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E.g., 10/24/2014
E.g., 10/24/2014

A Bay State blowout?

10/24/14 10:06AM

Massachusetts is home to one of the nation's most competitive gubernatorial races, though the latest Boston Globe poll, which is getting all kinds of attention, suggests it may not be that competitive after all.
Republican Charlie Baker has opened up a 9-point lead over Democrat Martha Coakley, 45 percent to 36 percent, according to a new Globe poll that depicts a far more comfortable advantage than either candidate for governor has enjoyed in months. [...]
 
"There is just positive movement in every single metric we can ask around Baker," said pollster John Della Volpe, chief executive of SocialSphere Inc., which conducts the weekly poll for the Globe. "The more voters have gotten to know him, the stronger he performs."
To be sure, a nine-point lead this close to Election Day suggests the Democratic gubernatorial candidate is in real trouble.
 
But I've been watching the Boston Globe's polling, and there's something about the results that gives me pause. I put together this chart, showing the results from just this pollster since June:
Chris Christie

Christie wants GOP control of voting rules, election officials

10/24/14 09:25AM

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) stunned voting-rights advocates this week, arguing that Republican governors should control "voting mechanisms" in order to help the party win the 2016 presidential election.
 
In remarks to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the New Jersey governor said, "Would you rather have Rick Scott in Florida overseeing the voting mechanism, or Charlie Crist? Would you rather have Scott Walker in Wisconsin overseeing the voting mechanism, or would you rather have Mary Burke? Who would you rather have in Ohio, John Kasich or Ed FitzGerald?"
 
Political scientist Norm Ornstein paraphrased Christie's comments this way: "How can we cheat on vote counts if we don't control the governorships?"
 
The good news is, the Garden State governor decided to clarify his remarks yesterday. The bad news is, Christie made things worse.
"Everybody read much too much into that," he said. "You know who gets to appoint people, who gets to decide in part what the rules are, I'd much rather have Republican governors counting those votes when we run in 2016 as Republicans than I would have Democrats. There was no specific reference to any laws."
 
Christie noted that he was specifically talking about electing Republican governors and that it is state legislatures that are passing voter identification requirements.
According to another local account, the governor added, "What I was talking about was, who's going to be in charge of the state when the votes are being counted."
 
As Rachel noted yesterday, "That's the kind of 'clarification' that makes things worse, not better."
 
Indeed, taking the two sets of Christie comments together, it's difficult to think of a charitable interpretation.
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) speaks at the 2014 National Urban League Conference July 25, 2014  in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Rand Paul reflects on people 'vomiting all over you'

10/24/14 08:42AM

When it comes to improving the public's understanding of the Ebola threat, Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) isn't helping. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is coming up short in even more dramatic fashion.
 
The trouble started in earnest three weeks ago, when the Republican senator and likely presidential candidate started making appearances on right-wing radio programs, questioning Ebola assessments from the experts, blaming "political correctness," and raising threats that seemed plainly at odds with the facts. Last week, Paul went further, asserting without proof that public officials are deliberately misleading Americans about the virus.
 
In the face of criticism, the Kentucky lawmaker is undeterred. Paul has since said scientists are wrong about the disease being transmitted through contact with bodily fluids, and yesterday, Rosie Gray reported on the senator's latest efforts to scare the bejesus out of the public.
That Ebola virus can only be transferred through bodily fluids, Paul said, is "the same description that was given for AIDS. But no health workers in this country have gotten AIDS from handling linens."
 
"They just changed the protocols a day ago," Paul said, seemingly referring to the CDC's tightening of Ebola protocols this week. "They've admitted they were wrong. Obviously they're flying by the seat of their pants."
 
"If this was a plane full of people who were symptomatic, you'd be at grave risk of getting Ebola," Paul said. "If a plane takes 12 hours, how do you know if people will become symptomatic or not?" he said. There would be grave risk, he said, if "they're vomiting all over you or they're coughing all over you."
There's been a lot of talk in recent weeks about politicians making remarks that may be considered "disqualifying." Some, for example, have said dodging questions about votes in the 2012 presidential election is a deal-breaker for candidates seeking public support.
 
But at a certain point, it's not unreasonable to wonder whether Rand Paul's very public, very aggressive campaign to convince Americans to ignore public-health experts is itself a disqualifying development for a man who apparently wants to help lead the free world.
Peter King

Stay calm, carry on, and don't listen to Peter King

10/24/14 08:00AM

With a confirmed case of Ebola in New York City, the relevant officials and agencies, who have prepared extensively for these circumstances, are doing exactly what they're supposed to be doing. Some anxiety is understandable, but the public can have confidence in the public-health system.
 
And while they're at it, Americans should probably ignore a certain Republican congressman from NYC.
Republican Rep. Peter King thinks the doctors are wrong on Ebola, suggesting the deadly virus might have mutated and gone airborne in an interview with Long Island News Radio last week.
 
"You know my attitude was it's important not to create a panic and it's important not to overreact and the doctors were absolutely certain that this cannot be transmitted and it was not airborne and yet we find out the people who have contracted it were wearing all protective gear," said King.
The Republican lawmaker, who made the comments before learning about the new diagnosis, added, "I think the doctors have been wrong. I don't think it was any conspiracy, I think they have been wrong.... It's time for the doctor's to realize that they were wrong and figure out why they were wrong. Maybe this is a mutated form of the virus."
 
To understate matters, King isn't helping. First, it's true that some nurses in Dallas became infected while caring for a patient, but the CDC has concluded that a breach in protocol with the protective gear was responsible. This does not mean Ebola is "airborne."
 
Second, while it's possible for medical professionals to be wrong, there's no evidence whatsoever -- from King or anyone else -- that the doctors have been wrong about Ebola.
 
The congressman, in other words, is just throwing around reckless opinions, based on nothing but fear, and making bogus assertions that may scare people for no reason. It's the exact opposite of what responsible public figures, communicating with the public, should be doing right now. Peter King has no background in science or medicine, and there's simply no reason for him to tell Americans that doctors "were wrong" about Ebola when the evidence suggests the exact opposite is true.

Ebola on the Hill and other headlines

10/24/14 07:59AM

House Oversight Committee holds its Ebola hearing today. (NY Times)

Tracing Ebola patient's possible contacts creates host of challenges for NYC. (NY Times)

Scott Brown, Jeanne Shaheen spar over Ebola, ISIS in heated debate. (Huffington Post)

Where did the Ottawa Parliament shooter get his gun? (CBC)

Missouri police preparing for grand jury decision on the shooting of Michael Brown. (AP)

The Duggars campaign for Pat Roberts in Kansas. (Washington Post)

Facing lawsuit, California oil train terminal to shut down. (McClatchy)

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CDC already in place for NYC Ebola diagnosis

CDC already in place for NYC Ebola diagnosis

10/23/14 11:40PM

Chris Jansing, senior White House correspondent for NBC News, talks with Rachel Maddow about the scope and resources of the federal government's role within New York City's Ebola response infrastructure on Ebola czar Ron Klain's second day on the job. watch

Dallas to NYC: 'You're going to be OK'

Dallas official to NYC: 'You're going to be OK'

10/23/14 11:30PM

Clay Jenkins, Dallas County Judge, talks with Rachel Maddow about New York's first case of Ebola and offers advice to health responders as well as New Yorkers who may be concerned about the risks of further transmission in the city. watch

Extensive preparation seen in Ebola response

Extensive preparation seen in Ebola response

10/23/14 11:00PM

Dr. Irwin Redlener of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness, talks with Rachel Maddow from in front of Bellevue Hospital about why Bellevue is among hospitals specially designated for Ebola cases and describes some of the protocols being followed. watch

Ebola risks specific to body fluids

Ebola risks specific to body fluids

10/23/14 09:16PM

Dr. Amesh Adalja of the Infectious Disease Society, talks with Rachel Maddow about the nature of Ebola, how it presents and how it spreads and how New York City's experience with infectious diseases has prepared it to deal with this new patient. watch

NYC Ebola case met with prepared response

NYC Ebola case met with prepared response

10/23/14 09:07PM

Dr. Stephen Morse, professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, talks with Rachel Maddow about the extent to which New York City is prepared to handle an Ebola case and what protocols are being followed. watch

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