Obama Signs Executive Order to Detain Americans with ‘Respitory Illnesses’

As the Ebola outbreak continues to cause concern, President Barack Obama has signed an amendment to an executive order that would allow him to mandate the apprehension and detention of Americans who merely show signs of “respiratory illness.”

The executive order, titled Revised List of Quarantinable Communicable Diseases, amends executive order 13295, passed by George W. Bush in April 2003, which allows for the, “apprehension, detention, or conditional release of individuals to prevent the introduction, transmission, or spread of suspected communicable diseases.”

The amendment signed by Obama replaces subsection (b) of the original Bush executive order which referred only to SARS. Obama’s amendment allows for the detention of Americans who display, “Severe acute respiratory syndromes, which are diseases that are associated with fever and signs and symptoms of pneumonia or other respiratory illness, are capable of being transmitted from person to person, and that either are causing, or have the potential to cause, a pandemic, or, upon infection, are highly likely to cause mortality or serious morbidity if not properly controlled.”

Although Ebola was listed on the original executive order signed by Bush, Obama’s amendment ensures that Americans who merely show signs of respiratory illness, with the exception of influenza, can be forcibly detained by medical authorities.

Although the quarantining of people suspected of being infected with the Ebola virus seems like a perfectly logical move, the actual preconditions for this to happen aren’t restricted to just those suffering from the disease.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has measures in place for dealing with an outbreak of a communicable disease which allow for the quarantine of “well persons” who “do not show symptoms” of the disease.

In addition, under the Model State Emergency Health Powers Act, public health authorities and governors would be given expanded police powers to seize control of communications devices, public and private property, as well as a host of other draconian measures in the event of a public health emergency.

When the legislation was introduced, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons warned that it “could turn governors into dictators.”

Emory University Hospital in Atlanta was set to receive a patient infected with Ebola. A hospital in Germany also accepted an infected patient earlier this week. Some critics have raised concerns about the risk of deliberately importing infected individuals into the west.

World Health Officials Panic at Rapid Spread of Ebola: 30,000 Possibly Exposed from US Victim

Nigerian health officials have confirmed that as many as 30,000 people may now be at risk of contracting Ebola from one American man who died after boarding a flight from Liberia to Nigeria. Reports indicate that fears of a global pandemic are now “justified” due to the incident, as this particular mutation of Ebola appears to have the capacity to cross international borders via air travel.

The worst outbreak ever recorded, this latest Ebola scare was amplified after Patrick Sawyer, a 40-year-old man from Minnesota,collapsed and died upon arriving in Nigeria. Sawyer, a naturalized U.S. citizen native to Liberia, had been scheduled to fly back to the U.S. on August 16 to celebrate the birthdays of two of his three daughters.

But flu-like symptoms that later turned out to be Ebola ended up taking his life before this could happen, spreading fears of a global pandemic currently in the works. Sawyer had reportedly been tending to an ill sister of his in Liberia who, as it turned out, had Ebola herself. But this was not known until after she died, and after Sawyer himself had contracted the disease.

Since its emergence late last fall, this latest Ebola outbreak has already taken a confirmed total of 700 lives. And since it can take weeks for Ebola symptoms to emerge, many more are likely infected, including some individuals who may have flown from areas of Africa where the disease is wiping out entire villages to areas around the U.S.

Disease spread pattern indicates Ebola can be airborne

U.S. officials remain insistent that Ebola isn’t a significant threat to Americans, and that it can only spread through bodily fluids. But what the public isn’t being told is that Ebola can be airborne when micro-droplet fluids containing it are suspended in the air, such as when an infected person sneezes or coughs, and it can even be transmitted when someone sweats through clothing onto furniture or sweats through hands onto a door handle.

This is why health officials attempted to check the passenger manifests for the ASKY Airlines flights that Sawyer was on, as well as the 15 people with whom he is believed to have come into contact while at the airport. All of these people could have been exposed to Ebola from airborne transmission, even though most of them probably didn’t have any actual physical contact with Sawyer.

Further evidence of Ebola’s airborne transmission potential was outlined in a 2012 study published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature. Researchers discovered that Ebola had transferred from one cage of pigs to another cage of macaque monkeys without direct contact. Though the exact mode of transfer was not determined, airborne transmission via contaminated fluid vapor or micro-droplets is believed to be the most likely explanation.

Obama to bring African leaders from Ebola countries into U.S. for summit

Despite this obvious threat, the Obama Administration has announced that a planned African Leaders Summit, which will include leaders from three countries being hit hardest by the Ebola outbreak — Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone — will still take place at the White HouseAugust 4-6, 2014.

The White House is also moving forward with plans to bring two American aid workers who contracted Ebola while in Africa back to the U.S. to be with their families. Such a move puts the entire country at risk.

It was also reported that a woman traveling from Honolulu, Hawaii, to Phoenix, Arizona, on a U.S. Airways flight recently died after suddenly losing consciousness. Though her actual cause of death has not been publicly released, the woman’s symptoms appear to resemble Sawyer’s.

Sources for this article include:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk

http://bostonherald.com

http://www.thedailybeast.com

http://www.nature.com

http://www.king5.com

http://washington.cbslocal.com

Infected Ebola Patient Being Flown to Atlanta: Are Health Authorities Risking a U.S. Outbreak?

A patient infected with Ebola is being flown into the United States to be held for medical examination and treatment at Emory University in Atlanta, reports The Guardian. (1) “Emory University Hospital in Atlanta is set to receive a patient infected with the deadly Ebola disease currently sweeping through swaths of west Africa,” the paper reports. The patient is reportedly one of the American doctors who was recently infected with the disease.

This event will make the first time in history that a level-4 biohazard infectious agent is being transported by air into a large U.S. city while still multiplying inside a living patient. This startling revelation brings up all sorts of questions that range from the gullibly hopeful to the impossibly sinister. Here are some of the thoughts going through people’s minds on this right now:

Thought #1) HUH? Why are they bringing an infected Ebola patient into the USA? Do they want to start a pandemic here?

Thought #2) Hooray for Emory! They are reaching out to save the life of a brave American doctor!

Thought #3) They are going to use this guy as a human guinea pig to run medical experiments on him, hoping to produce a profitable treatment for Ebola.

Thought #4) This is commendable! There’s simply better medical care in the USA and medical professionals want to save this doctor’s life.

Thought #5) At what risk? Isn’t transporting an infected patient by air, even in a private aircraft, just begging for a pandemic outbreak across the United States? Doesn’t this risk the lives of 300 million people?

Thought #6) The Department of Defense needs the body so they can harvest newer strains of Ebola as part of their viral weaponization program.

Save the doctor!

Personally, I tend to think there are multiple layers of agendas happening here all at the same time. At the most basic level, front-line doctors and medical scientists simply want to save their colleague, and they likely believe bringing him back to the USA offers him the best chance of survival.

At the same time, we cannot refute the fact that there are drug company profit interests at stake in all this. The worse the Ebola problem becomes, the more money can be made from future Ebola vaccines or anti-viral treatment drugs. We already know one company called Tekmira has already been awarded a $140m contract by the Department of Defensefor its Ebola drug development program.

At an even spookier level, we also know that Ebola is one of the most easily weaponized viruses on the planet. We also know the U.S. Department of Defense has already developed weaponized strains of Ebola and keeps them supercooled in a level-4 biohazard facility somewhere. This is justified on the grounds of “national defense,” of course, just in case the survival of the nation one day depends on deploying a global killer virus on enemy territory, I suppose.

You can bet blood samples from this patient will be shared with Pentagon virologists, just in case it’s some new strain with a mutation that makes it an even better bioweapon than what the military already has.

At what risk?

Nobody argues with the compassionate idea of saving the life of an American doctor. The man put his life on the line for others, and he deserves our best efforts to save his. My prayers are with him as he struggles to overcome this terrible disease.

At the same time, we must all very carefully consider the risks associated with intentionally bringing Ebola into the USA, transporting it across a large body of water in which the virus could never survive on its own. By transporting this patient into North America, U.S. health authorities may have just followed the steps the virus “wanted” them to follow.

What happens if someone makes a mistake during this patient transfer and the virus gets loose? The proof that mistakes can happen even among well-meaning doctors is readily apparent in the fact that this well-meaning doctor sadly became infected himself. He obviously did not intend to become infected with Ebola. Thus, even medically-trained personnel can and will underestimate the ability of this Ebola strain to spread.

What happens if there is an air transport accident? Suppose the jet experiences a critical flight systems failure and barrel rolls into the forests of Georgia? The chance of this happening may seem very, very small but it is not zero. And if it happens, then suddenly we have Ebola on the loose in Georgia, possibly spreading across the streets of Atlanta.

What happens if a terrorist organization operating inside U.S. borders stages some sort of raid or attack on the Emory University isolation room for the sole purpose of acquiring (and then deploying) Ebola as a bioweapon? Is this doctor’s room going to be guarded by Special Forces teams to prevent this? What security will exist around this patient?

What happens if this Ebola victim infects others at Emory University who are working on him or near him? Surely there will be blood draws taking place, and blood draws and IVs involve sharp objects. Sharp objects pierce protective gloves and clothing. One little prick from a needle is all it takes for a full-blown infection to occur, and yes it has happened many times in the past with a variety of infectious agents.

Obviously, infectious disease experts are going to be extremely careful with this patient and everything he comes into contact with, but 100% containment is impossible to achieve. You might achieve 99.999% containment or even better, but the physical process of moving a doctor from an aircraft into a hospital isolation room involves a level of risk which is greater than zero. No one can honestly say there is zero chance of an Ebola outbreak occurring from this situation, because “zero” isn’t a valid concept when Ebola is at your doorstep.

Why not send the medical teams to the patient instead?

Why are U.S. health authorities not sending U.S. medical teams to the infected patient instead of bringing the infected patient to America? This is not an irrational question. Why not give this doctor the advanced treatment he deserves and keep Ebola a continent away at the same time?

These are questions we should all be seriously asking right now as the future of all our lives may be impacted by these decisions. Ebola is nothing to play around with, and over-confidence in dealing with Ebola can be fatal to a great many people.

Remember, this particular strain of Ebola has already overwhelmed the full government resources of several countries in West Africa. Doctors who were fully versed in safety measures involving biohazards underestimated their own exposure and allowed themselves to become infected. This virus has already shown an ability to out-maneuver a surprising number of health experts, including one of the world’s top Ebola doctors who died from the disease earlier this week. Now, Emory University infectious disease experts are bringing this virus to the continental United States, and the rest of us can only sit back and hope they haven’t grossly underestimated the ability of this virus to leap from victim to victim.

Because if they’re wrong, it’s not just a simple matter of a doctor making another mistake: it’s something that could place all our lives at risk by subjecting us to a deadly pandemic with a horrifyingly high fatality rate of 50 – 90 percent. (Interestingly, the high fatality rate actually works against the virus because it causes victims to die so quickly that they don’t live long enough to spread it around. A more “successful” virus would have a much lower fatality rate of around 5% coupled with very long incubation times in infected carriers.)

The recent discovery of loose smallpox vials in CDC labs doesn’t exactly give me confidence in the government’s ability to handle infectious disease agents in a safe manner. As Natural News previously reported: (2)

The virus was stored recklessly in six glass vials inside a cardboard box. It was previously thought that this pathogen, “one of the most virulent infectious diseases” known to mankind, was kept only in two places, one at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, and the other at the State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology (VECTOR) in Novosibirsk, Russia.

Ebola Patient Coming to U.S. as Aid Workers’ Health Worsens

/WINSTON-SALEM N.C. (Reuters) – A U.S. aid worker who was infected with the deadly Ebola virus while working in West Africa will be flown to the United States to be treated in a high-security ward at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, hospital officials said on Thursday. The aid worker, whose name has not been released, will be moved in the next several days to a special isolation unit at Emory. The unit was set up in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

CDC spokeswoman Barbara Reynolds said her agency was working with the U.S. State Department to facilitate the transfer.

Reynolds said the CDC was not aware of any Ebola patient ever being treated in the United States, but five people in the past decade have entered the country with either Lassa Fever or Marburg Fever, hemorrhagic fevers similar to Ebola.

News of the transfer follows reports of the declining health of two infected U.S. aid workers, Dr. Kent Brantly and missionary Nancy Writebol, who contracted Ebola while working in Liberia on behalf of North Carolina-based Christian relief groups Samaritan’s Purse and SIM.

CNN and ABC News reported that a second American infected with Ebola was to be flown to the United States. CNN identified the U.S.-bound patients as Brantly and Writebol. Reuters could not independently confirm the reports.

Amber Brantly, the wife of Dr. Brantly, said in a statement: “I remain hopeful and believing that Kent will be healed from this dreadful disease.”

Earlier on Thursday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the State Department was working with the CDC on medical evacuations of infected American humanitarian aid workers.

The outbreak in West Africa is the worst in history, having killed more than 700 people since February. On Thursday, the CDC issued a travel advisory urging people to avoid all non-essential travel to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the epicenter of the outbreak.

Brantly and Writebol “were in stable but grave” condition as of early Thursday morning, the relief organizations said. A spokeswoman for the groups could not confirm whether the patient being transferred to Emory was one of their aid workers.

CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden said in a conference call that transferring gravely ill patients has the potential to do more harm than good.

Meanwhile, the National Institutes of Health plans in mid-September to begin testing an experimental Ebola vaccine on people after seeing encouraging results in pre-clinical trials on monkeys, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the NIH’s allergy and infectious diseases unit, said in an email.

In its final stages, Ebola causes external and internal bleeding, vomiting and diarrhea. About 60 percent of people infected in the current outbreak are dying from the illness.

Writebol, 59, received an experimental drug doctors hope will improve her health, SIM said. Brantly, 33, received a unit of blood from a 14-year-old boy who survived Ebola with the help of Brantly’s medical care, said Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse.

Frieden could not comment on the specifics of either treatment but said: “We have reviewed the evidence of the treatments out there and don’t find any treatment that has proven effectiveness against Ebola.”

10 Things You Need to Know Today: August 1, 2014

Violence shatters Gaza cease-fire, Tea Partiers block a House border security bill, and more
Palestinians walk through their heavily-bombed town.
Palestinians walk through their heavily-bombed town. AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis

1. Violence shatters Gaza cease-fire hours after taking effect
Israel and Hamas agreed to a 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire starting Friday, but the kidnapping of an Israeli solider and heavy exchanges of fire two hours after the truce took effect unraveled it. According to Israel, a unit clearing a Hamas tunnel was set upon by militants, who made off with one of the soldiers. “The cease-fire is over,” said an Israeli spokesperson, as Israel launched “extensive operations on the ground” to find the missing soldier. [The New York Times]

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2. GOP division blocks House immigration bill
House GOP leaders abandoned an effort to pass a bill to fund border security on Thursday, after a Tea Party revolt. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) lobbied against the bill because it didn’t reverse President Obama’s policy of suspending deportations of undocumented immigrants brought in as children by their parents. Republicans and some Democrats also blocked a Democratic border bill in the Senate. [Reuters, Politico]

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3. Brennan apologizes for CIA searches of Senate computers
An internal investigation found that CIA employees searched computers used by Senate staff members as they prepared a report on the CIA’s harsh interrogations of terrorism suspects. A summary of the CIA findings, released Thursday, said that 10 agency workers, including two lawyers, improperly searched Senate files and emails. CIA Director John Brennan apologized to lawmakers, but at least two Senate Democrats said he should resign. [The Washington Post]

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4. U.S. Ebola patients expected to return to the U.S. for treatment
Two American missionaries stricken with Ebola in Liberia are expected to be flown back to the U.S. Both patients — Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol — are in stable but grave condition. One will be treated at Emory University near the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. They would be the first Ebola patients in the U.S.; CDC officials said the outbreak could worsen in West Africa but is unlikely to threaten the U.S. [CNN,U.S. News & World Report]

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5. Stock indexes lose all of their July gains in one terrible day
U.S. stocks took their worst plunge in months on Thursday as rising labor costs triggered fear that the Federal Reserve might raise interest rates faster than many hoped. Argentina’s default on its debt a day earlier spooked investors further. The S&P 500 index lost all of its July gains, resulting in its first monthly decline since January. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 317 points, or 1.88 percent, erasing its 2014 gains. [The Washington Post]

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6. Investigation team finally gets to see Ukraine crash site
Investigators on Thursday reached the wreckage of a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet shot down in rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine. It was their first look at the July 17 crash site. Earlier attempts to survey the wreckage were blocked by pro-Russian separatists. The team — from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe — will do “initial reconnaissance,” searching for evidence and human remains not yet moved from the site. [Voice of America]

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7. Californians face just a 4.2 percent increase in ObamaCare premiums
California announced Thursday that the 1.2 million Californians insured through the state-run ObamaCare exchange will face just a 4.2 percent premium increase next year. Officials at Covered California, which negotiated the rates, said the deal will break the trend of double-digit rate hikes. California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said this is “merely a pause” in the big annual premium increases. [Los Angeles Times]

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8. Colorado prepares tighter rules on edible pot
Colorado regulators are putting together emergency rules requiring makers of edible marijuana products to make it clear to buyers just how much pot they will be consuming. The new policy, which is aimed at reducing complaints of nausea and other bad experiences, will mandate that edible marijuana be sold in 10-milligram “servings” of THC, pot’s intoxicating ingredient. The result will be weaker pot brownies and cookies. [The Associated Press]

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9. Court upholds controversial Wisconsin union law
Wisconsin’s Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a controversial 2011 law that limited collective bargaining for public workers. The law sparked massive protests, and a failed 2012 effort to recall Gov. Scott Walker (R). Walker, who is seeking reelection, called the decision vindication for a law that has saved taxpayers $3 billion. A Madison teachers union that challenged the law called the ruling “morally bankrupt.” [USA Today]

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10. Cantor announces he will resign early
Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said Friday that he would resign his seat on Aug. 18 so his district would “have a clear and strong voice during the consequential lame-duck session of Congress.” Cantor stepped down as House majority leader, effective Thursday, after suffering a stunning defeat to Tea Party-backed challenger David Brat. He announced his unexpected decision to give up the seat early in a Richmond Times-Dispatch op-ed article. [The New York Times, Richmond Times-Dispatch]

10 Things You Need to Know Today: July 31, 2014

House Republicans vote to sue Obama, the Peace Corps leaves West Africa over Ebola outbreak, and more
Health workers treat an Ebola patient.
Health workers treat an Ebola patient. (AP Photo/Samaritan’s Purse)

1. House GOP approves lawsuit against Obama
House Republicans voted Wednesday to authorize Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to file a lawsuit against President Obama for allegedly abusing his power with executive actions, including delaying parts of his signature health-care law. “This isn’t about Republicans and Democrats, it’s about defending the Constitution that we swore an oath to uphold,” Boehner said. Obama called the move a “political stunt.” [The Washington Post]

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2. Peace Corps volunteers leave West Africa as Ebola spreads
The Peace Corps announced Wednesday that it was pulling its 340 volunteers from Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea because of an Ebola outbreak that has killed 456 people in West Africa. The World Health Organization has confirmed more than 800 cases, although there could be as many as 1,200. “This epidemic is without precedent,” said Bart Janssens, director of operations for Doctors Without Borders. [CNN]

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3. Second quarter economic growth jumps to four percent
The economy grew by an unexpectedly strong four percent annual rate this spring, according to government data released Wednesday. The rebound was fueled by robust spending by consumers and businesses rebuilding their inventories. The numbers marked a stark contrast with the first quarter, when harsh winter weather weighed on growth. [The Washington Post]

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4. Russia scoffs at new U.S. and European Union sanctions
Russia reacted defiantly on Wednesday to harsher new economic sanctions imposed by the U.S. and Europe over its support for Ukrainian separatists, saying the measures would only push it to strengthen its economy while worsening its relations with the West. Ukraine welcomed the measures and vowed to continue an offensive against the pro-Russian rebels. [The New York Times]

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5. Bank of American fined $1.3 billion over Countrywide loan program
A federal judge in New York on Wednesday ordered Bank of America to pay $1.3 billion in penalties over a mortgage program that Countrywide Financial ran. Insiders referred to the program as “the hustle.” It involved the fast-tracking of mortgage applications from August 2007 through May 2008, ending shortly before Bank of America bought Countrywide, so the parent bank is paying for mistakes made before it took over. [Los Angeles Times]

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6. Ex-IRS official said some conservatives were “crazies”
Former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner referred to conservative talk radio hosts as “crazies” and “a**holes” in emails released Wednesday by House Republicans. The messages were part of a collection of evidence delivered to the Justice Department by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) to support a GOP call for a special counsel to investigate the IRS’ Tea Party-targeting scandal. [Politico]

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7. Argentina misses a debt-payment deadline
Argentina defaulted on its debt when it missed a deadline for paying interest on $13 billion of restructured bonds on Wednesday after talks with bondholders failed. It was the second default in 13 years for the South American nation, which has $200 billion in foreign-currency debt, including $30 billion in restructured bonds. The court-appointed mediator in New York said the consequences were uncertain, “but they certainly are not positive.” [Bloomberg News]

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8. Economy gains 218,000 private-sector jobs
American companies hired 218,000 workers in July, falling slightly short of projections and the figure for June, according to a survey released Wednesday by private payroll firm ADP. It was the fourth straight month in which the U.S. gained more than 200,000 private jobs. Economist Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics said the figures indicated “a steadily improving job market” on target to “return to full employment by late 2016.” [Reuters]

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9. Netanyahu says Israel will destroy Hamas tunnels, even with a truce
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that Israel would destroy all of the tunnels Hamas militants have used to launch attacks in Israel, “with or without a ceasefire.” Israel, which just called up another 16,000 reserves, has dismantled most of the 32 tunnels it has uncovered, and expects to demolish the rest within a few days. Neighboring Arab states, wary of Islamist groups like Hamas, are quietly siding with Israel over the Palestinians. [CBS News, The New York Times]

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10. George W. Bush writes his father’s biography
Former president George W. Bush is writing a biography of his father, former president George H.W. Bush, that will be released in November, Crown Publishers told The Associated Press on Wednesday. The book, which does not have a title yet, will cover the elder Bush’s life and influence on his son, from their earliest campaign trips together to the younger Bush’s own two-term presidency. [The Associated Press]