "By being very much tougher than they are right now. They're right now not tough. I could tell you this very long and quite boring story. But when I was in Chicago, I got to meet a couple of very top police. I said, 'How do you stop this? How do you stop this? If you were put in charge — to a specific person — do you think you could stop it?' He said, 'Mr. Trump, I'd be able to stop it in one week.' And I believed him 100 percent," Trump said.

Chicago police spokesman Frank Giancamilla, however, vehemently disagreed with Trump's story. "We've discredited this claim months ago. No one in the senior command at CPD has ever met with Donald Trump or a member of his campaign," Giancamili told Chicago 5 in a statement. Trump's campaign clarified to the Chicago Tribune on Tuesday that their candidate hadn't spoken to "top" officers so much as he had spoken to "some talented and dedicated police officers on a prior visit."

Whoever it was, Trump claimed the officer he spoke with had a plan to solve Chicago crime. "I'm sure he's got a strategy," Trump told O'Reilly. "I didn't ask him his strategy." Jeva Lange

10:05 a.m. ET
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Ten-year-old Legend Preston was playing basketball with friends in his neighborhood in Newark, New Jersey, a couple weeks ago when the ball bounced out into the street. He went to retrieve it and looked up to see multiple police officers running at him, shotguns drawn.

Preston panicked, as any fifth grader would do under the circumstances. "I ran because they thought that I rolled the ball into the street on purpose," he said, "and they were just holding shotguns at me trying to shoot me." The cops gave chase, and soon he was cornered in an alley with the guns allegedly pointed at his head.

Fortunately, neighbors saw the whole thing happen, and a group followed the officers into the alley to intervene. "This is a child!" they yelled, while the police insisted Preston "[matched] the description" of the suspect they sought. Though both Preston and the suspect in question are African-American, the man the police were after is twice the grade-schooler's age, several inches taller, and has dreadlocks and facial hair (Preston has a buzz cut and is too young to shave).

"When I think about my child staring at the end of a gun," said Preston's mother, Patisha Solomon, "one wrong move, and my child wouldn't be here right now. My son could have tripped. He could have reached for a toy. They could have done anything to my son and it could have been his fault." Solomon said the officers told her she could file a complaint but admitted no wrongdoing. Bonnie Kristian

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