Bill Richardson Hardest Hit
9:49 AM, Oct 24, 2014 • By ETHAN EPSTEIN
Foreigners should always stay out of North Korea. By traveling there, after all, tourists provide financial support to a manifestly evil regime. Moreover, they put themselves at risk – two American tourists are currently being held hostage there. (A third was released from captivity just this week.)
Happily, the North Korean regime appears to agree with my advice. This week, Pyongyang suspended all tourism to the country due to fears about Ebola. The ghoulish misery-mongers who facilitate travel to North Korea were upset by the news. “We are still hopeful we will be able to run the three tours we have scheduled for the remainder of 2014," one Nick Bonner of Koryo Tours told Reuters.
But presumably nobody is more upset at the latest developments than Mr. North Korea himself, former New Mexico governor and U.N. ambassador Bill Richardson, who has traveled there on multiple occasions and who apparently can't get enough of the place. Spare a thought for the portly former diplomat: I'm guessing his Christmas vacation plans have now been ruined.
'May have stopped and gone to a restaurant along the way.'8:34 AM, Oct 24, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Dr. Mary T. Bassett, commissioner of the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, claimed in a press conference last night that the latest Ebola patient had self-isolated since returning from Africa. Later, she admitted that in fact the patient had spent a lot of time in public and with other people:
"We know that he left his apartment and so that he -- self-quarantine would have meant he never left his apartment. But he did self-isolate in the sense that ... he limited his contact with people and saw friends. He did leave his apartment, so I don't want to give the impression that he was in his apartment the entire time."
The same health commissioner went on to later note that the Ebola patient took the subway (the A train, L train, and the 1 train), went to a bowling ally, took an Uber, later went to the High Line, and "may have stopped and gone to a restaurant along the way." He also went for a 3-mile run around the city.
Additionally, the patient spent time with his fiance and two friends, .
The health commissioner insisted that they'd try their best to retrace his patient's steps, suggesting they might try to figure out who else might have come in contact.
8:03 AM, Oct 24, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
The New York Times reports:
A doctor in New York City who recently returned from treating Ebola patients in Guinea became the first person in the city to test positive for the virus Thursday, setting off a search for anyone who might have come into contact with him.
The doctor, Craig Spencer, was rushed to Bellevue Hospital Center and placed in isolation at the same time as investigators sought to retrace every step he had taken over the past several days.
At least three people he had contact with in recent days have been placed in isolation. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which dispatched a team to New York, is conducting its own test to confirm the positive test on Thursday, which was performed by a city lab.
7:45 AM, Oct 24, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Sergeant at Arms Kevin Vickers was given a standing ovation in Canada's Parliament yesterday for allegedly killing the invading terrorist the day before. Watch the moving ovation here:
4:53 PM, Oct 23, 2014 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES AND JOHN MCCORMACK
Is New Jersey governor and Republican Governors Association chairman Chris Christie undercutting Wisconsin governor Scott Walker's reelection effort? That's a question a number of influential Wisconsin Republicans have been asking behind the scenes over the past week after an October 16 Associated Press report indicated that Walker and his allies were being outspent by Democratic challenger Mary Burke and her allies.
"The Center for Public Integrity reported Thursday that Walker and his backers spent nearly $6.1 million on ads through Monday, while Burke and her supporters ran nearly $6.6 million," the AP reported on Thursday. On Sunday, Walker told the Washington Post's Robert Costa: "We are always looking for more help. Our main help has to be the RGA." But according to the Center for Public Integrity, the Republican Governors Association has spent $5.9 million on TV ads in Michigan, where Governor Rick Snyder is up for reelection, and just $801,000 on TV ads in Wisconsin.
Why would the RGA spend more on Rick Snyder than Scott Walker? A number of top Wisconsin Republicans have expressed the same concern in separate conversations with THE WEEKLY STANDARD: That RGA chairman Chris Christie might be tanking Walker, a potential rival for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. As Republican governors who took on public employee unions in blue states, Christie and Walker would be chasing after some of the same donors and voters in the 2016 race (if both men decide to run). Knocking Walker out of the running now (while giving extra help to Rick Snyder, a governor of an important early GOP primary state) could be in Christie's interest.
But a GOP source with knowledge of RGA spending threw cold water on this theory. The source claimed that total RGA spending--a "large majority" of which is "focused on TV ads" but also includes things like polling, research, and field operations--has actually been $6 million in Wisconsin and $10 million in Michigan as of Tuesday. But, the source said, the RGA has $4 to $5 million in TV ad time reserved in Wisconsin for the final two weeks of the election, and the RGA will end up spending more in Wisconsin than Michigan by the time the election is over.* (The Center for Public Integrity numbers certainly do appear to miss a lot: CPI doesn't show any RGA spending in Florida, but the source says the RGA has spent $17 million to date in the sunshine state).
If these numbers are true--and their accuracy will certainly be scrutinized after the election when all FEC reports have been published--then concerns that Christie is undercutting Walker would appear to be unfounded. The RGA spent $5 million on Walker in 2010 and $9 million in 2012 to help him fend of the recall effort. So RGA spending under Christie in 2014 may very well exceed previous RGA efforts for Walker.
4:38 PM, Oct 23, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
A Georgia man confronted Georgia Democratic Senate candidate Michelle Nunn over the rising cost his health care plan because of Obamacare:
"This is an issue," Nunn concedes.
"It's huge," says the man pointing to his bill. "It went from $683.64 to $1,294.58 in just a few more days."
A male aide then intervenes to ask a female aide to get the man's information.
"I think this is kind of thing we need to work to remedy," Nunn says.
"You've got to do something about it," the man says, pointing a finger at Nunn. "Because people that I'm taking care of, if they're losing their insurance, it's going to get harder and harder."
"I totally agree," says Nunn.
4:14 PM, Oct 23, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The New York Times has discovered something that many already knew. But they knew it from various defects of character – because they were racists or right-wingers or some other primitive life form. So what they knew wasn’t fact or truth but superstition or prejudice. The headline on the Times story reads:
In the West, a Growing List of Attacks Linked to Extremism
Up until yesterday’s attack in Canada these things were classified as “workplace violence,” or by some other euphemism.
Now, we learn that it is “extremism" that is behind the attacks. Progress of a sort.
Next question for the Times: What kind of extremism are we talking about here?
3:40 PM, Oct 23, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
First Lady Michelle Obama incorrectly referred to Democratic senator Mark Udall as a "fifth-generation Coloradan" while at a campaign stop Thursday. Udall, who is running for reelection, was born in Tucson, Arizona, and is the son of the former Arizona congressman and presidential candidate Morris Udall. Watch the video below:
Udall's Republican opponent Cory Gardner is actually a fifth-generation Coloradan.
This isn't the first misstep by the First Lady on the stump for Democratic candidates. Earlier this month, she called Iowa Democrat Bruce Braley "Bruce Bailey."
Hosted by Michael Graham.2:35 PM, Oct 23, 2014 • By TWS PODCAST
The WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with executive editor Fred Barnes on national security and the 2014 elections.
This podcast can be downloaded here. Subscribe to THE WEEKLY STANDARD's iTunes podcast feed here.
1:52 PM, Oct 23, 2014 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
Yesterday, the Washington Post had a lengthy report on how former CIA director Leon Panetta was sending out copies of his book nearly a month before it cleared the CIA's internal revue process to ensure that no sensitive national security information was being revealed. According to the Post, Panetta clashed with his former agency repeatedly throughout the process. And he refused to hold himself to the same standards of secrecy that he demanded while he was CIA director, having publicly scolded Navy SEAL Matt Bissonnette for his own book about the Bin Laden raid. The Post also notes that Panetta played fast and loose with state secrets at the CIA: "His public comments about the drone campaign — including his description of airstrikes on al-Qaeda as “the only game in town” — were so extensive that the American Civil Liberties Union cited them extensively in a lawsuit that argued the program could no longer be considered a government secret."
Of course, the idea that Panetta would spurn the CIA in order to make sure his $3 million book deal went off without a hitch should not be surprising to anyone who has followed Panetta's career. Decades ago, The New Republic reported Panetta was the likely the source who revealed Daniel Patrick Moynihan's authorship of the controversial report “The Black Family: Then and Now" to the press. Former Bush administration official and historian Tevi Troy recounted the incident in his book Intellectuals and the American Presidency:
“The Black Family: Then and Now" ... attributed the disproportionate poverty in the black community to rising illegitimacy. The liberal intelligentsia pilloried Moynihan for this conclusion, and he left the Department of Labor not long after his authorship of the report became public. ... The memo was leaked to the press, and on March 1, the New York Times ran an article headlined “‘Benign Neglect’ on Race Is Proposed by Moynihan.” The White House was swamped with criticism from civil-rights leaders and editorial pages, and Moynihan had to hold a press conference to defend himself.
Although memos leak all the time, and the leakers are rarely identified, The New Republic’s John Osborne reported in a March 1970 profile of Moynihan that Leon Panetta was a prime suspect in the leak.
There was certainly some reason for the suspicion. In February, Panetta had resigned from HEW because he opposed the Nixon administration’s approach to desegregation. Panetta later went to work for New York mayor John Lindsay, switched parties, and successfully ran for Congress as a Democrat in 1976. The leaker has never been definitively identified.
When Panetta was up for confirmation as CIA director, I suggested the Senate use the opportunity to ask Panetta to confirm whether he was the leaker, as being able to keep a secret would be an important qualification for the position.
"If Michelle Nunn wins...we can keep on doing some good work."12:37 PM, Oct 23, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Barack Obama called into an Atlanta radio station to urge Georgia voters to elect Michelle Nunn to the U.S. Senate so that the president can "keep on doing some good work."
"If Michelle Nunn wins, that means that Democrats keep control of the Senate, and that means that we can keep on doing some good work," said Obama on V-103, an urban contemporary radio station. Listen to the audio below:
Nunn is in a tight race for Georgia's open Senate seat against Republican David Perdue. The state leans Republican, and Nunn will need to motivate the Democratic party's black base to turn out if she hopes to win on Election Day, or at least hold Perdue to a runoff. But Nunn also needs to win over white swing voters in Georgia by downplaying her connection to Obama, who is overall unpopular in the state.
The state Democratic party is also reportedly distributing a mailer to encourage black voters to vote. The flier features a photograph of young children protesting the fatal shooting of a young black man by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, and entreats those reading to vote to "prevent another Ferguson."
11:39 AM, Oct 23, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
House Committee on Homeland Security chair, Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, released this statement on the attack yesterday in Ottawa, Canada:
“The attack in Ottawa is yet another reminder that homegrown terrorism is a real threat not only to our country but to our allies as well. Whether these individuals train in Syria or Iraq and then return home, or are inspired and recruited over the internet while in their basements, their danger to society is the same. The United States must wage a robust effort here at home to combat violent Islamist extremism by working with local communities to intervene when we see signs of it, fighting against online Islamist propaganda, and providing ways to stop individuals lured into the ‘jihadi cool’ subculture before they act. My prayers go out to the family of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, and to our friends in Canada who were affected by yesterday’s shooting.”
11:34 AM, Oct 23, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
After the latest terror attack in Israel, the State Department issued the following statement urging all sides -- which would include Israel, the victims here -- to remain calm:
The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms today’s terrorist attack in Jerusalem. We express our deepest condolences to the family of the baby, reportedly an American citizen, who was killed in this despicable attack, and extend our prayers for a full recovery to those injured. We urge all sides to maintain calm and avoid escalating tensions in the wake of this incident.
The Jerusalem Post reports that the terror attack took one life, a 3-month-old baby girl, who is an American citizen:
Three-month-old Chaya Zissel Braun, the baby girl killed today in Jerusalem during a vehicular terrorist attack, was an American citizen, a US official confirmed to The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday night.
The girl was thrown from her stroller as a car swerved into the Ammunition Hill light rail station, injuring seven others.
It's believed the terrorist has links to Hamas:
The suspected perpetrator has alleged ties to Hamas, Israeli officials say.
"This is a natural response to the crimes of the occupation and invasion of our land by the Jews," Hamas spokesman Hossam Badran said in response to the attack.
10:52 AM, Oct 23, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Headline over a long, detailed Kimberly Kindy and Sari Horwitz pice in the Washington Post:
Evidence supports officer’s account of shooting in Ferguson
Ms. Kindy and Ms. Horowitz write that the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri that led to several days of what we call, these days, “unrest”– and promises of more to come if “justice were not done – occurred pretty much as the police officer (and several fearful eyewitnesses) had described it. That:
… police officer Darren Wilson and Michael Brown fought for control of the officer’s gun, and Wilson fatally shot the unarmed teenager after he moved toward the officer as they faced off in the street, according to interviews, news accounts and the full report of the St. Louis County autopsy of Brown’s body.
So Rev. Al Sharpton and others will, of course, now call for prayers and calm.
A study finds gov't bureaucracy isn't good at listening to the public.9:10 AM, Oct 23, 2014 • By KEVIN R. KOSAR
The American public often rails about bureaucracy. It is not difficult to fathom why. Who amongst us has not fumed while standing in a long line at an understaffed post office? And how many of us have thrown up our hands in frustration at the complexity of income tax instructions and outsourced the work to an accountant?
The public tends to explain bureaucratic behaviors by attributing ill motives to the bureaucrats. Civil servants, they allege, are arrogant and lazy. Scholars, such as the late James Q. Wilson, have provided us with social scientific evidence of what many individual suspect: bureaucracies, especially government ones, tend to be slow to perform tasks, resist change, and frequently creep beyond their missions.
But, the blame should not be attributed to bad bureaucrats. Rather, research indicates that most of the problems spring from the very nature of government bureaucracy.
Agencies cannot run like businesses because they cannot do what private sector entities do: choose their lines of business and organize themselves accordingly. Instead, bureaucracies’ work is assigned through legislation, usually enacted over decades. The result is a progressive layering of policy duties, which often conflict with one another. And elected officials also tend to impose operational constraints on bureaucracies. For example, instead of allowing agencies to hire whomever they think is best for the job and pay them accordingly, elected officials force bureaucracies to follow byzantine hiring practices and dictate the permissible compensation packages. Thus it is that bureaucracies, as Wilson observed, tend “to be driven by the constraints” on them rather than “the tasks of the organization.”
And thanks to Adam Eckerd, a professor at Virginia Tech University, we know there is an additional reason that bureaucracies get the stink-eye from public: some of them are not good listeners. Eckerd looked at three federal agencies that recently embarked on significant public works. As required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, the agencies prepared environmental impact statements in consultation with the public. Eckerd analyzed the comments submitted by the public and the agencies’ responses.
The results of the study, published in the latest copy of Public Administration Review, are dispiriting. He found little evidence of “meaningful dialogue” between agencies and the public. The two sides talked past one another, especially on the subject of proposed projects’ risk to the environment. “[P]ublic managers tend to take a more aggregate and technical view that risk is something to manage, while citizens focus on risks specific to themselves, consider the fairness of the distribution of risk, and come from a viewpoint that risk is best avoided.”
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