In another breakdown of Secret Service protocol, a security contractor who was carrying a gun and had a criminal record was allowed to ride in an elevator with President Obama during his visit to the CDC in Atlanta Sept. 16. Reportedly, the man—who was with a private firm providing security at the CDC—refused to stop recording Obama with his cell phone camera, which prompted a few agents to stay behind to question him and check his background. As it turned out, the man had three convictions of assault and battery. And, to the agents’ surprise, when a supervisor from his firm showed up, the man turned in the gun he had been carrying.

No one with a weapon or a criminal history is supposed to be allowed in close proximity to the president, which has members of congress wondering how the man came so close to the president without undergoing a background check. The incident came to light after the Secret Service director, Julia Pierson, spoke before a House subcommittee Tuesday about two security breaches at the White House, one of which happened on Sept. 19, three days after the incident in Atlanta. Pierson told the committee that the Sept. 19 incident was the only breach of security that she had briefed the president on so far in 2014 ... Discuss

Aretha Franklin may be 72 years old, but she’s still the queen of soul—and she’s proving as much with a new album called Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics. It’s exactly what it sounds like, with Franklin taking on everything from Etta James’ “At Last” to Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” to Alicia Keys’ “No One.” The album is being produced by Babyface and Outkast’s André 3000 among others and will release Oct. 21. In the meantime, Franklin’s starting to make the rounds to promote the album. She visited the Late Show With David Letterman Monday night and performed Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep”—with a mashup of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” coming in toward the end—and proved she’s still got it ...


Greendale is losing another one of its favorite alum. According to TV Guide, Yvette Nicole Brown—who plays one of our favorite characters on TV, Shirley—will not appear in the upcoming season of Community so that she can spend time with her father, who is sick. She told the magazine, “It was a difficult decision for me to make, but I had to choose my dad." With the departure of Donald Glover and now Brown, the show is in the process of casting two new characters for sixth season ... Discuss

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed the first case of the Ebola virus in the U.S. in a hospital in Dallas. According to an earlier statement from the hospital, the patient was placed in isolation and evaluated for the infection “based on the patient’s symptoms and recent travel history.” Four American aid workers were diagnosed in Africa earlier this fall, but this case is the first diagnosed on American soil.

But don’t panic. The hospital has taken the correct precautions early on, and health experts have said the virus won’t spread like it has in West Africa, where about 3,000 have died from the virus out of more than 6,500 cases. The CDC announced Tuesday that the virus has stopped spreading in Nigeria and Senegal because of the quick response and effort to contain the virus. Also, several companies are working on trials of drugs to treat the virus, and three of the American aid workers who returned home for treatment after contracting the virus have been released, Ebola free ... Discuss

Most Americans would swear by their coffee, but let’s be honest, having to drink caffeine is such a hassle—wouldn’t it be so much easier if you could just wear it? Well, apparently, that was the grand idea of clothing companies Norm Thompson Outfitters and Wacoal America, who claimed their undergarments with “embedded microcapsules containing caffeine” could help wearers slim down. The problem is, the claim that someone can lose weight just from wearing certain clothes is not backed up by science, which got the companies in trouble with the Federal Trade Commission for deceptive advertising. On Monday, the companies settled an agreement with the FTC, which has them dishing out a total of $1.5 million in consumer refunds. So we’ll all just have to continue drinking our daily doses of caffeine (and maybe trying to actually exercise if we want to lose weight) ... Discuss

The governor of California, Jerry Brown, has signed a bill banning single-use plastic bags. Under the new law, large grocery stores must stop carrying sing-use bags starting in July 2015. Stores are allowed to charge fees for reusable or paper bags and can apply for loans from CalRecycle to help transition to creating reusable bags for their customers to use. Many cities and counties across the U.S. have plastic bag bans in place, but the bill will be the first statewide law with such a ban. Brown said he hopes the ban will reduce the problem of litter, and that other states will follow suit ... Discuss