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Friday, October 31, 2014

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Quote of the Day

We're spinning in our graves at the Mikveh Israel Cemetery
Ever notice how the people who try to persuade us that the Second Amendment has nothing to do with a well-regulated militia are usually the same people who want to persuade us that the US is a Christian Nation?

The difference between US vs UK Ebola news coverage

From the show Russell Howard's Good News

BTW, that's Dele Adebola

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

We do well in the comparison --- thanks to democrats!

Houston, We have PANDEMIC!!!!

Hey all you poo-flingers, you got your wish!!!!  WE HAVE PANDEMIC!!!

Blame Houssien Obama, he did a bad job of preventing it, it's his fault and his alone.  No, it's not Ebola (Dammit!!), but not to worry, it's WORSE than Ebola, so YAY!, you get to fling poo to your heart's content.  It's a pandemic of domestic violence.'s that again?

It's a pandemic of domestic violence.

..well, that's not sexy

No, but it's far more serious, far more real, and something for which we have far more effective treatments than forced quarantines, so, why hasn't the President stopped all outbreaks of domestic violence?  He's feckless.

Yep.. that he is, I mean.. wait, I don't care about domestic violence.

Yeah, I know.

Each year 11% of all murders are due to domestic violence, more than all gang related murders.  Each day 4 women and 3 children DIE to domestic violence.  35% of all emergency room visits are due to domestic violence.   Yet, this "shining city on the hill" does little and less to stop it.  State policing agencies like to pretend it doesn't matter (in many states, many southern states.. go figure).  The "good ole' boy" mentality still is all too pervasive "If you don't want him to hit ya', stop makin' him mad."  Many times I think it's simply that those prosecutors/cops/whomever don't think it's wrong.

So, fling poo, you have your epidemic and you can blame the President - of course you might want to ask yourself what YOU'VE done to stop it - kinda like you might want to ask yourself the same question about Ebola (Gov. Christie), because this pandemic pre-dates Obama, and it's self-inflicted.  We turn a blind-eye, we blame the victim, we fail to prosecute.  It's our fault, but that's no fun, it's more fun to fling poo and not take responsibility.


We could learn from this; we COULD do better

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Fear Strikes Out

I grew up (and remain) a Chicago White Sox fan.  Back in the day (early 80's), the White Sox had a radio/TV tandem of (believe it or not) Harry Carey and a lesser known, flamboyant, bombastic color-man named Jimmy Piersall.

Piersall was a brilliant young player in the late 50's who had suffered from manic depression.  His mother was routinely hospitalized as he was growing up.  His troubled family life eventually manifested in Piersall, leading to his falling out and then coming back to baseball which he chronicled in a book called "Fear Strikes Out."  Piersall described his stuggles, his challenges controlling his own fears, fears of failure, of inadequacy, and the intense reactions he experienced to those fears.  The silver linings were, if there can be such linings, that Piersall found himself.  He had a 14 year career in which he was a solid player, and one of (if not the finest) defensive outfielders the game has ever seen.  But even more, by facing those fears head one, Peirsal was truly liberated, he could be who he wanted to be, he could say what he wanted to say (and did).  He frequently said things critical of White Sox players if they failed to hustle, which really irked the players and management staff of the White Sox, but provided truly entertaining and truly insightful, thought provoking commentary for their fans.  Piersal was comfortable in his own skin and never really looked back or was afraid of the larger world because he'd already slain his "demon."  That was the essence of Piersal and the meaning of the title of his book.

Scroll forward 30 years and I am amazed and struck dumb by how fearful we have become.  As a nation we sit perplexed/paralyzed with fear, fear of Ebola, of Isis, of rogue terrorists.  I sit bewildered (not) at how the party of common sense and small government advocates for forced quarantine (needlessly) - a big government solution to a nearly non-existent problem (Ebola pandemic risk), but chooses to do nothing to handle mental illness (a far more pervasive problem which kills tens of thousands per year).  I sit baffled by the fear we seem to have of ISIS, a movement which is in fact looking to establish a country, rule an area of (mostly) desert in western Iraq and eastern Syria.  We are ready to use our one and only tool (killing people with military firepower) to try to scare the rest of the people in the area (the Middle-East) into "not getting in our way."  We seem to think that fear will cause them to cease seeking their own goals/determination.  Would it stop us?  Did it? 

I sit perplexed by how MSNBC spends 6 hours covering a shooting at the Canadian War Memorial, when the same organization spent 15 minutes covering a similar shooting 16 years ago at our OWN capital.  We had the sense to keep things in perspective then, but have lost that perspective now, and not just fear mongering conservatives have lost it, liberals have too.  I sit baffled by Darrel Issa, how he can, with a straight face condemn the CDC for not having fully complete guidelines on Ebola, whe he consistently has cut the CDC's budget to the bone.  He wants perfection but doesn't want to pay for it.  He (and those like him) are utterly unable (or more correctly unwilling) to apply a modicum of common sense to the situation and grasp that the CDC doubtless provided general guidelines which, in the face of application, needed refinement, just like EVERY policy needs, every plan needs, once put into action.  Companies develop Disaster Recovery plans, then they test them, then they refine them.  A failure in one part of the plan doesn't mean the people (or the company) are incompetent, it means they aren't capable of predicting the future or of dealing with every possible variable until they get a feel for what those variables turn out to truly be.  The better question is, why would Issa choose, at this time, to desire to instill a lack of confidence in the ability of the government to handle something which he purports to feel is a serious issue?  Is he looking to cause a panic? 

The answer to all these conundrums is that they aren't really conundrums.  We're afraid because we don't chose to apply common sense, it's easier to blame to be fearful, to DEMAND action, than to accept that in a world of unpredictable things, of lone rogue, crazy gunman, some things cannot be controlled.  It's also easy to see that stoking fears of the ineptitude of government is easily done IF you know there really isn't anything you need to truly fear (as I'm sure Issa understood and understands), that you understand that so far, we've have 6 cases of Ebola treated in the US, four of whom were people who arrived/returned from Africa (one of whom died), the other 5 cases were treated successfully.  We have 100 people die EVERY DAY to suicide.  We have 30 people die EVERY DAY who are murdered.  We don't fling poo in the air (at all) about any of that. 

What's going on is nothing more than a campaign based on fear.  We saw something similar in 2004 which kept an inept George W. Bush in office for four more grueling, painful years.  Be afraid of Isis (terrorists), be afraid John Kerry can't handle terrorists (Obama can't handle Ebola), be afraid, afraid, afraid.  Don't worry that you're being cheated by banks, don't pay any attention to the vast overspend on defense toys, don't worry about our bloated Homeland Security budget going to private companies, be afraid of a single gunman - so that you don't question that budget.  Be a pawn, let the campaign of fear upon which we've struck win, or... be Jimmy Piersal, and speak your mind, question the idiocy, keep Ebola in the perspective it should be kept, which is someplace behind the local mill's economic trouble, or the local school closing - because while Ebola is scary, and has the POTENTIAL to be bad, that potential is a remote risk - I'm not saying it doesn't exist and shouldn't be dealt with seriously, in fact I'm saying exactly that, deal with it seriously - don't prevent people from fighting it in Africa or you WILL fight it here - unlike ISIS, don't lock people up needlessly, don't invite or incite panic - speak coherently, factually, practically. 

We do ourselves a great disservice (as well as doing those who actually SERVE a disservice) when we imply they are incompetent, and say it from a position of profound ignorance and fear.  We put ourselves in a position to be manipulated and to make very bad decisions.  The trouble I have with Republican attitudes about wanting less government is that they only want it until there's a calamity, then they want FAR MORE than liberals ever want or wanted, then they (the Repubs) want and enact badly thought out laws, they enact stupid quarantines, they create dumb laws like Sarbannes-Oxley (a law intended to punish the leaders of companies like Enron, but which instead created a needless beurocracy inside large companies and which really holds low level staff accountable, not high level officers).  They want voter ID laws to stop 15 people from voting fraudulently but which keep 100,000 people who are legal voters from voting at all. 

Jimmy, where are you bud (I say that metaphorically, he's 84, living in Chicago, btw)?  Where is his spirit, the American spirit of facing challenges head on, not with fear, but with resolve to do what's right?  Where is the spirit and common sense of Will Rogers?  We need someone like Piersall to tell Chris Christie he's a bloviating, headline seeking blowhard and to tell the rest of us to stop fearing our own shadow or it will consume us.  Seriously.

Monday, October 27, 2014

A tale of two quotations

Two "quotations" from Thomas Jefferson from both sides of the political spectrum.

Left side
"The end of democracy and the defeat of the American Revolution will occur when government falls into the hands of lending institutions and moneyed incorporations."
Right Side 
"The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not."
Both are not really quotations from Jefferson, while the right's version is obviously false.  Let's face it, Jefferson was a slave owner: talk about taking from people who work for a living without proper compensation!

The exact quotation used by the Left also has not been found in the writings of Thomas Jefferson. It may be a mistaken amalgamation of the author's comments in the above 1994 reference with a real Jefferson quotation. Jefferson wrote in 1825 to William Branch Giles of "vast accession of strength from their younger recruits, who having nothing in them of the feelings or principles of ’76 now look to a single and splendid government of an Aristocracy, founded on banking institutions and monied in corporations under the guise and cloak of their favored branches of manufactures commerce and navigation, riding and ruling over the plundered ploughman and beggared yeomanry."

This gets to what exactly were the real reasons for the American War for Independence?  If it was based upon free trade and an end to monopolies (i.e. The British East India Company), then the legacy would be one which is more left leaning than the current right wing appropriation of the "Tea Party" title would have us believe.

The problem with the period of the War of Independence is that it has become part of the US National myth.  It is romanticised and not seen in its proper historical context.  Instead of creating a utopia, it created anarchy and economic ruin which was only fixed by the adoption of the Constitution.

People need to reassess that period of Early American history in a new light.  I would hope that it would help extinguish the insurrectionist nonsense that has become common which none of the founders would tolerate.

Hooray for Mark Dayton's Ebola Quarantine plan

Conservatives are running around with their hair on fire, displaying what one of our blog friends, Democommie, commonly refers to as the flaming stupid, as part of their core ideology.

In stark contrast, our good Governor Mark Dayton announced the Minnesota policy towards Ebola, one that takes into consideration our Liberian citizen population, would be 'based on science'.  From the STrib:

Restrictions would vary for other travelers returning from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone — the three nations at the center of the Ebola outbreak — depending on their perceived risk levels, state officials explained. Those who simply traveled to those countries to visit relatives would be asked to submit to daily health monitoring when they return to the state. Health care providers who cared for Ebola patients but had no known exposure to the virus would not need home confinement. Health care providers with potential exposures, such as being stuck with a needle while caring for an Ebola patient, would be confined at home.
All travelers returning from the west African nations would be subject to travel restrictions. Those potentially exposed to Ebola during their travels would be banned from public transportation, while all travelers under monitoring would be asked to refrain from trips using public transportation lasting longer than three hours.
All returnees would need to be isolated in hospital care if they showed Ebola symptoms. The monitoring and restrictions generally would last 21 days, the maximum period required for an Ebola infection to produce symptoms.
While Ebola has proved a lethal virus, killing half of the people in Africa it has infected, it only spreads through contact with infected bodily fluids such as blood or saliva — and people carrying the virus aren’t contagious until they suffer fevers or symptoms. That gives health officials an early warning to remove infected patients from contact with others before the virus has a chance to spread.

But what to do while waiting for symptoms to emerge, or not, has been a topic of intense debate. Minnesota for the past week has been following federal guidelines to monitor travelers from west Africa by calling them daily to report on their physical health and body temperature.
Dayton gathered a variety of legal, medical and ethics experts over the weekend to develop a policy for Minnesota that was protective but appropriate.
“The resulting policy protects Minnesotans by ensuring that anyone coming from Ebola-affected areas is monitored according to their risk and treated according to their need,” said Dr. Steven Miles, a U bioethics expert.
Returnees in recent weeks have mostly been doctors such as Spencer and other aide workers seeking to stop the spread of Ebola in west Africa, where so far the virus has infected at least 10,000 people and caused 4,900 deaths. But Minnesota has the added concern of a robust population of 30,000 residents from Liberia who might travel back to the country or host relatives from there.
Since daily monitoring began last week, state officials said there have been 26 travelers to Minnesota from the three west African nations.
The home-confinement policy for health care providers exposed to Ebola patients is the latest in a series of changes in Minnesota’s Ebola preparedness strategy — changes influenced by the first U.S.-diagnosed case in Texas earlier this month and the infection of two nurses who cared for the man. Hospital officials in Minnesota have now designated four hospitals that will provide long-term care of Ebola patients once they are diagnosed.

Conservatives hate science, reject science, deny science, and then usually pat themselves on the back in congratulation of how smart they are to have out-thought those who have studied the science and know more than they do.

It is a combination on the part of conservatives of some of the worst of the conspiracy theory nutjobbery, and their politics of the worst of simplistic thinking and wilful ignorance.

The insanity ranges from conservative fool, ag professor Cyril Broderick, who frequents the worst of the right wing fringe propaganda sources, claiming that Ebola was created by the U.S. Defense Department as some sort of demented anti-African plot, to the Idiot Issa in Congress who can't pronounce the disease and who doesn't know the difference between Guinea in Africa and Guiana.  Issa is not an honest man - in fact he is a criminal, and he is not an honest critic of the President's administration, but rather a dishonest hack pushing manipulative and exploitive tea party propaganda on the pathetically stupid.

The contrast between good government from Democrats and bad government from Republicans, and how each plays to their respective base, couldn't be more stark.