Days of Change

Deep in the Heart of Texas

October 12, 2014

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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October 11, 2014

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, 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
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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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Wait Until November

October 9, 2014
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I still remember 2006, when GW Bush accepted the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld the day after Congress fell into Republican hands. Had Bush fired Rumsfeld and initiated a surge strategy a few weeks earlier, it might have helped in the margins. Unfortunately, even if there’s a point when a cabinet member should leave, the president is unwilling to let him go.

The people left in the Obama administration see the writing on the wall. Even if every arguable toss-up goes their way, Democrats will lose more seats in the House and end up with a thin majority in the Senate. The Republicans will be emboldened enough to filibuster an extremely unpopular president. There will be no new Obamacares to punish business or Stimuluses to reward deadbeats and donors. It will be a 2 year battle ending in a 2016 election where the Democratic nominee will likely distance herself from Obama like he has Ebola.

The only fun part about 2015 and beyond is that the White House will be having no fun. Obama himself has already checked out mentally. He has that nonchalance found in some of the worst leaders in history. He’s fiddling around while Rome burns. His lackeys, however, have to spin real-world disaster into fantasy success and I think its melting their brains, if they have any.

It should be interesting to see who jumps ship first after November 4.

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No Time For a Post

October 8, 2014
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I’m a little late posting tonight. We have the first US Ebola death and possibly the first case of an American contracting the disease inside the country. This is how epidemics start.

The chances of a major outbreak may be low, but don’t believe the medical community claims that the chances are zero.

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Capitalism Saves Lives

October 7, 2014
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About a decade ago, Hurricane Katrina killed 1,000 people and was a national story of crisis and failure. In other, poor countries, 1,000 deaths in a storm is considered lucky. Even in NOLA, the people who died lived in a flood plain where people really weren’t supposed to live. Obviously, rich people are better protected from the world, but the displaced people from the area who moved to places like Texas found a better life because of the better opportunities. Even a little more money gets you a better home in a safer area.

So, there a success story about the Ebola epidemic in Liberia. Firestone tires used isolation methods, HAZMAT suits (which are better barriers) and methodical action to stop an outbreak from the wife of an employee at the campus who became infected. She was the only one who died and the only ones still infected are from neighboring areas looking for treatment. Firestone used equipment they had, along with information on the internet, to do what either the Liberian or American government has been able to do in the country.

The NPR story credits Firestone’s financial resources. The American Thinker credits Firestone with using the tools of many modern businesses. Most companies have emphasized problem identification and solving methods to improve their processes and save money. In this case, they read about how an outbreak should be addressed, figured out how they could do it and did it. In other places, workers overextended themselves, got overwhelmed, failed to follow processes and got sick themselves. In most cases, the international community will ask for more money to solve the problem. Even if that’s true, capitalism saves lives.

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You Are Who You Vote For

October 6, 2014
1 Comment

Why did 2010 happen?

Political calculus often tends to be in the eye of the beholder. I’ve written about how 2010 was a wave election because it moved over 60 seats in the House and 12-13 in the Senate to the Republican column. Not only were the net gains for Republicans big, hardly any seats turned to Democrat challengers. It seemed to be a wide-ranging repudiation of Democrats for the last 2-4 years in power.

Then it wasn’t.

Democrats made sure to target Senate seats, and more importantly, the densely populated urban centers of “purple” battleground states. Democrats gained ground in the House and Senate and the president, who is essentially king of the Democrats, won his election by a small popular margin.

2014 is a maybe year. Twenty years ago, Republicans made a big move by winning the Senate (first time in 8 years) and the House (first time in 40). Since then, the tables have turned a few times. Six years, two years. A couple of times, Democrats lost to Republicans after only a few months. On the other hand, the presidents during that time (Clinton, Bush and Obama) all had two terms.

The Supreme Court chose not to hear two lower federal court ruling that upheld other court decisions that lifted gay marriage bans. However you feel about the issue, it doesn’t pass by popular referendum. Gay marriage does not survive direct democracy. Better yet, most gay marriage begins by court order and not even through legislative means. Now, if people really didn’t want gay marriage, they would have to either vote for the judges or the people who vote for the judges they want, but it’s not really a voting priority. Obama only made it a campaign priority when wealthy gay donors were holding back money in 2012.

The Founders of the country tried to make a system of government where the legislature did not also choose the executive. That has mostly been the case, but the larger goal of a government without parties failed. In fact, the United States has consistently only had room for two parties at a time. Even local politicians tend to put party goals ahead of their constituents.

The trend seems to be toward dissatisfaction. Voters want a party that works for them. Say and do the “right” things and the people come to the polls. Do the wrong thing, or nothing, and people stay home. In 1994, the Republicans won on the Contract for America. In 2006, Republicans gave up their pledge to self-imposed term limits and paid for it. In 2006, Democrats ran on ending the Iraq War. By 2010, the US gave up. In 2009, the Republicans fought like their lives depended on blocking the Democrats and they won big. Doing the same thing and getting good results probably means you should keep doing it.

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Now it’s Time for Everything Else

October 5, 2014
1 Comment

A lot of fun things have been going wrong this weekend now that the data is backed up. Plus, we’re due for another Ebola patient any time now.

I’ll be back on Monday.

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Data Update

October 4, 2014
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Before the next Ebola outbreak, I thought I would let those interested know that I have nearly all of my data backed up, and probably all of the important data is safe. It also gives me a chance to clean up some of the crap on my hard drive. The old stuff from work may be going in the crapper first.

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How to Stop a Runaway Train

October 3, 2014
1 Comment

There are a lot of worst care scenarios regarding Ebola going around. Hannity talked to a microbiologist today who wore a makeshift HAZMAT suit warning that “The CDC is lying” to us. His warning is grim. While the feds can send dozens of people to Dallas for one outbreak, two or three more infected people in different states would force local governments to use their own resources. The Dallas patient zero had an idea he was sick, having been around Ebola patients. Imagine someone who has no idea, flies for a living, and deals with dozens of people for weeks before he starts vomiting blood.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Since there is no cure, prevention is even more important for Ebola. The slows moving train is easy to stop. Unfortunately, we respond to emergencies, and a runaway train is impossible to stop.

If there’s a second outbreak, there will be a major city full of people either barricading themselves at home or running to the hospitals. A century ago, the “flu” decimated parts of the US and European population. It can happen again.

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