good deeds
July 9, 2014

Frontier Airlines pilot Gerhard Bradner scored major points Monday night when he bought 38 pizzas for his hungry passengers stuck on the tarmac.

The plane was diverted from Denver to Cheyenne, Wyoming, due to bad thunderstorms. There wasn't any food left, so the pilot spent his own money to make sure everyone on board was fed. "Not sure if he was hungry, but it is not unusual for our pilots to go above and beyond to care for our customers," a Frontier spokesperson told NBC News. The delay lasted about two hours, and the plane made it to Denver just shy of midnight. Catherine Garcia

Mars or Bust
9:46 p.m. ET
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

If Buzz Aldrin has his way, Mars will be colonized by 2039.

The second man to walk on the moon has partnered with the Florida Institute of Technology to open the Buzz Aldrin Space Institute this fall. Aldrin, who has a doctorate in science from MIT, will serve as a senior faculty adviser and research professor of aeronautics, The Associated Press reports. Aldrin, 85, said he wants to develop a "master plan" to get Mars colonized, with international input and approval from NASA. NASA is working on building rockets and spacecrafts to transport astronauts to Mars by the mid-2030s.

Aldrin set 2039 as a target date because that will be the 70th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. He's already thinking that two of the moons of Mars, Phobos and Deimos, will be the first stops for astronauts, and he thinks it makes sense for people to live there for 10 years. "The Pilgrims on the Mayflower came here to live and stay," he said. "They didn't wait around Plymouth Rock for the return trip, and neither will people building up a population and a settlement [on Mars]." Catherine Garcia

29th time's a charm?
8:56 p.m. ET

After being denied 28 times, Manson Family member Bruce Davis was found eligible for parole on Thursday, California state corrections officials said.

The 72-year-old was convicted in 1972 of the murders of aspiring musician Gary Hinman and Donald "Shorty" Shea, a stuntman who worked at a ranch where Charles Manson and his followers once lived. Hinman's body was found at Davis' home, alongside the words "political piggy" written in blood on the wall, the Los Angeles Times reports. Davis said he had nothing to do with the Manson Family's infamous 1969 murders of Sharon Tate and Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.

The finding is now under a 120-day review, and Gov. Jerry Brown (D) could block Davis' release. He has been found eligible for parole previously, but all were reversed by the governors at the time, with Brown saying in 2014 that Davis is "still dodging responsibility" for his role in the murders. During his 40 years in prison, Davis has earned his doctoral degree in religion, married, and fathered a child. Catherine Garcia

campaign 2016
8:14 p.m. ET
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Univision anchor Jorge Ramos is calling on his fellow reporters to start asking Donald Trump tougher questions, especially concerning his immigration policy.

"He hasn't been challenged enough," Ramos told Time. "He hates to be challenged and it is time that we start doing it." Ramos had a run-in with the GOP presidential frontrunner Tuesday in Iowa, when he asked him a question about immigration and deportation. Trump told Ramos he hadn't called on him and he needed to sit down, and added, "Go back to Univision." Ramos was escorted out of the room by security, and although he returned a few minutes later, his question went unanswered. Ramos said he's particularly bothered by the fact that Trump had not explained how he will implement deportations or the building of a wall between the U.S. and Mexico. When Time asked Trump how he would deport undocumented immigrants, he replied, "It's called management."

Ramos said that response isn't helpful. "If he wants to do it in the short term, he would need to use the army, use stadiums, public places," he said. "The only way to do that would be to use trains and buses and airports to deport millions of people. It's in a scale never seen before in the world. And it is incredibly dangerous." Ramos, who reaches an audience of 2 million viewers nightly, hopes Trump will agree to an interview soon. "If it happens, it will be an uncomfortable interview for him for sure," Ramos said. "He can't and he should not get away with empty promises. At stake is the future of this country." Catherine Garcia

6:57 p.m. ET
Andrew Burton/Getty Images

In a 3-2 ruling split down party lines, the National Labor Relations Board revised its "joint employer" standard, which could have huge ramifications for franchise businesses like McDonald's.

The board decided that the waste management company Browning Ferris Industries is a joint employer alongside one of its subcontractors, the staffing firm Leadpoint Business Services. The Teamsters wanted Browning Ferris to be named a joint employer so they would have to join Leadpoint at the bargaining table.

The ruling makes it difficult for a company like McDonald's to stay one step removed from the workers employed at its franchises. About 90 percent of the fast food chain's locations are run by franchisees, and they are considered the employers of their workers, not McDonald's, The Huffington Post reports. Under these new loosened standards, McDonald's could end up having to bargain with workers employed by a franchisee.

The Democratic members of the board wrote in their decision that it is "not the goal of joint-employer law to guarantee the freedom of employers to insulate themselves from their legal responsibility to workers, while maintaining control of the workplace. Such an approach has no basis in the [National Labor Relations} Act or in federal labor policy." Labor unions say it only makes sense for a parent company to be legally responsible for employees who represent their company, even if they don't necessarily sign their paychecks. Franchisers argue it will give the parent company too much control over their business. Catherine Garcia

Katrina at 10
6:16 p.m. ET

President Obama traveled to New Orleans on Thursday to mark the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which struck the city on Aug. 29, 2005. The president spoke before a crowd at a community center in the city's Lower Ninth Ward, which was decimated by the storm. "The world watched in horror," Obama said. "The music in the air suddenly was dark and silent."

Obama called Hurricane Katrina an example of what happens "when government fails," but praised the city's recovery as an "example of what's possible when governments [at every level] work together." He specifically noted areas in which New Orleans emerged from Hurricane Katrina stronger than before the storm, citing improved education statistics and new, advanced environmental infrastructure. "The project of rebuilding here wasn't just to restore the city as it had been — it was to build the city as it should be," Obama said.

He also congratulated New Orleans for being the first major city to end veteran homelessness, and credited the city with being the inspiration for a number of national accomplishments, such as improved jobs numbers, the end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the legalization of gay marriage. The president did note that the city still has weaknesses, like the racial income gap and child poverty, but said working toward such advancements should be a collaborative effort. "For all of our differences, in the end, what matters is we're all in the same boat," he said. "We'll leave behind a city — and a nation — that's worthy of generations to come. That's what you've gotten started. Now we've got to finish the job." Kimberly Alters

4:41 p.m. ET

Darryl Dawkins, an NBA legend famous for breaking backboards with his powerful dunks, has passed away at age 58. The news was confirmed to local Pennsylvania station WFMZ-TV by the Lehigh County Coroner's Office in Pennsylvania. No cause of death has been reported.

Nicknamed "Chocolate Thunder," Dawkins was drafted fifth overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in 1975 and played seven seasons (including three NBA Finals appearances) with the Sixers before being traded to the New Jersey Nets. During the 1979 season, Dawkins famously shattered a backboard on two separate occasions thanks to a powerful dunk:

He nicknamed the first of the two glass-shattering slams the "Chocolate-Thunder-Flying, Robinzine-Crying, Teeth-Shaking, Glass-Breaking, Rump-Roasting, Bun-Toasting, Wham-Bam, Glass-Breaker-I-Am-Jam." He retired from the NBA for good in 1989, but continued playing overseas and even spent a year with the showy Harlem Globetrotters. But in the end, as Mike Chiari notes at Bleacher Report, Dawkins was perhaps best known for his "larger-than-life personality." Kimberly Alters

3:22 p.m. ET
Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

On Thursday, Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton slammed the 2016 Republican candidates for their "out-of-date and out-of-touch policies" on women's health issues, even going so far as to compare some Republicans to "terrorist groups."

"Extreme views about women? We expect that from some of the terrorist groups. We expect that from people who don't want to live in the modern world," Clinton said at a campaign stop in Ohio. "But it's a little hard to take coming from Republicans who want to be the president of the United States."

Clinton's comments earned her an immediate rebuke from the right.

The national press secretary for the Republican National Committee (RNC) also reproached Clinton for her "inflammatory rhetoric," saying, "For Hillary Clinton to equate her political opponents to terrorists is a new low for her flailing campaign." Becca Stanek

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