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Ted Cruz says Ebola czar lacks medical expertise, but Cruz himself contradicts medical experts

Let me see if I have this straight: Sen. Ted Cruz, the Texas Republican,  argues that President Obama’s Ebola Czar Ron Clain is not qualified for the job because he’s not a medical expert. Cruz also faults Obama for not imposing a travel ban on flights to and from West Africa. But Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top man at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says the travel ban proposed by Cruz would be a big mistake and would only make it more difficult to track potential carriers of the Ebola virus. In other words,...

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On matters of sex and marriage, Catholics are more liberal than the Vatican and everyone else

The conservative wing of the Roman Catholic hierarchy made a big fuss last week about the moderate tone of a preliminary report on a closely-watched synod on family issues. The report was seen by critics as too squishy on matters of homosexuality, divorce and premarital cohabitation. But this backlash from orthodox prelates seems to fly in the face of prevailing attitudes among rank-and-file Catholics, as we see HERE: In the U.S, the General Social Survey, which is conducted by the research organization NORC at the University of Chicago, has...

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Here’s good news and bad news about the frequency of tornadoes these days

Those of us here in the America’s Heartland have always found ourselves at greater risk from tornadoes than are folks who live in certain other regions of the country. It behooves us, then, to pay attention to any changes in the patterns of tornado occurrences. On that score, HERE‘s some good news and  bad news: Something weird is going on with the tornadoes. It’s not that the U.S. is getting hit with any more of them than usual — our average has held steady at about 500. It’s just that when they do come, they’re tending to arrive...

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Wisconsin Tea Partier Ron Johnson doubles-down, as it were, on ISIS and Ebola

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, the Wisconsin Republican, waxes grossly hypocritical in his scare-mongering warning that ISIS terrorists might use the Ebola virus as a weapon against America. Johnson says, for example, that such a threat is something “you really don’t even want to think about, you don’t even really want to talk about.” But then he proceeds to think and talk about it and claims that it’s “a real and present danger.” FBI Director James Comey says, however, that there’s no evidence that...

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Chance that Dems will win Senate equal to your chance of rolling 9, 10, 11 or 12 with two dice

As I’ve evidenced here on previous occasions, the one exception to my record as a poor student of mathematics is my fascination with laws of probability. That’s why I’m a big fan of Nate Silver and Sam Wang, the celebrated political numbers-crunchers. I pride myself, for example, in understanding that if Silver or Wang see a 60 percent likelihood that Candidate A will defeat Candidate B in the coming election, that doesn’t mean that Candidate A has a 20-point lead in the polls. On the contrary, a 20-point lead in the...

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Yipes! Right-wingers approvingly quoting left-wing union bosses!

Charles Dudley Warner, a 19th century essayist, once wittily observed that politics makes strange bedfellows. That truism comes to mind with the sudden outbreak of praise among right-wingers for sharp criticisms from Deborah Burger and RoseAnn DeMoro, top officials of National Nurses United, of how Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas has dealt with the Ebola situation. Steve M. at No More Mister Nice Blog says THIS: I’m amused… to see this union and its officers being quoted favorably by outraged conservatives at Right...

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Many Americans who fear Ebola ignore other perils that more likely will kill them

Americans generally are a pretty peculiar bunch. They often work themselves into a fearful lather over stuff that isn’t likely to adversely affect them in the least but at the same time blithely pay little attention to situations that annually kill tens of thousands of them. Frank Bruni OFFERS some advice in this regard: Have you had your flu shot? Are you planning on one? During the 2013-2014 flu season…only 46 percent of Americans received vaccinations against influenza, even though it kills about 3,000 people in this country in...

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This guy says ISIS (or ISIL, if you will) is losing the war

While America’s Obama-haters can scarcely conceal their glee at any sign that the war against the so-called Islamic State is not going well — I mean people like you, John McCain — the truth of the matter might well be that those signs are simply wrong. HERE‘s what Michael Knights is reporting: Many in the world media seem to be concluding, with alarm, that the group known as the Islamic State of Iraq in the Levant is at the gates of Baghdad. ISIL has made dramatic gains in Anbar province, Iraq’s perennially troubled...

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Poll indicates that media coverage of Ebola tends to confuse people

On several occasions in recent weeks, I’ve posted evidence here that the American media generally are doing a poor job of covering the Ebola situation. The biggest problem seems to be that television coverage is too often slanted toward scare-mongering in a bid for viewership ratings. And now there’s THIS: A new poll last week revealed disturbing trends about the increasingly dire media coverage of the Ebola story in the United States. Measuring the rising anxiety among news consumers, a Rutgers-Eagleton poll of New Jersey...

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Federal judge with Rockford ties regrets ever supporting voter IDs

Federal Appeals Court Judge Richard Posner (who has ruled on several Rockford cases, by the way) is not the conservative ideologue he was when Ronald Reagan appointed him to the bench in 1981. Five years ago, for example, Posner opined that “the policies of the new conservatism are powered largely by emotion and religion and have for the most part weak intellectual groundings.” Posner’s ideological  evolution has continued apace and reached a milestone of sorts when he changed his mind on the issue of voting rights, as we see HERE:...

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Poll: Tea Partiers and the less-educated are more fearful of Ebola than other Americans

For some reason, THIS doesn’t really surprise me: According to a new national poll, the more educated you are, the less you fear an Ebola outbreak in a major U.S. city, while the less educated, the greater the fear. Well that’s what the latest Reason-Rupe national poll shows anyway, along with the fact that Tea Partiers fear the coming Ebola apocalypse more than Democrats and Republicans. Interesting. So in case you were wondering why your neighborhood preppers have stopped shooting at you when you mistakenly take a run on top of their...

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It’s time that we call out global-warming deniers as threats to national security

One of the implications of a report issued today by top U.S. military officials is that Americans who deny the reality of global warming in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence have no moral right to call themselves patriotic. There’ just no logical way you can equate THIS with propaganda from liberal extremists, as so many right-wingers do: The Pentagon released a report Monday asserting decisively that climate change poses an immediate threat to national security, with increased risks from terrorism, infectious disease, global...

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