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October 25th, 2010
09:45 AM ET

Opinion: Who's funding attack ads? It's a secret

Claire McCaskill
Special to CNN

Editor's note: Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, sits on four Senate committees: Armed Services, Commerce, Aging, and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, where she heads the effort to examine possible waste in federal contracts.

(CNN) - What do they have to be ashamed of?

Several years ago, I caught one of my kids sneaking out of the house. Like any mom, I was more than a little mad and demanded an explanation. "But Mom, I wasn't doing anything wrong - I was just hanging out with my friends," was the response I got, but I knew better. The truth is that if you don't have anything to be ashamed of, you have no reason to be sneaking around.

This election season, special interests are sneaking around trying to influence voters by funding the attack ads you see on TV. With the help of a recent court ruling, they can do it all anonymously. It's hard not to think it's because they have something to be ashamed of.

In January, the Supreme Court gave corporations, unions and special interest groups the power to influence elections in an unlimited and anonymous way. In an unprecedented move, the court, the same majority who decried an activist court when they were nominees, legislated from the bench and overturned years of previous case law, striking down longstanding limitations on campaign spending from special interests in the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

Before Citizens United, corporations and unions could not spend money to run ads expressly advocating one candidate over another. Now they can. But what is worse, they can anonymously donate millions of dollars to "nonprofit" groups, which buy the ads without having to disclose who truly paid for them. The ruling essentially opened the barn door to anonymous, unlimited corporate donations to sway voters.

Americans have a lot to be frustrated about right now with our economy, and I know many are anxiously awaiting their opportunity to weigh in on the country's future by voting on November 2. The idea that special interests are trying to secretly buy this election should make their blood boil.

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Filed under: 360° Radar
October 25th, 2010
09:30 AM ET

Opinion: White House's charges are false

Ed Rollins
CNN Senior Political Contributor

Editor's note: Ed Rollins, a senior political contributor for CNN, is senior presidential fellow at the Kalikow Center for the Study of the American Presidency at Hofstra University. He is a principal with the Dilenschneider Group, a global public relations firm. He was White House political director for President Reagan and chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

New York (CNN) - Sorry, Mr. President. Nobody's listening.

Same for you Mr. Vice President. And David Axelrod, the quicker you exit the White House and get back to Chicago, the better - you might be able to help Rahm Emanuel become a serious candidate for mayor. You certainly aren't helping this president as his chief political adviser and alleged message guru.

Every week of this campaign, there has been a new message - and just like your jobs program, it's not working And one of the reasons nobody is listening is because what you are saying makes no sense. Americans have been suffering during your entire administration, and before that, with continuing unemployment not seen since the Great Depression.

Oh, I forgot, the recession ended a year ago. And of course every month your team has some gibberish about the jobs picture not being as bad as it looks. How stupid do you think we are? The jobs picture is worse than the monthly statistics and everyone knows it.

First it was President Bush's fault, then Republicans in Congress, even though Democrats have been in the majority since January 2007. Remember the White House saying Republicans drove the car in the ditch, why would you give them the keys again? (Maybe because this administration has poured gasoline all over the car and set it on fire with runaway debt.)

Then it was John Boehner, the presumed next speaker. Now it's the U.S. Chamber of Commerce funneling foreign money into elections. Even though the chamber has denied it, "Not one penny!" and major news organizations have said there is absolutely no evidence, the president and Joe Biden and Axelrod pound the lie more.

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Filed under: 360° Radar
October 25th, 2010
09:15 AM ET

Cholera can be deadly within hours

(CNN) - Cholera is a bacterial illness that causes severe diarrhea and dehydration and can be lethal within hours if a person is not treated.

"This is a bacteria that actually is in the environment. It's in brackish water in the river. It can be in seacoasts and if the environmental conditions are not right, the cholera bacteria can grow up and then anyone who ingests that water or food that comes from that water or food that is prepared with that water can get ill," says Dr. William Schaffner, chair of Preventive Medicine at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

In an epidemic, cholera can also be spread from the feces of an infected person. Children and adults alike are vulnerable. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), three-quarters of people carrying the bacteria have no symptoms. For those who do get sick, the main symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, muscle cramps, dehydration and shock. Death can occur if treatment is not immediately administered.

Full story on the Chart blog


Filed under: 360° Radar
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