Days of Change

The Sickest City in the World

October 23, 2014
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A doctor in New York City was under self-quarantine (we don’t know if the city health department knew about this) for Ebola and decided that a trip on the Metro and a night bowling fell within those guidelines. Now he has a 103 fever and confirmed with Ebola, which means he’s got a good chance of dying now.

Again, the R0 of Ebola is 2, compared to 3 for Influenza. Now, Thomas Eric Duncan infected his two people. The nurses he infected may not have spread it. However, this medical “professional” may have brought us right back to the 2 infected per carrier average.

Self-quarantine is a farce used to shut off valid criticism. If no one is sick, self-quarantine works, even if the patient decides to make out with a dozen people at a rave. If someone is infected, however, it becomes a license to kill. Remember Nancy Snyderman, a doctor working for NBC who was exposed to Ebola? She decided to grab some take-out while on self-imposed quarantine.

Quarantine cannot be self-imposed. You can’t even rely on self-imposed grounding and the stakes are a hell of a lot smaller. I may just start spraying everyone I meet with Clorox.


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Flyswatter

October 22, 2014
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The common house fly is a disgusting insect that eats garbage and feces and regularly deposits its own microscopic waste all over. The most annoying thing about them, however, is when they seem to target you and land on you where you can feel their presence or hear their buzzing. Their droppings in your FDA-accepted food products is much more of a health concern, but we have sticky paper and bug “lights” to reduce their numbers. There’s even the fly swatter, a stick with a large flexible surface to crush and murder them for no particularly strong danger to us.

This may sound like a PETA essay, but it seems to mirror the Western world’s opinion about Islamic areas of the world. For centuries, Muslims were the bête noire of Europe and other parts of the world. They were eventually subjugated by more civilized nations but eventually regained power and influence, especially with the invention of oil-powered machines.

The modern world seems to both feel guilt about and underestimate the threat of the Muslim world. We accept that not all Muslims are terrorists, but a “Christian” terrorists is labeled as such because he went to a church, even if he didn’t use God as an excuse to kill. More and more, I also think that many in the international community consider fighting terrorism like swatting flies. It seems that it is unworthy to waste time taking out a threat that doesn’t affect us very much compared to say, the Weather Gods of Global Warming. Even if it is swatting flies, I think we need to swat them. We should also S.W.A.T. them. Flypaper and bug lights seem like overkill, but they reduce the insect population in your home and in your food. A beaten down enemy is the next best thing to a beaten enemy.


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Here We Go

October 21, 2014
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Monica Lewinsky is on Twitter.

I’m not sure who comes out more fervently over the name Lewinsky, the Clinton opponents who point out Clinton’s “I did not have sex with that woman” scandal or the Clinton apologists who anticipate the Clinton opponents. I don’t particularly care about the scandal after 15 years. I think Clinton was not a good president, the economy sucked for me under Clintonomics. If you don’t like Eric Holder, you shouldn’t like Bill Clinton who hired him. He also didn’t sexually assault Lewinsky, but he might have raped Elizabeth Gracen. Still, he ain’t president.

My disinterest in having Hillary Clinton as president in 2016 is not going to affect my actions in 2014. Hopefully, it will not change anyone else’s mind, especially if they are voting Republican in the election. There’s real stuff at stake.


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Network 2.0

October 20, 2014
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There’s about 2 weeks to go until the midterm elections. The good news is that the Republicans are already in a stronger position. The bad news is that even with 51 Senators, the GOP will not be any stronger than they were two years ago. They would need 67 seats to override Obama vetoes and that won’t happen. They will have bragging rights and some moral authority to hold up the budget that they gave up on last year.

So, this week I’m going to upgrade my home computer network. Sort of. I’m replacing my ailing wireless router and considering some speed enhancements on the wired network. Hopefully, I’ll be online every night regardless.


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The Scourge of Fox News

October 19, 2014
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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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