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Bryan Preston

Bryan Preston has been a leading conservative blogger and opinionator since founding his first blog in 2001. Bryan is a military veteran, worked for NASA, was a founding blogger and producer at Hot Air, was producer of the Laura Ingraham Show and, most recently before joining PJM, was Communications Director of the Republican Party of Texas.
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Wendy Davis Campaign Launches Its Most Absurd Attack on Greg Abbott Yet

Monday, October 20th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

San Antonio Express-News reporter Peggy Fikac runs a story in which she attempts to tie Texas Republican governor nominee Greg Abbott to a little misstep made by a fellow Republican who is several states away.

The subject is state-level bans on interracial marriage, which were struck down by courts decades ago. They are not relevant today, but reporters like Fikac are attempting to equate them with the current trend of courts striking down bans on same-sex marriage. And Wendy Davis’ campaign is running with that.

 

That’s the spokesman Davis imported from Harry Reid’s smear shop, demonstrating his total lack of honesty, facts and sense.

It didn’t take Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott any time at all to decide that not answering that question was the best course during a meeting with the San Antonio Express-News Editorial Board.

“Right now, if there was a ban on interracial marriage, that’s already been ruled unconstitutional,” Abbott pointed out. “And all I can do is deal with the issues that are before me … The job of an attorney general is to represent and defend in court the laws of their client, which is the state Legislature, unless and until a court strikes it down.”

When I said I wasn’t clear if he was saying he would have defended a ban on interracial marriage, he said, “Actually, the reason why you’re uncertain about it is because I didn’t answer the question. And I can’t go back and answer some hypothetical question like that.”

Asked about the similarities some see between the ban on gay marriage and past prohibitions on interracial marriage, Abbott said, “Well, the Supreme Court has disagreed with that” by holding that sexual orientation isn’t due protected-class status in the way that race is.

What Abbott is doing there is staying away from hypotheticals, in this case, one set up by the media to help Democrats who favor gay marriage and who want some issue to use against their Republican opponents. It’s a gotcha, and everyone — the media, Abbott, everyone — knew that.

Why is it a “gotcha”? Because there’s no way to answer it and satisfy the press, and the media hardly ever uses the same technique against Democrats. Go one way and you get the report above, go another and you get “Abbott disagrees with fellow Republicans,” go another and you get the media putting him on the defensive in some other way.

In this case, Wendy Davis admitted that she would violate current state law, but media evidently did not follow up or chase her down on that, so she is not being forced to defend that.

“I do,” she said in her meeting with the San Antonio Express-News Editorial Board. “I think it’s a very fair comparison in that the time has … come for us to move forward in understanding that we’ve been kind of stuck in the same place that our country was stuck when it had the ban on interracial marriage. And I’m pleased to see the rapid advancement that is happening around the country in us accepting that and moving forward in a more productive way.”

Davis has called on Abbott to stop defending both Texas’ gay marriage ban and its public education finance system, which is being challenged in court by school districts.

Wendy Davis wants the Texas attorney general to violate his official duties under state law.

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Houston Mayor Annise Parker Lies, Renews Assault on City Pastors

Monday, October 20th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Houston Mayor Annise Parker initially defended her decision to subpoena the sermons of several pastors who lead churches in the city. Parker defended that decision publicly, on Twitter.

 

Blowback was national, immediate and fierce (though, not from Wendy Davis, Barack Obama or any other of Parker’s fellow Democrats. They stayed quiet as Parker launched lawfare against churches.).

Parker backtracked and lied, claiming that she isn’t interested in the sermons.

Now she is lying again, claiming that the pastors knew that she wasn’t ever interested in their sermons.

“‘We don’t need to intrude on matters of faith to have equal rights in Houston, and it was never the intention of the city of Houston to intrude on any matters of faith or to get between a pastor and their parishioners,’ Parker said. ‘We don’t want their sermons, we want the instructions on the petition process. That’s always what we wanted and, again, they knew that’s what we wanted because that’s the subject of the lawsuit.’”

That is not what the original subpoenas said, and it is not what Parker defended demanding in the tweet above. In the tweet above, Parker admitted that she is interested in putting anything that the pastors might have said that can be construed as any way political under scrutiny. She wants to use discovery in the lawsuits against her to put the pastors and their tax-exempt status on trial.

As we and others have reported previously, the pastors who find themselves targeted by Parker’s subpoenas are not even party to the lawsuit in question. The lawsuit is over the Parker administration’s decision to throw out a petition that more than met the threshold to get a question on the ballot for Houston voters to decide.

That referendum would have put Parker’s “bathroom ordinance” up to a vote of the people. It needed a little over 17,000 signatures. It got 50,000, but Parker’s administration threw it out, citing “irregularities.”

That’s what the lawsuit is about — getting that petition re-instated, and putting Parker’s controversial “bathroom ordinance” up for a vote of the people.

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Ebola Crisis is So Urgent that Obama’s New Czar Doesn’t Even Start the Job for a Week

Monday, October 20th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Barack Obama likes to use the phrase “We can’t wait!” when it comes to granting amnesty to illegal aliens, along with many of his other pet causes.

But apparently, the Ebola outbreak can wait.

The Daily Caller reports that Ron Klain, President Obama’s new Solyndra Ebola PR czar, hasn’t even started the job yet.

After a day of golfing, President Barack Obama convened a meeting with the task force [Friday] to apprise him of any developments in the treatment of the two domestic Ebola cases and to discuss emergency preparedness nationwide, according to a White House pool report. Attendees included Vice President Joe Biden, Centers of Disease Control and Prevention director Tom Frieden, several cabinet members and other White House aides. Klain was not there.

Perhaps Klain, a Democrat operative going back to the Joe Biden’s smear of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, will spend this week brushing up on Ebola with the same intensity that Obama brings to those Daily Intelligence Briefings that he routinely skips. Or perhaps he will brush up on getting things spectacularly wrong by politically helpful, from his new boss Susan Rice.

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Flip-Flop: Obama’s Anti-Travel-Ban Wall Cracks

Friday, October 17th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Endangered Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) was against a West Africa travel ban earlier this week. Hagan agreed with President Obama and most Democrats at the time, in rejecting calls for a temporary travel ban to halt the spread of Ebola, which has now infected at least two Americans.

“The CDC and the World Health Organization is certainly giving us great guidance, but we’ve got to make sure the implementation is perfect,” said the first-term senator. Hagan also declined to endorse the policy of temporarily banning passengers from entering the U.S. if they’re traveling from West African countries experiencing the Ebola outbreak.

“That’s not going to help solve this problem,” said Hagan of the proposed ban. “That’s not going to contain the epidemic that we see happening in Africa.”

Hagan changed her tune today. The senator released an about-face statement this afternoon.

Greensboro, NC – U.S. Senator Kay Hagan issued the following statement about the ongoing Ebola crisis:

“I have said for weeks that travel restrictions should be one part of a broad strategy to prevent Ebola from spreading in the U.S. and fighting it in Africa. I am calling on the Administration to temporarily ban the travel of non-U.S. citizens from the affected countries in West Africa. Although stopping the spread of this virus overseas will require a large, coordinated effort with the international community, a temporary travel ban is a prudent step the President can take to protect the American people, and I believe he should do so immediately.”

Her challenger, Republican Thom Tillis, already called for a temporary travel ban more than two weeks ago.

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Obama’s New Ebola Czar Was Deeply Involved in Solyndra Scandal

Friday, October 17th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Bridget Johnson reported earlier that President Obama has appointed Ron Klain to become Ebola czar.

Klain’s career is not in medicine, epidemiology, or any field related to disease control or prevention.

Klain is a laywer, a K Street lobbyist, and a career Democrat party operative. Klain is not a doctor. He is a Democrat loyalist.

Not only was he involved in Al Gore’s 2000 election recount as Bridget reported, Klain was involved in the Obama administration’s Solyndra debacle.

In January 2012, ABC News reported that Klain, then Vice President Joe Biden’s chief of staff, was right in the middle of the administration’s poor and controversial handling of Solyndra’s bankruptcy.

Senior White House officials knew in late October 2010 that government-backed Solyndra was planning to lay off nearly 20 percent of its workforce just prior to the congressional elections the next month, recently released e-mails show.

E-mails released by the White House last week showed that Heather Zichal, an energy aide to President Barack Obama, relayed the news about the Fremont-based solar firm’s planned layoffs to top White House officials, including Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer and senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and Vice Presidential Chief of Staff Ron Klain.

Later in the same story…

Obama visited Solyndra in May 2010, as e-mails showed his top advisers, including Jarrett and Klain, knew about Solyndra’s precarious financial condition. During his visit, Obama hailed Solyndra, telling factory workers, “The true engine of economic growth will always be companies like Solyndra.”

In another story, ABC details Klain’s role:

On May 24, 2010 — two days before the president’s visit — California businessman Steve Westley emailed senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett, referencing the audit and saying the visit might “haunt him in the next 18 months if Solyndra hits the wall, files for bankruptcy, etc.”

Jarrett reached out to Ron Klain, then the chief of staff to Vice President Biden, saying that “we clearly need to make sure that they are stable and solid.”

Klain contacted Energy Department officials and then wrote back to Jarrett, saying “Sounds like there are some risk factors here – but that’s true of any innovative company that POTUS would visit. It looks like it is OK to me, but if you feel otherwise, let me know.”

“I’m comfortable if you’re comfortable,” Jarrett wrote back.

Responded Klain: “The reality is that if POTUS visited 10 such places over the next 10 months, probably a few would be belly-up by election day 2012 – but that to me is the reality of saying that we want to help promote cutting edge, new economy industries.”

By October, Summers, Klain, and director of the Office of Energy and Climate Policy Carol Browner wrote a six-page memorandum to the President about the loan guarantee program, detailing the fights between the Department of Energy and OMB and giving the president four options to deal with the program, one of which would have terminated it altogether, seeking congressional approval to move the funds into a Department of Energy grant program.

The Washington Post reports that Klain “dismissed auditor’s concerns about Solyndra’s solvency” in 2010, “reasoning that all innovative companies come with risk.” In Solyndra’s case, the risk was borne by the US taxpayer in the form of government-backed loans.

Solyndra filed for bankruptcy in August 2011, just over a year after Klain dismissed concerns about its viability, and failed to warn President Obama about its financial condition.

More: Obama on Ebola: ‘I don’t have a philosophical objection, necessarily, to a travel ban.’

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Obama on Ebola: ‘I don’t have a philosophical objection, necessarily, to a travel ban.’

Friday, October 17th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

President Obama has begun to explain why he is making sure that the United States does not impose a travel ban on people coming from the three Ebola-stricken countries to here.

Those countries are Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. A Liberian man flew to the United States in September, bringing Ebola with him. He infected two nurses, and as many as 1,000 people are now being sought or monitored for having contact either with him or with the two nurses.

In a White House photo-op, Obama explained “I don’t have a philosophical objection, necessarily, to a travel ban if that is the thing that is gonna keep the American people safe.”

Obama claimed that in all discussions that he has had with experts in the field, those experts have told him that if there is a travel ban, some people might slip across borders to travel from another, non-Ebola country. Because that possibility even exists, there should be no travel ban at all.

Watch his remarks here.

Obama did not name any of the experts who he claims have told him of this scenario — a scenario that has become increasingly unlikely after several African countries closed their borders with the Ebola-stricken countries.

The president’s use of “necessarily” to qualify his thoughts indicates that he does have a philosophical objection to a travel ban. His default position will be to keep travel open to roughly 150 people per day coming to the United States from West Africa, unless circumstances force his hand. Today the president gave the first hint that that could happen.

Africa itself is less hesitant about imposing travel bans, closing borders and making other moves to keep Ebola from spreading. Morocco hosts the Africa Cup of Nations international soccer tournament in January. That country is now reportedly lobbying to get the tournament delayed until the Ebola outbreak is over. Some reports say that Morocco has already withdrawn from hosting. The Sierra Leone team no longer plays any qualifying games in its home country.

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Vice President Biden’s Son Booted from the Navy: Cocaine

Friday, October 17th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Hunter Biden, son of Vice President Joe Biden, has been kicked out of the US Navy Reserve.

The son of Vice President Joe Biden says he is “embarrassed” after being discharged from the Navy Reserve earlier this year — reportedly after testing positive for cocaine.

The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter, reported Thursday that Hunter Biden’s short-lived military career ended because he failed a drug test after reporting to his unit in 2013. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Navy discharged him in February of this year.

Biden said in a statement to Fox News that he respects the Navy’s decision but did not specify why he was discharged.

“It was the honor of my life to serve in the U.S. Navy, and I deeply regret and am embarrassed that my actions led to my administrative discharge,” he said. “I respect the Navy’s decision. With the love and support of my family, I’m moving forward.”

The 44-year-old was given a commission as an ensign in the Navy Reserve in 2013. He was kicked out earlier this year, yet the story is just now getting into the media. Was it covered up?

Drug use seems to run in Joe Biden’s family, though the media have never made as much of that as they attempted to make of everything that the Bush daughters did or didn’t do.

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Again: Another Democrat Refuses to Admit Voting for Obama

Thursday, October 16th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Welcome to consequences, Natalie Tennant.

The West Virginia Democrat is running for Senate in West Virginia. Thanks to Obama, that’s a red state now.

Tennant was indirectly asked today if she voted for Obama.

And she refused to answer clearly. “I voted for the Democrat Party,” Tennant allowed, before launching into a long criticism of Obama’s EPA policies, to create some distance between herself, her own party, and him.

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Is the White House Behind the CDC’s Travel Ban Stubbornness? Frieden Won’t Say.

Thursday, October 16th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

In his Washington Times column today, Joseph Curl writes that President Barack Obama could have kept Ebola out of the United States with a few simple words: “No one from West Africa gets into the country.”

It’s hard to argue with that. Had there been a travel ban from West Africa’s Ebola zone to the United States, Thomas Eric Duncan could not have flown here by way of Brussels. Two American nurses would not now have Ebola, straining Texas Presbyterian to the point that they have had to be flown across the country to two of the nation’s four Ebola-ready hospitals.

But the Obama administration has not imposed a travel ban from West Africa’s Ebola zone to the United States.

During today’s Ebola hearing in Congress, Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) quizzed Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden about that.

Dr. Frieden insisted that if we ban travel from the three Ebola-stricken countries, exposed people can just slip into nearby countries and fly from there, and we will be unable to monitor them here.

That’s highly debatable. Several African countries have closed their borders with the Ebola-stricken countries, and they have credited better border security with helping block the spread of Ebola. The borders are porous, true, but the CDC’s argument is now that because we cannot stop all air passenger travel from all of Africa, we cannot stop any of it from the Ebola hot zone.

Upton said, “I looked at the legal language, does the president, does he have the legal authority to impose a travel ban because of health reasons including Ebola, is that not correct?”

Frieden whiffed, “I — I don’t have legal expertise to answer the question.”

As the head of the CDC, Frieden surely knows that presidents do have such authority.

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) asked Frieden about the White House’s involvement.

“Have y’all had any conversations within the White House about a travel ban and whether or not the president has the authority? Because many of us have said the president does have the authority to do it today,” Scalise said.

Frieden did not answer, saying instead that CDC “would consider” a ban.

Scalise asked again: “Have you considered that? Have you ruled it out? Have you had conversations with the White House about a travel ban? That’s a yes or no question. Have you had conversations with the White House about a travel ban?”

Friedan against refused to answer directly: “We’ve discussed many aspects.”

Scalise asked again if Frieden has discussed a travel ban with the White House: “I can’t speak for the White House.”

Scalise tried several more times, to ascertain if the White House is discussing the lack of a travel ban with the CDC.

Frieden repeatedly refused to answer.

Watch the exchange here.

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Fan-Gate: Chris Wallace Says that Charlie Crist Demands a Fan When He Appears on Fox (Updated: Rule-Breaker!)

Thursday, October 16th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

During last night’s Florida gubernatorial debate, there was a mini-debate over a fan.

Former Gov. Charlie Crist (D) did not get an allowance in the rules for having a fan behind his podium, but he snuck a fan onto the stage anyway. It was positioned just in front of and between his feet, angled nearly straight up.

crist-fan

Current Gov. Rick Scott (R) made a big deal out of the fan, and even delayed the debate to protest the fact that Crist had snuck it onto the stage.

Scott initially looked like a buffoon for making an issue of the fan, but Fox’s Chris Wallace told Brian Kilmeade today that this is not the first time that Charlie Crist’s insistence of having a fan close-by has come up.

Wallace told Kilmeade, “We’ve had Charlie Crist on Fox News Sunday, and he demanded a fan when he was [on].”

Kilmeade laughed, “He did?”

“Absolutely,” Wallace replied. “The man clearly sweats a lot, and he needs to have a fan to keep him cool.

Wallace added, “I don’t know whether he really needs it or whether he psychologically needs it, but he does need it.”

Maybe it’s not sweat. Maybe Crist has some other need to blow air past himself to points away from other peoples’ noses. And maybe Scott delayed the debate to bring whatever drives Crist to demand fans everywhere out into the open.

Is Fan-Gate somehow connected to Charlie Crist’s tangerine complexion?

I really have no idea. I just know that when Lex Luthor debates Orange Benedict Arnold and sneaking fans around is the issue, no one really wins.

Well, other than late-night comics. They’re gonna love this.

Update: Debate organizers say that Crist broke the rules with his fan sneaking. Why was he so desperate to have a fan, yet not have the rules specify that he could have one? Hm.

A source with deep knowledge of Florida politics tells me that Crist insists on having fans around him because he sweats. A lot. A whole lot. Buckets, one supposes.

Being both orange and sweaty doesn’t make for a good TV image.

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Are Michelle Obama’s Skimpy School Lunches Going to Make Kids Dumb?

Thursday, October 16th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

First Lady Michelle Obama is not a dietitian by profession, she is a lawyer. She also studied sociology.

Here is a photo of one of Michelle Obama’s FDA-mandated school lunches. It’s from Oklahoma.

Chickasha-lunch

The school superintendent is not impressed.

Chickasha superintendent David Cash agrees the skimpy lunches need to be addressed.

“You’ve got in some cases little kids that their only two meals are breakfast and lunch at school and they’re getting you know a grand total of 1100 calories. That’s not enough,” Cash says.

The new lunch complies with lunch regulations championed by First Lady Michelle Obama and implemented by the USDA.

Mrs. Obama’s school lunches have come under massive criticism for being tasteless, for lacking a real variety of foods that kids will actually eat, and for being too small, as above. Schools are still struggling to adapt to the FDA-enforced, Obama-approved school lunches. Many schools around the country have opted to dump the First Lady’s lunches.

In addition to being too small, too boring, and filling up trash cans without filling up kids’ bellies, there may be another problem with these lunches.

They’re mostly raw.

Cooked food enables humans to have bigger and smarter brains, according to this 2007 article in Scientific American.

Richard Wrangham has tasted chimp food, and he doesn’t like it. “The typical fruit is very unpleasant,” the Harvard University biological anthropologist says of the hard, strangely shaped fruits endemic to the chimp diet, some of which look like cherries, others like cocktail sausages. “Fibrous, quite bitter. Not a tremendous amount of sugar. Some make your stomach heave.” After a few tastings in western Uganda, where he works part of the year on his 20-year-old project studying wild chimpanzees, Wrangham came to the conclusion that no human could survive long on such a diet. Besides the unpalatable taste, our weak jaws, tiny teeth and small guts would never be able to chomp and process enough calories from the fruits to support our large bodies.

Then, one cool fall evening in 1997, while gazing into his fireplace in Cambridge, Mass., and contemplating a completely different question—“What stimulated human evolution?”—he remembered the chimp food. “I realized what a ridiculously large difference cooking would make,” Wrangham says. Cooking could have made the fibrous fruits, along with the tubers and tough, raw meat that chimps also eat, much more easily digestible, he thought—they could be consumed quickly and digested with less energy. This innovation could have enabled our chimp­like ancestors’ gut size to shrink over evolutionary time; the energy that would have gone to support a larger gut might have instead sparked the evolution of our bigger-brained, larger-bodied, humanlike forebears.

Dr. Wrangham worked with Dr. Jane Goodall when she proved that primates other than humans are capable of making and using tools. He is no rookie or crank. He has been studying his cooked food theory for 10 years now. Many in other fields dismiss his idea, but he has pulled together considerable support for it.

What would it take to convert a chimpanzeelike ancestor into a human?” Fire to cook food, he reasoned, which led to bigger bodies and brains.

And that is exactly what he found in Homo erectus, our ancestor that first appeared 1.6 million to 1.9 million years ago. H. erectus’s brain was 50 percent larger than that of its predecessor, H. habilis, and it experienced the biggest drop in tooth size in human evolution. “There’s no other time that satisfies expectations that we would have for changes in the body that would be accompanied by cooking,” Wrangham says.

The problem with his idea: proof is slim that any human could control fire that far back.

As they say in science when they’re being honest and fair, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. It just means that there is a gap in what has been verified.

So far, Wrangham has found that no current human group anywhere eats all of their food raw. Everyone cooks, across all human cultures. Modern humans need a lot of high-quality calories to support our high-functioning brains. We need cooked food to get those high-quality calories. Raw meat as seen in the Obama lunch above therefore doesn’t help much, according to Wrangham’s research (Wrangham has been working on this idea longer than Obama has been First Lady). Cooking saves energy that humans would otherwise have to spend chewing more food for longer periods — because “Heat alters the physical structure of proteins and starches, thereby making enzymatic breakdown easier.”

It’s not a slam dunk. There remains little evidence that our ancestors controlled fire far enough back to fit his theory. There are other dietary questions yet to be answered.

Whatever is the case, pretty much no one but Michelle Obama likes her school lunches — and she doesn’t even have to eat them.

Food for thought…

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Liberals Risk Losing Their Own Video Contest, So They Change the Rules

Thursday, October 16th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

A week ago we reported that conservative group American Commitment was poised to win a video contest organized by leftwing groups MoveOn.org and MAYDAY.US.

At that point, American Commitment’s video was well ahead of all of the competition.

As of now, it has earned roughly 15 times the votes of its nearest competition.

MoveOn.org and MAYDAY.US apparently don’t like losing their own contest to a conservative video that skewers one of the left’s big money men, Tom Steyer.

Suddenly, the contest rules have changed!

American Commitment released a statement on the trickery.

The contest rules previously stated: “Contest ends at 5:00 p.m. ET on Thursday, October 16, 2014.  The sooner you post your video, the more time you’ll have to get votes.”

The contest rules have now been altered to say: “Contest submissions ends [sic] at 5:00 p.m. ET on Thursday, October 16, 2014.  The sooner you post your video, the more time you’ll have to get votes.  The 24-hour voting period begins on Thurdsday [sic] at 5pm ET, and ends on Friday at 5pm ET, October 17th, 2014”

That’s a major change in the voting period for the video contest. It negates all of the votes that the videos racked up since the contest actually began.

“MoveOn.org and MAYDAY.us have unfairly changed the rules in the middle of the game in a desperate attempt to stop our video from winning the competition,” said Phil Kerpen, president of American Commitment in a statement emailed to the Tatler.  “Our entry about America’s number one fatcat campaign contributor, Tom Steyer—shines a spotlight on him and on the role hypocritical liberal billionaire contributors play in stoking feigned outrage about conservative donors.  Americans have overwhelmingly supported our ad with their votes, and MoveOn.org and MAYDAY.us should respect the democratic process by letting these votes stand—and then put some of their own big money behind airing the ad on TV.”

Here is American Commitment’s video entry, which has pulled in 15 times the votes of any of its competitors — before MoveOn.org moved to change the rules.

This episode is just a small window through which we can see the contempt that many on the left actually have for fair voting, and even for rules that they establish that later become inconvenient to them.

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Ebola Nurse Pham to be Transferred to Maryland

Thursday, October 16th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The United States has just four Ebola-equipped hospitals. One of those is in Bethesda, Maryland, and Nina Pham is being transferred to there from Texas Presbyterian today.

DALLAS — Nina Pham will be transferred from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas to a hospital in Bethesda, Md., family members confirmed Thursday morning.

A 26-year-old nurse, Pham was the first person to contract Ebola on U.S. soil.

Family confirmed they didn’t request the move. Sources say the decision was made due to staffing issues at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. The family says they’re OK with the move.

Pham will surely get the best care there. She has been given a blood transfusion from Ebola survivor Dr. Kent Brantly and is reported to be doing well. She has even Skyped with family from the Dallas hospital.

The staff issues that WFFA’s story mentions but doesn’t detail are very serious.

Ebola puts a heavy burden on hospitals. It takes about 20 full-time and fully trained and fully protected ICU staff to care for just one Ebola patient. Texas Presbyterian reportedly had to ship several ICU patients to other area hospitals while it cared for Thomas Duncan, because of the staffing issues that Ebola creates and for the safety of those other patients. If Texas Presbyterian doesn’t send Pham and Vinson to other, Ebola-ready hospitals, its ICU is effectively shut down. And Pham and Vinson would not get the best care that is available.

Three of the four Ebola-ready hospitals currently have Ebola patients, or will once Pham arrives in Maryland. She will be there, Vinson is now at the one in Georgia, and NBC photographer Ashoka Mukpo is at the one in Nebraska. That just leaves the one in Missoula, Montana without an Ebola patient.

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CDC Ponders Blaming Ebola Nurse #2 Now

Thursday, October 16th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Obama White House is scrambling.

And it’s about to make a couple of bizarre, yet consequential, decisions.

One — Obama is considering sending more US troops to western Africa to fight Ebola.

While at the same time, he keeps ruling out sending troops to fight ISIS.

This should be too obvious to have to bother pointing out, but if Obama sends additional US troops to fight Ebola, he will have deployed more boots on the ground to fight a virus than he has deployed to fight an Islamist army that threatens to take Baghdad.

Obama has insisted that there is no military solution to ISIS.

But there is a military solution to Ebola…?

Only one of the two threats actually consists of an army on the ground that uses weapons to kill people. The other is a microscopic thing that replicates itself. The US military’s engineering, security and medical capabilities are considerable. But even they cannot shoot or bomb Ebola.

Two — the Obama CDC is looking into blaming Ebola nurse #2 for getting on that commercial airplane that the CDC allowed her to get on. Fox got wind of that blame game move today.

White House correspondent Ed Henry reports that the CDC now says that Amber Joy Vinson was “not entirely forthcoming” about the fever that she had before boarding that flight from Cleveland to Dallas.

It’s difficult to see how that could be the case. The CDC itself reported that her fever was 99.5 and that it therefore did not meet the CDC threshold of 100.4. The CDC knew that Vinson had been exposed to Ebola. What could she have withheld when she called the agency, more than once, to see if she would be allowed to fly?

Watch the segment.

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Charlie Crist Sneaks His #1 Fan Behind His Debate Podium

Thursday, October 16th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) and former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (What is he today? Riiiiight, Democrat) were supposed to debate last night.

Crist snuck a little fan behind his podium, which is an odd thing to do.

Crist has a destructive history. As a Republican, his 2008 endorsement foisted John McCain on America to go up against Barack Obama. McCain was nearly half a century older than Obama at the time. Then he switched from Republican to Independent to Democrat because Marco Rubio was about to clean his clock, and Charlie Crist has no principles, other than promoting Charlie Crist.

 

I was told a few years back that a certain very famous talk-show host always had a fan behind his desk, to drive noxious fumes that emanated from him, away from his guests. Not sure if that’s relevant to the Crist situation. It’s a weird call, sneaking a fan behind your podium and placing it by your feet, aimed straight up at your mid-section. Whatever could it be for?

In any case, Gov. Scott at first refused to debate after learning that his opponent had a fan advantage. There were boos and general rancor. The moderators debated among themselves whether they had ever seen anything of the like.

They had not.

Gov. Scott did eventually come out and debate Crist.

Take a look.

YouTube Preview Image

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Houston’s Mayor Backtracks on Church Subpoenas, Tosses Her Own Lawyers Under the Bus (Updated)

Thursday, October 16th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Houston’s power-mad Mayor Annise Parker has backtracked on those subpoenas that she had the city issue to five city pastors, at taxpayer expense.

The mayor made the move as Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott sent a letter to Parker asking that she withdraw the subpoenas “immediately.”

Attorney General Greg Abbott Asks Houston City Attorney to Withdraw Subpoenas Seeking Sermons, Other Documents from Houston-area Pastors

AUSTIN — Attorney General Abbott today asked that the Houston City Attorney to immediately withdraw the subpoenas sent last month to several Houston-area pastors seeking sermons, notes and other information.

In his letter to the city attorney, Attorney General Abbott said, “Whether you intend it to be so or not, your action is a direct assault on the religious liberty guaranteed by the First Amendment. The people of Houston and their religious leaders must be absolutely secure in the knowledge that their religious affairs are beyond the reach of the government.”

Abbott is the Republican nominee for Texas governor and is widely expected to win in November.

Houston’s KTRH radio reports that Parker is shifting her position.

The mayor says the subpoenas were too broad, and should not have included actual sermons.

“It’s not about what did you preach on last Sunday,” Parker told reporters Wednesday.  “It should have been clarified, it will be clarified.”

Actually it was very much about what pastors preached, and how they communicate with each other and with ministry staff.

Parker added:

“When I looked at it I felt it was overly broad, I would not have worded it that way myself,” he said.  “It’s unfortunate that it has been construed as some effort to infringe upon religious liberty.”

City Attorney David Feldman now claims that he did not even review the subpoenas before they were issued.

Both are remarkable climb-downs from the position that Parker herself took just Tuesday night, when she defended the subpoenas of sermons themselves as “fair game.”

Parker defended the subpoenas, and specifically subpoenaing sermons, in this tweet:

 

Now she claims that they were “overly broad.” More likely, the reaction that her move got was overly hostile — forcing her hand.

Update on next page.

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Ebola Latest: CDC Look Like Idiots, Again

Thursday, October 16th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

After news broke that the second Ebola nurse flew on a commercial flight a day before she officially came down with symptoms — but she had a 99.5 fever and Ebola is a viral hemorrhagic fever — CDC Director Tom Frieden said that she should never have traveled on a commercial flight.

What he did not say was that the CDC allowed her to travel on a commercial flight, because her fever was not quite high enough.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that Vinson called the agency several times before flying, saying that she had a fever with a temperature of 99.5 degrees. But because her fever wasn’t 100.4 degrees or higher, she didn’t officially fall into the group of “high risk” and was allowed to fly.

Officials in the U.S. have been trying to calm fears over the Ebola crisis, but time and again events have overtaken their assurances.

Less than a full degree of difference, and the CDC says A-OK? That doesn’t make a lot of sense.

“Events have overtaken” the CDC’s assurances mostly because they keep saying and doing stupid things. Americans would be a whole lot less worried about Ebola if it appeared that we even had one person in charge who possesses a clue. So far, that person has not emerged. President Obama is trying to be that person, but he’s President Obama. He’s already a proven, bonafide dope who leads from behind and plays word games about everything. Swapping out an attack-minded fundraiser for a Washington meeting won’t cut it. That’s not leadership.

Dallas County will hold an emergency meeting this afternoon. The subject: Emergency!

Dallas County Commissioners are set to meet Thursday afternoon to discuss whether to call on Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) to declare an emergency to deal with Ebola. The declaration would give officials greater authority to impose travel restrictions on health-care workers who are being monitored for Ebola symptoms, NBC-DFW reported.

Separately, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) called on President Barack Obama to consider a ban on travel to the United States from Ebola-stricken countries. In a statement, Boehner said “a temporary ban on travel to the United States from countries afflicted with the virus is something the president should absolutely consider along with other appropriate actions as doubts about the security of our air travel systems grow.”

Such calls are growing increasingly bi-partisan, but a travel ban is probably the last thing that the Obama White House will allow. Not because the science is really against it.

Gov. Perry returns from his economic trip overseas to deal with the emergency.

And everyone went nuts about this photo last night. It shows Amber Vinson, Ebola nurse #2, being moved from Texas Presbyterian to Emory, one of the four American hospitals that actually is ready for Ebola patients.

ebola-nurse-clipboard-guy

Reaction to this picture shows just how badly the U.S. is handling Ebola at this point — not the American people, but the American government.

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Houston Mayor’s Subpoenas Aimed at Shutting Churches Up, or Shutting Them Down

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Houston Mayor Annise Parker has revealed her purpose behind subpoenaing pastors.

Despite protestations from her office that they cannot comment on ongoing litigation, Parker did, here.

 

As we reported earlier, the sermons in question are accessible online without a subpoena. Parker did not need to unleash lawyers to obtain them. She is asking for much more than just sermons. Her subpoenas demanded that the pastors appear in person. They also demanded internal communications within and among the churches that were involved in the petition drive.

But the above tweet reveals her purpose. She wants to build a case that the pastors engaged in politics from the pulpit.

Which means that she is building a case to attack their tax-exempt status.

That’s the threat here, and it’s real. Mayor Annise Parker wants to shut churches out of political and cultural discussions because she disagrees with them, or shut them down if they refuse to comply with her diktats. That will intimidate other churches to either agree with her, or self-censor out of fear.

That is an abuse of power.

h/t Joshua Trevino

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The Obama Administration’s Ebola Response Focus-Grouped Word for the Day is ‘Tenacious’

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

During today’s 45-minute White House press briefing, Josh Earnest repeatedly rolled out a word to describe the Obama administration’s response to Ebola.

You and I could probably come up with several words to describe that response. The administration clearly went with “tenacious.” Before long, reporters even started using “tenacious” in their questions back to Earnest.

Take a look.

The Obama administration likes to play word games. War is not war, it’s “kinetic action.” Terrorism is a “man-caused disaster.” Nidal Hasan is not a terrorist, he engaged in “workplace violence.” The Muslim Brotherhood is “mostly secular,” begging at least one question — Well, what about its non-secular aspects?

What we have here is an administration that wants to convince you to credit it for merely showing up. It’s the “everyone gets a trophy” crowd at work atop our government, again.

The definition of tenacious is “tending to keep a firm hold of something; clinging or adhering closely,” or “not readily relinquishing a position, principle, or course of action; determined.”

“Tenacious” =/= “effective.” Or “intelligent.” It can mean “stubborn.”

In fact, looking at that first definition, “tenacious” fits the “bitter clingers” Obama denounced years ago. And we’ve come full circle with the “everyone gets a trophy” crowd.

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Since When Is Fever Not a Symptom of a Viral Hemorrhagic Fever?

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Americans would be a whole lot less concerned about Ebola if the government showed any amount of competence at any level.

Instead, we’re getting Judge Jenkins gallivanting around in the same shirt after entering the first Ebola patient’s apartment, and “breach of protocol” when there was no protocol, from an administration headed by a man who had to be shamed into changing his travel plans — and appear to do his job.

Changing the president’s travel plans, by the way, is one that Major Garrett pointed out today is a move that the Obama White House has previously condemned — after Russian proxies shot down a passenger airliner over Ukraine.

So today, after the world learned that there is a second Ebola nurse, and that she flew on a commercial airplane while she should not have, the CDC director says this. (h/t Ace)

Update at 12:28 p.m.: During a teleconference with reporters Wednesday, Centers for Disease Control Director Dr. Thomas Frieden said passengers on Frontier Airlines Flight 1143 are at “extremely low risk” of being exposed.

That’s probably true. Only those who sat close to her are at most risk, and few of them probably actually touched her. Well, and any flight attendant who might have touched her. And any passenger who might later have been touched by the flight attendant. And those who had to decontaminate the airplane later…

What was I saying…?

Health-care worker Amber Vinson, who’d gone to Ohio to visit her mother, was not symptomatic when she boarded the return flight to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. But, Frieden said, Vinson did have a low-grade fever of 99.5 at the time. And because of her contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, Dallas’ initial Ebola patient, she should not have been traveling at all.

Fever, we have been previously told, is an Ebola symptom. Ebola is, in fact, a “viral hemorrhagic fever.” 99.5 is a low-grade fever, but it’s still a fever, which is an Ebola symptom. Vinson is a nurse and therefore knows what a fever is, and that it’s a symptom of Ebola, the viral hemorrhagic fever to which she knew that she had been exposed.

But the CDC director says that Vinson was not symptomatic, even though she had a symptom, a fever, of Ebola, which is a fever. Where does he come up with that? Did the WeSaySo corporation stealthily take over the CDC while no one was looking?

I’m not a doctor. I don’t even play one on cable access. But that man is not ready for prime-time in a crisis. Anyone can drive trucks through the holes in his logic.

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Second Ebola Nurse Worked with Duncan’s Bodily Fluids

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Today we’ve learned that there was no real Ebola protocol in place at Texas Presbyterian in Dallas, and that the second nurse to have contracted Ebola flew on a plane while she had a mild 99.5 degree fever.

That’s a mild fever. Some people might not even feel it, or shrug it off. But the fact that she had the fever indicates that she was beginning to be symptomatic. She appears to have flown on a commercial airline as she became symptomatic, which calls into question again how effective the new TSA screening regime can ever be.

How? Well, how long does it take to get from western Africa to the United States? About a day or two, depending on connections. Duncan flew from Monrovia, Liberia, to Brussels, Belgium, to Washington Dulles, and then to DFW from September 19 to September 20. During that roughly 24-hour travel period, a person who doesn’t even know that they are carrying the virus could go from asymptomatic to feverish, and therefore symptomatic. Duncan knew that he had been exposed.

Amber Joy Vinson, 29, heroically treated Duncan but also knew that she had been exposed to Ebola. Yet she flew to Cleveland and back to Dallas. She became symptomatic more or less in concert with her flight back to Dallas. Enhanced screening is not even being done at Dallas-Fort Worth or Cleveland, but if it had been it may not have caught her.

The AP reports that we do know now what she was doing to care for Duncan. Vinson was doing what an ICU nurse does.

Medical records provided to The Associated Press by Thomas Eric Duncan’s family show Amber Joy Vinson was actively engaged in caring for Duncan in the days before his death. The records show she inserted catheters, drew blood, and dealt with Duncan’s body fluids.

That last part is vague. Ebola victims become explosive. Everyone within range deals with their bodily fluids.

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Remember When Obama Said that the US is ‘Ready to Lead’ Ebola Fight?

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Just under one month ago, the president of the United States weighed in on Ebola. At that time, there were no Ebola cases inside the United States.

CNN reported, September 16, 2014.

obama-ebola-ready-cnn

“Right now, the risk of an Ebola outbreak in the United States is very low,” [Obama] said, “but that risk would only increase if there were not a robust response on the part of the United States.”

Was there a “robust response?”

The President noted a number of precautionary steps that are being taken in the United States to prevent the disease from spreading here.

The government has stepped up screening at West African airports. It has increased education for flight crews to teach them what to watch for with people who may be sick. It has worked with hospitals and health care workers to prepare them in case there is a domestic Ebola problem.

How did those precautionary steps work out?

The president also touted a UN meeting on Ebola.

“This is a daunting task, but here’s what gives us hope. The world knows how to fight this disease. It’s not a mystery. We know the science. We know how to prevent it from spreading. We know how to care for those who contract it. We know that if we take the proper steps, we can save lives. But we have to act fast,” Obama said.

“We can’t dawdle on this one. We have to move with force and make sure that we are catching this as best we can, given that it has already broken out in ways that we have not seen before.”

“The science is settled,” in other words. But viruses mutate, and government seldom has every single answer, and humans tend to do what they want — especially when they don’t know that they’re carriers.

We may “know how to prevent it from spreading,” but we did not actually prevent it from spreading. It spread from one patient to two more so far, in a major hospital in a major city. What if Mr. Duncan had not gone to Dallas, a city with world-class healthcare, but to a much smaller city? What if he had ended up in any of the rural county hospitals in the United States?

This is how Obama “leads.” He visits a place that’s central to a story (unless it’s politically inconvenient to him, as during the border crisis, in which case he derides “photo-ops”). At that place, he makes strong remarks that could have been written by any press release writer. He touts a meeting. He calls on the world to act.

Then he heads out either to a fundraiser or to play golf.

And the band plays on.

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CDC Director’s Credibility Collapses: A Series of Tweets

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Tom Frieden, is reacting to news that a second Dallas nurse contracted Ebola from Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian man who flew to the United States after he knew that he had been exposed to the deadly virus.

TIME’s Zeke Miller is live-tweeting Frieden’s remarks. Let’s listen in virtually.

 

 

She wasn’t symptomatic at that point…

 

It’s that third remark wherein lies the problem, though all three are coming in for criticism already.

Frieden is not in a position to ensure that what he pronounces will actually be carried out. Already, at least two Americans who were exposed to Ebola have broken isolation — the second Dallas nurse, and NBC’s Dr. Nancy Snyderman. Neither was symptomatic at the time. The latter broke isolation to get dinner. She is supposed to be a person of science, and therefore ought to know better. That’s what other people of science keep telling us, anyway.

Dr. Snyderman is “deeply sorry,” by the way.

Additionally, as Mr. Duncan proved, the CDC can say whatever it wants about the Americans that it knows about who are exposed. It can do nothing at all about people outside the country are exposed, unless it enacts a travel ban from those Ebola-stricken countries to this one. And that, the CDC maintains, it will not do.

Those people can continue to use air travel according to their means and their whims, as long as they do not have or can conceal their symptoms.

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Wendy Davis Suddenly Spends A Lot of Time Appearing and Being Photographed with Disabled People

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Coincidence, I’m sure. This has absolutely nothing to do with her widely criticized wheelchair ad.

Surely Wendy Davis is not treating people as human props. That cannot be. Right? People would see right through that, if she did that.

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Why Is Houston Mayor Annise Parker Subpoenaing Pastors for Sermons that are Already Publicly Available?

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Tuesday news broke that the city of Houston is subpoenaing area pastors who opposed the city’s “bathroom ordinance.”

The city is being sued after it tossed out a petition that would have put repealing the ordinance up to a referendum. The petition garnered 50,000 signatures, about three times the number it needed, yet Houston tossed it citing “irregularities.”

That’s an awful lot of “irregularities.”

The city has refused to comment on the subpoenas, citing “ongoing litigation.”

But the subpoenas themselves appear to be entirely unnecessary, if the city really just wants to check on sermons. Not that the city has any business monitoring sermons in churches where no illegal activity has been alleged, and none has in this case.

Most churches of any size now post full videos of all of their services, including sermons, online for anyone to watch on demand. They maintain extensive archives. They conduct tape and mp3 ministries to help people who cannot attend services for any reason.

For instance, one of the subpoenaed churches is Grace Community Church of Houston, pastored by Rev. Steve Riggle. That church has an extensive website, here. As it’s a network of churches, the link to the Houston campus church is here. Right up top is a link to “Watch Online.” Click on that link, and you’ll be taken here. Over on the right is an archive of past sermons that anyone can watch on demand. Its Podcast link has an archive that goes all the way back to January 2013, more than a year before Houston passed its ordinance that the pastors opposed. No subpoena required.

Rev. Dave Welch was also subpoenaed by the city. He is pastor of Bear Creek Church in Houston. Bear Creek’s online sermon archive also goes all the way back to January 2013. Anyone can download and listen, at any time they desire, no subpoena required.

I didn’t go through the web sites of all the churches and groups that the city of Houston has subpoenaed. Just by going through the two above, it’s clear that the subpoenas are questionable as a matter of legal discovery. The city did not need subpoenas to get the information — sermons — that it claims it wants. The subpoena to Riggle even mentions electronic or videotape recordings, which are available free of charge, no subpoena required.

The subpoena goes farther than merely requesting sermons, by the way. It commands the pastors to appear, in person, at a city law office — Susman Godfrey, LLP. It also commands the reverends to produce internal church communications related to the sermons. That, in turn, might produce communications between the churches.

That the churches communicate with each other is no secret. Churches engage in interfaith activities with each other all the time, especially in large cities like Houston. In this case, these pastors had allied with each other for a cause, so they surely emailed and texted one another. As they have every right in this country to do.

These subpoenas appear to have several purposes outside the court case, then — to call out and intimidate the pastors, and to fish for information from within and among the church staffs. Complying with the subpoenas may also cost money and tie up church staff who will be tasked with gathering up the materials demanded, rather than attend to their churches’ ministries.

 

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Bono Apologizes for Giving You Free Music

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

U2 and Apple engaged in a heinous conspiracy to give millions of people a free copy of a terrific music album. Alright, not everyone agrees with the “terrific” part. U2 remain popular enough to fill huge arenas, but not everyone likes them.

But the album was free, and a whole lot of people complained about the fact that Apple made owning it an opt-out rather than an opt-in.

In a fan Q&A video posted on Facebook, lead singer Bono was asked by a site user to never release an album in the way that the band and Apple released Songs of Innocence ever again. “It’s really rude,” the Facebook user wrote.

Bono replied, “Oops. I’m sorry about that. Had this beautiful idea. Might’ve got carried away with ourselves. Artists are prone to that kind of thing. Drop of megalomania. Touch of generosity. Dash of self-promotion. And, deep fear that these songs, that we poured our life into over the last few years, mightn’t be heard.”

U2, still among the biggest bands in the entire world, fears that their songs might not be heard? It’s quite human to feel that one is toiling in obscurity, so much so that even Bono can’t escape it.

Bono continued: “It’s a lot of noise out there. I guess we got a little noisy ourselves to get through it.”

As a large-scale social experiment, the release of Songs of Innocence might teach us quite a bit about human nature. Free gifts are not always received with gratitude, are they?

True story: My TV provider called me up yesterday out of the blue. The man on the line said that, as a way of thanking me for subscribing, they were turning on a bunch of premium channels for a few months, for free. I thanked him, set a note in my calendar for when the free period expires so I could cancel if I want, and then checked my listings. None of the free premium channels were there. And I was annoyed at my TV provider.

Putting all of the First World complaints about getting free music forced onto phones aside, Songs of Innocence is an awesome rock album that ought to have had no trouble cutting through the noise with lots of good noise of its own. If you like U2, which I happen to. It rates among U2′s best work, easily.

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No, the Republicans Did Not Cut the NIH Budget

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Democrats and some members of the media allege that Republicans are to blame for what may turn into an Ebola outbreak, because they supposedly cut funding for the National Institutes of Health.

That is not true, and every media member who says otherwise must get their facts straight. Here is the brief history of NIH funding, according to the Congressional Research Service. (h/t Powerline)

Attached [at the link] is a CRS analysis of the actual NIH budget for the last several years in inflation adjusted (real) dollars. It’s worth noting that after the Republican takeover in ’94, the NIH budget rose until the Dems took over Congress in 2006. The Pelosi/Reid congress was the first to flatline the NIH budget in nominal dollars.

Some will leap from that to blame Bush, as he was still president after 2006. Presidents don’t write and pass budgets; Congress does. At worst, the NIH budget flatline was bi-partisan. There are lots of bad things that enjoy the veneer of bi-partisanship.

I’m speculating here, but we may be seeing one of the fundamental differences between the two parties at work. Republicans tend to oppose most government spending, but tend to favor government spending on security-related issues. Defense and disease-prep and protection fall under that description. Democrats tend to favor increasing spending on social programs, and tend to take those increases in two ways — by raising taxes, or by cutting other areas of the budget. Defense is usually the first place that Democrats look to cut.

In addition to the above, it was the Obama administration that scuttled Bush-era CDC quarantine regulations that were aimed at diseases like avian flu and Ebola. The USA Today reported at the time, in 2010 (when Democrats still controlled all of Washington):

The Obama administration has quietly scrapped plans to enact sweeping new federal quarantine regulations that theCenters for Disease Control and Preventiontouted four years ago as critical to protecting Americans from dangerous diseases spread by travelers.

The regulations, proposed in 2005 during the Bush administration amid fears of avian flu, would have given the federal government additional powers to detain sick airline passengers and those exposed to certain diseases. They also would have expanded requirements for airlines to report ill passengers to the CDC and mandated that airlines collect and maintain contact information for fliers in case they later needed to be traced as part of an investigation into an outbreak.

The ACLU was happy about the scuttling at the time.

Here’s a fun time capsule from that story.

Jennifer Nuzzo, at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Center for Biosecurity, said the rapid worldwide spread of swine flu showed flaws in the proposed regulations’ premise.

“They probably learned during H1N1 that this hope of preventing diseases from entering the country by stationing people at airports is unrealistic,” she said.

Funny, stationing more people at airports is exactly what the government is doing now.

Since taking power in 2006, Democrats have cut two areas of government spending that have become relevant now — NIH and the Pentagon — while increasing social spending in other areas. Flatlining a budget is a “cut” in Washington-speak. Obviously, one cannot then directly blame Democrats for both Ebola and the rise of ISIS solely because of those cuts. In the case of ISIS, Obama’s politically-driven withdrawal of American forces from Iraq has had quite a lot to do with the rise of ISIS. Drawing a red line over Syria’s WMD and then not enforcing it has also eroded American authority.

But you shouldn’t kid yourself about how the media would draw bright red lines between those budget cuts and the current state of the world if the Republicans had held power during those years.

In fact, don’t be shocked if the media wait until after the elections, when Republicans re-take the Senate, and then start blaming them for the cuts anyway.

 

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Nurses Union: There Was No Ebola Protocol; Duncan Left in ER for Hours

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The nation’s largest nurses union fired back at Centers for Disease Control Director Dr. Tom Frieden today.

Frieden initially claimed that nurse Nina Pham contracted Ebola due to a “breach in protocol.” He had to apologize and walk that back, for the simple reason that as he could not specify what protocol had been breached, he was not in a position to claim that one had been breached.

In a statement, the National Nurses United union alleges that there was a series of poor decisions and breakdowns in Texas Presbyterian hospital that endagered staff who provided care for Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan.

Among the items on the union’s list of terribles:

— Duncan was kept in a non-isolated area of the emergency department for several hours, potentially exposing up to seven other patients to Ebola;

— Patients who may have been exposed to Duncan were kept in isolation only for a day before being moved to areas where there were other patients;

— Nurses treating Duncan were also caring for other patients in the hospital;

— Preparation for Ebola at the hospital amounted to little more than an optional seminar for staff;

— In the face of constantly shifting guidelines, nurses were allowed to follow whichever ones they chose.

“There was no advance preparedness on what to do with the patient, there was no protocol, there was no system,” Burger said.

Even today, Burger said, some hospital staff at the Dallas hospital do not have proper equipment to handle the outbreak.

“Hospital managers have assured nurses that proper equipment has been ordered but it has not arrived yet,” she said.

No protocol. An optional briefing, not actual training. No proper gear. And now the hospital has two Ebola patients. Both provided care for Duncan.

While Duncan was left in the open ER, he continued to have “explosive diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea and projectile vomiting.” During those early hours, hospital staff were not wearing gear to protect themselves from Ebola. Disposable protective shoe covers were “recommended.”

CBS reports that the nurses at Texas Presbyterian are not members of any union, and were warned by the hospital administration not to speak to media or they would be fired.

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Second Dallas Hospital Staffer Tests Positive for Ebola (Update: Yikes)

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

And then there were two. CNN reports that there is a second Ebola case at Texas Presbyterian in Dallas.

(CNN) – A second health care worker at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital who cared for Thomas Eric Duncan has tested positive for Ebola, health officials said Wednesday, casting further doubt on the hospital’s ability to handle Ebola and protect employees.

The worker reported a fever Tuesday and was immediately isolated, health department spokeswoman Carrie Williams said.

A preliminary Ebola test was done late Tuesday at the state public health laboratory in Austin, and the results came back around midnight. A second test will be conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

“Health officials have interviewed the latest patient to quickly identify any contacts or potential exposures, and those people will be monitored,” the health department said.

As of yesterday, the CDC said that it was monitoring about 125 people who had come into contact with the first patient and/or Nina Pham, the second patient. Many of those are now nearing the end of the Ebola incubation period without showing symptoms, which is obviously good news. Now that we have a new patient, the number of people who are being monitored for signs of Ebola will likely grow again. Additionally, if what we heard from Betsy McCaughey yesterday is accurate, the strains on Texas Presbyterian’s ICU just increased again.

Update: The nurse has been identified, as has her recent travel by air. Her name is Amber Joy Vinson. She is 26 years old.

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The CDC has announced that the second healthcare worker diagnosed with Ebola traveled by air Oct. 13, the day before she first reported symptoms.

The CDC is now reaching out to all passengers who flew on Frontier Airlines flight 1143 Cleveland to Dallas/Fort Worth. The flight landed at 8:16 p.m. CT.

The CDC is asking all 132 passengers on the flight to call 1 800-CDC INFO (1 800 232-4636). Public health professionals will begin interviewing passengers about the flight after 1 p.m. ET.

More: Nurses Union: There Was No Ebola Protocol; Duncan Left in ER for Hours

 

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Question for Wayne Slater: Why Are You Misleading People About Greg Abbott’s New Ad?

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Dallas Morning News reporter Wayne Slater appeared on Ronan Farrow’s MSNBC show today.

Slater has done some excellent work over the years, but today he took off the mask and revealed a solid leftward tilt.

The segment was about the “politics of Ebola.” Fair enough, the virus unfortunately has become a political issue.

But listen carefully to how Slater describes the state of play.

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“Republicans are saying it’s all Obama’s fault,” Slater begins. “I heard over on the far right, some of the talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh saying, in fact, it’s Obama’s fault because he wants America to suffer just like the people in Africa suffer.”

Rush Limbaugh =/= the GOP, as Mr. Slater knows. He doesn’t work for the party and is not its spokesman. As for the words in question, Limbaugh was quoting an author who proffered the theory about Liberia, slavery, suffering and Ebola. Limbaugh described the author of that theory as an “oddball” and made it clear that he does not believe it. He did add that political correctness is hampering response to Ebola. Slater did not address that point.

Here is the full audio, which many on the left including Wayne Slater have misinterpreted.

Slater continued.

“On the left, the Democrats and some more progressive folks point out that it’s Republicans who have severely cut the budget for response to Ebola, so it is a political issue.”

See the bias? Slater sets up a comment from talk show host to use against all Republicans, then it’s the Democrats who “point out” — meaning in his mind, what they’re saying is actually true — budget cuts.

He didn’t stop there.

Discussing local and state issues, Slater says “There’s plenty for Democrats to point to that Republicans have done badly” — again, a fact claim on behalf of Democrats — while “There are some things that Republicans can point to that they claim, if they can claim, it’s Obama’s fault.”

Slater just said that whatever Democrats say against Republicans is true, while whatever Republicans say against Democrats is a mere “claim.”

He didn’t stop there.

“As the gubernatorial candidate, Greg Abbott, in our governor’s race, is now charging in a new ad today, it’s all his Democratic opponent, Wendy Davis’ fault, because she’s just like Obama.”

Yeah. That’s false. What Wayne Slater just said is totally false.

The new ad to which Slater refers is this one, which debuted today. See if you can spot any mention of Ebola in it.

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That was a trick lead-in. The ad doesn’t mention Ebola at all. Remember, the segment was about the “politics of Ebola.” Slater tied that ad to Ebola and Greg Abbott. But the ad doesn’t mention Ebola.

The ad does paint Wendy Davis as being just like Obama, because she does support Obama’s policies. The ad makes that claim on several issues and provides sources for its claims. It does not blame Wendy Davis for Ebola.

It does say that she is just like Obama, which is a very typical charge in an election year — to tie a candidate to an unpopular member of that candidate’s party. Slater himself did something similar when he equated all Republicans to Rush Limbaugh, who is one of the left’s major hate figures. Mentioning his name elicits a near Pavlovian response among liberals.

So Wayne Slater made out that the ad is false, and further, he put words in Greg Abbott’s mouth for the MSNBC audience that Abbott did not say. The ad does not mention Ebola, and Slater knows that.

Slater probably assumes, and probably correctly, that most of the MSNBC audience will never see the ad. Therefore they will never fact-check him on this.

So the Dallas Morning News’ chief political reporter just misled that entire audience.

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Houston Mayor Subpoenas Pastors’ Sermons for Opposing ‘Anti-Discrimination’ Ordinance

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The mayor’s office of the city of Houston, Texas is abusing its power.

Todd Starnes reports that the city of Houston has demanded that area pastors must turn in their sermons to the city or face contempt of court charges. It’s not a strongly worded request, it’s a subpoena. For sermons.

At issue is the city’s “anti-discrimination” ordinance. The city passed it in June.

Many area churches and leaders opposed it, because critics argue that it

…potentially would open women’s restrooms to male sexual predators dressed in women’s clothing and force businesses to serve clients whose sexual practices they oppose on religious grounds.

Having gotten the ordinance passed, the city is now retaliating against those who opposed it. And that is after the city mangled the process to get the result that it desired. The group opposing the ordinance gathered 50,000 petition signatures, when it only needed a little over 17,000 to get the ordinance on the ballot as a referendum. The city claimed that it based its decision to toss the petition on “irregularities.”

That was in August. In October, the city is going after the pastors.

The city of Houston has issued subpoenas demanding a group of pastors turn over any sermons dealing with homosexuality, gender identity or Annise Parker, the city’s first openly lesbian mayor. And those ministers who fail to comply could be held in contempt of court.

“The city’s subpoena of sermons and other pastoral communications is both needless and unprecedented,” Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Christina Holcomb said in a statement. “The city council and its attorneys are engaging in an inquisition designed to stifle any critique of its actions.”

ADF, a nationally-known law firm specializing in religious liberty cases, is representing five Houston pastors. They filed a motion in Harris County court to stop the subpoenas arguing they are “overbroad, unduly burdensome, harassing, and vexatious.”

Mayor Annise Parker must explain the city’s actions. She refused to, today, when Starnes called the mayor’s office for comment.

This is an abuse of power. It also appears to be weaponizing government to exact revenge on political dissenters. That is un-American and wrong.

 

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Texas’ Voter ID Law Stands

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Last week, a Democrat district judge ruled Texas’ voter ID law unconstitutional.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (R) appealed.

Today, the law stands.

The State of Texas can use its new voter ID law again in next’s month’s election, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday, putting on hold an order a district court issued just last week barring enforcement of the law.

“Based primarily on the extremely fast-approaching election date, we STAY the district court’s judgment pending appeal,” 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Edith Clement wrote, in a ruling joined by Judge Catharina Haynes (and posted here). “This is not a run-of-the-mill case; instead, it is a voting case decided on the eve of the election….The judgment below substantially disturbs the election process of the State of Texas just nine days before early voting begins. Thus, the value of preserving the status quo here is much higher than in most other contexts.”

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Ebola Preparation ‘Will bankrupt my hospital!’ Director Reacts to CDC Prep Call

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Dr. Betsy McCaughey appeared on Fox just after she had attend a CDC conference call with hospitals this afternoon.

Host Stuart Varney asked her what it would take to set up 50 hospitals to be ready for Ebola.

McCaughey’s answer is stunning.

According to her, after the CDC outlined its preparation strategy, one hospital administrator responded, “What you’re telling us would bankrupt my hospital!” She said that that administrator represents a Southern California hospital.

McCaughey noted that there was no word on the call of who would pay for hospitals to get themselves ready for Ebola patients.

And then she added: “Treating one Ebola patient requires, full time, 20 medical staff. Mostly ICU (intensive care unit) people. So that would wipe out an ICU in an average-sized hospital.”

In the case of Texas Presbyterian, McCaughey says that the hospital cordoned off its ICU to care for Thomas Eric Duncan and sent the rest of its ICU patients to other area hospitals. She added that many communities will not have multiple hospitals to choose from, so one Ebola case could cripple ICUs in small towns.

“But the most important thing,” McCaughey said, “is that doctors and nurses are not ready for the challenge of using this personal protective equipment even if you see them with the helmet, the respirator, the full suits, as the CDC said on the call today, even all that equipment is not enough to guarantee the safety of health care workers because it is so perilous to put it on and particularly to remove it once it’s become contaminated.”

McCaughey said many of those on the call were “daunted by the expectations, the separate laboratory next to the isolated patients, all kinds of — all kinds of adjustments, where to put the waste. Many states won’t even let you dispose of this waste from such a toxic disease.”

Watch McCaughey’s segment.

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Andrea Mitchell Asks Wendy Davis About Abbott’s ‘Supposed Disability’

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

During an interview with Wendy Davis on MSNBC today, host Andrea Mitchell asked the Democrat about the wheelchair ad that has caused a firestorm for her campaign.

Mitchell asked if Davis could have made the points that she made in the ad without pointing to Greg Abbott’s “supposed disability.”

Take a look.

YouTube Preview Image

There’s nothing “supposed” about it. Davis did not challenge Mitchell’s characterization, though. Davis also defended the ad, again.

abbott-wheelchair

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Did you Know that USA Has an ‘Ebola Czar?’ We Do. So Why Is She Hiding?

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The United States has had an Ebola czar for about 10 years now.

The current one’s name is Dr. Nicole Lurie. She works at the US Department of Health and Human Services.

So why haven’t we seen her at any point after the first and second diagnoses of Ebola in the United States?

The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway looked into that, and found a scandal.

There are a few interesting things about the scandal Lurie was embroiled in years ago. You can—and should—read all about it in the Los Angeles Times‘ excellent front-page expose from November 2011, headlined: “Cost, need questioned in $433-million smallpox drug deal: A company controlled by a longtime political donor gets a no-bid contract to supply an experimental remedy for a threat that may not exist.” This Forbes piece is also interesting.

The donor is billionaire Ron Perelman, who was controlling shareholder of Siga. He’s a huge Democratic donor but he also gets Republicans to play for his team, of course. Siga was under scrutiny even back in October 2010 when The Huffington Post reported that it had named labor leader Andy Stern to its board and “compensated him with stock options that would become dramatically more valuable if the company managed to win the contract it sought with HHS—an agency where Stern has deep connections, having helped lead the year-plus fight for health care reform as then head of the Service Employees International Union.”

The award was controversial from almost every angle—including disputes about need, efficacy, and extremely high costs. There were also complaints about awarding a company of its size and structure a small business award as well as the negotiations involved in granting the award. It was so controversial that even Democrats in tight election races were calling for investigations.

Last month, Siga filed for bankruptcy after it was found liable for breaching a licensing contract. The drug it’s been trying to develop, which was projected to have limited utility, has not really panned out—yet the feds have continued to give valuable funds to the company even though the law would permit them to recoup some of their costs or to simply stop any further funding.

The Los Angeles Times revealed that, during the fight over the grant, Lurie wrote to Siga’s chief executive, Dr. Eric A. Rose, to tell him that someone new would be taking over the negotiations with the company. She wrote, “I trust this will be satisfactory to you.” Later she denied that she’d had any contact with Rose regarding the contract, saying such contact would have been inappropriate.

But she did have the contact.

There’s much more at the link. It looks like America’s Ebola czar was playing politics with our money when she should have been preparing the United States for a potential outbreak.

In recent years across Republican and Democrat administrations, but especially during Democratic ones, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has strayed far from its core mission, which is obviously disease control. It got into gun control, which has nothing to do with disease, and even played around with zombie preparedness, despite the fact that zombies do not exist.

It appears that the taxpayer-funded agency was bored with its core mission, and crept into new ones. But what about Dr. Lurie? As they says these days, “You had one job!” And that job was not to use taxpayer money to make rich leftists even richer.

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