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76  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: WaPo: "Suddenly, Obamacare Is More Unpopular Than Ever" on: August 03, 2014, 05:34:51 pm
The Kaiser poll has always been a bit strange. They showed it was popular when other polls showed it in the pits, whereas now they're showing it plumbing new depths while other polls show no change (that I know of).
77  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Presidential Election Trends / Re: Millennials Up For Grabs? on: August 02, 2014, 09:01:45 pm
Let's not forget that the demographic explosion of minorities skews heavily young and thus more likely to be Democratic. Minority births reached a majority in 2011 , and around 55-60% of today's under 18 group is minority. It is projected that the under 18 cohort will reach minority majority status later this decade.

The young vote will be skewing even more black and brown each election cycle , furthering their Democratic lean.

Unless the Republicans actually ... *gasp* ... reach out to minorities.

They won't. It's much easier for them to become the white party.

Race-based political parties are disgusting. Politics should be about ideas and policies. One shouldn't be forced to become a leftist or a rightist based on the genes of birth. There's something inherently racist about it. I'm still hoping against hope that there is a place for all races in both parties...
78  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread on: August 02, 2014, 08:07:28 pm
Amazing first-hand blog post of the situation in Kenema. Some of the other photos on the site aren't too shabby either, really helps humanize the people of Sierra Leone.
79  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread on: August 02, 2014, 07:15:49 pm
Ebola patients break out of ward, hospital & city thrown into panic

Tokpa Tarnue, a local journalist on the scene told FrontPageAfrica Wednesday that the majority of the suspected patients were in a holding room at the Tellewoyan Memorial Hospital while awaiting their departure for a treatment and isolation center in Foya when they abruptly left their room and moved into other wards that later resulted to all health workers escaping the hospital compound in deep fear.

According to the journalist, the suspected patients managed to leave the hospital premises and ran into various homes and streets, a situation that caused severe panic among citizens and residents of Voinjama who were likewise escaping from the patients fearing not to contract the deadly Ebola virus. He told FrontPageAfrica that for several hours Voinjama was like a ghost town as many residents escaped the city while others locked themselves in their homes.

Said the local journalist: "Everybody left. They had suspected Ebola patients in a holding room that is not well equipped. They are normally kept there before they are taken to Foya. In the process of doing that, those suspected patients left their wards and stating entering the children's ward and other places while they were vomiting and releasing feces at the same time. Based on that the entire hospital staff all left including the doctors and nurses. Up to now they have not gone back to work."

80  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread on: August 02, 2014, 05:59:26 pm
Ebola seems to be a large part of why the western gorilla is listed as critically endangered. There are 95,000 western gorillas. There are only around 6000 eastern gorillas, but they are listed as endangered, one tier better.

Indeed, evidence suggests the virus devastates primate populations


And speaking of monkeys, a November 2012 Nature article provided evidence of airborne transmission of ebola. Canadian researchers put ebola-infested hogs (in hogs, ebola only affects the respiratory system) in a room with four macaques, separated by wire fences 20 cm apart. In a supplementary PDF file, they provide a photograph of the setup. Two of the macaques were on the ground level with the hogs, and two of them were one level up. All four macaques came down with ebola, although they never had direct contact with the hogs.

Meanwhile, a U.S. doctor from Morristown, Tennessee has placed himself under voluntary quarantine after returning from treating ebola patients in Liberia. In the opinion of this medical professional and hero, the risks to him warrant such a quarantine. But he had to contact the C.D.C. of his own accord. Why are we rely on such voluntary effort - what about the plane load of people he flew in with? And what if he had developed symptoms mid flight?

Honestly I think the best thing the average person can do is to call those airlines still flying out of Lungi International Airport (Sierra Leone) and Roberts International Airport (Liberia) and get them to pull flights. Mention that Emirates Air, Gambia Bird and Arik Air have already pulled out.

British Airways Customer Service 1 (800) 247-9297
Air France Customer Service 1 (800) 992-3932 (Lungi only)
Delta Customer Service 1 (800) 455-2720 (they terminate flights Aug. 31, but should sooner)
Brussels Airlines Customer Service 1 (866) 308-2230
Air Côte d'Ivoire Customer Service 011 (<-- if in the U.S.) +225 20 25 10 30

Once some major airlines start pulling out the remaining ones will come under increasing pressure to do so, like a sack of dominoes.
81  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread on: August 02, 2014, 05:29:18 pm
I've created a Google spreadsheet that charts the number of cases per day, based on the Wiki entry, below:


As you can see, the number of cases per day has been steadily increasing since early June through July 30.
82  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Presidential Election Trends / Re: Millennials Up For Grabs? on: August 01, 2014, 05:02:59 pm
Let's not forget that the demographic explosion of minorities skews heavily young and thus more likely to be Democratic. Minority births reached a majority in 2011 , and around 55-60% of today's under 18 group is minority. It is projected that the under 18 cohort will reach minority majority status later this decade.

The young vote will be skewing even more black and brown each election cycle , furthering their Democratic lean.

Unless the Republicans actually ... *gasp* ... reach out to minorities.
83  General Politics / Economics / Greece’s Credit Rating Raised by Moody’s on Fiscal Outlook on: August 01, 2014, 04:59:45 pm

I'm linking this article just for the sake of linking to it. Yes, I know, we have all forgotten about Greece by now, but this is too.... I can't think of a word for it.... to pass up.
84  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread on: August 01, 2014, 12:59:57 pm
2012 Canadian study that infected macaques with ebola even with no direct contact

researchers from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the country's Public Health Agency have shown that pigs infected with this form of Ebola can pass the disease on to macaques without any direct contact between the species.

In their experiments, the pigs carrying the virus were housed in pens with the monkeys in close proximity but separated by a wire barrier. After eight days, some of the macaques were showing clinical signs typical of ebola and were euthanised.
85  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread on: July 31, 2014, 11:33:25 pm
Ok, going to post my individual policy recommendations here. Governments are always one step behind events and being reactive. We see this again and again. But here we have to get in front of this to contain it, and that means doing done things that may seem to make little sense.

First of all, all regular international flights out of Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia need to be suspended immediately. The proper controls are not in place. Only specially designated flights for foreign nationals and those coming in to assist the ebola response can be allowed. These specially designated outgoing flights cannot be normally fitted commercial jets. They must be aircraft specially fitted to allow individual isolation if every passenger, so if one develops symptoms mid flights that person does not infect others. On offloading each passenger must go to a designated compound that is also fitted to allow indivual isolation, and stay there for 25 days. After which if they show no symptoms they are free to go. For example, one if those large Amazon.com warehouses with tents set up inside would be the type of building that might be suitable.

Second of all, massive response is needed in West Africa to bring the situation under control. Certain areas (those being most amenable to quarantine) must be closed off and abandoned for the time being, while contact tracing occurs strategically, prioritizing those more at risk of traveling. The armed forces of West African states, particularly Ivory Coast, Mali, and Senegal must be mobilized to completely shut the border ( Conakry may be saved if eastern Guinea can be cut off ). Additionally, NATO forces should be deployed to the area to assist with surveillance.

Finally, large amounts of people and supplies are going to have to go in, to train contact tracers, nurses, burial workers, and construction if new, well defended treatment centers away from population areas. Spend $1 billion. Register every citizen and address, go door to door to every single household and examine the situation, and educate them about the facts of ebola, and provide chlorine solution for sanitary purposes. Health workers are to be protected by armed escort whenever possible. Focus on urban areas first. Go neighborhood by neighborhood with response teams divided by geographical area, identifying everyone who needs to be traced. House by house, block by block, town by town, until quarantine is reestablished. This should be an international effort. It would be nice if the Russians and the Chinese could also contribute.

This is what needs to happen ASAP and if I can I will call my congress critter about it tomorrow.
86  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Rank your elections you could vote in from most to least favorite on: July 31, 2014, 10:14:32 pm
Beet's 2008 reaction is an interesting contrast to mine. Of course supporting separate candidates plays a role, I wouldn't be too fond of it ether if Hillary had won...but if she had won the election would be pretty dull and not as exciting as it as. I must ask though why the Palin-filled GE is a negative, it actually boosted the excitingness of it.

But yeah that's one for the history books. In stark contrast to the very boring 2014. I'd actually rather read archives of the 2008 or 2006 forums than read the contemporary midterm election forums.

Because she was a very unpleasant woman and I got sick of seeing her plastered all over the place. If you look at Google trends interest in her was even higher than interest in Obama. Basically just got sick of talking about her all the time. What I hated the most though was how she tried to claim Hillary's mantle and use the sexism that was thrown at Hillary to cast herself as some sort of champion for women. It just felt that everything Hillary stood for was being inverted 180 degrees. A smart, hardworking woman (Hillary) who had been fighting for women and children for 30 years replaced by some vacuous, sexualized bimbo who can't make it through an interview with Katie Couric and can't tell the president if France from some Canadian radio jockey? The ultimate f--ing insult, even typing it out like this now feels bad.
87  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread on: July 31, 2014, 07:41:29 pm
This from a Nigerian pastor:

The part below the black line (original post here https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=10154412557025106&id=373216405105) I cut off just to show how many people are buying into this sh**t, presumably upper class, educated Nigerians with access to Facebook.

We all knew the Sierra Leonians and Liberians were nuts on ebola, here's evidence Nigeria, a far larger country, is filled with fools as well.

And I kid you not, I didn't want to mention this before, but back in April when this thing had its first wave of news coverage, I was sitting in this Panera Bread in Arlington where a lot of news companies are located. This place is right outside of the Politico headquarters. It's not a place you would associate with conservative Christianity, let alone superstition. Well, these two black women were sitting at a table next to me talking in serious tones about beet juice. "Why beet juice?" I remember one of the asking in earnest tones. Then I realized they were talking about ebola. One of them was telling the other that beet juice cures ebola, which was a rumor going on at the time. They were very serious. This attitude exists in the United States, as well.
88  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread on: July 31, 2014, 05:00:24 pm
More details still emerging about Patrick Sawyer...

FrontPageAfrica has now learned that upon being told he had Ebola, Mr. Sawyer went into a rage, denying and objecting to the opinion of the medical experts. “He was so adamant and difficult that he took the tubes from his body and took off his pants and urinated on the health workers, forcing them to flee."

Umm... so two health workers in Nigeria were urinated on by a patient showing advanced symptoms? Have they been tested?
89  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential General Election Polls / Re: OH-Quinnipiac: Paul only trails Hillary by 4, leads among Indies on: July 31, 2014, 10:49:25 am
Christie vs. Clinton by age:
18-29: Clinton +19%

Paul vs. Clinton by age:
18-29: tie

That's a pretty dramatic difference.
90  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: why are Slavic countries more resistant to on: July 30, 2014, 11:32:36 pm
The farther away from England/Holland you get, the less stereo-typically 'Western'/liberal Europe gets. Because these areas had weaker institutions and more decentralized power structures, they were able to take advantage of their coastal status to develop capitalism through trade. However, during the great reversal 1917-1991, the USSR was Europe's premier marxist power.
91  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Will world war 3 start soon? on: July 30, 2014, 11:24:59 pm
Think of the USA as Britain circa 1914, and China as Imperial Germany.

I've always thought this was a revelatory accurate comparison. The USA is the global naval power that is also the "status quo" power and China is like Imperial Germany, a rising newcomer power who wants a global sphere for itself.

Except now, we have WWI and WWII as lessons in the cost of modern war (and those without nuclear weapons). Even though the British "defeated" Germany, strategically it itself was defeated as the war exhausted the economy of the empire permanently. Britain was ironically replaced by the United States and failed to defend its status as the status quo power. At the time, many people were looking to a short, sharp war similar to the Franco-Prussian war which accounted for a great deal of the enthusiasm. No one was expecting 80+ million deaths, 100+ million if the "Spanish flu" is counted, going over 150+ million if the other secondary effects, such as the rise of communism in war-torn countries, is counted. Today the stakes are higher so the reasons for avoiding war much greater.
92  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread on: July 30, 2014, 11:00:56 pm
Death and Denial in the Hot Zone

[Henry Jallah, a 23-year-old farmer] says he has accepted the advice of Liberia's Health Ministry to stay away from dead and sick people in the town, yet he is hesitant to believe it is really Ebola that claimed his family. He offers other explanations: poisoned drinking water as vengeance for a conflict over land, or some kind of curse. His family never took his aunt to a case management center, he says, because "some people say when you go over there, they can inject you -- when you having the sickness, they inject you and kill you."
In bustling Duala Market [in Monrovia, the capital], 92 percent of people said they did not believe Ebola existed, according to a recent survey of 1,000 people conducted by Samaritan's Purse. In fact, many in the capital initially viewed the virus as a hoax created by the government to generate and "eat money" from aid donors.
Compounding these problems, even when people believe Ebola exists, many are wary of hospitals because they believe the institutions provide poor care -- a concern that existed well before the current crisis. To be sure, Liberia's health-care system has improved since civil war ripped the nation apart; there has been a reduction, for example, in the under-5 child mortality rate. Yet Monrovia's largest hospital, John Fitzgerald Kennedy Memorial Medical Center, or JFK, is nicknamed "Just For Killing" among locals because people go there with treatable diseases such as malaria and still die.
93  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread on: July 30, 2014, 08:56:58 pm
A classic sign of infection by Ebola … is a certain expression that invariably creeps over the patient’s face as the infection progresses. The face becomes fixed and “expressionless,” “masklike,” “ghostlike” (in the words of doctors who have seen it), with wide, deadened, “sunken” eyes. The patient looks and sometimes behaves like a zombie. This happens because Ebola damages the brain in some way that isn’t known. The classic masklike facial expression appears in all primates infected with Ebola, both monkeys and human beings. They act as if they were already embalmed, even though they are not yet dead. The personality may change: the human patient becomes sullen, hostile, agitated, or develops acute psychosis. Some have been known to escape from the hospital.

Disseminating clotting cuts off the blood supply in tissues, causing focal necrosis—dead spots in the liver, spleen, brain, kidneys, and lungs. In severe cases, Ebola kills so much tissue that after death the cadaver rapidly deteriorates. In monkeys, and perhaps in people, a sort of melting occurs, and the corpse’s connective tissue, skin, and organs, already peppered with dead areas and heated with fever, begin to liquefy, and the slimes and uncoagulated blood that run from the cadaver are saturated with Ebola-virus particles. That may be one of Ebola’s strategies for success.

- Crisis in the Hot Zone, by Richard Preston

94  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Poll: Communist China? on: July 30, 2014, 08:49:03 pm
It depends on whether you accept the Chinese Communist Party's definition of communism. According to them, they are in the "primary stage of socialism", the closest analogy would be Lenin's New Economic Policy (NEP). Note that when most of us think of communism we think of Marxism and Leninism, but the Chinese have also added "Socialism with Chinese characteristics", "the Three Represents",  the "Scientific Development Outlook" and the "Chinese Dream". According to them, judging how they measure up to communism by Marxism-Leninism is like judging whether a man is pious by reading only the first 1/3 of the Bible, while neglecting the next 2/3.
95  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Rank your elections you could vote in from most to least favorite on: July 30, 2014, 08:57:29 am
2012- A great year all-around. I pounded the pavement big time and it felt like it paid off, even though it didn't alter the outcome. The fact that SCOTUS didn't overturn the Affordable Care Act was practically a miracle by June, only more miraculous was the fact that the Euro survived. The turning point was on July 26, when Mario Draghi said the ECB would do "whatever it takes" to defend it, just as I had always advocated as the solution.

2008- This one was sort of like the Song dynasty in the history of Imperial China, or the LBJ presidency. Both the best and the worst. It was definitely the most painful election year ever, due to the primary, hurt way more than 2000 or 2004 when Bush won. I felt stabbed in the back by my own purported allies on the left. No doubt they felt similarly, but hey, they won. The Palin-filled GE, and following economic meltdown was no picnic, either. All of this significantly dimmed Obama's win. So why is it so high? Well, I was working for a campaign and never more involved in politics than then. The sheer excitement of it all and what I learned wins in the end.

2010- It's funny how a year that's horrible for my party can be brightened by wins in a few key races that I really cared about, whereas a year that's great for my party can be nearly ruined by a few losses. But that's what happened here. In September, when Adrian Fenty and Mike Castle lost their primaries, it looked like it was going to be a year from  hell. But on election night, Harry Reid survived, and the outcomes of races in Colorado, California, New York, Washington, Alaska, West Virginia and Connecticut were all gratifying. Of course, the Democrats took a shellacking overall, but I was expecting massive losses due to the economic situation. The biggest disappointments were probably losing Russ Feingold and getting Rick Scott.

2006- The opposite of 2010. A great year for Democrats, but by election night my hopes were too high and I remember being quite disappointed we didn't pick up the Minnesota governorship. Also a number of close House races were disappointing. Nonetheless still an exciting year and provided some satisfaction at dealing Bush Jr. his first ever unfavorable election.

2004- Nothing much to say about this one. I was pretty convinced Bush was going to win from the beginning and there were no real surprises.

2002- This was the night when it became fait accompli that we were going to war with Iraq, and apparent that Bush's politicization of 9/11 had paid off. The fiction of a 50/50 stalemate in American politics left over from 2000 was also broken. Many bad things stemmed from this night. The only good thing is that I found out one of my best friends, who I'm still friends with now, was a leftist.
96  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread on: July 29, 2014, 08:24:00 pm
Samaritan's Purse and Serving In Mission are evacuating non-essential employees.


This guy, Dr. Azaria Marthyman, returned from Liberia to Canada after treating ebola patients in the last 5 days. From all indications in the above article, he has not been tested, is not under quarantine, and is "taking time off with his family." Ugh.
97  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread on: July 29, 2014, 05:28:18 pm

With a disease like ebola I don't think it's unethical to give people the opportunity, with informed consent, to take medications that have not yet passed all the regulatory hurdles. If it was you, wouldn't you want the chance? In March 2009, when a researcher in Germany pricked herself accidentally with a needle that contained ebola, the top experts in the field were consulted within a day and she was given an experimental treatment. Although it was never confirmed that she did indeed contract ebola, she survived fine. The chance of someone dying from the vaccine is very small compared to dying from ebola.
98  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Subsidies through Healthcare.gov may be illegal. on: July 29, 2014, 05:20:58 pm
Can't paste an excerpt here because the whole article is worth reading.

99  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread on: July 29, 2014, 02:30:53 pm
Meanwhile, Patrick Sawyer, the Liberian Finance Ministry consultant who died in Nigeria, had been on three flights... one to Togo, one to Ghana, and one to Lagos. And apparently they don't have all the flight lists yet still.

So apparently this guy was a U.S. citizen. He lived in Minnesota for a decade and his wife and kids are still there. (A little awkward that his Americanness was erased, when the two Samaritan's purse workers were reported as the 1st and 2nd cases). Apparently he was also some big shot with the Liberian government, who had spoken for the Finance Minister before, and the Nigerians were under a lot of pressure to release him. Even now the Liberians are supposedly displeased with his treatment, although the Nigerians certainly made the right choice.

Sheik Umar Khan, the top Sierra Leone doctor, has died in Kailahun. Yesterday it was reported that the president of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma, flew up to Kenema, a large market town near Kailahun, to visit the epicenter of the outbreak in that country and an ebola treatment center for the first time. He was tipped to visit Dr. Khan in Kailahun, but his helicopter was reported to not be able to make up due to lack of fuel, and he was to return the following day. I wonder now if they said "Don't bother coming, he's about to die." Or "He's already dead, but we're not ready to announce it."
100  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Why is President Obama's approval so low? on: July 29, 2014, 09:49:09 am
Is it concern for the rest of the world? That would mean they want the President and the United States to get more involved, but public opinion seems to show the majority wanting us to be less involved.

People claim they want us to be less involved, but what they really mean is they don't want the mealy-mouthed 'send in a few peacekeepers and take attrition' route. Give the people a nice decisive military victory (e.g., decapitation of the NK regime after a legitimate provocation) and Obama's approval would skyrocket, I guarantee you.
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