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G.O.P. Right Still Has Doubt About Christie

G.O.P. Right Still Has Doubt About Christie

At a confidential meeting over the summer, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey boasted to influential evangelical leaders that he was the state’s “first pro-life governor since Roe vs. Wade,” reminded them that he had vetoed legislation allowing gays to wed and, in a knowing reference to the Gospel of Matthew, spoke of his moral obligation to help the “least of us.”

But even as Mr. Christie sought to persuade them of his conservative credentials, his own deep-seated discomfort with ideological purity kept creeping in. He suggested that if the Republican Party wanted to win back the White House, it needed to look to a candidate with broad appeal, like himself or Jeb Bush, said one attendee, Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals. If it instead demanded orthodoxy, Mr. Christie’s message was “they can pick somebody else and lose,” Mr. Anderson recalled.

With the contretemps over lane closings on the George Washington Bridge on the back burner for now and Mr. Christie laying groundwork for a Republican presidential run, the persistent skepticism, unease and, in some cases, distrust that he faces from social and religious conservatives may be the biggest and least understood obstacle in his path.

Yet Mr. Christie, who prides himself on his defiance of political convention, refuses to communicate the kind of emphatic, crowd-pleasing message that would leave him unassailable with that crucial constituency, and he has shown little enthusiasm for befriending its self-appointed leadership, elements of which are turning on him with speed and vigor.

In a sustained and high-profile attack more than two years before the election, advocates of conservative judicial philosophy have begun to pummel Mr. Christie as failing to nominate sufficiently right-leaning judges to New Jersey’s highest court. They are also bankrolling derisive billboards in states where he is campaigning for Republicans this fall and flying a banner over the Jersey Shore declaring, “Christie can’t be trusted.”

How Red-State Democrats Can Throw Obama Under the Bus

How Red-State Democrats Can Throw Obama Under the Bus

Let’s be blunt: Democratic Senate candidates in red states—like Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky—need to say ‘Barack who?’ But doing so can look craven, or it can be crafty.

Monday night’s a big night in this campaign season. In Kentucky, Alison Lundergan Grimes gets her one shot at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in a debate. I know most of the smart people have written the Democrat off. But a major Kentucky poll last week put her up two points. And she seems to be drawing big and enthusiastic crowds. And McConnell keeps making mistakes. In other words, there’s oxygen.

Grimes is going to hit her themes—that McConnell hasn’t delivered jobs to the state and that he’s a big part of the Washington problem. McConnell will hit his—that GrimesObama isObama aObama shiftyObama DemocratObama by the way did I mention this guy Obama? But as we all know, if there ever is a clear victory in any of these debates, it usually come down to a moment, one good or bad moment that gets replayed over and over on local TV news and masticated on the state’s political radio shows. And for Grimes, unless she has a great putdown stocked away she’s been working on, fate has recently decreed what that moment is likely to be.

As you should know by now, Grimes has been refusing to say whether she voted for President Obama. It’s been embarrassing. Chuck Todd even said she’d “disqualified herself.” That’s a bit over the top, but it was plenty bad. And of course she is going to be asked this question on Monday night, and of course everyone is going to be waiting, and of course she is going to have to be ready.

Do we dare to question economic growth?

The planet has finite resources.

Do we dare to question economic growth?

Warwick Smith

Warwick Smith

We've all been so effectively sold the line that endless growth is essential to maintain and improve our quality of life. This couldn't be further from the truth.

The endless pursuit of economic growth is making us unhappy and risks destroying the Earth’s capacity to sustain us. The good news is that taking steps to make our lives more sustainable will also make us happier and healthier. Would you like a four day weekend – every week?

I’ve been to two conferences over the last year with similar basic premises. The first was at the Australian National University on ecological economics and the second, just last week, was on steady state economics at the University of New South Wales. The premise sitting behind both of these conferences is simple and undeniably true yet undermines so much that is fundamental to our current way of life:

We live on a finite planet.

The earth is a giant rock, hurtling through inhospitable space surrounded by a very thin film of life sustaining atmosphere. Earth’s life support systems are self-sustaining and self-regulating. However, we humans are slowly and steadily pulling this life support system to pieces. Our planet is very large and can absorb a lot of tinkering with its systems, but there are now over 7 billion of us and the amount of energy and resources we are each using is growing fast. That’s a lot of tinkering.

There’s plenty of evidence that we are pushing up against and exceeding several critical boundaries of global sustainability: by which I don’t mean some tree hugging idea of sustainability, I mean we are taking actions that cannot be supported by the earth’s systems in the long term. We’re already exceeding the earth’s adaptive capacity with respect to greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity loss and the nitrogen cycle and we’re approaching critical limits in both the phosphorous cycle and ocean acidification. Our use of fresh water is also approaching or exceeding sustainable limits in many parts of the world and we’re systematically destroying our arable land. These are critical life sustaining global processes that cannot be ignored without severe consequences.

China’s Dangerous Game

China’s Dangerous Game

Does the country's maritime aggression reflect a government growing in power—or one facing a crisis of legitimacy?

By Howard W. French

Moving with ever greater boldness, Beijing has begun pressing claims to ownership of more than 80 percent of the South China Sea, waters enclosed by what it calls its “nine-dash line,” a relic of the country’s early-20th-century nationalist era, when it was first sketched to indicate China’s view of its traditional prerogatives. The line has no international standing and had gone largely unremarked upon until China recently revived it. It now figures in all Chinese maps. Since 2012, it has been embossed in new passports issued to the country’s citizens.

Also known as the cow’s tongue, for the way it dangles from China’s southern coast, the line encloses a region through which roughly 40 percent of the world’s trade and a great majority of China’s imported oil passes, via the Strait of Malacca, as through the eye of a needle. An observation from the 16th century—“Whoever is lord of Malacca has his hand on the throat of Venice”—still conveys the region’s maritime importance.

Residents of outposts like Palawan, which sits along the eastern edge of the nine-dash line, already feel besieged. Fishermen who enter waters that their forebears freely traversed for generations nowadays find themselves at risk in a disputed no-man’s-land. “The locals are afraid to go out to the west because there are a lot of Chinese boats—military vessels,” said Edwin Seracarpio, a 52-year-old boat owner whom I found one bright morning waiting port-side for the return of one of his crews. “The Chinese say it has always been their property.”

If China can impose its will in the South China Sea, at least five rival claimants—all much smaller, weaker Asian states—will be limited to a narrow band of the sea along their coastlines. China would gain greater security for its crucial supply lines of oil and other commodities; exclusive access to rich fishing areas and potentially vast undersea oil deposits; a much larger buffer against what it regards as U.S. naval intrusions; and, not least, the prestige and standing it has long sought, becoming in effect the Pacific’s hegemon, and positioning itself to press its decades-old demand that Taiwan come under its control. Arguably, it would achieve the greatest territorial expansion by any power since imperial Japan’s annexation of large swaths of Asia in the first half of the 20th century.

Since mid-2013, China has seemed, at first glance, to almost indiscriminately pick fights all the way around its eastern perimeter. That July, a group of Chinese warships, setting out from a northern port, circumnavigated Japan for the first time. Beijing seemed to be sending two messages: that it was ready to stand up to its historical rival, and also that China would no longer be contained within what it calls the First Island Chain, the long series of islands that stretches down China’s coast, preventing easy naval access to the open Pacific.

Just before Thanksgiving last year, Beijing made a surprise announcement of an “air-defense identification zone,” claiming navigational control of the skies over most of the water that lies between China and Japan, including not only areas claimed by Japan but also areas claimed by South Korea, with which it has usually enjoyed smooth relations. The Pentagon, which sends surveillance aircraft through this zone regularly, immediately said it would ignore China’s assertion; however, the United States did advise commercial airlines to observe the new Chinese rules.

Just days after the air-defense zone was announced, China’s lone aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, a freshly refurbished ship purchased secondhand from Ukraine in 1998, embarked on its first voyage with a full naval strike group in tow. It was almost a textbook reenactment of the gunboat diplomacy practiced by Western nations a century ago. With an escort of two destroyers and two antisubmarine frigates, the Liaoning steamed directly for the hotly contested South China Sea. In early December, before it could even reach the disputed zone near the Philippines and Vietnam, one of the accompanying Chinese vessels engaged in a dangerous showdown with an American vessel, the Aegis cruiser Cowpens.

The American ship was tracking the Liaoning’s deployment, in international waters, when the Chinese ship abruptly turned into the Cowpens’ path and stopped in front of the ship, forcing the Cowpens to make a radical maneuver to avoid a collision. According to a state-run Chinese newspaper, the reason for the ship’s highly unusual failure to give way was that the Cowpens had violated the Chinese convoy’s “inner defense layer,” a hitherto unheard‑of exclusion zone apparently covering more than 2,800 square miles—equivalent to about half the size of Connecticut. After the incident, the U.S. Navy took pains to emphasize that the American avoidance maneuver should not be seen as a precedent. “The U.S. military, my forces in the Pacific AOR”—Area of Responsibility—“will operate freely in international waters,” said Admiral Samuel J. Locklear, the head of the Pacific Command. “That’s the bottom line. We will operate there … And that’s the message to all the militaries that are operating in that region.”

How Ebola Got Loose in Dallas

How Ebola Got Loose in Dallas

The announcement that a second case of Ebola has been diagnosed in Dallas should provide an enormous sense of security for the worried general public—after all, the case has occurred not in casual contacts or even family members but rather, as predicted, in someone who cared for the patient in the late stages of his infection.

Against the sigh of semi-relief, though, is the shiver of fear as a collective chill runs down the spine of health-care workers in the United States, Africa, and Spain charged with caring for infected patients. 

According to reports on Sunday, a female nurse who was involved in the treatment of Thomas Eric Duncan has been confirmed to be carrying the disease, making her the first case of Ebola transmitted in the United States. The case further complicates an already thorny question: Are health-care workers treating Ebola ever really insulated from the disease?

The spread of Ebola from patient to health-care worker is a new development here, but it has been raging in West Africa for months. In the World Health Organization’s most recent report, it is identified as “an alarming feature of [the] outbreak.” 

A Dallas nurse who cared for Liberian patient Thomas Eric Duncan—not his family or friends—has contracted the virus. Why health-care professionals are feeling especially alarmed.
Confirmation of second Ebola case rattles Dallas

Confirmation of second Ebola case rattles Dallas

A worker with CG Environmental-Cleaning Guys sprayed disinfectant Sunday outside the apartment complex on Marquita Street where the nurse who contracted Ebola lives. The hospital parking lot she uses and her car were also decontaminated, officials said.


Shaken by America’s second case of Ebola, health officials in Dallas and across the nation are escalating efforts to control the disease — and public concern.

Experts had warned that another case was possible. But the infection disclosed Sunday was not where most had been looking. It wasn’t among 48 individuals being watched because of their contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian who died of Ebola last week in Dallas.

Instead, it was a nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas who became the first person infected with Ebola on American soil. While protected by a gown, mask, shield and gloves, she had extensive contact on multiple occasions with Duncan, officials said.

Hospital and federal officials said they did not know how she caught the virus, only that it was through an accidental breach of protective procedures. She was among more than 50 people who the hospital said cared for Duncan during 10 days he spent in isolation.

“It is deeply concerning that the infection occurred,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Ebola treatment “protocols work … but we know that even a single lapse or breach can result” in spreading the virus.

Warren blasts Obama over Wall Street

Warren blasts Obama over Wall Street


Elizabeth Warren is pictured. | Rod Lamkey Jr. for POLITICO

Sen. Elizabeth Warren is criticizing President Barack Obama for siding with Wall Street after the 2008 financial crisis.

The Massachusetts Democrat, who has become a favorite among the liberal wing of the party, praised Obama for some decisions on economic issues but said he and his advisers “picked Wall Street” over American families.

“[W]hen the going got tough, his economic team picked Wall Street,” Warren said in an interview with Salon published on Sunday.

“They protected Wall Street,” the senator continued. “Not families who were losing their homes. Not people who lost their jobs. Not young people who were struggling to get an education. And it happened over and over and over.”

Questions emerge about Ebola readiness

Questions emerge about Ebola readiness


Tom Frieden speaks at a news conference on Oct. 12, 2014, in Atlanta. | AP Photo

wo cases of Ebola disease on U.S. shores are raising concerns about just how ready Americans hospitals and health care workers are to fight the lethal virus, despite all the assurances from public health officials that it can be identified, isolated and safely treated.

The first case was initially missed, potentially exposing more people in Dallas to Ebola and delaying treatment for the patient, a Liberian national who later died.

The second case, announced Sunday, involves an ICU nurse who had treated Thomas Duncan. She wore full protective gear, including a gown, gloves, mask and shield — and still was exposed.

Ebola is not spread through the air like the flu or a cold but through contact with bodily fluids of a sick person. How the nurse became infected isn’t yet known. Yet it happened even after a spate of guidelines, briefings and recommendations meant to get the nation’s facilities and health care workers ready.

The hospital at the center of both cases, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, has said it had prepped and drilled. On Sunday, its leaders and the CDC were facing a new reality given the new patient.

“At some point there was a breach in protocol, and that breach in protocol resulted in this infection,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, who called himself “deeply concerned.”

Once again, the circle of other possible exposures rippled outward. More than a dozen workers in that ICU will now be monitored closely for the 21 days that represent Ebola’s full incubation period.

“If this individual was exposed … it is possible that other individuals were exposed,” Frieden said. His agency must help identify those in that circle, and contain the virus.

After a briefing on the latest development, President Barack Obama immediately directed the CDC to move as quickly as possible with an investigation and to “take immediate additional steps to ensure hospitals and healthcare providers nationwide are prepared to follow protocols should they encounter an Ebola patient.”

Don’t you love it when actors and neuroscientists scrap?

Deconstructing the Ben Affleck-Sam Harris cage fight

By Guy P. Harrison 

Are religions out of bounds? Academy Award winner Ben Affleck and neuoscientist Sam Harris clash over Islam on HBO's Real Time. Here's what you need to know.

Don’t you love it when actors and neuroscientists scrap? There certainly was a good round of action last week when Ben Affleck and Sam Harris squared off on Real Time, Bill Maher’s HBO show. The dustup clearly touched a cultural nerve, sparking widespread coverage and commentary. Unfortunately, virtually everything that has been written and spoken about it missed the mark and added little to the important issues raised. (If you missed the Affleck-Harris blowup, view a clip here

    The problem with the aftermath is that most people seemed to have simply picked a side in lieu of listening and thinking. The result is that 99 percent of the commentary I’ve seen boil down to either, “Ben Affleck is an idiot”, or “Sam Harris is a bigot”. Few seem to have recognized that both men hold sensible positions on very important points and that the key problem that night was a failure to communicate, nothing new when religion is being discussed.

Jacqueline Roque: Picasso's Wife, Love & Muse

Jacqueline Roque: Picasso's Wife, Love & Muse

By Carol Kino

Cubist artist Pablo Picasso's most painted subject was his controversial wife, Jacqueline Roque.

THINK OF PICASSO, and it's impossible not to envision the women he loved, tormented and painted, like Fernande Olivier, whose distorted features are indelibly associated with early cubism, or Dora Maar, often depicted weeping, or Marie-Thérèse Walter, whose face and body the artist sundered so violently during his surrealist years. "For me, there are only two kinds of women—goddesses and doormats," he told his postwar partner, Françoise Gilot, as she recounted in Life with Picasso, her 1964 memoir.

Since Picasso's death in 1973, the works emerging from these liaisons—and the gripping tales behind them—have provided fodder for countless museum and gallery shows. In the past three years alone, Gagosian Gallery, in conjunction with the Picasso biographer John Richardson, mounted two well-received New York exhibitions, Picasso and Marie-Thérèse: L'Amour Fou in 2011, and Picasso and Françoise Gilot in 2012.

Jacqueline Roque, a dark-haired divorcée 45 years the artist's junior, who became his second wife in 1961. Their relationship endured for more than 20 years, until Picasso's death at 91, making Jacqueline, who took his name when they married, his longest-lasting consort and most persistent muse. Yet she has inspired only a few exhibitions. The last was in 2006, at the Kunst Museum Pablo Picasso in Münster, Germany.

In part that's because Picasso's late work has often been dismissed as irrelevant and kitschy. But decades have elapsed since his death, and the work he produced while he was with Jacqueline is beginning to be hotly desired by collectors. Pace, which has organized seven shows around the late work since 1981, hopes to introduce audiences to the person who, despite all that's said of her, was arguably the most important love of Picasso's life. In a 1988 essay, Richardson called Picasso's late years "L'Époque Jacqueline."

"It is so free and full of love," says the Guggenheim Museum curator and Picasso scholar Carmen Giménez of the master's work from this time. "Jacqueline created peace for him.  That did not happen before."

Yet the paucity of shows about Jacqueline may also be related to the ambiguous role she played for Picasso's family and friends. Early on, she developed a reputation for being manipulative, avaricious and conniving, initially because she came between Picasso and Gilot. Once installed at La Californie, the artist's grand Cannes villa, she guarded his privacy jealously, shutting out even his children and grandchildren so he could focus on work. After his death, Jacqueline disappeared into seclusion for three years, emerging only to battle with his heirs over the disposition of his estate.

And in 1986, still racked with grief over the loss of Monseigneur, as she called him, Jacqueline killed herself with a pistol at Notre-Dame de Vie, their castle in Mougins, becoming one of many Picasso intimates to die tragically. (Others include Walter, who hanged herself in 1977; Picasso's son Paolo by his first wife, the dancer Olga Khokhlova, who drank himself to death in 1975; and Paolo's son Pablito, who downed bleach after Jacqueline barred him from Picasso's funeral.)


"She thought he was God and he thought he was God. The two of them were in love with him." 

Hollywood Dynasty: The Yorn Brothers

Hollywood Dynasty: The Yorn Brothers

Born and bred on the East Coast, Kevin, Rick and Pete have made Hollywood their home and become the ultimate insiders in the notoriously cutthroat entertainment industry.

Together, Rick, 46, Kevin, 49, and Pete, 40, form what Hollywood agitator/reporter Nikki Finke has called “the Yorn dynasty.” They’re a tight, accomplished, glamorous tribe whose businesses and personal lives overlap in unusual ways, but today, they’re gathered in a room at the Greenwich Hotel in New York because, for the first time, they’ve agreed to a joint interview. (More specifically, Rick says it’s the first interview he’s ever done. “I had to push him a few times,” Kevin admits.)

The three Yorns have played in bands together, they work together and their houses on L.A.’s Westside are separated by only a five-minute drive. Rick introduced Kevin to his wife, Julie Silverman, and after they divorced, Rick continued to be business partners with her at their firm, LBI Entertainment. Kevin is one of Pete’s lawyers, Rick is one of Pete’s managers and Kevin and Rick share office space in Century City. All three have worked with Scarlett Johansson, whom Rick has managed since she was 12. Rick’s and Kevin’s clients are collectively responsible for more than $80 billion in box office receipts.


Though they’ve thrived in entertainment, all three Yorns were originally headed toward more conservative careers. After Kevin graduated from Tulane law school in 1990, he became a deputy district attorney in L.A. County, working in the office’s Hardcore Gang Investigations Unit. “All I did was murder cases. And there was a murder every night.” Pete recalls Kevin “showing me pictures of dead bodies” and carrying a gun. “But I had a really specific plan,” Kevin continues. “When I got to L.A., I met with one of the top entertainment law firms to ask for advice. I said, ‘I’m going to be a DA first, then be an entertainment lawyer.’ And they looked at me like I was crazy. That was not the traditional route.” 

Kevin was in the district attorney’s office for five years, then partnered with Kevin Morris, a lawyer he met through Rick and Julie. A half dozen established firms shared a near monopoly on Hollywood deals in the mid-’90s, and Kevin and Morris’s vision of “an alternative law firm” didn’t instantly catch on: “We had nothing. No clients. Our sales pitch was, ‘We’re way younger, and we’re gonna be more enthusiastic about your career.’ Whether it was bull— or not, I don’t know.” An aspiring writer named Anthony Zuiker, who was driving a tram at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, got in touch with Kevin about a screenwriting contract he wanted to escape. “He didn’t have any money, so I lent him money a couple of times,” Kevin recalls. “Six months later, he called and said, ‘I want to do a show about forensics. I have a cool idea.’ ” That idea became CSI, one of the biggest drama franchises in TV history.

The same year Kevin graduated from law school, Rick graduated from the University of Maryland and joined a Shearson Lehman training program. The investment bank offered him a job in La Jolla, which he took so he could be closer to Kevin. He hated a broker’s early hours (“You’re eating lunch at nine in the morning”), so after a year, he left to work as an assistant at the talent agency Susan Smith & Associates. Kevin, of course, helped him get the job.

After apprenticing in the management business, Rick signed his first client: Benicio Del Toro, who won an Academy Award for 2000’s Traffic. He also signed Leonardo DiCaprio, whose biggest credit at the time was the cutesy network sitcom Growing Pains. “Obviously, I have a good eye—I guess,” Rick says with a mix of pride and abashment. By the time he was 30, his client list included Matt Dillon, Viggo Mortensen and Cameron Diaz, whom he signed when she was a model, after he saw her interviewed on TV. When Titanic became one of history’s biggest-grossing films, Rick’s ascendance was clinched, especially because DiCaprio had no agent, and Rick was his only access point.

Federal officials say breach in protocol led to second Ebola case in Texas

Dr. Daniel Varga

Federal officials say breach in protocol led to second Ebola case in Texas

A federal health official said Sunday there was “clearly” a breach in protocol that led to the infection of a Dallas healthcare worker with Ebola in what is thought to be the first U.S. transmission of the deadly virus.

“We’re deeply concerned about this new development,” Dr. Thomas Frieden, head of the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

“I think the fact that we don’t know of a breach in protocol is concerning, because clearly there was a breach in protocol. We have the ability to prevent the spread of Ebola by caring safely for patients.”

In a separate CDC briefing, Frieden said the worker was self monitoring and when she developed symptoms she was promptly isolated.

Frieden said the CDC is in the process of identifying the health worker’s contacts and conducting a full investigation of procedures at the Texas hospital to determine how the transmission occurred.

He said all healthcare workers who cared for Duncan are now being treated as if they had been potentially exposed.

“Infections only occur when there’s a breach in protocol,” Frieden said. “We know from many years of experience that it’s possible to care for [patients] with Ebola without risk to healthcare workers, but we also know that it’s hard, that even a single breach can result in contamination, and one of the areas that we look at closely are things like, how you take off the gear that might be affected or contaminated.”

Campaigns Find Ad Space Finite, Even on the Web

Campaigns Find Ad Space Finite, Even on the Web

It turns out that the Internet does not have infinite capacity. At least not for political ads.

As an increasing number of campaigns and outside groups are finding out, premium space on the web has long been booked. Digital advertising is maturing much in the way television did, as targeting becomes more sophisticated and the definition of a viewer expands drastically.

“Many political strategists don’t think of the Internet as something that can sell out,” said Rob Saliterman, leader of the elections team at Google, which owns YouTube. “But in these smaller states, just as there’s a finite amount of TV inventory, there’s a finite amount of YouTube inventory.”

The more savvy players in the coming midterm elections made pre-emptive strikes to ensure ad placement when it matters most.

In June, Tim Lim, the president of Precision Network, a digital media buyer for Democrats, began purchasing ad space from premium online vendors — Google, Yahoo, Pandora — in Senate battleground states like Colorado and Iowa.

In July, Robert Willington, the president of Swiftkurrent, a Republican digital marketing company that is working on Scott Brown’s Senate campaign in New Hampshire, purchased “a lot” of the available YouTube inventory in the state for future ads.

And in August, IMGE, a digital advocacy agency handling online strategy for Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS, snapped up all available YouTube inventory in Alaska for the final weeks of the Senate race there.

There are two main types of online video ads: those a viewer can skip after just a few seconds, and “reserved buy” ads that run in their entirety before a video begins. The ads that can be skipped are unlimited, but they are sold by auction, meaning that, much as it does in the television marketplace, the price goes up as demand increases closer to Election Day. A 30-second ad of that type, for instance, could cost eight to 10 times as much the week before the November elections as it did in September.

The second type of ad, which cannot be skipped, is often more valuable to campaigns, because viewers are forced to watch all 15 or 30 seconds before they can see the content from their original search. These ads are limited, and campaigns can reserve them in advance — not only locking in a good price, but also ensuring prominent display.

“You have to let your clients know, if you want to have this premium inventory, it will sell out first,” said Alex Skatell, a partner at IMGE. “The other campaigns, your opponent, the ‘super PACs’ — this is where they’re going first with their money.”

Digital ad buyers said pre-video ad space on popular sites like YouTube, Hulu, Yahoo and top news outlets was the first content to effectively sell out. Already, there is almost no remaining YouTube inventory for reserve buys — the ads that cannot be skipped — in Alaska, Maine, Montana and New Hampshire, and inventory is increasingly tight in nearly a dozen other competitive states.

Can Sex Be Just a Little Bit Sinful?

Can Sex Be Just a Little Bit Sinful?

The theological idea of 'graduality' may help the Vatican reframe its approach to sexuality.

By Elizabeth Tenety

At the Vatican's synod on the family this week, bishops have suggested that the theological idea of graduality can help the Church reframe its approach to sexuality. What does this mean?

"Language such as 'living in sin,' 'intrinsically disordered' or 'contraceptive mentality' are not necessarily words that invite people to draw closer to Christ and the Church, one bishop reportedly argued before the synod. These terms are sometimes used to refer to cohabitation, homosexuality, and birth control.

Speaking about those who live together without being married, one bishop reportedly said, “There are absolutely valid and important elements even of sanctification and of true love that may be present even when one does not fully realize this ideal.”

“Church documents explaining family life and sexuality seem to many Catholics ‘to be from another planet.’”

Move Over, Barack Obama. The Clintons Are Taking Over

President Obama leading a cabinet meeting in 2012.

Move Over, Barack Obama. The Clintons Are Taking Over

John Heilemann, Bloomberg

The election is two years away, but make no mistake: An inauguration took place this week.

This has been the week of the long-awaited, full-bore, balls-to-the-wall return of the Clintons to the campaign trail, first with Bill in Arkansas on Monday and Tuesday, then with Hillary in Chicago on Wednesday and Philadelphia last night. Every move the former First Couple makes is viewed through gimlet eyes and subject to instant judgment. Does WJC still have his mojo? Has HRC found a message? Will they be able to move the needle for Democrats they aim to help between now and Election Day?

For what it’s worth, the answers in reverse order are: (a) we’ll see; (b) as of last night, maybe, just maybe; and (c) do bears shit in the woods?

Unavoidable as these questions and assessments are, however, they miss the larger drama already unfolding before our eyes. After more than six years in which Democratic politics have revolved around Barack Obama, the Clintons are aggressively reclaiming what they have long perceived as their rightful position at the center of their party’s universe—a reassertion made all the more vivid and undeniable by the interstellar drift of the current occupant of the Oval Office.

Bill Clinton visited the White House in September to celebrate the 20th anniversary of AmeriCorps, which he created.

To say that the Clintons are popular and Obama is not simultaneously states the obvious and understates the case. Internal Democratic polling pegs Bill Clinton’s approval rating among undecided voters at north of 50 percent; according to a recent survey, he stands alone among campaign surrogates in his capacity to change minds. And while Hillary is a less broadly potent figure, her popularity and motivational sway with women voters—certainly a, and arguably the, critical swing constituency in many contested Senate races—is significant, as is her fund-raising prowess. (On October 20, she will headline both a high-dollar fund-raiser for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee hosted by Hollywood macher Jeffrey Katzenberg and a female-focused buck-raking event being staged by Nancy Pelosi.)

For Obama, the picture is starkly different. Beyond his record-low overall approval ratings, his disapproval ratings among undecided voters are through the roof: from the mid-fifties to the low sixties depending on the state in question. Not long ago, party strategists believed his ability to energize African-American voters—whose turnout levels will matter hugely in states such as Louisiana, North Carolina, Georgia, and Kentucky—meant that he might be deployed in some of those places. No longer. “We’d gain less in minorities that he’d turn on than we’d give up in undecideds he’d turn off,” says a top Democratic tactician. “Net-net, for almost every campaign, putting him out there is a loser.”

Rand Paul Wants You to Be Very Afraid

By Sally Kohn

What’s with the Kentucky Senator’s ceaseless fear-mongering around the Ebola scare? Because to the GOP, scaring voters is good for business.

Although Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola on U.S. soil, has now died of the disease, American public health officials remain confident in our nation’s ability to prevent a widespread epidemic. “The bottom line here is we know how to stop it,” CDC director Tom Frieden told NBC News this weekend. “It's not going to spread widely in the U.S., for two basic reasons. We can do infection control in hospitals, and we can do public health interventions that can stop it in its tracks.”

His wasn’t the only voice that sought to reassure. “I know there's a lot of reason to be concerned. It is a serious problem, but in my lifetime, when we have been frightened by this so-called coming epidemic—most of it has never materialized,” said Mr. Paul. Ron Paul, that is, Rand’s dad. “I think sometimes overreaction can become very dangerous as well,” said the elder Paul. Indeed.

Sir, please call your son and tell him that.

Rand Paul, Republican Senator from Kentucky, recently told conservative radio host Laura Ingraham that Ebola “could get beyond our control” and speculated: “Can you imagine if a whole ship full of our soldiers catch Ebola?”

Saying “it’s a real mistake to underplay the danger of a worldwide pandemic,” Paul, doing his level best to overplay the danger, told Glenn Beck: “I think I said this the last time I was on your show a couple weeks ago, I said that I’m concerned that political correctness has caused us to underplay the threat of Ebola.” Er, um, because the people dying of Ebola in West Africa are black? I’m confused… Anyway, I thought the reason not to let panic spread was because, you know, panic is bad and we should have a rational and informed public rather than an irrationally fearful one. But speaking of informed…

“It’s an incredibly transmissible disease that everyone is downplaying, saying it’s hard to catch,” Rand said to Beck. “Well, we have physicians and health workers who are catching it who are completely gloved down and taking every precaution and they’re still getting it. So, yes, I’m very concerned about this.” Rand Paul, mind you, is a doctor and should know better than to spread skepticism or downright misinformation about public health issues. But instead, he is using Ebola to not only attack President Obama (as are other Republicans, natch) but to push his extremist anti-government agenda that goes beyond healthy skepticism to tin-foil hat conspiracy land.

Why Are Older People More Conservative?

Why Are Older People More Conservative?

By Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Ph.D.

Why does age make people more conservative?

The first reason is personality. Indeed, a review of 92 scientific studies shows that intellectual curiosity tends to decline in old age, and that this decline explains age-related increases in conservatism. At any age, people differ in their typical levels of curiosity, and these differences have been attributed to the broader personality trait of Openness to Experience. Higher levels of Openness have been associated not only with aesthetic and cultural interests, but also with a general tendency to seek emotionally stimulating and adrenalizing activities (e.g., from scuba diving to bungee jumping; from drugs to unprotected sex). Furthermore, open people are also more likely to display counter-conformist attitudes, challenge the status quo and disrespect authority. Although these qualities make high Openness a potential threat to society, Openness is also the source of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as an intellectual antidote to totalitarianism, injustice and prejudice.

Barack Obama: the end of a love affair

Barack Obama: the end of a love affair

Six years after offering hope and change, polls show the American public has fallen out of love with their president – so where did it all go wrong?

 By Peter Foster, Washington

Barack Obama romped to the presidency of the United States in 2008 on a tidal wave of ‘hope and change’. Back then, the financial crisis was raging and US troops were still engaged in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, but a fresh-faced Mr Obama brimmed with confidence.

He predicted that future generations would look back on his election and see the moment “when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal…when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth.”

Six years later, Mr Obama is weary and greyed and finds his job approval ratings stuck in the low-40s. This October is the 17th consecutive month in which polls show that a majority of Americans disapprove of his leadership.

With November’s mid-term elections less than a month away, even fellow Democrats won't be seen dead with the man who once transformed their party's fortunes. Apart from some closed-door fundraisers, Mr Obama is all but invisible on the campaign trail.

Since Mr Obama took office facing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, unemployment has fallen from 10pc to 6pc and American businesses have created 10 million new jobs – that’s more than Japan, Europe and every other advanced economy combined.

So why do only 39pc of Americans approve of his handling of the economy, according to YouGov? It’s because too many of those jobs are “McJobs” – that is, low-paid and part-time work that don’t leave people feeling better off.

In numerical terms, GDP has risen by 8pc since Mr Obama took office, but median household incomes are down 4pc and – unlike during the George W Bush years – there is no housing boom or easy credit make up the difference.

Americans are naturally suspicious about the role of big government, and the disastrous Obamacare rollout only confirmed many in that prejudice. Suffice to say Amazon and Kayak would have filed for bankruptcy long ago if they handled their product launches like Mr Obama’s department of Health and Human Services rolled out Obamacare. 

Like George W Bush after Hurricane Katrina, Mr Obama’s approval numbers never recovered from the sight of his flagship piece of legislation capsizing so ignominiously before it had even left the harbour.

The ship has been righted and re-floated, but with further legal challenges pending no-one is too confident of her structural integrity.

Add to that the Benghazi disaster, where Mr Obama lost his ambassador to Libya, and the on-going crisis in the administration of Veterans Affairs, and it seems many voters are no longer inclined to give Mr Obama the benefit of the doubt.

Sometimes Not Helping Really Helps!

Sometimes Not Helping Really Helps!

By Linda and Charlie Bloom

It may be an act of much greater love to support someone to accept and deal with and come to terms with the natural consequences of their choices than to rescue them from those results.

Sometimes life gives us experiences that are painful but brief.  If we can show up for them and really integrate the teaching into our lives, we can avoid much more painful experiences later on.  It's like an inoculation in which the body develops an immunity to an invasive disease by getting a small dose of it. These inoculations only work when we fully internalize the lessons and open ourselves to the full impact of the experience.  It's more painful than avoiding it or running away or having someone else pay instead, but the long-term value of the experience is priceless.

Investigation Into Missing Iraqi Cash Ended in Lebanon Bunker

Investigation Into Missing Iraqi Cash Ended in Lebanon Bunker

Not long after American forces defeated the Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein in 2003, caravans of trucks began to arrive at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington on a regular basis, unloading an unusual cargo — pallets of shrink-wrapped $100 bills. The cash, withdrawn from Iraqi government accounts held in the United States, was loaded onto Air Force C-17 transport planes bound for Baghdad, where the Bush administration hoped it would provide a quick financial infusion for Iraq’s new government and the country’s battered economy.

Over the next year and a half, $12 billion to $14 billion was sent to Iraq in the airlift, and an additional $5 billion was sent by electronic transfer. Exactly what happened to that money after it arrived in Baghdad became one of the many unanswered questions from the chaotic days of the American occupation, when billions were flowing into the country from the United States and corruption was rampant.

Finding the answer became first the job and then the obsession of Stuart W. Bowen Jr., a friend from Texas of President George W. Bush who in 2004 was appointed to serve as a special inspector general to investigate corruption and waste in Iraq. Before his office was finally shut down last year, Mr. Bowen believed he might have succeeded — but only partly — in that mission.

Much of the money was probably used by the Iraqi government in some way, he concluded. But for years Mr. Bowen could not account for billions more until his investigators finally had a breakthrough, discovering that $1.2 billion to $1.6 billion had been stolen and moved to a bunker in rural Lebanon for safe keeping. “I don’t know how the money got to Lebanon,” Mr. Bowen said. “If I knew that, we would have made more progress on the case.”

Mr. Bowen kept the discovery and his investigation of the cash-filled bunker in Lebanon, which his office code-named Brick Tracker, secret. He has never publicly discussed it until now, and his frustration that neither he nor his investigators can fully account for the missing money was evident in a series of interviews. “Billions of dollars have been taken out of Iraq over the last 10 years illegally,” he said. “In this investigation, we thought we were on the track for some of that lost money. It’s disappointing to me personally that we were unable to close this case, for reasons beyond our control.”

He is equally frustrated that the Bush administration, apart from his office, never investigated reports that huge amounts of money had disappeared, and that after his investigators found out about the bunker, the Obama administration did not pursue that lead, either. Mr. Bowen said his investigators briefed the C.I.A. and the F.B.I. on what they found. But Mr. Bowen added that he believed one reason American officials had not gone after it was “because it was Iraqi money stolen by Iraqis.”

Spokesmen for the F.B.I. and C.I.A. declined to comment for this article.

Why the Middle East still doesn't matter

Why the Middle East still doesn't matter


Forget about oil, Israel and terrorism—the world’s most dysfunctional region is a waste of time.

The American foreign policy elite is obsessed with the Middle East. Despite President Obama’s rhetoric about a “pivot to Asia,” the United States remains bogged down in the region, now at war in Syria in addition to Iraq. What’s most perverse about all this is that the Middle East doesn’t matter. Washington would do better to leave the region alone.

Otto von Bismarck, Nicholas Spykman or any of the other great strategists of centuries past would be puzzled at the degree of interest Western elites give to the Middle East. The region is an economic dwarf. Its combined GDP—even including oil—represents roughly 6 percent of world GDP. Its population is closer to 5 percent of world population, and its military forces are similarly unimpressive. As the iconoclastic scholar Edward Luttwak has pointed out, America’s Middle East analysts frequently fall victim to the “Mussolini syndrome” when thinking about the region, attributing “real military strength to backward societies whose populations can sustain excellent insurgencies but not modern military forces.” No Middle Eastern state can project power outside the region—not Iran, which spends about $18 billion per year on defense, and not Saudi Arabia, despite its roughly $60 billion in annual military spending.

Nonetheless, three fears have turned this small, poor, weak region into the central focus of U.S. foreign policy: oil, Israel and terrorism. Each of these concerns merits attention, but nowhere near the amount they have received over the last several decades. And certainly, none of them calls for the sort of forward-deployed interventionism both Republicans and Democrats favor.

Another Middle East fear involves Israel. Here again, the precise problem is rarely spelled out, but people believe that Israel, small and friendly with the United States, lives in a bad neighborhood and benefits from a robust American presence in the region. The problem is that Israel in 2014 fits differently into the region than it did in the dangerous years after its founding. It enjoys an enormous qualitative military edge over any combination of potential regional rivals. It has roughly 200 nuclear weapons deployed on an array of platforms, including submarines, that give it a secure second-strike capability against any state in the region that might dare to threaten its survival. It is hard to see, moreover, how the maelstrom of sectarian conflict that recent U.S. policy has helped unleash across the region has benefited Israel.
Worker at Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas tests positive for Ebola

Louis DeLuca/Staff Photographer

Worker at Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas tests positive for Ebola


A Dallas apartment complex in the 5700 block of Marquita Avenue, near Greenville Avenue, has been decontaminated.

"This is understandably disturbing news for the patient, the patient’s family and colleagues and the greater Dallas community," the statement said. "The CDC and the Texas Department of State Health Services remain confident that wider spread in the community can be prevented with proper public health measures including ongoing contact tracing, health monitoring among those known to have been in contact with the index patient and immediate isolation if symptoms develop."

Gone Girl Probes the Dark Side of Marriage

Gone Girl Probes the Dark Side of Marriage

What's the worst that can happen when two people are bound together, forever?

By Megan Garber

The most important part of the film's message is neither misogynistic nor feminist; it's about what happens when two people are bound together, forever.

Romance, to be unromantic about it, is a matter of information gained over time. Dating, to be slightly more romantic about it, is a matter of ongoing discovery. Over the days and weeks and months, the black-and-white contours of initial attraction—he's funny, she's pretty, they're both ENFJ—get colored in, and the little things that will become the everything—the likes, the dislikes, the thoughts about the word "slacks"—take on their shades. If months become years, sure, the hair may become a little thinner, the thighs a little thicker, the E a little more I. But if you keep liking what you find in that other person, the idea goes—if the good discoveries, over time, keep outweighing the bad—you move forward, together. You meet friends. They become your friends. You meet family. They become your family. You keep learning. You keep filling in the blanks.

McCain declares ISIL is winning

McCain declares ISIL is winning


John McCain is pictured. | John Shinkle/POLITICO

Sen. John McCain asserted on Sunday the United States and its allies are not winning in the conflict against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

“They’re winning, and we’re not,” the Arizona Republican said on CNN’s “State of the Union” about the group, which has claimed large amounts of territory in both Iraq and Syria.

“The Iraqis are not winning. The Peshmerga, the Kurds are not winning,” McCain told host Candy Crowley.

McCain said more American troops need to be on the ground in the form of forward air controllers and special forces to help assist in airstrikes. He also called for a no-fly zone over both Syria and Iraq.

Iraq pleads for U.S. ground troops as Islamic State closes in on Baghdad

President Obama. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

Iraq pleads for U.S. ground troops as Islamic State closes in on Baghdad

- The Washington Times

As Islamic State troops move closer to Baghdad, Iraqi officials have issued a plea for American ground troops to return to the country.

A senior governor claimed that up to 10,000 Islamic State fighters were closing in on the capital, amid reports that forces had reached Abu Ghraid, a suburb of Baghdad, The Telegraph reported Saturday.

Iraqi officials are worried the Pentagon will not be keen to send U.S. soldiers back to an area once dubbed “the graveyard of the Americans” in Anbar Province. In 2004, U.S. troops fought the Battle of Fallujah in Anabar province, the bloodiest battle involving American troops since the Vietnam War. 

Civil seizures fuel millions in police spending

In Douglasville, Ga., police spent $227,000 on an armored personnel carrier.

Civil seizures fuel millions in police spending

Police agencies nationwide have used cash taken under federal civil forfeiture laws to pay for guns and armored vehicles, as well as lapel pins, luxury cars and a clown’s fee.

Robert O’Harrow Jr. and Steven Rich

“In tight budget periods, and even in times of budget surpluses, using asset forfeiture dollars to purchase equipment and training to stay current with the ever-changing trends in crime fighting helps serve and protect the citizens,” said Prince George’s County, Md., police spokeswoman Julie Parker.

Brad Cates, a former director of asset forfeiture programs at the Justice Department, said the spending identified by The Post suggests police are using Equitable Sharing as “a free floating slush fund.” Cates, who oversaw the program while at Justice from 1985 to 1989, said it has enabled police to sidestep the traditional budget process, in which elected leaders create law enforcement spending priorities.

“All of this is fundamentally at odds with the U.S. Constitution,” said Cates, who recently co-wrote an article calling for the program’s abolition on The Post’s editorial page. “All of this is at odds with the rights that Americans have.”

How to Pitch Mark Cuban--and Land His Money

How to Pitch Mark Cuban--and Land His Money

Shark Tank judge Mark Cuban explains how to persuade him to invest his money.
Self-Guided Rafting Trip Through the Grand Canyon

Self-Guided Rafting Trip Through the Grand Canyon

A self-guided rafting trip may be the most thrilling way to see the Grand Canyon, but you have to brave serious rapids—and a several-year wait

By Lisa Bannon
Why 2016 May Be Mitt Romney’s Year

Why 2016 May Be Mitt Romney’s Year

The loser in the 2012 race has never been a big ideas guy, but the next presidential election might just be small enough for him to win.

One of the main problems with Mitt Romney’s presidential candidacy was that it was never clear what he wanted to do if elected.

Mr. Romney’s case for himself was heavily bound up in his careers in consulting and private equity. He was the skilled manager who could identify problems, root out dysfunction and make anything work better. The guy who rescued the Olympics. The guy who led the search for his co-worker’s missing daughter. The Romney pitch was, in large part, about being manager-in-chief. It was a pitch with little policy content.

That didn’t fly in 2012. But it might actually work pretty well in 2016.

The 2012 election had to be about the big “what is government for?” questions because huge policy decisions loomed in 2013. The Affordable Care Act would be implemented, or not; parts of the Bush tax cuts would expire, or not; entitlements would be greatly reformed in an effort to shrink deficits, or not. A large fiscal adjustment was needed, if not right away, sometime within the next few years.

Florida State Quarterback Jameis Winston to Face Disciplinary Hearing

Florida State Quarterback Jameis Winston to Face Disciplinary Hearing

By Ben Cohen

Campus-Conduct Hearing Related to Alleged Sexual Assault in December 2012

Nearly two years after a woman at Florida State University accused Jameis Winston of sexual assault, the school has told the star quarterback that he will face a campus disciplinary hearing in connection to the alleged incident, an attorney for the alleged victim said Friday.

The case is unusual among campus-conduct cases, said the attorney, John Clune, because Florida State hasn’t charged Winston with any potential violations before the hearing. “I have never seen a school skip the charging process,” said Clune, who said he was informed of the hearing in a letter from the school.

Florida State didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Winston wasn’t charged with a crime in connection with the alleged December 2012 incident. He has said repeatedly through an attorney that sex with the woman was consensual. His attorney has said the allegation is false and that he expects Florida State’s investigation to find Winston did nothing wrong.

The potential charges against Winston will be heard by a neutral party not affiliated with Florida State, Clune said. Most campus-conduct cases are heard by panels consisting of students, professors and staff members of the school’s student-rights office.

By federal law, the campus case will be adjudicated according to the “preponderance of the evidence” standard, meaning that the facts of the case have to be proven more probable than not, rather than the higher “beyond a reasonable doubt” burden used in criminal prosecutions.

To oversee the hearing, the school proposed three people unaffiliated with Florida State, Clune said. Both the alleged victim and Winston are entitled to eliminate one of the people, he said.

The person overseeing the case will determine whether Winston was responsible for violating the school’s code of conduct, which prohibits sexual acts without consent or sexual wrongdoing that creates a hostile environment for another person. Students who are found responsible for violating Florida State’s code of conduct face punishment that ranges from a verbal reprimand to expulsion from the university.

In a Sept. 23 letter to Florida State’s general counsel, Winston’s attorney said he would cooperate with the investigation, but contested the investigation on grounds of fairness and timing.

David Cornwell, Winston’s attorney, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Friday.
Can Exercise Protect Your Brain from Depression?

Can Exercise Protect Your Brain from Depression?

By Christopher Bergland

Recent studies have found that physical activity can trigger neurobiological changes that may help protect your brain from depression.

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