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  • Ebola czar’s first few days on the job involve…phone calls and meetings
    Posted October 24, 2014 at 2:03 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

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    White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Friday that the first few days on the job for Ebola czar Ron Klain has involved lots and lots of meetings.

    “He is somebody who has been convening meetings and regularly working closely with officials at the CDC and HHS as they have put in place some of the protocols that have been announced over the course of this week,” Earnest said, referring to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services.

    Ebola coordinator Ron Klain has been on the job three days, and is involved in many meetings and phone calls, according to the White House. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

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  • VA fires Alabama official who lied to member of Congress, but appeal is still possible
    Posted October 24, 2014 at 1:02 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

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    More than two months after a member of Congress said a Department of Veterans Affairs lied to her, the VA says it has fired that official.

    The VA announced Friday that it “formally removed” the director of the Alabama Veterans Healthcare System. While the VA didn’t name the official, it’s James Talton, who was recently put on leave with pay.

    The Department of Veterans Affairs, run by Secretary Robert McDonald, says it fired a VA official on Friday. (AP Photo/The Tampa Bay Times, James Borchuck)

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  • Darrell Issa warns absent Ebola czar he needs to show up to the next hearing
    Posted October 24, 2014 at 10:22 am by Pete Kasperowicz

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    House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said he was “disappointed” that President Barack Obama’s new Ebola czar, Ron Klain, did not appear before his hearing on Ebola Friday morning, and warned that Klain shouldn’t skip the next hearing.

    “We did invite the president’s new czar, Mr. Klain, to testify, and we’re very disappointed that he was not able to,” Issa said as he opened the hearing. “But we understand he has just started, and we do not expect that that would be repeated if there’s a followup hearing.”

    Ebola coordinator Ron Klain wasn’t at a House hearing on Ebola on Friday, which prompted Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) to warn that Klain will need to be at any followup hearings that might be held. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

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  • Nurses demand federal standards to keep them safe from Ebola
    Posted October 24, 2014 at 9:08 am by Pete Kasperowicz

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    The nation’s largest association of registered nurses on Friday blasted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for providing substandard guidelines for protecting nurses against Ebola, and called on the federal government to set national standards to keep nurses safe.

    Deborah Burger, co-president of National Nurses United, was one of several witnesses scheduled to appear at Friday’s House Oversight Committee hearing on the nation’s response to Ebola.

    Pedestrians pass the Bedford Avenue L Subway station in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn that was visited by Craig Spencer, a Doctors Without Borders physician who tested positive for the Ebola virus on Thursday. Spencer recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

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  • House members prep bill to stop U.S. government payouts to Nazis
    Posted October 23, 2014 at 5:02 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

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    Reps. Sam Johnson (R-Texas) and Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) said Thursday that they’ve teamed up to write legislation that would prevent the U.S. from paying out any Social Security benefits to Nazi war criminals.

    The bill is a response to an Associated Press report that found $1.5 million in benefits had been paid out to 28 Nazi war criminals by 1999. Some payments had continued as part of a deal under which the war criminals agreed to leave the United States and return to countries where they might be tried.

    nazihelmet

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  • Hilarious: Al Sharpton vs. teleprompter AGAIN
    Posted October 23, 2014 at 4:45 pm by Stu Burguiere

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    You may find this hard to believe but Al Sharpton is connected to this story…sort of.

    See, in a world of incredible uncertainty, one thing can be relied on: Al Sharpton will always fail in his daily battle with the teleprompter on MSNBC. In his latest run in with the English language, geography became quite the impediment.

    So, we have another hilarious example of his bumbling ways, providing plenty of humor on Pat & Stu. Enjoy Reverend Al’s latest uber-fail (enhanced by Pat’s megaphone) at the mark 8:15 mark:

  • North Carolina asks NAACP for clarification about alleged remarks misleading voters
    Posted October 23, 2014 at 4:28 pm by Tom Orr

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    For the Record’s Oct. 15 episode, “General Holder’s War,” addressed the agenda of Attorney General Eric Holder’s Justice Department to obstruct state efforts to ensure the integrity of their elections. The DOJ argues against these efforts, saying concern for “voter fraud” is a myth used only as a pretense to suppress the voting rights of minorities.

    North Carolina is one state that has been at the center of this battle with the Department of Justice. Government watchdog Judicial Watch has released a letter suggesting North Carolina’s concern over voting shenanigans may be well-founded.

    The letter regards a speaker at a recent NAACP conference in North Carolina. Judicial Watch describes that the conference speaker “urged audience members to mislead the NAACP’s own members” in order “to create confusion and animosity during the upcoming mid-term elections in North Carolina, and to use the evidence of that confusion in the ongoing litigation between Eric Holder’s Justice Department and North Carolina and to show that North Carolina’s election integrity laws are discriminatory.”

    An excerpt from the letter reads:

    Rev. Barber urged those in attendance to take unregistered voters to vote during the Early Voting period and to engage in get-out-the vote activities that included transporting registered voters to vote in precincts in which they are not assigned to vote on Election Day, or words to that effect. The stated purpose for these activities, as I understand it, was to gather evidence for and thereby enhance plaintiff’s prospects of success in the litigation involving [North Carolina’s Election Integrity Laws].

    Attorneys for the state of North Carolina have asked the NAACP in the letter for clarification of the alleged remarks.

    J. Christian Adams, a former Justice Department official and counsel at the Election Law Center, said he expects both administration officials and leftist organizations will claim this wasn’t an example of attempted fraud and will likely continue to deny voter fraud exists at all, despite such obvious examples.

    “They don’t have a choice, they have to downplay the behavior … they view elections as a way to gain power, power to them is everything,” Adams told TheBlaze. “Both the legal rules and the rules of civility are unimportant.”

    Adams said the alleged NAACP voter manipulation is “another example of this culture of lawlessness,” and the scale is much bigger than most people care to admit.

    “It’s so pervasive in our elections, this culture of disruption, deception, win by any means necessary, it’s brazen … and it’s very unfortunate that it occurred,” he said. “The scale is more complicated than you realize, and bigger. On one side of the scale are law abiding citizens who built this country and on the other side are gangsters who are lusting over control of government … it’s a question of what’s the most important thing in life? Is it having power, or something else?”

    Adams said while there will always be people who choose power over civility, the American society has found ways to keep those folks at bay.

    “For the first 230 years of [America’s] existence, we’ve kept those people encaged,” he said. “We’ve kept the base instincts under control through a variety of means; the law, shame, the stocks, there’s different ways to contain that gangster instinct, but unfortunately something has uncorked it in the last few years.”

  • VA secretary blows off John McCain after promising to work with Congress
    Posted October 23, 2014 at 3:25 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

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    Over the summer, incoming Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald promised to discipline officials involved in the scandal that denied thousands of veterans health care services, and promised to work closely with Congress to fix the broken VA.

    Three months later, those two pledges have gone unfulfilled — McDonald has threatened to fire just a handful of people, and has let some of them escape into early retirement.

    Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald, center, is ignoring questions from Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) about why VA officials involved in the health care scandal have not been fired, and why many are still on unpaid leave. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

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  • Screw-ups on Ebola: Another failure of big, expansive and expensive government
    Posted October 23, 2014 at 3:12 pm by Chris Salcedo

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    The national debt is ballooning toward $18-trillion. The expansion of government under the liberalism in carnet, Resident Obama, will add up to more than his predecessors combined. What has been the result of all of this deficit spending? We’ve had a failed stimulus, a crashing Obamacare, a border incapable of stopping thousands of children from crossing illegally, a weakened military and a bloated bureaucracy focused on abusing its authority rather than doing the job it’s supposed to do.

    Case in point: the government’s response to the Ebola crisis has been rightly criticized. Let’s forget, for the moment, big government’s failure in allowing Ebola from Africa to flow right on to our front doorstep. The response should give pause to any American. Protecting the public health is something most all Americans agree is the responsibility of the government. The government has said they need countless American tax dollars to do this worthwhile job. We’ve been assured by Dan Pfeiffer, senior White House Advisor, that Team Obama has been working on a response to Ebola since the outbreak in West Africa seven months ago. In that time, our government has managed a memo to the nation’s hospitals. No special training, no special equipment, nothing!

    I’m not the only one to observe this crisis as evidence of the failure of big and costly government. Cue to 18:35 and listen through the first break to hear the rationale:

  • Islamic State makes a stunning $30 to $40 million each month through oil, kidnapping, extortion
    Posted October 23, 2014 at 2:29 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

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    The Obama administration’s Treasury Department said Thursday that the Islamic State is earning about $30 million each month by smuggling oil out of the Middle East, and earns millions more through kidnapping and extortion.

    David Cohen, under secretary of Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence, reiterated that the Islamic State is a very-well financed terrorist organization, and said U.S. officials are continuing to work on ways to reduce those profits.

    Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen talks about actions the Treasury Department is taking to combat financing for the Islamic State group during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

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  • Obama administration will let key witness testify on lost IRS emails…after the election…maybe
    Posted October 23, 2014 at 1:12 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

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    House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) on Wednesday accused the Obama administration of preventing an official with information about the IRS scandal from testifying until after the November election.

    Camp wrote to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew to point out that his committee asked in mid-September to hear testimony from Hannah Stott-Bumstead, a lawyer who may have been the first person told about the lost emails of former IRS official Lois Lerner.

    Congress is still asking questions about the scandal involving Lois Lerner and the IRS, run by Commissioner John Koskinen, but the Treasury Department is delaying the availability of a key witness. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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  • Democrat says ‘Leave It to Beaver’ family structure doesn’t work anymore
    Posted October 23, 2014 at 10:18 am by Pete Kasperowicz

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    Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) on Thursday tweeted out that the family structure portrayed on the classic TV show “Leave It to Beaver” doesn’t work for “21st century working families,” and implied that those sorts of families aren’t good enough for working women anymore.

    “We must help #womensucceed!” she tweeted.

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  • GOP lawmaker: Be ready for tighter security, Islamic State is ‘out to get us’
    Posted October 23, 2014 at 9:15 am by Pete Kasperowicz

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    Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) said the United States needs to step up its surveillance of possible terrorists who are being directed by the Islamic State, in the wake of Wednesday’s shooting in Canada by a man who had just converted to Islam.

    King also warned that the Islamic State is “out to get us,” and that there have been signs for the past few weeks that the group has called for these kinds of attacks. While it’s not clear that the shooter in Canada was motivated by the Islamic State, Canadian officials had designated him as a “high risk traveller.”


    King, who sits on the House Intelligence and Homeland Security Committees, said the U.S. has already started to tighten up security at possible terrorist targets in the United States.

    “There are real concerns because there has been an increase in chatter over the last week, because the fact that ISIS has made it clear going back over several weeks now that they want to attack military personnel and their families,” King said on Fox News Wednesday night.

    “That’s why we see, for instance, the increase in security at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier today, at consulates in this country,” he said. “You’re going see, I believe, an increase in security throughout the country, certainly at any target that could be considered targeted by the terrorists.”

    Canadian officials on Wednesday identified Michael Zehaf-Bibeau as the man who shot and killed a guard at a war memorial and then entered the Canadian Parliament before being shot and killed. When asked what can be done to stop this kind of lone-wolf terrorists, King said the U.S. needs to be more proactive by boosting surveillance of these suspects.

    “We have to be more aggressive. And if we have any indication or any inkling at all, there has to be, I think, much more intense surveillance and coverage of them,” he said.

    “We have to have greater surveillance,” King added. “We can’t be sitting back and be passive. We can’t be somehow hoping it’s not going to happen. They are serious about this.”

    The shooting drew reactions from other House leaders, including House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who said countries will “not be intimidated by those who seek violence, repression, and fear.”

  • Oh those whacky Kurds!
    Posted October 22, 2014 at 3:28 pm by Stu Burguiere

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    So the Kurds have a new weapon in their fight against the Islamic State. Humor. Well, we think it’s humor, but it’s kind of difficult to tell. You decide.

    The fun begins at the 23:20-mark:

  • ‘For the Record’ live blog: ‘Boston Blueprint’
    Posted October 22, 2014 at 3:22 pm by Steve Krakauer

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    While you watch tonight’s new episode of For the Record, “Boston Blueprint,” about a mosque with potential connections to terrorism, join the conversation here with producers and reporters at TheBlaze. We’ll have behind-the-scenes pictures and details, related links, polls and much more. The live blog begins at 8 p.m. ET.

  • Congressional pockets get at least $150 million deeper
    Posted October 22, 2014 at 2:17 pm by Elizabeth Kreft

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    Congress is at least $150 million richer, according to a new report.

    For the Record aired “Beltway Nation” earlier this month highlighting the lucrative culture of waste, corruption and abuse of power in Washington, D.C. New numbers released this week illustrating the increasing wealth of members of Congress further demonstrate the opportunities for self-enrichment available to insiders of America’s political culture.

    (Source: Shutterstock)

    The total financial gain averages between $300,000 to $3.9 million per lawmaker, to a new report. (Photo credit: Shutterstock)

    Roll Call reported Tuesday that the combined minimum net worth of Congress jumped up to $2.1 billion dollars, an increase of more than $150 million since 2013. The numbers come from a Congressional Quarterly Roll Call analysis based on the financial disclosures filed last year by each member of Congress or delegate. The total financial gain averages out between $300,000 to $3.9 million per lawmaker, but as Roll Call points out, not unlike the average wealth spread across the rest of America, the deepest pockets are “concentrated at the top.”

    “The top five lawmakers on the list had more than 37 percent of the combined minimum net worth reported of all 538 members and delegates,” Roll Call reported. “The minimum net worth of the 50 Richest was $1.7 billion, or more than 80 percent of the total for the entire Congress.”

    The real sticker shock comes with this realization: this analysis is based on wide-ranging estimates. Congressional members aren’t required to get specific with their total wealth numbers; they can simple list ranges such as “between $1 and $5 million” or “more than $50 million.”

    “The actual reported wealth of Congress would be significantly higher if Congress required members to disclose all of their assets and to disclose them with precision … disclosure rules also require lawmakers to list mortgages, which count against net worth, but not home values, which would be one of the biggest assets of many members,” Roll Call noted.

    This sharp upward trend has continued since 2012 when – for the first time in its history – Congress had a majority of millionaires on the payroll, according to OpenSecrets.org, which tracks money in U.S. politics.

    “It’s no surprise that the wealth of Congress continues to increase in this way,” Vivica Novak, editorial director for Open Secrets, told TheBlaze. “It’s a trajectory that has been going on for quite some time.”

    Mark Leibovich, chief national correspondent for the New York Times Magazine, told For the Record that the growing wealth in Congress breeds a dangerous disconnect with the constituents the members are supposed to represent.

    “It’s not sustainable, this level of revulsion for this capital and this level of self-satisfaction that has grown up here,” he said. “This level of wealth here [and] the relative lack of wealth in the rest of the country. I mean, I think at some point disconnect, you know, takes a toll and, and the comfortable are afflicted.”

    Follow Elizabeth Kreft (@elizabethakreft) on Twitter

  • Heritage study implies only 2.5 million uninsured people, at most, signed up for Obamacare
    Posted October 22, 2014 at 1:12 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

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    A study released by the Heritage Foundation indicates that as few as 2.5 million previously uninsured people signed up for Obamacare in 2014, far less than the 8 million enrollments the Obama administration has touted this year.

    The study noted that through the first half of 2014, insurance companies reported an increase of 6.25 million new individual health plans, a total that includes people who bought plans on an Obamacare exchange, and those who bought outside the exchanges.

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  • Obama administration instructs schools on how to handle bullying against kids with food allergies
    Posted October 22, 2014 at 11:32 am by Pete Kasperowicz

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    The Department of Education on Tuesday sent out detailed guidance to schools across the country outlining how schools should react to kids who bully people with disabilities, including ADHD and food allergies.

    The 13-page letter was offered to remind schools that “bullying is wrong,” and that schools that federal laws require them to ensure bullying does not get in the way of kids’ education. It also offers examples of the correct way schools should act to avoid violations of these.

    Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has released new guidance for how schools are required to deal with bullying against kids with food allergies and other disabilities. (Photo by Diane Bondareff/Invision for The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation/AP Images)

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  • Who is the most trusted source for news?
    Posted October 21, 2014 at 7:06 pm by Stu Burguiere

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    Today on Pat & Stu we discussed an interesting new poll on who is trusted more as a source for news. We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with where TheBlaze ranked! And thank you!

    The discussion began at the 24:20 mark:

    Click here to read the story.

  • Government blowing money on zombie musicals, rabbit massages, watching grass grow
    Posted October 21, 2014 at 4:20 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

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    Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) on Tuesday offered a glimpse of his annual report on government waste, which this year will reveal how the government is subsidizing everything from studies on monkeys playing video games, to laughing classes for college students.

    Coburn’s office released a video teaser of his latest Wastebook report that outlines several key elements of this year’s findings:

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  • Government holds conference on the dangers of driving while tired
    Posted October 21, 2014 at 3:35 pm by Pete Kasperowicz

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    The National Transportation Safety Board on Tuesday held an all-day conference on the importance of staying fully awake while driving on public roadways — an event that flirted with the irony of putting viewers to sleep and at greater risk of getting in an accident while driving home.

    The conference — “Awake, Alert, Alive: Overcoming the Dangers of Drowsy Driving” — was held at the NTSB boardroom, and used up most of the day hammering home the seemingly obvious point that driving while sleepy is dangerous.

    It also attracted a very sparse audience. Pictures of the NTSB’s boardroom showed that attendees appeared to be comprised of panelists and maybe one or two others. When the second panel ended by mid-morning, the board room looked like this:

    endofpanel2

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  • Power grid expert: New federal ‘reliability’ standard lulls nation into false sense of security
    Posted October 21, 2014 at 12:23 pm by Elizabeth Kreft

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    A federal agency charged with protecting the reliability of the United States’ power grid last week rejected an appeal by industry experts who say a new “hollow” reliability standard leaves the country wide open to widespread blackouts.

    In April, For the Record revealed the gaps in security for the U.S. infrastructure in “Unguarded.” Dr. Peter Pry, a U.S. energy grid expert, says Thursday’s decision to uphold the North American Electric Reliability Corporation standard will plague the overall protection of the grid.

    CBS San Francisco Transformer Substation Attacked

    Experts argue extra-high voltage transformers need additional protection from manmade attacks and natural events, such as solar flares and other geomagnetic disturbances. But the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission shot down a “last-stop” appeal from some grid experts to prevent a “junk science” reliability standard from being implemented. (Image source: CBS San Francisco)

    “On Oct. 16, the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the Geomagnetic Disturbance Standard proposed by the [NERC], despite the gross inadequacy of the standard,” Pry, executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and director of the U.S. Nuclear Strategy Forum, told TheBlaze.

    Pry explained this was a “last-stop” effort to keep the federal agency from implementing “junk science.”

    “This is a big set back for those of us trying to protect our nation …  it is better to have no GMD standard than a fake GMD standard that will lull policymakers and the public into complacency about an existential threat to our civilization,” he said.

    The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is tasked with safeguarding the grid from both manmade attacks and natural events so high voltage transmissions can still function between states in the event of an incident. But Pry said two big issues with the FERC-approved standard would actually made the grid more vulnerable.

    “In this standard it does not require the electric power industry to place [geomagnetically induced current] monitors at the transformer substations,” Pry explained. “The idea here is that if you had these monitors at transformer substations, you’d actually be collecting real data over the years on the geomagnetic fields.”

    Pry asked, “So, why would anybody who’s serious about protecting transformers … object to having monitors installed to measure what the real stress is?”

    He said this question uncovers the second “glaring” problem with the standard.

    “They want to stick with their fictional computer models … that underestimate the threat to the electric grid from natural EMP from the sun by a factor of at least two and probably five,” he said.

    The problem with the reliability standard is much like building the wrong kind of house in a hurricane zone, Pry explained.

    “For example, it’s as if this document says the winds for a hurricane would never go above 100 miles per hour, but we know the data says otherwise and they can go twice as high,” he said. “You wouldn’t build a house that could only withstand half the winds expected … and these geomagnetic threats can actually go five times higher than NERC claims.”

    The former chair of the Congressional EMP Commission said the lack of national security protection offered to critical U.S.’ infrastructure continues to be a problem, but the states have the authority to implement solutions.  He said the fix lies with the Public Utilities Commissions in each state, which can direct how their grid systems should be protected.

    “Over the last year FERC has been lobbying and bringing pressure to bear and trying to muzzle the good guys,” he said, emphasizing that the states should not trust the “bureaucrats in Washington and the electric power industry” to protect the grid at the federal level.

    “Few arguments are better than NERC’s own hollow GMD standard for geomagnetic storms to prove that the states should not wait for Washington, but should act now to protect their grids and the lives of their peoples,” Pry said.

    Check out a clip from “Unguarded” here, or find the entire episode on the For the Record show page.

    Follow Elizabeth Kreft (@elizabethakreft) on Twitter

  • George W. Bush’s former health secretary supports ‘very aggressive’ Ebola travel restrictions
    Posted October 21, 2014 at 11:37 am by Pete Kasperowicz

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    Michael Leavitt, who served as Health and Human Services secretary under President George W. Bush, on Tuesday recommended “serious” travel restrictions on anyone trying to enter the United States from a country experiencing an Ebola outbreak, until the situation in West Africa is under better control.

    “I don’t know that blanket travel bans have worked,” he said on CSPAN Tuesday morning. “But I think having very serious travel restrictions, even to the point of saying if you come from an area where Ebola is prevalent, that we’re going to restrict your travel, I think that’s a reasonable approach.”

    Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 11.13.06 AM

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  • Blaze poll: Will Monica Lewinsky’s return to the spotlight help or hurt Hillary?
    Posted October 21, 2014 at 10:53 am by Mike Opelka

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    She’s baaaaack.

    Monica Lewinsky joined Twitter on Monday, accumulating 50,000 followers in less than a day.

     She also made a very public appearance, speaking to a crowd of 1,000 attendees of Forbes’ “30 Under 30 Summit” in Philadelphia. For the first time, Lewinsky spoke publicly about her affair with then-President Bill Clinton.

    The world’s most famous intern also declared herself “patient zero” and the first victim of online bullying. She said her new mission is to eliminate online bullying.

    Lewinsky’s speech has drawn considerable media attention, with many asking if her return to public life will cause any problems for a 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential run.

    We would love to know what you think.

    Take TheBlaze’s poll and share your comments below:

  • Report says hundreds federal workers have been on paid leave for anywhere from 1 to 3 years
    Posted October 21, 2014 at 10:24 am by Pete Kasperowicz

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    A new report from the Government Accountability Office found that 263 federal workers have taken anywhere from one to three years of paid administrative leave between 2011 and 2013, and that taxpayers shelled out $31 million for all that paid time away from work.

    The report also found that while 48 percent of federal workers took less than five days of paid leave from 2011 to 2013, 52 percent took six or more days of paid leave. GAO said 53,055 federal workers took one to three months of paid time off.

    Taxpayers are paying millions for federal workers to take paid time off, and have paid $3.1 billion for all the time off taken from 2011 to 2013. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB

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