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

  • Midterm Madness: Down to the wire
  • Midterm Madness: Home stretch
  • Nurse defies Ebola quarantine: Rides bike
  • “Chicken$hit” still hitting the fan
  • Suspected cop killer survivalist captured
  • Chilling journal
  • Jerusalem: Police on high alert
  • Leahy slams FBI and DEA tactics
  • Tim Cook, Apple’s chief: “Proud to be gay”
  • U.S. internet speed & prices are lame


Midterm Madness: Down to the Wire
• President Obama on Thursday headlined a boisterous rally for Democrat Mike Michaud to become Maine’s next governor. “If you want something better, you have to vote for him,” the president exhorted a boisterous crowd of 3,000. Michaud is running against incumbent Gov Paul LePage in a neck-and-neck race

• First lady Michelle Obama has recorded phone calls for seven-term Rep Mike Honda (D-CA), who’s running a tight race against former Commerce Dept official Ro Khanna – a fellow Democrat – in one of the most expensive House races in the country (Politico, Reuters, Hill, AP, me)

• A new Quinnipiac poll out Thursday shows former Florida Gov Charlie Crist inching in front of his successor, GOP Gov Rick Scott, in the Sunshine State’s bitter, expensive gubernatorial race. Crist, Republican turned Democrat, has a 3-point edge over Scott at 43% to 40%. Both are unpopular

• A ballot measure to tighten background checks for gun buyers in Washington state, which is reeling from a deadly school shooting last week, is drawing support ahead of a 4 Nov vote, a new poll shows. Support for the background check measure is at 64%

• There are two competing measures on the ballot: one would require background checks on all gun sales, including at gun shows, online and transfers. The other would prevent the state from imposing more background check requirements unless the federal govt does so first

• Really great graphic (I learned something new about MD) – the races to watch across all 50 states (NYT)

Midterm Madness: Home Stretch
• Sen Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and challenger Scott Brown sparred over issues that have dominated the campaign at a debate Thursday night. While chief among those was national security, perhaps more telling was their choice of which Peanuts character they identified with. Shaheen: Lucy. Brown: Charlie Brown. Neither picked the football

• The latest and final Bluegrass poll finds that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell holds a five-point leads over challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes as the toughest race of his political career nears. He’s leading among men and women. (Grimes has peaked. McConnell will win)

• Republicans are calling on Sen Mary Landrieu (D-LA) to apologize after she responded to a reporter’s question about why President Obama has such low approval ratings in Louisiana by expanding on her original answer about his energy policies and talking about race

• “I’ll be very, very honest with you. The South has not always been the friendliest place for African-Americans. It’s been a difficult time for the president to present himself in a very positive light as a leader,” Landrieu said. Republicans jumped on it. (She may lose, partly because of this statement, even though it’s the truth)

Nurse Defies Ebola Quarantine: Rides Bike
• Gov Paul LePage (R-ME) said he had been trying to negotiate an agreement with nurse Kaci Hickox, based on CDC guidelines for how to prevent the spread of Ebola. Those guidelines, he said, would allow her to go about in public as long as she maintained a three-foot distance from others, and submitted to health officials to monitor her temp and any symptoms

• Those negotiations seems stalemated Thursday night. But Hickox too, seemed to be stepping back from her earlier pledge to defy quarantine, emerging from her house with her boyfriend to go for a bike ride taking a trail that led them west, away from the town’s main street (NYT, CNN, Fox, me)

• Thursday, the American Nursing Assn issued a statement in support of Hickox, saying that she didn’t require quarantine under CDC guidelines because she’d shown no symptoms of Ebola

• Meanwhile, Gov Bobby Jindal (R-LA), issued a stern warning on Thursday to medical experts coming to an international conference on tropical diseases that they should stay away if they had been in Ebola-affected countries in the past 21 days, and that those who defied would be confined to their hotel rooms (they should cancel the conference and deny La the business)

• Dr Alan Magill, president of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, said the move by Louisiana to block doctors who had treated Ebola patients from its conference this weekend would harm crucial sessions where scientists, doctors and administrators who had been in the region were going to teach others

• Nurse Nina Pham will soon be reunited with her beloved King Charles Spaniel, Bentley, who has been sequestered since she became ill with Ebola. A Dallas city spox said the dog has tested negative for Ebola and will be released when his quarantine ends this Saturday (AP, me)

“Chicken$hit” Still Hitting The Fan

• SecState John Kerry on Thursday condemned remarks from an anonymous admin official who labeled Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu as “chicken$hit:” “It is disgraceful, unacceptable, damaging, and I think neither President Obama nor I – I’ve never heard that word around me in the WH or anywhere,” Kerry said (really? anywhere?) (Reuters, TRNS, me)

• Speaking during an appearance at The Atlantic’s Ideas Forum, Kerry said, “I don’t know who these anonymous people are who keep getting quoted, but they make life much more difficult.” One official had said, “The bad thing about him

[Netanyahu] is that he won’t do anything to reach an accommodation with the Palestinians or with the Sunni Arab states.”

• Kerry said the only way to resolve tensions between Israelis and Palestinians was to bring the sides together to negotiate a peaceful settlement. “We still believe it is doable, but it takes courage and strength,” he said, “both sides have to be prepared to compromise in order to do it.”

• Meanwhile, former Rep Bob Ney (R-OH), who was the powerful chairman of the House Administration Committee before his fall in the Jack Abramoff scandal, posted on Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) Facebook page Thursday in response to Boehner’s remark on Wednesday that President Obama might “condone profanity.”

• Ney wrote: “You [Boehner] have the foulest mouth on the Hill, everyone knows it. Oh, I know, I am a felon, a liar, and sad – but hundreds of non felons, non liars and non sad people have heard you say the F word like it is your job – Oh sorry, it is your job to F up the ability to really do something good for the American people!” Ney now works with TRNS

• Former Boston Mayor Tom Menino has died. The Obamas put out a statement calling Menino “bold, big-hearted and Boston strong,” also “the embodiment of the city he loved and served for more than two decades.”
Suspected Killer Survivalist Captured
• A survivalist accused of ambushing two state troopers, killing one and seriously wounding the other, was captured Thursday by U.S. marshals near an abandoned airplane hangar in Pennsylvania, ending a seven-week manhunt that had rattled the nerves of area residents (AP, me)

• Eric Frein was held in the handcuffs of the trooper he’s accused of killing, Gov Tom Corbett said at a nighttime presser. The quiet takedown of Frein, who kneeled and put his hands up, ended weeks of tension and turmoil in the area, as authorities at times closed schools, canceled outdoor events and blockaded roads

• Frein is charged with opening fire outside the Blooming Grove barracks on 12 Sept, killing Cpl Bryon Dickson and seriously wounding Trooper Alex Douglass. After his arrest Thursday, he was placed in Dickson’s car for the ride back to the barracks, about 30 miles away (good)

• Police said they linked Frein to the ambush after a man walking his dog discovered his partly submerged SUV three days later in a swamp a few miles from the shooting scene. Inside, they found shell casings matching those at the barracks as well as Frein’s driver’s license, camouflage face paint, two empty rifle cases and military gear

Chilling Journal
• Trackers using dogs found items they believe Frein hid or abandoned in the woods – including soiled diapers, empty packs of Serbian cigarettes, an AK-47 assault rifle and ammunition and two pipe bombs that were functional and capable of causing significant damage

• They also discovered a journal, allegedly kept by Frein and found in a bag of trash at a hastily abandoned campsite, that offered a chilling account of the ambush and his subsequent escape into the woods. The journal’s author described Dickson as falling “still and quiet” after being shot twice

• Police said Frein appeared to be treating the manhunt as a game. Frein, 31, had expressed anti-law enforcement views online and to people who knew him. Authorities believe he had been planning a confrontation with police for years, citing info they found on a computer used by him

• Police found a U.S. Army manual called “Sniper Training and Employment” in his bedroom at his parents’ house, and his father, a retired Army major, told authorities that his son is an excellent marksman, who “doesn’t miss,” according to a police affidavit

• The manhunt in northeastern PA had scrapped some plans for trick-or-treating. But town officials met after Frein’s capture to salvage the Halloween festivities. “We as a town think the kids have gone through enough,” chairman Ralph Megliola said
Jerusalem: Police on High Alert
• Police were set to reopen the Temple Mount to visitors today – men over 50 and women – despite calls from Fatah to hold a “day of rage” in Jerusalem and the West Bank. The Temple Mount, known to Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif, was shut down as a security precaution Thursday after an assassination attempt on Jewish activist Yehuda Glick (BBC, JPost, Haaretz)

• Thursday, a spox for Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas described the closure of the disputed site as “a declaration of war.” The compound is the holiest site in Jerusalem and contains the al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam as well as the Dome of the Rock and is next to the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray

• Glick is a well-known U.S. born campaigner for the right of Jews to pray at the site, which is currently prohibited. He’s currently recovering from his injuries. Israeli police later killed a Palestinian suspected of shooting him

• SecState John Kerry on Thursday said he was “extremely concerned” by the escalation in tensions.” “It is absolutely critical that all sides exercise restraint, refrain from provocative actions and rhetoric, and preserve the historic status quo on the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount in word and in practice,” he said
• Burkina Faso’s president Blaise Campaore says he’ll stay in power for a year under a transitional govt, following a day of violent protests demanding his resignation. The WH is “deeply concerned” about the deteriorating situation. (Campaore has no intention of stepping down; came to power in a coup) (BBC, me)
Leahy Slams FBI and DEA Tactics
• Senate Judiciary Committee chair Patrick Leahy (D-VT) wrote to AG Eric Holder Thursday in response to news that the DEA used a woman’s identity to create a Facebook profile without her knowledge and that the FBI planted a fake Associated Press article on a phony Seattle Times website: “increasingly concerned,” Leahy said (Hill, me)

• “Such tactics carry ethical and legal risks,” the longtime senator told Holder. “Tactics such as these may ultimately prove counter-productive if they erode the public’s trust in the judgment and integrity of law enforcement officers.” Last week, Leahy said the agency should ban such investigative practices (outrage)

• Thursday, he said that officials should commit not to impersonate news organizations, days after news emerged that the FBI used a fake AP story to insert a bug into the computer of a teenager suspected of calling in bomb threats at their school (they don’t respect the press – and they won’t stop)

• The use of fake newspaper articles “potentially undermines the integrity and credibility of an independent press,” Leahy wrote. After reports emerged about the fake news stories, editors at both the AP and the Seattle Times expressed outrage at the tactic

• In his letter, Leahy noted that news about the controversial investigations come as the FBI is seeking to expand its ability to hack into people’s computers. Next week, a number of privacy and technology advocates will appear at a hearing to oppose the bureau’s plan which would allow the bureau to target computers that it can’t physically locate
Tim Cook, Apple’s Chief: “Proud To Be Gay”
• Timothy Cook, Apple’s chief executive, said in an essay published Thursday in Bloomberg Businessweek, “Let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.” Cook, 53, has never spoken publicly about his sexual orientation in the many years he’s worked in the spotlight at Apple (NYT, me)

• In his essay, Cook noted that he had spent much of his life trying to keep his personal matters private. “Apple is already one of the most closely watched companies in the world,’ he wrote, “and I like keeping the focus on our products and the incredible things our customers achieve with them.”

• Cook’s sexuality has been a widely open secret in Silicon Valley. In private forums, he has alluded to facing difficulties growing up as a young man in Alabama, where he was raised for much of his childhood. He has said that human rights and dignity are values that need to be acted upon

• With his essay, Cook becomes the most prominent gay man in the corporate world, joining a very short list of openly gay executives at public companies. In addition, 83% of gay, lesbian and bisexual people hide aspects of their identity at work, according to a Deloitte report

• Activist groups were quick to praise Cook for his essay, while lauding Apple’s progressive history. “Tim Cook’s announcement today will save countless lives,” The Human Rights Campaign said in a statement

U.S. Internet Speed & Prices Are Lame

• A report by the Open Technology Institute shows that the U.S. lags behind other nations when it comes to home broadband internet speeds and prices. The study found similar gaps for mobile broadband. The study looked at 24 cities around the world, including eight in the U.S. (Hill, me)

• Asian cities – including Seoul, Hong Kong and Tokyo – all ranked highest in speed and cost. Each city has broadband connection speeds at 1 gigabit (1,000 megabits) per second at a price less than $40 per month. Another study earlier this year found the U.S. had an average connection speed of 10.5 Mbps

• Only one U.S. city made the top 10 of fastest broadband packages offered at less than $40. San Francisco ranked seventh with a speed of 200 Mbps / $30. Comparatively, Washington DC, Los Angeles or New York can purchase only a 10-15 Mbps speed for the same price


• While customers in DC can buy 500 Mbps speeds, it costs about $300 a month, – about the same in LA and NY. “In addition, when it comes to the estimated speeds a customer could expect to get for $50 in each of the cities we surveyed, the U.S. is middling at best, with many cities falling to the bottom of the pack.”

• The report found that U.S. cities with publicly owned networks, like Chattanooga or Lafayette, have speeds far exceeding cities with only traditional internet service providers like Verizon, AT&T or Comcast. Prices in those two cities are about $70 – $100

• FCC Commissioner Tom Wheeler has noted that in many areas, broadband internet customers have the choice of only two service providers. And there’s less choice as customers seek faster speeds. Note: Did you see this story anywhere else or widely? Most Americans don’t know that we’re being screwed by our providers

• Rocking into the weekend with “Halloween” by The Misfits” and BONUS TRACK: “Living Dead Girl” by Rob Zombie

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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.