- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A serious case of Ebola anxiety is upon us: analysts spout statistics, the press is swollen with alarming coverage, pollsters are diagnosing public distress and Comedy Central host Jon Stewart saw fit to dump hand sanitizer all over his script on a recent broadcast. The potentially dire situation took on political dimensions after President Obama proclaimed it was “unlikely” the disease would emerge in the U.S. Yes, well. Uh-huh. Interesting to note that those with both medical and policy acumen foresaw the potential Ebola impact early. Neurosurgeon Ben Carson was urging U.S. health officials to be vigilant and aggressive about the threat almost two months ago when a U.S. doctor returned stateside for Ebola treatment in August.

“Ebola is a terrifying disease. I am a little concerned that we’re bringing it back here. It can survive outside the host, for several days at least. Why do we even risk such things when we can send experts? We can send a plane. We can create a hospital somewhere. We can export that preparedness,” Mr. Carson told NewsMax on Aug. 3, in a serious bedside manner indeed.

“Why would we bring that into our country, why would we expose ourselves? I certainly would have treated it where it is. All it requires is some infractions in procedures, and all of sudden, it’s spread,” he advised.

Lawmakers who are also physicians are slowly weighing in; there are 17 doctors currently serving in the U.S. House, three in the Senate. Sen. Rand Paul is among the first to cut to the chase about dealing with Ebola.

“I really think it is being dominated by political correctness. And I think because of political correctness, we’re not really making sound, rational, scientific decisions on this,” the Kentucky Republican - an ophthalmologist - told radio host Laura Ingraham. “It’s ridiculous for them to be underplaying this threat and saying no big deal. I’ve been saying this for about a month now. It’s a mistake. A big mistake to underestimate the potential for problems worldwide.”


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He is more canny and deft than he was during the 2012 presidential race. Texas Gov. Rick Perry is slowly building his bank of quotable reactions to issues of visceral concern to voters: the economy, job creation, security threats, immigration — and now outbreak. The first case of Ebola on U.S. soil is in his state, complete with alarming details.

“Over the past 24 hours, I’ve been in close communication with the director of the CDC, Dr. Tom Frieden, as well as all appropriate Texas state health officials, who are working closely with their local and federal partners to manage this very serious case,” Mr. Perry said Wednesday. “There are few places in the world better equipped to meet the challenges posed by this case. Texas is one of only 13 states certified by the CDC to conduct diagnostic Ebola testing and we have health care institutions and professionals who are second to none.”

The governor and potential White House hopeful rounds out his case with this: “Professionals on every level of the chain of command know what to do to minimize any potential risk to the people of Texas. As he works toward a full recovery our thoughts and prayers are with the patient and his family.”


Wilford Brimley Oatmeal Folksiness”

— A new political trait identified by Comedy Central host John Stewart, found among those candidates who like to reinforce their grass-roots, down home, tractor-riding, pick-up driving, person-of-the-people qualifications. Rivals who compete to show such traits are engaged in a “Folksiness-Off,” Mr. Stewart advises.


After a speech and a fundraiser in Chicago on Thursday afternoon, President Obama will appear at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute gala in the nation’s capital at dusk, set to assure Latinos that he is not the “Deporter in Chief”, as some activist groups have called him. Mr. Obama will, however, advise his audience that they must wait until the midterm elections are over for some changes in deportation policies. But it may be all for naught. Activists and organizers from three substantial groups will greet the president with a picket line outside the event.

“We want action before, not after the election. There is no excuse for the President to delay reforming a deportation policy that he himself described as inhumane, and there is certainly no excuse for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to accept a new protracted timeline,” says Salvador G. Sarmiento, a spokesman for the California-based of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network.

“It appears the President is still relying on terrible political and legal advice when it comes to his deportation policy, and it is up to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to tell him to take action immediately. Our message is this: If the President walks into a room full of Latino leaders, he will be met with protest, not acquiescence,” Mr. Sarmiento observes.


It’s out of the headlines, but the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget offers this reminder to Americas:

“$12,752,783,777,181.51 That is the debt held by the public. As of September 29, the federal government has racked up over $12.7 trillion in debt, including about $800 billion in FY 2014 alone. As a share of GDP, debt has increased from 72 percent to nearly 74.5 percent this year. This total is higher than debt has been at any point other than during World War II and the immediate aftermath,” the frugal but thorough bean-counters say.

“There won’t be much to miss about fiscal year 2014. Who longs for government shutdowns, debt ceiling fights, appropriations stasis and more debt? We are better off looking forward to fiscal year 2015 and resolve to be more responsible and enact policies that will rein in our long-term debt,” says Maya MacGuineas, president of the group, where the membership includes everyone from Alan Simpson and Leon Panetta.


A moment of note: Jack Schlossberg, grandson of President John F. Kennedy, has personally present the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award to former President George H. W. Bush at his home in Maine on Wednesday, citing the “political courage” Mr. Bush demonstrated when he agreed to a 1990 budget compromise that reversed his 1988 campaign pledge not to raise taxes and put his re-election prospects at risk.

“In his first term in office, President George H. W. Bush risked his reputation and ultimately his political career by forging an important compromise on the budget in 1990 that moved our country forward, and should not be forgotten,” Mr. Schlossberg says.


• 71 percent of Americans say the makeup of the Supreme Court should represent the nation’s diverse socioeconomic backgrounds; 64 percent of Republicans, 68 percent of independents and 82 percent of Democrats agree.

• 70 percent say the makeup of the Supreme Court should represent the nation’s race and gender makeup; 61 percent of Republicans, 67 percent of independents and 82 percent of Democrats agree.

• 70 percent say Supreme Court justices should not have lifetime appointments; 71 percent of Republicans, 72 percent of independents and 70 percent of Democrats agree.

• 68 percent of Americans say the Supreme Court is “crucial” to the success of the U.S.; 72 percent of Republicans, 70 percent of independents and 69 percent of Democrats agree.

• 48 percent say justice should make decisions strictly based on the law and Constitution rather than their personal opinions; 64 percent of Republicans, 48 percent of independents and 38 percent of Democrats agree.

• 48 percent say it would be better is the justices were elected to office; 50 percent of Republicans, 44 percent of independents and 51 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Harris Poll of 2,537 U.S. adults conducted Aug. 13-18 and released Wednesday.

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