Binyamin Appelbaum of the New York Times: "An upbeat would end its latest-bond buying campaign on schedule at the end of the month. The Fed, in a statement issued after a two-day meeting of its policy-making committee, said the bond-buying program had served its purpose by contributing to stronger job growth. The Fed also upgraded its appraisal of labor market conditions, saying that 'underutilization of labor market resources is gradually diminishing.'” ...said on Wednesday that the economic recovery was chugging along and that it
... Janie Boschma of the National Journal: "A new study shows that the U.S. economy would expand by $2.1 trillion in gross domestic product if racial minorities had equal access and opportunities in the job market. The report, 'The Equity Solution,' was released last week by PolicyLink and the University of Southern California's Program for Environmental and Regional Equity." CW: I couldn't have put a number on it, but the study's finding is obvious. This is just one more way Republicans -- who consistently dog-whistle minority oppression -- hurt the economy.
The Real Reason the GOP Hates ObamaCare. Kevin Quealy & Margot Sanger-Katz of the New York Times: "The data shows [sic!] that the [ACA] has done something rather unusual in the American economy this century: It has pushed back against inequality, essentially redistributing income — in the form of health insurance or insurance subsidies — to many of the groups that have fared poorly over the last few decades. The biggest winners from the law include people between the ages of 18 and 34; blacks; Hispanics; and people who live in rural areas.... Each of these trends is going in the opposite direction of larger economic patterns." ...
... Sarah Varney in Politico Magazine: How Mississippi's Tea party politicians stopped the "invasion" of ObamaCare & ensured that Mississippians would remain the sickest in the nation. ...
... "Jim Crow All Over Again." Greg Palast of Al Jazeera America: "Election officials in 27 states, most of them Republicans, have launched a program that threatens a massive purge of voters from the rolls. Millions, especially black, Hispanic and Asian-American voters, are at risk. Already, tens of thousands have been removed in at least one battleground state, and the numbers are expected to climb, according to a six-month-long, nationwide investigation by Al Jazeera America. At the heart of this voter-roll scrub is the Interstate Crosscheck program, which has generated a master list of nearly 7 million names. Officials say that these names represent legions of fraudsters who are not only registered but have actually voted in two or more states in the same election — a felony punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison."
... Via Juan Cole.
Recidivists on the Street. Ben Protess & Jessica Silver-Greenberg of the New York Times: "Wall Street has committed the corporate equivalent of a parole violation: Just two years after avoiding prosecution for a variety of crimes, some of the world’s biggest banks are suspected of having broken their promises to behave. Those broken promises, a mixture of new crimes and lingering problems, could violate earlier settlements that imposed reforms and fines on the banks but stopped short of criminal charges, according to lawyers briefed on the cases. Prosecutors are exploring whether to strengthen the earlier deals, the lawyers said, or scrap them altogether and force the banks to plead guilty to a crime."
Eric Bradner of CNN: "President Barack Obama took more thinly-veiled shots at governors like New Jersey's Chris Christie on Wednesday, saying the mandatory quarantine policies some states have imposed amount to 'hiding under the covers' from Ebola. After visiting a group of health care workers who'd recently returned from the epicenter of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa -- some still within the virus's 21-day incubation period, but showing no symptoms -- Obama said policies like states requiring three-week quarantines of doctors and nurses who treated Ebola patients could harm U.S. efforts to stop its spread":
... Dave Philipps of the New York Times: "The nurse who was quarantined after returning from treating has given the State of Maine until Thursday to let her move freely, setting up what could be a test case of whether state quarantines are legal. The nurse, Kaci Hickox, 33, who was confined first by New Jersey when she came back to the United States and then by Maine, did a blitz on morning television challenging her confinement by Maine officials and saying that she would not continue to obey the restrictions." ...patients in West Africa
... Gail Sullivan & Abby Ohlheiser of the Washington Post: "Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) is looking for ways to force a nurse released from mandatory Ebola isolation in New Jersey to abide by a similar 21-day quarantine in Maine." ...
... Kaitlyn Chana & Doug Stanglin of USA Today: "Two state police cars were stationed Wednesday outside the rural home of [Kaci Hickox's] boyfriend, Ted Wilbur, in Fort Kent where she has been living, WLBZ-TV reports." ...
... Danny Vinik explains why quarantining the military is different from quarantining private medical personnel. CW: I'd add this: many of the military troops we're sending to Ebola-stricken countries are not medical professionals (though some are), while most of the private American citizens working in these countries are specialists in contagious diseases. It is likely (though hardly guaranteed) that the trained healthcare workers will be better at self-monitoring & otherwise acting prudently. ...
... Here's more on the same subject from David Alexander of Reuters.
Marina Koren of the National Journal: "Press secretary Josh Earnest said Wednesday afternoon that the Obama administration does not think that Netanyahu ... is in fact a 'chickenshit.'" CW: Darn. Just yesterday, that was the official off-the-record epithet for Bibi.
Over the last several months, I have watched the administration insult ally after ally. I am tired of the administration’s apology tour. The president sets the tone for his administration. He either condones the profanity and disrespect used by the most senior members of his administration, or he does not. It is time for him to get his house in order and tell the people that can’t muster professionalism that it is time to move on. -- Speaker John Boehner ...
Danny Vinik of the New Republic: President Obama is a much better crisis manager than the media report. CW: I agree. If, for instance, you compare President Obama's speech yesterday -- embedded above -- on Ebola caregivers with Christie's crude treatment of Kaci Hickox, you cannot help but be grateful for Obama's leadership & shudder at the thought of any GOP president. Now let's see if Obama can successfully maneuver the chickenshit crisis.
Spencer Ackerman of the Guardian: "Congressional progressives are calling on President Barack Obama to allow them to view secret videotapes depicting graphic forced tube feedings for Guantánamo Bay detainees. In a letter to be sent to the White House on Thursday, the co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus [Raul Grijalva (D-Az.) & Keith Ellison (Minn.)] request the administration provide legislators with videotapes showing the force-feedings of detainees Abu Wa’el Dhiab and Imad Abdullah Hassan, which they call 'contrary to American laws or values'."
** Dana Milbank on Ben Bradlee's funeral:
Forget "Human Exceptionalism." Jerry Coyne argues in the New Republic that Pope Francis's views on evolution & the Big Bang theory "make no sense.... The Catholic Church is in a tough spot, straddling an equipoise between modern science and antiscientific medieval theology. When it jettisons the idea of the soul, of God’s intervention in the Big Bang and human evolution, and the notion of Adam and Eve as our historical ancestors, then Catholicism will be compatible with evolution. But then it would not be Catholicism."
Tim Cook, Apple CEO, in Bloomberg: "I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me."
Gail Collins looks to the future when we have a Republican Senate. Ferinstance, "... the Environment Committee could wind up being led by James Inhofe, the author of 'The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future.'”
A New Generation of Stoopid? Ron Fournier of the National Journal: "In a stunning turnaround, likely voters in the so-called millennial generation prefer a Republican-led Congress after next week's elections, and young Hispanics are turning sharply against President Obama. A new national poll of 18-to-29-year-olds by Harvard's Institute of Politics shows that young Americans are leaving the new Democratic coalition that twice elected Obama. The news is little better for the GOP: These voters, who more than any other voting bloc represent the future of the American electorate, generally hold Republicans in the lowest regard." ...
... Steve M.: "Millennials overall: pro-Democrat by 7 points. The subset of definite voters: pro-Republican by 4. That just means millennials are becoming like their elders.... They don't vote in midterms.... They're growing up to be typical American left and centrist voters -- disinclined to support the Republican agenda but not informed or motivated enough to oppose electing Republicans. Mission accomplished, GOP."
Jeremy Peters of the New York Times: "In the final days before the election, Democrats in the closest Senate races across the South are turning to racially charged messages — invoking ’s death, the unrest in Ferguson, Mo., and Jim Crow-era segregation — to jolt African-Americans into voting and stop a Republican takeover in Washington. The images and words they are using are striking for how overtly they play on fears of intimidation and repression.... The effort is being led by national Democrats and their state party organizations...."
Margaret Hartmann of New York has another great post on "interesting things" that happened yesterday in the midterm campaigns.
Maine. Randy Billings of the Portland Press Herald: "Independent U.S. Sen. Angus King on Wednesday announced his support for U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud in the Maine governor’s race. King previously endorsed independent Eliot Cutler, who in turn used the endorsement in television ads. However, Cutler said at a news conference Wednesday that he is a long shot to win on Nov. 4 and urged his supporters to 'vote their conscience.'” ...
... Alec MacGillis of the New Republic: " This was surely not an easy concession for Cutler (and secondarily King) to make, but they deserve credit for acknowledging, if somewhat belatedly, where things were heading. Politics is about real people, and in the case of Maine, starkly so. Tens of thousands of low-income Maine residents are far more likely to get a lot more economic security as a result of what happened on this one day."
Beyond the Beltway
Jon Swaine of the Guardian: "The police department overseeing the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, over the killing of an unarmed 18-year-old has spent tens of thousands of dollars replenishing their stocks of teargas, 'less lethal' ammunition and riot gear in advance of a potential revival in demonstrations. St Louis County police made the purchases amid concerns that hundreds of demonstrators will return to the streets if Darren Wilson, the officer who shot dead Michael Brown in August, is not indicted on criminal charges by a grand jury currently considering the case."
A Weasel Doesn't Change Its Spots. Susanne Craig of the New York Times: "Gov. has faced intense scrutiny in recent months, including an investigation by federal prosecutors, over his management of a commission that he created to root out corruption in New York politics, but prevented from examining his administration’s conduct and then prematurely shut down. An analysis of Mr. Cuomo’s handling of an earlier investigative commission, which highlighted the failures of electric companies in the aftermath of , reveals some of the same hallmarks: interference, efforts to shield his administration’s role and a sense that the governor had a clear idea at the outset of what the commission should conclude."
Right Wing World
Just Got a Little Crazier
Jonathan Chait: "The Obama era has seen a resurgence of conservative constitutional fetishism — the belief that the Constitution not only requires the Republican domestic agenda, but is figuratively or even literally divine. Fox News columnist and television personality Dr. Keith Ablow has ... applied [this premise] toward American foreign policy. The result is a remarkable column calling for what he calls 'American Jihad.' 'Our Constitution is a sacred document that better defines and preserves the liberty and autonomy of human beings than the charter of any other nation on earth.... An American jihad would embrace the correct belief that if every nation on earth were governed by freely elected leaders and by our Constitution, the world would be a far better place.' Note that Ablow ... is endorsing a campaign of conquest aimed at literally every other country on Earth."