TRNS News Notes is brought to you by Victoria Jones. Victoria Jones is the Chief White House correspondent and global analyst of the Washington DC based Talk Radio News Service, where her insight and analysis are made available to over 400 news talk radio stations around the country and internationally.


In the News

  • Cuomo says quarantine at home OK
  • Christie says it’s OK, too
  • WH huddles on new nationwide standard
  • Quarantined nurse: “Now I’m angry!”
  • Teen wounded in WA school shooting dies
  • U.S. and Brits: Goodbye to Helmand Province
  • Midterm Madness: Who has the advantage?
  • Pols: “Lone-Wolf” terrorists are “huge” problem
  • ISIS: Hostages’ horror in captivity
  • ISIS shot Russian: “Least marketable”
  • Overseas round-up

Under Pressure, Cuomo Says Quarantine At Home OK

• Facing fierce resistance from the WH and medical experts to a strict new mandatory quarantine policy, NY Gov Andrew Cuomo said Sunday night that medical workers who had contact with Ebola patients in West Africa but didn’t show symptoms of the disease would be allowed to remain at home and would receive compensation for lost income (NYT, AP, WaPo, CNN, me)

• Cuomo’s request capped a frenzied weekend of behind-the-scenes pleas from admin officials, who urged him and Gov Chris Christie of New Jersey to reconsider the mandatory quarantine they had announced on Friday (horse’s heads on pillows, I think)

• The announcement by Cuomo seemed intended to draw a sharp contrast – both in tone and in fact – to the policy’s implementation in New Jersey, where a nurse from Maine who arrived on Friday from Sierra Leone was swiftly quarantined in a tent set up inside a Newark hospital, with a portable toilet but with no shower (see below)

• It was the second striking shift in Cuomo’s public posture on the Ebole crisis in 72 hours; after urging calm on Thursday night, then joining Christie to highlight the risks of lax policy on Friday, Cuomo on Sunday night appeared to try to dial back his rhetoric and stake out a middle ground (get a grip)

Christie Says it’s OK, Too!
• After Cuomo’s announcement, Christie issued a statement saying that, under protocols announced on Wednesday, NJ residents not displaying symptoms would also be allowed to quarantine in their homes

• Until Sunday night, the quarantine orders by Christie (R) and Cuomo (D) had drawn withering criticism from many medical experts, who said they would discourage aid workers from volunteering to help eradicate the disease at its source

• By midday Sunday, Kaci Hickox, the nurse, who became the first person isolated under the new NJ protocols, emerged as the public face of the opposition, calling the treatment she received “inhumane” and disputing Christie’s assertion a day earlier that she was “obviously ill.”

• Amid heightened public anxiety about the govt’s handling of the crisis, state authorities have increasingly calculated that the mandatory quarantines will prove prescient. Since the governors’ announcement, Illinois and Florida have said they were instituting similar measures

• Pic: President Obama met with and hugged nurse Nina Pham in the Oval Office Friday, the same day she was declared Ebola free by officials at NIH
WH and Govs: Different Stories
• Christie had grown increasingly frustrated since mid-October, aides said, over the failure of medical professionals to properly isolate themselves on a voluntary basis on returning from West Africa. He was startled to learn that NBC News correspondent Dr Nancy Snyderman, who had traveled to Liberia, had left her home in Princeton to pick up take-out

• When Dr Craig Spencer tested positive in NYC on Thursday, the two governors watched as city officials strained to trace his every movement – on the subway, at a bowling alley, at a meatball shop

• In a series of phone conversations starting Thursday night, Cuomo and Christie decided to impose the mandatory quarantines, officials said – essentially declaring that neither state trusted those potentially exposed to the deadly disease to wall themselves off from the rest of society. Neither governor notified the WH

• At the WH, Obama admin officials said they sought repeatedly to persuade Christie and Cuomo to reconsider the quarantines, which they viewed as not just unnecessary but counterproductive. Christie insisted Sunday he had “gotten absolutely no contact” from the WH; Cuomo said he hadn’t been pressured

• The decisions by the states, WH officials and others warned, could hamstring the effort to staff up to 17 Ebola treatment units that American military personnel are building in Liberia. American officials had already been facing the difficult task of finding volunteers

WH Huddles on New Nationwide Standard
• A senior Obama admin official, anonymous, called the governors’ plan “uncoordinated, very hurried, an immediate reaction to the NYC case that doesn’t comport with science.”

• Obama admin officials say the quarantine rules create “a system of perverse incentives,” encouraging health care workers to fly into a different airport, like Atlanta or Dulles, outside states that had adopted the new policies

• Sunday afternoon, President Obama gathered top advisers for a meeting at the WH to work on a new, nationwide standard for returning health care workers. That policy is likely to advise against a total quarantine of those workers, a senior admin official said

• A group of scientists, public health experts and other opponents of the mandatory quarantine addressed a letter on Sunday to Cuomo, urging him to end the policy

• Hickox, the nurse, has retained civil rights lawyer Norman Siegel to challenge the quarantine order and get her out of isolation. In the CNN interview, Hickox said officials hadn’t informed her about what they planned to do next or why they were isolating her despite showing no symptoms. “I feel that my basic human rights have been violated.”

• Graphic: Details of Thomas Eric Duncan’s treatment in Dallas reveal a wobbly first response to Ebola (NYT)

Quarantined Nurse: “Now I’m Angry”
• Kaci Hickos, a nurse placed under mandatory quarantine in New Jersey, went on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday and criticized the “knee-jerk reaction by politicians” to Ebola, saying “to quarantine someone without a better plan in place, without more forethought, is just preposterous.” (CNN, me)

• Hickox, an epidemiologist, who was working to help treat Ebola patients in Sierra Leone, has tested negative twice for Ebola and doesn’t have any symptoms, she said. “This is an extreme that is really unacceptable, and I feel like my basic human rights have been violated.”

• She slammed NJ Gov Chris Christie for describing her as “obviously ill.” “I’m sorry, but that’s just a completely unacceptable statement in my opinion. For him – a politician who’s trusted an respected – to make a statement that’s categorically not true is just unacceptable and appalling,” Hickox said in a separate interview (trusted and respected? dunno about that)


• “For the first 12 hours, I was in shock. Now I’m angry,” Hickox said. On Sunday afternoon, Norman Siegel, Hickox’s attorney, told CNN that he will be filing papers in court for Hickox to have a hearing no later than five days from the start of her confinement

• When Hickox arrived at Newark on Friday and after a seven-hour wait at the the hospital, she was put in an isolation tent. She has no flushable toilet and no shower. She said the hospital gave her no television or any reading material. Mostly, she said, she stares at the walls. She said she’s not allowed to see her lawyer or anyone else

• Sunday afternoon, the hospital issued an update, saying “the patient has computer access, use of her cell phone, reading material and requested and has received take-out food and drink.”
• A new report from the apolitical Congressional Research Service says the House Republican lawsuit on Obamacare against President Obama has no legal merit (Washington Monthly) – story has just come out and I haven’t had time to study it yet. Study was commissioned by a Republican and never released by the member who sponsored it
Teen Wounded in WA School Shooting Dies
• Sunday night, officials at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett confirmed the death of 14-year-old Gia Soriano, one of the teenagers wounded in the Marysville-Pilchuck High School shooting north of Seattle, raising the number from when a student opened fire in a cafeteria to three (AP, NYT, me)

• Another girl was killed during the shooting Friday by a popular freshman, Jaylen Fryberg, who died of a self-inflicted wound. Three other students remain hospitalized, two in critical condition and one in serious condition

• At a presser, Dr Joanne Roberts read a statement from Gia’s family. “Gia is our beautiful daughter, and words cannot express how much we will miss her.” Roberts said Gia’s family was donating her organs for transplant. One of the wounded students was in serious condition. The others were in critical condition

• Fryberg died in the attack after a first-year teacher intervened. The close-knit community on the nearby Tulalip Indian reservation struggled with the news that the shooter was a popular teenager from one of their more well-known families, who had been elected homecoming prince. Several of the victims were his cousins

• Witnesses said he stared at his victims as he shot them. Recently, his cheerful social media postings changed and became edgy and cryptic. 21 Oct: “I should have listened … you were right. … The whole time you were right.” Last Thursday, his final Twitter post: “It won’t last. … It’ll never last.”

U.S. and Brits: Goodbye to Helmand Province
• Combat operations in Helmand Province officially ended Sunday for the U.S. Marines (Camp Leatherneck) and British troops (Camp Bastion) stationed there, bringing an end to a decade-long struggle to keep a major Taliban stronghold and the region’s vast opium production in check (NYT, BBC, me)

• The Afghan Army’s 215th Corps will assume full control of the camps, a 6,500-acre parcel of desert scrubland in Southwest Afghanistan – and with it responsibility for securing one of the most violent provinces in the country

• The closing of Camp Bastion signified the end of all British operations, though some soldiers remain in Kabul. During the nation’s long tenure in Helmand, which began in 2006, British forces lost 453 servicemen in the conflict

• “Because of the competence, resolve and combined skills of the ANSG, insurgent networks have become ineffective in Helmand Province,” said a statement from the International Security Assistance Force, referring to the Afghan National Security Forces

• In reality, locals say, the Taliban have never been stronger in the province. In the face of Western assertions, they added, the Taliban have claimed stretches of area surrounding the govt centers and have dominated rural areas, as well as the flourishing drug trade

• Thank you to all U.S. and British forces who have fought in Helmand Province, including Captain Oliver Jones of the Scots Guards, who was stationed in a godforsaken forgotten hell-hole on a Taliban-infested mud road to nowhere, and returned home safely

Midterm Madness: Who Has the Advantage?
• “Democrats are going to prove the pundits wrong on Election Day,” Sen Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday. Schumer said that Democrats have an advantage on economic issues, a better ground game and that votes won’t see their individual elections as a national referendum (Politico, Hill, WSJ) (think they will, actually)

• “It’s not the pundits who are saying the Republicans are going to get the majority, It’s the voters. The voter intensity is on our side,” said Sen Rob Portman (R-OH) on the same show. Portman

• RNC chair Reince Priebus said “Democrats don’t want to admit the president’s policies are on the ballot,” on CNN’s State of the Union. Priebus said there’s been “bad management, mismanagement, lack of management…and the president is the head of all of this.” (Republican mismanagement in the house weirdly isn’t being judged)

• DNC chair Rep Debbie Wasserman Schwarz (D-FL) disagreed. “This election is about…creating jobs, investing in education and healthcare, focusing on a foreign policy that keeps people safe from harm
[and to] kicking this economy into even higher gear economically.”

• The Boston Globe has endorsed Republican Charlie Baker over Democrat Martha Coakley (aka Martha Chokely – she choked when she lost the un-loseable Senate seat previously held by Ted Kennedy to Scott Brown) for governor
• QUIZ! Which Senate race are you? (WaPo)

Pols: “Lone-Wolf” Terrorists are “Huge” Problem
• Senate Intelligence Committee chair Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said on Sunday that police and military personnel “have to be on guard” for lone-wolf attacks inspired by Islamic jihad. “We need to think in some new ways,” she said on CNN’s State of the Union (Politico, Hill, Roll Call, me)

• A hatchet attack on police officers in NYC, a shooting on Parliament Hill in Canada, the Boston Marathon bombings, the beheading of a woman by a disgruntled worker in Oklahoma – all of it represents a growing threat of “lone-wolf” terrorism, Feinstein said. Feinstein also said that ISIS now boasts a membership of 30,000 to 50,000

• House Intelligence Committee chair Mike Rogers (R-MI) said on CBS’ Face the Nation that after meeting with British officials, he said a lack of U.S. strategy to combat ISIS “shocked our British friends.” “I think that they’ll be with us if we can put together a coherent strategy for Syria and Iraq. I really do believe that.”

• Rogers talked about placing special capability soldiers among Syrian rebels. “If we don’t do this smaller, more effective thing now, then we’ll get to the point where we need big maneuver elements.”

• Sen Joe Manchin (D-WVA) said he was staunchly opposed to putting troops on the ground in Syria, questioning what the U.S. has learned after more than a decade of fighting. The definition of insanity, he noted, is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result
ISIS: Hostages’ Horror
• NYT on Sunday reported in great depth on the horror endured by the ISIS hostages. James Foley’s hideous execution – and those that followed – was the culmination of months and years of torture, starvation and psychological abuse endured by those held hostage by the group that eventually became ISIS (NYT, Newser, BBC, CBC, AP, Fox, me)

• The story sources former hostages, hostages’ families, locals who saw hostages, a former member of ISIS and more. Fifteen of the original 23 hostages were freed from March to June of this year. Now only three remain, Briton John Cantlie, and two Americans, Abdul-Rahman Kassig and an unidentified woman (I shrink from imagining her horrors)

• The three Americans and three British hostages bore the brunt of the worst abuse, and Foley bore the worst of the worst, including repeated waterboarding and mock executions. “It’s part of the DNA of this group to hate Americans,” an insider says. “But they also realized that the U.S. and Britain were the least like to pay [ransoms].”

• Prisoners actually hoped that when one of their number was taken away for interrogation, he or she returned bloody – an indication there hadn’t been waterboarding involved. “It was when there was no blood,” says one, “that we knew he had suffered something even worse.”

ISIS Shot Russian: “Least Marketable”
• As various European nations negotiated the release of their nationals for an average of $2.5 million ransom, ISIS, apparently realizing a lone Russian hostage was what the Times calls “its least marketable commodity,” dragged the man outside and shot him

• Showing the footage to American and UK hostages, they said, “This is what will happen to you if your govt doesn’t pay.”

• Meanwhile, in a new video released by ISIS, British hostage Cantlie says that prisoners who have tried to escape are waterboarded. He quotes from emails in which families of hostages allegedly complained about the U.S. refusal to negotiate with ISIS. At the end of the video, journalist Cantlie says there will be more messages to come

• Separately, Canadian police said late Sunday that Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the gunman who fatally shot a soldier and attacked the Parliament building in Ottawa last week, had made a video of himself before the attack. CBC News reports he makes specific references to Canadian foreign policy and praises Allah

Overseas Round-Up
• South Korean prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for the captain of the capsized Sewol ferry and life in prison for three other crew members involved in the deadly disaster earlier this year in which nearly 300 people died, including hundreds of high school students (CNN, BBC)

• Boko Haram gunmen kidnapped at least 30 girls and boys from a Nigerian village on Sunday. The abductions are the latest in a string of kidnappings by Boko Haram that dim hopes for the anticipated release of 219 schoolgirls held by the group since April following a controversial ceasefire declared by Nigerian authorities

• Ukraine’s Petro Poroshenko plans to start talks on forming a coalition govt after exit polls showed his bloc emerged strongest in Sunday’s parliamentary elections. PM Arseniy Yatseniuk’s People’s Front party could be a key partner, he added. Pro-Western parties look set to dominate parliament

• Dimla Rousseff has been re-elected president of Brazil, after securing more than 51% of votes in the closest election race in many years. In her victory speech, Rousseff said she wanted to be “a much better president than I have been until now.”

• Another of the Greats has left us. Jack Bruce, lead vocalist and bassist, of Cream is dead at 71. Here’s “White Room” live from the Royal Albert Hall in 2005

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Victoria Jones


The Talk Radio News Service is the only information, news booking and host service dedicated to serving the talk radio community. TRNS maintains a Washington office that includes White House, Capitol Hill and Pentagon staffed bureaus, and a New York office with a United Nations staffed bureau. Talk Radio News Service has permanent access to every breaking newsevent in the Washington, D.C. area and beyond.