October 2014 Archives
You should read the whole thing and wince at every critical hit: "President Obama, Ebola and the total collapse of credibility":
Less than two weeks ago, the government told us that the Ebola virus couldn't spread here.
Also, the Internal Revenue Service isn't targeting, the Islamic State is JV, Iraq is secure, the National Security Agency isn't eavesdropping, Benghazi was about a video, the economy is getting better and you can keep your health plan.
The crisis of confidence in government has now reached epidemic levels, just in time for the government to bungle a possible actual epidemic.
The most important question (assuming we don't all get Ebola and die) is whether or not President Obama has fundamentally broken the bureaucracy. Eight years of this behavior create patterns that will be hard to undo -- and it's not like the civil service was working perfectly in 2008 anyway.
General John Kelly makes an astute point: if Ebola breaks out in Central America millions of people will flood the United States to escape the epidemic. We must make much stronger efforts to contain Ebola in West Africa.
Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly, commander of the U.S. Southern Command, predicted last week that the Ebola virus will not be contained in West Africa, and if infected people flee those countries and spread the disease to Central and South America, it could cause "mass migration into the United States" of those seeking treatment.
"If it breaks out, it's literally, 'Katie bar the door,' and there will be mass migration into the United States," Kelly said in remarks to the National Defense University on Tuesday. "They will run away from Ebola, or if they suspect they are infected, they will try to get to the United States for treatment.
Not that we should just throw money at the problem, but if the U.N. and W.H.O. are right that only $1 billion is needed to contain the epidemic then it's pretty foolish not to write a check.
Ebola experts agree that we don't know enough about the virus to guarantee that it only spreads via close contact with bodily fluids and that asymptomatic carriers are non-infectious.
Dr. Philip K. Russell, a virologist who oversaw Ebola research while heading the U.S. Army's Medical Research and Development Command, and who later led the government's massive stockpiling of smallpox vaccine after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, also said much was still to be learned. "Being dogmatic is, I think, ill-advised, because there are too many unknowns here." ...
"I see the reasons to dampen down public fears," Russell said. "But scientifically, we're in the middle of the first experiment of multiple, serial passages of Ebola virus in man.... God knows what this virus is going to look like. I don't." ...
Skinner of the CDC, who cited the Peters-led study as the most extensive of Ebola's transmissibility, said that while the evidence "is really overwhelming" that people are most at risk when they touch either those who are sick or such a person's vomit, blood or diarrhea, "we can never say never" about spread through close-range coughing or sneezing.
In my opinion, we need to be much more aggressive in isolating exposed people. We obviously need to care for them as well as we can, but we can't let our compassion put the whole population at risk. Near the apartment complexes where the Dallas patient lived government officials are worrying more about "civil rights" than about containing the epidemic.
Vickery Meadow, a crush of low-income apartment complexes just a short drive from some of Dallas's toniest neighborhoods, appeared calm on Tuesday. Women in traditional Muslim head coverings, mothers carrying children and workers headed to the bus stop walked along the road next to The Ivy apartments, where Duncan had stayed.
But some tensions have surfaced.
Dallas City Councilwoman Jennifer Staubach Gates said three residents of Vickery Meadow reported that their employers sent them away from work out of fear that they could be carrying the virus. Gates said Tuesday that she had contacted a lawyer to help those men.
The city has also enlisted doctors to explain Ebola to neighborhood residents and assure them that they are safe, Gates said. Vickery Meadow is home to thousands of immigrants from Afghanistan to Mexico, many of whom don't speak English.
But are they safe? That's not clear at all. I think our leaders and citizens should be a little less starry-eyed and a little more paranoid.
AngryDM describes the "eight kinds of fun" and how they relate to role-playing games. My top enjoyments are fantasy, fellowship, discovery, and expression -- but in varying moods I can enjoy them all. Here's my summary of his take on the eight funs:
1. Sensory Pleasure: This is the pleasure you get from things you can see, hear, and touch. Physical books, art, dice, music, maps, diagrams, miniatures, terrain, and props all bring a tingle of joy to the sensory pleasure seeker.
2. Fantasy: Fantasy is the pleasure you get from losing yourself in an imaginary world and pretending you are someone you are not. It is escapism. It is immersion.
3. Narrative: Narrative seekers take pleasure from experiencing a well-told story as it unfolds. The better put-together the story is, the happier the narrative seeker is.
4. Challenge: Challenge seekers see the game as a series of obstacles to overcome and foes to be defeated. They want to test themselves and win. If they fail, they want to know the failure was fair and next time they will do better.
5. Fellowship: Those in search of fellowship view the game as a framework for social interaction and cooperation. They enjoy camaraderie and social interaction and working together with a team.
6. Discovery: Discovery seekers like to explore and learn new things. They like to uncover things. They view the game as uncharted territory and get a thrill every time they fill in another blank on the map.
7. Expression: Expression is the pleasure you get from expressing yourself creatively. This is the desire to create something that is unique to you, to say something about who you are and what you believe, or simply to impose your creative will on the world around you.
8. Submission/abnegation: Submission is the pleasure you get from turning off your brain and losing yourself in a task you don't have to think too hard about.
Officials are urging parents to keep sending their kids to school even after acknowledging that the Dallas Ebola patient had contact with five kids who attend four different schools. But don't worry, they're "pretty confident"!
"Right now, the base number is 18 people, and that could increase," he said. Thompson said more details are expected by Thursday afternoon. The number includes five students at four schools, Dallas school district Superintendent Mike Miles said. ...
He urged parents to keep their children in school, but some were wary. ...
"Since none of the students had symptoms, I'm pretty confident that none of the kids were exposed," Miles said.
The superintendent is "pretty confident" that your kid won't get Ebola at school. Any parent who relies on that is a fool. I'll believe it when I see the superintendent and President Obama playing with the exposed kids. It's far better for your kid to miss a few weeks or a month of school than to risk exposure to Ebola.