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Everything You Need to Know About Ebola in America, in One Fantastic Quote

| Mon Oct. 20, 2014 11:13 PM EDT

Meet a man made of very stern stuff indeed:

Peter Pattakos spent 20 minutes Saturday in an Akron bridal shop, getting fitted for a tux for his friend's wedding. Thursday, his friend sent a text message, telling him that Ebola patient Amber Joy Vinson had been in the store around the same time.

[...]

Pattakos, 36, a Cleveland attorney who lives in Bath Township, called the health department, which told him to call back if he exhibits any Ebola symptoms. He called a doctor, who told him not to worry.

"I didn't exchange any bodily fluids with anyone, so I'm not worried about it," he said. "I'm much more likely to be mistakenly killed by a police officer in this country than to be killed by Ebola, even if you were in the same bridal shop."

Yep.

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Elizabeth Warren Was on Fire This Weekend. Here Were Her 5 Best Lines.

| Mon Oct. 20, 2014 5:21 PM EDT

It's good to be Elizabeth Warren. The senior senator from Massachusetts spent her weekend campaigning for Democrats in Minnesota, Colorado, and Iowa, and by all accounts, she tore it up, and got more than a few calls to run for president. (Breaking: she still insists she isn't going to.) These were some of her biggest red-meat lines from the campaign trail:

1. "The game is rigged, and the Republicans rigged it. We can whine, we can whimper or we can fight back, and we’re here to fight back. We know what we’re fighting for and what we’re up against. We’ve got our voices, or votes and our willingness to fight. This is about democracy, about your future, and about the kind of country we want to build.”

2. "[W]ho does this government work for?…Does it work just for the millionaires, just for the billionaires, just for those who have armies of lobbyists and lawyers or does it work for the people? That’s the question in this race.”

3. "Republicans believe this country should work for those who are rich, those who are powerful, those who can hire armies of lobbyists and lawyers."

4. When conservatives came to power in the 1980s, the first thing they did was "fire the cops on Wall Street. They called it deregulation. But what it really meant was have at 'em boys. They were saying in effect to the biggest financial institutions: Any way you can trick or trap or fool anybody into signing anything, man, you can just rake in the profits."

5. "They ought to be wearing a T-shirt [that says]...'I got mine. The rest of you are on your own.' We can hang back, we can whine about what the Republicans have done…or we can fight back. Me, I’m fighting back!"

Contrast Warren's rock star treatment with the President's reception this weekend: he spoke at a campaign event in Maryland, and attendees filed out as soon as he started speaking. Obama is being kept at arms' length in close races—Warren, on the other hand, will head to New Hampshire this weekend to campaign for Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, who's running against Warren's old nemesis, Scott Brown.

The 5 Stupidest Paranoid Responses to Ebola

| Mon Oct. 20, 2014 4:41 PM EDT

As President Barack Obama noted in his weekly address Saturday, Ebola is a serious public health issue. But the level of paranoia that has surfaced across the country since Thomas Duncan became the first patient diagnosed with the disease in the United States is not only unwarranted—it's  dangerous. Ripped straight from the headlines, here are just five of the more surreal incidents of Ebola panic.

Syracuse University disinvites photographer. Ebola has an incubation period of up to three weeks. If someone hasn't gotten sick within 21 days of exposure, they're in the clear. But News Photographer magazine reported last week that "three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Michel du Cille of The Washington Post, who returned from covering the Ebola crisis in Liberia 21 days ago and who is symptom free, was asked by Syracuse University officials today not to come to campus, where he was scheduled to participate in a journalism program." Cille was not pleased:

 

Maine teacher put on leave after traveling to Dallas. "A teacher at Strong Elementary School was placed on a 21-day paid leave of absence after parents told the school board they were concerned that she might have been exposed to Ebola during a trip to Dallas for an educational conference," the Portland Press Herald recently reported. Dallas, where Duncan's case was first diagnosed, is a city of 1.25 million. Five million people travel to and from Dallas every month.

Rwandan students kept home from New Jersey elementary school. Two students who moved from Rwanda—where there have been zero cases of Ebola—are being kept home from school in Burlington County, New Jersey, for 21 days in response to concerns from parents. Rwanda "is about 2,600 miles away from the closest affected country in West Africa," notes Philadelphia's local Fox station. "That's about as close as Seattle, Washington, is to Philadelphia. But for some parents it really doesn't matter."

Cleveland man charged with felony after stupid joke. "Bond is set at $10,000 for a Cleveland man charged with inducing panic after being accused of telling a Horseshoe Casino worker that he was gambling to avoid his Ebola-stricken ex-wife," Cleveland.com reported last week. Needless to say, neither the man nor his wife has Ebola.

Texas college rejects applicants from Ebola-free Nigeria. Officials at Navarro College in Texas cited Ebola as a basis for refusing admission to two Nigerian students. Nigeria has been extraordinarily effective in fighting its recent outbreak, which included just 20 confirmed cases—so extraordinary, in fact, that as of today, the World's Health Organization officially declared the country Ebola-free. After the media caught wind of the story, an official from Navarro pushed back against "misinformation" by saying that the college is focusing on students from China and Indonesia for the next year.

There's much, much more out there, but we leave you with this note from Bloomberg's Gabriel Snyder.

Drinking a "Medium" Soda Every Day Can Age You as Much as Smoking Does

| Mon Oct. 20, 2014 2:28 PM EDT

Just as soda companies plunk down millions of dollars to defeat local soda-tax ballot measures, researchers have found a link between regular soda consumption and premature aging.

Published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Public Health, a study of 5,300 adults compared the cells of people who drink soda every day to those of their non-soda-drinking counterparts. In the soda group, the ends of the chromosomes—known as telomeres—were shorter, a sign of their cells' diminished ability to regenerate. Our telomeres naturally shorten as we age, but scientists have discovered that a few behaviors—including smoking—can shorten them prematurely.

And here's the really interesting part: People who drank a 20-ounce soda every day experienced an additional 4.6 years of telomere aging—the same amount observed in smokers. "The extremely high dose of sugar that we can put into our body within seconds by drinking sugared beverages is uniquely toxic to metabolism," lead author Elissa Epel, a professor of psychiatry at University of California-San Francisco, told Time.

The researchers didn't find the same effect in those who drank diet sodas or 100 percent fruit juice.

Which Dad is More Embarrassing: Ron Paul or Rafael Cruz?

| Mon Oct. 20, 2014 2:10 PM EDT

If Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) do battle for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, they'll have to carefully manage their most popular yet embarrassing surrogates: their fathers. Here's a quick guide to the septuagenarian bomb-throwers.

 

We're Still at War: Photo of the Day for October 20, 2014

Mon Oct. 20, 2014 11:16 AM EDT

A US Army Corporal carries a detonation cord to blow up expired ordinance in Afghanistan. (US Army photo by Staff Sgt. Whitney Houston)

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John Oliver Shows the Supreme Court How to Make Their Boring Recordings Way More Adorable

| Mon Oct. 20, 2014 9:02 AM EDT

The Supreme Court bars cameras from televising its oral arguments, with the only window into the minds of justices being lame audio recordings paired with awkward illustrations. No one wants to watch that.

John Oliver has a brilliant alternative: Dogs. Cats. Real adorable animals with fake moving paws.

"The visual makes it irresistible. Why? Because a cat's paws are doing things you wouldn't expect them to do. And if it works for shitty piano music it can work for the Supreme Court."

Consider us sold.

Housekeeping Note

| Mon Oct. 20, 2014 8:00 AM EDT

No blogging today, I'm afraid. I've been having lower back problems for several months, and on Friday night it got a lot worse. Saturday morning I couldn't get out of bed, and had to be transported to the ER. It turns out that I had a compression fracture of one of my lumbar bones. I've been in the hospital ever since.

I can walk again, but I'm pretty much bedbound for a while. Beyond that, further tests will tell us what's going on here. Without either oversharing or being coy, there's a chance this could turn out to be pretty serious. We'll know more by the end of the week. In the meantime, blogging will obviously be pretty limited.

Numero Group Releases a Stellar Retrospective

| Mon Oct. 20, 2014 6:00 AM EDT

Unwound
No Energy
Numero Group

Part three of Numero Group's stellar Unwound retrospective picks up with the 1995 album The Future of What, followed by 1996's Repetition, and includes eight singles sides and some previously unreleased recordings. What's most immediately striking about these 33 tracks is how little interest the Olympia, Washington, trio has in repeating itself. While Justin Trosper (vocals, guitar), Vern Rumsey (bass) and Sara Lund (drums) still draw on deep roots in punk and hard rock, they often seem to be navigating uncharted territory. The songs are dark and jagged, more likely to generate brooding unease than provide easy catharsis. Check out either version of the tortured eight-minute epic "Swan" for an unpredictable, genre-defying experience that's thoroughly fascinating.

Sallie Ford, the Exhilarating Provocateur

| Mon Oct. 20, 2014 6:00 AM EDT

Sallie Ford
Slap Back
Vanguard

sallie ford

Raucous, profane, and unapologetic, Sallie Ford relishes playing the provocateur. On the exhilarating Slap Back, the Portland, Oregon-based singer-songwriter debuts her new all-female backing band, sounding like the early, badass Elvis Costello who fronted the Attractions. Buoyed by waves of punky garage rock, Ford addresses urgent issues like romance and lust in her usual blunt language ("Give Me Your Lovin'"), while illuminating her own struggles ("So Damn Low") and pausing for moments of surprising tenderness, observing, "Loves may come and lovers may go. But I'm here for the long haul, I hope you know" in "Hey Girl." For all the catchy tunes and tough grooves, Ford's greatest asset is her rowdy charisma.