Is the Ebola Virus the 2014 Election “October Surprise?”

ebola virus4 450x354 Is the Ebola Virus the 2014 Election October Surprise?

Is the Ebola Virus the 2014 Election “October Surprise?”

Ebola is on the minds of just about every American these days and one has to wonder if it’s the 2014 midterm elections will be greatly impacted by what’s transpiring before our eyes. It seems that once again, President Obama and his advisers have grossly miscalculated the risks involved with the Ebola virus landing on our doorsteps. It must be pretty bad if President Obama cancelled his fundraising trip to call an emergency meeting at the White House.

This comes as a second nurse, Amber Vinson, who cared for patient zero, Thomas Eric Duncan, tested positive for the Ebola virus. To make matters worse, she returned from Cleveland, OH, on October 13, then tested positive for the virus the following day. Airline stocks have taken a huge tumble on Ebola fears today and the broader stock market has fallen about 300 points. My question is this — why was Amber Vinson allowed to travel by plane when she was among the group of medical professionals at risk of contracting the disease because of care given to Duncan? Who is the genius who didn’t bother to tell her that traveling was a no-no? Sounds like the Centers for Disease Control, among others dropped the ball. They are now searching for the passengers who traveled on Frontier Airlines Flight 1143 with Amber Vinson.

All the missteps have landed squarely in President Obama’s lap, right in time for the midterm exams. Coming off the abysmal Obamacare roll-out, this has been one blunder after the next. But the Republicans shouldn’t celebrate because of them, we don’t have a surgeon general. Sen. Rand Paul is holding up the confirmation of Vivek Murthy over his stance on guns.

The mounting anxiety has made politicians extra attentive to Ebola, with candidates  seizing on the spread of the virus to hammer their opponents.

The issue is particularly fraught for Democrats, given signs that President Obama’s dragging poll numbers could help Republicans take control of the Senate. Though Ebola is unlikely to move the needle in specific races, political strategists say it adds to the darkening public mood.

“The situation with Ebola and what’s going on in Syria and Iraq — all of this is creating a high level of anxiety among voters and a sense of uncertainty about the future,” said Democratic strategist Doug Thornell.

Both parties are seizing on the Ebola crisis to reinforce broader political themes.

Democrats are pinning blame on the GOP, arguing the party has hobbled the response by supporting budget cuts to public health agencies that anticipate and respond to epidemics.

Republicans, in turn, are raising questions about the administration’s preparedness and pushing Obama to impose tougher restrictions on air travel from the three West African countries that are at the center of the outbreak: Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. Source:  The Hill

While I don’t think Amber Vinson will be the last person to test positive for Ebola in the U.S., I would urge the Obama administration and the CDC to get in front of this before it spirals out of control and cause mass hysteria.  He handled the Superstorm Sandy disaster well, but it seems that it’s bungling time again — Syria redline, Obamacare rollout, ISIS and now Ebola…

Appeals Court Reinstates Texas Voter ID Law

vote here1 450x275 Appeals Court Reinstates Texas Voter ID Law

Appeals Court Reinstates Texas Voter ID Law (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

TEXAS VOTER ID LAW:  An appeals court judge overturned a ruling by a federal court judge reinstating the Texas voter ID law remain in place when early voting starts next week. This sets up a possible appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

A three-judge panel of new Orleans-based court announced Tuesday afternoon that it had issued a stay of a Corpus Christi federal court’s ruling that likened the law to a “poll tax” and deemed it unconstitutional. The Texas Attorney General’s office appealed the ruling to the 5th Circuit, but also asked for an emergency stay so the law implemented in 2013 could remain in place for next month’s election.

“In light of the importance of maintaining the status quo on the eve of an election, we find that the traditional factors for granting a stay favor granting one here,” the court wrote.The plaintiffs opposing the strict law likely will appeal the stay to the full court, to the Supreme Court, or both benches simultaneously. Source: Houston Chronicle

Emory Backtracks on Claims DeKalb Threatened to Cut Sewer Lines Over Ebola Patients

emory university hospital 450x337 Emory Backtracks on Claims DeKalb Threatened to Cut Sewer Lines Over Ebola Patients

DeKalb County Threatened to Cut Emory Sewer Lines Over Ebola Fears (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

EBOLA VIRUS: DeKalb County threatened to cut off the sewer lines to Emory University in August, when Ebola patients, Dr. Kent Brantly and mission worker Nancy Writebol, arrived at the hospital for treatment, the New York Times reports:

Federal health officials have offered repeated assurances that most American hospitals can safely treat Ebola, but Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, which had years of preparation for just such a crisis, found out how hard that is while it cared for three Ebola patients.

As doctors and nurses there worked to keep desperately ill patients alive in August, the county threatened to disconnect Emory from sewer lines if Ebola wastes went down the drain. The company that hauled medical trash to the incinerator refused to take anything used on an Ebola patient unless it was sterilized first. Couriers would not drive the patients’ blood samples a few blocks away for testing at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And pizza places would not deliver to staff members in any part of the hospital.

This comes as the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll found a majority of Americans are concerned about the deadly virus:

Nearly two-thirds of Americans say they are concerned about an Ebola outbreak in the United States, and about the same amount say they want flight restrictions from the countries in West Africa where the disease has quickly spread.

A new poll from the Washington Post and ABC News shows 67 percent of people say they would support restricting entry to the United States from countries struggling with Ebola. Another 91 percent would like to see stricter screening procedures at U.S. airports in response to the disease’s spread.

Ebola has entered the political fray. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is testing an Internet ad blaming the GOP-led budget cuts to the Centers for Disease Control and other health agencies for a lack of preparation in a potential pandemic, while protecting tax breaks for special interests like big oil:

ebola in politics 450x182 Emory Backtracks on Claims DeKalb Threatened to Cut Sewer Lines Over Ebola Patients

Ebola enters politics as Democrats blame GOP for budget cuts to CDC

This comes as the World Health Organization (WHO) warns that Ebola epidemic could lead to failed states, BBC News reports. WHO chief Margaret Chan ssaid the outbreak, which has killed about 4,000 people in West Africa, has led to a “crisis for international peace and security.” She warned that the cost of panic is “spreading faster than the virus,” BBC News reports.

UPDATE # 10/14/14 5:09 P.M.:  Emory is backtracking on claims DeKalb County threatened to cut sewer lines over Ebola patients. Vincent Dollard, associate vice president of health science communication released the following statement to the Political Insider:

“Emory University Hospital has been treating patients with Ebola virus disease in its Serious Communicable Diseases Unit since August 2. During the early stages of this pioneering treatment of patients with Ebola virus disease in the United States, Emory established waste management protocols with local utilities and vendors, along with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Emory and DeKalb County did communicate about waste management. However, Emory was mistaken in saying that DeKalb County threatened to disconnect it from the sewer line.

“Emory used a large autoclave to sterilize medical waste so that it could be removed by its waste management vendor.

“Originally, couriers would not drive blood samples from Emory to CDC, but that was quickly resolved in discussions with CDC.

“And pizza delivery to the hospital was refused by at least one vendor early in the process.”

Mitt Romney Cracks Obama Joke at Joni Ernst Campaign Event

mitt romney donkey hotey 383x450 Mitt Romney Cracks Obama Joke at Joni Ernst Campaign Event

Mitt Romney Jokes About President Obama at Iowa Event (Photo Credit: Donkey Hotey)

Two-time presidential candidate (loser) Mitt Romney cracked a “joke” about President Obama during at a rally for Joni Ernst.  He began by saying, “Now when you’re running for office people tell you, you shouldn’t tell jokes. But I’m not running for office, so I can tell one, National Journal’s Shane Goldmacher reports.

Here’s Romney’s joke:

President Obama went to the bank to cash a check and he didn’t have his ID. And the teller said you’ve got to prove who you are.

He said, “How should I do that?” She said the other day Phil Mickelson came in, he didn’t have his ID but he set up a little cup on the ground, took a golf ball, putted it right into that cup so they knew it was Phil Mickelson. They cashed his check.

And then Andre Agassi came in. And Andre Agassi didn’t have his ID either. He put a little target on the wall, took a tennis ball and racquet– hit it onto that target time. We knew that was Andre Agassi so we cashed his check.

And she said to him, “Is there anything you can do to prove who you are?” And [Obama] said, “I don’t have a clue.”

And she said, “Well, Mr. President, do you want your money in small bills or large bills.”

Sounds like Mitt Romney should stick to his day job. Um, how could I forget, he’s a one-percenter, who can do as he pleases, unlike the 47 percenters he mocked during the 2012 presidential campaign.

Here’s Mitt Romney telling his Obama joke:

Democrats Bracing for Shellacking in Midterm Elections Due to Low Turnout

vote here 450x275 Democrats Bracing for Shellacking in Midterm Elections Due to Low Turnout

Democrats Bracing for Shellacking in Midterm Elections Due to Low Turnout (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Democrats are bracing for a shellacking in the midterm elections due to low voter turnout. That’s exactly what the Republicans want — black and Hispanic voters to stay home. The Hill reports recent polls suggest that the turnout could be even lower than customary for midterm elections.

A Gallup poll last week found that voters are less engaged in this year’s midterms than they were in 2010 and 2006. Only 33 percent of respondents said they were giving at least “some” thought to the upcoming midterms, compared to 46 percent in 2010 and 42 percent in 2006. Even more troubling for Democrats, Republicans held a 12-point advantage  when those paying “some” attention were broken down by party.

Historically, the core Democratic constituencies of young people, minorities and single women are more likely to skip voting in midterm elections. The current projections suggest that months of effort by the Democratic Party to engage those groups on issues such as the minimum wage and women’s pay may have been in vain.

[...]

According to the nonpartisan Voter Participation Center, nearly 21 million fewer African Americans, Hispanics, unmarried women and young people voted in 2010 compared to 2008. That’s exactly the situation Democrats want to avoid this time around. Source: The Hill

It can’t help that President Obama’s approval rating is hovering around 39 percent due to all the real and perceived missteps that have dogged him in recent months. I guess you can say, the thrill is gone. This is all the more reason why vice president Joe Biden isn’t a credible 2016 presidential candidate.

Voter ID Laws Smackdown in Texas and Wisconsin

judges gavel 450x299 Voter ID Laws Smackdown in Texas and Wisconsin

Voter ID Laws Smackdown in Texas and Wisconsin (Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday overturned a lower court decisions that would require voters to present photo identification for the November election. On Monday, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declared the law constitutional. The following day the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Advancement Project filed an emergency request asking SCOTUS to block the ruling.

The SCOTUS ruling vacated the lower court’s ruling pending further proceedings. The ACLU and the Advancement Project have 90 days to file a formal petition asking the Supreme Court to take up the case.

The rightwing crew — Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas —  dissented, saying the application should have been denied because there was no evidence that the 7th Circuit had demonstrably erred. Who didn’t see that coming from those three Justices?

Separately, a federal court blocked Texas’ voter ID law, calling it an “unconstitutional poll tax.” The poll tax is a throwback to the Jim Crow era when blacks were essentially denied the right to vote unless they passed a test, which was stacked against them.

Here’s more from the Huffington Post:

The federal judge in Texas struck down the state’s voter ID law on Thursday, calling it an “unconstitutional poll tax” intended to discriminate against Hispanic and African-American citizens that creates “an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote.”

In a 147-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos, an appointee of President Barack Obama confirmed to the bench in 2011, ruled that the law passed by Texas legislators and signed by Gov. Rick Perry (R) took an “unorthodox” approach they knew would have a disparate impact on minority voters. The law requires voters to produce government-issued identification before casting a ballot.

While Ramos found no “smoking guns” of racist intentions in passing the legislation, she said the state legislature’s 2011 session was “racially charged.” She concluded that the sponsors of the measure “were motivated, at the very least in part, because of and not merely in spite of the voter ID law’s detrimental effects on the African-American and Hispanic electorate.”

Is Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal Trying to Pull a Thad Cochran with Black Voters?

nathan deal 450x252 Is Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal Trying to Pull a Thad Cochran with Black Voters?

Is Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal Trying to Pull a Thad Cochran with Black Voters? (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal is reaching out to the black community, just in time for his election next month. He spoke at a Bishop T. D. Jakes event at Phillips Arena. Um, is Deal trying to pull a Thad Cochran with black voters? I can’t recall seeing him schmoozing the black voters during his first election.

Of course, the Democratic politicians have also taken the black vote for granted. They just assume blacks will trot out and vote for them, while doing nothing to improve the communities they serve.

Here’s the tweet sent by his office about his appearance at T. D. Jakes “Woman Thou Art Loose” event:

This comes a little over a week after his event with Ludacris at Utopian Academy for the Arts:

Democratic Candidates Cringe Over Obama’s “These Policies Are On the Ballot” Comment

obama donkey hotey 1 450x290 Democratic Candidates Cringe Over Obamas These Policies Are On the Ballot Comment

Democrats Cringed Over Obama’s “These Policies Are On the Ballot” Comment

President Obama gave Republicans a gift today. He uttered 28 words during his speech at Northwestern University that made every Democrat running for election or reelection next month and possibly 2016 cringe:  “I am not on the ballot this fall.  Michelle’s pretty happy about that.  But make no mistake: these policies are on the ballot.  Every single one of them.” 

Here’s more on the impact of President Obama’s words:

So, why did Obama say it? My guess is that he wanted to make the stakes clear to a Democratic base that, by virtually every polling measure I’ve seen, is less enthusiastic to turn out and vote on Nov. 4 than Republicans.  The idea being that if you like Obama and his policies — which his base, especially African Americans, still do — then you need to show it by going out and voting.  The Obama political team is working under the assumption that if you dislike President Obama, nothing he says or does is going to change that reality. So, why not show the Democratic base that this election is worth fighting for? I think that underestimates the impact of an unpopular president (on video no less!) bluntly insisting that an election in 33 days is indeed a referendum on his policies. Republicans couldn’t have written a better script than that.

President Obama seems to be as toxic as George W. Bush was in his second term. It will be interesting to see how the elections play out next month. That will undoubtedly set the stage for the 2016 presidential election.

SCOTUS Grants Ohio GOP Its Wish by Restricting Early Voting

scotus 350x228 SCOTUS Grants Ohio GOP Its Wish by Restricting Early Voting

SCOTUS Grants Ohio GOP Its Wish by Restricting Early Voting

The US Supreme Court granted the Ohio Republican Party its wish by restricting early voting. The 2014 and 2016 elections will be very interesting as the GOP continues its efforts to stymie pro-Democratic Party votes by engaging in shameful voter suppression tactics. So, while Jon Husted managed to get early voting rolled back by one week, it should raise some concerns because the restrictions are underway, even if they appear to be made in increments.

Here’s more from SCOTUSBlog:

With just sixteen hours before polling stations were to open in Ohio, the Supreme Court on Monday afternoon blocked voters from beginning tomorrow to cast their ballots in this year’s general election.  By a vote of five to four, the Justices put on hold a federal judge’s order providing new opportunities for voting before election day, beyond what state leaders wanted.

The order will remain in effect until the Court acts on an appeal by state officials.  If that is denied, then the order lapses.  It is unclear when that scenario will unfold.  The state’s petition has not yet been filed formally.

The practical effect of the order will mean that, at the least, early voting will not be allowed this week — a period that supporters of early balloting have called “Golden Week.” That permits voters to register and cast their ballots on the same day.

Depending upon the timing of the state’s filing of a petition for review and the Court’s action on it, Monday’s order may also mean that early voting will not be permitted on most Sundays between now and election day, November 4, and will not be permitted during evening hours — that is, after 5 p.m.

Early voting during “Golden Week,” on Sundays, and in evening hours are the opportunities that civil rights groups have said are most important to black and low-income voters and the homeless.  State officials, however, contended that those arrangements would raise the risk of voter fraud, and would cost too much for county election boards to implement.

Monday’s order had the support of Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., and Justices Samuel A. Alito,, Jr., Anthony M. Kennedy, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas, although their votes were not noted in the order.  It would have taken five votes to support such an order.

Dissenting were Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor.  They would have denied the request of the Ohio attorney general and secretary of state to postpone the decision in favor of more early voting, a ruling early this month by U.S. District Judge Peter C. Economus of Columbus.

Former Virginia Senator Jim Webb Mulling 2016 Presidential Bid

jim webb 350x289 Former Virginia Senator Jim Webb Mulling 2016 Presidential Bid

Former Virginia Senator Jim Webb Mulling 2016 Presidential Bid (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

Former Virginia senator Jim Webb (D) said he is “seriously” considering a 2016 presidential run. This could pose a problem for Hillary Clinton and her presidential aspirations. He will be a formidable challenger.

During an appearance at the National Press Club, Jim Webb said, “We’ve had a lot of discussions among people I respect and trust about the future of this country, and we’re going to continue to have these discussions over the next two to five months,” ABC News reports.

Webb, 68, said he is looking for a “support base” for a potential campaign. The decorated Marine Corps veteran, who served in the Senate from 2006-2012 and as Secretary of the Navy during the Reagan administration, recently conducted a three-day, 800-mile tour of Iowa, and has plans to visit New Hampshire in October.

Webb, who largely focused on foreign policy and the economy in his speech Tuesday, is seen as an intriguing challenger to presumptive Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton.

He’s an unabashed economic populist who in the 2007 Democratic State of the Union rebuttal said the health of the economy shouldn’t be measured “with the numbers that come out of Wall Street, but with the living conditions that exist on Main Street.”

“True fairness is not an impossible dream,” Webb said. “Those at the top have continued to separate themselves from the rest of our society.” Source: ABC News