De Blasio’s Warning: 'Do Not Hesitate to Call 911 if You Have Symptoms'

It’s no surprise that the first case of Ebola in New York City has put the city on edge. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio held a press conference today to try and allay some of those fears, while offering a warning to those who meet the city’s qualifications for quarantine.

Craig Spencer, a doctor who had recently returned from Guinea, is New York City’s first patient to test positive for Ebola. De Blasio assured the city that the patients’ fiancé is being quarantined and they are “looking at individual contacts.” He then repeated what the city knows so far about the troubling situation:

“We know the patient took the subway, went to bowling alley and a few food establishments before being admitted to Bellevue. We’ve retraced those steps.”

The mayor then emphasized that casual contact cannot lead to acquiring the disease, only direct contact with the patient’s bodily fluids.

De Blasio concluded his statements by telling New Yorkers what they could and should do to prevent a proliferation of the disease. He insisted that if anyone has traveled from the three African countries under question or exhibits certain symptoms, they only have two options:

“If you or a loved one may meet these qualifications in the last 21 days and have a fever, it’s crucial to call 911 immediately or go to the emergency room. These are the only two acceptable actions. Do not wait or hesitate.”

Hopefully New Yorkers heed De Blasio’s warning.

Islamic Terror In Canada: Obama Yawns, Sends A Shout-Out

On this week's Townhall Weekend Journal:

Bill Bennett and election expert, Sean Trende of Real Clear Politics break down the races. Michael Medved on Tavis Smiley's remarkably transparent comment regarding the black vote. Hugh Hewitt with U.S. Federal Prosecutor Andrew McCarthy, then with Victor Davis Hanson, and then with Mark Steyn--they discuss Islamic terror arriving in Ottawa, Canada. Bill Bennett and Pete Wehner, Sr. Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center discuss how "in the dumps" the economy is. Dennis Prager on Idaho legislators subpoenaed 5 Christian pastors to hand over their sermons to see how "tolerant" they were with homosexuality.

Shocking Poll: Republican Charlie Baker Up 9 Points...in MA?

That’s not a typo. A new Boston Globe poll has Republican Charlie Baker up nine percentage points over his Democratic opponent Martha Coakley. Even if this poll is an outlier (which seems at least plausible given the race has been very close for weeks), Baker is probably still the front-runner. The Republican is earning 45 percent of the vote; his opponent is capturing just 36 percent.

This is honestly surprising. You don’t need me to tell you that Massachusetts is as liberal a state as they come, as evidenced by the last presidential election. Now, however, the Republican in the race has opened up (almost) a double-digit lead.

Why? The Boston Globe has some insight:

The poll depicts an electorate highly susceptible to the recent barrage of political advertising on television. Two weeks ago, Coakley, the state’s attorney general, led Baker by 5 points in the same poll. According to estimates from Kantar Media/CMAG, a firm that tracks political television commercials, $2.2 million in ads paid for by gubernatorial candidates and allied groups — more than 1,700 individual spots — aired on broadcast television from Oct. 12 through Oct. 19.

This also might have something to do with it:

In the governor’s race, Baker has picked up momentum with an across-the-board improvement on questions where voters were asked which candidate would do a better job handling certain broad policy areas. For instance, in mid-September, the poll gave him a 15-point lead over Coakley on creating jobs. In this week’s poll, he is ahead by 24 points.

Unenrolled voters make up roughly half of the state’s electorate. So since since Baker is now dominating independents (57/20), and only losing women by a few percentage points, he’s put himself in a position to win. Democrats still back their party’s candidate by an overwhelming margin (73/13), but Baker’s lead among male voters (55/30) and indies (see above), could make the difference. There are also rumblings that voters want to take the state in a new direction. Fifty-two percent of respondents say Baker “will manage the state effectively”; only 27 percent said Coakley would.

His messaging to voters, therefore, seems to be moving the needle.

Enhanced Airport Screenings For Ebola Don't Work

Late last week the Department of Homeland Security announced that not only would temperatures of all passengers returning to the United States on flights from West Africa be taken at airports, but that passengers from the region could only land at five major international airports in the U.S.

The latest case of Ebola in New York City proves that these enhanced airport screenings don't work. Doctor Craig Spencer returned from the country of Guinea in West Africa on October 17 after treating patients with Ebola. He was screened at JFK international airport upon entrance and didn't have a fever or other symptoms. The CDC cleared him. Six days later, Spencer was rushed to the hospital because he does in fact have Ebola and had been carrying the disease. Just hours before coming down with a 103 degree fever, Spencer took an Uber ride to a bowling alley and rode the subway. He has been riding the New York City subway system since he was cleared at the airport. 

Screening procedures federal government officials have implemented at airports to make it look like they're doing something to protect the health of Americans, don't work to keep Ebola out of the country. It's only a matter of time before someone else from West Africa who isn't a doctor comes to the United States carrying the disease, but gets into the country due to being non-symptomatic at the time of entry. This is exactly how Thomas Eric Duncan, the man who recently died of Ebola in Dallas, brought the disease to the U.S.

Meanwhile, the White House still refuses to put a travel ban on the table as an option.

Video: DWS Struggles to Name One Competitive Senate Race Obama Has Campaigned In


Painfully awkward political theater, even by Debbie's standards.  Here she is trying to trumpet the fact that President Obama is campaigning in competitive races around the country (he's so far stumped for two statewide candidates by my count, each in deep blue states, and neither running for Senate), even though he's largely been "benched" by the party she chairs.  When pressed to name the Senate races in which O's been a player, Debbie does her thing:


Grimace-worthy, unresponsive rambling.  Also known as a typical day at the office for DWS -- who commands exactly zero respect from the White House, as this eye-opening Politico piece made excruciatingly clear.  Here's what she can't say: "Most of our candidates in competitive races don't want Obama around because his approval rating is underwater in all but six states."  But that's the reality.  In New Hampshire last night, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen tried to pretend the president's absence on her behalf was due to 'scheduling conflicts' or whatever, when in fact, he's simply honoring her polite behind the scenes request to stay the hell away.  It's not that she opposes his agenda -- far from it -- but she can read the polls as well as anyone else.  Another DWS point that deserves ridicule is her little tangent about how historically well-positioned Democrats are for a second term Congressional election.  We might hold our losses to single digits in the House, guys!  This is "good news," she explains, because the president's party typically loses a few dozen seats in these scenarios.  But this tendentious analysis ignores the minor detail that the GOP won 63 House seats in 2010 in an anti-Obama backlash election, and retained most of their gains in 2012.  Republicans near their historic ceiling in the lower chamber, yet they're still poised to gain seats.  Great success, intones Debbie.  Part of me will miss her when she's gone.  Which she will be.  See, again: The Politico story linked above, and please don't stop reading until you get to the part when she denies that the DWS in her DWS PAC doesn't stand for her initials.  A perfectly Schultzian, comically implausible, lie.  As for holding the Senate, I broke things down last night over at HotAir, using the Georgia race as a spring board:

Is Obama right that a Nunn victory would guarantee Reid’s Democratic majority hangs on to power? Not necessarily. It’s undeniably true that if the Democrats flip a red state into the blue column (the top prospects being GA, KS, and KY, the latter two of which Obama lost by more than 20 points), their power protection lift gets significantly lighter. But if — if — Republicans carry every seat in which their nominees currently lead in the polls (AR, AK, CO, IA, LA, MT, SD, WV), they could *technically* withstand losses in two of those three aforementioned races and still emerge with a 51-49 edge. I stressed ‘technically’ because let’s be honest: If Democrats pick off a pair of GOP-held seats in McCain/Romney turf this fall, the likelihood of Team Red sweeping the other eight races feels remote.

Remember, the only contests Republicans appear to have secured at this juncture are in West Virginia and Montana, plus (probably) South Dakota and Arkansas. Begich and Landrieu are definitely down, but they aren’t quite out; and while things are looking up in both Colorado and Iowa, those are still states carried twice by Obama where Democratic nominees are within striking distance. (On the other side of that coin, the same standard also applies to Thom Tillis and Scott Brown in North Carolina and New Hampshire, respectively). The point is that Republicans have multiple paths to get to (+6), so a Nunn victory wouldn’t single-handedly derail the GOP Majority Express. But it’d make those paths a lot narrower, and would likely indicate that 2014 did not turn out to be the big wave year Republicans were hoping for.

And in case you were curious, no, Michelle Nunn won't condemn this repulsive flier her party is passing around to manipulate and scare black voters.  I'll leave you with this clip; try to stick around through the mindless talking points until the very end, and Wolf's follow-up:



Two Weeks Out: Ads, Cash, and Clinton Descend Upon North Carolina

We crossed the two-week mark and ads, cash, and the Clintons are descending upon North Carolina. With the race virtually tied and early voting beginning today, groups from both sides are spending and releasing ads to make their final case.

On the Hagan side, the League of Conservation Voters are hitting Tillis over his environmental stances, even using the dreaded Koch brothers as their boogeyman. The two ads are part of a $400,000 ad buy.

One ad that was played pervasively when I went down to North Carolina hit Tillis over abortion and Planned Parenthood; Hagan needs to continue to do this to keep women voters on her side. Nationally, women are beginning to break for the GOP.

Another ad by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee features a woman who calls Tillis’ record on women “horrifying.” This is part of a massive $9.1 million ad buy the DSCC made last August and runs until all the ballots are counted on Election Day.

On the other side, the Tillis campaign released this ad slamming Hagan over allegations that her family’s business profited after receiving stimulus money; a bill she voted for while in the U.S. Senate. According to the Washington Free Beacon, it contributed to her 37 percent rise in net worth since her 2008 win over then-Sen. Elizabeth Dole.

Additionally, NRA, Freedom Partners Action Fund, and Crossroads GPS all hit Hagan over Second Amendment issues, voting with Obama 95 percent of the time, and the controversy surrounding stimulus cash injections to her family’s business.

Abortion, the environment, gun rights, corruption, and Barack Obama’s policies–all issues meant to consolidate base support, which both sides have done quite well. Hagan is leading by 3 points in the latest D+7 PPP poll, but it noted that Hagan and Tillis are each garnering equal shares of the Democratic and Republican vote in North Carolina.

Meanwhile, a Gravis poll released around the same time of the PPP poll found that Tillis was leading Hagan by 5 points based on a sample of 1,022 likely voters.

That’s probably why Freedom Partners Action Fund, a PAC associated with the Koch brothers, is chipping in $6.5 million for the last two weeks of campaigning in the Iowa, Colorado, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Arkansas, and Alaska Senate races.

Hagan has outraised the Tillis campaign, but he’s been able to haul in a respectable amount of campaign cash to fill his war chest as the 2014 elections come to a close. Overall, Republicans across the country have seen a surge in fundraising in the final weeks of the campaign, with eight GOP candidates outraising her Democratic opponents for the first time.

We shall see how the Clinton factor plays into the North Carolina race as well; the former Secretary of State plans to make a pit stop in the Tar Heel state this weekend. As for Tillis, Gov. Romney is coming down to help him out next week.

Potential Terror in New York City: Man Attacks Police With a Hatchet

Yesterday a man with a hatchet attacked two police officers in New York City, striking one in the head and the other in the arm. He was shot to death shortly after engaging the officers. The officer who was struck in the head suffered a skull fracture, but is in stable condition at a hospital. More from NBC New York

The officers, all recent graduates of the Police Academy assigned to the 103rd Precinct in Jamaica, were asked to pose for a picture by a freelance photographer at the intersection of 162nd Street and Jamaica Avenue shortly before 2 p.m. when the man attacked them from behind, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said.

The suspect "charged at the officers with a hatchet in his hand," Bratton said. "Unprovoked and not speaking a word, the male then swung at one of the officers with a hatchet, striking his right arm. After striking that officer, the suspect continuing swinging the hatchet, striking a second officer in the head."

The metal hatchet was about 18 inches long.

Law enforcement officials identified the suspect as 32-year-old Zale Thompson.

The attack came just one day after a Canadian soldier was shot to death while on guard at the National War Memorial in Ottawa and shortly after the FBI released a memo to law enforcement warning of attacks on police officers from ISIS sympathizers.

The memo was issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as a Joint Intelligence Bulletin and is titled, “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and Its Supporters Encouraging Attacks Against Law Enforcement and Government Personnel.” It is labeled, “UNCLASSIFIED/FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY” and asserts that it may be exempt from the Freedom of Information Act and should not be released tot he public, the media, or anyone else not authorized by the DHS.

The document alerts US law enforcement personnel, including FBI Special Agents, to be aware of their surroundings and to monitor their families’ use of social media to “avoid revealing FBI or law enforcement affiliation.”

Terror in this case is not being ruled out and reviews of Zale's social media pages show discussion and posts favorable to terror.

Islamic State Twitter accounts also appear to be taking credit for the attack.

H/T Bill

Fast and Furious: Family of Slain Border Patrol Agent "Baffled" Obama's Executive Privilege Used to Protect Holder's Wife

Late Wednesday evening the Department of Justice turned over a list, or Vaughn Index, of Operation Fast and Furious documents being held from the American people and Congress under President Obama's assertion of executive privilege. The list was turned over after a long legal battle with government watchdog Judicial Watch. Yesterday in an initial review of the list by Judicial Watch, it was revealed Attorney General Eric Holder was involved in crafting talking points for the cover-up of the operation from within DOJ and that President Obama asserted executive privilege over emails between Holder, his wife and his mother. 

The family of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, who was murdered in the Arizona desert in December 2010 by Mexican bandits carrying guns obtained through Fast and Furious, is baffled that the President would use his executive authority to protect Holder's wife and is disappointed with the continuing lack of transparency from DOJ and the White House.

"We are shocked that some of these Vaughn Index documents show that Attorney General Holder was personally involved in crafting talking points and helping his office in responding to the Congressional inquiry into Operation Fast and Furious from very early on. We are baffled that personal emails from the Attorney General to his wife and mother are part of the information covered by the President's claim of Executive Privilege," Terry family spokesman Ralph Terry said in a statement. 

"Furthermore, we are incredibly saddened that even after the death of Brian Terry and four years after Operation Fast and Furious was put to an end, the weapons of Operation Fast and Furious continue to appear and present a clear danger to the public. The Administration continues to show no remorse for their actions in Operation Fast and Furious. The Department of Justice continues to engage in deceptive measures that are designed to cover up the links between multiple acts of violence and the guns that were allowed to be bought by straw buyers and ultimately delivered to some of the most violent criminals in North America," Terry continued. "As evidenced by the weapon recovered in Phoenix, the Attorney General has once again failed to inform Congress and the American people that the weapons from the botched gun trafficking program put into place by ATF and former U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke continue to injure and maim American citizens. We urge President Obama to cooperate with Congress and to release the thousands of documents outlined in the Vaughn Index. Americans deserve the truth and deserve transparency from their government in this matter."

Terry is referring to a 2013 gang-shootout at a Phoenix apartment complex that left two men injured. An AK-47 recovered at the scene was obtained through Fast and Furious and used to carry out the crime. The connection between the incident and Fast and Furious was not disclosed to Congress by DOJ until after a Judicial Watch freedom of information lawsuit against the City of Phoenix was issued and details about where the guns in the incident came from were reveled. 

The Vaughn Index is more than 1300 pages long and the documents being withheld from Congress and the American people under President Obama's executive privilege total more than 15,000 pages. A federal judge is currently presiding over a lawsuit from the House Oversight Committee that questions whether Obama's assertion of privilege is valid in this case.

Shaheen: Obama's Too "Busy" to Campaign For Me

Concord, NH – Although tonight’s debate was closed to the public – i.e., there was no live television studio audience – one thing was clear from being on the ground in New Hampshire: Unlike two nights ago, Scott Brown fans were there and energized. It may be hard to see, but one Brown supporter (below in the red rain jacket) was wielding a microphone, leading “Go Scott Go” chants hours before the cameras rolled.

Computer Hope

In the background, you can see where the debate is being held (alas, I did not gain access myself), and to the far left (not shown) is where Team Shaheen supporters gathered. My sense is that there were actually more Brown supporters at the venue tonight than Shaheen supporters, but since (again) the debate was closed to the public, it should be noted that most people planned to watch the debate from home. Indeed, one of the security guards told me most of the journalists from the major New Hampshire newspapers weren’t even bothering to show up.

In any case, tonight’s debate was markedly different from two nights ago. Perhaps because there was no studio audience, both candidates seemed more subdued and less inclined to go on the attack. I also think Sen. Shaheen stumbled a bit. For example, the moderator, Wolf Blitzer, asked her if she wanted President Obama to come campaign for her. This is what she said:

She also said she was “proud” of her partisan record.

Still, Blitzer didn’t let Brown off the hook, either. For instance, while he routinely says on the campaign trail his opponent votes with the president “99 percent of the time,” Blitzer confronted him with the unsavory fact that during his last year in Washington, he voted…78 percent of the time with President Obama. This was a clever question that undercut one of the most widely-touted themes of his campaign – namely, that he was once the most bipartisan senator in Washington.

Interestingly, the candidates spent the first 15 minutes of the debate talking about either Ebola or ISIS. This was a bit surprising. They also discussed immigration, border security, the minimum wage, and jobs and the economy. On these issues, I cannot remember anything memorable happening. They both did well.

For what it's worth, the candidates will debate one more time before Granite Staters head to the polls. But I'll leave you with this, which gives some indication of who the winner was:

NEC Poll: Brown: 48; Shaheen: 47

Concord, NH -- I rounded up. Below are the exact percentages among registered likely voters:

The race is a coin flip, although each candidate has something to feel good about. Without leaners, Shaheen is locking up 88 percent of Democrats (Brown is only capturing 80 percent of Republicans) while the president’s approval rating is surprisingly above water (48/47). (The survey below suggests the latter statistic is an outlier. It's also inconsistent with other polls we've seen). Brown, on the other hand, is capturing independents (49/44) and men (50/46). He’s also only losing female voters by four percentage points (45/49).

Meanwhile, CNN/ORC’s freshly-released survey is equally interesting if contradictory. Among likely voters, the top-line number shows Shaheen barely edging Brown (49/47). In this poll, however, the president fares much worse. His job approval rating is upside down (39/57) -- although Sen. Shaheen is viewed slightly more favorably (52/45) than her opponent (48/50). Unlike the survey above, though, she holds a double-digit lead among female voters (54/44).

Bottom line: These polls indicate there is no front-runner. That being said, both polls were conducted before Tuesday night’s television debate. And there are two more. Speaking of which, I'll be attending the second one this evening at the University of New Hampshire. Politico has the details:

Shaheen and Brown will debate tonight on NH1, the new cable news station in the state, at 7 p.m. EDT. The debate, which will be co-moderated by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and NH1’s Paul Steinhauser, will also air on CNN across the country on tape delay at 11 p.m.

Federal Judge Deals Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn Ethics Blow

Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn was dealt an ethics blow by a federal judge this week, just 12 days before Election Day. 

The judge granted a request to appoint a monitor to oversee hiring practices at the Department of Transportation in Illinois after allegations that the Quinn administration put politics above job qualifications when filling positions. 

The Chicago Tribune reports:

The transportation agency came under fire in April after Chicago attorney Michael Shakman, who has long crusaded against patronage, argued the Quinn administration was filling positions based on political considerations rather than job qualifications.

A subsequent report by the state Executive Inspector General Ricardo Meza outlined how Quinn had failed to rein in patronage abuses at IDOT after replacing ousted ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Meza maintained hundreds of people were hired into so-called "staff assistant" positions without having to go through strict personnel procedures under rules designed to keep politics out of most state hiring.

Quinn fired 58 people hired into staff assistant jobs, but decided to keep another 103. Attorneys for his office have argued a court monitor was not needed because reforms were put into place following the inspector general's report, contending the ethics watchdog acts as an independent watchdog.

Shakman argued the changes amounted to little more than public relations, and questioned the thoroughness of the inspector general report.

Republican challenger Bruce Rauner has been hitting Quinn on ethics issues for months now, so this will certainly help validate those attacks.

"A federal judge in Chicago confirmed what we’ve known all along – Pat Quinn is a phony reformer who can't be trusted to clean up state government," a Rauner campaign email stated. 

It will be interesting to see how much, if at all, this ethics blow will affect Quinn at the ballot box, especially because the race is a toss up right now.

PPP: Hagan Up 3 Over Tillis, Race Still A Toss-Up

A new PPP poll has Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan up 3 points over her Republican challenger Thom Tillis. Wait; didn’t Tillis say that Hagan is going to lose on Nov. 4? Did they not smell “victory in the air?”

Everyone, relax. As Tillis told Townhall, single digits in North Carolina decide races–and his campaign officials said that the Tar Heel state has a history of races breaking late. On Teusday night, there was another Senate debate, with one notable exception: Kay Hagan was absent. So, with two weeks out from Election Day, Thom Tillis had a solid hour to make a final argument with North Carolina voters in a race that’s virtually tied; reasons that MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow mentioned in her rant against Hagan for skipping the debate.

My colleague Guy Benson had this zinger last night.

So, how does the poll breakdown? First, it’s a D+7 poll. Second, it’s not shocking where the bases of support for Hagan and Tillis comes from in this race [emphasis mine]:

Hagan is up 49/37 with women, 85/4 with African Americans, and 61/27 with young voters. Meanwhile Tillis is up 49/42 with men, 55/34 with white voters, and 54/37 with seniors. Tillis is ahead 43/38 with independents but in an unusual finding for North Carolina politics, Hagan is getting the same share of the Democratic vote (81%) that Tillis getting of the Republican vote and if you do that as a Democrat in North Carolina you're generally going to win given the party's voter registration advantage in the state.

There’s also a question of how strong the evangelical vote will turn out this year. They’re one-third of North Carolina’s electorate, but this bloc of voters is difficult to poll. Yet, there are other positive indicators.

Education has been the Achilles heel of the Tillis campaign; a point even his own staff has admitted in private, but they are hoping this line of attack from Hagan and national Democrats has hit a ceiling with voters, according to the Washington Examiner.

As reported here at Townhall, foreign affairs has played a crucial role is shifting the debate away from Hagan’s “sins of Raleigh” strategy, even admitting to skipping an Armed Services hearing to attend a fundraiser last February. There are also questions relating to allegations that her family profited from stimulus cash injections they received for their business; questions that would have inevitably come up if she had attended last night’s debate.

But let’s not forget the Obama factor. Despite red state Democrats trying to run away from him, Obama keeps spoiling that narrative by saying his policies are on the ballot this November–and that they all support his agenda.

Tillis’ campaign manager, Jordan Shaw, sent out this memo as to why Hagan would skip the debate last night:

• On Friday, Sen. Hagan flip-flopped on implementing a travel ban from Ebola-inflicted countries. While Thom was one of the first Senate candidates in the nation to call for a travel ban, Sen. Hagan equivocated on the issue for weeks, even criticizing the idea of a ban at times, all while praising President Obama and the CDC for their “great guidance” in addressing Ebola.

• At the October 7th debate hosted by the N.C. Association of Broadcasters, Hagan couldn’t name a single instance where she regretted supporting President Obama’s policies, which she has done 96 percent of the time. Following the debate, Hagan admitted that she skipped a classified Armed Services Committee hearing on ISIS to attend a cocktail fundraiser in New York City, but has thus far refused to tell journalists why she chose to do so.

• At the October 9th debate hosted by WECT, Hagan struggled to answer questions about her family’s $390,000 stimulus payday, insisting that she consulted a lawyer who deemed taking the taxpayer money was “appropriate” even though Hagan was directly benefitting from legislation she voted for

As Tillis told Townhall, he knew he wouldn’t be leading in the polls during the summer, but he’s seeing a shift in direction towards him with undecided voters who may decide this election. Right now, Hagan and Tillis are garnering equal shares of the Democratic and Republican vote in North Carolina, which means this race will come down to turnout and it could be incredibly close.

Right now, both sides have eyes on early voting–and it’s not looking good for Democrats (via WaPo):

Compared to overall voter registration, Iowa and North Carolina Democrats are doing much worse than earlier in the month, and Republicans in those states much better.

How to read this: A red or blue dot above the diagonal line shows that the Republican (or, for a blue dot, Democratic) vote in the state comprises a larger percentage of the early vote than the total voter pool. A dot below the line indicates that the early vote is under-performing for that demographic. The further above or below the line the dot falls, the better or worse the group is faring. The change since the last time we did this is indicated with a line connected to the small dot at the previous percentage.

Interestingly, unaffiliated/undeclared voters are uniformly underperforming their registration numbers, perhaps in part because campaigns aren't targeting them as aggressively in the early vote process. But that puts the poor performance of Democratic campaigns in sharper relief. If unaffiliated voters are underperforming as a percentage of all of the votes that are in, one would expect the two parties to be overperforming.

But Democrats aren't. The bad news for them is clear: the extent to which the red dots are above the line and the blue dots are below it. In what we expect to be a relatively low-turnout election, Democrats would want (and really need) to leverage their generally superior turnout mechanisms to bank votes early. So far, they're getting beaten at that effort.

The bad news for Republicans is that — as we mentioned two weeks ago — these numbers can and will change quickly.

In all, Republican voters are turning out at higher rates–and that's not good news for Kay Hagan.

Editors note: Upon reviewing the North Carolina Board Of Elections website, in-person early voting began today.  We tried contacting the the board of elections multiple times, but high caller volume prevented us from getting a clarification on the early voting numbers from the Washington Post piece.  It's probably a calculation of the absentee ballots, but we will keep you updated on this matter.  

Poll: Cotton Way Up in AR

By eight percentage points, to be exact, if this poll is to be taken seriously. Last summer, when Talk Business and Politics, along with Hendrix College, conducted and released their last joint survey, Cotton’s lead was small (44/42). Now, however, he’s on much firmer footing (49/41) and “poised” to unseat Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Pryor on Nov. 4th.

“As early voting begins and candidates begin their homestretch run, Cong. Cotton is poised to knock off Sen. Pryor barring any major disasters,” Talk Business & Politics Editor-in-Chief Roby Brock said in a statement. “I do think this race tightens, however, as Democrats are pushing for a massive get-out-the-vote effort among newly registered and dormant voters. How big that impact will be is anyone’s guess. It’s complicated and nearly impossible to accurately poll that universe."

Nevertheless, Cotton is currently winning male voters (55/37) and female voters (although, according to the pollsters, his lead among the latter demographic “is small”), independents (59/28), and seniors (51/42). For these reasons, he’s opened up an enormous lead.

But can Pryor close it?

“Moving into early voting, our survey says advantage Cotton,” Dr. Jay Barth argued in his analysis after reviewing the findings. “For Pryor to close the gap, a monstrous and effectively targeted turnout operation and the entrance of large numbers of new registrants into the fold are both essential.”

Boosting turnout, in other words, could save him -- or at least make the race more competitive. But as things currently stand, he's in trouble.

BREAKING: Judicial Watch Obtains List of Fast and Furious Documents Held Under Obama's Executive Privilege

Late last night the Department of Justice complied with a court order and turned over a list to government watchdog Judicial Watch , known as a Vaughn Index, of Fast and Furious documents being held from Congress and the American people under President Obama's assertion of executive privilege. Not surprisingly, DOJ failed to fully comply with the requirements of providing a Vaughn Index. 

The Vaughn index explains 15,662 documents. Typically, a Vaughn index must: (1) identify each record withheld; (2) state the statutory exemption claimed; and (3) explain how disclosure would damage the interests protected by the claimed exemption. The Vaughn index arguably fails to provide all of this required information but does provide plenty of interesting information for a public kept in the dark for years about the Fast and Furious scandal.

Regardless, the list of documents shows Obama asserted executive privilege to protect Attorney General Eric Holder's wife and to protect information showing Holder helped to craft talking points during the fallout of the scandal. What a preliminary review of Vaughn Index by Judicial Watch shows: 

Numerous emails that detail Attorney General Holder’s direct involvement in crafting talking points, the timing of public disclosures, and handling Congressional inquiries in the Fast and Furious matter.

President Obama has asserted executive privilege over nearly 20 email communications between Holder and his spouse Sharon Malone. The administration also claims that the records are also subject to withholding under the “deliberative process” exemption. This exemption ordinarily exempts from public disclosure records that could chill internal government deliberations.

Numerous entries detail DOJ’s communications (including those of Eric Holder) concerning the White House about Fast and Furious.

The scandal required the attention of virtually every top official of the DOJ and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). Communications to and from the United States Ambassador to Mexico about the Fast and Furious matter are also described.

Many of the records are already publicly available such as letters from Congress, press clips, and typical agency communications. Ordinarily, these records would, in whole or part, be subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. Few of the records seem to even implicate presidential decision-making and advice that might be subject to President Obama’s broad and unprecedented executive privilege claim.

Keep in mind the White House has denied any involvement with Operation Fast and Furious when it was active between 2009 and 2010. The documents described in this list indicate otherwise. Further, former White House National Security Advisor Kevin O'Reilly was in contact with former ATF Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix Field Division William Newell about the details of the operation. Previous reporting shows at least three White House officials were aware of or involved in the operation despite denials after Congressional inquiries about the scandal. 

The emails Judicial Watch describes as showing Holder being directly involved "in crafting talking points, the timing of public disclosures, and handling Congressional inquiries in the Fast and Furious matter" only further solidify his role in the cover-up of the operation. As for Holder's wife Sharon Malone being involved, this is the first time her name has come up throughout the course of the Fast and Furious scandal. His mother hasn't been mentioned before, either. 

Notably, the document discloses that emails between Attorney General Holder and his wife Sharon Malone – as well as his mother – are being withheld under an extraordinary claim of executive privilege as well as a dubious claim of deliberative process privilege under the Freedom of Information Act. The “First Lady of the Justice Department” is a physician and not a government employee.

“This document provides key information about the cover-up of Fast and Furious by Attorney General Eric Holder and other high-level officials of the Obama administration. Obama’s executive privilege claims over these records are a fraud and an abuse of his office. There is no precedent for President Obama’s Nixonian assertion of executive privilege over these ordinary government agency records. Americans will be astonished that Obama asserted executive privilege over Eric Holder’s emails to his wife about Fast and Furious," Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “Once again, Judicial Watch has proven itself more effective than Congress and the establishment media in providing basic oversight of this out-of-control Administration. This Fast and Furious document provides dozens of leads for further congressional, media, and even criminal investigations.”

After more than a year of stonewalling and a lawsuit from Judicial Watch, DOJ attorneys asked for an extension until November 3, the day before the midterm elections, to turn of the list explaining more than 15,000 documents. That request was denied.

President Obama asserted executive privilege over thousands of Fast and Furious documents just moments before Holder was held in contempt of Congress by the House Oversight Committee in June 2012. That same month, Republicans and Democrats in the House voted Holder in civil and criminal contempt of Congress. Holder is the first sitting cabinet member in U.S. history to be held in contempt of Congress. After six years at the Department of Justice, Holder submitted his resignation to President Obama in September, but will stay in his position until a new Attorney General is confirmed after the midterm elections.

This post has been updated with additional information. 

CNN Makes a Mockery of the Worst Moment of Bristol Palin’s Life, She Responds

Bristol Palin was pushed to the ground. She was dragged across the grass. She was called a “slut.” She was robbed.

CNN’s Carol Costello thought that was hilarious.

In what was perhaps the worst moment of Bristol’s life, the media treated her as a laughingstock. Outlets couldn’t wait to report on the “Palin family brawl” or the “thrilla in Wasilla” that occurred at a party in Anchorage, Alaska, and turn it into a TMZ segment. Heck, it was probably even on the verge of becoming a Saturday Night Live skit. MSNBC’s Joy Reid referred to it as a “stunt” and said John McCain should apologize for putting Sarah Palin on the ballot in 2008. But, the worst “report” of all, had to be this insensitive segment from CNN’s Costello.

CNN obtained the audio from the unfortunate incident. In the clip, an exhausted and shaken Bristol describes how a stranger pushed her sister Willow, then assaulted her. To make matters worse, Bristol had her five-year-old son Tripp in the car and she was clearly concerned for his safety as well. It is this audio clip that Costella told her viewers to “sit back and enjoy:”

When the Ray Rice scandal broke and that terrifying video surfaced of the football player knocking his fiancé to the ground and dragging her out of an elevator, Costello slammed Fox News for supposedly making light of it. She also made sure to inform her viewers about the very real dangers of domestic assault. Here she is reading off a few statistics, for instance, that 1 in 4 women experience domestic violence and women 20 to 24-years-old are at greatest risk.

Fast forward a month later, Costello is openly mocking Bristol Palin for…being a victim of physical assault. You’d think she’d change her mind about making jokes about the encounter after listening to the troubling clip, but at the end, she merely says, “You can thank me later.”

Shame on Costello and her fellow media outlets for taking a horrible moment in Bristol’s life and turning it into a farce. Bristol and her family were in serious danger. You can hear the terror in Bristol’s voice when she’s speaking to the police.

It is for this reason that Bristol decided to respond to the media on her blog and share the real story: She and her sister Willow were brutally attacked and Bristol only “took a swing” at the attacker to defend herself. In a separate post, she asked how anyone could be so cruel as to call the disturbing police clip (which she refuses to ever listen to) as the "best audio" they've ever heard in their life? Bristol also wasn’t afraid to pinpoint the reason why the media is treating the incident so lightly: they are biased against conservative women.

Thankfully, we have journalists like the Daily Caller's Matt Lewis who are willing to go on TV and shame the media. Kudos to some media for admitting their mistakes as well, like Morning Joe’s Mika Brzezinski, who acknowledged the show had initially reported the story with a humorous tone.

Costello has yet to apologize.

UPDATE: She just did.

Obama: We Need Michelle Nunn to Win So The Democrat Senate Can Advance My Agenda

Over the past few weeks Democrats have expressed great frustration with the White House and President Obama's desperate attempts to tie himself to vulnerable candidates. Democrats have done everything possible to distance themselves from President Obama, whose 60 percent disapproval rating among voters is proving toxic. Candidates don't want Obama campaigning for them and won't even admit to voting for him in 2008 or 2012 when asked by reporters. 

Democrats are running from Obama's agenda just ahead of the midterm elections and the President is chasing them. 

First, during a speech at Northwestern University President Obama said his agenda is absolutely on the ballot for the midterms as Democrats have desperately tried to argue this election isn't about him. Then Obama said on Al Sharpton's radio program that "the bottom line is" vulnerable Democrats support his agenda and have repeatedly voted for it. And most recently, President Obama said during an interview earlier this week on Atlanta's Ryan Cameron Morning Show it is crucial Democrat Senate Candidate Michelle Nunn win her race against Republican David Purdue so "good work" and his agenda can continue in Washington with a Democrat majority and Harry Reid at the helm.

"If Michelle Nunn wins that means Democrats keep control of the Senate and that means that we can keep on doing some good work and so it is critically important to make sure folks vote," Obama said.

If Democrats keeping the Senate depends on keeping President Obama at a distance, then why is Obama continually inserting himself into places where he is not welcome? Over to you, Lou Dobbs.

"How much punishment can a practicing narcissist suffer?" 

President Obama, just leave the Democrats alone!

Report: WH Lied About Releasing Illegal Immigrants Charged With Violent Crimes


Rewind the tape to February of 2013, when the Obama administration was ramping up its machinations to make the federal government run as poorly as possible in order to terrify the public about the looming (microscopic) sequester cuts -- which were, we'll remind you, President Obama's own idea.  The plan was to make the "consequences" of sequestration as unavoidable and unpalatable as possible --  deliberately at the expense of responsible, priorities-oriented governance.  The White House's cynical ploy faltered, as they failed to fool most Americans, and as fact-checkers took them to task for their intentional, endless mendacity.  The sequester went into effect, and the earth did not implode.  But don't say they didn't try.  Team Obama was earnestly committed to hurting as many people as possible as a means of turning voters against the concept of fiscal responsibility. One of their most reckless gambits over the course of their calculated 'parade of horribles' was the mass release of hundreds of illegal immigrants being detained for various reasons.  The federal government couldn't afford to hold them any longer, we were informed at the time, thanks to those "draconian" budget cuts:

Federal immigration officials have released hundreds of detainees from detention centers around the country in recent days in a highly unusual effort to save money as automatic budget cuts loom in Washington, officials said Tuesday. The government has not dropped the deportation cases against the immigrants, however. The detainees have been freed on supervised release while their cases continue in court, officials said. But the decision angered many Republicans, including Representative Robert W. Goodlatte of Virginia, who said the releases were a political gambit by the Obama administration that undermined the continuing negotiations over comprehensive immigration reform and jeopardized public safety...A spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, an arm of the Department of Homeland Security, said the detainees selected for release were “noncriminals and other low-risk offenders who do not have serious criminal histories.” Officials said the releases, which began last week and continued on Tuesday, were a response to the possibility of automatic governmentwide budget cuts, known as sequestration, which are scheduled to take effect on Friday.

We're not endangering public safety, the administration insisted.  We're only releasing non-violent illegal immigrant detainees.  And we're doing it because of these tiny budget cuts, Congress.  So take the hint, and cancel the cuts.  (Lord knows there wasn't any federal fat to trim that didn't involve flinging open jail doors).  Well, USA Today has been digging into this episode and has gathered proof that the administration lied.  Surprise:

New records contradict the Obama administration's assurances to Congress and the public that the 2,200 people it freed from immigration jails last year to save money had only minor criminal records. The records, obtained by USA TODAY, show immigration officials released some undocumented immigrants who had faced far more serious criminal charges, including people charged with kidnapping, sexual assault, drug trafficking and homicide. The release sparked a furor in Congress. Republican lawmakers accused the Obama administration of setting dangerous criminals free. In response, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said it had released "low-risk offenders who do not have serious criminal records," a claim the administration repeated to the public and to members of Congress. The new records, including spreadsheets and hundreds of pages of e-mails, offer the most detailed information yet about the people ICE freed as it prepared for steep, across-the-government spending cuts in February 2013. They show that although two-thirds of the people who were freed had no criminal records, several had been arrested or convicted on charges more severe than the administration had disclosed. ICE spokeswoman Gillian Christensen acknowledged the discrepancy. She said "discretionary releases made by ICE were of low-level offenders. However, the releases involving individuals with more significant criminal histories were, by and large, dictated by special circumstances outside of the agency's control."


Uh huh.  And what, pray tell, were those "special circumstances"?  And who was calling those shots?  The story reminds readers of the extent of the administration's deceit:

In hearings last year, Republican lawmakers pressed then-ICE Director John Morton for specifics on the criminal records of the people the agency had freed. At one, Rep. J. Randy Forbes, R-Va., asked Morton directly, "No one on that list has been charged or convicted with murder, rape or sexual abuse of a minor, were they?" Morton answered, "They were not." He told lawmakers that, to his knowledge, none had faced child pornography charges. White House spokesman Jay Carney similarly described them as "low-risk, non-criminal detainees." A spreadsheet ICE officials prepared listing the detainees includes one person in Texas charged with aggravated kidnapping and sexually assaulting a child, as well as others charged with armed assaults or assaulting police officers. Another immigrant released from Miami had been charged with conspiracy to commit homicide. Two detainees from Boston had been charged with aggravated assault using a weapon. One in Denver had a sexual assault charge. 

To review: The Obama administration opposed its own budget cuts, so they bent over backwards to dream up ways of making those reductions as visible as possible, packing as much sting as possible.  So they cut loose thousands of detained illegal immigrants, while carefully assuring the public that those released were "low risk non-criminals."  That detail was important, they reckoned, because releasing violent criminals of any sort, let alone illegal immigrants, would create a backlash that might complicate their scare tactics.  But they did release violent criminals, and they lied about it.  Then again, simply releasing thousands of illegal immigrants with criminal records is par for the course; you're just not supposed to know about it.  The most transparent administration in history has gone to extraordinary lengths to conceal pertinent immigration statistics from inquiring journalists, opting instead to share the information with allied immigration activists.  Between this revelation, this disgraceful performance, and Harry Reid's breathtaking irresponsibility regarding the unaccompanied minor border crisis, Democrats are showing themselves to be the veritable definition of bad faith actors as it pertains to immigration reform.  That's why many of us who are at least theoretically in favor of a legislative package to addresses our broken system have become jaded.  Democrats and the Obama administration cannot be trusted to enforce the law or tell the truth.  Working with them to "solve" this problem is quixotic, as they clearly have no intention of solving anything.

CO Governor's Race Turns into 'Rocky Mountain Slugfest'

It is anyone’s game in the Colorado governor’s race. Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper and GOP Rep. Bob Beauprez are in a dead heat (45-44) and only eight percent of likely voters remain undecided, according a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday.

Tim Malloy, the assistant director of the poll, noted:

"In just a few weeks, what looked like a slide toward political oblivion for Gov. Hickenlooper morphs into a down-to-the-wire Rocky Mountain slugfest with Bob Beauprez.

Let's see who's still standing when the bell rings on Election Night. Will they be talking about Hick the Comeback Kid of 2014, or Bob 'The Bomber' Beauprez?"

Gov. Hickenlooper, once the most popular governor in the country according to Public Policy Polling, is now finding it much more difficult to harvest support.

Some voters are turning away from Hickenlooper due to public safety concerns. Dave Maney, chief executive officer at Deke Digital LLC, told Bloomberg he donated to Hickenlooper in 2010, but will cast his ballot this year for Beauprez:

"I saw a guy I thought matched up with the way I looked at the world who failed to stop a runaway legislature. He went from being happy to drink fracking fluid to somehow being willing to brook this giant discussion on drilling near communities. Then he moved to restrict peoples’ personal freedoms with guns."

In addition to restricting Coloradans' ability to defend themselves, Hickenlooper’s softness on crime is raising concerns. The governor intends to grant clemency to convicted death-row inmate Nathan Dunlap, a man who murdered four Chuck E. Cheese employees and seriously wounded a fifth in 1993. Family members of the victims are speaking out on the issue.

Here is a video with Dennis O'Connor, whose daughter Colleen was murdered:

This is not an isolated example of public safety dereliction, according Beauprez’s campaign manager Dustin Olson:

"Hickenlooper has a long list of public safety failures, including the release of dangerous prisoners into our neighborhoods, an understaffed Parole Division, policies that discourage accountability for parolees even for serious violations, and an inability to lead his party on common sense legislation like a Felony DUI law."

Mail in ballots began flooding in last week, and more than 330,000 Colorado voters have already made their decision.

Cosmological Film ‘The Principle’ Asks: Are We Significant?

Where do we fit in the universe? Is Earth significant? These are questions the new film, “The Principle,” attempts to answer. The low budget independent movie examines the Copernican Principle, the concept that humans are not “privileged observers of the universe,” making the case that perhaps humans are a key piece in the universe’s puzzle.

Rick Delano, writer and producer of “The Principle,” says he decided to make the film five years ago after studying surveys of the cosmos.

“They were shocking and there was a great movie in that,” he told Townhall.

His is the first documentary ever produced on the Copernican Principle. Civilization, he said, has been shaped by two things: The Scriptures and science. In Genesis, he explained, we’re at the center of everything, until science suggested we weren’t. Don’t worry if you’re not an expert on the cosmos; Delano ensures that the film is condensed into these two simple stories:

“One puts us in the center, the other says we’re insignificant. Both turn out to be correct.”

The film challenges American astronomer Carl Sagan’s notion that Earth is nothing more than a “pale blue dot,” making the case that perhaps we humans do have a unique significance in the universe.

Because of the profound questions asked in “The Principle” it is being advertised as what could be the “most controversial” movie of our time. Indeed, a slew of media outlets have already attacked the film as being too geocentric, suggesting Earth is at the center of the universe. Delano responded to these attacks:

“You have to deal with [geocentrism],” he explained. “The entire world was geocentric for 1,000 years. It’s incorrect to tell me what my film is about. Those media outlets have never seen the film.”

“The Principle” will not only challenge long held scientific beliefs, but it will challenge audiences’ faith, perhaps urging them to ask, was Earth made for us?

“There’s something in the film to challenge everyone," he said. "It’s not meant to preach to any choir. It forces the audience to think and it challenges deeply held assumptions.”

“I ask them to bring their worldview, but to consider all arguments. Make up their own mind at the end. It’s a film that will cause them to question things.”

“The Principle” will be circulated by Rocky Mountain Pictures, the same distributor behind the films Obama 2016 and Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, and will open in Chicago this weekend, followed by a national release. For more information, check out the trailer below:

Yikes: New Hampshire Democrat Holds Pro-Abortion Rally in Front of Halloween Decorations Portraying Death

Democrat Ann Kuster has been representing New Hampshire's 2nd congressional district since 2013. As our own Matt Vespa has extensively covered, New Hampshire State Republican Marilinda Garcia is challenging Kuster for her seat. At this point, the race is a toss up with less than two weeks to go until Election Day. 

Yesterday Kuster's campaign held a pro-abortion, pro-choice event in an effort to rally liberal voters and forgot to take down the Halloween decorations portraying death in the background.

Yikes. No need to point out the obvious, the situation speaks for itself.

Obamacare: Largest NC Insurer Announces Double-Digit Premium Increases


It's been a tough week for North Carolina Senator Kay Hagan, who's clinging to a razor-thin lead in her re-election fight.  She chose not to attend a 'debate' this week, ceding an hour of statewide airtime to her surging Republican opponent, Thom Tillis.  Her chair sat empty throughout the forum.  What didn't she want to discuss?  Perhaps it was her decision to skip a key classified briefing on ISIS in favor of a New York City fundraiser.  Or maybe it was the explosion of reports that her immediate family benefited directly from the "stimulus" law she voted for.  It could have been President Obama's endorsement of candidates like Hagan as strong supporters of his agenda in Washington; the extent of Hagan's fealty was underscored again in yesterday's CQ analysis of 2014 voting records:


It may just be possible that Hagan wasn't in the mood to answer yet another question about her decisive vote to pass Obamacare, which continues to harm North Carolinians:

North Carolina's largest health insurer says rates will rise by more than 13 percent on average next year for buyers of individual Affordable Care Act policies. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina discussed the prices Wednesday. As an example, the insurer cited a typical rate for a 45-year-old man in the Raleigh area who doesn't smoke...Aside from ACA plans, the insurer is maintaining pre-existing plans that don't conform to the Affordable Care Act's requirements but customers wanted to keep. Rates for those plans will rise by an average of 13 to 19 percent, depending on when they were sold.

Double-barrelled hikes, for Obamacare exchange participants and other consumers alike.  Democrats like Barack Obama and Kay Hagan promised that rates would go down under the new law; the opposite is occurring, and most people are waking up to that reality.  In other Obamacare news, the Wall Street Journal  reports on another phenomenon accurately anticipated by conservative forecasters:

With companies set to face fines next year for not complying with the new mandate to offer health insurance, some are pursuing strategies like enrolling employees in Medicaid to avoid penalties and hold down costs. The health law’s penalties, which can amount to about $2,000 per employee, were supposed to start this year, but the Obama administration delayed them until 2015, when they take effect for firms that employ at least 100 people. Now, as employers race to find ways to cover their full-time workers while holding a lid on costs, insurance brokers and benefits administrators are pitching a variety of options, sometimes exploiting wrinkles in the law...the company, which is based in Hartford, Conn., hopes to reduce its costs by offering eligible employees a chance to enroll in Medicaid, using a contractor called BeneStream Inc. to help them sign up. The government program is more affordable for employees and saves money for Locals 8, said Chief Executive Al Gamble. “The burden gets shifted to Medicaid,” he said.

The burden gets shifted to Medicaid, i.e. to taxpayers. Two notes: First, Medicaid is a massively expensive and ineffective government program whose 'beneficiaries' (a) experience no better health outcomes than uninsured people, (b) have trouble finding doctors who will treat them, and (c) actually increase their ER visits (exploding one popular myth in support of Medicaid expansion). Second, Obamacare's employer mandate has been delayed for a large chunk of businesses into 2016, so the "coverage dumping" is just beginning. The "it's working!" file grows thicker by the day. I'll leave you with this:

Republicans Take Historic Early Ballot Lead in Iowa

By this time in 2012, Democrats had turned in 56,908 more ballots than Republicans, on their way to a 52 percent to 46 percent win for President Obama.

But this year, it is Republicans who have the upper hand. As of yesterday, according to Iowa Secretary of State data tabulated by AOS HQ, Republicans had turned in 105,347 ballots compared to the Democrats 104,984, giving the GOP a 363 ballot lead.

That is far better than the GOP's 2010 pace when they still trailed Democrats by more than 16,000 ballots at this point, but still managed to elect Republican Gov. Terry Branstad by 53 percent to 43 percent margin.

According to Iowa Republican officials, this is the first time Republicans have led in early balloting since 1998 when Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) crushed Democrat David Osterberg 68 percent to 31 percent

In other good news for Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst, yet another poll now shows her beating Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA). This time it is Quinnipiac which shows her up 48 percent to 46 percent. The Quinnipiac poll is the 5th poll in a row showing Ernst beating Braley.

Ferguson: Autopsy Suggests Michael Brown Was Reaching For Officer’s Firearm

The official autopsy is in and it suggests that the gunshot wound to Michael Brown’s hand indicates that he was reaching for police officer Darren Wilson’s firearm during an altercation, which ended in with his death last summer. The event sparked mass unrest in Ferguson, Missouri and a discussion about race relations in America.

Moreover, the autopsy’s results come into conflict with eyewitness reports, which said that Brown was shot while running away from Officer Wilson (via St. Louis Dispatch) [emphasis mine]:

The St. Louis medical examiner, Dr. Michael Graham, who is not part of the official investigation, reviewed the autopsy report for the newspaper. He said Tuesday that it “does support that there was a significant altercation at the car.”

Graham said the examination indicated a shot traveled from the tip of Brown’s right thumb toward his wrist. The official report notes an absence of stippling, powder burns around a wound that indicate a shot fired at relatively short range.

But Graham said, “Sometimes when it’s really close, such as within an inch or so, there is no stipple, just smoke.”

The report on a supplemental microscopic exam of tissue from the thumb wound showed foreign matter “consistent with products that are discharged from the barrel of a firearm.”

Dr. Judy Melinek, a forensic pathologist in San Francisco, said the autopsy “supports the fact that this guy is reaching for the gun, if he has gunpowder particulate material in the wound.” She added,

Sources told the Post-Dispatch that Brown’s blood had been found on Wilson’s gun.

Melinek also said the autopsy did not support witnesses who have claimed Brown was shot while running away from Wilson, or with his hands up.

She said Brown was facing Wilson when Brown took a shot to the forehead, two shots to the chest and a shot to the upper right arm. The wound to the top of Brown’s head would indicate he was falling forward or in a lunging position toward the shooter; the shot was instantly fatal.

A sixth shot that hit the forearm traveled from the back of the arm to the inner arm, which means Brown’s palms could not have been facing Wilson, as some witnesses have said, Melinek said. That trajectory shows Brown probably was not taking a standard surrender position with arms above the shoulders and palms out when he was hit, she said.

Illinois Ballot Machine Changes Votes From Republican to Democrat

As liberals and Democrats continue to argue voter fraud doesn't exist, voting machines in Cook County Illinois are changing votes for Republican candidates to votes for Democrats. More from Watchdog.org

Early Voting in Illinois got off to its typical start Monday, as votes being cast for Republican candidates were transformed into votes for Democrats.

Republican state representative candidate Jim Moynihan went to vote Monday at the Schaumburg Public Library.

“I tried to cast a vote for myself and instead it cast the vote for my opponent,” Moynihan said. “You could imagine my surprise as the same thing happened with a number of races when I tried to vote for a Republican and the machine registered a vote for a Democrat.”

So why is this happening? Officials are blaming the problem on a "calibration error" and promised changed votes weren't actually registered. 

Cook County Clerk’s Office Deputy Communications Director Jim Scalzitti, told Illinois Watchdog, the machine was taken out of service and tested.

“This was a calibration error of the touch-screen on the machine,” Scalzitti said. “When Mr. Moynihan used the touch-screen, it improperly assigned his votes due to improper calibration.”

This machine error was visible, what about the changes these machines are making to votes cast for Republicans that aren't visible? How many registered voters have had their votes and participation in the process stolen as a result of "faulty" machines?

When dead people in Illinois aren't voting for Democrats, machines are picking up the slack and stealing votes along the way.

Meanwhile in case you missed it yesterday, liberal activists in Colorado think it's "truly awesome" to illegally fill out discarded ballots in favor of Democrats so votes "are put to good use."

Security Beefed Up in Washington D.C. After Terror Attacks in Canada

After terror attacks in Canada yesterday and earlier this week left two soldiers dead, federal law enforcement agencies are beefing up security in Washington D.C. and around the country. 

Security at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery, which is similar to the National War Memorial patrolled by the Canadian soldier killed yesterday, has been increased as a precaution. According to a memo obtained by Fox News, the FBI has asked field offices across the country to stay alert and vigilant. Officials are also paying close attention to ISIS chatter about Canada and the United States. 

Late last night Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper gave a statement to the country and the world, saying they will not be intimidated by terror.

"We will not be intimidated. Canada will never be intimidated," Prime Minister Stephen Harper vowed in a nationally televised address hours after a masked gunman killed a soldier standing guard at Ottawa's war memorial shortly before 10 a.m. on Wednesday. The suspect then stormed Parliament in a dramatic attack that was stopped cold when he was shot to death by the ceremonial sergeant-at-arms.

Back in the U.S. an official increase in the terror threat level has not been released by the Department of Homeland Security's National Terror Advisory System.