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Perry Says Ground Troops Must Be An Option Against Iraq Militants

by S.V. Dáte
Aug 21, 2014

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Texas Gov. Rick Perry, just days after being indicted for alleged abuse of power, has set himself apart from other GOP presidential wannabes in a another way — by announcing that he's willing to send U.S. ground forces back to Iraq.

Perry, in a speech at the Heritage Foundation think tank in Washington today, said the Islamic State is such a large threat to Jordan, Israel and even the United States that a return of "boots on the ground" in Iraq ought to be up for consideration.

"Signaling to your enemy what you are not going to put on the table is very, very bad — both strategical and tactical errors by this administration," he said. "We need to have all of our options open."

Referring to the Islamic State, which is also know variously as ISIS and ISIL, Perry said: "They need to be eliminated. They need to be eliminated now."

Republicans generally are united in criticizing President Obama's foreign policy as too weak and unfocused, and in calling his withdrawal from Iraq a matter of political expedience. But most GOP lawmakers, aware of the nation's war-weariness, have stopped short of opening the door to putting combat troops back in Iraq.

Perry shows no such qualms.

"As the terrorists see it, they've had a triumphant summer," he said, reminding his audience that the group just this week posted a video of its killing of American journalist James Foley. "We better get on top of this crisis, by every means necessary, because events are moving fast, and the price is only going to go up from here," he said.

The topic of Perry's speech was billed as "The Border Crisis and the New Politics of Immigration," but he spent most of his half-hour attacking Obama's Middle East policy. He did warn that Islamic State terrorists already could have crossed into the United States from Mexico, but says any discussion of a comprehensive immigration overhaul is inappropriate until the border has been secured.

In his 2012 run for the presidency, Perry was the outlier among Republicans on immigration, opposing a fence along the entire Texas-Mexico border. During a September 2011 GOP debate, he famously said that those who opposed in-state college tuition for the so-called "DREAMers" who were brought to the U.S. as minor children had "no heart."

Perry is in his final year as governor following three and a half terms, and is open about his interest in running for president a second time. He has made numerous trips to Iowa already, plans a visit to New Hampshire this weekend, and is scheduled to attend a fundraiser for the South Carolina Republican Party next week.

His Heritage Foundation visit came on the heels of his formal booking on charges he misused his office. Perry vetoed $7.5 million for the Travis County District Attorney's public integrity unit because of the top prosecutor's refusal to step down after a drunk-driving conviction.

Perry shrugs off the indictment and says he'd do it the same way if he had it to do over. The political committee backing his potential presidential run posted a two-minute video response to the charges, and Republicans have rallied to his side, labeling the case as politically motivated.

"I just think it's outrageous, from everything I can tell, and I think it will help him in the long run," said Arizona Sen. John McCain, the party's 2008 presidential nominee.

Perry's 2012 campaign began promisingly, with big fundraising numbers and a quick rise to the top of the polls, but he fell out of favor just as quickly following a series of weak debate performances. In one, Perry started listing the three federal agencies he would eliminate if elected, but could only remember the names of two. He finished with a now-infamous "Oops."

S.V. Dte edits congressional and campaign finance coverage for NPR's Washington Desk.

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Police arrest a demonstrator protesting the killing of teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. (Getty Images)

Who Are The Protesters Getting Arrested In Ferguson?

by Jason Rosenbaum
Aug 21, 2014 (All Things Considered / KWMU-FM)

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Jay Mattson and his parents, Vicky and Kevin Mattson. The Mattsons traveled from Athens, Ohio, to join the protests in Ferguson.

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There was nobody at the QuikTrip on Thursday — that's the gas station and convenience store that burned down on the first night of violent protests in Ferguson, Mo. It was once a focal point for protesters.

On Thursday, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon ordered his state's National Guard to start withdrawing, a sign of the calm that has finally descended on the city racked by protests ever since police shot and killed an unarmed 18-year-old African-American man named Michael Brown.

While the QuikTrip was quiet, there's more of a crowd a short walk away at the Canfield Green Apartment Complex — that's where Brown was shot. Members of the NAACP are here dropping off food and water for residents.

"A lot of people have had trouble getting out of here," says John Gaskin of the St. Louis County chapter of the NAACP. "Many of the people that live in this area don't have cars; as you can see, many of the more accessible stores — like the convenient marts — are closed because of the looting."

He says the presence of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has helped calm down protests. So have the rain and heat. On Wednesday night, only six people were arrested in Ferguson, according to the Missouri Highway Patrol. That's way down from the previous night when 51 people were arrested.

More than 160 people have been arrested since the protests began, nearly two weeks ago. Arrest records provide details about where the protesters are coming from.

Sgt. Al Notham, who works with the Highway Patrol, says the bad actors have largely been weeded out. "Community leaders are stepping in. We're getting all kinds of assistance from the community. They're actually doing a fantastic job."

Since the protests erupted, people in Ferguson have insisted that the troublemakers are not from this community. Capt. Ron Johnson, the highway patrolman in charge of security here, said as much earlier this week.

"I am not going to let the criminals that have come out here from across this country and don't live in this community define this neighborhood and define what we're going to do to make it right," Johnson says.

In fact, of the 51 people who were arrested Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, only one person was from Ferguson. The rest were from surrounding towns and faraway cities such as Des Moines, Iowa, Chicago and New York.

Some were arrested for property damage, disorderly conduct and burglary. Most were taken in for simply not dispersing when police ordered them to.

The violence and looting have also been largely at night. During the day, the protests are completely different. Peaceful protesters have come to Ferguson from as far as Chicago, Atlanta and Detroit to be a part of an outcry sparked by Brown's death.

Kevin Mattson drove here from Athens, Ohio, with his family to protest aggressive policing and to support the plight of young black men.

"It's my obligation as a citizen of the nation," Mattson says.

The Mattson family was protesting earlier this week along with 15 or 20 other people, some praying, in front of the Ferguson police station. While Mattson and his wife, Vicky, are white; his son, Jay, is black.

"Just being African-American and seeing a kid only two years older than me get shot, it's really, just sad and makes me worried about how I am going to act when I leave the small town I live in now," Jay Mattson says. "Because everybody grew up with me and they knew who I was, but when I move away I don't know how other people are going to react to me."

The protests may have died down for now. But Gaskin, with the NAACP, says his group is planning a youth march on Saturday. And a decision on whether to charge police officer Darren Wilson with shooting Michael Brown could be weeks away. That could give people from across the country plenty of time to figure out the way to Ferguson.

Copyright 2014 KWMU-FM. To see more, visit http://www.stlpublicradio.org.

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Dr. Kent Brantly (center) announces his recovery from Ebola, with his wife, Amber Brantly (left), during a press conference at Emory University Hospital Thursday in Atlanta. Brantly got sick at the end of July. (Getty Images)

Contagious Kisses? We Answer Your Questions About Ebola Recovery

by Linda Poon
Aug 21, 2014 (KWMU-FM)

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It was a public health first. Doctors discharged two Americans from a hospital in Atlanta after treating them for Ebola.

Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol caught the virus in July while working with Christian aid groups at a clinic in Monrovia, Liberia. The two were flown to Emory University Hospital in early August.

Brantly and Writebol went through "a rigorous course of treatment and thorough testing for treatment," before they were release, said Emory's Dr. Bruce Ribner, at a press conference Thursday. He is confident that their release posed no threat to the public, Ribner added.

But still, the news of Brantly's and Writebol's release generated a flurry of questions from our readers — and our team members. To answers some of the most frequently asked ones, we reached out to Dr. Barbara Knust, an epidemiologist at the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.

She responded through a CDC spokesperson via email. We've edited her responses for clarity and space.

Can a survivor pass the Ebola virus on to someone else through, for example, a hug or a kiss?

Ebola is spread only by people exhibiting symptoms and through direct contact with bodily fluids. Once a person recovers from Ebola virus disease, he or she is no longer shedding virus, and thus is not contagious.

In past Ebola outbreaks, follow-up studies of patients who have recovered from Ebola and their contacts found no evidence that the Ebola virus was spread from a recovered patient to their close contacts.

We've read that the virus still lingers in semen and breast milk after recovery. Is that true?

The World Health Organization states that the Ebola virus has been found in male semen up to seven weeks after recovery. They also cite a specific instance when the Ebola virus was found in the semen of a man 61 days after recovery.

Therefore, male survivors of Ebola are advised to avoid having sex for three months or to use condoms. (In an earlier interview, Knust also said that women are instructed to wean any children who have been breast-feeding.)

Semen and breast milk are not the primary means by which Ebola is transmitted. The virus is primarily transmitted via blood, sweat, feces and vomit.

As you may have heard today from Emory officials and Dr. Brantly, neither Brantly nor Writebol are completely sure how or where they contracted the virus. But each knows they either treated Ebola patients or were in close contact with those who treated Ebola patients. In either case, we just don't know what bodily fluid may have been the vessel of transmission.

Can there be long-term damage to a person's organs after recovering from Ebola?

There could be, though CDC isn't aware of any. Ebola is a severe disease, and recovery can take a long time. Long-term damage would depend on the clinical course the disease took.

Does a survivor suffer any irreversible damage?

We don't have data on this.

In a previous interview, Dr. Darin Portnoy, of Doctors Without Borders, said renal, kidney, liver or lung function can take some time to recover in some cases. If the patient goes into shock, it can also damage the heart muscle, which may not ever recover. A shock-like state can also decrease blood flow to the brain and cause some irreversible damage. Each case is different, Portnoy stressed.

Would it be safe for Brantly to go back to Africa?

That would be a question for the medical team that treated him. Whether Dr. Brantly returned to Africa would be a decision made by him and his employer.

Is there any risk of relapse?

This is a viral disease, and testing conducted by the CDC indicated the virus is no longer inside Dr. Kent Brantly or Nancy Writebol. There has been no risk of relapse reported.

Is Brantly now immune to all strains and species of Ebola, or just the strain that he caught?

Most likely, his immune system developed antibodies against the Zaire species of Ebola virus that infected his body. Certainly, he has some immunity against that type of Ebola. But it's uncertain how long that immunity will last and whether he now has immunity against the other known Ebola species.

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Dr. Kent Brantly (center) announces his recovery from Ebola, with his wife, Amber Brantly (left), during a press conference at Emory University Hospital Thursday in Atlanta. Brantly got sick at the end of July. (Getty Images)

In Covering Foley's Killing, Media Outlets Face A Difficult Choice

Aug 21, 2014 (All Things Considered / KWMU-FM)

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Dr. Kent Brantly (center) announces his recovery from Ebola, with his wife, Amber Brantly (left), during a press conference at Emory University Hospital Thursday in Atlanta. Brantly got sick at the end of July. (Getty Images)

When The Wedding Is Just The Beginning

Aug 21, 2014 (KWMU-FM)

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Just about everything clicks in director Ira Sachs' quietly eloquent Love is Strange, except the title. The longtime romance of painter Ben (John Lithgow) and music teacher George (Alfred Molina) doesn't seem at all odd. The men's lives, however, do take a sudden turn away from the ordinary.

The story begins in a mysterious flurry of morning activity that's soon explained. After Ben and George's nearly four decades together, same-sex marriage has become legal in New York, and the men have decided to take what hardly seems a plunge.

Yet it is, because the Catholic school where George directs the choir can accept his sexuality, but not his nuptials. The upbeat wedding reception is soon followed by another get-together, in which the two men inform their family and friends that they can no longer afford their Manhattan apartment.

Leaving the city is not worthy of discussion, because George will continue to give piano lessons there and because, well, it just isn't. So the newly legal pair is forced to uncouple: George will live with two friends from the building, gay cops known as "the policewomen" (Cheyenne Jackson and Manny Perez). And Ben will move in with his nephew's family in a semi-gentrified section of Queens.

Although his kinship is with Elliot (Darren Burrows), Ben will be dealing mostly with his nephew's wife, Kate (Marisa Tomei), and his new roommate, the couple's teenage son, Joey (Charlie Tahan). Because novelist Kate works at home, and because Joey is more her responsibility than Elliott's, most of Ben's conflicts are with her. Living with your too-chatty uncle-in-law is very different from visiting him on special occasions.

George's enthusiasms include Chopin, whose delicate music is heard frequently throughout the movie, not just during piano lessons. The piano teacher must endure his new roommates' taste for thumping electronic dance music and frequent parties, as well as his separation from Ben. (Later, in a subtly poignant touch, a classical music concert stands in for a significant event the audience doesn't witness.)

Things are more complicated in Queens, where Joey is unhappy to share his bedroom and disinclined to reveal any personal information to his parents. Kate, who's always been supportive of Ben and George, now worries that Joey is too close to his somewhat older best friend, Vlad (Eric Tabach). And both Kate and Joey are concerned when Ben asks Vlad to pose for him.

Neither of these conflicts leads directly to crisis, and Sachs' naturalistic and sometimes elliptical style doesn't telegraph major developments. As in life, things happen. Sometimes the events that seem crucial evaporate without lingering effects, while catastrophe arrives without foreshadowing.

Scripted by Sachs and Mauricio Zacharias, the movie is warm, unforced and believable. Much of that can be credited to Lithgow and Molina, who fully inhabit the roles of Ben and George. The rest of the actors, especially Tomei and Tahan, are equally persuasive.

Love Is Strange celebrates the enduring intimacy of two lovers, the timeless charms of a Woody Allen-like Manhattan and the miracle of rent control. But it can be ruefully comic, as when Ben interrupts Kate's writing by nattering about how he can't concentrate when other people are around, oblivious to the fact that he is other people.

Perhaps that is what's strange about Ben and George's love: that it could even happen in a world where misunderstanding is the norm.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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