Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Well, they are Canadian

So it is not unusual for them to be Fairly Odd Folk, even Lauren Mann. What would you expect from someone who sings "Through Your Eyes"?

The true oppression of American Christians

Jesus & Mo nail another one.

Every once in a while

In this so-called Christian nation of ours, we actually hear of the efforts of people who do honestly believe in the teachings of Jesus.
America’s response to the arrival of tens of thousands of migrant children, many of them fleeing violence and exploitation in Central America, has been symbolized by an angry pushback from citizens and local officials who have channeled their outrage over illegal immigration into opposition to proposed shelter sites. But around the nation an array of religious leaders are trying to mobilize support for the children, saying the nation can and should welcome them...

“We’re talking about whether we’re going to stand at the border and tell children who are fleeing a burning building to go back inside,” said Rabbi Asher Knight, of Temple Emanu-El in Dallas, who said leaders of more than 100 faith organizations in his city met last week to discuss how to help. He said that in his own congregation some are comparing the flow of immigrant children to the Kindertransport, a rescue mission in the late 1930s that sent Jewish children from Nazi Germany to Britain for safekeeping.

“The question for us is: how do we want to be remembered, as yelling and screaming to go back, or as using the teachings of our traditions to have compassion and love and grace for the lives of God’s children?” Rabbi Knight said.

The backlash to the backlash is broad — from Unitarian Universalists and Quakers to evangelical Protestants. Among the most agitated are Catholic bishops, who have long allied with Republican politicians against abortion and same-sex marriage, and leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention, whose adherents tend to lean right.

“This is a crisis, and not simply a political crisis, but a moral one,” said Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptists’ Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. On Tuesday, Mr. Moore led a delegation of Southern Baptist officials to visit refugee children at detention centers in San Antonio and McAllen, Tex. In an interview after the visit, Mr. Moore said that “the anger directed toward vulnerable children is deplorable and disgusting” and added, “The first thing is to make sure we understand these are not issues, these are persons — these children are made in the image of God, and we ought to respond to them with compassion, not with fear.”
There are still too many people who get off on the smiting parts of the bible. And too many alleged leaders who incite them.

In effort not to offend anyone important

Navi Pillay, the international body’s high commissioner for human rights, pronounced that maybe, possibly the Israeli Army's continuing attacks on Palestinians may be war crimes.
The killing of Gazan civilians and children in Israeli airstrikes may amount to war crimes, the U.N.’s top human rights official warned Wednesday amid a backdrop of rising casualties and international efforts to forge a cease-fire.

Navi Pillay, the international body’s high commissioner for human rights, told an emergency debate on the crisis that there was “a strong possibility that international law had been violated” during the weeks-long conflict, citing the shelling of homes and hospitals in the coastal enclave. She also condemned the indiscriminate firing of rockets and mortars into Israel by Palestinian fighters. The U.N. Human Rights Council later agreed to launch an independent inquiry into allegations that international law had been violated during the conflict.
Sometime after all the bodies are buried and the rest of the world is comfortably forgetting the Israeli crimes, there will be an inquiry. Exoneration is an odds on favorite.

Jon Stewart challenges John McCain

I think the wrongs should be weighted for damaging impact, as well.

The Daily Show
Get More: Daily Show Full Episodes,The Daily Show on Facebook,Daily Show Video Archive

DOT announces new rules for oil carrying railcars

A year past the deadly Quebec derailment, the Department of Transportation has come up with new rules covering the rail transport of crude oil.
The U.S. Department of Transportation proposed a two-year phase-out of older tank cars used to transport crude oil by rail, among other measures to improve the safety of crude oil transportation by rail.

Secretary Anthony Foxx outlined the long-anticpated proposals Wednesday, more than a year after a deadly derailment in Quebec focused government and public scrutiny on the rising volumes of crude oil shipped in trains.

DOT will seek the phase-out or retrofit of older model DOT-111 tank cars, long known to be vulnerable to failure in derailments, from crude oil and ethanol service.

“We are proposing to phase out the DOT-111 tank car in its current form,” Foxx said.

The department proposed various options for upgraded tank cars, including thicker steel shells, electronic braking and rollover protections.

The department also proposed a maximum 40 mph speed in all areas for trains operating with older tank cars and for urban areas with more than 100,000 residents. Tank cars that met the new requirements would be permitted to travel at 50 mph outside urban areas.

The public has 60 days to comment on the proposed rules, and Foxx said the comment period would not be extended because of the urgency of the issue.
There will be pushback and some modification before the new rules are implemented, but the rail industry is itself in favor of improved tanker safety and should implement most of them. And three years from the deaths to new standards is almost drag strip fast for a government agency.

A dose of Sen. Elizabeth Warren

Always good for clearing the shit from your ears and eyes.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Like what?

The Like was a pop group that could be very retro in look and sound while being quite current with their lyrics.

R.I.P. Thomas Berger

I guess it was a good day to die.

It is difficult to remember he is a comedian

Regardless of his mastery of satire, sometimes John Oliver just speaks unvarnished truth.

Archaic laws stifle progress

If Owell could see what has happend to the English language.

Languages always change and something new occurs that needs to be described and something old disappears and id=s forgotten. Nowadays, the words are remaining the same but the meanings are being twisted to cover up the success of TPTB to screw us and our failure to catch them doing it. One of thelatest efforts involves a government plan to reclassify corporations.
More than 26,000 people nationwide have submitted comments opposing Obama administration proposals that would severely distort U.S. job and trade data by reclassifying U.S. corporations that offshore American jobs as “factoryless goods” manufacturers. Under a broad data reclassification plan, much of the value of U.S. brand-name goods assembled by foreign workers and imported here for sale would no longer be counted as imported goods, but rather as manufacturing “services” imports. This would deceptively deflate the U.S. manufacturing trade deficit.

The “factoryless goods” proposal, designed by the administration’s Economic Classification Policy Committee (ECPC), also would, overnight, falsely increase the reported number of U.S. manufacturing jobs as white-collar employees in firms like Apple – now rebranded as “factoryless goods producers” – would suddenly be counted as “manufacturing” workers. This shift also would create a false increase in U.S. manufacturing wages and output.

“The only reason you would classify an iPhone made in China as a U.S. export is to hide the size of our massive trade deficit,” said James P. Hoffa, Teamsters general president.

“To revive American manufacturing jobs and production, we need to change our policies, not cook the data,” said Brad Markell, executive director of the AFL-CIO Industrial Union Council. “We need to reform the trade policies that have incentivized offshoring and resulted in decades of trade deficits and millions of U.S. manufacturing jobs offshored, not cover up the evidence that our current trade policy is not working.”

One element of the proposed economic data reclassification plan would rebrand U.S. imports of goods manufactured abroad, such as Apple’s iPhone (which is assembled in China by a firm called Foxconn) as “services” imports rather than imports of manufactured goods. And if Foxconn exported iPhones to other countries, the proposed reclassifications would count the iPhones manufactured in China as U.S. manufactured goods exports, further belying the real U.S. manufacturing trade deficit.

The economic data reclassification initiative, if implemented, could further undermine efforts to bolster U.S. manufacturing by producing a fabricated reduction of the U.S. manufacturing trade deficit.
No doubt the important people inside the Beltway think this a marvelous idea which will make the US look like a First World country again. And they can use all manner of previously reclassified words to justify it. In the end it is just so much bullshit and we all get screwed again.

Monday, July 21, 2014

A song about ex-boyfriends and what they do best

Nikki Lane sings "Lies, Lies, Lies"

Network news has to choose what news is important

And Tom Tomorrow shows us how they cleverly lead into the really important stuff.

Who says the GOP doesn't do nuance?

From the pen of Horsey

Gov. "Nuts of Steel" Perry to display leadership

And deploy a bunch of National Guardsmen to the Mexican border because the Border Stasi are doing an excellent job of rounding up all the kids already.
Gov. Rick Perry of Texas was expected to announce on Monday the deployment of 1,000 National Guard troops to the border with Mexico to bolster security as the Border Patrol faces an influx of Central American immigrants...

The governor’s office declined to comment. It comes after Mr. Perry spent the weekend in northern Iowa, his fourth visit in eight months to that key state for political primaries, as he contemplates a second run for president. Nearly two weeks ago, Mr. Perry, one of the most vocal critics of the Obama administration’s handling of the border crisis, met with President Obama in Dallas to discuss border security.
Gotta look preznitential for the Iowa Cornholers.

Where you going to go

When the Israeli Wehrmacht comes for you in Gaza there aren't a lot of places to go. And none of those are not safe from an Air Force that cut its teeth dropping bombs on Red Cross markings because they make good aiming points.
As civilian casualties mounted on Monday in the Israeli ground invasion of the Gaza Strip, Israel’s military reminded the world that it had warned people living in targeted areas to leave. The response from Palestinians here was unanimous: Where should we go?

United Nations shelters are already brimming, and some Palestinians fear they are not safe; one shelter was bombed by Israel in a previous conflict. Many Gaza residents have sought refuge with relatives, but with large extended families commonly consisting of dozens of relatives, many homes in the shrinking areas considered safe are already packed.

Perhaps most important, the vast majority of Gazans cannot leave Gaza. They live under restrictions that make this narrow coastal strip, which the United Nations considers occupied by Israel, unlike anywhere else.
Continue reading the main story

Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain in 2010 called Gaza “an open-air prison,” drawing criticism from Israel. But in reality, the vast majority of Gazans are effectively trapped, unable to seek refugee status across an international border. (Most are already refugees, those who fled from what is now Israel and their descendants.)
Restrictions make it hard for Palestinians to find refuge during times of conflict. Credit Finbarr O'Reilly/Reuters

A 25-mile-long rectangle just a few miles wide, and one of the most densely populated places in the world, Gaza is surrounded by concrete walls and fences along its northern and eastern boundaries with Israel and its southern border with Egypt.

Even in what pass for ordinary times here, Israel permits very few Gazans to enter its territory, citing security concerns because suicide bombers and other militants from Gaza have killed Israeli civilians. The restrictions over the years have cost Palestinians jobs, scholarships and travel.

Egypt has also severely curtailed Gazans’ ability to travel, opening its border crossing with the territory for only 17 days this year. During the current fighting between Israel and the Hamas militants who control Gaza, only those with Egyptian or foreign passports or special permission were allowed to exit.

Even the Mediterranean Sea to the west provides no escape. Israel restricts boats from Gaza to three nautical miles offshore. And Gaza, its airspace controlled by Israel, has no airport.

So while three million Syrians have fled their country during the war there, more and more of Gaza’s 1.7 million people have been moving away from the edges of the strip and crowding into the already-packed center of Gaza City.
Pack them into greater and greater concentrations so the bombs and shells become much more cost effective. Like shooting fish in a barrel.

Privacy is so-o last century

And the people gathered at the 10th Hackers on Planet Earth made that sadly and abundantly clear.
The latest tools for consumer countersurveillance and evasion technology were on display last weekend as thousands of tech experts, civil libertarians and whistleblowers gathered at the 10th Hackers on Planet Earth (Hope X) conference in Manhattan to reassess emerging threats to privacy and confidentiality in the digital and physical worlds.

The consensus among attendees was clear: Privacy is dead.

“You’d have to be naked in a steam room on top of a mountain if you want to have a truly confidential conversation,” said conference speaker Steve Rambam, a private investigator. “And it has to be your steam room.”...

Conference experts said that the broader and growing threats to privacy and confidentiality come from corporations and private defense contractors.

“Ten years ago, there were private-sector attacks on your privacy, and there were public-sector attacks on your privacy. Today they’re interchangeable,” said Rambam, in a custom-made Italian suit and tie, who then wandered off toward the lectern through a sea of black T-shirts and neon-colored hairstyles. He was famously arrested by the FBI at the 2006 Hope conference — on charges of interfering with a federal money-laundering prosecution — making him a legend among hackers.

Rambam, who was cleared of the charges but retains a healthy resentment of federal law enforcement, said that in recent years data collection by government agencies has been far outpaced by that by corporations, including Vigilant Solutions, which owns a 2.5 billion license plate database — the world’s largest and reportedly growing by 70 million new scans a month — that serves more than 2,000 intelligence and law enforcement agencies, from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security down to local law enforcement.

With private-sector data collection, “there’s no need for a warrant,” said Rambam. “It’s a private business record. There’s no [Freedom of Information Act] for Microsoft. And they can do whatever they want with it.”
And don't expect them to friend you as they follow you.

It is never too soon to register to vote.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Right On, Sister!

From her latest album Build Me Up From Bones, Sarah Jarosz sings "Book of Right On"

The labs that handle deadly pathogens

All 1500 or so in this country alone, have no real oversight or plan for what they are doing.
Spurred by the anthrax attacks in the United States in 2001, an increase in “high-level containment” labs set up to work with risky microbes has raised the number to about 1,500 from a little more than 400 in 2004, according to the Government Accountability Office.

Yet there has never been a national plan for how many of them are needed, or how they should be built and operated. The more of these labs there are, the G.A.O. warned Congress last week, the greater the chances of dangerous blunders or sabotage, especially in a field where oversight is “fragmented and largely self-policing.”

As the labs have multiplied, so have mishaps. According to a 2012 article by researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of reported accidents involving microbes that can cause severe illnesses grew rapidly — from just 16 in 2004 to 128 in 2008 and 269 in 2010, the last year reported. Many of the accidents involved leaks, spills or other releases of infectious material inside the laboratories, potentially infecting workers and often requiring extensive decontamination.

Another report, by the Department of Homeland Security in 2008, provided a rare glimpse into the types of accidents that have occurred at high-level labs around the country, often at universities.

Lab workers at different sites accidentally jabbed themselves with needles contaminated by anthrax or West Nile virus. An air-cleaning system meant to filter dangerous microbes out of a lab failed, but no one knew because the alarms had been turned off. A batch of West Nile virus, improperly packed in dry ice, burst open at a Federal Express shipping center. Mice infected with bubonic plague or Q fever went missing. And workers exposed to Q fever, brucellosis or tuberculosis did not realize it until they either became ill or blood tests detected the exposure.

The good news is that relatively few lab workers have become ill from accidental exposures: only 11 from 2004 to 2010, according to the C.D.C. report. None died, and none infected other people.
So far real life has not imitated the movies, yet. But the people involved have no confidence in that staying true forever or even much longer. But don't expect Congress to do anything. With the government infested with Teabaggers who believe your health and safety should be the responsibility of the free hand of the marketplace, you better hope one of those fools doesn't bring Ebola back from his African junket.

The Ideal Republican Infrastructure

From the pen of Brian McFadden

Without immigration, Miami would be nothing

Whether it is the snowbirds from up north or the Cubans or since then the various South Americans who have and continue to come to Miami, the city would be nothing without immigrants. Particularly those from the south.
Miami, which has gone from a place defined by Cuban-Americans to one increasingly turbocharged by a surge of well-educated, well-off South Americans in the last decade. Their growing numbers and influence, both as immigrants and as visitors, have transformed Miami’s once recession-dampened downtown, enriched its culture and magnified its allure for businesses around the world as a crossroads of the Spanish-speaking world.

“It’s now the indisputable capital of Latin America,” said Marcelo Claure, a Bolivian millionaire who founded Brightstar, a global wireless distribution company based here. “The Latin economic boom in the last 10 years has led to the creation of a huge middle class in countries like Brazil, Peru and Colombia, and they look at Miami as the aspirational place to be.” The transformation, the latest chapter in the city’s decades-long evolution, is especially apparent amid the building cranes, street life and nightclubs downtown. But it is seen across Miami-Dade County, where highly educated South American immigrants and second-home owners have increasingly put down roots and played a major role in jump-starting a region that not long ago was ravaged by recession.

Their relative wealth has allowed them to ramp up businesses like import-export companies and banks, and to open restaurants that dish out arepas from Venezuela, coxinhas from Brazil and alfajores from Argentina. Partly as a result of that influx, the Miami-Fort Lauderdale region eclipsed Los Angeles in 2012 as the major metropolitan area with the largest share — 45 percent — of immigrant business owners, according to a report by the Fiscal Policy Institute, a research group.

The South American presence has also reshaped politics and radio here. More moderate than traditional Cuban-Americans, South Americans have nudged local politics toward the center. Radio stations no longer cater exclusively to Cuban audiences; they feature more news about Latin America and less anti-Castro fulminating.
Strange how some immigration is OK but I imagine most white people have written off Miami since the Cubans first invaded.

R.I.P. James Garner

You and Mariette Hartley were a great couple.

About that chicken you are eating...

If you are seeking something more than the standard antibiotic bloated chicken in your local supermarket, you might want to understand the various labels the sellers use and what they really mean. You might be in for a real Inigo Montoya moment.
Beyond the label "organic," chicken packages that purport to be more natural than ordinary chicken could carry any of the following terms: natural, antibiotic-free, farm-raised, fresh, cage-free, hormone-free and free-range. The U.S. Department of Agriculture imposed some rules on the use of these terms.

However, the range of possibilities is broad, and the various distinctions can be "bastardized," says Ariane Daguin, founder of D'Artagnan, a high-end meat company.

It's one thing to have "free-range" chickens living in a crowded pen with a small, open gate, and quite another to have a spacious environment with considerable outdoor access for the birds, she says.

That's because some of the label terms are of little value to consumers.

* "Natural" means there are no artificial ingredients or preservatives. That claim can be made for most chicken sold at grocery stores.

* "Hormone-free" has even less meaning since hormones are not legally allowed in poultry. Same goes for "farm-raised," since just about every chicken sold is raised on a farm.

* "Antibiotic-free" has significance to those who are concerned about consuming an animal treated with antibiotics. An organic chicken cannot be treated with antibiotics.

* "Fresh" means the chicken has never been cooled below 26 degrees Fahrenheit (-3 degrees Celsius).

* "Free-range" is taken by many to mean that the chickens roam free in a pasture, but legally it just means they have access to the outside.

While some consumers say organic chicken is healthier and tastes better, that's not necessarily true.

The taste issue, in particular, can be hard to discern. It's easy to distinguish organic milk from non-organic milk. Grass-fed beef stands out in particular among connoisseurs. Chicken, however, is harder to be snooty about.

"You have to have one outrageous palate to distinguish between an organic bird and another bird," says Dallas-based chef Otto Borsich.
"Antibiotic-free" is probably the most important thing to look for. While it may be too late, any diminution of the flood of antibiotics in our food and environment is good. As for the rest, it's your choice.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Chances are if you heard her on the radio

She was probably playing some one else's songs on her show. Laura Cantrell singing " Two Seconds"

Still using temporary cold patch

From the pen of Stuart Carlson

I'm scared of the cops and I'm white

Bill Maher speaks out about the new police militarism. And wonders where the Teabagger outrage is.

Strange bedfellows

ISIS, the offshoot of al-Qaeda, in its efforts to establish a Sunni caliphate, has worked out a modus vivendi with the Alawite regime of Bashir Assad. The Alawites are a sect of the Shia.
Extremist fighters of the Islamic State, already in control of a third of Iraqi territory, are on the attack in Syria, where they’ve seized more oil fields, facilitated the Assad regime’s advance in Aleppo and started a new offensive against Kurds, Syrian opposition figures say.

The Islamic State now controls more than 35 percent of Syrian territory, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based pro-rebel group, reported Friday. Its holdings include nearly all of Syria’s oil and gas fields.

The latest gain of the self-proclaimed “caliphate” was the seizure Thursday of the oil field in the desert at Palmyra, after the takeover of the country’s biggest oil fields, in Deir el Zour in eastern Syria, earlier in the week.

The Assad regime still controls the military airport and parts of Deir el Zour, but there are no signs that it’s challenging the Islamic State or vice versa, a kind of coexistence seen in many parts of northern and eastern Syria.

It’s in Aleppo that the regime owes a major debt to the Islamic State, according to senior aides in the U.S.-backed Syrian opposition. President Bashar Assad’s forces captured the industrial zone in the northeast of the city earlier this month by “carpet bombing” with air-to-ground missiles, bombs and artillery, according to Monzer Akbik, the senior aide to Ahmad Jarba, the outgoing president of the anti-government coalition.

The advance was facilitated by Islamic State forces, which allowed it to proceed unopposed. “No one fired a bullet at the advancing forces as they moved through villages” held by the group, said Hussam al Marie, a spokesman for Free Syrian Army rebel troops in northern Syria. “And the regime did not fire a bullet at IS.”

“We lost the industrial zone for a lack of weapons,” Marie said. “The FSA is fighting on two fronts, IS in the east and the regime in the north.”

Both fronts “are very active now, putting the rebels in a very difficult situation,” said Akbik.
When three are fighting, it is not uncommon for two to assist in the elimination of the third. That only lasts until they can clobber each other without interference. Until then you can't tell the players without a scorecard.

How to get your mug on a Sunday Gasbag Show

Just make sure that, like John McCain, the nonsense you spout covers all sides of the issue.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Kirsten Jones is really good

Which is why it pissed me off to find a bunch of videos of her music without her name or any other information except the title. So remember the name, Kirsten Jones and she is singing "You Ain't Coming By" with some unknown friends in a secret location.

Kyrgyzstan, we hardly knew ye

And now with our marriage to Afghanistan on the rocks, our affair with lovely Kyrgyzstan has come to an end.
A mountainous, landlocked country in central Asia, Kyrgyzstan largely lacks industry, natural resources, and energy reserves. But for years, the country has boasted one foreign credential that all other nations lacked, hosting both a Russian and US military base.

Now, that's changed. On July 11, the US officially vacated its lease at the Manas Transit Centre - formerly the Manas Air Base - and rerouted personnel and materiel to a base in Romania. Nearly 13 years after the US first began using Manas for fuelling and transit missions through Afghanistan, management of the facilities was officially handed over to Kyrgyz authorities on June 3, with some $30m worth of equipment and facilities remaining.

While Washington continues to seek potential new bases in the region, the US is, in effect, vacating Central Asia.

But the US decision did not come of its own volition. Rather, the eviction stems from a fraught history and external pressures, which in 2013 convinced the Kyrgyz parliament to demand US withdrawal.

Manas has been one of the more troubled American bases of the post-9/11 world. The US opened the base in late 2001, seeking a toehold to shuttle troops and run refuelling missions for the war in Afghanistan. By some metrics, the base proved successful. Some 98 percent of service personnel involved in Afghanistan passed through Manas, and more than one billion litres of fuel were offloaded to coalition aircraft. The base grew in significance following the expulsion of the US from Uzbekistan in 2005, caused in part by Washington's criticism of a massacre of hundreds of civilians carried out by the Uzbek government.

But as the US presence in Kyrgyzstan dragged on, relations grew worse. In 2006, a US serviceman shot and killed a local petrol driver, claiming self-defence. While the details of the killing remain murky, the US government's initial offer of a mere $2,000 in restitution to the victim's wife smacked of tone-deaf condescension.

Meanwhile, the largely peaceful 2005 Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan, the final in a series of pro-democracy "Colour Revolutions" in post-Soviet states, replaced a corrupt coterie with the new network of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev. The US managed to maintain its presence at Manas, but the revolutionary euphoria in Kyrgyzstan soon gave way to the realisation that Bakiyev's regime in many ways represented a continuation of the previous regime. Political murders, kidnapped journalists, media clampdowns - all expanded under Bakiyev's regime. Robert Gates, the former US secretary of defence, termed Bakiyev as someone willing to use "extortion", adding that he "was, without question, the most unpleasant foreign leader I had to deal with in my years as secretary".
Kyrgyzstan put the tin in tin pot dictator and with the need going away so shall we, even if he is our kind if tyrant.

Like a well oiled machine

And with little or nothing to base their screeds upon, the Republican/Teabagger Howling Monkeys are already criticizing President Obama's response to the shoot down of MH17.
That was fast.

Less than 24 hours after the downing of Malaysia Airlines passenger jet, Republicans were quck to attack President Barack Obama’s initial response.

Obama spoke about incident Thursday for less than a minute -- about 38 seconds, actually -- at the start of his speech promoting spending on infrastructure, such as roads and bridges, while in Delaware.

He spoke to world leaders throughout the day and was updated by his national security staff, but continued with his same schedule, which included two political events in New York.

In an email from the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Republicans note Obama’s pattern of behavior in which he continues with much of his original schedule, even if he is fundraising.
And all through his fundraising, he was more in touch with what was happening than all the Republicans ever will be.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Always go with sisters

When you are trying to find good music to post. Larkin Poe sing "Mad As A Hatter"

What do Ebola & Stupid have in common?

Both can kill you and neither has a cure. And that duo is showing its deadly prowess in West Africa right now. Thanks to Stupid, buttressed by ignorance, Ebola is spreading there, including urban areas with access to international airports.
The social stigma attached to Ebola, a hemorrhagic fever that kills as many as 90 percent of its victims, is complicating efforts to contain the worst-ever outbreak of the virus. The disease has claimed more than 600 lives in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since March, and will continue to spread for another four months, according to the World Health Organization.

Widespread misconceptions, denial and hostility to medical workers are slowing efforts to stop the virus from spreading, the United Nations Children’s Fund said this month. Some people hide when they fall sick, while others believe the disease isn’t real or that white researchers have introduced it to experiment on Africans. Those who survive are often treated as outcasts, Jamila said.

Once a female patient has recovered, she’s no longer infectious, while men can still spread the virus through sex up to seven weeks after recovering, according to the WHO.

The outbreak has exposed weaknesses in the health systems of the affected countries, which are among the poorest in the world and whose crowded capitals lack tap water or sewage systems in all but the wealthy neighborhoods.

“Health systems, particularly on a rural level, aren’t working well,” said Guido Borghese, an adviser on child survival for Unicef in West and Central Africa. “They need to be strengthened, and not just to deal with an epidemic.”

The illness spreads through contact with bodily fluids of infected people, according to the WHO. It causes fever, diarrhea and vomiting, and can lead to bleeding from the eyes, ears and nose. There is no specific treatment or vaccine for the virus, which was first identified in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1976.
Hygiene Guidelines

The latest outbreak began five months ago in small towns surrounded by dense forests in southeastern Guinea, near the border with Liberia. Since then, it has jumped across two borders and reached the three countries’ capitals. In Guinea, it was able to spread because medical staff ignored basic hygiene guidelines, Minister of Health Remy Lamah said in an interview. Some of the doctors and nurses who died in the first wave of the outbreak didn’t make a habit of washing their hands, he said.

“We paid a high price by not respecting basic standards of hygiene,” Lamah said.

At least 32 health workers have died in the current outbreak, according to the WHO. Medical staff in West Africa often ignore basic precautions, like using gloves for blood tests, Marie-Christine Ferir, emergency program coordinator for Medecins Sans Frontieres, said in an interview. Clinics in rural areas may lack running water or basic equipment like gloves and face masks, she said...

In Liberia, denial and fear are hindering the government’s efforts to contain the outbreak.

“There is high level of denial and there’s the stigma that goes with the disease,” Bernice Dahn, the country’s chief medical officer, told reporters last week. “They go to churches, they go to traditional healers, before they will go to a health facility.”

It’s been difficult to persuade relatives of Ebola victims that they can’t hold a traditional funeral, she said.

“Relatives do not want to see their loved ones buried in a thermic plastic bag,” Dahn said. “They want to touch the body, wash it, dress it.”

Persuading Sierra Leoneans that the disease exists has been difficult, Abubakar Fofanah, deputy minister of health and sanitation, said in an interview. Relatives have broken in to clinics to take patients diagnosed with Ebola home. Last month, youth in a village set fire to drugs they said were meant to kill Ebola patients.

“It’s worrying as more and more people are testing positive and more and more people are dying,” Fofanah said.
When medical personnel ignore basic precautions when dealing with this deadly disease, how can one blame ordinary people who cling to long standing traditions in time of crisis and let their fears lead them further into disaster.

Doctors Without Borders

It's really not a hard puzzle

From the pen of Tom Toles

R.I.P. John Dawson Winter III

Johnny Winter it is absolutely amazing that you made it to 70.

Posturing for re-election

The House held a hearing on the President's request for money to fight old and new wars in places we don't really give a shit about. Because this is an election year, members from both parties are puffing up and expressing outrage and dismay at this.
Pentagon leaders faced a bipartisan barrage of skeptical questions Wednesday from lawmakers over President Barack Obama’s request for $58.6 billion in emergency funds for conflicts in Afghanistan, Syria, Ukraine and beyond.

Republican and Democratic members of the House Armed Services Committee said Americans are war-weary after almost 13 years of conflict in South Asia and the Middle East, fearful of being drawn into new wars and mistrustful of the Obama administration.

Rep. Walter Jones, a North Carolina Republican, said he opposed giving Afghanistan tens of billions in new money because so much U.S. aid over the last decade has been lost to corruption.

“I look at the absolute waste of life first and money second, and here you are asking for more money,” Jones told Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work and other senior Pentagon officials. “American taxpayers are absolutely frustrated and broke because of these overseas activities. I do not understand how you can sit here today and ask for this money with such waste, fraud and abuse going on across Afghanistan.”

Rep. Tammy Duckworth, an Illinois Democrat who lost both legs in November 2004 during combat in Iraq, criticized the funding proposal, called the Overseas Contingency Operations request, for coming to Congress just months after the Pentagon’s basic budget package and for having too few spending controls.

“It seems like this has become just another slush fund where you can just transfer money between accounts,” Duckworth said...

Even some Obama allies on the committee said the president needs to do a better job of explaining to Congress and their constituents why the extra money for all the overseas missions is needed, especially his controversial request for $500 million to train moderate Syrian rebels.

“You need to do better than (saying), ‘It’s classified, so we really can’t talk about it,’” said Rep. Adam Smith of Washington state, the armed services panel’s senior Democrat. “For the United States Congress to vote to train and equip rebel forces is a big damn deal. This is more for the White House (than the Pentagon), but sell it, because if you don’t, we can’t pass it.”
So now they are on record showing concern for the amount and the uses and in the end they will all vote yes for this further waste of money.

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