Real Ebola ‘Outbreak’ on US soil: Doctor recalls race to stop potential …

Real Ebola 'Outbreak' on US soil: Doctor recalls race to stop potential ... #81

It had all the makings of a public-health horror story: an outbreak of a wildly deadly virus on the doorstep of the nation’s capital, with dozens of lab monkeys dead, multiple people testing positive, and no precedent in this country on how to contain it.

Americans’ introduction to the Ebola virus came 25 years ago in an office park near Washington Dulles International Airport, a covert crisis that captivated the public only years later when it formed the basis of a bestselling book.


Initially thought to be the same hyper-deadly strain as the current Ebola outbreak that has killed hundreds in Africa, the previously unknown Reston variant turned out to be nonlethal to humans. But the story of what might have been illustrates how far U.S. scientists have come in their understanding of a virus whose very name strikes fear, even in a country where no one has fatally contracted it.

Containing the outbreak: This handout photo provided by Dr. Jerry Jaax, taken in Dec. 1989, shows the Veterinary Medicine Division team from US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in the hot zone, Nonhuman primate quarantine facility in Reston, Virginia where experts briefly feared an Ebola outbreak had begun on U.S. soil

inspiration: Jaax and the his story helped to inspire a 1995 Dustin Hoffman film in which Ebola comes to U.S. shores

Gerald Jaax, one of the leaders of a team of Army scientists that responded to the 1989 outbreak in Reston, Virginia, closely watched the meticulously planned transfers this month of two American aid workers from Liberia to a specialized facility in Atlanta, the first Ebola patients ever brought to the U.S.

Jaax recalled his days urgently trying to corral the country’s first known outbreak.

In the fall of 1989, dozens of macaques imported from the Philippines suddenly died at Hazelton Research Products’ primate quarantine unit in Reston, where animals were kept and later sold for lab testing.

Company officials contacted the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Maryland — Jaax’s unit — concerned they might be dealing with an outbreak of hemorrhagic fever among the monkeys.

Initial testing revealed something much worse: Ebola, specifically the Zaire strain, which had a 90 percent fatality rate in humans. Four workers at the quarantine facility tested positive for exposure to the virus.

Researchers eventually realized they were dealing with a different strain, one now known as Ebola-Reston. Though its appearance under a microscope is similar to the Zaire strain, Ebola-Reston is the only one of the five forms of Ebola not harmful to humans.

But Jaax and his unit, including his wife Nancy , also a scientist, did not know that while at the monkey house. They just knew they had to clean it out, and do it while keeping a relatively low profile that wouldn’t scare the neighbors.

Vectors: In the fall of 1989, dozens of macaques imported from the Philippines suddenly died at Hazelton Research Products’ primate quarantine unit in Reston and were later found to have a strain of Ebola

‘You could walk in and smell monkey everywhere,’ said Dr. C.J. Peters, who oversaw the Army’s response to the outbreak. ‘There was a little shopping center nearby. … There was plenty of opportunity for trouble.’

While the Army scientists had strong protocols in place for studying viruses safely in a lab, they were not well prepared to stabilize and contain an outbreak in a private facility. At the time, Jaax said, nobody — including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control — had that kind of experience. In the Reston incident, the CDC took the lead in managing the human-health aspect of the response, while the Army dealt with the monkeys.

Back in 1989, there was concern that Ebola could spread through the air, said Peters, now a professor with University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. Indeed, researchers concluded there must have been some sort of aerosol spread of the virus within the monkey house, Jaax said.

Lesson learned: Gerald Jaax says one of the most important legacies of Reston was that none of the dozens who worked to contain the outbreak was exposed to the virus

The Reston animals had to be euthanized from a safe distance — ‘monkeys are aerosol-producing machines,’ Jaax said. In his 1995 book ‘The Hot Zone,’ Richard Preston described how Jaax modified a mop handle so it could be used to pin a monkey in its cage where it could safely be injected and eventually euthanized. Later, to disinfect the air, the team cooked formaldehyde crystals on electric frying pans.

The Reston incident–along with an earlier Robin Cook novel of the same name–also became one of the inspirations for the 1995 Dustin Hoffman thriller Outbreak.

Ebola is no longer thought to be an airborne virus; scientists say the disease can only be spread through direct contact with bodily fluids.

The Reston crisis also elevated Ebola into the public consciousness, albeit not immediately. In an era when the country was preoccupied with the AIDS epidemic, which hit 100,000 cases in the U.S. that year, the Army and CDC scientists carried out their tasks in relative obscurity .

It was only after ‘The Hot Zone’ became a best-seller and focused attention on the public-health battle to confront emerging disease outbreaks that the Reston event became well known and Ebola became a household word.

‘The big difference between now and 1989 is that nobody else knew what Ebola was,’ said Jaax, now an associate vice president at Kansas State University.

One of the most important legacies of Reston, Jaax said, was that none of the dozens who worked to contain the outbreak was exposed to the virus. The plans developed on the fly to keep the responders safe worked, he said, and provided a good blueprint for the protocols used to bring back the American aid workers earlier this month.

Dr. Amesh Adalja, senior associate at the UPMC Center for Health Security in Baltimore and an infectious disease physician, said the Reston responders’ incorrect belief that they were dealing with a virus that was deadly to humans provided the ideal trial run for handling such an outbreak.

‘It’s like you’re performing with a net underneath you, but you don’t know it’s a drill,’ Adalja said.

Ebola-Reston returned to the U.S. in 1996 in monkeys in Texas that had been imported from the Philippines. The Philippines has seen three outbreaks since the strain was identified, affecting primates, pigs and nine people. The workers who handled the animals developed antibodies, but did not get sick.

Hazelton abandoned the Reston facility in 1990, and the company was later swallowed up by a competitor. The monkey house was torn down a few years later. The new building there hosts several small offices and a day-care center.

Some of the office park workers are aware of the site’s history; many are not.

Back in 1989, Vicky Wingert worked at the local homeowners’ association, in offices across the street from the monkey house. She said nobody had any idea there was a problem until people showed up in hazmat suits. Even then, very little information trickled out, she said.

‘At the time, it wasn’t a big deal. Looking back, it probably should have been,’ she said.

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Will Increasingly Libertarian-Leaning Voters Sway the 2016 Presidential Election?

Will Increasingly Libertarian-Leaning Voters Sway the 2016 Presidential Election? #960

According to a February 2014 Pew Research Poll, only 31 percent of Millennials believe there is much difference between the Democratic and Republican parties (compared to 49 percent of Baby Boomers.) Even more significantly, a majority of Millennials support such classic libertarian positions as legalization of pot, gay marriage, and a less interventionist foreign policy.


Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), the son of libertarian icon and former Presidential candidate Ron Paul, is well positioned to harness this growing libertarian sentiment in a likely 2016 run for the Republican Presidential nomination. Robert Draper argued in the New York Times Magazine last week that while a national “libertarian moment” may have arrived, Senator Paul may be unable to exploit it.

That inability is rooted in a four decade old split between the “fusionism” of Frank Meyer and the hyper-individualism of libertarian Murray Rothbard. As William Upton argued in an  American Thinker article, Meyer’s fusionism melded different world views that included libertarianism, anti-communism, and traditional conservatism  around common support for Republican political candidates. In 1969, Rothbard, the leading libertarian thinker of the day and an advocate of anarchistic individualism, abandoned fusionism, attacking former fusionist allies, among them traditional conservatives William F. Buckley Jr. and Russel Kirk, in a series of white-hot political screeds.

Many libertarians followed Rothbard out the door. Until Ron Paul arrived, it was four decades in the political wilderness for libertarianism.

In his New York Times Magazine article, Draper generously describes libertarianism as a “movement.” While libertarianism easily meets the first component of the World English Dictionary definition of a movement as “a group of people with a common ideology, especially a political or religious one,” unlike the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s or the Tea Party movement of the past five years, it misses the second component, which requires “the organized action of such a group.”

In fact, “organized action” is often the antithesis of what to expect when a group of libertarians convene.

Ed Crane, who led the Cato Institute, the premiere libertarian think tank, for 35 years, said of the Libertarian Party’s inaugural national convention in 1972 that “it was like a Star Wars bar scene.” 

Modern libertarianism traces its intellectual origins to John Lilburne, founder of the 17th century Leveller Movement during the English Civil War. That movement was based on support of two key principles: the right of the people to self governance, and the right of the individual to economic freedom. In the 20th century, when libertarianism really took off, the free market Austrian economists, Freidrich von Hayek and Ludwig Von Mises led the way.

After Murray Rothbard’s rejection of the fusionist approach to political engagement, libertarianism become more closely associated with hyper-individualism, less so with economic liberty, and was well outside the political mainstream. That, however, has changed in the past several years.

Libertarian ideas currently are advanced through three distinct groups: Libertarian Party political candidates, libertarian activists, and libertarian-leaners. Libertarian Party candidates have had little impact at any electoral level, though they occasionally play the role of spoiler. Libertarian activists have had some impact, especially when they have engaged in fusionist type alliances. But the real growth of libertarianism has been among libertarian-leaning Millennials whose world views have become increasingly aligned with libertarian ideas.

The 1.2 million votes cast for New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson’s Libertarian campaign in the 2012 general election marked the party’s high point in Presidential elections. But with less than 1 percent of the popular vote, Johnson was, in effect, a political non-entity in the race between Obama and Romney.

Libertarian Party political candidates occasionally play the role of spoiler, as Robert Sarvis, who won 7% of the vote in the 2013 Gubernatorial election in Virginia, arguably did in an election where Democrat Terry McAuliffe defeated Republican Ken Cuccinelli by 2%. But Sarvis’s impact in that race was more the exception than the rule. In February of this year, three months after his Gubernatorial candidacy ended, Sarvis was nominated as the Libertarian candidate for the U.S. Senate in Virginia, in which he is competing against incumbent Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), and Republican nominee Ed Gillespie, the former Republican National Committee chairman and Karl Rove ally.

According to a July 2014 poll from Hampton University, which gives him only 4% of the vote, Sarvis has not picked up much traction in the Senate race.

Libertarian activists are involved in two interrelated efforts: “Paulies” –who supported the Ron Paul Presidential campaigns of 2008 and 2012–and the Campaign for Liberty, a national organization that supports libertarian candidates and causes. These activists provided energy to the Ron Paul campaigns of 2008 and 2012. Many played an important role in the 2009 launch of the Tea Party movement. 

This group, however, is despised, disdained, and marginalized at every level by the Republican establishment and its political operatives.

In the early stages, the “Paulies” behaved more in the tradition of Murray Rothbard, supporting Ron Paul’s attempts to secure the Republican nomination in 2008, but rejecting any efforts to blend in with other conservative and limited government groups. This adherence to hyper-individualism and insistence upon libertarian ideological purity led to their political isolation. One of the most memorable events of the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minneapolis, for instance,  was the site of several dozen Ron Paul supporters hectoring Republican delegates as they entered the convention.

Finally, the largest growing group is libertarian-leaners–ordinary people who have some ideas that align with libertarian principles… opposition to wiretapping, support for legalization of marijuana, support for gay marriage, support for isolationist foreign policy.

It is this latter group to whom Rand Paul is appealing. But the sterling marks he receives for his NSA snooping filibuster earlier this year are offset by his politically calculated support for Mitch McConnell’s re-election bid. That combination leaves many purists in the Libertarian Party and the libertarian activist community cold. As for the less politically engaged libertarian-leaning Millennials, the jury is still out.

Liberals like Jonathan Chait and Paul Krugman contend that Paul’s pursuit of libertarian-leaning Millennials is futile. Millennials, they argue, aren’t libertarians, they’re big government liberals. Conservative David Harsanyi agrees with Chait and Krugman on that point. He argued at the Federalist on Friday that “Millennials aren’t libertarians. They’re socialists who want to buy legal pot.”

But the reality is far more complex. Support for libertarian ideas among Millennials is definitely on the rise. But that demographic cohort’s disdain for the current political process, and the organization of both political parties, is also on the rise.

This means that for these growing individual sentiments to translate into an electoral impact, an existing political organization or candidate must communicate with and inspire them. Every action by Senator Rand Paul suggests that is exactly what he is attempting to do. Libertarians at all levels of political engagement, however, appear to be uncertain if the son is as pure as the father. Unless Paul can close the sale, Draper may be right. The “libertarian moment,” if there is such a thing, may go unexploited in 2016.

But the real take-away is that in 2016, the votes of libertarian-leaning Millennials are up for grabs. Neither the Democrats, as they did in 2008 and 2012, nor the Republicans, as they did before the 1969 Rothbard exit from fusionism, have a lock on their support. It remains to be seen if a candidate from either party will emerge who can as Reason’s Nick Gillespie suggests, capture that vote by articulating “75% of the [libertarian] catechism.”

Rand Paul may have a head start, but other Presidential candidates in both major political parties are likely to participate in the competition for the votes of libertarian-leaning Millennials between now and election day 2016.

Draper is correct in identifying this growing libertarian sentiment as a potentially powerful force in the American political system. Draper concludes that (1) there is a libertarian movement and (2) it may not have much impact politically.

But, I wanted to know, would libertarians be willing to meet the G.O.P. somewhere in the middle? … The crowd here at PorcFest, many of them young, all of them passionate, represented just the sort of army that Paul would need in the early primary states and beyond — the same sort of army, in fact, that powered his father’s improbable showing in previous elections. But they still talked more about the father than the son.

Gillespie acknowledged that the answer remained unclear. “I think that if a major-party candidate articulates 75 percent of the catechism,” he said, “both self-identified libertarians and people who don’t realize they’re libertarians would vote for him.” But then again, he said, it might take “a hundred years or something” for his movement to find its true expression in a political party. “We’ve gone from a movement that didn’t exist, then we all believe in this roughly similar thing, then we have a dalliance with the G.O.P., then we realize, no, we’re totally separate. And then we find out, no, we really need to activate politically in a conventional two-party system,” he said, his tone betraying little concern for the pace of this process. “And it may be we’re still some years away from that. I don’t know.”

Our libertarian moment, in other words, might very well pass unexploited. 

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Senator accused of plagiarism leaves race

Senator accused of plagiarism leaves race #757

Sen. John Walsh, D-Mont., is dropping his candidacy in the coming election but will keep his seat until his term ends in January. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

HELENA, Mont. – Montana U.S. Sen. John Walsh dropped his election campaign Thursday amid allegations he plagiarized large portions of a 2007 research project, leaving fellow Democrats to scramble for a replacement with the election less than three months away.


Nationally, the development only improves the odds for Republicans, who need a net gain of six seats in November to take Senate control. Even before Walsh’s exit, strategists in both parties considered his Senate race against U.S. Rep. Steve Daines an opportunity to tip one more seat in Republicans’ favor.

The Montana Democratic Party must hold a nominating convention before Aug. 20 to choose a replacement candidate.

Former Gov. Brian Schweitzer’s name circulated as a potential contender even before Walsh’s announcement. But Schweitzer rejected a run earlier this year, when he said he wasn’t interested in the seat that opened when six-term Sen. Max Baucus was named U.S. ambassador to China.

Walsh, a former National Guard commander, said in a statement to supporters that he was leaving the race but will keep the seat he was appointed to until his term ends in January.

He said the controversy surrounding his U.S. Army War College research paper had become a “distraction from the debate you expect and deserve.”

“I am ending my campaign so that I can focus on fulfilling the responsibility entrusted to me as your U.S. Senator,” Walsh said. “You deserve someone who will always fight for Montana, and I will.”

The announcement comes as an Army War College investigation is set to begin Aug. 15 into Walsh’s college paper. The senator previously said he wrongfully cited some passages in the work, but not deliberately. Lee Newspapers of Montana first reported Walsh’s departure from the race.

The decision is a boost for Daines, a former technology company executive from Bozeman who is giving up his House seat after one term to run for Senate.

The Republican said Thursday that he respected Walsh’s decision. He wouldn’t comment on the plagiarism allegation other than to say it was between Walsh and Montanans.

Daines has maintained a sizable fundraising advantage, raising $3.6 million since last fall, his campaign said last month. Walsh had raised nearly $2.8 million, according to his campaign.

The coming nominating convention for a replacement will be made up of Democratic leaders from county party committees, along with federal and statewide elected officials and the party’s executive board.

Montana State University political analyst David Parker said Walsh made the right decision for his family, given the huge amount of media attention surrounding the plagiarism charges. But he said it puts Democrats in a bind for November.

“I’m not sure the seat is winnable for Democrats,” Parker said. “The obvious person that could pull it off would be Brian Schweitzer, and I’m not convinced that he would do it, or that he will be asked.”

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Networks Avoid Scandal-Plagued Democratic Senator Dropping Election Bid

Networks Avoid Scandal-Plagued Democratic Senator Dropping Election Bid #900

Despite a combined eight available hours of programming on Friday, all three network morning shows avoided the news that a scandal-plagued Democratic senator from Montana dropped a reelection bid. This move leaves the seat as a likely Republican takeover in the 2014 midterms. But viewers wouldn’t know that on ABC’s Good Morning America, NBC’s Today and CBS This Morning.  


John Walsh left the race on Thursday, two weeks after the New York Times reported that the Democrat plagiarized extensive sections of his master’s degree from the Army War College. With the networks avoiding the story, it was left to CNN’s New Day to offer a brief amount of coverage. John King wondered if the seat will “most likely” go to the GOP. Maggie Haberman of Politico retorted, “Oh, yeah…I mean, most Democrats that I talked to believe Montana is not winnable anymore.” [See video below. MP3 audio here.]

What did the networks cover instead? GMA offered two minutes to the viral video of a bear walking upright. Today spent four minutes on how to be “50 and fabulous.” This Morning devoted almost a minute to tourists in Britain retracing Abby Road, a street made famous by the Beatles 45 years ago. 

The New York Times, despite originally breaking the story, relegated Thursday’s revelation to page A12. Writer Jonathan Martin explained: 

Monday is the deadline for Montana candidates to withdraw from the general election. The convention to replace Mr. Walsh on the ballot is expected to take place in Helena on Aug. 16.

Mr. Walsh, who had been set to face Representative Steve Daines, a Republican, was considered one of the most vulnerable Senate Democrats, and Republicans were quick to suggest that his move would not affect the race.

The Washington Post also opted not to feature the story on the front page. On A2, Sean Sullivan noted: 

The New York Times reported last month that Walsh pulled a sizable part of a paper he submitted at the Army War College titled “The Case for Democracy as a Long Term National Strategy” from a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace document without attribution. The material was mostly used verbatim. Another chunk was pulled from a 1998 essay written by a Harvard scholar.

Considering the media’s obsession with flawed Republican candidates, such as Todd Akin, it seems only fair that journalists devote a little coverage to damaged Democrats. 

JOHN KING: And out in Montana the appointed senator John Walsh has decided he will not run. He was appointed to the seat. He’s involved in a plagiarism scandal right now and he’s decided he will not to run. I think, does that add to the, most likely, a Republican seat there? 

MAGGIE HABERMAN: Oh, yeah. I think it was already leaning that way. But there was a sense that Walsh was beginning to get a little bit of wind beneath his wings and was coming back a bit. This essentially takes that out unless Democrats can nominate somebody who is really very right for the state, who is the right fit. They are having a hard time getting anybody who actually wants to be the person who is the place holder because you’re sort of running for a lost cause. I mean, most Democrats that I talked to believe Montana is not winnable anymore. 

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Walsh drops out of U.S. Senate race; Democrats must find replacement

Walsh drops out of U.S. Senate race; Democrats must find replacement #477 ‘); clearInterval(flowTimer); } attempts++; if (attempts > 10){ clearInterval(flowTimer); } }, 600); }); $(window).resize(function(){ updatePlayerSize(); }); function updatePlayerSize(width){ //console.log(‘window width: ‘ + width); ratio = 9/16; width = $(‘.player_wrapper’).parent().width(); height = width*ratio; padding = 0; $(‘.player_wrapper’).show(); $(‘.player_wrapper’).width(width-padding); $(‘.player_embed_container’).width(width-padding).height(height); $(‘.extra_buttons’).width(width-padding); $(‘.flow_playlist_container’).width(width-padding); $(‘.flow_player’).width(width-padding).height(height); $(‘.flow_player object’).width(width-padding).height(height); $(‘.video-js-box’).width(width-padding).height(height); $(‘.video-js-box video’).width(width-padding).height(height); if (width < 720) { $(‘.extra_buttons’).hide(); console.log(“Extra buttons hidden width is “+width); } else { $(‘.extra_buttons’).show(); console.log(“Extra buttons shown width is “+width); } }

BOZEMAN — U.S. Senator John Walsh (D-MT) told his staff in Billings on Thursday afternoon that he is ending his campaign against Republican challenger U.S. Representative Steve Daines (R-MT).


Walsh was appointed to the position by Montana governor Steve Bullock in February 2014 after Max Baucus retired from the U.S. Senate to become the U.S. ambassador to China.

Walsh said that dropping out of the race will allow him to focus on his responsibilities as a U. S. Senator until his term ends in January 2015. He said, “You deserve someone who will always fight for Montana, and I will.”

“I am proud of your support, we held our opponent accountable for his hurtful record to privatize Medicare, to deny women the freedom to make their own health decisions and to sell off our public lands,” said Walsh in a release to the media.

Several Montana newspapers in recent days have called on Walsh to drop out of the race because of plagiarism accusations first reported by the New York Times.

Walsh cancelled campaign and fundraising appearances in Gallatin County that had been set for Wednesday and Friday.

“It was going to be difficult for the Walsh campaign to recover from these allegations about plagiarism. Most importantly, it made it difficult to raise national money, so the decision is not unexpected,” said MTN News political analyst David Parker.

The Montana Democratic Party sent out a press release after Walsh’s decision was made public, saying in part: “Senator Walsh’s life has been and continues to be service to our nation and all Montanans. From 33 years in the National Guard, to serving as Lt. Governor to his time in the U.S. Senate, John Walsh has sacrificed significantly for our country and is to be commended. The Montana Democratic Party looks forward to an open and transparent opportunity for Democrats to come together to decide our new nominee.”

Montana Democrats now have until August 20 to pick another candidate. To do so they will meet to vote on a replacement candidate.

Parker explained, “You’ve got the executive board of the party, which includes Tester. He has a vote. Includes Bullock. Includes all the statewide office holders. Includes people that have been elected to the board. And then all the committee men and women from the various counties. So all told, a Democratic official told me, it’s about 175-200 people would meet in essentially a nominating convention out someplace where they would go through and put names forth until they get a majority and the majority vote getter becomes the nominee.”

Several names are being thrown about as possible replacements, including former governor Brian Schweitzer. But Parker warns about taking that suggestion seriously: “In a lot of ways, he’s a person who would make this race instantly competitive because of the name recognition, but I’m not entirely sure the Democratic base would be excited about that.”

(Wednesday, August 6) U.S. Senator John Walsh (D-MT) has canceled several campaign appearances, his political life on the verge of collapse in the wake of plagiarism revelations and his responses to them.

So how did Montana Democrats get to a point where, three months before an election, the top of their ticket is the subject of newspaper editorials calling for him to drop out of the race to keep his Senate seat?

Former Montana governor Brian Schweitzer was widely expected to run for the seat that had been held since 1978 by Max Baucus – and which Democrats have held since 1913. But in July 2013, Baucus surprised even his own staff by dropping out of the race. Democrats were left scrambling for a candidate.

Walsh, with less than a year’s experience as Montana’s lieutenant governor, announced his candidacy in October, despite having no electoral experience outside of his victory on Bullock’s ticket.

In November, former Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger entered the race, charging that the Walsh candidacy was dreamed up by Democratic Party insiders. “The Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, called me and he said, ‘You know, John, you’re a nice guy, but we’ve chosen Walsh,'” Bohlinger said in November.

Then came a surprise: reports in December that President Barack Obama would nominate Baucus as ambassador to China. That meant an open Senate seat, to be filled by Governor Steve Bullock.

Meanwhile, it turned out Walsh’s military record had some imperfections. In late December, MTN News revealed that an Army Inspector General report found that Walsh had used government resources for private gain and had coerced Guard members to join the National Guard Association of the United States.

Two weeks later, a Freedom of Information Act request revealed the Army’s final word on that matter: a formal reprimand, with harsh language from the general who wrote it, questioning Walsh’s ability to lead and saying he expected more from senior officers.

Walsh responded that the organization involved works to improve equipment and benefits for Guard members and their families, and that he had nothing to apologize for.

In February, Bullock appointed Walsh to the vacant Senate seat, saying, “From the day he enlisted in the Montana National Guard, John Walsh has had the courage to do what’s right and get the job done.”

Walsh handily beat his primary opponents, Bohlinger and Wilsall rancher Dirk Adams, but has never held an advantage over the Republican nominee, U.S. Representative Steve Daines, in either polls or fundraising.

Then came the July 27 revelation by the New York Times, showing plagiarism in a 14-page paper toward Walsh’s master’s degree at the Army War College. It showed not just sloppy or incomplete attribution, but also large sections of text – including his set of conclusions – ripped directly form other works.

“I don’t think Walsh’s responses when he’s been asked about the plagiarism have been adequate,” Carroll College political science professor Jeremy Johnson said Wednesday. “He should probably have apologized right up front instead of thinking about apologizing. And it’s not going to help him to try to argue about the PTSD. There are, though, no good answers when you’re caught with something like this (but) I got to say this: His answers have not helped.”

Johnson said Walsh had little chance of winning the race before the plagiarism revelations. But now he figures Walsh has “almost no chance to win, so it would be best for the party certainly if he’d step down.”

Top Montana Democrats have been silent on the Walsh matter or voiced support, with some Walsh supporters questioning the seriousness of the plagiarism allegations.

Under state law, Walsh has until Monday to withdraw from the race. That would then give the Montana Democratic Party Central Committee – more than 100 people from across the state – until August 20 to pick a new candidate.

But that candidate would face a tough opponent in Daines. A poll released Wednesday showed him 13 points ahead of Walsh, and he has plenty of campaign cash on hand, plus help coming from at least one major Super PAC.

Schweitzer did not return a call from MTN News inquiring about the Walsh situation.

There is, however, precedent for a late-replacement candidate winning an election, as Johnson points out.

In 2002, Democratic U.S. Senator Robert Torricelli of New Jersey was facing multiple charges of unethical behavior, and resigned on September 30.

New Jersey Democrats replaced him on the ballot with former U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg. Republicans sued, but the New Jersey Supreme Court upheld Lautenberg’s nomination and he won the election.

Walsh’s campaign did not respond to in inquiry Wednesday about Walsh’s current activities during the Senate’s August recess.


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Drones banned at Lake of the Ozarks Shootout

Drones banned at Lake of the Ozarks Shootout #546

The Lake of the Ozarks Shootout powerboat races are scheduled Saturday, Aug. 23 and Sunday, Aug. 24 at Captain Ron’s Bar and Grill in Sunrise Beach. At the Shootout the world’s top powerboat racers compete to be top gun, as tens of thousands of powerboat race fans cheer them on.

LAKE OF THE OZARKS, Mo. — To the likely disappointment of some photographers and hobbyists, aerial drones will be banned from the 2014 Lake of the Ozarks Shootout.


That’s according to Camden County 911 Director Sgt. David W. Edwards.

“The airspace over the Shootout has been reserved by the Federal Aviation Administration for the rescue helicopters,” Edwards said.

Edwards will be at the hub of race safety in the Camden County Emergency Services Unit (ESU), at the Shootout race course finish line. The ESU is a self-contained communication center on wheels. From inside, Edwards will coordinate an extensive information-sharing network between all levels of emergency agencies and race officials for safety and emergency purposes.

Stationed on the top deck of a dock near the race course will be FAA Air Boss Gordon Evans. Evans coordinates all the aircraft above the race course. He directs the helicopters for the dive team, racers, media, official photographers, and STAFF for Life emergency helicopter. He also coordinates the Shootout airplane flyovers, when scheduled.

“The FAA will be in charge of the airspace over the Shootout,” Edwards reiterated.

The problem posed by drones is they do not have radio contact with the FAA. “We don’t want a drone hitting a helicopter and crashing it into spectators,” Edwards explained. “That would be like taking a drone to an air show. If Gordon gives them permission, he has the authority to do that. But, I guarantee it will be under his conditions.”

According to Edwards, this has been the rule as long as he has been participating in Shootout emergency services at the Sunrise Beach race course.  

According to FAA regulations, if a person wants to fly more than a hobbyist drone in the United States, he or she must obtain permission, or a license, from the FAA.

According to a list created by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, EFF, 81 entities have obtained permission to have a drone of that scale, including colleges and universities, local sheriff’s offices, police departments, drone manufacturers, and one Indian tribal agency.

According to a list created by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, EFF, 81 entities have obtained permission to have a drone larger than the hobby-sized devices. Electronic Frontier Foundation photo

EFF reports also that Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada has a a MQ-1 Predator drone, and the University of Colorado, Boulder, has a NexSTAR miniature UAS drone that it uses for weather and wireless experiments. According to Popular Science, the U.S. Army has permission to fly drones in the “general location” of the Pentagon, though the type and number of drones is not made public.  

The EFF is a nonprofit organization which defends civil liberties in the digital world. Founded in 1990, EFF champions user privacy, free expression, and innovation through impact litigation, policy analysis, grassroots activism, and technology development.

According to a Feb. 24, 2013 article in the National Journal, the EFF sued last year for a list of drone applicants within the U.S. When that information went public, staff attorney Jennifer Lynch says, “it really got people up in arms about how drones are being used, and it got people to question their city councils and local law-enforcement agencies to ask for appropriate policies to be put in place to regulate drone usage.”

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Drone Trouble

Time Magazine reported this week that someone crashed a drone into Yellowstone National Park’s biggest hot spring, and may have damaged the landmark. Drones have been banned in the park since June.

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Kingston’s Senate loses means less clout for Ga.

Kingston's Senate loses means less clout for Ga. #965

SAVANNAH, Ga. — For two decades, Rep. Jack Kingston was a congressman who routinely crushed his opponents on election night — winning a new term every other year with vote totals between 63 and 77 percent.

That streak ended Tuesday, along with Kingston’s 22-year career on Capitol Hill. The Savannah Republican fell a few thousand votes short in his primary runoff for the U.S. Senate, losing the GOP nomination for the open seat to businessman David Perdue.


“If you never hear or see from me again, I’ve had more of my fair share of the action, the fun and the honor of serving,” Kingston told reporters after conceding.

The news hit especially hard in coastal and southeast Georgia, where Kingston has represented the 1st Congressional District since 1993. Back home, he was known for an aw-shucks attitude that disguised an ability to get things done — whether it was replacing a constituent’s expired passport at the last minute, funding new Army barracks or pushing through a $706 million harbor expansion for Savannah’s port.

“It’s like, ‘Oh my God, he knows how to get around Washington and get things going,'” said Lis Overton, who chairs the Chatham County Republican Party. “We’re all a little depressed right now.”

Kingston’s defeat lessens Georgia’s political experience in Washington. Sen. Saxby Chambliss is retiring, and all three incumbent congressmen who sought his Senate seat — Kingston and fellow GOP Reps. Paul Broun of Athens and Phil Gingrey of Marietta — have been sent home by voters as well.

“We’ll lose influence,” said Lindsay Thomas, the former Democratic congressman whose decision to leave the House in 1992 opened the door for Kingston to run. “To me, the saddest thing about losing Jack is he would’ve walked onto the Senate floor with immediate credibility. They wouldn’t wonder, ‘How is he going to vote and can I trust him?'”

At age 59, Kingston should have time to attempt a comeback if he chooses. If Gov. Nathan Deal wins re-election, Georgia will have an open race for governor in 2018. Overton said she would like to see Kingston consider running for Savannah mayor. Opportunities should also abound in the private sector.

“I really think the Lord’s going to open a door,” Kingston said.

His friend Eric Johnson in Savannah, a former Republican leader of the Georgia Senate, said Kingston might have little desire to run another statewide campaign. Johnson ran for governor in 2010, finishing third in the GOP primary.

“You put your blood, sweat and tears and life into that thing. And now that you know what it’s like, it may be tough to do that again,” Johnson said. “He’ll find something to do. He’s too young to retire. He has too much energy and likes people too much.”

In 1992, Kingston was a state legislator who made a living selling agribusiness insurance when he became the first Republican since Reconstruction elected to Congress from his southeast Georgia district. He got a political boost in his second term thanks to the 2004 Republican takeover of Congress engineered by Newt Gingrich.

Kingston got assigned to the budget-writing Appropriations Committee, giving him considerable influence to steer federal dollars back home. Fort Stewart and other military bases in Kingston’s district benefited from new construction and expansions. The Sidney Lanier Bridge in Brunswick, Georgia’s largest bridge, was completed in 2003 thanks to Kingston’s help funding its $110 million construction.

Kingston got Congress to authorize a major deepening of the Port of Savannah’s shipping channel in 1999. Earlier this year, he helped the harbor project clear its final bureaucratic hurdles so that dredging can finally begin 15 years later.

Regardless of their differences, even Democrats gave Kingston credit for putting constituents before politics.

Tony Center was the Democratic Party chairman for Chatham County in 2005 when he frantically called a Kingston staffer at night after discovering his passport was expired just two days before an overseas trip. Kingston’s office called the State Department and Center picked up his new passport the next day.

“I got a phone call from Jack. He said, ‘I heard you had a problem and I just wanted to make sure it got taken care of,'” Center said. “I was chairman of the Democratic committee at the time and he could’ve blown me off. But he was my congressman and he helped me.”

Associated Press writer Kathleen Foody in Atlanta contributed to this story.

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