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WH: Klain’s work handing out stimulus money good experience for Ebola czar

White House: Ron Klain’s work handing out stimulus money good experience for Ebola czar

Byron York

President Obama’s choice of veteran Democratic politico Ron Klain to serve as Ebola czar stunned many Republicans. Their first objection is that Klain has no experience in public health or infectious diseases. But in a larger sense, GOP critics see Klain, a former chief of staff for Vice Presidents Al Gore and Joe Biden, more as a political operative than a potential leader of the fight against Ebola.

What qualifies Klain for the job, the formal title of which is Ebola Response Coordinator? First, the White House makes no claim of any expertise in health matters. Instead, officials point to Klain’s impressive Washington resume — the jobs with Gore and Biden, plus chief of staff for Clinton administration Attorney General Janet Reno and top positions with Senate Democrats.

But those are job titles. What specifically has Klain done in those positions that would prepare him for the Ebola assignment? White House officials cite Klain’s work in Biden’s office, overseeing the dispensing of billions of federal dollars through the American Recovery Act, better known as the stimulus, as evidence that Klain can handle a problem like Ebola.

“He helped oversee implementation of the Recovery Act, a major interagency and intergovernmental project,” wrote White House spokesman Eric Schultz in response to an emailed question. “Under Klain’s watch, that team: 1) Met and exceeded the plan for deploying the stimulus on time, in a complex interagency scenario involving almost every agency of the federal government; 2) Operationalized an unprecedented commitment to transparency — quarterly reports on, overseen by Independent Recovery Transparency and Accountability Board; and 3) Defied expectations for the very low level of fraud — widely acclaimed at the time.”

Obama admin. to allow thousands of Haitians into U.S. without visas

President Obama attends a news conference in the East Room at the White House in Washington, Aug. 9, 2013. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

Obama admin. to allow thousands of Haitians into U.S. without visas

- The Washington Times

The ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee took the Obama administration to task Friday for its “irresponsible” plan to allow as many as 100,000 Haitians to immigrate to the U.S. without a visa.

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa said the administration’s Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program — which will allow thousands of Haitians awaiting a U.S. visa to enter the country and legally apply for work permits — is “an irresponsible overreach of the executive branch’s authority.”

Dutch Biker Gang Joins Fight Against Islamic State

Dutch Biker Gang Joins Fight Against Islamic State

Members of the Dutch motorcycle gang "No Surrender" have joined Kurdish Peshmerga forces in Iraq to fight against Islamic State.

On the Trail, Clinton Tests Messages


On the Trail, Clinton Tests Messages

By Peter Nicholas

In stumping for Democratic candidates, former secretary of state tries out messages that would likely surface in her own potential campaign for the White House.

Appearing in liberal Philadelphia, Hillary Clinton told a campaign crowd that corporations have too much clout. In conservative Kentucky, she lauded her husband’s record in office while avoiding any mention of the locally unpopular current White House resident, President Barack Obama .

Mrs. Clinton is back on the campaign trail after a six-year hiatus, aiming to rouse Democratic voters who don’t typically show up for midterm elections. In the course of trying to help her party’s candidates, she is also testing themes that would likely surface in her own potential run for office and giving clues to the political profile she might adopt in a presidential campaign.

Lately, Mrs. Clinton has spiced her campaign-trail speeches with targeted criticism of business—notable given that some liberals are suspicious of the Clinton family for accepting hundreds of millions of dollars in corporate donations and speaking fees. Those concerns could prompt a primary challenge from the political left.

Campaigning in Philadelphia last week with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf, Mrs. Clinton said corporations “seem to have all of the rights but none of the responsibilities of people.”

Appearing in Michigan with Democratic candidates on Thursday, Mrs. Clinton said America “was built not by rich corporations, but laborers.”

In the same campaign trip, Mrs. Clinton also allied herself with more centrist parts of her party—a political space her husband sought to occupy as a presidential candidate. Appearing Wednesday in Kentucky, Mrs. Clinton stood nearby as Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes pronounced the state “Clinton country.’’

Seth Moulton underplays military service

Seth Moulton, Democratic candidate for US Congress.

Seth Moulton underplays military service

By Walter V. Robinson - Boston Globe

The American political graveyard has more than a few monuments to politicians and public officials who embellished details of their military service, in some cases laying claim to medals for heroism or other military honors they never received.

And then, uniquely, there is Seth W. Moulton, the Democratic nominee for Congress in the Sixth Congressional District, a former Marine who saw fierce combat for months and months in Iraq. But Moulton chose not to publicly disclose that he was twice decorated for heroism until pressed by the Globe.

In 2003 and 2004, during weeks-long battles with Iraqi insurgents, then-Lieutenant Moulton “fearlessly exposed himself to enemy fire” while leading his platoon during pitched battles for control of Nasiriyah and Najaf south of Baghdad, according to citations for the medals that the Globe requested from the campaign.

The Globe learned of the awards — the Bronze Star medal for valor and the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation medal for valor — after reviewing an official summary of Moulton’s five years of service, in which they were noted in military argot.

In an interview, Moulton said he considers it unseemly to discuss his own awards for valor. “There is a healthy disrespect among veterans who served on the front lines for people who walk around telling war stories,’’ he said. What’s more, Moulton said he is uncomfortable calling attention to his own awards out of respect to “many others who did heroic things and received no awards at all.’’

The Nightmarish Politics of Ebola, Part 2

An ambulance carrying Amber Joy Vinson, the second health-care worker to be diagnosed with Ebola in Texas, arrives at Emory University Hospital on October 15th.

The Nightmarish Politics of Ebola, Part 2

By John Cassidy

 In a country with a population of more than three hundred million, just two people who haven’t travelled to West Africa have contracted Ebola, and they both treated Duncan when he was dying in an isolation ward. It is well established that most victims of the disease only become contagious when they develop noticeable symptoms, such as vomiting and diarrhea. So far as we know, the people who were with Duncan in a Dallas apartment after he arrived from Liberia and started to get sick appear to be fine. When President Obama said on Wednesday, “It is not like the flu. It is not airborne.… The likelihood of widespread Ebola outbreaks in this country are very, very low,” he was only restating what virtually every health expert has been saying for months.

At this stage, though, such reassurances are wearing a bit thin. To many ordinary Americans, two Dallas nurses going down with Ebola is a serious outbreak of the disease, and they fear that it won’t remain confined to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. Even granted that the current dangers of Ebola have been greatly overblown, this isn’t a wholly irrational posture. After all, in the early stages of any outbreak of an infectious disease, the chances of getting sick are vanishingly small.

It’s all very well for the Centers for Disease Control to call for calm. But with the news that Vinson contacted the C.D.C. before setting out for Dallas, public confidence in the agency and its leader, Tom Frieden, has taken another hit.
Conservatives fear Roberts going soft

Conservatives fear Roberts going soft

John Roberts is pictured. | AP Photo

Chief Justice John Roberts seems to be going wobbly again.

Conservatives, still smarting from what they view as an ideological betrayal by Roberts two years ago in the Supreme Court’s 5-4 Obamacare decision, have looked on suspiciously in recent weeks as the chief justice twice appeared to side with the court’s liberals and Justice Anthony Kennedy against the court’s conservatives.

When the high court issued orders last week blocking Wisconsin’s voter ID law and stopping enforcement of key parts of Texas’s new restrictions on abortion clinics, Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito publicly dissented. Roberts was notably silent.

Taken together, Roberts’s actions seem to be contributing to a kind of buyer’s remorse that could result in even more pressure for ideologically pure nominees.

Amid Assurances on Ebola, Obama Is Said to Seethe

Amid Assurances on Ebola, Obama Is Said to Seethe

Beneath the calming reassurance that President Obama has repeatedly offered during the Ebola crisis, there is a deepening frustration, even anger, with how the government has handled key elements of the response.

Those frustrations spilled over when Mr. Obama convened his top aides in the Cabinet room after canceling his schedule on Wednesday. Medical officials were providing information that later turned out to be wrong. Guidance to local health teams was not adequate. It was unclear which Ebola patients belonged in which threat categories.

“It’s not tight,” a visibly angry Mr. Obama said of the response, according to people briefed on the meeting. He told aides they needed to get ahead of events and demanded a more hands-on approach, particularly from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “He was not satisfied with the response,” a senior official said.

The difference between the public and private messages illustrates the dilemma Mr. Obama faces on Ebola — and a range of other national security issues — as he tries to galvanize the response to a public health scare while not adding to the sense of panic fueled by 24-hour cable TV and the nonstop Twitter chatter.

“Part of the challenge is to be assertive, to be in command, and yet not feed a kind of panic that could easily evolve here,” said David Axelrod, a close adviser to the president in his first term. “It’s not enough to doggedly and persistently push for answers in meetings. You have to be seen doggedly and persistently pushing for answers.”

For two turbulent weeks, White House officials have sought to balance those imperatives: insisting the dangers to the American public were being overstated in the news media, while also moving quickly to increase the president’s demonstration of action.


From 'One Tough Nerd' to Embattled Governor

From 'One Tough Nerd' to Embattled Governor

Molly Ball

Michigan Republican Rick Snyder finds himself in an unexpectedly tough reelection campaign thanks to a backlash against his economic policies.

As his first term draws to a close, Snyder insists he’s still the pragmatic, numbers-focused moderate Republican he campaigned as in his first, unlikely run for office in 2010. But his critics charge the slogan—unveiled in a Super Bowl ad that propelled him through a crowded primary—has proven to be a sham. Rather than steering the state in nonpartisan fashion toward economic stability, Snyder, they charge, has proven instead to be a hardheaded ideologue whose trickle-down policies have not produced results. “He campaigned as a bean counter. He said he was going to focus on jobs,” Snyder’s Democratic opponent, Mark Schauer, told me in an interview. “Our current governor’s policies work for the wealthy, but they’re not working for most Michiganders.”

Despite such complaints, Snyder was initially widely expected to sail to a second term against Schauer, a little-known former congressman. (No Michigan governor has been denied a second term since 1962.) But Schauer and his allies have waged an aggressive campaign, attacking Snyder for cutting school funding (a charge he denies) and taxing seniors’ pensions. The result is what looks to be a tight race. Most recent polling has shown Snyder leading, but there are exceptions, like a YouGov survey earlier this month that had Schauer ahead by 2 points. Overall, Snyder leads by an average of 3.5 points—a far tighter margin than his commanding 18-point victory four years ago.

“He campaigned as a nerd, and he didn’t seem very threatening,” Susan Demas, editor and publisher of the Inside Michigan Politics newsletter, told me. Snyder’s persona isn’t polarizing like Wisconsin’s Scott Walker or Pennsylvania’s Tom Corbett, and he seemed to fit with Michigan’s long tradition of moderate Republican governors such as George Romney, William Milliken, and John Engler. Instead, Demas said, “He’s governed very far to the right. A lot of the moderates, the independents, the conservative Democrats that gave him that big margin in 2010 have been scared off.”

Oxfam: World must do more to stop Ebola becoming ‘disaster of our time’

Ebola crisis, Monrovia, Liberia - 14 Oct 2014

Oxfam: World must do more to stop Ebola becoming ‘disaster of our time’

David Batty

Charity says international community has two months to curb deadly virus but laments crippling shortfall in military support.

Countries must step up efforts to tackle the spread of Ebola in west Africa by providing more troops, funding and medical staff to prevent it from becoming the “definitive humanitarian disaster of our generation”, Oxfam has warned.

The charity said the world had less than two months to curb the deadly virus, which has killed 4,500 people, but noted a crippling shortfall in military personnel to provide logistical support across the countries worst affected – Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Its stark warning came as Britain and the US said the international community will be responsible for a substantial loss of life in west Africa and a greater threat across the world unless the financial and medical response to Ebola was greatly increased. The US secretary of state, John Kerry, said a failure to respond could turn Ebola into “a scourge like HIV or polio”.

Oxfam said that while Britain was leading the way in Europe’s response to the epidemic, countries which have failed to commit troops – including Italy and Spain – were “in danger of costing lives”.

The Violent Side of Friday Night Lights

The Violent Side of Friday Night Lights

Seven players were arrested at a high school for raping their teammates. You can draw a line from there through Steubenville, Penn State, and the NFL.

There’s a new scandal in football and this time it’s not in the NFL or college.

Last Friday, seven members of New Jersey’s Sayreville War Memorial High School were arrested for sexually assaulting their teammates. The boys, ages 15 to 17, were arrested for “aggravated sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual contact, conspiracy to commit aggravated criminal sexual contact, criminal restraint, and hazing for engaging in an act of sexual penetration upon one of the juvenile victims.”

Far from an isolated act of brutality perpetrated by a few bad actors, a high school football team allegedly engaged in ritualized torture, and according to an unnamed 14-year old who spoke with the New York Times, “It’s been going on for a long time.”

On Monday, Superintendent of Schools Richard Labbe cancelled the remainder of the season, stating, “there was enough evidence to substantiate there were incidents of harassment, intimidation and bullying that took place on a pervasive level, on a wide-scale level, and at a level in which the players knew, tolerated and in general accepted.”

This is rape culture and in many places, it’s a part of football. What allegedly happened at Sayreville indicates there is a culture in which chronic rape was normalized and even possibly condoned. (To be clear, this isn’t an indictment of high school football in particular or football players as a whole. The game itself can still be beautiful, breathtaking and a point of communal pride.)

Rape culture is a much larger, far more pervasive society-wide problem that has flourished within some parts of football, as generations have been taught that a militaristic, power-worshipping mindset is the only way to teach kids how to play the game.

The exercise of that power manifests itself in multiple ways. For Sayreville, it meant punishing and humiliating the weak, ritualistically subjecting them to humiliation and debasement. But the fact that this brutality took the form of a sexual assault isn’t a random occurrence and it’s on the rise. As Bloomberg News reported in 2013 “More than 40 high school boys were sodomized with foreign objects by their teammates in over a dozen alleged incidents reported in the past year, compared with about three incidents a decade ago.”

This is rape culture and in many places, it’s a part of football.

Supreme Court allows Texas to use voter ID law

Supreme Court allows Texas to use voter ID law

The Supreme Court in a pre-dawn order Saturday said Texas could proceed with its strict voter ID law in next month’s election, despite a lower court’s ruling that it was unconstitutional.

The court gave no reasoning for its decision, but Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented, joined by Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

“The greatest threat to public confidence in elections in this case is the prospect of enforcing a purposefully discriminatory law, one that likely imposes an unconstitutional poll tax and risks denying the right to vote to hundreds of thousands of eligible voters,” Ginsburg wrote.

An appeals court had said it was too close to the election to stop what has been described as the nation’s strictest photo ID law.

But Ginsburg said the court had shirked its duty, since a district court after a full trial had said the law was written with discriminatory intent and could keep an estimated 600,000 registered voters from casting ballots.

It was the fourth time in recent weeks that the Supreme Court has been called on to decide whether changes in election laws approved by Republican-controlled state legislatures could be used in next month’s crucial midterm elections.

The states said the changes were made to combat voter fraud, protect the public’s confidence in the electoral process and establish uniformity. Civil rights groups and Democrats who challenged the law said they were meant to suppress minority voting.

In each case, the court neither confronted the merits of the laws, nor did the majority explain its reasoning. The justices let changes go forward in Ohio and North Carolina, but the stopped a new voter ID law in Wisconsin.

Anatomy of an Obama cave

Anatomy of an Obama cave

Barack Obama is pictured. | AP Photo

It was just a matter of time.

Sure, President Barack Obama had for close to two weeks resisted calls for an “Ebola czar.” Indeed, since the outbreak of the virus, he had insisted that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention should lead the administration’s response. And as recently as Wednesday, his top spokesman stressed that the White House was doing fine without designating one high-level official to focus solely on the issue.

But to many in Washington, it was a question not of if but when Obama would cave to congressional and public demands for him to assert himself on Ebola by appointing a point-person to manage the issue, especially once Democrats started joining the Republican chorus of criticism.

Secret space plane lands at US air force base after unknown two-year mission

Still from video made available by the Vandenberg Air Force Base shows an infrared view of the X-37B unmanned spacecraft.

Secret space plane lands at US air force base after unknown two-year mission

Associated Press in Vandenberg Air Force Base, California 

Resembling a small space shuttle, the X-37B landed in southern California after a 674 days in orbit on a secret mission

A top-secret space plane landed Friday at an air force base on the southern California coast.

The plane spent nearly two years circling Earth on a classified mission. Known as the X-37B, it resembles a mini space shuttle.

It safely touched down at 9.24am Friday, officials at Vandenberg Air Force Base said.

Just what the plane was doing during its 674 days in orbit has been the subject of sometimes spectacular speculation.

Several experts have theorized it carried a payload of spy gear in its cargo bay. Other theories sound straight out of a James Bond film, including that the spacecraft would be able to capture the satellites of other nations or shadow China’s space lab.

The US air force's first unmanned re-entry spacecraft landed at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

The X-37B program has been an orphan of sorts, bouncing since its inception in 1999 between several federal agencies, Nasa among them. It now resides under the air force’s rapid capabilities office.

The plane that landed Friday is one of two built by Boeing. This is the program’s third mission, and began in December 2012.

The plane stands 9.5ft tall and is just over 29ft long, with a wingspan under 15ft. It weighs 11,000lbs and has solar panels that unfurl to charge its batteries once in orbit.

Do Detroit's water shutoffs violate international law? UN to investigate.

Do Detroit's water shutoffs violate international law? UN to investigate.

By Henry Gass

Two UN human rights officials will visit Detroit this weekend to investigate whether widespread water shutoffs in the city are a violation of international law.

The visit is coming in the wake of a letter sent to the UN Human Rights Council detailing potential human rights violations apparent in the water shutoffs. The letter – authored by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan – argues that the shutoffs are unjustified because many of those affected can't afford to pay their bills. The letter also says that the shutoffs disproportionately affect Detroit’s African-American residents.

"In a city where nearly 40 percent of residents live below the federal poverty line," the letter reads, "thousands of residents are at risk of losing water service because they simply cannot afford to pay the bills. "

The water shutoffs have turned into a flashpoint of Detroit's ongoing bankruptcy proceedings, which represents the largest municipal bankruptcy in US history. The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department shut off water services to more than 27,000 customers in the first nine months of 2014, and the shutoffs triggered mass protests in the city over the summer when the DWSD accelerated the process.

What the 2014 oil crash means

What the 2014 oil crash means


Prices are falling—fast. Is that good or bad news for the United States?

Oil prices are in free-fall. That’s good economic news for the United States, even if it ends up meaning a serious hit to the shale drilling bonanza. Whether you cheer or boo the plunge, though, depends a lot on where you live and what work you do.

A barrel of Brent crude – the most important global oil price – costs almost $30 less than its late-June high, a decline of more than 25 percent. Nearly half of that drop has come in the last two weeks.

The last time oil prices seemed this unhinged was during the 2008 financial crisis (though prices actually fell further during early 2012). That’s unnerving to many. But the U.S. energy scene has changed dramatically since then. An oil boom has cranked up U.S. production and slashed imports, challenging conventional wisdom on the economic and geopolitical fronts. It used to be clear that falling oil prices were great news for the United States. But it’s not obvious that that’s still the case.

Falling crude prices will crimp oil producers’ profits and, eventually, deter them from drilling. That hurts the U.S. economy. But the benefit to consumers still outweighs that. Amid all the excitement about the rise of U.S. oil production, many appear to have forgotten the United States still consumes far more oil than it produces. A sustained $30 decline in oil prices translates into more than $200 billion a year of savings for U.S. consumers through lower prices for gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and home heating oil. Much of that windfall will be plowed back into the economy as consumers spend their cash, multiplying its impact just like an economic stimulus policy. (Citigroup estimates that falling oil prices would deliver a $1.1 trillion stimulus to the global economy if they were sustained.) Two hundred billion dollars is comparable to the amount the oil and gas industry spends each year on all production in the United States. Even if investment were cut in half – something no one expects to happen at current prices – the benefits of lower oil prices would greatly outweigh these costs.

Why frustrated Latinos may not turn out to vote in midterms

Why frustrated Latinos may not turn out to vote in midterms

By Henry Gass

The Hispanic electorate is one of the fastest-growing voter groups in the US and has the potential to swing a few tight Senate races. But Latinos may choose to stay home instead.

For the first time in US history, Latinos make up 11 percent of all eligible voters nationwide – a record 25.2 million people in all. But their potential clout in the midterm elections, and in deciding which party controls the Senate, could be diminished by several factors.

The Hispanic electorate is one of the fastest-growing voter groups in the country, rising from 8.6 percent of all US voters in 2006, to 10.1 percent in 2010, to 11 percent in 2014. But according to a new report from the Pew Research Center, it's unlikely that this growing demographic will have a big impact on Nov. 4.

The Pew report identified eight "competitive" Senate races – contests that will be key in determining whether control of the upper chamber shifts to the Republicans. In theory, the growing Hispanic electorate could determine the winner in tight Senate races, which would then determine who controls the chamber for the next two years.
Obama taps Joe Biden's former chief of staff as Ebola czar.

Ron Klain, a former chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden, will be tasked with overseeing the US response to the Ebola outbreak.

Obama taps Ron Klain as Ebola czar

By Jim Kuhnhenn

President Barack Obama on Friday turned to a trusted adviser to lead the nation’s Ebola response as efforts to clamp down on any possible route of infection from three Texas cases expanded, reaching a cruise ship at sea and multiple airline flights.

Facing renewed criticism of his handling of the Ebola risk, Obama will make Ron Klain, a former chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden, his point man on fighting Ebola at home and in West Africa. Klain will report to national security adviser Susan Rice and to homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco, the White House said.

Hong Kong Triads May Gain From Occupy Central

Hong Kong Triads May Gain From Occupy Central

Hong Kong triads may gain power as pro-democracy protests continue, one risk expert says. WSJ's Ramy Inocencio talks to Steve Vickers, CEO of risk consultancy SVA.

Joni Ernst faces big problem in Iowa Senate race: women voters

Joni Ernst faces big problem in Iowa Senate race: women voters

By Francine Kiefer

Republican Joni Ernst is trying to become the first woman elected to Congress from Iowa. But in her Senate race – like others nationwide – women voters could be a lifeline for the Democrats.

Given a generic ballot, the country’s Democrats enjoy a 10-point advantage among likely women voters, while Republicans enjoy a nine-point gap among men, according to a September poll by the Pew Research Center.

In presidential years, this slight difference can work to Democrats’ advantage, because more women than men vote. In midterm years like this one, the number of women voters drops – and Democrats have to scramble to get them to the polls.

There are other pitfalls for Democrats, such as a big drop in the approval rating of Mr. Obama among women – only 44 percent compared with 55 percent in 2012, according to a Washington Post/ABC News survey. But in tossup states, such as Iowa, North Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, and Arkansas, Democrats are counting on women voters to make the difference.

Democrats believe that if they can turn out enough women they can overcome whatever advantages Republicans have because of the political environment,” says Jennifer Duffy of the independent Cook Political Report.

Rand Paul claims Ebola is 'incredibly contagious' and.....

Paul walks through a crowd of young Republicans at the state GOP headquarters. 

Rand Paul claims Ebola is 'incredibly contagious' and .....

White House is being dishonest about how easily it can spread.

By Francesca Chambers and Associated Press

Sen. Rand Paul told a group of college students on Wednesday that Ebola is 'incredibly contagious' and can spread from a person who has the disease to someone standing three feet away and said the White House should be honest about that.

His comments directly conflict with statements from world health authorities who have dealt with Ebola outbreaks since 1976.

Paul, a doctor and a presumed GOP presidential contender, made his comments during a stop at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire. In his remarks, he suggested Ebola could spread at a cocktail party attended by someone who is symptomatic, according to CNN video footage.

The Kentucky senator told a conservative radio show host that 'we should not underestimate the transmissibility' of the virus and warned that society may not be 'making sound, rational, scientific decisions' about Ebola 'because of political correctness.' 

'It's a big mistake to downplay and act as if "oh, this is not a big deal, we can control all this." This could get beyond our control,' Paul, who has an MD in optometry from Duke University, told Laura Ingraham.

'My suspicion is that it's a lot more transmissible than that if people who are taking every precaution are getting it.'

How Old People Will Decide Your Future

How Old People Will Decide Your Future

Older voters are the electorate’s fast growing demographic – and a major reason Republicans can win big in 2016.

The political impact of shifting demographics is a hot topic. Judging from the coverage, it would be easy to assume that more liberal younger voters or rising number of Hispanics were the only significant demographic trend.

But that’s neglecting the fastest growing segment of the electorate: older voters.

As an Atlantic piece put it, “America is about to get really old.” In the 2012 election, those 65 years or older were 17 percent of the total vote. But by 2030 those numbers will nearly double, and over 30 percent of the electorate will be over 65. To put this in perspective, the Hispanic vote will probably be only about 15 percent of the electorate by 2030.

Yet the potential impact of older voters seems lost in the current political discussion. In contrast to previous cycles where the debate has been dominated by issues of particular concern to seniors - topics like Medicare, prescription drug prices, and social security – the battle over older voters has been muted by louder arguments, like gender issues, beheadings and disease. For every stock footage shot of a senior on cable news there are dozens of concerned women, terrorists and Ebola horrors.

Yet everyone seems to agree that the higher turnout of senior voters in an off year election is one of the key advantages favoring Republicans, and has been a growing GOP advantage in recent presidential elections. Older voters comprised the greatest increase in Republican voter share between the 2008 and 2012 election. McCain won 65-plus Americans by 8 points, and Romney increased his share to 12 points. If similar rates of increase continued, it would quickly become a dominant factor in elections.

The trend of decreased interest among younger voters and increased among older appears to be accelerating this year. A Pew Research Center poll released Monday found that “25 percent of adults 65 and older were closely following the midterm elections, compared with 5 percent of adults ages 18-29.” 
Insiders Blame Rove for Covering Up Iraq’s Real WMD


Insiders Blame Rove for Covering Up Iraq’s Real WMD

There’s one man, some Republicans say, who kept the public from learning about the chemical shells littered around Iraq. He was Bush's most important political adviser.

Starting in 2004, some members of the George W. Bush administration and Republican lawmakers began to find evidence of discarded chemical weapons in Iraq. But when the information was brought up with the White House, senior adviser Karl Rove told them to “let these sleeping dogs lie.”


Santorum said that in 2005 he began raising the issue with the White House himself. “I had discussions over a period of a year or two. Why aren’t we mentioning this? Why aren’t we doing anything on this?” he recalled. But Santorum later became so frustrated that by 2006, his message to the White House was: “I am going to do this [go public] whether you do it or not.”

One former senior White House official who requested anonymity confirmed that the White House had no interest in 2006 in re-engaging the public debate over weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. He said that other lawmakers had recommended Bush give a press conference with some of the discarded weapons wearing a protective suit.

“We killed that idea at the time,” the former official said. “It’s not a good idea to have the president near this stuff, it’s very dangerous.” This former official said that there were attempts from the White House in 2004 to get some in the media to write about the issue, but the narrative about Iraq and the weapons of mass destruction was already fixed in the mind of the public and the press. “There was not much we could do on this,” this official said.

Paul makes big vow on black vote

Rand Paul is pictured. | Getty

Paul makes big vow on black vote


Sen. Rand Paul tells POLITICO that the Republican presidential candidate in 2016 could capture one-third or more of the African-American vote by pushing criminal-justice reform, school choice and economic empowerment.

“If Republicans have a clue and do this and go out and ask every African-American for their vote, I think we can transform an election in one cycle,” the Kentucky Republican said in a phone interview Thursday as he was driven through New Hampshire in a rental car.

Paul — on the cover of the new issue of Time as “The Most Interesting Man in Politics” — met with black leaders in Ferguson, Missouri, last week; opened a “GOP engagement office” in an African-American area of Louisville in June; and spoke the next month to a National Urban League convention in Cincinnati.

“That doesn’t mean that we get to a majority of African-American votes in one cycle,” Paul continued, speaking between campaign stops in Plymouth and Salem. “But I think there is fully a third of the African-American vote that is open to much of the message, because much of what the Democrats has offered hasn’t worked.”

Exit polls showed the GOP’s share of the African-American vote in the past six presidential elections ranged from 4 percent for John McCain in 2008 to 12 percent for Bob Dole in 1996, according to the Roper Center. Mitt Romney got 6 percent in 2012.

When pressed on his ambitious goal, Paul upped the ante: “I don’t want to limit it to that. I don’t want to say there’s only a third open. … The reason I use the number ‘a third,’ is that when you do surveys of African-American voters, a third of them are conservative on a preponderance of the issues. So, there is upside potential.”

U.S. Air Force personnel put up a 25-bed hospital in Liberia.

In Liberia, U.S. Soldiers Race Ebola

Liberia was barely able to respond to the needs of its people before the outbreak of Ebola. Subsequently, the U.S. and other countries are essentially creating a health system from scratch on extreme deadlines.

American and Liberian soldiers hammer, saw and sweat in the afternoon sun here in a frenetic campaign to build the county’s first Ebola-treatment unit. Soon, the soldiers will have floodlights to work round-the-clock shifts.

The unfolding epidemic has killed more than 4,400 people, mostly in West Africa. Everything in Liberia was needed weeks ago, and the Ebola-treatment centers are no exception. A month ago, President Barack Obama vowed to build 17 units. Soldiers have yet to complete one.


Liberia’s health infrastructure was barely able to respond to the needs of its people before the outbreak. Ebola has since steamrolled it. As a result, the U.S. and other countries are essentially creating a health system from scratch on extreme deadlines.

The challenges are huge: Power outages and a lack of basic medical supplies are among them. Decrepit roads and heavy rains plague construction sites. Doctors and nurses were already in short supply because of years of low pay.

How fast the U.S. and international effort in West Africa comes together could determine whether the virus is largely contained in West Africa—or spreads more aggressively abroad. Cases have surfaced in the U.S., Spain and Germany. The World Health Organization said this week that there could be as many as 10,000 new cases a week in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone by the end of 2014. That followed its criticism that the international community was too slow to respond.

Now the U.S. and others fighting Ebola are bringing to West Africa the sophisticated facilities these countries have lacked.

Before the outbreak, Liberia’s only lab capable of testing blood for highly infectious diseases was the Liberian Institute on Biomedical Research—a compound of World War II-era buildings and rusted cages that used to house chimpanzee test subjects. The bat-infested facility could only process 40 blood specimens a day and the electricity only worked intermittently.

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