Days of Change

The Scourge of Fox News

October 19, 2014
1 Comment

I’ve been posting on one blog today that referenced another blog. This person was waiting for the day when so-called “a la carte” cable channel selection could end the need to subsidize Fox News. I am an opponent of this kind of programming, simply because the people who sell their cable content and the media companies that deliver it to consumers do not want to do it. The conclusion is that the only way to give consumers a choice is for the government to regulate another business. Twenty years ago, Congress passed a law “regulating” cable bill prices. That was about the time cable bills started exploding by creating these packages.

The government is insidious. Politicians make people think they want something only lawmaking can provide. Then they convince people to give them money and do campaign work to get them into office. In many cases, they turn around and explain to their constituents how they would love to do the thing they promised to do, but the other guy is stopping them, somehow. Now if they could just work harder for the politician, maybe it will happen someday. This, by the way, is essentially the plot of Animal Farm.

Ironically, if this did happen, only the most watched stations would make the cut. Chances are that MSNBC would be out and Fox News (which is in the top 10 of most watched cable channels) would have a permanent place on most people’s lineups.


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Contagion

October 18, 2014
2 Comments

Nearly a century ago, a virus spread throughout the world, infecting approximately one-third of the human population. There were about 100 million confirmed or suspected deaths in two rounds of the pandemic over the course of two years, making it fatal in 10-20% of cases. Almost 5 percent of the world’s population was lost during the Influenza outbreak. It is not even half as deadly as Ebola, just more contagious.

Virology is not a video game. Not everyone contracts a virus under the same conditions. Not everyone is contagious at the same point. Not everyone who gets the disease is even affected by it due to their biological makeup. Some people die with all the help in the world and others can seem to shake it off and live. It is simply a rule of thumb that someone cannot transmit a disease until they show symptoms. It’s an acceptable gamble for the common cold or flu. It is not the case for Ebola.

One of the bits of compliance mongering that NPR used was a chart of the contagiousness of Ebola compared to other diseases. Ebola has an R0 of about 1.5, meaning that 1-2 people historically are infected with Ebola from one patient. That certainly seems to be the cause for Thomas Eric Duncan, who has spread his Ebola to at least two people, in America, that we know of. Still, the magic chart tells us that other diseases like HIV (which everyone said in the 90’s was hard to catch) and Measles (which has a vaccine anyway) are more contagious. What’s missing?

I was wondering what the R0 of Influenza was, given that it had the highest body count of any pandemic. The number isn’t high. In fact, it is 2-3. That means a disease with less than half the mortality of Ebola is only slightly easier to spread. In 18 months, this virus with an R0 of 3 became a pandemic that wiped out 5% of the world. Today, that would be about 350 million graves.


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No Comparison

October 17, 2014
1 Comment

Partisan people aligned to one side or another tend to frame information to fit their worldview. My argument is probably also framing things to my worldview, but the reason I don’t trust “the media” is due to evidence to the contrary. It has been 10 years since the Bush memo story and the CBS cover up, but Hollywood is still planning to tell the “real” story, meaning the one that fits their worldview that George W. Bush was high on cocaine during the 60s and couldn’t pass a physical for the National Guard and that Dan Rather and Mary Mapes were crusaders duped by one lone crackpot who was overzealous in his righteous plan to take down Bush.

Given that, I think it’s time to declare Bush bashing pointless. I understand that Democrats and liberals who didn’t like Obama had no philosophical path to opposing him except by comparing Obama to Bush. I had to let it slide, knowing that PUMA Democrats had to make their way to voting for McCain. Sites like Hillary is 44 still have the morph of Bush to Obama pictures. Obama may not have pulled out of Iraq immediately, but he did eventually. Iraq today would have happened 4 years earlier if liberals got what they wanted. Bush had created a way forward in 2006 after Republicans lost the Congress. If Democrats lose Congress, will Obama change anything?

Everything from the BP spill to Ebola has been labeled Obama’s Katrina. Bush’s Katrina went out of control for a few weeks, mostly due to the inability of Louisiana to properly prepare or take the necessary steps to get help from the federal government. When Bush stepped in, we were introduced to General Russell Honore, the no-nonsense commander who got shit done. President Obama just picked an Ebola Czar whose experience is in running the “war room” for losing candidates. He knows how to get shit spun. His goal will be to discretely bury the bodies of Ebola victims until after the election.

Obama even owns this crummy economy, after taking credit for at least 3 recovers that lasted for only a month or two at a time. He may be cozy with big business like Bush, but Bush believed in capitalism (sans TARP). Obama just believes in getting money from rich people AND TARP. The only reason job losses aren’t worse is that just about every job that could be lost in this economy has been already. Still, Obamacare may squeeze some more out. Ironically, people bitched about Bush’s Medicare Part D, which costs a lot less and ultimately saved the government money.

At this point, if you equate Obama to Bush, you’re just trying to make Obama look better.


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The State Can’t Control Religion Either

October 16, 2014
2 Comments

I’m actually going to link to a Huffington Post story about the city of Houston suing pastors after a lawsuit against the legality about a law that allows transgender people to define their gender in any way they want, including bathroom access. The article is relatively even-handed for Huffpo, especially since the subpoenas are for sermons from pastors who are not even suing the city and Houston is already walking back the legal actions.

There is a fundamental understanding of both the freedom of speech and the separation of church and state. Only a few centuries ago, state religious were common throughout Europe and other countries. In many cases, the only state religious are the ones in Muslim countries that follow Sharia as a law. In the United States, religion was considered a right not to be infringed when our founding documents were written. Since the power of the government is so great, it needed to be protected from the ability of government to influence religious practice. Of course, churches had to follow the law, but those laws had to apply equally.

These actions are an attempt to make religion bow to the will of the state. If churches violated the law and made a biological man use the men’s room, there might be a case. However, the churches are still part of the country and they can advocate for whatever laws they want without the threat of going through sermons with a fine-tooth comb in an attempt to bury them in lawsuits, the new method of bankrupting the enemies of the state.

I am saddened that this kind of situation is even possible. The people of this country have made their choice of the government they want without regard for what they would actually get. Laws cannot endure, only ideas. If we don’t believe in the ideas that founded this country, it is only a matter of time before this country falls.


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Everyone Has Ebola

October 15, 2014
2 Comments

Low information progressives are using the straw man argument that conservatives think everyone is going to catch Ebola and die. Ebola is not easy or hard to catch. It’s hard to catch after a victim’s initial exposure and easy to catch as they spew virus laden fluid all over the place before death. Just a little Ebola goes a long way and once contracted, you are more likely to die than live. Even the good estimates in Africa have 50% survival rates and they are going down.

Since the CDC chose to comfort people rather than inform them, the possibility of having Ebola is starting to scare people. The second American victim who contracted Ebola in this country, took an airplane before a positive diagnosis. Her family was with her and three of them worked at Kent State. So now, much of Texas and Ohio have only a few degrees of separation from a plague victim. What’s worse is that she called the CDC when she had a fever and was told it was just the flu. That means treatment was delayed and she has a better chance of dying than the first US victim who got treatment earlier.

Since there is no vaccine, the government will have to focus on a quick test for Ebola because an ever-increasing number of Americans have been exposed enough to demand the certainty of a test instead of a wait and see quarantine that many people are already violating. An ER that has to worry about people coming in, zombie like, to be tested will overwhelm their resources and put all the people in the hospital at risk.

And that’s just assuming no one else actually GETS Ebola.


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Identity

October 14, 2014
1 Comment

This week’s media sing-a-long is about the fact that there is no voter fraud. There are links to different people, all of whom are against voter ID laws, claiming that there are no more than a few dozen incidents of proven voter fraud. They dispute the validity of felons and non-residents voting as mistakes rather than fraud and use a counter argument that absentee ballot fraud is more likely. Yeah, and 3 years ago people didn’t know that the NSA was looking at everything they did.

People who commit voter fraud are not going to make it clear they are doing it. It’s illegal. It’s also pretty easy. A secret ballot by definition hides information about any particular voter. As a part of the general population, the number of individuals who willfully weaponize their votes is small. Is that, however, the point of voter ID laws?

Ever since motor voter, Democrats have decided that creating multiple avenues for voter registration is good for their election results. Is this because the general population is more liberal? Not exactly. Polls don’t show a huge advantage for Democrats in opinions. The secret is the ease of bus travel.

Registration by DMV, by clipboard and by data mining got even slightly interested parties in a position to vote. This meant that Democrats could take a bus through dense cities (Democrat population percentages go up with population density) and drop dozens of voters off at the polls. The problem is that only so many buses can run in a nine-hour period. The next step was creating pre-voting where the buses could run for days and people who didn’t vote could be hounded for weeks to go vote.

The culmination of voting manipulation was in what I call insta-voting, otherwise known as same-day registration. People could register and vote on the same day. In theory, this would be like an absentee ballot. The person fills out a ballot, puts it in an envelope with their name an address on the front and the vote is counted when their registration is verified. That didn’t happen. Most same-day votes were thrown in with regular ballot, so that false registrations (registration fraud) would not stop someone from voting. This means that while voters are not committing so much voter fraud, Democrats are stacking teh deck in their favor.

If you still think Democrats want all votes to count and Republicans don’t, ask about the thousands of military ballots that are still not sent out on time, mysteriously lost or not accepted. The military votes disproportionately Republican. It’s just a coincidence, I guess.

 


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Protocol

October 13, 2014
4 Comments

There has been something of an outbreak over the CDC explaining a nurse contracting Ebola as a break in protocol. If it were something as bad as leaving off a glove, it would be her and the hospital’s fault. However, if it were a case of a protective outfit covered in blood and the process of removing it transferred the virus, then there is a problem with the protocols themselves. For a look at how the government treats Ebola, check out this scene from the 1996 movie Outbreak. Ebola is Level 4.

The CDC is trying to sell the public on the idea that a plastic suit and a respirator (the Bio-hazard Level 3 stuff) can keep a health care worker from contracting Ebola. The people who wear the space suits in government labs are working with a few cells with Ebola at a time in a room with negative pressure (air constantly sucked out of the room). Nurses are potentially getting puked on with the most contagious biological residue on earth. They should be wearing those chemical suits the people at Firestone used and have it sprayed down with hot bleach before they even try to change out of them.

This isn’t a break in protocol, this is a lack of protocol.


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Deep in the Heart of Texas

October 12, 2014
2 Comments

This is potentially gross, so don’t read after a big meal.

Ebola is part of a group of diseases known as viral hemorrhagic fever. VHFs replicate rapidly in cells and destroy them. As the victim is overwhelmed, cells ripped apart by the virus form a sludge that becomes part of the bloodstream, made up of other cells that are being destroyed. When a victim coughs up blood of expresses any other fluids, they are loaded with Ebola strains. The cure rate is about 50% if you can get the patient enough time to let their immune system attack the virus before they die.

This is important because it explains the communicability of Ebola. If someone contracts Ebola, their viral load will be relatively low for a few days. Contact may not be contagious. A person in the last stages of the disease and for some time after death, is almost completely contagious. It is the reason why medical people or care givers usually are the secondary victims of Ebola.

The CDC has been trying to spin the case of a nurse who contracted Ebola from the first patient zero. They want to claim that the staff made a “mistake” is handling treatment. The fact is that the kind of precautions that should be taken are almost impossible in all but a few large hospitals who already took Ebola patients. They would need negative pressure rooms, chlorinated showers and Level 4 bio-hazard suits to reduce their risk.

Even if health care workers are the ones in danger, this could cripple our health care system. Imagine if nurses or their unions decided this was too high risk a job with too few precautions? What if doctors decided they’ve had it with ER duty? What if you have a medical emergency and had to go 10 miles further away because the Ebola hospital is closed. Wait. That already happened in Dallas, Texas.


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Debt-icit

October 11, 2014
2 Comments

So, I’m not going to bother linking to Paul Krugman’s latest Obama cheer about lower deficits. It’s all boiler-plate Krugman anyway. Deficits are good, debt is good and the Republicans are hypocrites because they wanted lower deficits, the deficits are lower and Obamacare is to thank for this. I could go on to refute all of the Obamacare crap, but he linked to vox.com, so I can’t even dignify that with a response.

Since Krugman’s article was also number-free, I won’t bother with proving the figures wrong, since this really isn’t the point. The point is that he left debt out of the discussion. Krugman usually loves to talk about debt. He has stated multiple times that debt can be up to 200% of GDP (think Japan’s lost decade) before it will impact the economy. It is well over 100% right now in the US. If you think the debt doesn’t matter, let me quote someone who does.

The problem is, is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up the national debt from 5 trillion for the first 42 presidents — number 43 added 4 trillion dollars by his lonesome, so that we now have 9 trillion dollars of debt that we are going to have to pay back — $30,000 for every man, woman and child. That’s irresponsible. It’s unpatriotic.

Obama complained in Bush’s eighth year that he nearly doubled the national debt from his predecessor. In just over six years, Obama has more than doubled the national debt. Krugman accidentally made one point. 18 trillion dollars is responsible for over $700 billion of the deficit as the amount we have to pay in interest on the national debt. We would have no deficit if the national debt wasn’t so sky-high.

That’s the dirty little secret here. The trillion-dollar stimulus was not a jump-start to the economy, (not if it took six years) but a way to stymie deficit hawks by front loading our total debt. Using the credit card analogy, Obama maxed out his credit card in 2009 and made the minimum payments with his cash advance. Now Krugman is kissing Obama’s ass because he puts less on his credit card than he did earlier.


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Nobel Penance

October 10, 2014
1 Comment

Alfred Nobel invented dynamite, which is a suspension of nitroglycerin that is extremely safe to transport and use. That invention saved many lives of people who might have had to work with pure nitroglycerin. It also aided in the construction of modern cities. However, when his brother died, a French newspaper inadvertently published a scathing obituary of Alfred Nobel for making an explosive that could be used to kill people. Nobel responded as any elite in the late nineteenth century would have, by feeling guilty and throwing money at the kind of pacifists who just insulted him. Thus, the Nobel Prize was born.

In happier news, a Peace Prize was awarded to Malala Yousafza, a girl who fought to go to school in opposition to Sharia Law and was attacked by terrorists and nearly killed. This means that not only has the committee finally chosen to highlight the evil of Sharia law and the Muslims who would “defend” it, but they also chose women’s rights over (Islamic) religious autonomy for once.

I have to wonder if this may be due to guilt over the award given to Barack Obama. He was nominated before serving one day in the Oval Office and has proved in the last six years to promote capitulation as peace and apathy as diplomacy. The world is a more dangerous and less peaceful place because of Obama. The world of Malala Yousafza is worth fighting for.


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