Special Report Grapevine: Swing And A Miss

Swing And A Miss: General Motors was undoubtedly hoping for some good publicity out of last night's world series game where it awarded a shiny new truck to Giants pitcher and World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner. Chevy has gotten a lot of buzz, but it hasn't been good. "Chevy guy" started trending on Twitter after a not so graceful presentation of the keys. As you might imagine the Twitter-verse had a lot of fun with the stumble. To make matters worse the 2015 Chevy Colorado is being recalled. Deliveries of the trucks to dealerships are delayed because of an airbag flaw. But don't worry about Bumgarner--GM tells the Grapevine the truck on the field was just for show and his actual truck will come with any necessary service updates. 
Missed Connections: An Iraq war veteran and former Gitmo police officer says her counseling appointment at the Veterans Affairs was canceled for Mental Illness Awareness week. Army Reserve Major Leslie Haines says she never misses her sessions to treat high-level PTSD.  But the Military Times reports Haines appointment was canceled so the staff could attend a lecture associated with the week's activities. The VA says patients were supposed to be notified and Haines was the only one who did not get the message. But the irony of canceling therapy appointments-- because it's Mental Illness Awareness week-- was not lost on Haines. Quote-- "I was thinking i'm glad it wasn't National Suicide Prevention Day. This is definitely one for the "you can't make this *stuff* up file."
Isis in Crisis?: Finally, as we've reported previously on the Grapevine it's a tough time to be named Isis.  Restaurants sharing the name with the terror group are changing their signs. Women named Isis want the group to be called ISIL. Now there are rumors that Downton Abbey writers are killing off Lord Grantham's beloved dog Isis. Season Five does not air in the US until January, but in Great Britain some ominous foreshadowing in this week's episode where Lord Grantham and Lady Mary note the labrador is looking terribly listless and may have picked up a germ. The Independent notes that on the PBS show even the most trivial conversations are loaded with meaning. A spokesman insists the episode was written long before Isis took on such a negative connotation, but he would not confirm the fate of the dog. 

Special Report Grapevine: Surf's Up!

Six Days And Counting:  As you know, the midterm elections are six days away. Dozens of pivotal races across the country, including democratic senators battling for their political lives, fighting not just to keep their seats but also to maintain the balance of power.  But for folks who get their evening news from the big three networks this might be news to them. The networks' campaign coverage this election season has ranged from scarce to non-existent. ABC's World News Tonight ran its very first midterm election story this week. NBC, CBS, and ABC's evening newscasts provided viewers 18 minutes of election coverage total from September first through the beginning of this week.  If you think the networks have always had this hands-off approach to elections think again. For the 2006 midterms when things were looking pretty good for democratic candidates the networks were on board. They devoted 88 minutes to midterm coverage during election season. That's almost five times as much coverage as the 18 minutes spent during the same time this year. 
Surf's Up: Students at an Ivy League college will get college credit next semester for wasting time on the Internet. The English department at the University of Pennsylvania will offer a seminar entitled just that:Wasting Time on the Internet. It will be taught by renowned poet Kenneth Goldsmith.The description says "Students will be required to stare at the screen for three hours, only interacting through chat rooms, bots, social media and listservs." From there the students will extract or be inspired to write great poetry and prose. Quote-  "Could we reconstruct our autobiography using only Facebook? Could we write a great novella by plundering our Twitter feed? Could we reframe the internet as the greatest poem ever written?" Goldsmith tells Vice he wants to prove that time spent writing, reading, and interacting in the digital world should not be devalued.  
For more fresh pickings, follow us on Twitter @SRGrapevine

FOX News Chat to preview midterms

Please join me for a live chat that will stream on live.foxnews.com Monday, November 3rd at 12:00pmET from our headquarters in New York. We will be taking your questions via Twitter on all things midterms. You can start submitting your questions now @BretBaier using #BretMidterms. We will also take a few viewers live during the chat via skype. Interested in being a part of that chat? Tweet me and let me know and my producer will be in touch. 

And you never know who might show up in studio to join the chat--

Fox News Election Coverage 2014

States, Pentagon Conflict with White House on Ebola Quarantine Policy

By: David Bastawrous—Special Report College Associate

While the White House continues to cast the decision of Gov. Christie and Gov. Cuomo to implement a quarantine for health workers returning from Ebola-stricken countries to New Jersey and New York as anti-science and “just wrong”, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest on Tuesday justified similar US Army policies due to operational efficiency.

The US Army on Monday began isolating about a dozen troops, including a two-star general, returning from Liberia to a US Army base in Vincenza, Italy. About 75 more troops will return from Western Africa throughout the week and will be placed in similar conditions.

The conditions, which a Pentagon spokesman, Army Col. Steve Warren, called “quarantine-like”, consist of “being checked regularly by medical professionals” and the soldiers will not “have any interaction with other personnel” for a period of 21 days.

Earnest on Tuesday dodged questions of whether or not the White House supports this policy. Though, a source in the administration told Fox News on Monday that “the White House was not happy” with the Pentagon’s decision.  

But Earnest did state that it’s “not unusual” for civilian policy to differ from Department of Defense policy. He justified the Army’s actions in the name of efficiency, reasoning that it is easier for the US Army to monitor their high numbers of personnel if their “movements are restricted” and are “co-located.”

The White House continued to caution enforcing a similar policy on the civilian population.

Echoing the CDC, as well as statements from Doctors Without Borders and an editorial from the New England Journal of Medicine, Earnest said that “science does not back up” the notion that mandatory quarantines on civilian personnel will stop the spread of Ebola, and stated that such a policy would “dissuade” volunteer healthcare personnel from traveling overseas to aid the efforts.

Similarly, President Obama today said that military personnel have a “different situation” in that they're “not there voluntarily” and “not treating patients.”

But it’s for that reason that many have asked why the US Army has imposed quarantine-like conditions on personnel who are not directly treating patients, while the CDC and the White House continue to discourage such restrictions on volunteers who have directly treated patients infected with Ebola.   

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday called the CDC guidelines “incredibly confusing.”

Christie claimed that the CDC has been too slow to act but are now “incrementally taking steps to the policy” put in effect in states like New Jersey.

On Monday, the CDC moved to encourage health personnel at high risk for developing Ebola, though they may be asymptomatic, to avoid commercial travel and “congregate gatherings” for an appropriate time consistent with the 21 day Ebola incubation period. Dr. Tom Frieden indicated that such personnel may be placed on a “Do Not Board” list for air travel.

“What’s the difference of telling someone who has been a health care worker at high risk that they can’t go in public places, public transportation, and we want them to work from home, what’s the difference between that and a quarantine?” Christie said. “They don’t want to admit that we’re right and they were wrong.”

Christie denied any political motivations for his decision, citing the six states, red and blue, who have implemented similar measures. 

Special Report Grapevine

Thanks A Brunch: Having a seat on the highest court in the land does not guarantee you a seat for brunch. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito was turned away from a restaurant at his alma mater yesterday because he did not make a reservation. His honor was reportedly at Yale to receive an award from the law school. Above the Law reports Alito and his wife went to brunch at a restaurant in the Yale Hotel, but the hostess said it was full and they could not be seated. He said ok and left. Someone who recognized the justice asked the hostess if she knew who she had just kicked out--she said no. After learning who he was she told the person he should have made a reservation.

It should come as no surprise that even at his alma mater Alito went unrecognized. A poll finds two-thirds of americans cannot name even one Supreme Court Justice. Of that list -- Alito ranks seventh of nine when it comes to name recognition at just five percent. The least known -- Stephen Breyer-- at three percent.

Selfie Safety:  The Russian government is warning young people to lay off the selfies because of head lice. That recommendation comes from a department that regularly dispenses health advice. It claims multi-person selfies are one of the prime culprits for lice transmission because the little bugs can hop from one closely-bunched head to another.

The Force Is NOT With You: Finally, the force apparently was not with Darth Vader this weekend. A candidate for Ukraine's parliament, who legally changed his name to Darth Vader, was not allowed to vote because he would not take off his mask. The Internet Party candidate always wears full Star Wars regalia and promises to turn Ukraine into a galactic empire.Yesterday was election day and Vader arrived at his polling place, showed his ID, but would not show his face. He was denied a ballot.He said he was disappointed, but polls show regardless of the ballot he has little chance of winning. 

Midterms: Races to Watch

Special Report Grapevine: Don't mess with Madeleine Albright

Curious Perspective: A puzzling argument this week from Texas Congressman Louis Gohmert against gays in the military.

The Republican went on the Christian radio show "Point of View" to talk about the U.S. military response to Ebola.

He then turned the conversation toward gay people serving.

His premise -- it seems -- is that they would not be suitable to fight because they would be too busy giving each other massages.


REP. LOUIS GOHMERT, R – TEXAS: I've had people say, 'Hey, you know, there's nothing wrong with gays in the military. Look at the Greeks.' Well, you know, they did have people come along who they loved that was the same sex and would give them massages before they went into battle. But you know what, it's a different kind of fighting, it's a different kind of war and if you're sitting around getting massages all day ready to go into the big, planned battle, then you're not going to last very long.


As you might imagine this logic is not going over too well.

And -- quote -- "Gohmert is the hardest working crazy person in politics. He holds up the rear on every discredited talking point."

We reached out to the congressman.

He tells the Grapevine his comments are part of a larger discussion.

Quote -- "The military is not about seeking creature comforts and pleasures for yourself. It is about defending a nation. "

Trick, No Treat: A Texas man says he is truly embracing the spirit of Halloween by decorating his townhouse as if it were being decontaminated for Ebola.

Some of James Faulk's neighbors are questioning whether it is in bad taste to use bio-hazard signs, quarantine tape, and hazardous waste drums.

He bought it at a hospital auction for $150.

His neighbors say it's too soon.

Faulk says it's all in good Halloween fun.

He added a Happy Halloween banner to eliminate or try and eliminate any confusion.

But he says his display is not going anywhere and he might even add a dummy in a hospital bed by the front window.

Don't Mess with Madeleine: It is safe to say former Secretary of State Madeline Albright walked away the winner after a Twitter battle with a late-night comedian.

Conan O'Brien tweeted yesterday -- quote -- "I picked out my Halloween costume. I'm going as slutty Madeleine Albright."

To which Albright responded -- quote -- "I'm considering going as hunky Conan O'Brien -- but that might be too far-fetched."

That has been retweeted 4,600 times, and favorited almost 7,000 times.

Albright later tweeted -- quote -- "Never get into a word war with a diplomat. We talk even more than comedians."

Special Report Grapevine: Ethics for Jocks

A is for Academic Fraud: Thousands of University of North carolina students-- nearly half of them athletes-- received college credit for bogus classes that never met and did not even have a professor.  An investigation found the academic fraud went on for two decades. Most of the athletes involved were on the football and basketball teams. Counselors recommended the classes to athletes struggling to meet academic eligibility requirements.  Nine school employees have been fired or are under disciplinary review for academic fraud. The NCAA is reviewing the findings and sanctions could range from fewer scholarships to forfeiting prior wins. 
The Sunshine States?: The city of South Miami has passed a resolution in favor of creating a 51st state. Some commissioners want south Florida to break away over concerns about global warming. They say state lawmakers are not taking seriously worries over rising sea levels, quote "we have to be able to deal directly with this environmental concern and we can't really get it done in Tallahassee."
Even the mayor agrees--"It's very apparent that the attitude of the northern part of the state is that they would just love to saw the state in half and just let us float off into the Caribbean. I would love to give them the opportunity to do that." The resolution faces a major up-hill battle. It must be considered by all 24 counties in the proposed new state and would have to ultimately be approved by the entire state and Congress. 
Aging Electorate: Finally, an aging New York city electorate that according to voter logswas alive when Abraham Lincoln was president. The New York Post reports 850 voters are listed as being 164 years old with identical birth dates of January 1, 1850.  The board of elections officials say the problem is the result of an old policy allowing residents to decline to give their true age. When the rules changed employees were required to input a birth date or remove voters from the register, so they made up an antebellum birthday.  New voters cannot participate without providing a real birth date, but these old timers are grandfathered in. 
For more fresh pickings, follow us on Twitter @SRGrapevine

Reporters Barred from Obama Fundraisers Because of Quantum Physics, WH Says

By: David Bastawrous—Special Report College Associate

When pressed for access to Q&A's with high-dollar donors, the self-proclaimed “most transparent administration in history” says reporters can’t attend because of a quantum physics theory known as the Heisenberg principle.

The theory, for which Werner Heisenberg won the 1932 Nobel Prize in Physics, explains that the exact position and momentum of a particle and cannot simultaneously be known.

Given in jest, Real Clear Politics notes that White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest was likely referring to the Hawthorne effect, in which individuals modify their behavior in awareness of being observed by others.

“That the fact of someone observing something necessarily changes what is actually being observed. And I think that’s at play in a dynamic like this when you have a relatively small group of individuals who are seeking to have a conversation with the president of the United States,” Earnest said on Wednesday.

President Obama’s closed door fundraiser Thursday will be at the home of Senator Jay Rockefeller. One DNC official indicated that the approximately 25 attendees contributed up to $32,400 each for a seat at the roundtable discussion in Washington.

According to Mark Knoller of CBS, that brings the tally up to 62 fundraisers this year, only half of which have been open to the press. The White House this year opened only 3 donor Q&A sessions to reporters.

Earlier this year, former editor of the New York Times, Jill Abramson, said the Obama White House “is the most secretive White House that I have ever been involved in covering,” adding, and “I spent 22 years of my career in Washington and covered presidents from President Reagan on up through now.”

Most reporters would agree. Back in March, Politico conducted a non-scientific poll of White House correspondents. One question asked which White House was “more forthcoming” with reporters, Bush’s or Obama’s. 41% chose the Bush administration, while only 5% chose the Obama administration.

Reporters on Wednesday further pressed Earnest on a question that’s gone unanswered for 6 years: how much money have taxpayers coughed up for the President’s political travel? Earnest again refused to disclose the answer.

In 6 years, President Obama has already appeared at over 100 more fundraisers than Bush had in his 8 years in office.

According to Federal Election Commission rules, “when travel is for political purposes, the President, Vice President, and First Lady, and any assistants accompanying them, are required to reimburse the government the comparable airfare they would have paid had they traveled by commercial airline. On such trips, they pay for their own food, lodging, and other incidental expenses.”

However, if the travel includes official, nonpolitical duties as well, the President is only to reimburse half the amount. 

Though previous administrations have also withheld the amount of travel billed to taxpayers, the concealment challenges the White House hiding behind the “unprecedented level of transparency” it claims to offer. 



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The administration announced stepped up security at various federal government buildings, a week after a gunman charged the parliament building in Canada. DHS Secretary did not give specifics on the heightened alert and described it as a precautionary step.

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