the ultimate weatherman
August 15, 2014
Twitter.com/malbertnews

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

Race and the South
12:43 p.m. ET
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Less than two weeks after a white man shot and killed nine people at a historic African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, officials granted approval to the Ku Klux Klan to hold a pro-Confederate flag rally on the Statehouse grounds.

The KKK's reservation was confirmed by Brian Gains of the South Carolina Budget and Control Board, Politico reports. Gains explained in an email that the KKK was given the reservation because the office allows "any group, regardless of ideology, to reserve the grounds on a first-come, first-serve basis."

The event is slated for July 18 from 3-5 p.m. James Spears, Great Titan of the Ku Klux Klan's Pelham, North Carolina chapter, which reserved the grounds, said the group will be protesting "the Confederate flag being t[aken] down for all the reasons." Becca Stanek

Quoteables
12:28 p.m. ET

One day after NBC severed ties with 2016 GOP nominee Donald Trump over "derogatory statements" he made about Mexican immigrants, fellow GOP candidate Sen. Ted Cruz has sided with Trump.

"When it comes to Donald Trump, I like Donald Trump. I think he's terrific. I think he's brash. I think he speaks the truth," Cruz said in a Tuesday morning interview on Fox & Friends. Cruz added that NBC is "engaging in political correctness that is silly and that is wrong."

NBC announced Monday it would no longer air the Miss USA and Miss Universe beauty pageants, which Trump owns, and indicated Trump would be bumped from his role as host of The Apprentice. 

When asked if Mexican immigrants are "mostly" rapists and drug dealers, as Trump suggested in his speech, Cruz replied: "They're not mostly that. But Donald Trump — he has a way of speaking that gets attention. And I credit him for focusing on an issue that needs to be focused on."

"I don't think you should apologize for speaking out against the problem that is illegal immigration," Cruz said. "Donald Trump is exactly right to highlight the need" to crack down on illegal immigration, he added.

Trump expressed gratitude for having Cruz in his corner, sending a "thank you" tweet on Tuesday morning. Emily Goldberg

2016
11:58 a.m. ET
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

On Tuesday morning, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie formally announced his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in the gymnasium of his old high school in Livingston, New Jersey. "I am now ready to fight for the people of the United States of America," he said.

Christie critiqued the dysfunction of Congress and President Obama, and emphasized the country's need for "strong leadership and decisiveness to lead America again." He promised to run a campaign "without spin or focus on group pandering."

"You're going to get what I think," the tough-talking governor said, "whether or not you like it."

The New Jersey governor was once a rising GOP star — many high-powered conservatives all but begged him to run for president in 2012 — but his fortunes have since tanked, largely due to a 2013 scandal about politically motivated traffic on the George Washington Bridge. Christie is the 14th GOP candidate to enter the presidential race. Becca Stanek

red flag
11:30 a.m. ET

The hits keep on coming for J. Crew, the American retailer with a downtown preppy aesthetic. After a round of layoffs in early June, the brand's CEO Mickey Drexler has put his sprawling Hamptons estate up for sale. There's only one problem: As Gawker points out, interior photos of the $85 million home show a framed Confederate flag hanging on the wall in one room:

Though the flag on Drexler's wall isn't the Confederate flag's most infamous (or controversial) iteration, it is, in fact, the original flag of the Confederate States of America, dubbed the "Stars and Bars." The photo in question has since been removed from Drexler's listing on realtor Douglas Elliman's website, and when Gawker asked broker Paul Brennan whether Drexler knew the meaning of the flag hanging in his living room, Brennan replied, "I don't think so. Why don't you ask the decorator?" A J. Crew spokesperson also reportedly declined to comment to Gawker.

The Hamptons estate's living room accessory is only one red flag signaling cloudy days ahead for J. Crew — Drexler is also selling a Tribeca apartment and a Wainscott beach house as the retailer's sales fell 5.2 percent in the first quarter of 2015. Hunter Harris

Nuclear negotiations
11:27 a.m. ET
John Moore/Getty Images

Iran and its negotiating partners agreed to extend to July 7 the deadline to reach a deal on the country's nuclear program, after they failed to meet the original target date of June 30. The announcement coincided with the return of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to the talks, boosting hopes that an agreement can be reached to curb Iran's nuclear program in exchange for world powers lifting economic sanctions against the country.

The Obama administration has by July 9 to send any agreement to Congress, which would then have 30 days to review the deal. If the White House misses that deadline, the review period would be extended to 90 days to accommodate Congress' summer recess. The Obama administration is concerned that the extra time might allow opponents an opportunity to mobilize against any agreement. Jeva Lange

Uh oh
11:13 a.m. ET

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is announcing his bid for the presidency today at his old high school, Livingston High in New Jersey. While having a high-profile politician making news at his alma mater might seem like a boon for the school's popularity, some teachers, as well as the school district's superintendent, are less than thrilled by his venue choice.

"All this guy's done since day one is denigrate hardworking teachers," a Livingston High School teacher, Anthony Rosamilia, told the Philadelphia Inquirer, referring to Christie's very-public battles with teachers unions in the Garden State.

"I don't think it's any secret that most of my political and educational views are about 180 degrees from the governor's," Livingston School District's interim superintendent, Jim O'Neill, said. O'Neill refused to attend the announcement, telling the Inquirer that he'd "watch it on the news later, like most people." He only agreed to let the school act as a host for the event out of an "obligation" to the governor, he said.

"I'm getting all kinds of hate emails," O'Neill said. Jeva Lange

What is 'impressive'?
11:05 a.m. ET

On yesterday's episode of the long-running game show Jeopardy!, host and budding hip-hop artist Alex Trebek got yet another chance to show off his rapping skills. This time, the subject was a theme song near and dear to the hearts of anyone who watched NBC in the early '90s:

Coming just a year after the "It's a Rap" category challenged Trebek to spit rhymes from Public Enemy and Dr. Dre, it's increasingly clear that Jeopardy!'s clue writers are just curious to see what they can get Trebek to rattle off on television. Maybe try some Twista next time? Scott Meslow

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