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<![CDATA['Not My Presidents Day' Rallies Held Across US]]>Mon, 20 Feb 2017 15:06:56 -0600//media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-643186394-edit.jpg

Presidents Day means a day off for many across the United States, and hundreds of people in cities from New York to Los Angeles were using it to send a message to the current occupant of the White House. 

"Not My Presidents Day" rallies were being held in at least a dozen cities Monday, continuing a weekend of demonstrations aimed at speaking out against President Donald Trump's policies and actions.

The rallies in Chicago and New York were held near the Trump International Hotel in both cities, each drawing hundreds of people.

Two people at the Los Angeles rally outside city hall interviewed on MSNBC said they came because they find Trump purposely divisive and untruthful.

A march and rally in Atlanta was called "ImPEACH NOW," a reference to the state fruit, and NBC affiliate WXIA reported that the march stretched five miles. 

Hundreds or thousands of people were expected at each rally. There were no reports of arrests at any rally as of 3:30 p.m. ET. 

Earlier in the long weekend, demonstrators nationwide had rallied against Immigrations and Customs Enforcement raids, while New York City held a rally in support of Muslim Americans and scientists rallied in Boston urging Trump to recognize climate change and tackle environmental issues.

With five straight days of rallies and demonstrations, and more planned for future weeks, some activists are warning of potential "resistance fatigue." As NBC News reports, the "trendiness" of talk about "resistance fatigue" can be traced to a Medium essay published in January by Google engineer Yonatan Zunger, who wondered if tiring out Americans was the motivation behind Trump's nearly nonstop battery of executive orders. 

"It wouldn't surprise me if the goal is to create 'resistance fatigue,' to get Americans to the point where they're more likely to say, 'Oh, another protest? Don't you guys ever stop?' relatively quickly," wrote Zunger. 

That fatigue doesn't appear to have set in yet; still, some movement leaders are preemptively urging demonstrators to manage their energy and get enough sleep, among other things.

"This work is exhausting," Linda Sarsour, Executive Director of the Arab American Association of New York and one of four national organizers of the January 21 Women's March, told NBC News, and "under this administration it's proving difficult to take care of our physical and emotional well being."

"But we must," Sarsour added, "Because this is not a sprint, it's a marathon."

Sarsour uses Twitter to remind her 173,000 followers to take care of themselves and "EAT, DRINK WATER."

Trump was at his Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago, on Monday, from where he announced that he'd tapped Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster to fill the role of National Security Adviser, which the resignation of Michael Flynn left vacant.

He didn't address the rallies, but did tweet "HAPPY PRESIDENTS DAY - MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!" along with another tweet reiterating his claim that Sweden is being hurt by immigration. It is based on a Fox News report and refuted by many in the nation.



Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Top News Photos: VP Pence in Europe, Carnival Party in Rio]]>Sun, 19 Feb 2017 11:00:59 -0600//media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP_021817-Pence-Merkel.jpgView daily updates on the best photos in domestic and foreign news.

Photo Credit: Matthias Schrader, AP]]>
<![CDATA[Presidency Continuing to Evolve Under Trump: Experts]]>Fri, 17 Feb 2017 12:10:53 -0600//media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-633735688-Washington.jpg

The Founding Fathers were not always in agreement. When considering the executive branch, for instance, they debated whether to address their leader as his highness, his excellency or just Mr. President.

“They literally don’t even know what to call the president at the beginning, and I think that’s a good sign that they were just making it up as they went along,” said Adam Rothman, a history professor at Georgetown University. “And they’re the people who wrote the damn thing, so what are we supposed to do?”

Centuries later, the job title is settled. But President Donald Trump isn’t the first to put his own unique stamp on the role, which has continued to evolve and expand as each commander in chief faces new, modern obstacles. 

“The executive branch the founders created, there’s little relationship to the executive branch today, which is what you would expect given the types of historical changes that have happened,” said Herbert Sloan, professor emeritus in history at Barnard College.

One reason the job is evolving is there's a lot of wiggle room in its description. Under the provisions of Article II of the Constitution -- which details the framers’ vision for the executive -- the president’s “powers are pretty sketchy, and pretty vague,” Rothman said.

Since Abraham Lincoln, politicians and their constituents have looked to our original revolutionaries for inspiration and guidance. Some go so far as to interpret the Constitution literally, with no room for modernization.

For example, John O. McGinnis, a professor of constitutional law at Northwestern University, believes that “the Constitution was intended to be law” and has “a fixed meaning.” Critics have claimed that Trump’s administration does not respect staples like the First Amendment, but McGinnis does not think that the president’s actions in office have been unconstitutional.

But questioning Trump’s policies through a debate of constitutionality could prove unwise, experts said, as allusions to the founders might be misleading, and judging the administration’s ethics based on an anachronistic document may not be the most effective approach.

The authors of the Constitution could never have anticipated modern demands on the presidency. The job has changed since the founders convened at Independence Hall, and the West Wing has garnered a lot more sway as a consequence.

Andrew Jackson was the first to meaningfully employ the veto, which he used 12 times. Under Lincoln, the executive branch took on more responsibility in order to salvage the Union.

Theodore Roosevelt was the first American president to snag the Nobel Peace Prize for helping to end the Russo-Japanese War, and his interference in conflicts abroad was perceived as an expansion of the president’s jurisdiction.

Today, the executive branch gets a great deal of its influence through foreign policy, and especially through military intervention.

Since World War II, because of modern warfare, there hasn’t been time for the president to report to Congress before taking action, so the legislative branch has delegated more authority to the executive. 

The United States’ “arsenal for democracy," as Franklin D. Roosevelt put it, has complicated the presidency even further. Wherever Trump goes, he is followed by an aide in charge of the "football" -- a case that gives him the ability to deploy nuclear weapons. At a moment’s notice, he may have to choose whether to use them.

“We’ve essentially been living with that reality for at least 50 years,” said Ronald J. Granieri, executive director at the Foreign Policy Research Institute’s Center For the Study of America and the West, and director of research at the Lauder Institute.

Because nuclear weapons have blurred the line between war- and peacetime, a lot of U.S. military policy has been kicked to the commander in chief. Congress hasn’t officially declared war since 1942, though since then, the country has sent troops to all corners of the world. 

"The president can do an awful lot of things … without having to ask Congress’ permission,” Granieri said. “That is a reality.”

Trump has faced criticism for blurring the line between use and abuse of this power through executive orders and memoranda he’s issued in his first month as president, which some of his opponents perceive as an overreach of his office. Similarly, Barack Obama came under fire for some of his 276 executive orders, including the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans policy, which granted temporary amnesty to undocumented parents of American citizens. 

Theodore Roosevelt was the first to extensively use executive orders, issuing 1,081 during his two terms. Franklin Delano Roosevelt sent through 3,721.

Sloan said, “It doesn’t matter how many executive orders there are. It matters what the executive orders are about.”

Rothman believes the Founders “would have been shocked” by presidents employing executive actions to shape policy. 

When Congress grinds to a halt over ideological differences, a recent phenomenon in American political history, “the temptation for the president is to look to try to do things” without congressional approval, Granieri said. Executive actions, though temporary and unstable, offer the executive branch a way to circumvent the Capitol. 

But, Granieri countered, what makes Trump’s executive orders so out of the ordinary is that unlike Obama, he’s signing them despite having a party majority in both houses of Congress.

Granieri explained that during times of extreme political polarization, voters are more attracted to a seemingly strong president who enacts policy despite the other branches’ perceived inadequacy, and they’re more comfortable with an executive branch that has very few checks and balances.

Citizens are also more willing to circumvent news sources and listen to the president directly. With the advent of social media, politicians have had a direct line to their public through Facebook and Twitter, a resource Trump has used more than past presidents to inform his base. 

Though Obama has 84.7 million Twitter followers to Trump's 25.1 million, the former president tended to tweet out press releases. Trump has embraced Twitter to share 140-character opinions on policy and badger or bypass the press, which is supposed to hold him accountable.

Granieri said that this kind of political climate can give rise to demagogues -- one of the Founding Fathers' biggest fears.

But George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson existed in a very different reality. Rothman thinks “we should take the debates of the founders seriously but not literally,” as any interpretation of the framers’ intentions requires “an imaginative leap."

In the end, it doesn’t really matter what they thought, or feared. Just like the legislative and judicial branches, the presidency has changed since 1789. What’s important is shaping ethical policy, according to observers. 

“I think there are an awful lot of reasons to be alarmed about what’s going on and to oppose it,” Sloan said. “But the least important reason for opposing Trump’s abuse of executive power is that the founders, the framers of the Constitution, didn’t want this.”



Photo Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Trump Picks McMaster as National Security Adviser]]>Mon, 20 Feb 2017 15:04:41 -0600//media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/trump-mcmaster-annoucement-148762365967200001.jpg

President Donald Trump announces Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster as his pick for national security adviser at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., Monday, Feb. 20, 2017.

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<![CDATA[2016 an 'Unprecedented Year for Hate': SPLC]]>Wed, 15 Feb 2017 14:44:10 -0600//media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/hategroupsfeuerherd.jpg

The Southern Poverty Law Center reported an increase in U.S. hate groups in 2016—the second year in a row the number has risen.

The total number of organizations considered hate groups by the SPLC rose from 892 in 2015 to 917 in 2016. 

The number of anti-Muslim hate groups saw the greatest rise, ticking up to 101 from 34 in 2015, according to the annual census of hate groups by the SPLC.

President Donald Trump's election and rhetoric during the campaign is, in part, responsible for this rise of anti-Muslim hate groups, according to the report. 

"The increase in anti-Muslim hate was fueled by Trump’s incendiary rhetoric, including his campaign pledge to bar Muslims from entering the United States, as well as anger over terrorist attacks such as the June massacre of 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando," the SPLC wrote. 

Asked about a rise of anti-Semitism and racism in the U.S. at a press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump did not offer specifics about how he'll work to curtail it. 

Instead, he referenced his electoral victory then later pointed out that he has Jewish relatives, including his daughter, and said, "we're going to have peace in this country."

His response drew criticism from the Anti-Defamation League, who tweeted it's "troubling that @POTUS failed to condemn real issue of anti-Semitism in US today." 

Mark Potok, an editor of the report called 2016, "an unprecedented year for hate."

“The country saw a resurgence of white nationalism that imperils the racial progress we’ve made, along with the rise of a president whose policies reflect the values of white nationalists," Potok said in a statement. 

The report also notes that an increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes coincided with the increase of these hate groups. 

The SPLC pointed to the latest FBI statistics, gathered in 2015, that showed hate crimes against Muslims increased by 67 percent.

Click here for a map that tracks hate groups by state. 



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[JFK Airport Security Breach]]>Mon, 20 Feb 2017 14:12:47 -0600//media.nbcdfw.com/images/229*120/JFK-terminal-generic.jpg

The Transportation Security Administration says it is reviewing reports of a security breach at JFK airport this morning that resulted in 11 people getting through security without being checked. Three of the 11 set off metal detectors, officials told NBC News.

An airport official and a senior law enforcement official said at 6.05 a.m. Monday at Terminal 5 the TSA left a security lane open but unattended by screeners.

One senior law enforcement official with direct knowledge of the incident said 11 people went through the lane unscreened, and a review of the surveillance video shows that three people set off metal detectors.

In a statement, the TSA confirmed that "early reports indicate 3 passengers did not receive required secondary screening after alarming the walk through metal detector." The agency said that all the travelers' carry-on bags received the required screening.

The TSA's statement said they are "confident" that the reported breach does not threaten the security of the screening system.

"TSA works with a network of security layers both seen and unseen," the agency said. "We are confident this incident presents no threat to the aviation transportation system. Once our review is complete, TSA will discipline and retrain employees as appropriate."

The law enforcement sources told NBC News the TSA did not notify police of the possible breach for two hours, at 8:05 a.m.

The sources said that the TSA and the Port Authority Police Department then canvassed the JetBlue terminal using photos and video screen grabs but could not locate any of the 11 passengers.

An airport official said the security canvass was completed at 9:05 a.m. and both officials said the passengers are assumed to have boarded flights.



Photo Credit: Getty Images (File)]]>
<![CDATA[Who's Who in Trump's Brain Trust]]>Wed, 07 Dec 2016 09:48:52 -0600//media.nbcdfw.com/images/223*120/trump-cab-adv-th.jpgHere's a look at the people who will be closest to Donald Trump in the White House, his advisers and his picks for the top jobs in his administration. The nominees for Cabinet positions will need Senate approval.
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<![CDATA[Raw: Airport Video Shows Attack on Brother of N. Korea's Kim]]>Mon, 20 Feb 2017 10:09:48 -0600//media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/MALAYSIA-Kim-Attacked-CR-148760442922600001.jpg

Surveillance video obtained by Fuji TV seems to show the moment Kim Jong Nam (wearing pale grey suit and carrying black backpack), the estranged half brother of North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un, was attacked at Kuala Lumpur international airport.

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<![CDATA[Trump's Cabinet Picks In Their Own Words]]>Mon, 09 Jan 2017 17:41:48 -0600//media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP_16345069714951-Trump-Wisc-win.jpg

President-elect Donald Trump promised to repeal Obamacare, defeat ISIS, withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, create 25 million jobs over the next decade and "drain the swamp" in Washington, D.C. How well do his Cabinet nominees reflect his governing philosophy? Here they are in their own words. 

The retired neurosurgeon and unsuccessful candidate for the Republican nomination grew up in Detroit and has no experience in elected office or in running a large bureaucracy.

"These government-engineered attempts to legislate racial equality create consequences that often make matters worse. There are reasonable ways to use housing policy to enhance the opportunities available to lower-income citizens, but based on the history of failed socialist experiments in this country, entrusting the government to get it right can prove downright dangerous."The Washington Times, 2015

Former secretary of labor under President George W. Bush, deputy transportation secretary under President George H.W. Bush, Chao is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

"If vehicles already meet an acceptable level of safety on a particular aspect of vehicle performance without being required to do so by regulation, I believe the Department should devote its resources to other issues rather than engage in rulemaking simply to affirm the existing level of safety."Statement before DOT deputy secretary confirmation hearing, 1989

A keen advocate for school vouchers and charter schools, influential in Detroit, where charter schools have a poor record and state legislators rejected calls for more oversight, she engages in political battles to help advance God's kingdom, she told a religious gathering in 2001.

"We are stuck in a partisan rut. The political parties are dead-enders when it comes to education revolution. As long as we think political parties might solve the problem it will never be solved. Oddly enough education choice is very unique in that some conservative Republicans and some liberal Democrats are actually on the same wavelength….But those are exceptions. The vast majority of the political class is committed to defending and protecting the status quo." — SXSW in Austin, 2015

The governor of South Carolina and the daughter of immigrants from India, Haley led the drive to remove the Confederate flag from the statehouse and during the Republican primary accused Donald Trump of "irresponsible talk."

"During anxious times, it can be tempting to follow the siren call of the angriest voices. We must resist that temptation." -- Speaking of Donald Trump and others in the Republican response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech, 2016

A retired four-star Marine general, he oversaw the Guantanamo Bay military prison and efforts to stop drug trafficking and other smuggling into the United States.

"In my opinion, the relative ease with which human smugglers move tens of thousands of people to our nation’s doorstep also serves as another warning sign: These smuggling routes are a potential vulnerability to our homeland. As I stated last year, terrorist organizations could seek to leverage those same smuggling routes to move operatives with intent to cause grave harm to our citizens or even bring weapons of mass destruction into the United States."Testimony to the Senate Armed Forces Committee, 2015

Nicknamed "Mad Dog," the retired Marine Corps general and former commander of U.S. Central Command blames President Barack Obama's policy in the Middle East for adding to the rise of extremism.

"Is political Islam in the best interest of the United States? I suggest the answer is no but then we need to have the discussion. If we won't even ask the question, then how to we ever get to the point of recognizing which is our side in the fight. And if we don't take our own side in this fight we're leaving others adrift."— The Heritage Foundation, 2015

Donald Trump's campaign finance chairman, a former partner at Goldman Sachs, and Hollywood financier, he and partners took over failed mortgage lender IndyMac Bank and operated it under the name, OneWest Bank. He pledged to tackle mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

"It makes no sense that these are owned by the government and have been controlled by the government for as long as they have. In many cases this displaces private lending in the mortgage markets, and we need these entities that will be safe. So let me just be clear— we'll make sure that when they're restructured, they're absolutely safe and they don't get taken over again. But we've got to get them out of government control." — Fox Business, November

Perry, the former governor of Texas, has promoted the state's oil industry and has questioned climate change. He has advocated eliminating the department he would head though famously could not name it during a presidential debate in 2012.

"I do believe that the issue of global warming has been politicized. I think there are a substantial number or scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects. I think we're seeing, almost weekly or daily, scientists are coming forward and questioning the original idea that manmade global warming is what is causing the climate to change. Yes, our climate has changed. They've been changing ever since the earth was formed." -- Town Hall in Bedford, N.H., 2011

Republican congressman from Georgia, an orthopedic surgeon and persistent critic of Obamacare, he has repeatedly introduced his own legislation for replacing it.

"It's a fundamental philosophical difference that we have with the other side …. They believe that government ought to be in control of health care. We believe that patients and families ought to be in control of health care. And sadly what we're seeing right now is that government control that we've seen ramped up over the past six or seven years has resulted in a decrease in quality that's being seen by patients. People have coverage, but they don't have care. They're priced out of the market." American Enterprise Institute, June

Attorney general of Oklahoma, one of the Republicans leading the legal fight against President Barack Obama's attempts to curb carbon emissions, Pruitt questions how much human actions are contributing to climate change, a point disputed by the vast majority of the world's climate scientists.

"Healthy debate is the lifeblood of American democracy, and global warming has inspired one of the major policy debates of our time. That debate is far from settled. Scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind. That debate should be encouraged — in classrooms, public forums, and the halls of Congress. It should not be silenced with threats of prosecution. Dissent is not a crime." — with Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, Tulsa World, May

The CEO of CKE Restaurants, the fast-food company that owns burger chains Carl's Jr and Hardee's, Puzder is an opponent of the Affordable Care Act, which he said created a "government-mandated restaurant recession" and of raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, which he argues would lead to fewer jobs.

"I like our ads. I like beautiful women eating burgers in bikinis. I think it's very American. I used to hear, brands take on the personality of the CEO. And I rarely thought that was true, but I think this one, in this case, it kind of did take on my personality." Entrepreneur, 2015

Turnaround specialist who became rich buying struggling steel, textile, coal and other companies and restructuring them, Ross came under criticism for a deadly explosion at a mine his company had bought.

"Clinton will raise taxes. Trump will cut taxes. Clinton will increase regulation. Trump will decrease regulation. Clinton has vowed to kill the coal industry. Trump will leverage America's energy resources to create new jobs and growth." — with Trump adviser Peter Navarro, CNBC, August

U.S. senator and former U.S. attorney from Alabama who failed to win confirmation to a federal judgeship because of concerns about racially charged comments he was accused of making, he has opposed immigration reform and the legalization of marijuana.

"You have to have leadership from Washington. You can't have the president of the United States of America talking about marijuana like it is no different than taking a drink, saying I used marijuana when I was in high school and it is no different than smoking. It is different. And you are sending a message to young people that there is no danger in this process. It is false that marijuana use doesn't lead people to more drug use. It is already causing a disturbance in the states that have made it legal. I think we need to be careful about this."Senate floor speech, April 2016

Tillerson, the CEO of ExxonMobil, has what he has called "a very close relationship" with Russia's Vladimir Putin, which could be problematic during his confirmation hearing. Although he does not have a political or diplomatic background, he has broad experience negotiating deals for ExxonMobil in troubled spots around the world.

"We do not support sanctions, generally, because we don't find them to be effective unless they are very well implemented comprehensively and that's a very hard thing to do," he said, adding, "We always encourage the people who are making those decisions to consider the very broad collateral damage of who are they really harming with sanctions."ExxonMobil shareholders' meeting, 2014.

Montana's sole representative in the House, Zinke would end a moratorium on federal coal leases on public lands. He is also a hunter and fisherman who opposes transferring public lands to the states.

"It's not a hoax, but it's not proven science either. But you don't dismantle America's power and energy on a maybe. We need to be energy independent first. We need to do it better, which we can, but it is not a settled science."Campaign debate, 2014



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA['Not My Presidents Day': Thousands to Protest Trump ]]>Sun, 19 Feb 2017 05:08:11 -0600//media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-642648382.jpg

From coast to coast, thousands of people across the United States have spent their Presidents Day holiday weekend protesting Donald Trump's anti-immigration policies, and even more demonstrations are planned for Monday, NBC News reported.

Protesters wielding signs in Dallas, Los Angeles and New York poured into the streets on Saturday calling for the establishment of sanctuary cities in order to end ICE raids. On Sunday, more than a thousand people rallied in New York City in support of Muslim Americans.

Meanwhile, hundreds of scientists took to the streets of Boston urging Trump to recognize climate change and tackle environmental issues. Protesters held signs in the shape of telescopes and beakers that read, for example, "Scientists Serving the Common Good." The rally was taking place at the same time as the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in the city.

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And on Monday, even more rallies are expected in at least 20 cities across the U.S., including in Los Angeles; New York; Washington, D.C., and Chicago.



Photo Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Russia Compiling Dossier on Trump's Mind: Former Official]]>Mon, 20 Feb 2017 07:11:42 -0600//media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/vladimir-putin-donald-trump.jpg

A dossier profiling the mind of President Donald Trump is being prepared for Russian President Vladimir Putin, a former senior Kremlin adviser tells NBC News.

Among the report's preliminary conclusions is that Trump takes risks but can be naive, the adviser said.

"Very serious preparatory work is going on in the Kremlin, including a paper — seven pages — describing a psychological portrait of Trump, especially based on this last two to three months, and the last weeks," said former Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Fedorov, who says he has known Trump since 2000.

It's part of Putin's planning for his first meeting with Trump, the date for which has yet to be decided.



Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[College QB Charged With Rape]]>Mon, 20 Feb 2017 07:01:29 -0600//media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/kevinolsenbookingphoto.gif

A college football quarterback, the brother of Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen, has been arrested on rape charges.

Kevin Olsen, 22, of Wayne, New Jersey, was taken into custody Sunday in North Carolina and charged with three counts of second-degree forcible rape, as well as cyberstalking, second-degree force sex offense and assault on a female.

Olsen is a quarterback for the University of North Carolina-Charlotte.

“The allegations in this incident, which took place off campus, appear to involve sexual assault within an existing relationship,” a UNC-Charlotte spokesperson wrote. “This incident occurred a week after a separate, unrelated case of alleged on-campus sexual assault involving acquaintances.”

Olsen was suspended from the team and the university is reviewing the case while remaining in communication with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, according to the spokesperson.

Olsen was a top-ranked high school quarterback at Wayne Hills High School in Wayne, New Jersey. He joined the University of Miami but left the school after “an accumulation of reported legal entanglements,” according to NBC Charlotte.

NBC Charlotte also reports Olsen transferred to Towson University in Maryland but left less than a year later after breaking team rules. He joined UNC-Charlotte in December 2015. 



Photo Credit: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Emails Show Kushner's Stricter Approach on Ethics Than Trump]]>Sun, 19 Feb 2017 20:25:58 -0600//media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP_17023542554197.jpg

The Trump administration has struggled with ethics vetting for Cabinet nominees and faced criticism for the president's decision to remain invested in his business empire. When Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law, prepared to enter the White House, however, the administration sought to do it by the book.

That is the picture established by new emails, obtained by MSNBC, showing how Kushner's lawyers worked on a divestment plan to avoid conflicts by conferring with the Office of Government Ethics.

"The process was good here," said Norm Eisen, an ethics expert who is suing the Trump administration, saying the emails show Kushner and his wife divested themselves from any holdings that presented conflicts.

"Although the Trump transition team apparently was not particularly cooperative with the Office of Government Ethics," said Kathleen Clark, an ethics expert at Washington University Law School, "Kushner and his lawyers seem to have taken a different approach."



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais]]>
<![CDATA[Employees Fired After Joining Day Without Immigrants Protest]]>Sun, 19 Feb 2017 18:35:05 -0600//media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP_1704764688735216x9.jpg

More than 100 employees across the country were fired from their jobs after skipping work to take part in last week's "Day Without Immigrants" demonstrations, which were aimed at showcasing the impact immigrants have on the U.S. economy.

As NBC News reported, restaurants and day cares were among the businesses in states like Florida, Tennessee, Oklahoma and New York where bosses fired workers after they didn't show up for work in order to protest.

A company in Tennessee laid off 18 employees after they participated in the nationwide demonstration on Thursday, NBC4 reported. The company's attorney said in a statement obtained by the news station that all employees were told they risked termination if they skipped work.

Two employees in Florida claimed they were fired from their positions at Grace Community School, according to NBC2, though the head of the school insists no one was terminated. While 25 workers were fired from Ben's Kosher Delicatessen Restaurant & Caterers in Long Island, New York, on Friday, according to Telemundo 47.



Photo Credit: LM Otero/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Photos: Inside Trump's Palatial Mar-a-Lago Resort]]>Sun, 19 Feb 2017 18:56:43 -0600//media.nbcdfw.com/images/185*120/GettyImages-630765574.jpgLook inside the palatial Mar-a-Lago estate where President Donald Trump has spent his weekends since taking office.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dog Left at Shelter Comes With Heartbreaking Letter From Kid]]>Sun, 19 Feb 2017 14:47:35 -0600//media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/humanesocietyfeuerherd.jpg

Rhino Lightning arrived at the Humane Society of Utah last week, with a spiral notebook filled back to front with a child's notes about the dog — a "striped dream," as the adoring author put it, the "Today" show reported.

Addressed to Rhino's new family, the letter says the animal's "cheeks make a lot of slobber." He is "a good dog and he loves cuddles," and is a "very amazing puppy." Rhino "hates snow & swimming," but he "loves to run around" and to sleep under the blankets.

"The family told our receiving staff the notebook was written by one of their kids," Humane Society of Utah spokesperson Guinnevere Shuster told TODAY in an email. "It was​ filled with information about Rhino for his new​ ​family​."



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Iraq Launches Push to Reclaim Western Mosul From ISIS]]>Sat, 18 Feb 2017 23:47:09 -0600//media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP_Al-Abadi.jpg

Iraq's prime minister on Sunday announced an offensive to seize control of the western coast of the city of Mosul from the terror group ISIS, NBC News reports.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on state television Sunday morning that the new push has begun. Hours earlier, Iraq's military said planes dropped leaflets into the area, urging those who joined ISIS to surrender and warning that the military would move into the western coast of the city, which straddles the Tigris River. 

"I announce today the start of military offensive to liberate the western coast of Mosul," al-Abadi said. He added, "our mission is to liberate people before land."



Photo Credit: Matthias Schrader, AP]]>
<![CDATA[Metal Show Canceled Amid Threats]]>Sun, 19 Feb 2017 12:02:21 -0600//media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/2-18-17_Oakland_Metro_Operahouse.jpg

A Swedish heavy metal band scheduled to rock the Metro Operahouse in Oakland Saturday night didn't even see the stage.

That's because police were worried about public safety after reports surfaced that the band, coined Marduk, has ties to white supremacy and anti-Semitism. Those reports materialized into threats directed at the Oakland Metro Operahouse.

Out of an abundance of caution to protect employees and the public from any potential harm carried out by protesters decrying the band, the Oakland Police Department advised the Oakland Metro Operahouse to call off the event.

The music hall did investigate the band and found no evidence to suggest that the band has a history of controversial behavior.

"In the last week, we have read interview after interview with Marduk spanning over the last 20 years and found no statements indicating the band are white supremacists, nationalists, or anti-immigrant," a statement published on the Oakland Metro Operhouse Facebook page read.

However, in the wake of protests that erupted on the UC Berkeley campus surrounding Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopolous' scheduled visit, police still urged the hosts to cancel the event in the name of public safety.

Police also stated that the Oakland Metro Operahouse did not give the department's Special Events Unit ample time to create a thorough security plan.

Droves of frustrated and impassioned fans took to Facebook to voice their displeasure with the cancelation and the police department's treatment of the band.

"There goes freedom of speech," Manuel Sosa wrote.

Christian Becerra, claiming to be a fan of the band since 2002, added that Marduk is "not a racist band."

Dozens of people unaware that the show had been canceled showed up to a dark venue full of questions and complaints.

"They try to close down a local death metal show that has nothing to do with anything," Robert Burton from Concord said. "Nobody's a Nazi here."



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>