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Conn Carroll - Townhall Magazine's November Issue Preview: Uber Republicans
Posted: 10/16/2014 9:50:00 AM EST

Townhall Magazine's November issue is hitting subscriber mailboxes now! If you want to get the latest original content from Townhall's conservative talent weeks before it goes online, subscribe here now!

Below is an excerpt from Kevin Glass's November cover story, "Uber Republicans."

One of the hottest issues for the national Republican Party in the fall of a midterm election year is... taxi regulation?

It sounds odd, but it’s true. The Republican National Committee has been trying to make a national issue out of Uber, the pseudo-taxi service smartphone app that has experienced explosive growth and many local regulatory fights.

It hasn’t always been about Uber, specifically, but rather the larger issue of disruptive upstart companies undermining the legitimacy of the existing regulatory state. A growing number of Republicans believe this battle can be used to make serious inroads with a younger demographic, which currently skews heavily Democratic.

The Peer-To-Peer Economy
The phrase that pays with venture capitalists and Silicon Valley investors nowadays is “the peer-to-peer economy.” Much has been written about this emerging business model but it can be boiled down to this: Entrepreneurs are using the Internet to connect people directly to each other to exchange goods and services. Think about how eBay lets users sell directly to each other, or how StubHub connects live event fans to re-sell tickets.

What the peer-to-peer economy does, among other things, is circumvent the government. Re-sold products don’t have to pass safety inspections. Craigslist transactions often pass under the nose of the IRS. But it’s not clear that any of these services are more unsafe than, say, pawnshops or garage sales. Peer-to- peer apps just make these things easier and more available on a wider scale. The Internet makes a yard sale available to the entire country.

Nearly every industry has a “sharing” aspect to it now. EatWith is an app for non-professional chefs to welcome guests into their home. 1000 Tools allows those with home projects to borrow tools from each other rather than renting or buying from a big-box store. TaskRabbit can help you find amateur contractors and other home services. Airbnb lets hosts rent out rooms or their entire homes on a short-term basis to visitors. But the granddaddy of them all—the biggest company and the biggest lightning rod in the industry—is Uber.

Uber is a private car service that competes with traditional taxicabs but with the convenience of a smartphone. You sign up for an account, enter credit card information, and the service will use your phone’s location to find a nearby car. Often, in less than ten minutes, a car will be at your door.

There are a few different levels of service with Uber. The Black Car service is similar to a private limo service—high- end vehicles, privacy, trained drivers. But Uber’s political opponents object most to its UberX service—something closer to ridesharing in which anyone could use their own car to become an Uber driver. ...

You can read the rest of "Uber Republicans" in Townhall Magazine's November issue.   
Katie Pavlich - In The Hot Seat: CDC Director to Testify on Capitol Hill About Botched Ebola Response
Posted: 10/16/2014 8:55:00 AM EST

CDC Director Tom Frieden is under fire over the agency's botched handling of Ebola in the United States after a series of major missteps, including officials giving the green light to a nurse exposed to the disease to fly on a commercial airplane with a fever.

Today Frieden will field tough questions from lawmakers when he testifies in front of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

“The Ebola outbreak is a global public health issue that demands an all-hands-on-deck response. We cannot afford to look back and say we could have done more. The United States has a first-class health care system and we will do everything necessary to treat the sick, contain the threat, and protect the public health," Chairman Fred Upton said in a statement. "As the Ebola outbreak becomes a growing public health concern here in the US, the Energy and Commerce Committee is reviewing all aspects of the federal response. From the decisions of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to airline passenger screening procedures by Customs and Border Patrol, our goal is to ensure every step necessary is being taken to contain and prevent the spread of this disease and protect public health ” said Murphy. “We look forward to hearing directly from CDC Director Frieden about current efforts and whether those are sufficient to stop the spread of this deadly disease and ensure health and safety of all Americans.”

U.S. Food and Drug Administration Assistant Commissioner Dr. Luciana Borio, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority at the Department of Health and Human Services Dr. Robin Robinson, Homeland Security Acting Assistant Commissioner Mr. John P. Wagner and Chief Clinical Officer and Senior Vice President of Texas Health Resources Dr. Daniel Varga will also testify. 

The hearing starts at 12 p.m. ET. You can watch live here.


Katie Pavlich - Incredible: CDC Told Second Nurse Exposed to Ebola to Fly With a Fever
Posted: 10/16/2014 8:30:00 AM EST

Yesterday we learned a second Texas nurse named Amber Vinson contracted Ebola after treating patient Thomas Eric Duncan before his death at a Dallas hospital. We also learned that Vinson got an airplane from Dallas to Cleveland and back knowing she had been exposed to Ebola and also knowing her co-worker was in the hospital fighting the deadly and highly contagious disease. She also had a fever. 

But now, we're learning the incompetence and negligence surrounding the situation is even worse. Vinson told the CDC about her fever, asked them if it was okay for her to fly and CDC officials told her yes. Remember, according to the CDC Ebola is contagious when a person is showing symptoms of the disease. A fever is one of those symptoms. More from CBS:

In the case of Amber Vinson, the Dallas nurse who flew commercially as she was becoming ill with Ebola, one health official said "somebody dropped the ball."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that Vinson called the agency several times before flying, saying that she had a fever with a temperature of 99.5 degrees. But because her fever wasn't 100.4 degrees or higher, she didn't officially fall into the group of "high risk" and was allowed to fly.

Officials in the U.S. have been trying to calm fears over the Ebola crisis, but time and again events have overtaken their assurances.

Unreal.

Yesterday the CDC asked passengers who were on the same Frontier Airlines flight as Vinson to call 1-800-CDC-INFO.

Sarah Jean Seman - Bloomberg Pours Money Into Nunn Super PAC
Posted: 10/15/2014 9:13:00 PM EST

Gun control advocate and former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg may now be the largest single benefactor to Georgia Senate hopeful Michelle Nunn (D). 

Bloomberg contributed $350,000 to Nunn's Super PAC, according to a Federal Election Inquiry

 

Georgia passed a sweeping gun bill this year that allowed concealed carry in bars, places of worship, and even parts of the airport. While Nunn claimed that her own mom carries a 20-gauge, the National Rifle Association launched an ad in September connecting her with Bloomberg's anti-gun ideals.

Prior to the chunk of change Bloomberg handed to the super PAC, Bloomberg had given the maximum contribution of $5,200 to Nunn.

Nunn's spokesman Nathan Chuck told the Wall Street Journal that the ad was merely an attempt to distract from Nunn's Republican challenger David Pedue's record:

“The truth is Michelle believes in the Second Amendment and joins Republicans like Senators Pat Toomey and John McCain in support of bipartisan background check legislation to keep guns out of the hands of terrorists and criminals.”

If Nunn is such an avid supporter of the Second Amendment, it is curious that a gun control activist such as Bloomberg would back her. 

Kevin Glass - Charlie Crist Violates Debate Rules, Forces Debate Delay
Posted: 10/15/2014 8:47:00 PM EST
In violation of debate rules agreed to by both political campaigns, the ideologically-fluid Charlie Crist had his podium modified with a foreign object in order to keep him more comfortable at the beginning of the Florida gubernatorial debate, causing a delay until both sides could come to a resolution.

The Scott campaign eventually acquiesced to Crist's "request" that the debate rules be changed in order for Crist's comfort. The Crist campaign, for their part, maintains that they always requested a modification to the rules - but it's a modification clearly unseen and not agreed to by the Scott campaign.

Leah Barkoukis - Black Voters in Ferguson Turn Against the Democratic Party
Posted: 10/15/2014 8:05:00 PM EST

It’s been two months since Michael Brown was shot by police officer Darren Wilson, and while protests continue, some in the African American community are now channeling their anger into political action—and not for the usual party.

“Just because they’ve got the D next to their name, that don’t mean nothing,” Darren Seals told the Washington Post. “The world is watching us right now. It’s time to send a message of our power.”

Many African Americans in Ferguson and across St. Louis County, angered over their leaders’ response to the fatal shooting, say they will be taking their outrage to the ballot box and voting against a Democratic Party that has long been their automatic choice.

They are focusing on the St. Louis county executive’s race, which typically centers on matters such as the budget and sanitation but this year has become caught up in the unrest.

Earlier this month, a coalition of some 20 African American Democratic leaders called a news conference to endorse the GOP candidate, state Rep. Rick Stream. Armed with voter registration forms, activists like Seals have been roaming black neighborhoods urging people to vote for anyone but the Democrat.

The plan is not only to beat back a local candidate they view as particularly unfriendly to black residents, but also to present a show of force to Democratic leaders all the way up to Sen. Claire McCaskill and Gov. Jay Nixon. By switching their allegiance in this election, these African Americans hope to demonstrate that their votes should not be taken for granted.

“This is about the total disrespect white Democrats have demonstrated against the black community,” Ted Hoskins, mayor of nearby Berkeley, told the Post. “This time, we are going to show them.”

But putting a Republican in the St. Louis county executive’s position will be an uphill battle, to be sure. After all, a member of the GOP has not held the position in 25 years.

Daniel Doherty - Obama: I Hugged and Kissed Emory Hospital Nurses and I Don't Have Ebola ...
Posted: 10/15/2014 6:30:00 PM EST

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest answered questions today at the White House about why the president cancelled two out-of-state fundraising visits in order to meet with "cabinet agencies” about the growing Ebola threat. The president rarely if ever cancels fundraisers so the maneuver certainly raised some eyebrows in Washington.

“The president was not able to host that meeting and travel at the same time,” his spokesman said. “If the president determines it’s time to return to the White House to fulfil his responsibilities as president and commander in chief…he will alter his schedule accordingly.”

His spokesman, however, also sought to assuage concerns that a mass Ebola outbreak is imminent in the United States. He reminded the public that the chances of that happening are exceedingly slim.

“The way that Ebola is transmitted is very clear,” he said. “And is something that is not likely to happen in the United States. Ebola is not like the flu….the only way that a patient can get Ebola [is through bodily fluids].”

A few hours later the president himself addressed the nation after meeting with his cabinet.

"We want to express concern for the two health workers who have been affected," he said. "The are selfless, they work hard, and they are often underpaid. So our thoughts and prayers are with them."

He emphsized the purpose of the meeting was to ensure "something like this isn't repeated." He then announced a new protocol he was instituting.

"As soon as someone is diagnosed with Ebola, we want a rapid response team -- essentially a SWAT team -- to be on the ground hopefully within 24 hours," he said. "If we do these protocols properly and we follow these steps and get the information out there, the likelihood of widespread Ebola [outbreak] in this country [is] very, very low."

"I shook hands with, hugged, and kissed not the doctors but a couple of the nurses at Emory," he added, referring to a hospital famous for treating Ebola patients in Atlanta, Georgia. "I felt perfectly safe."
Christine Rousselle - Supreme Blocks Part of Texas Pro-Life Law
Posted: 10/15/2014 5:30:00 PM EST

On Tuesday night, the Supreme Court blocked part of H.B. 2, the pro-life law passed last summer in Texas, from going into effect during the legal proceedings regarding the bill's legality. The law made abortion after 20 weeks illegal, required clinics to reach the same standards as ambulatory surgical units, and mandated that abortionists obtain admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. The law has resulted in the closing of most of Texas' abortion clinics.

Thirteen clinics will now re-open as a result of the Court's action.

From the Washington Post:

The action will allow 13 abortion clinics that closed after the appeals court decision to reopen, said Nancy Northup, president of the center. “We’re absolutely thrilled.”

The group told the justices that “if the stay entered by the 5th Circuit is not vacated, the clinics forced to remain closed during the appeals process will likely never reopen.”

The court’s decision is not a judgment on the Texas law, but whether the law’s new restrictions should be delayed while the legal battle continued.

While the Supreme Court had ruled last November that the portion of the law regarding admitting privileges was Constitutional, the ruling on Tuesday removed that requirement from two areas of the state.

The Supreme Court’s order issued Tuesday night, however, removes the admitting-privileges requirement for clinics in McAllen and El Paso. Providers there had said the requirement was particularly difficult to meet.

The admitting privileges section of the law has been the subject of most of the controversy since the law's passage. The provision of the law making abortion illegal after 20 weeks gestation has not been challenged.

Leah Barkoukis - Rauner Slams Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn as 'Worst Governor in America' During Second Debate
Posted: 10/15/2014 4:30:00 PM EST

In the second of three debates that took place on Monday night, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Republican challenger Bruce Rauner sparred over who could better improve the lives of Illinois’ African American community, particularly on the issues of jobs, taxes, crime, and education.

Though polling shows that black voters overwhelmingly support Quinn, Rauner said he believes the governor is “taking the African American vote for granted.”

“African-American families are suffering in Illinois — brutally high unemployment, deteriorating schools, lack of proper social services and rampant cronyism and corruption that’s taking away job opportunities from African Americans,” Rauner said.

For his part, Quinn noted that he has a diverse cabinet, while pointing out that his opponent failed to hire African Americans to executive positions at the equity investment firm Rauner previously chaired.

The businessman also hit Quinn for the incessant attack ads he’s running against him. “I cannot keep up with the baloney and lies that you spread,” Rauner said. “You can’t run on the truth. The truth is you’re the worst governor in America.”

The Chicago Tribune has more:

Asked if he supported a ban on so-called assault weapons, Rauner did not directly answer, instead saying “the most important thing we can do with guns is to make sure we keep guns out of the hands of criminals and (the) mentally ill.” Crime in the black community was a result of a “lack of opportunity” caused by Democratic failures to improve education and create jobs, he said.

But Quinn said he supported an assault weapons ban as well as a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines — something unlikely to win approval in the General Assembly.

The Democrat charged that Rauner’s support of lowering state income tax rates to their 2010 levels is “extreme, radical way” of budgeting that will cost the state billions in tax revenues — much of it for education. Quinn wants to make permanent the state income tax increase Democrats passed and he signed after the 2010 election — but refused to say directly if he would push for it, win or lose, in the post-election, lame-duck session. The bulk of the tax hike is scheduled to roll back on Jan. 1.

“I understand how important education is to our jobs,” said the governor, who added that “to have good jobs, you need a good education and that’s what I’m committed to.”

Rauner has said he would increase school funding, but it’s unclear how he would do so while cutting taxes. He also expressed support for giving parents “options” to public schools, including charter schools, vouchers and scholarships.

Quinn repeatedly cited his support for issues backed by hometown President Barack Obama, including the Affordable Care Act and a push for a higher minimum wage, as a way to enlist support among black voters. Obama made one fundraising visit for Quinn and is scheduled to appear at a rally on Sunday at Chicago State University, the governor said after the debate.

Rauner has said he would not have expanded subsidized health care coverage for the poor under what’s known as Obamacare.

“Pat Quinn has been a total failure for the African American community of Illinois and the governor’s failures were on full display,” Rauner campaign spokesman Mike Schrimp said in a statement. “Worse, the governor flat-out refused to back down on his plan to raise income taxes on families and small businesses right after the election. The African American community, like all communities across Illinois, are hurting under Pat Quinn and will be hurting even more if Pat Quinn gets his massive tax hike into law. The people of Illinois have a clear choice between Pat Quinn’s massive tax increase and Bruce Rauner’s vision of more jobs, better schools, lower taxes and term limits on career politicians.”

Katie Pavlich - White House Triples Down: Travel Restrictions For Ebola Stricken Countries to U.S. Still 'Not on The Table'
Posted: 10/15/2014 4:00:00 PM EST

Speaking to reporters from the White House Wednesday, Press Secretary Josh Earnest tripled down on the Obama administration's refusal to implement travel restrictions to the United States from Ebola stricken countries in West Africa, saying that option still isn't being considered by officials. 

"That is something that is not on the table at this point," Earnest said, adding that because screening measures have put in place at airports, further restrictions aren't necessary. He also tried to reassure Americans that the government is doing everything possible to keep Americans safe. 

The measures referred to are new procedures implemented last week, which include medical workers taking the temperatures of people at a handful of airports in West Africa and the United States. Many European and African countries have implemented travel restrictions and border closings to prevent the spread of the disease. 

When asked if the White House still has confidence in CDC Director Thomas Frieden, Earnest said yes. 

A new Washington Post/ABC News poll released today shows the vast majority of Americans would support travel restrictions being put into place.