10 things you need to know today: October 22, 2014

Bradlee being awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013.

Bradlee being awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The Week

Legendary editor Ben Bradlee dies, North Korea frees one of three captive Americans, and more

1. Former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee dies at 93
Legendary Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee, who presided over the Watergate reporting that brought down Richard Nixon’s presidency, died on Tuesday. He was 93. Bradlee took over leadership of the Post in 1965, and helped make the newspaper one of the world’s great dailies. Bradlee was widely praised for making tough calls, including publishing the Pentagon Papers, a secret Pentagon history of the Vietnam war. “For Benjamin Bradlee, journalism was more than a profession — it was a public good vital to our democracy,” President Obama said. [The New York Times, The Washington Post]


2. North Korea frees American Jeffrey Fowle
North Korea unexpectedly released Jeffrey Fowle, one of three Americans held by North Korea, on Tuesday, six months after he was arrested for leaving a Bible in a club in the reclusive communist country. Fowle, 56, was first flown on a U.S. military plane from Pyongyang to Guam, then to his home state, Ohio, where he landed early Wednesday. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf declined to say how Fowle, a municipal worker who had traveled on a tourist visa, was freed, to avoid complicating efforts to get the other two captive Americans released. [Los Angeles Times]


3. U.S. tightens Ebola safeguards on travelers from West Africa
The federal government tightened its precautions against Ebola on Tuesday by requiring travelers from the three hardest hit West African countries to enter the U.S. through one of five major airports performing enhanced screening for the virus. People flying into the U.S. from Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea will be limited to New York’s John F. Kennedy, Washington Dulles, Newark, Atlanta, or Chicago O’Hare international airports, starting Wednesday. [Reuters]


4. Hong Kong activists debate government officials on democracy
Hong Kong pro-democracy activists debated city officials on Tuesday in an event intended to jumpstart talks on ending three weeks of demonstrations demanding free elections and the resignation of the Chinese-controlled former British colony’s leader, Leung Chun-ying. Protest leaders said they didn’t believe the debate, beamed live on big screens around the city, would lead to change, but that it would show viewers “the difference between right and wrong.” City leaders said there was room for negotiation. [Sydney Morning Herald]


5. Ebola vaccine trials could start in January
The World Health Organization said Tuesday it hopes to begin testing two experimental Ebola vaccines as early as next January. The vaccines will be given to more than 20,000 health-care workers in West Africa’s hardest hit areas. Even if a vaccine works, it would not be expected to be enough to stop the outbreak, partly because there won’t be enough to immunize everyone. An effective vaccine would, however, provide crucial protection to doctors and nurses fighting the disease. So far, more than 200 of them have died. [The Associated Press]


6. Colorado teens suspected of trying to join ISIS
The FBI is investigating whether three Colorado teenage girls detained in Germany were trying to reach Syria to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, also known as ISIS. The teenagers — all of whom are under 18 — were persuaded by a contact in Germany to leave home “to fulfill what they believe is some vision that has been put out on a slick media campaign,” a law enforcement official said. The families of the girls — two of Somali descent, the other of Sudanese descent — reported them missing last week. [Fox News]


7. Wyoming becomes 32nd state to legalize gay marriage
Wyoming filed a legal notice on Tuesday declaring that it would not defend its recently overturned gay-marriage ban, making the state the 32nd in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage. The decision means that county clerks can immediately begin issuing marriage licenses to gay couples, and state officials will have to recognize same-sex couples married in other states. Wyoming became a focal point in the gay-rights debate after Matthew Shepard, a gay college student, was killed in a 1998 hate crime there. [MSNBC]


8. Michael Sam cut from the Dallas Cowboys’ practice squad
The Dallas Cowboys cut rookie Michael Sam, the first openly gay player drafted by an NFL team, from the team’s practice squad on Tuesday. Dallas had given Sam, a linebacker, a shot after he was waived in August by the St. Louis Rams, who drafted him out of Missouri in the seventh round. Sam said he would not give up. “While this is disappointing, I will take the lessons I learned here in Dallas and continue to fight for an opportunity to prove that I can play every Sunday,” Sam tweeted. [USA Today]


9. NBC cameraman declared Ebola-free
Freelance NBC News cameraman Ashoka Mukpo — the fifth Ebola patient flown to the U.S. for treatment — was told he could leave a Nebraska hospital on Wednesday after a blood test showed he was free of any sign of Ebola. Mukpo, 33, contracted the virus while working for NBC in Liberia covering West Africa’s Ebola outbreak, which has killed more than 4,500 people. “Recovering from Ebola is a truly humbling feeling,” Mukpo said, according to the hospital. “Too many are not as fortunate and lucky as I’ve been.” [NBC News]


10. Giants beat Royals in World Series opener
The San Francisco Giants trounced the Kansas City Royals, 7-1, on Tuesday in Game 1 of the World Series. Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner held the Royals to just three hits in seven innings, helping lead the Giants to their seventh straight victory in World Series games. The Royals won a spot in their first World Series in 29 years with a surprising sweep of the Baltimore Orioles. “We didn’t come in here and expect to sweep the San Francisco Giants,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. [USA Today]

Federal Judge Rules Against Marriage Equality, Mocks Other Judges In Angry Diatribe

anti-gay protest


Think Progress

In an opinion that frequently crosses the line from visible rage to outright belligerence towards his judicial colleagues, a federal judge in Puerto Rico became one of just two federal judges to deny equal marriage rights to same-sex couples on Tuesday. Judge Juan Pérez-Giménez’s opinion accuses the overwhelming majority of federal judges who have sided with marriage equality of “inexplicable contortions of the mind or perhaps even willful ignorance.” At one point he appears to mock his colleagues, claiming that while the supposed fact that “this Court reaches its decision by embracing precedent may prove disappointing . . . there are some principles of logic and law that cannot be forgotten.” At another point, he claims that, if gay couples enjoy the same rights as straight couples, that will lead to a world where “laws barring polygamy, or, say the marriage of fathers and daughters” are “now of doubtful validity.”

The concluding section of Judge Pérez-Giménez’s opinion reads less like a judicial opinion than it does like a press release from the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage:

Recent affirmances of same-gender marriage seem to suffer from a peculiar inability to recall the principles embodied in existing marriage law. Traditional marriage is “exclusively [an] opposite-sex institution . . . inextricably linked to procreation and biological kinship,” Windsor, 133 S. Ct. at 2718 (Alito, J., dissenting). Traditional marriage is the fundamental unit of the political order. And ultimately the very survival of the political order depends upon the procreative potential embodied in traditional marriage.

Those are the well-tested, well-proven principles on which we have relied for centuries.

Notice the citation in this passage. Judge Pérez-Giménez relies on a quote from Justice Samuel Alito’s dissenting opinion in United States v. Windsor. Dissenting opinions are, by definition, not the law because they reflect the views of the judges or justices who were unable to persuade a majority of their colleagues. Alito, in fact, was unable to persuadeany of his fellow justices to join his opinion in full, although Justice Clarence Thomas did join parts of it.

Despite the angry and, at times, outright vicious rhetoric that pervades his opinion, Pérez-Giménez relies on a narrow technicality to dismiss the plaintiffs’ plea for equal treatment. Although the Supreme Court currently has a great deal of discretion over which cases it wants to take and which cases it will simply pass over, the Court’s mandatory jurisdiction — i.e. those cases that it has no choice but to decide — used to be much larger. Under the previous legal regime, the justices would sometimes get rid of a case within their mandatory jurisdiction that they did not want to hear by proclaiming that the case did not present a “substantial federal question.” That’s what the Court did in a 1972 marriage equality case called Baker v. Nelson.

Few judges believe, however, that Baker v. Nelson has any bearing on whether federal courts may consider marriage equality cases today. Indeed, Pérez-Giménez acknowledges this fact with a lengthy citation to other court decisions holding that Bakeris no longer binding on lower courts. The list of cases that disagree with him is so long that it takes up nearly an entire page of his opinion.

So, while Pérez-Giménez clearly holds very passionate views on the question of whether same-sex couples are entitled to the same rights as everyone else, his views are unlikely to persuade many of his fellow judges. It’s even possible that his opinion could ultimately wind up bolstering the case for marriage equality. That’s because his decision will appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, a court dominated by Democratic appointees (although, it is worth noting that Pérez-Giménez was appointed to the bench by President Jimmy Carter). All four of the states that comprise the First Circuit — Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island — are already marriage equality states, so a decision out of a federal court in Puerto Rico is the only path to bring a marriage equality case before this circuit.

Given the makeup of the First Circuit, the overwhelming consensus among federal judges in favor of marriage equality, and the belligerent tone of Pérez-Giménez’s opinion, it is unlikely that his decision will be upheld on appeal.

Fox Host Rails Against GOPers Calling Ebola Czar A Political ‘Hack’


Ron Klaine – Revolution LL

TPM LiveWire

He noted that Republicans didn’t make a “big fuss” when President George W. Bush named Stewart Simonson to coordinate response to the bird flu.

“He didn’t have any medical background either,” Cavuto said, noting that Simonson had knowledge of the government agencies that needed to coordinate the response.

Cavuto said that Simonson was “just as much the Republican political insider as Klain today is deemed a Democratic political insider.”

“You really don’t need an M.D. to simply get this: Ebola calls for a coordinated and coherent government response,” Cavuto continued. “Ripping a guy who’s just getting started trying to get a handle on a crisis, that’s not fair; that’s not right.”

The Fox host stopped short of praising Klain, but told conservatives not to judge him before he starts his work.

“I’m not saying that Mr. Klain’s a hero, but now is not the time to be calling him or anyone a hack. Remember, just because this virus is mutating doesn’t mean simple civility and decency should be mutating with it. Because that would be sick,” he said.

OOPS- Mike Jones to Obama while voting: Mr. President, Don’t Touch My Girlfriend


CNN Screenshot

This president is the coolest POTUS ever…


Bold move. Yesterday President Obama was casting his ballot in Chicago for the upcoming mid-term election. Casting his vote bext to Aia Cooper, her fiancé Mike Jones wisecracked to the president to not touch his girlfriend.

“I really wasn’t planning on it,” Obama shot back. He then called Jones “an example of a brother just embarrassing you for no reason.” It’s a moment of good fun that will bring a smile to even the most adamant Benghazi conspiracy theorist’s face.

5 Schools Freaking Out About Ebola Because They Don’t Realize Africa Is A Really Big Continent



Think Progress

In the midst of Ebola panic in the Western world, some Americans are worried about schoolchildren coming into contact with people who have been in African countries thousands of miles away from the heart of the outbreak.

For instance, at a school in New Burlington, New Jersey, two Rwandan students are staying at home due to other parents’ fear that they will infect other children with Ebola. Rwanda is as close to the Ebola outbreak as New York City is to Seattle.

In Hazlehurst, Mississippi, a school principal’s recent visit to Zambia has led to a lot of parents choosing to keep their kids at home. But Zambia is in Southern Africa, over 3,000 miles away from the Ebola outbreak — the same distance between New Hampshire and Los Angeles.

A school bus driver in Poplarville, Mississippi who recently visited Ghana is beingprevented from returning to work. Meanwhile, in Pewaukee, Wisconsin, some parents kept their kids home when their school hosted two visitors from Uganda. And this phenomenon is not limited to the United States. A school in Worcestershire, England is under pressure to cancel an upcoming trip to Tanzania.

These incidents, which all took place at schools, illustrate a very poor understanding of African geography:


africa map

Africa is the world’s second largest continent. But it’s not unusual for Americans to classify it as a single entity, ignoring the many cultural, economic and geographic differences between its 47 countries. If three countries in Africa are going through an Ebola epidemic, the other 44 must be too, right?

These assumptions are not that different in tone from some of the other examples of how Ebola is motivating xenophobic sentiments in the U.S. For example, some people argue that closing off West Africa altogether is the right way to respond to the outbreak. Liberian immigrants in the U.S. are being refused service at restaurants and dropped from charity programs. Fox News’ Andrea Tantaros recently suggested that the people coming into the United States from Africa will seek medical care from witch doctors and practice Santeria.

This stems from a lack of understanding of Ebola, but it also points to some stereotypes about the African continent as a whole. Americans have a long history of dismissing Africa as a disease-ridden and primitive place.

Fox News Admits GOP Is Trying To Increase Obamacare Premiums, Then Tries To Cover It Up

Fox News Obamacare chyron


Think Progress

Fox News admitted on Tuesday that a conservative-led lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act would raise health care premiums for millions of Americans. But then in its on-screen chyron, the network sought to attribute the increases not to the litigants involved in the case, but to President Obama, potentially confusing viewers.

“Could legal challenges to taxpayer subsidies put Obamacare in a death spiral?” Fox host Bill Hemmer asked, pointing to “a new study funded by the Department of Health and Human Services saying the health care law may be damaged beyond repair if you take the subsidies away, if they’re eliminated.”

Ongoing lawsuits are challenging the legality of providing subsidies through health insurance marketplaces in states that refused to set up their own exchanges. If those legal challenges succeed, the analysis that Hemmer is referencing — which comes from the RAND Corporation — did in fact conclude that premiums in those states could increase by as much as 43.3 percent. RAND’s researchers found that if federal subsidies to federally-run exchanges are ruled to be illegal, millions of people would have to pay more for coverage and could leave the risk pool, leading to a death spiral in which only the sickest people remain insured. Enrollment would fall by 68 percent and 11.3 million Americans could become uninsured.

Hemmer and Fox contributor Byron York huffed and puffed about the dangers of such a ruling, calling it “colossal” — despite the fact that the suits have been filed by conservatives, are supported by Republican lawmakers, and have been reported on favorably by the network in the past. The National Review has called the lawsuits and “ingenious” way to halt Obamacare. Fox, celebrated the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling against the administration on July 22 by pronouncing, “one by one they’re getting chipped away so it’s starting to collapse.”

And although the price increases are a direct result of a negative ruling, Fox News ran the story under the chyron “sticker shock again for some Obamacare enrollees as premiums set to rise,” implying that the law’s backers would be responsible.

So far, an appellate court in Virginia has ruled that the subsidies were legal, but a three-judge panel on the D.C. circuit disagreed. The full D.C. court is expected to reverse that decision, however, eliminating the circuit split and reducing the possibility that the Supreme Court will take up the matter. Another ruling against the law is still working its way through the legal system.

The administration contends that even though the law does not explicitly state that federally-run exchanges are to offer subsidies for coverage, the intent of its framers — as well as its other provisions about achieving “near-universal coverage” and financial security from medical bankruptcy — strongly imply that such credits must be made available.

Rachel Maddow says what we’re all thinking about John Oliver

Rachel Maddow says what we're all thinking about John Oliver

Rachel Maddow (Credit: MSNBC)


The MSNBC pundit says she’d love to “use dogs with fake paws to reenact Supreme Court oral arguments

Rachel Maddow addressed two very important issues surrounding the Supreme Court of the United States on Monday night. The first of which, Maddow explains, took place on HBO.

Yes, Maddow discussed John Oliver and his use of “Real Animals Fake Paws” to reenact Supreme Court arguments. “I am not allowed to speak for the news division here,” Maddow states. “Part of the reason why is because if I were in charge of the news devision here, I would totally do this. I would totally use dogs with fake paws to reenact Supreme Court oral arguments.”

“That said,” Maddow continues, “this now exists as an asset in our nation’s arsenal in how to cover civics and understand important decisions made by one of our three branches of government.”

Maddow then covers Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s “blistering dissent” on the Texas Voter ID ruling, which she stayed up until 5:00 AM writing. Watch below:

‘Pro-Life’ Murderer Demands His First Amendment Right To Kill Again

Yep, conspiracy to commit murder is right in there!

In the “what the hell?” category, we find this.


When a convicted “pro-life” terrorist who shot an abortion doctor to death, in his own church — for the unborned babies, and for Jesus! — threatens to do it again, you should probably take him seriously. Scott Roeder, who murdered Dr. George Tiller in 2009, has been rotting behind bars where he belongs ever since he was convicted of murder. Roeder has no remorse for his crime; in fact, he’s been fantasizing about his next victim: Julie Burkhart, the executive director of the clinic that replaced Dr. Tiller’s after Roeder murdered him.

Burkhart has been the “pro-life” terrorists’ number one target since they accomplished their mission of putting Dr. Tiller out of business by any means necessary. She’s been harassed with charming signs like “Where is your Church?” because ha ha hardy har har, they will gun her down in her church too. For life!

And the Army of God, a “pro-life” terrorist organization that quite overtly says it is good and right and definitely what Jesus would do to murder abortion providers, has not only put her at the top of its wanted list, but its leader, David Leach, went to have a little chat with Roeder, the “pro-life” hero, in prison, in which they nudge nudged and wink winked about how it sure would be a sarcastic-voice “shame” if someone were to murder Burkhart, but it would be her own fault, you see, because that’s what someone who provides a legal medical service deserves, as Roeder the Doctor Killer explained:

It is a little bit death-defying for someone to walk back in there. For Julie “Darkheart” to walk back in there and reopen a murder mill where a man was stopped. It’s almost like putting a target on your back, saying, “Well, let’s see if you can shoot ME! I have to go back to what Pastor Mike Bray said: If 100 abortionists were shot, they [surviving abortionists] would probably go out of business. I think eight have been shot, so we’ve got 92 to go. Maybe she’ll be number nine. I don’t know, but she’s kind of painting a target on her.

The Kansas Department of Corrections disciplined him — apparently, they have some kind of weird hang-up about convicted killers who threaten to kill again — but Roeder is doing what any reasonable patriotic American would do. He’s suing the department for violating his First Amendment rights.

Roeder is represented by Topeka attorney Billy Rork, who said he thinks the department violated Roeder’s right to freedom of speech.

Rork said Friday he is working free of charge to represent Roeder, an acquaintance since they were teenagers, who wrote him a letter asking for his help. Rork said he took the case mainly because “I’m a big First Amendment guy.”

He seems nice, doesn’t he? Just a simple country lawyer who believes so strongly in the First Amendment that he will happily represent a convicted murderer — for free! — just to protect his right to plan some more murders.

Remember this charming fellow, Mark S. Gietzen, chairman of the Kansas Coalition for Life, also a “pro-life” activist in also Wichita, Kansas, a longtime hotbed of terrorist activism against abortion providers? He and his fellow gun-toting thugs were petitioning the city to have another abortion clinic shut down on the grounds that abortion clinics attract scumbags like him, who, gosh, sometimes might have to resort to violence against people who work at the clinic.

“Even a well-meaning dog will bite at some point in time if you keep antagonizing it,” Gietzen said.

Asked what he meant by that, Gietzen said, ”We have this concealed carry thing where half the people in Kansas are walking around with firearms.”

“The way this guy acts, I’m afraid that someone’s going to shoot him,” Gietzen continued, referring to the escort. “He’s asking for it. I don’t want for that to happen…It’s not good for the cause.”

Gietzen refused to say whether he or his fellow protesters are armed. “That’s not a polite question to ask an individual,” Gietzen said. “That’s why it’s concealed.”

Given the thousands of incidents of “pro-life” terrorism, which includes a long list of casualties, one would think the need to prevent a convicted murderer from planning any more murders might slightly outweigh his free speech rights to casually chat about whom to murder next. One would think.

Unless Roeder is claiming that he’s simply exercising his sincerely held religious beliefs under the First Amendment. We know he sincerely believes abortion providers should be killed because hey, if the government will not give in to the terrorists’ demands to criminalize abortion, they’ll take matters into their own hands. That’s why Roeder worked closely with another convicted “pro-life” terrorist, Cheryl Sullenger, now senior policy adviser at Operation Rescue, and has demonstrated that he is willing and able to kill anyone whom he considers a threat to the sanctity of unborn life. Because that is what “pro-life” terrorists believe.

But maybe being a “pro-life” terrorist constitutes a sincerely held religious belief now. Who knows? The Supreme Court said you do not have to obey the law if you sincerely believe you shouldn’t have to, and every “religious” wackjob in America is currently testing that theory to see just how far it goes. So maybe Roeder’s lawsuit will be thrown out, as it should be. Or maybe some sympathetic judge will agree that Roeder has a right to work with other terrorists to plot the murder of more abortion providers because hey, that’s just how the First Amendment works now.

[CJOnline, h/t ClinicEscort]

10 things you need to know today: October 21, 2014

Pistorius prepares to be led out of court.

Pistorius prepares to be led out of court. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe, Pool)

The Week

1. Oscar Pistorius sentenced to five years for manslaughter
South African double-amputee track star Oscar Pistorius was sentenced to five years in prison on Tuesday for killing his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentine’s Day in 2013. Pistorius, who said he thought an intruder was in his bathroom when he fired through the door and killed Steenkamp, was acquitted of murder but convicted on Sept. 12 of the South African equivalent of manslaughter in the U.S. legal system. The judge said the sentence struck a “delicate balance” between mercy and justice. [The Washington Post]


2. Turkey allows Kurdish fighters to enter Syria to fight ISIS
Turkey said Monday that it was letting Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga fighters cross its border into Syria to fight Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, forces trying to take over the Syrian border town of Kobani. The announcement marks a major shift for Ankara, which had been criticized by Kurds and the U.S. for declining to provide military aid to Kurdish forces defending Kobani. A day earlier, the U.S. airdropped weapons to Kurds in Kobani as an international coalition steps up its efforts to battle ISIS. [The New York Times]


3. Indiana suspect confesses to seven killings
A convicted Indiana sex offender, Darren Deon Vann, has confessed to killing seven women, police said Monday. Vann, 43, told police that he had “messed up” by killing Afrika Hardy, 19, an alleged prostitute whose body was found at a Motel 6 on Friday. Vann then led officers to the bodies of six other women who had been killed in Gary, Indiana. Police said Vann made other statements that led them to believe there were “possible other victims.” [CNN, USA Today]


4. Apple predicts a busy holiday season thanks to strong iPhone sales
Apple shares rose by 1.3 percent after hours on Monday after the company forecast a strong holiday quarter after seeing its iPhone sales increase by 16 percent, which was more than expected. Apple also saw its best growth in Mac computer sales in years. Despite the positive news, iPad sales continued a three-quarter slide. Declining demand for all kinds of tablets have raised questions about Apple’s growth prospects, and increased pressure from investors for a new device to reinvigorate the company. [Reuters]


5. Report accuses Ukraine of using controversial cluster bombs against separatists
The Ukrainian military appears to have fired widely banned cluster bombs into the separatist-held city of Donetsk, according to a human rights report released Monday. Witnesses, victims, and physical evidence suggested that cluster munitions had been fired from the direction of army-held territory on Oct. 2 and Oct. 5, killing at least six people, including a Swiss Red Cross employee. If confirmed, the use of cluster bombs could be an obstacle in peace talks. [The New York Times]


6. Suspect in Hannah Graham case indicted on 2005 rape charge
Jesse Matthew, the suspect in the disappearance of Virginia college student Hannah Graham, wascharged Monday with the 2005 kidnapping and rape of a woman in suburban Washington. Investigators searching for Graham found human remains last weekend. The Virginia Medical Examiner’s office in Richmond is trying to identify them. Graham was last seen on Sept. 13, leaving a Charlottesville bar with Matthew. [The Christian Science Monitor]


7. Total CEO dies in Moscow plane crash
Christophe de Margerie, CEO of French oil company Total, was killed on Monday when the business jet he was taking to Paris crashed into a snowplow at a Moscow airport. Three crew members on the jet and the plow’s driver also died. De Margerie, 63, was respected in the industry for returning the company to stability since taking over in 2007, and increasing its petroleum reserves in every year but one. He also successfully defended the company against corruption allegations tied to the U.N.’s oil-for-food program in Iraq. [BBC News, Bloomberg News]


8. ISIS launches simultaneous attacks in northern Iraq
ISIS forces renewed their offensive in northern Iraq on Monday with 15 nearly simultaneous attacks on Kurdish forces. ISIS also launched fresh attacks against forces guarding the strategically important Mosul Dam, including a truck-bombing that killed six Kurdish peshmerga fighters at one of the checkpoints surrounding the dam. Airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition had halted ISIS attempts to capture new territory recently, and a peshmerga general said he expected strikes soon on two villages the Islamist group seized on Monday. [CNN]


9. New Yorkers protest The Death of Klinghoffer opera
Hundreds of people protested outside New York’s Metropolitan Opera on Monday, saying a controversial show about the murder of a disabled Jewish man by Palestinian gunmen in 1985 glorifies terrorism and is anti-Semitic. Former mayor Rudy Giuliani called the opera, John Adams’The Death of Klinghoffer, “a distorted work,” and Rabbi Avi Weiss said it was “radioactive” and “inspires violence.” The Met’s general manager, Peter Gelb, said the opera was not anti-Semitic, calling it “a brilliant work of art that must be performed.” [BBC News]


10. Oscar de la Renta dies at 82
Fashion designer Oscar de la Renta died Monday eight years after being diagnosed with cancer. He was 82. De la Renta had been a fixture in haute couture since the 1960s, when his designs were worn by then-first lady Jacqueline Kennedy. Later, first ladies Betty Ford, Nancy Reagan, Hillary Clinton, and Laura Bush wore his gowns. Most recently, Amal Clooney wore a wedding dress designed by de la Renta when she married actor George Clooney in Venice three weeks ago. [ABC News]

Stopping Ebola Misinformation In Its Tracks

Think Progress

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Stopping Ebola Misinformation In Its Tracks

Oct 20, 2014 | By

Here’s Some Common Sense In The Face Of Conservative Fearmongering

It has been 21 days since the first case of Ebola was confirmed in the United States. While the best way to combat the virus is to know the facts, some elected leaders have made misinformed claims that seem more apt to incite panic andscore points rather than a healthy dose of vigilance.

These false claims got a boost this weekend from conservative columnist and Fox News contributor George Will, who wrongly suggested that Ebola could be transmitted through the air. Here are just three of the most irresponsible things conservatives have said about Ebola:

It is airborne: On Fox News Sunday this weekend, conservative pundit George Will claimed that the disease is airborne and that “in a sneeze or cough, some of the airborne particles can be infectious.” The independent fact checking organization Politifact analyzed this claim and rated it “False.”

It is more contagious than AIDS: Sen. Rand Paul has told Bloomberg News and CNN that the disease is more contagious than AIDS. In an interview with CNN he said, “[The Obama administration] has downplayed how transmissible it is. They say it’s the exchange of bodily of fluids. Which makes people think, ‘Oh, it’s like AIDS. It’s very difficult to catch. If someone has Ebola at a cocktail party they’re contagious and you can catch it from them. [The administration] should be honest about that.”

Terrorists will bring it across our border: New Hampshire Senate nominee Scott Brown told a local radio station, “We have a border that’s so porous that anyone can walk across it. I think it’s naive to think that people aren’t going to be walking through here who have those types of diseases and/or other types of intent, criminal or terrorist. And yet we do nothing to secure our border. It’s dangerous.”

BOTTOM LINE: In contrast to some conservative fearmongering, steps are being taken to fight Ebola, but more can be done. President Obama appointed Ron Klain to coordinate response among the various federal agencies. However, President Obama’s nominee for Surgeon General has stalled in the Senate because the NRA blocked it from moving forward. Former Surgeon General Regina Benjamin toldMSNBC “The surgeon general is America’s doctor, delivering information to the American people in a language they can understand.” The Ebola outbreak is an all hands on deck moment. It should be a time when we come together to solve a problem, not spread false information to incite panic for political gain.