Top public health officials traveled to Washington to help members of Congress film campaign ads. Rick Scott behaved like a rich guy on live TV. And John Pistole is stepping down as TSA administrator. In a ceremony, officials will give him back his toothpaste and sunblock. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, October 16th, 2014:
SENATE TORTURE REPORT GOES EASY ON PEOPLE WHO ORDERED TORTURE - Jonathan S. Landay, Ali Watkins and Marisa Taylor: "A soon-to-be released Senate report on the CIA doesn’t assess the responsibility of former President George W. Bush or his top aides for any of the abuses of the agency’s detention and interrogation program, avoiding a full public accounting of one of the darkest chapters of the war on terror. 'This report is not about the White House. It’s not about the president. It’s not about criminal liability. It’s about the CIA’s actions or inactions,' said a person familiar with the document, who asked not to be further identified because the executive summary -- the only part to that will be made public -- still is in the final stages of declassification. The Senate Intelligence Committee report also didn’t examine the responsibility of top Bush administration lawyers in crafting the legal framework that permitted the CIA to use simulated drowning called waterboarding and other interrogation methods widely described as torture, McClatchy has learned." [McClatchy]
MORE LAWMAKERS WANT TRAVEL BAN - An episode of experts versus people swayed by their constituents' Facebook posts. Mike McAuliff: "Growing numbers of lawmakers on Thursday called for a ban on travel from the West African nations at the center of the Ebola epidemic, spurning the advice of the nation's top health officials who testified that such an action would be counterproductive. Cries to cut off travel from the affected nations escalated dramatically with the arrival in Texas of Thomas Eric Duncan, who contracted the disease in Liberia and became sick after he arrived in the United States, and whose infection has spread to two nurses who cared for him. At least 40 members of Congress have gone on record seeking a travel ban, and several pressed the case for one in a hearing on Capitol Hill. 'It needs to be solved in Africa, but until then, we should not be letting these people in, period,' said Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), the chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, which held the hearing." HuffPost
Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) to Tom Frieden: "I understand the concerns about humanitarianism, et cetera, but don't you think we should at least restrict travel on dogs?"
Read Jason Linkins on travel ban hysteria.
RICK SCOTT HAS SUBLIME MELTDOWN - It is hard to overstate the weirdness and awkward amazingness of what happened in Florida last night. Mollie Reilly: "Florida's second gubernatorial debate got off to a bizarre start Wednesday evening when incumbent Gov. Rick Scott (R) initially refused to debate his opponent because he had a fan under his lectern. Democratic candidate Charlie Crist, the former Florida governor hoping to unseat Scott in next month's election, had a small electric fan placed under his lectern. This, Scott's campaign claimed, violated the debate's 'no electronics' rule. 'Ladies and gentlemen, we have a an extremely peculiar situation right now,' debate moderator Elliot Rodriguez of CBS Miami told the crowd, as the camera panned to two empty lecterns onstage. Seconds later, Crist walked onstage, but Scott was absent. [HuffPost]
SCOTT'S EXPLANATION MADE ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE - When he finally made it on stage, these are the words that fell out of Rick Scott's mouth: "I waited to see if he -- ’til -- we figured out if he was going to show up. He said he wasn’t gonna come to the -- he said he wasn’t gonna come to the debate. So why come out until he’s ready?" [As transcribed by BuzzFeed's Andrew Kaczynski]
FYI: @JohnJHarwood: in NBC/WSJ poll, presidential approval Oct of mid-term election: '98 Clinton 68%; '02 Bush 63%; '06 Bush 38%; '10 Obama 47%; now Obama 42%
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - The director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Thursday that a nurse potentially exposed to Ebola checked with the agency before boarding a commercial flight this week. "I have not reviewed exactly what was said, but she did contact our agency and she did board the plane," Tom Frieden told lawmakers during a congressional hearing. Frieden had said during a Wednesday press conference that Amber Vinson, one of the nurses who cared for the man who died of Ebola at a Dallas hospital, should not have been allowed to get on a commercial flight on Monday. But a CDC spokesman subsequently said the agency had cleared Vinson to fly despite her slightly elevated temperature. Did a single member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee ask about this discrepancy? No. They asked about a travel ban. Each one of them. For three hours. [HuffPost]
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SENATE DEMS WARY OF DETENTION PLAN - Humberto Sanchez: "A group of 10 Democratic Senators, including the party’s leaders, raised concerns with Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson over plans for a massive new detention facility for immigrants here illegally. 'This decision threatens to make permanent a practice of presumptive detention for families and marks a reversal of this administration’s family detention policy,' the letter said. 'We fear that the result will be the ongoing detention of asylum-seeking women and children who have shown a credible fear of being returned to their home country and pose no flight risk or danger to the community,” the letter continued. “We are particularly concerned with the negative consequences of long-term detention on the physical and mental well-being of young children.'" [Roll Call]
REFRIGERATOR MAGNET POLICY POETRY FROM LOUIE GOHMERT - Andrew Kaczynski: "A Republican Texas congressman says the Center for Disease Control is part of the 'Democrats’ war on woman nurses.' 'Ya know it’s a shame that the CDC head, Frieden, and apparently is the new commander of the Democrats’ war on woman nurses,' Rep. Louie Gohmert said on Glenn Beck’s radio program. 'Because they set them up and then they throw them under the bus.'" [BuzzFeed]
JONI ERNST BRINGS THE PRO-LIFE - Laura Bassett: "Iowa Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst said she would support a federal bill that gives legal personhood rights to fetuses from the moment of fertilization, effectively wiping out legal abortion in the United States. Ernst voted for a fetal personhood amendment in the Iowa State legislature in 2013, and she told the Sioux City Journal editorial board on Wednesday that she also would support a federal personhood measure if she were elected to the U.S. Senate. 'I will continue to stand by that. I am a pro-life candidate, and this has been shaped by my religious beliefs through the years,' she said. 'So I support that.'" Wait, so when would the child tax credit start to kick in? [HuffPost]
JEFF FLAKE'S KID AGAIN - "The owners of a suburban Phoenix dog-boarding kennel and two caretakers, one of them the son of U.S. Senator Jeff Flake, were indicted on animal cruelty charges on Wednesday after the deaths of 21 dogs at the facility in June, county prosecutors said. A state grand jury indicted kennel owners Jesse Todd Hughes and Maleisia Hughes each with 22 felony and seven misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals and one count of fraud for the incident inside a cramped room at the Green Acre boarding facility, prosecutors said." [Reuters]
ARKANSAS SUPREME COURT STRIKES DOWN VOTER SUPPRESSION - Andrew DeMillo: "Arkansas' highest court on Wednesday struck down a state law that requires voters to show photo identification before casting a ballot, ruling the requirement unconstitutional just days before early voting begins." [AP]
PISTOLE OUT - "John Pistole, administrator of the U.S. Transportation Security Administration, will retire, the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement Thursday. Pistole's retirement will be effective Dec. 31. According to a press release from the TSA, Pistole is expected to work in academia beginning in early 2015." [HuffPost]
BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Enjoy this dog confronting a giant zombie hand.
- Pictures of dogs. http://bzfd.it/1vjoXXm
- Cockaigne, the medieval paradise and modern-day banana bread. http://bit.ly/1fUzXAC
- Little doggy can't reach ball. http://on.fb.me/1w9uPBI
- Amazing video of Marine unharmed after sniper fire to helmet. http://bit.ly/1wNcjyf
- Rude squirrel wakes panda. http://bit.ly/1ty2TcV
@TinaDupuy: So far every case of Ebola in this country got it by helping people. So relax, Republicans, you're in the clear.
@jdickerson: As we freak out over the latest thing, I wonder if we'd have had time to plan for it if we weren't always freaked out about the latest thing
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