TPMEditors' Blog Opinions, Context & Ideas from TPM Editors

Today's Very Good News on Ebola - That You Probably Haven't Heard

With the real and disturbing news that at least two (it's possible there could still be more) Dallas health workers contracted Ebola during the care for Eric Thomas Duncan, there's some very notable and very good news that is getting much less attention. Today is October 19th, the last day of the quarantine for the family members who were living with Duncan just before he was hospitalized.

I don't know precisely when today public health authorities will end the quarantine or precisely how they will handle it. But as far as we know, according to news reports as recently as yesterday, none of the family members have shown any symptoms of the disease. So we can now say close to definitively that none of them contracted Ebola even though they were living with him in close quarters as he entered the infectious period.

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SCOTUS Fails To Block Texas Voter ID Law

The Supreme Court has rejected an emergency appeal from the Justice Department and civil rights groups who were trying to prevent the Texas voter ID law from being enforced in the November election. As you'll recall, a district judge found the law to be unconstitutional last week because it intentionally discriminated against minority voters. But the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals and now the Supreme Court have blocked that ruling from going into effect while appeals are pending. That clears the way for Texas to enforce the law in the upcoming election.

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan dissented. From Ruth Bader Ginsburg's dissent: "The greatest threat to public confidence in elections in this case is the prospect of enforcing a purposefully discriminatory law, one that likely imposes an unconstitutional poll tax and risks denying the right to vote to hundreds of thousands of eligible voters."


You might have seen Norm Ornstein's piece yesterday in The Atlantic about the concerted effort on the right to swing state judicial elections nationwide. Here's one particularly telling example: $200,000 from a national GOP group dropped into a small county judicial race. There are only three judges in the county, and only one is a Democrat. Why would Republicans be focused on one Democratic judge? The county is where the state capital is located and that court hears a lot of key state government cases. The big mystery is who exactly ponied up the money that eventually made its way into this race. Dylan Scott reports.

Harkin Hoarding

Outgoing Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) is apparently refusing to give up his $2.4 million in leftover campaign cash to the DSCC to help elect a Dem in that state (despite Harry Reid's personal appeals).

"It’s An Object of Gallows Humor for the Staff"

TPM Reader JM on Rick Scott, hospital preparedness and the "Ebola cart" ...

I have a perspective tying together today’s big news brouhahas. My wife is an ER nurse at a major urban hospital owned by the Hospital Corporation of America, the hospital chain once run by Rick Scott. It’s the largest for-profit medical system in the world, and is of course also notable for its ‘creative billing’ practices in the largest Medicare fraud settlement in history. Scott was booted from the CEO position following that fraud investigation, so he’s not directly responsible for current conditions in those hospitals.

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Team Crist Geniuses?

I'd like to think that Charlie Crist's team or Crist himself were such utter geniuses that they knew somehow that pulling out a little hand fan would trigger Rick Scott meltdown and lead him to make a fool of himself just as he seems to be falling behind in his reelection effort. But I figure they probably just got lucky. He kept making up silly excuses even after the debate!

On the converse, I'm sure in the tough enough! he-manny world of electoral politics, his unwillingness to come out on stage because of a fan will do strengthen him with casual voters.