TODAY's Takeaway

TODAY's Takeaway: Rumsfeld rumbles, Castro's lawyer speaks out

Sep. 4, 2013 at 4:23 PM ET

Rumsfeld talks Syria, Hoda makes fish and Castro's lawyer protests.
TODAY, Reuters
Rumsfeld talks Syria, Hoda makes fish and Castro's lawyer protests.

1. News broke overnight that convicted kidnapper and rapist Ariel Castro was found hanged in his prison cell.

Castro’s lawyer, Craig Weintraub, told TODAY Wednesday morning that authorities twice denied requests for independent psychiatric evaluations of his client, and that he was not on suicide watch.

“I understand that the public in general is probably going to say, 'Well, good riddance,’” Weintraub told Willie Geist. “But this is a human being, we are in a civilized society, and we expect that the person will be protected when they’re institutionalized, and so there is an obligation on the part of the prisons.”

Video: The attorney of Ariel Castro said that the family of the Cleveland kidnapper found out about his suicide through the media, and that the justice system is obligated to protect inmates from themselves.

2. Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld criticized President Obama’s handling of the Syrian crisis, asserting that the president has lacked vision in his military strategy.

“If there’s anything that’s clear,” Rumsfeld told Savannah, “it’s that they do not have that kind of unity at the present time because of a lack of clarity.”

Video: Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld says that the president and Congress need to “do something worth doing” regarding Syria or do nothing at all, and that Obama has put Congress in a strange position.

3. As part of NBC’s week-long “Age of Alzheimer’s” series, experts shed light Wednesday morning on a growing trend in research: prevention.

“We have found that the brain changes of Alzheimer’s disease begin maybe 20, possibly 25 years before we expect individuals to develop symptoms of dementia,” Washington University’s Dr. John Morris told TODAY.

Video: While scientists have struggled to find a real therapy for Alzheimer’s disease, a new trend focuses on earlier prevention, with a first prevention trial underway. NBC’s Dr. Nancy Snyderman reports.

4. Could you use your own Mary Poppins? Well, “flying nannies” are actually a thing now, thanks to Etihad Airways. The UAE-based airline is hiring on-board babysitters to provide in-flight child care to passengers.

Video: United Arab Emirates’ Etihad Airways is offering the newest in in-flight assistance: a free nanny service. The program will be available to all travelers, regardless of flight class, and will expand to 500 fully trained Flying Nannies by the end of the year.

5. The party drug known as “Molly,” which killed two people over the weekend, is easier for kids to get their hands on than you might think. Jeff Rossen goes under cover to report on just how easy it is, and finds startling results.

Video: The party drug known as “Molly” killed two people over the weekend. NBC’s Jeff Rossen investigates how easy it is to obtain the substance, and finds startling results.

6. Viewers asked, and Hoda answered! To provide inspiration for viewers who never step foot in the kitchen (like herself!), Hoda prepared a three-step fish dish. The result: simple success!

“You get your own cooking show!” Kathie Lee said after trying the ponzu-soaked fish.

Video: TODAY’s Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb chat about Miley Cyrus’ recent remarks about her controversial performance at the MTV Video Music Awards. KLG says that acting vulgar doesn’t require talent, and advises Miley to focus on quality performances.

And that's TODAY's Takeaway!