Rachel Maddow follows up on comments by Pentagon spokesman John Kirby that ISIS lacks air defense capability, and reports that the Pentagon re-asserted that belief when queried by TRMS, suggesting U.S. bombing of those air defenses has been successful. watch
Rachel Maddow reports on disturbing polling from Washington state that shows a considerable portion of voters are likely to vote for both a gun background check ballot measure and a separate measure opposing background checks. watch
Just got my results. 3 consecutive days negative. Ebola free and feeling so blessed. I fought and won, with lots of help. Amazing feeling
* Safeguards: "Anyone flying to the United States from Ebola-affected countries in West Africa must enter the country through one of five airports screening for the disease, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh C. Johnson said Tuesday as the Obama administration stepped up precautions to stop the spread of the virus."
* Spain: "Conclusive tests show a Spanish nursing assistant infected with Ebola is cured of the virus, doctors said Tuesday, signaling a huge step forward in her 15-day battle for survival."
* North Korea: "A Ohio dad who was detained in North Korea in May after reportedly leaving a Bible at a club for sailors has been released and is on his way home, the White House announced on Tuesday. Jeffrey Fowle, 56, was one of three U.S. citizens being held by the reclusive state."
* ISIS: "The Islamic State has released a new video in which it brags that it recovered weapons and supplies that the U.S. military intended to deliver to Kurdish fighters, who are locked in a fight with the militants over control of the Syrian border town of Kobane."
* Ukraine: "The Ukrainian Army appears to have fired cluster munitions on several occasions into the heart of Donetsk, unleashing a weapon banned in much of the world into a rebel-held city with a peacetime population of more than one million, according to physical evidence and interviews with witnesses and victims."
* Quebec: "One of two members of the Canadian military who was run over in a parking lot — an episode that the government believes was an act of terrorism — has died, the police in Quebec said Tuesday."
* Pakistan: "Pakistan Taliban spokesman Shahidullah Shahid has been sacked after pledging allegiance to Islamic State (IS). The militants said he had been replaced but did not name his successor. A statement reiterated support for Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar. It emerged last week that Shahidullah Shahid and five other Pakistan Taliban (TTP) commanders had defected to IS which controls parts of Iraq and Syria."
* Afghanistan: "Afghanistan's new president, Ashraf Ghani, is a man in a hurry to break from his predecessor's governing style. Best not make him late. He drove the point home this month when he started a meeting without the prominent and widely respected interior minister, Umar Daudzai. Mr. Daudzai showed up a few minutes later, and was promptly barred from entry."
* Pennsylvania: "Two fresh sightings of alleged sniper Eric Frein has resulted in more closed public schools in northern Pennsylvania and a shift in a massive manhunt to near where Mr. Frein went to high school – and where he was a member of the high school rifle team."
We talked earlier about Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R), who was quite candid in recent comments about the politics of health care. In fairness to the governor, it's only fair to note the degree to which he's scrambled since.
To briefly recap, Kasich, who's already run one failed presidential campaign and is rumored to be interested in a 2016 race, told the AP that repealing the Affordable Care Act is "not gonna happen." The Ohio Republican added, "The opposition to it was really either political or ideological. I don't think that holds water against real flesh and blood, and real improvements in people's lives."
The ensuing chatter about his comments has left the governor scrambling, reaching out to news organizations to clarify.
Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich moved quickly to deny a report that quoted him saying repeal of the Affordable Care Act was "not gonna happen," saying that he had been talking instead solely about the health law's expansion of Medicaid, which he has opted to do in his state.
Mr. Kasich, a potential 2016 GOP presidential candidate, said his remarks had been misconstrued in a report by the Associated Press that quickly caught the attention of political observers when it appeared Monday afternoon.
As part of the pushback, Kasich told Politico, for example, "I have favored expanding Medicaid, but I don't really see expanding Medicaid as really connected to Obamacare."
This is a bad argument. To say that one opposes a law, except for one of the law's most important provisions, is inherently problematic. The simple truth is, Medicaid expansion wouldn't exist without the Affordable Care Act -- one is literally part of the other. To repeal "Obamacare" would mean the repeal of Medicaid expansion, too, which according to the Ohio governor, is making "real improvements in people's lives."
It's left Kasich in a bizarre position: he's fully committed to repealing the entirety of the successful health care reform initiative, except for the giant part of the law, which he happens to like.
Poor Chris Christie. The embattled Republican governor realizes there are millions of Americans struggling to get by, working for a minimum wage that hasn't budged in far too long, and he's tired -- not of so many working for so little, but rather, or hearing about these workers' plight.
In a speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce today, the New Jersey governor told the business lobby:
"I gotta tell you the truth: I'm tired of hearing about the minimum wage. I really am.
"I don't think there's a mother or father sitting around a kitchen table in America tonight who are saying, 'You know, honey, if our son or daughter could just make a higher minimum wage, my God, all of our dreams would be realized.'"
I see. Some leaders get tired of seeing people struggle. Other leaders get tired of hearing about those who are struggling, and just wish the complaints would go away. In Chris Christie's world, the purchasing power of $7.25 an hour may continue to drop, and millions of hard-working Americans are effectively working for poverty wages, but he just wishes they'd stop bothering him.
For context, it's probably worth noting that the governor of New Jersey makes $175,000 a year -- the fourth highest salary of any state chief executive in the nation.
Also note the part of his comments related to children: as if the minimum wage is primarily for young people.
Last year, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) claimed, to great fanfare in conservative media, to have real proof that the Affordable Care Act would create massive deficits and add trillions of dollars to the debt. This, of course, was the exact opposite conclusion of literally every other independent study of the law's fiscal impact, but Sessions said he was sure -- and that was good enough Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, National Review and Drudge.
They were all wrong. Sessions played a little game in which he only counted half the ledger -- the Alabama Republican noted the ACA's expenditures, but ignored the ACA's savings and receipts. It's comparable to the coach of the Miami Dolphins doing an analysis of the season, but only counting the points his team scored. "Good news, team! We we've won every game in a shutout!"
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said President Obama's healthcare law would increase the federal debt by $131 billion.
"Instead of insulting the intelligence of Tennesseans by saying this law is working, this administration should admit ObamaCare is a failure and start working with Republicans to repair the damage it has done -- putting in place policies that move us step by step toward more freedom, more choices, and lower costs," Alexander said Tuesday.
Alexander cited a new report from Senate Budget Committee ranking member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) that stated the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare, would increase the federal deficit by approximately $131 billion by 2024.
Alexander, ostensibly one of the Senate Republicans who at least shows an interest in the details of public policy, was apparently in high dudgeon. He not only accused those pointing to reality of "insulting the intelligence of Tennesseans" -- an unfortunate choice of words given how very wrong he was -- but Alexander added that Democratic promises are at odds with reality.
"Today's Budget committee report says that ObamaCare is driving up the debt our children and grandchildren will owe by $131 billion," Alexander added.
It'd be a good point, if only Alexander didn't have his facts completely wrong.
Today's installment of campaign-related news items that won't necessarily generate a post of their own, but may be of interest to political observers:
* With two weeks remaining until Election Day, Republican officials in Wisconsin have decided to give up trying to reinstate their voter-ID law rejected by the courts.
* In Colorado, a new PPP poll shows Rep. Cory Gardner (R) leading Sen. Mark Udall (D) by three, 46% to 43%. The same poll shows incumbent John Hickenlooper (D) with the narrowest of leads over former Rep. Bob Beauprez (R), 45% to 44%.
* In Kentucky's U.S. Senate race, the new Bluegrass Poll, conducted by SurveyUSA¸ shows Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) with a very narrow advantage over Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, 44% to 43%. A few weeks ago, Grimes led in this same poll by two points.
* In North Carolina's U.S. Senate race, PPP shows incumbent Sen. Kay Hagan (D) clinging to a modest lead over state House Speaker Thom Tillis (R), 46% to 43%.
* In Kansas, the latest Monmouth University Poll shows a tied-up U.S. Senate race, with Sen. Pat Roberts (R) and Greg Orman (I) each getting 46% support. In the gubernatorial race, the same poll shows Paul Davis (D) with a five-point lead over incumbent Gov. Sam Brownback (R), 50% to 45%.
* In Florida's gubernatorial race, the new St. Pete Polls survey, conducted after last week's bizarre debate, shows former Gov. Charlie Crist (D) leading incumbent Gov. Rick Scott (R), with a two-point lead, 45% to 43%. The previous data from the same pollster showed Scott leading by one.
It's been a difficult month for the finance world, with global events and nervous investors creating some wild rides for the major indexes here and around the world. So when Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen delivered remarks on Friday, many wondered what she might have to say about the recent tumult.
Ms. Yellen did not mention recent market turmoil or monetary policy during her 30-minute speech. Instead, she painted a bleak picture of the increasingly unequal distribution of wealth and income, warning that Americans already have relatively little chance to advance economically, and that the problem may be worsening.
"I think it is appropriate to ask whether this trend is compatible with values rooted in our nation's history, among them the high value Americans have traditionally placed on equality of opportunity," she said in her speech, which opened a conference on inequality at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
Nick Perna, an economist who heads Perna Associates, a consulting firm in Connecticut, told the New York Times that Yellen is actually "the first Fed chair that has really gone out of her way to emphasize" the Fed's mandate to encourage economic opportunity.
Neil Irwin added, "If there was any doubt that Janet Yellen would be a different type of Federal Reserve chair, her speech Friday in Boston removed it."
It was just last month when the Republican state House Speaker in South Carolina was indicted on multiple criminal counts, including "two counts of misconduct in office, six counts of using campaign funds for personal use, and one count of false reporting candidate campaign disclosures." This month, it happened again, this time in Alabama.
Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard was arrested Monday on nearly two dozen felony ethics charges. The prominent Republican turned himself in to Montgomery, Alabama, authorities after being indicted on 23 felony counts, including the misuse of his public office for personal gain.
Hubbard, whose book "Storming the Statehouse" details the 2010 Republican takeover of the state's legislature, which had been led by Democrats for 136 years, was indicted as part of an ongoing investigation in Alabama.
Eleven of the charges against the politician allege that he solicited or received items of value "from a lobbyist or principal." Hubbard was also charged with using his office as Alabama Republican Party chairman for personal gain, voting for legislation despite a conflict of interest, and collecting a fee in exchange for his lobbying services.
If convicted, the GOP lawmaker faces up to 20 years behind bars.
Hubbard issued a statement, which dismissed the allegations as politically motivated. "Friends, if there was any doubt that this was a political witch hunt, I think it is pretty clear right now that is exactly what it is," Hubbard said. "This has been going on for two years, dragging on and on, and here they come two weeks before an election and make these allegations. The fact is that we've done some great things in this state and some powerful people don't like it."