Tuesday Testes

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren says she isn’t running for president. At this rate, however, she may have to.

The Massachusetts Democrat has become the brightest ideological and rhetorical light in a party whose prospects are dimmed by—to use a word Jimmy Carter never uttered—malaise. Her weekend swing through Colorado, Minnesota and Iowa to rally the faithful displayed something no other potential contender for the 2016 presidential nomination, including Hillary Clinton, seems able to present: a message.

“We can go through the list over and over, but at the end of every line is this: Republicans believe this country should work for those who are rich, those who are powerful, those who can hire armies of lobbyists and lawyers,” she said Friday in Englewood, Colo. “I will tell you we can whimper about it, we can whine about it or we can fight back. I’m here with [Sen.] Mark Udall so we can fight back.”

Warren was making her second visit to the state in two months because Udall’s re-election race against Republican Cory Gardner is what Dan Rather used to call “tight as a tick.” If Democrats are to keep their majority in the Senate, the party’s base must break with form and turn out in large numbers for a midterm election. Voters won’t do this unless somebody gives them a reason.

@ TRUTHDIG

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Monday Disease Bombing

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U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered the creation of a 30-member expeditionary medical support team to be able to provide emergency help in the event of an Ebola crisis in the United States, a Pentagon spokesman said on Sunday.

The team of five doctors, 20 nurses and five trainers could respond on short notice to help civilian medical professionals, a statement from Rear Admiral John Kirby said.

Three cases of Ebola have been diagnosed in the United States, prompting widespread concern about the potential spread of the virus. A Liberian man fell ill while on a trip to Dallas, Texas, and died on Oct. 8. Two nurses who treated him contracted the disease.

Kirby called the team “an added, prudent measure to ensure our nation is ready to respond quickly, effectively and safely in the event of additional Ebola cases.” He said it would consist of critical care nurses, doctors trained in infectious diseases and trainers in infectious disease protocols.

@ REUTERS

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Sunny Sunday

HUGE SUNSPOT: If you have a solar telescope, point it at the sun. A huge sunspot is turning toward Earth. Philippe Tosi of Nîmes, France, took this picture of AR2192 on Oct. 18th:

An inset picture of Earth shows the scale of the sunspot. All by tself, the primary dark core could swallow a planet twice as wide as our own.

Big sunspots pose a threat for strong flares, and this behemoth is no exception. Last week, while it was still on the farside of the sun, AR2192 unleashed several potent blasts including this massive CME. Now it is crackling with C-class flares that could herald something stronger: NOAA forecasters estimate a 30% chance of M-class flares and a 5% chance of X-flares in the next 24 hours.

@ SPACEWEATHER.com

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Saturday Orwellian Reading

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Central to George Orwell’s nightmarish vision of a totalitarian society was a government so powerful that it not only dominated all of the major institutions in a society, but it also was quite adept at making invisible its inner workings of power. This is what some have called a shadow government, deep state, dual state or corporate state. (1) In the deep state, politics becomes the domain of the ultra-wealthy, the powerful few who run powerful financial services, big corporations and the imperious elite of the defense industries and other components of the military-industrial complex. Corporate interests such as ExxonMobil and other fossil fuel companies, megabanks such as Bank of America, and defense industries such as Boeing, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin are powerful lobbying groups and as such have control of the major seats of political power and the commanding institutions necessary to insure that the deeply anti-democratic state rules in the interests of the few while exploiting and repressing the many.

Henry A. Giroux @ TRUTHDIG

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FrriiDae PHuhKNeez

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Nice, no joke!

Nice, no joke!

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It’s All Big in Texas Including BooBoo’s

Second Texas nurse with Ebola transferred to special facility

Ebola in Texas
Members of Dallas fire-rescue hazmat unit prepare to decontaminate common areas near the apartment of a second healthcare worker who has tested positive for Ebola. Photograph: Sana Syed/AP

The second nurse diagnosed with Ebola in Texas was transferred from Dallas to a special bio-containment unit in Atlanta, officials announced on Wednesday, as they acknowledged failings in the response to the arrival of the virus in the US.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also said that the 29-year-old nurse, Amber Vinson, flew on a commercial flight from Cleveland, Ohio to Dallas with a low-grade temperature a day before she was diagnosed. While in Ohio, she also reportedly travelled from Cleveland to Akron.

Concerns about the US response to the crisis intensified on Wednesday night when it was reported that Vinson told the CDC that she had a slight fever before she boarded the flight but was not told to stay put.

Citing a federal source, CNN reported that the nurse said she had a temperature of 99.5F (37.5C) before boarding the flight on 13 October. But since that was below the CDC’s temperature threshold of 100.4F, “she was not told not to fly”.

Vinson is the second healthcare worker to have contracted Ebola at Texas Health Presbyterian hospital in Dallas, which treated Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian who was the first patient in the US to be diagnosed with Ebola. Another nurse, 26-year-old Nina Pham, was diagnosed at the weekend. Both had cared for Duncan, who died in an isolation ward on 8 October.

@ THE GUARDIAN

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To Secret or Not To Secret

Featured photo - NSA: Even the Secrets We Tell You Are Too Secret For You To Know About

It’s an assertion that defies common sense but speaks volumes about how the U.S. intelligence complex dodges accountability: The National Security Agency is arguing that even the secrets it has intentionally disclosed to reporters are still so secret that disclosing their disclosure threatens national security.

At issue is a report to Congress from the NSA on instances of “authorized disclosures” of classified intelligence to the media. The report was mandated by the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013.

Steven Aftergood, who writes the essential Secrecy News blog for the Federation of American Scientists, requested a copy under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

The NSA’s response, dated Oct. 2: “The document is classified because its disclosure could reasonably be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security.”

Has it ever been more clear that the NSA uses the phrase “could reasonably be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security” as a euphemism for “could gravely embarrass us?”

Dan Froomkin @ TI

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