The right’s sham Christianity: How an attack on John Kasich exposes the fraud

The right's sham Christianity: How an attack on John Kasich exposes the fraud

Gov. John Kasich (OH-R) | (Credit: AP/Tony Dejak)

Salon

Ohio’s GOP governor was the darling of the right — until he sought to help poor people, in the name of Christ

Could Republican Gov. John Kasich run for president? According to the Washington Post, he’s poised to, and he certainly seems to be among the better options out there, with the other obvious choices either clearly deranged (Ted Cruz) or totally uninterested (Mitt Romney). But conservatives have not been roundly pleased with Kasich, in part because he is evidently something of a committed Christian.

Last year, Kasich fought doggedly to expand Medicaid coverage in Ohio, extending healthcare to some 275,000 poor people. When queried as to why a conservative would push for expanded coverage, Kasich explained his reasoning thus:

“I had a conversation with one of the members of the legislature the other day. I said, ‘I respect the fact that you believe in small government. I do, too. I also know that you’re a person of faith.  Now, when you die and get to the meeting with St. Peter, he’s probably not going to ask you much about what you did about keeping government small. But he is going to ask you what you did for the poor. You better have a good answer.’  ”

Conservative critics did not have a good answer. If Kasich’s challenge required a faith-based, well-reasoned critique of Medicaid to defend Republican animus, that wasn’t what it received. Instead, Kasich’s right-wing opponents produced a series of attacks that seemed straight out of the Richard Dawkins school of rhetoric. At RedState, for instance, Jason Hart complained that “Kasich leaned heavily on his Christian faith to push the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” and glossed over Kasich’s explanation of his Christian reasoning as: “anyone who opposes Medicaid expansion will have to answer for their opposition when they die.”

Of course, Kasich didn’t suggest that anyone who opposes Medicaid expansion will have to answer for such at the pearly gates; he merely pointed out that, at this point in time, Medicaid expansion is the only option for extending healthcare coverage to poor people in Ohio, making it the most sensible Christian option. Were there other options – that is, if Republicans had some small-government program that resulted in equal or better coverage – Kasich’s argument would fall out in favor of that. But as it stands no such substitute exists. It’s notable that misrepresenting Kasich’s Christian defense of Medicaid expansion remains a popular smear. Consider the National Review’s Avik Roy:

Roy’s lie is as glib as it is lazy, suggesting two simultaneous pathologies: first, that conservatives have mostly given up on an actual faith-based critique of extending healthcare coverage to poor people; second, that unless Christianity is acting as a helpful crutch to prop up libertarian fiscal policies, it’s more or less a joke.

True to form, the Wall Street Journal had an absolute field day making fun of Kasich’s Christian reasoning. “Believe it or not, there are still a few disciples with faith in an ObamaCare higher power,” the article titled “Medicaid and the Apostle Kasich” opens, and the faith-themed snark just rolls on from there. Both theologically tone-deaf and redolent with Hitchensian disdain of Christian thought, the piece sneers that Kasich “really must feel like he’s guided by the Holy Spirit” (perish the thought!), and sniffs that Kasich’s “government-as-thy-brother’s-keeper riff needs some moral fine-tuning.” But the most damning line is the last: “Republicans get a vote before St. Peter does.”

It seems this is where Kasich and his critics depart: For the governor, and for any faithful Christian, Christian ethics precede party politics. For some time the line from Christian politicians like Paul Ryan has been that their faith inspires their political affiliation, not vice versa. But the response of various conservative venues to a Christian argument that, while theologically orthodox and sensible, nonetheless reverses a cherished partisan position, suggests another situation of priorities.

Kasich’s sin is to present a vision of fiscal conservatism that is limited rather than necessitated by Christian ethics. His argument, despite what Roy, Hart and the Wall Street Journal would present, is actually sophisticated: He points out that Christian doctrine directly requires the consideration of the poor ahead of the interests of profit. It is not that Christian doctrine has traditionally held that any profit from business is wrong (though more radical strands have moved in that direction), but that excess wealth has generally been viewed by Christian authorities as acceptable only insofar as the needs of the most vulnerable have been met. This is foundational, ancient Christian teaching, ranging from the earliest church fathers to the medieval scholars and into the modern day.

Naturally, Kasich’s critics don’t bother to attempt a reversal on theological grounds. Instead they suggest, pace Hart, that there is some small-government solution directly at hand that Kasich has ignored. Yet they have roundly failed to produce it. If you could link to a policy proposal that better accomplishes the goal of ensuring the poor healthcare coverage, why sneer about “hating Jesus” instead?

Because, it seems, the comedy of Christian sentiment opposed to conservative dogma is rote among right-wingers. Conservatives are smart to saturate airwaves with turf wars over social issues, wherein they’re more than happy to prop up Christian views; but Christian voters should be wary of the swiftness and viciousness with which conservatives seem prepared to dismiss even perfectly solid Christian reasoning altogether when it no longer suits them. If party policy is that the interests of the GOP precede the interests of the Prince of Peace, there’s not much room for negotiation.

10 things you need to know today: October 31, 2014

The Palestinian Authority said it saw Israel's closure of a holy site as a "declaration of war."

The Palestinian Authority said it saw Israel’s closure of a holy site as a “declaration of war.” (REUTERS/Ammar Awad)

The Week

Marshals capture Pennsylvania police ambush suspect, Israel reopens a key holy site, and more

1. Suspect in Pennsylvania police killing caught after 48-day search
Law enforcement officers captured Eric Frein, one of the FBI’s 10 most-wanted fugitives, in Pennsylvania on Thursday after a 48-day manhunt. Frein, a 31-year-old survivalist, is suspected of killing one Pennsylvania trooper and wounding another in a September sniper attack on a state police barracks in Blooming Grove. U.S. Marshals on routine patrol caught him inside a hangar at a small airport that had been abandoned since 1998. Authorities said Frein was armed but surrendered without a fight. [USA Today]

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2. Israel reopens holy site as tensions rise
Israel on Friday reopened the holy site known to Jews as the Temple Mount, and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, but said that Muslim men under 50 would not be allowed in for Friday prayers. Israel had closed off the Jerusalem sanctuary a day earlier after Israeli security forces killed a Palestinian man suspected in the attempted assassination of Rabbi Yehuda Glick, an American-born right-wing activist calling for letting Jews pray at the site. Palestinian leaders called the closing “a declaration of war.” [BBC News, The New York Times]

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3. Ebola nurse challenges Maine quarantine rules
The dispute between nurse Kaci Hickox and Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) escalated on Thursday, after Hickox went for a bike ride in violation of the state’s Ebola quarantine. Hickox tested negative after returning from treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone for Doctors Without Borders. LePage said he would “exercise the full extent of his authority” to enforce the 21-day quarantine. Doctors Without Borders said such policies had a “chilling effect” on anti-Ebola efforts in West Africa. [New York Daily News]

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4. U.N. says more jihadists than ever are entering Iraq and Syria
A United Nations Security Council report warned that foreign Islamist extremists are entering Iraq and Syria on “an unprecedented scale.” About 15,000 jihadists from more than 80 countries, including some that “have not previously faced challenges related to al Qaeda,” have joined ISIS and other extremist groups. The U.S. says more than 1,000 foreign fighters are entering Syria every month despite airstrikes against ISIS. [The Guardian, The Washington Post]

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5. Plane crashes at Kansas airport
Four people were killed Thursday when their small plane crashed into a building near Wichita’s Mid-Continent Airport, igniting a fire. Among the dead were the pilot and two people inside the building. Four others were still unaccounted for several hours after the crash. Five people were sent to hospitals. “Firefighters engaged in a horrific fight for several minutes,” Fire Chief Ron Blackwell said. “We have the fire under control. [CNN]

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6. Judge approves Stockton’s plan to exit bankruptcy
A federal bankruptcy judge on Thursday approved a plan proposed by Stockton, California, to exit bankruptcy without cutting planned pension payments to retired city workers. Earlier this month, the judge ruled that payments to the California Public Employees’ Retirement System were fair game as the city’s debts were restructured. But CalPERS had said that if Stockton bailed out it would owe $1.6 billion, immediately, and Judge Christopher Klein said Thursday that re-doing the city’s pensions would just be too difficult. [Los Angeles Times]

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7. Former Boston mayor Thomas Menino dies
Thomas Menino, who served an unprecedented five straight terms as Boston’s mayor, died Thursday of cancer. He was 71. Menino, a Democrat, was diagnosed shortly after leaving office early this year. He was a down-to-earth politician who avoided lofty promises and focused on fixing problems. “Visionaries don’t get things done,” he once said. His approach got results — on his watch, Boston experienced a renaissance, and he left office with a rare 82 percent approval rating. [The Boston Globe]

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8. Burkina Faso president refuses to leave despite escalating protests
Burkina Faso’s government collapsed on Thursday as protesters demanding the resignation of President Blaise Compaore torched Parliament. Compaore, who has already held office for 27 years, dissolved his government but said he would not step down. He did, however, promise to open talks with the opposition. After protests across Ouagadougou, the capital, grew increasingly violent, a government spokesman said a bill extending Compaore’s term had been put on hold. [The New York Times]

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9. Poland declines to arrest director Roman Polanski over U.S. sex case
Polish authorities questioned film director Roman Polanski about U.S. charges of having sex with a minor in the 1970s, but declined a U.S. request to arrest him, a spokesman for the Polish Prosecutor General’s office said Thursday. Prosecutors decided there was no need to detain him while the U.S. tries to get him extradited. Polanski pleaded guilty in 1977 to having sex with a 13-year-old (he was 43) but fled before sentencing. He said he hoped Poland’s decision settled the extradition question “once and for all.” [CNN]

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10. French town takes a stand against clowns
The tiny town of Vendargues in southern France has banned clown costumes on its streets this Halloween. Mayor Pierre Dudieuzere imposed the rule after a rash of incidents across France in which people dressed as clowns scared children in the streets, and in several cases attacked passersby. The town’s website said the ban was “absolute” on Halloween, and that nobody aged 13 or older would be allowed to sport clown garb in the street through November. [The Irish Times]

4 Ways To Get A Cheap Degree That Banksters Don’t Want You To Know About

stock photo

Addicting Info

With a “moderate” price tag of “just” $22,000 a year and a private college cost of at least $44,000 a year, it’s no wonder college enrollment is on a decline. 2015’s high school graduating class will face a nearly impossible choice, either amass over $33,000 in debt, plus interest, before even stepping foot in the job market, or try to find something that pays better than minimum wage without a degree. Fortunately, there are still ways to get a good degree, without selling your future to banksters.

1. In 2013, Arthur C. Brooks wrote about his cheap college degree in the New York Times. In 1994, it cost him just $10,000. Granted, those are today’s dollars, but his advice is good. Thomas Edison State College in Trenton, New Jersey offers an online program with no residency requirements. They also accept credits from any accredited college. Brooks found low cost online schools to provide the credits. His classes were from the University of Washington and the University of Wyoming, among others.

2. If you are a little older and have some years of work under your belt, you might be in a better position than most recent high school grads. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker started a flexible degree program at the University of Wisconsin. Northern Arizona University has a flat rate subscription price for something similar. (Source)

3. Berea College in Kentucky, Brigham Young University in Utah and Western Governors University (an online school) all havetuition rates that might mostly be covered by Pell Grants.

4. You can always leave the country for your degree. Several countries offer very cheap degrees, often in English, to American students, but there is a catch. Many of these countries are expensive to live in. My personal favorite option is Germany. The Washington Post has this to say:

Germany’s higher education landscape primarily consists of internationally well-ranked public universities, some of which receive special funding because the government deems them “excellent institutions.” What’s more, Americans can earn a German undergraduate or graduate degree without speaking a word of German and without having to pay a single dollar of tuition fees: About 900 undergraduate or graduate degrees are offered exclusively in English, with courses ranging from engineering to social sciences. For some German degrees, you don’t even have to formally apply.

In fact, the German government would be happy if you decided to make use of its higher education system. The vast degree offerings in English are intended to prepare German students to communicate in a foreign language, but also to attract foreign students, because the country needs more skilled workers.

In other words, they’re gambling on the idea that you’ll fall in love with Germany and decide to use your degree there.

If you found this article while Googling “cheap degrees” or something similar, don’t fall for a diploma mill, or a place where, for a small fee, you can get an instant degree. Sure, a fake degree might open a few doors for you, but when your employer finds that you really don’t know your way around, you could see multiple doors (including possible prison doors) quickly slamming shut. Word does get around, especially if you are in any sort of niche industry.

Reporter Schools Scott Brown On New Hampshire Geography In Debate (VIDEO)

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Scott Brown | AP Photo/ Jim Cole

TPM LiveWire

Brown, the former Massachusetts senator who moved to New Hampshire in December, gave a broad answer when WMUR’s James Pindell asked him for specifics about the economy in Sullivan County.

“Geography plays a role along the southern border. We have more jobs, more opportunity,” Brown said. “Infrastructure and other opportunities up north are difficult. One of the biggest opportunities is tourism, one of the biggest opportunities is our ski areas and trails for snowmobiles. I support those efforts.”

He went on to say that Obamacare was the “biggest wet blanket” on the economy in that area.

“We’re talking about Sullivan County and I think you’re talking about the North Country,” Pindell interrupted. “So what do you see as going well in Sullivan County or not?”

“I’m talking about any place past Concord, actually, and the challenges of our state,” Brown said.

Pindell then cut in again to point out that Sullivan County is west of Concord, not north of Concord.

“With respect, I’ve answered the question,” Brown responded. “The challenges are the same in every county in our state.”

But technically, Sullivan County is both north and west of Concord. Pindell apologized for the awkward exchange after the debate broadcast.

“I said that Sullivan County was west of Concord, not north of Concord. The truth is, it’s both,” he said, as quoted by the New Hampshire Union-Leader. “So on this point, Scott Brown was right, I was wrong, and I apologize to Scott Brown, and to both campaigns.”

Watch below:

California Candidate: Despite My Neo-Nazi Past ‘I Am Not A Hater’

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KABC News Screenshot

Talking Points Memo

Candidate Richard Bunck, whose ties to a neo-Nazi group date back to the 1970s, told KABC he knew his past would resurface during his political campaign but that he hadn’t tried to hide his past.

“I left that organization that I was associated with for about nine months because I didn’t agree with the rhetoric and I didn’t agree with what they were doing,” Bunck said.

Bunck said much the same thing when he ran on an anti-tax platform for a city council seat in a Los Angeles suburb in 1998. Reporters at the time uncovered a 1971 arrest for disturbing the peace as part of a neo-Nazi rally, and a 1972 police booking photo of him dressed in a Nazi uniform and standing beneath a swastika, according to the Los Angeles Times. He ultimately lost the race.

More recently, Bunck’s past became an issue in December when residents in the small town of Rachel, Nevada learned that he was buying up property in their town, which sits adjacent to the fabled UFO site Area 51.

His latest run at office is also stirring up ill will. Russ Blewett, a city councilman in nearby Hesperia was reportedly appalled by Bunck’s past. He told KABC that, while he normally wouldn’t get involved in another city’s race, Bunck’s past warranted an exception.

“Getting a man like Richard Bunck elected, who is a known, practicing neo-Nazi will bring disgrace, dishonor and horrible publicity for the High Desert,” Blewett said. “Public office is a public trust, and I believe that with all my heart and I don’t believe that I could trust a man like Richard Bunck.”

Although some voters expressed concern, Bunck told WABC that they shouldn’t be put off by his past.

“Number one, I am not a hater,” Bunck said. “I don’t operate on hate. Number two, I am not a white supremacist and never even considered myself that, ever. … I’m not what they paint me to be.”

Tea Party Zealot Posting About ‘Liberal F*ggots’ And ‘Muslim’ Obama Gets Secret Service Visit

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This shouldn’t bother me but as long as President Obama occupies the White House, it will always bother me…

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Drew Walker loves America – his version, anyway. This angry Tea Party zealot has been posting insane rants on Facebook for quite some time, ranting about liberal “f*cking f*ggots” and our Muslim President Barry Soetoro.

“We aren’t here to appease your f*cking Muslim beliefs. We aren’t here to pffh-ugh appease your f*cking African beliefs. We are here to believe in our American Constitution,” Walker said in another of his increasingly hysterical and hateful rants. “Our freedoms. Our liberties. And that’s goddammit what I f*cking support,” he continued. “Not you, you piece of sh*t.”

At one point, he posted images of himself and his daughter which were used to convey threats to the President – something that, when the Secret Service came knocking, fulfilled the old “Chinese curse”:

May you live in interesting times.

May you come to the attention of those in authority.

May you find what you are looking for.

The images in question depict him (and his daughter) aiming a gun with indicators that he likely intends to harm the President.

 

Apparently, coupled with his disturbing videos, the Secret Service felt the images Walker chose to post might be something to check out.

“Alright, patriots, so like I said yesterday the Secret Service visited me all p*ssed off about that f*cking meme that had me holding a double-barreled Derringer saying ‘Hey, Obama, smile motherf*cker.’ And the thing that p*sses me off the most about it is the fact that they’re busy investigating me when so much sh*t’s going on in this country.”

“They should be stepping up and doing their f*cking job, and arresting Obama for treason,” Walker explained to his rabid viewers. “But yet they’d rather come f*ck with a regular U.S. citizen like myself. for an opinion, nothing more. Not a threat. An opinion. So, I can’t see where their reasoning is.”

Walker actually asked the Secret Service agents who visited him why they are doing nothing about fictitious “Muslim training camps here in the United States.” Walker said that, unsurprisingly, “They looked at me like I was crazy.”

“They seemed to think I had no clue what I was talking about. They seemed like they were genuinely shocked that I knew this,” he said. Walker says he also asked the agents about Barack Obama’s birth certificate “because a Kenyan national should not be in office.”

These questions, coupled with the threats and his unhinged ravings caused the agents to ask if Walker has “ever had any mental health issues.” Oddly, he said “no.” Then they asked him out the guns he used to threaten Barack Obama, or Barry Soetoro if you’re a moron. “That’s where I draw the line,” he said.

“It’s just sickening. Obuttf*ck’s sitting there in the office creating treason every day,” he said.

“I am a 100 percent United States patriot,” Walker explained in the video. I will fight for this country till the bitter end. And all those who oppose me – I mean, if that means the government’s gonna come after us to try to silence us patriots, well, then, our fight’s with them.”

However, he did clarify that he would never kill Barack Obama – because he would be labeled a racist in prison. He was clear that he wants President Obama, his family, and all other “liberals” he hates to die.

“I hope to god that when you fall asleep you just quit breathing. That’s not a threat. That’s a, that’s a f*cking heh, that’s a dream and a wish that, f*ck, I’ll throw a thousand quarters in a wishing well if that will come true.”

But it’s not a threat. Perhaps the Secret Service needs to take another look at this guy. [*Emphasis are mine]

After Second Attorney Quits John Boehner Can’t Find A Lawyer Who Will Sue Obama

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PoliticusUSA

For the second time in two months, a law firm has dumped Speaker of the House John Boehner and refused to represent House Republicans in their lawsuit against President Obama.

Politico reported,

Attorney Bill Burck and the Quinn Emanuel firm halted preparations for the proposed suit in recent weeks, according to two sources familiar with the situation. Last month, the lawyer originally hired to pursue the case, David Rivkin of Baker Hostetler, made a similar abrupt exit.

A spokesman for Boehner declined to discuss the status of the House’s relationship with Burck and Quinn Emanuel. However, spokesman Kevin Smith said Wednesday evening that House leaders are considering having the lawsuit filed by lawyers already on the House payroll.

In other words, Boehner can’t find an outside attorney, so they are going to force the attorneys that are already on the House payroll to file the lawsuit.

Democratic Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) responded the news that another Boehner lawyer has quit, “Speaker Boehner cannot find a single lawyer in the entire country – even at $500 dollars an hour in taxpayer money – to file a lawsuit that is so totally devoid of any legal merit.”

The lawsuit is bogus that House Republicans can’t find decent legal representation for $500 an hour. There are lots of terrible lawyers who would be willing to file the lawsuit for that kind of money, but no law firm who values their reputation will touch it.

Any private law firm that would represent the House Republicans would be destroying their credibility. The lawsuit against the president has absolutely no legal merit, and Republicans may not be able to find a court that is willing to hear it. Even if House Republicans can find a court willing to hear it, the lawsuit is expected to be laughed out of court.

Instead of wasting taxpayer money on an outside firm, House Republicans will waste the time of those who are being paid by the taxpayers by forcing them to work on their lawsuit against President Obama.

The reason Boehner’s lawsuit hasn’t been filed is that he can’t find a law firm that is willing to take the case. Much like everything else that the House Republicans touch, Boehner’s lawsuit against Obama was full of talk, but completely lacking in action.

Penn. coroner auctioning firearms from suicides: People pay more for ‘guns that took a life’

Westmoreland County Coroner Ken Bacha (WTAE)

Westmoreland County Coroner Ken Bacha (WTAE)

The Raw Story

A Pennsylvania coroner said this week that the state’s law required him to auction off guns that were used in suicides and other accidental violent deaths, even though his county has not held a similar auction in 30 years.

Westmoreland County Coroner Ken Bacha told WTAE that his office planned to sell 97 guns during the Nov. 8 auction. He said that families of the deceased are given one year to claim the weapons, and then Pennsylvania law required them to be sold.

And Bacha said that the violent history of the guns could actually inflate their value.

“Most of these firearms that are going to be auctioned were non-homicide firearms,” he explained. “In other words, accidental deaths, but most of them were suicides.”

“Now as we’re a week and a half away, we’re getting more phone calls, several today. I talked to the auctioneer today, and he’s getting a lot of hits on his website, and a lot of calls to his website.”

Bacha said that people calling about the weapons wanted to know about the deaths connected to them.

“I know when my dad had an auction back in the 80s, there were guns that were valued at a $100 brand new that were selling for $200,” he noted. “Is it just the novelty of it, that this gun took a life? I’m not really sure.”

Watch the video HERE from WTAE, broadcast Oct. 29, 2014.

10 things you need to know today: October 30, 2014

Madison Bumgarner completed a pitching performance for the ages on Wednesday night. 

Madison Bumgarner completed a pitching performance for the ages on Wednesday night | (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

The Week

The Giants win the World Series, the Fed ends its bond-buying stimulus, and more

1. Giants win their third World Series in five years
The San Francisco Giants beat the Kansas City Royals 3-2 in a hard-fought Game 7 to win the World Series on Wednesday night. The Giants were the first team to win their third Major League Baseball championship in five years since the New York Yankees did it in the late 1990s. Giants ace and Series MVP Madison Bumgarner, who had already earned two wins in the Series, pitched the last five innings and held onto the team’s narrow lead by allowing just two hits, getting the final out with the tying run on third. [San Jose Mercury News]

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2. Fed ends its bond-buying stimulus
The Federal Reserve on Wednesday ended its longstanding effort to stimulate the economy bypurchasing bonds, citing improvement in the job market. The end of the six-year program — called quantitative easing — marked a significant milestone in the nation’s recovery from the Great Recession. The program contributed to a long-running bull market for stocks, and helped businesses and individuals by keeping borrowing costs low. Fed policymakers said that they still planned to keep short-term interest rates near zero for the foreseeable future. [The New York Times]

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3. Nurse tests Maine’s Ebola quarantine policy
Maine Gov. Paul LePage late Wednesday sent police to enforce the state’s Ebola quarantine on nurse Kaci Hickox, after she threatened to sue if the state didn’t let her leave her home by Thursday. Hickox said the policy was “not scientifically nor constitutionally just,” and vowed not to “sit around and be bullied around by politicians and be forced to stay in my home when I am not a risk to the American public.” Maine’s Ebola protocol calls for Hickox to remain isolated at home for 21 days after returning from treating Ebola patients in West Africa. [Reuters]

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4. Apple CEO Tim Cook says he’s ‘proud to be gay’
On Thursday morning, Apple CEO Tim Cook came out of the closet. In an op-ed for BusinessWeek, the man who took over the helm of America’s storied tech company from Steve Jobs said “let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay.” Cook explained that while his sexual orientation wasn’t a secret at Apple, coming out publicly could “inspire people to insist on their equality.” [BusinessWeek, The Verge]

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5. Mudslide buries more than 100 people in Sri Lanka
At least 10 people were killed and as many as 190 remained missing, apparently buried alive Wednesday by a landslide on a tea plantation in Sri Lanka. Survivors and rescue workers dug by hand searching for victims immediately after the disaster. Crews used heavy excavating machines on Thursday expand the search. More than 300 people survived the mudslide, which was caused by torrential rains, but authorities said the hope of finding more people alive was slim. [Bangkok Post,Bloomberg]

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6. WHO reports Liberia’s Ebola rate appears to have slowed
World Health Organization officials said Wednesday that the rate of new Ebola diagnoses appeared to have slowed in Liberia for the first time since the epidemic started. Liberia is at the heart of West Africa’s outbreak, which has killed an estimated 5,000 people. WHO has warned that if the rate continued to rise as it had been there could be 5,000 to 10,000 new cases per week by December. The slowing pace doesn’t mean the worst is over, said WHO’s Bruce Aylward. “It’s like saying your pet tiger is under control,” he said. [The Washington Post]

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7. NATO fighter jets turn back Russian military planes
NATO scrambled jets to intercept at least 26 Russian military aircraft flying over Western Europe and the Black Sea on Tuesday and Wednesday. The unauthorized flights further strained relations already damaged by Russia’s support of separatists in Ukraine. NATO said the violations of its members’ airspace also put civilian planes at risk, partly because the military planes don’t use transponders. The flights came days after Sweden staged its biggest naval mobilization since the Cold War to hunt for a suspected Russian submarine. [ABC News, Bloomberg]

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8. Palestinian suspected in assassination attempt killed by Israeli police
Israeli security forces early Thursday shot and killed a Palestinian man — identified as Muatnaz Hijazi, 32 — suspected of shooting a prominent American-born right-wing Israeli activist. Police said Hijazi fired first. The activist, Yehuda Glick, was seriously wounded Wednesday night in a drive-by shooting outside the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem after a conference promoting Jewish presence at the Temple Mount. Two employees at a restaurant where Hijazi worked were arrested. [Haaretz]

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9. Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Galway Kinnell dies at 87
Poet Galway Kinnell died of leukemia this week at his Vermont home. He was 87. Kinnell won both a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award in 1983 for his collection Selected Poems. He won a MacArthur Genius Fellowship the following year. Galway, often compared to Walt Whitman, was known for his unique lyrical style, and his ability to evoke everything from urban streetscapes to pastoral scenes in his home state of Vermont, where he was the first person since Robert Frost to hold the title of state poet. [The New York Time, Burlington Free Press]

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10. First piece of Amelia Earhart’s lost plane identified
Researchers say they are highly confident that they have identified a battered piece of aluminum as a fragment of Amelia Earhart’s plane, which disappeared in the Pacific Ocean on July 2, 1937, as she attempted a record flight around the world at the equator. The fragment was found in 1991 on the uninhabited atoll of Nikumaroro, where researchers at The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery believe Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, crashed landed, then lived and died as castaways. [Discovery News]