Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston



Friday, October 31, 2014

A Big Win For Science And Rationality

This post from Talking Points Memo needs to be included with rockync's blogpost about ebola hysterics:

A Big Win For Science And Rationality

A state judge in Maine just drop-kicked out of his courtroom the arguments from pseudo-scientists like Paul LePage and Chris Christie for quarantining Kaci Hickox, ruling that the nurse should not have restrictions on her movement. 

 "The court is fully aware of the misconceptions, misinformation, bad science and bad information being spread from shore to shore in our country with respect to Ebola," he wrote, according to the AP. "The court is fully aware that people are acting out of fear and that this fear is not entirely rational."

Ebola and the Bike Ride, by rockync of The Swash Zone

I applaud Kaci Hickox for defying the reactionary political hacks and demanding release from a mandatory quarantine but I also fear for her safety. The pols and the media have managed to create yet more hysteria and hype which of course has brought out the craziest of the crazies. 

The comments concerning Kaci have run from take her nursing license, send her back to Africa to charge her with murder if anyone becomes infected and dies of ebola in Maine. 

Kaci does have the support of much of the actual medical community. HERE is a article from the New England Journal of Medicine which reads in part: "We have very strong reason to believe that transmission occurs when the viral load in bodily fluids is high, on the order of millions of virions per microliter. This recognition has led to the dictum that an asymptomatic person is not contagious; field experience in West Africa has shown that conclusion to be valid. Therefore, an asymptomatic health care worker returning from treating patients with Ebola, even if he or she were infected, would not be contagious. Furthermore, we now know that fever precedes the contagious stage, allowing workers who are unknowingly infected to identify themselves before they become a threat to their community." 

The ANA (American Nurses Association) has also made a statement HERE in regards to mandatory quarantine. This reads in part: 

“The American Nurses Association (ANA) opposes the mandatory quarantine of health care professionals who return to the United States from West African nations where Ebola is widespread. ANA supports registered nurse Kaci Hickox, who recently returned to the United States after treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone, in her challenge of a 21-day quarantine imposed by state officials in Maine, her home state." 

There have been a total of 9 cases of ebola on American soil. Thomas Duncan is the only one who unknowingly brought it with him from West Africa and subsequently died of the illness. Of all the people he was in contact with, including family members who shared living quarters, only two people were actually infected with ebola from Mr Duncan and that was the two nurses who either broke protocol or were inadequately prepared by their hospital administration. Of all the people they came in to contact with, NONE have come down with ebola. The other six ebola cases were all Americans working in West Africa who were knowingly returned to the US for treatment in Atlanta, Nebraska and Oklahoma. No health care workers have become infected from treating these patients and they have all recovered. 

Now that the flu season is upon us, let's take a look at that. Every year hundreds of thousands of Americans come down with the flu. Of those 20,000-40,000 die from complications of the flu. Every year people go to work and interact with others while knowingly or unknowingly being infected with the flu. Unlike ebola where you have to symptomatic to be infectious, with the flu you have a 1-4 day incubation period and you can be infectious at least one day BEFORE symptoms appear! 

Can you imagine applying the same hair-brained logic to the flu as to ebola? Mandatory quarantine if you come in to contact with someone who has the flu. If you go to work with the flu and your co-worker's 90 year old Aunt Louise dies two weeks later from complications of the flu, you should be charged with murder. And if you won't stay home and you have an Asian strain of flu then we should just pack you up and send you and your flu to Asia! 

People need to get a grip and community leaders need to grow a brain - caving to public hysteria and pandering to the fear mongers because it is an election year is some of the WORST reasons to make unreasonable demands on decent, caring people who go above and beyond to do the work they love. 

We DO NOT have an ebola epidemic in the United States and there has NOT been a state of emergency declared anywhere in the United States due to ebola so therefore any mandatory quarantine is a criminal offense called unlawful restraint or kidnapping. 

This is the same kind of ignorance and irrational fear that led to witch burnings and the Grand Inquisition.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Farewell Mayor Thomas Menino

From "The Right Stuff" "Is that a man? You're damn right it is."

Thomas M. Menino, Boston’s longest serving mayor, has died at 71

Our beloved mayor, Thomas Menino, "The People's Mayor," passed away today.

My daughter and I had dinner at the table next to him and his family just two months ago at Saraceno Ristorante (his favorite) in Boston's North End.  We minded our business and didn't bother him, but as he and his party got up to leave, he looked our way, and my daughter and I waved and blew him kisses.  He warmly acknowledged our greeting, and waved back at us.

I was also in his company a year ago when when he dropped in on the luncheon that the mayor's office gave every year for North Enders celebrating their Italian heritage.  He knew that lunch would be his last as Boston's mayor, but none of us could have imagined it would be the last he'd attend.

Mayor Menino was Boston's longest serving mayor who oversaw tremendous changes in the city he loved. Among the many issues he supported, he was a strong supporter of LGBT rights and of marriage equality, and boy did he love our sports teams.

When Boston was horrified by the marathon bombing in 2013, Mayor Menino was in the hospital recovering from surgery.  He left the hospital, when anyone else should be recovering, and showed solidarity with the city he loved.  And the city loved him.

How sad it is that one year after retiring from politics he passed away, leaving his family and Boston with such a terrible loss.

He was lovingly called "Mumbles Menino," because of his habit of talking fast and swallowing his words, so that sometimes it was difficult to understand him.  He also was a malapropist, once using "ironic" rather than "iconic" when describing one of Boston's sports teams.  We laughed with him, not at him, and that's because he never forgot who he was or where he came from.  He was a humble, caring, good man, something rare in a politician.

He will be missed.

Charlie Pierce:   Thomas Menino, R.I.P.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Virulent Left Wing Progressivism


A visitor to  a blog claimed that the once-sensible state of New Hampshire has been ruined by "Massholes" who've moved to NH and voted for more government and higher taxes.  These "Massholes," according to the writer, have "infested and infected" New Hampshire with their "virulent leftwing progressivism." 

Let's examine that claim to see how much truth there is to it, shall we?  And in doing so we can discover through evidence if New Hampshire has been "ruined" by former Massachusetts residents.

Massachusetts has an enviable record as one of the best states for quality of life markers in the United States when compared with conservative red states, whose records in quality of life are deplorable.  

"You get what you pay for." 

That saying applies to when you want to buy anything. You want to buy something on the cheap, you get cheap, shabby and, in the long run, worthless goods. Nice things cost money.  Cheap things don't.  The people who denigrate states like Massachusetts sneer, snark, stamp their little hooves, and say "Masshole!" as though that changes the reality that Massachusetts AND New Hampshire are excellent states in which to raise families, work, and spend leisure time. The facts will show that New Hampshire, where a great many Massachusetts residents have relocated, is also among the best states to live for many quality of life reasons, as is all of blue New England.

It's Mass. envy, and then some.  

The facts will show that liberal states, by and large, deliver better quality of life markers than do the conservative states.  This causes some folks cognitive dissonance, so they throw poop around, hoping that most of their readers will believe burying facts under crap will make the crap true.  Oh, it's true, alright, it's true horseshit.

We can start by looking at which states do the best in science education.  There is only ONE U.S. state that gets "best in the country," and guess which state that is? IT'S MASSHOLE!  The worst states?  They're what we traditionally see as conservative red states.  Is science education important to the survival of a country. What do you think?

States Ranked Best to Worst on Science Education

 Massachusetts leads the way in science and math education

"If Massachusetts were a nation, its eighth graders would rank sixth worldwide in mathematics and second in science, behind only Singapore."

Virulent Leftwing Progressivism at work.

Massachusetts's population is the best educated in America.

In Massachusetts, 39.1% of adults have at least a bachelor’s degree, more than 10 percentage points above the national rate of 28.5%. Additionally, 16.8% of adults have a graduate or professional degree, again the highest percentage in the nation. Although the median annual earnings of $53,765 for those with a bachelor’s degree is very high, adults with either a graduate or a professional degree earn far more. Their median earnings exceed $70,000. Academic success is not limited to adults, as nearly 97% of individuals between the ages of 16 and 19 are either enrolled in high school or have graduated — one of the country’s highest rates.

Most educated states.   Look at the chart and see which states are the best and worst.  Hint:  the worst are the states that consistently vote for conservative governments.  Is education important to the survival of a country?  

Massachusetts, the first state to legalize same-sex marriage, also has one of the lowest divorce rates in the country.  How's that for LIBERAL family values?  And the states with the highest divorce rates?  Take a look:

Massachusetts Has The Lowest Divorce Rate In The Nation

So "Masshole" has the best scores in the U.S. for math and science and it has the lowest divorce rate. Are you counting? That's THE BEST in important educational subjects AND family values! 

 But wait, there's more!

Massachusetts and New Hampshire, two lowest states in teen birth rates.  Highest states?  Guess. 

So the "Massholes" who relocated to New Hampshire brought their excellent family values along with them, bringing ruination to the Granite State! 

The 10 States with the Best Quality of Life 

BTW, Massachusettes is No. 7 on the list and No. 1?  New Hampshire!  All those "Massholes" who moved to New Hampshire? Look at what they've done to the state! Ruined it to the point where it's considered THE BEST QUALITY OF LIFE STATE IN AMERICA.

But wait!   There's even more!

Here's another list of best quality of life states in U.S., and Massachusetts is in the top ten with New Hampshire coming in at NUMBER ONE again!

More "Masshole" influence in New Hampshire!

Forbes Magazine lists Massachusetts in the top 20 states for business

Being a good state for business is so "Virulent Left Wing Progessivism!" Innit?


According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, Massachusetts has the nation’s highest level of first-trimester prenatal care, and the third-lowest infant mortality rate (Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Missouri are about 50 percent higher). It also has the second-highest rate of child access to both medical and dental care, the nation’s lowest child mortality rate, and the lowest teen death rate.


It goes without saying that Massachusetts has the lowest percentage of uninsured residents—5 percent, compared to 16 percent nationally, and a whopping 25 percent in Texas. On life expectancy, Massachusetts ties for sixth-highest, about five years longer than the worst-performing states. In another political universe far, far away, you might describe a place like this as pro-life. A few other metrics of social well-being: The Bay State has the second-lowest teen birth rate, the fourth-lowest suicide rate, and the lowest traffic fatality rate. The birthplace of Dunkin’ Donuts has the sixth-lowest obesity rate.

Best Value in U.S. Health Insurance Is in Massachusetts

"A new report from U.S. News and World Report takes a crack at answering this thorny question by closely evaluating near 6,000 health insurance plans across the U.S. that sell "non-group" coverage to individuals and families. ... Bless USNWR, they also evaluated the value of plans state by state. We already know that Massachusetts has among the highest health insurance premiums in the nation. Surprise, surprise, though, U.S. News and World Reports concludes that Massachusetts health insurance plans "consistently offered broad coverage and protection against a potential flood of medical bills..."

(Did I mention the excellent championship sports teams this "Virulent Left Wing Progressivism" state has spawned?)

Oh wait!  Have a glass of our excellent water.

The most corrupt states?  Masshole isn't there.  But eight out of the ten most corrupt states are conservative.

Massachusetts makes the top 20 of America's happiest states, ahead of traditional southern conservative states.  Where does your state rank?

2014’s Safest States to Live In

"By safety, we’re not referring exclusively to protection from violence and crime. The term encompasses various categories, among them workplace safety, natural disasters, home and community stability, traffic safety and, of course, financial security. Choosing a new place to call home can be challenging. But knowing which states offer the safest environments and the biggest bang for the buck will be useful."

Massachusetts comes in at #1 and New Hampshire #2 for safest states to live in.  

Here's another study that confirms why Massachusetts is among the safest states to live in:


Study shows Massachusetts has third-lowest gun death rate in US

Massachusetts Ranked 5th Overall Best State in Nation

"New Hampshire comes out on top, followed by Vermont in 3rd, Massachusetts in 5th, and Connecticut rounding out the top in 10th. Maine follows at 14th while Rhode Island is stuck in 29th place. 

 Another separate report released last week by the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge showed something of a similar comparative picture in one key indicator: economic mobility. 

 A joint project of economists from Harvard University and University of California, Berkley, that working paper demonstrates states in the south have the worst social mobility in the nation. To determine relative odds for mobility, researchers measured how individuals' incomes stacked up against both their parents and peers. 

 The Great Plains region had the highest opportunity for advancement, followed by the West Coast and Northeast. Boston had the fourth highest opportunity for mobility, among the 50 largest metropolitan areas, while the bottom 10 cities were all located in either the Southeast or Rust Belt."

And Massachusetts doesn't even make the top 10 highest taxed states in the U.S.

I could go on and on about very liberal Massachusetts and all the excellent qualities of life that this liberal state has achieved to date, but I think you get the idea.   

People who write anti-Massachusetts statements obviously don't know what the hell they're talking about.  How could they if they believe that all the areas Massachusetts excels in are RUINING not just Massachusetts, but New Hampshire as well. People, obviously, blinded by an ideology that will never acknowledge how very well liberal states do--even LEAD THE NATION--in areas that are vitally important to the well being not only of states but of America.  

The people who call Massachusetts "Masshole" obviously do it out of ignorance or envy.  Massachusetts, a "virulent" left wing progressive state, has delivered to it citizens many indicators that make life worthwhile and enjoyable. America would be in far better shape if it followed the lead of Massachusetts.

After reviewing the facts, one would have to come to the conclusion that a person would have to be a real ***hole to call Massachusetts a "Masshole." And, as all the information shows, any American would be fortunate to live in a "Virulent Left Wing Progressive" state.



Tuesday, October 28, 2014

To Quarantine or Not to Quarantine

Health officials say no.

Politicians say yes, then get schooled and say no.

via daily kos:

New York Times:

Chris Christie of New Jersey and Andrew Cuomo of New York — fed panic by imposing a new policy of mandatory quarantines for all health care workers returning from the Ebola-stricken countries of West Africa through John F. Kennedy and Newark Liberty international airports. There is absolutely no public health justification for mandatory quarantines. [...]

 Lost in this grandstanding was one essential point. The danger to the public in New York in the case of Dr. Craig Spencer, who had worked in Guinea for Doctors Without Borders, was close to nonexistent. Health experts are virtually unanimous in declaring that people infected with the virus do not become contagious until after they develop a fever or other symptoms, such as diarrhea, vomiting, or severe headaches, at which time they need to be hospitalized and taken out of circulation.

The Washington Post:

The right answer is to protect the public without overreacting. Mistakes made in the Dallas hospital ought to be a warning and a lesson, and it seems to us that they are being taken as such. The decisions adopted by Maryland and Virginia on Monday — to screen and monitor those returning from the Ebola-stricken region of West Africa, and to ask some to stay home or away from public places — are prudent and reasonable. The experts have repeatedly explained that Ebola does not spread like the flu; transmission requires the transfer of bodily fluids. That’s the science. But emotions count, too.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer: 

The quarantines, while understandable, are likely to spread even more misinformation about the disease, which cannot be transmitted by anyone without symptoms. In New Jersey, the isolation was primitive and absurd -- a tent outside of a New Jersey hospital -- and the nurse who was quarantined, Kaci Hickox, who helped treat Ebola patients in Sierra Leone, rightly complained she had no symptoms. She has been released so that she can be monitored in Maine, her destination, which is the right response. [...] 

More here:

Cuomo and Christie Catch Ebola Flak

Political hacks who spread misinformation say: 

The left failed to contain the AIDS epidemic.

Political hacks and liars say:

The left is failing to contain the Ebola epidemic.

From Forbes:

The Ebola Number You Haven't Heard: 80% Of U.S. Ebola Patients Have Survived

No American who has contracted ebola in the U.S. has died.

But political hacks and liars say:

They are incapable AND incompetent when it comes to public health and safety.

For gross stupidity and idiotic hackery, this comment from a nincompoop takes the medal of dishonor:

"Wanna know why the Democrats don't care about the ebola epidemic? It mostly kills women!" 

Political hacks and liars turn a public health issue into a political one and stupidly place blame on a political faction.  Those are the tactics of incendiary agitators and political operatives.  They're meant to instill distrust, panic, and fear in the general population and keep people cowering under their beds.  

Suggestion:  Look at the facts, not their lies.   

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

“There are some people you like immediately, some whom you think you might learn to like in the fullness of time, and some that you simply want to push away from you with a sharp stick.” ― Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

If you've ever doubted that the extreme wing of the GOP was riding the crazy train off into The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, the following comments, found on an extremist blog, will remove all uncertainty. There are brave and dedicated bloggers who do the slogging work of reading and then reporting on what the extremists say; but just this once, I wanted to see for myself if there really, truly were groups of people who embrace and feed off of the murky terror that percolates up from their deepest swamps of fear and ignorance.  Unsurprisingly, I found that there are.

The blog I found is a public one that any curious person can read.  Here is a glimpse into their long dark tea-time of the soul.  You must remind yourselves while reading these statements that these are your fellow Americans; they are your neighbors.  

And they vote:

"My good friend XXX the other day wondered why we confuse behavioral wrongs with civil rights. If pedophilia is wrong, why isn’t sodomy?" All forms of this behavior carry the risk of significant health hazards; including anal and throat cancer, which all of us end up paying for under the socialist health care mandates. If we end up paying the tab, shouldn’t we have a say in the matter?

Does this person not know that smoking cigarettes, chewing tobacco, or drinking alcohol all carry the risk of significant health hazards?  Does this person have a problem with paying for those risky behaviors?  Or just with homosexual behaviors? Or is this person just a plain, ordinary homophobe who wants to punish only certain behaviors his religion doesn't approve of but let other behaviors get a pass?

October 12, 2014 - 08:32 ·

There are a number of prohibited acts in our country today, most of them “wrong.” We react with disgust whenever individuals engage in sexual conduct with a person under the age of 18. We call refer to such persons as pedophiles and perverts, and whenever we find out about such people, we put them in jail. It is a perversion. So too is human sexual contact with animals. These are simply wrong —and unacceptable. Why, then, must we accept homosexual behavior when it is just as offensive to most people.

Obviously these folks don't know the difference between private consensual sex between adults and pedophilia. Pedophilia occurs when sexually-based crimes are committed against legally underage victims. Neither a legally underage child nor an animal can give their consent to a sexual act.  IOW you can't have "sexy time" with your St. Bernard because she can't tell you that she's ovulating and doesn't want to be the mother of your child.

This dude also apparently doesn't know that being homosexual is not against the law in America.  He needs to move to a Muslim country where it IS illegal, so that his fondest dreams of demonizing, punishing, and even killing people because of who they are and who they love can come true.  

Here's a nifty idea for this dude who's so offended because he believes he has to "accept homosexual behavior: " Don't look at it.  If you see two men or two women holding hands and being loving to each other, LOOK THE OTHER WAY! IMMEDIATELY! DO NOT LOOK BACK!  If you do, you may turn into a pillar of sugar and learn to appreciate seeing people in loving relationships!

Here's what should offend you:  Heterosexual couples where the man beats the crap out of his partner, or heterosexual men who delight in degrading women, or heterosexual women who support that sort of degeneracy.

October 11, 2014 - 19:26 ·

I just have this feeling that homosexuals strive to bring more into their lifestyle so they have more persons available to them. They’ve heavily infiltrated all levels of influential society -politics-media-education. I really do find most of them (that I’ve met) to be total whores, interested only in recreational sex versus developing a relationship, though there are those who seem interested in a long term relationship. I see the majority or a large number of them as sex vampires. I’m not an expert thankfully.

Who are the people this dude hangs with?  "Total whores?"  "Sex vampires?" Who want "to bring more into their lifestyle so they have more persons available to them?" What sort of bars and clubs does he frequent?   

"They've heavily infiltrated all levels of influential society - politics-media-education." That's an interestingly paranoid concept of what gay people have done: "infiltrated."  

This person hasn't the ability to understand that gay people live and breathe just like all of us live and breathe and occupy all levels of human endeavor because they are as human as the unfortunate ninnyhammer who wrote that.  It is very likely that our gay brothers and sisters have more humanity in them than does the person who believes gay people "infiltrate" rather than participate. 

Words have consequences.  The dude who wrote the above comment thinks of homosexuals as "others." He sees them as undeserving of inclusion in normal human activities because they have secretly and with malice insinuated themselves into human life experiences reserved exclusively for straight people. That's a malignant excuse for the weak-minded but strong-armed homophobes to track down, bully, or worse, beat the life out of the "infiltrators."

This person dehumanized gay people -- he described them as "vampires" and "whores" and found them not deserving of being part of humanity.  They "infiltrate!"  Not participate!  And not ONE PERSON on that blog disagreed with his assessment of gay people.

But after sharing his "feeling" on his limited experiences, he does admit in his limited way that he knows nothing.  A little bit of honesty sometimes bleeds through their arrogance.

They don't like New York City Mayor De Blasio.  What a surprise.

· October 24, 2014 - 21:15 ·

XXXXXXX…I can always count on you to tweak an idea and make it that much better. De Blasio is a psychopath and a true liberal maggot. I’d love to see the NYPD shoot him the bird and start shooting more mudslimes on sight on orders from the Police Commissioner. Too many Blacks need the moon god XXXXXXX….they have little else to look forward to in their miserable lives. So it’s the only way for them to achieve something….

"Psychopath" and "true liberal maggot."   And "Too many Blacks need the moon god because...they have little their miserable lives."  Speaking of miserable lives, I've yet to encounter a happy, well-adjusted person who talks about people they don't know so wretchedly.  This dude needs to look into the deep dark tea party-time of his soul to discover where so much of his pitiable unhappiness comes from.

· October 24, 2014 - 20:22 ·

@ XXX Maybe I was wrong and De Blasio is a psychopath. I think he should keep the hatchets, for they serve a useful purpose, and rid ourselves of blacks professing adherence to the moon god.

As far as Blasio and all the other democrats the locals elect to rape them – Yes Please let them be raped. It is the only way they even have a chance of learning something. Detroit suggests that the learning process is impossible. How bad does it have to get?

Hatchets for killing blacks and dreams of raping people?   How bad does it have to get?  See above. It can't get any worse than wishing for people to be raped and butchered.  This is the nightmarish landscape these unhappy, unfortunate people populate.

And of course, they don't like Obummer, Ovomit, Obola, the Marxist, Socialist, Commie, Kenyan, America-hating, Obola-infecting Black President of the U.S.:

"And here I thought Allahu Akbar meant Hail Obama. The left always screaming about how the right is afraid of those scary Muslims, So who really is afraid here? yet they are the ones who won’t even admit it."

Admit what? That the extreme right has lost its mind? No one's afraid to admit that is a hard, cold fact represented by statements from themselves.

 "Excuse me but F— Obama."

You're excused. From the human race. Now please leave.

There's something morbidly comical in all of this in the statements above and below by one of the commenters at this blog who, after reading "Excuse me but F-Obama." blames President Obama for the potty-mouth people inhabiting this blogging community. The people who say F-Obama, are the same people who wish blacks to be raped and butchered.  But ignoring their own disorderly and disrespectful statements, they whine about other people's disorderly and disrespectful statements:

"...we have a generation of idiots that really do not know how to conduct themselves in an orderly, respectful society. No one has manners, from the President who subjects the nation to his sexual deviance,..."

In their upside down universe, a man who is faithful to his wife and family is a sexual deviant. Hatred distorts the mind, and it is never more evident than in the above examples of their whining about the lack of manners and respect in American culture while displaying none of it themselves.  Their motto must be:  "Manners and respect are for thee, not me." 

 "XXX is exactly right about obama. he is an enemy of the United States and any civilized society. Where did he get the billion for the 08 campaign? I’d say most of it came from muslim states."

Barack Obama, who was elected twice by a majority of Americans and an electoral landslide, is an "enemy of the United States and any civilized society?" I suppose having a forum where people like this can express their deepest and darkest hatreds is a good thing, otherwise these folks would be eating paste and sticking forks in their eyes.

"I call them “Stuck in the Sixties” Hippies You can tell just by their rants. And where did his education money come from too right XXX? He’s been groomed for quite some time and his followers are like ‘Don’t look here, look over there’ like good little puppets."

 "Good point XXXX, he’s been backed and groomed for quite some time. At least from high school, and probably all the way back. And it’s not soros even though soros may have contributed. I really think its the muslims. I personally don’t see a lot of difference between obama and osama. Truly."

So back in the late Sixties, when he was 8 years old, the hippies groomed Obama to be the usurper, while at the same time they raised money from "the muslims." Neat trick, that. And this great thinker doesn't see "a lot of difference between obama and osama." Of course not. And I, personally, don't see a lot of difference between this person and a bag of hair. Truly.

 Had enough? Me too.

It's a dank and dirty internet out there; but once in a while, someone has to wade into the bowels of the blogsphere and bring to light what these suffering souls agonize over. There's not much we can do to help them through their dark tea party-time, but at the very least we can read what they have to say, look at the clock to see how much time we've wasted, and then have a good stiff drink.

 “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” --Douglas Adams

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sunday Night Poetry

Try to Praise the Mutilated World 

 by Adam Zagajewski 
(translated, from the Polish, by Clare Cavanagh):

Try to praise the mutilated world.
Remember June’s long days,
and wild strawberries, drops of wine, the dew.
The nettles that methodically overgrow
the abandoned homesteads of exiles.
You must praise the mutilated world. 
You watched the stylish yachts and ships;
one of them had a long trip ahead of it,
while salty oblivion awaited others.
You’ve seen the refugees going nowhere,
you’ve heard the executioners sing joyfully.
You should praise the mutilated world.
Remember the moments when we were together
in a white room and the curtain fluttered.
Return in thought to the concert where music flared.
You gathered acorns in the park in autumn
and leaves eddied over the earth’s scars.
Praise the mutilated world
and the gray feather a thrush lost,
and the gentle light that strays and vanishes
and returns.

Sunday Science Blog

Found this excellent documentary from Errol Morris on Stephen Hawking, "A Brief History of Time."


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Online Harassment: A Pew Research Internet Project

This is an interesting study done by the Pew Research Internet Project.  In view of the recent sexual attacks by conservative bloggers Radical Redneck and Rusty Shackleford on P.E.'s blog host, as well as harassment from the past by conservative commenters (Thersites and an Anonymous troll) that forced P.E. to go to comment moderation, this study is a very useful tool in understanding the causes and effects of internet harassment.

Online Harassment

 Summary of Findings Harassment—

From garden-variety name calling to more threatening behavior—Online Harassment is a common part of online life that colors the experiences of many web users.

Fully 73% of adult internet users have seen someone be harassed in some way online and 40% have personally experienced it, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center. Pew Research asked respondents about six different forms of online harassment.

Those who witnessed harassment said they had seen at least one of the following occur to others online:

60% of internet users said they had witnessed someone being called offensive names
53% had seen efforts to purposefully embarrass someone
25% had seen someone being physically threatened
24% witnessed someone being harassed for a sustained period of time
19% said they witnessed someone being sexually harassed
18% said they had seen someone be stalked

Those who have personally experienced online harassment said they were the target of at least one of the following online:

27% of internet users have been called offensive names
22% have had someone try to purposefully embarrass them
8% have been physically threatened 8% have been stalked
7% have been harassed for a sustained period
6% have been sexually harassed

In Pew Research Center’s first survey devoted to the subject, two distinct but overlapping categories of online harassment occur to internet users. The first set of experiences is somewhat less severe: it includes name-calling and embarrassment. It is a layer of annoyance so common that those who see or experience it say they often ignore it.

The second category of harassment targets a smaller segment of the online public, but involves more severe experiences such as being the target of physical threats, harassment over a sustained period of time, stalking, and sexual harassment.

Of those who have been harassed online, 55% (or 22% of all internet users) have exclusively experienced the “less severe” kinds of harassment while 45% (or 18% of all internet users) have fallen victim to any of the “more severe” kinds of harassment.


CHART OF THE DAY:  Women experience particularly severe forms of online harassment.

Timothy B. Lee recently interviewed legal scholar Danielle Citron, who suggests that things have gotten better: 

 TBL: You’ve been writing about this issue [of online harassment] since 2009. How do you see public attitudes shifting on this issue since you started? 

DC: It’s been amazing, I have to say. I’m still not totally sold on the idea that we all agree this stuff is bad. But social attitudes have really shifted in the last two years. I gave a presentation at Yale in early 2008 about the problem of cybermobs and online harassment, and at the time the pushback to do anything about this was so profound. It was like “look, don’t touch the internet, you’re going to break it. Regulating it is going to cause more problems than good.” In the last couple of years, this phenomenon of revenge porn has brought alive the harm  [RADICAL REDNECK]— maybe just because people can envision people they care about experiencing it.

About that ebola epidemic...

...that the extremist "news" sources hammered the president with and that extremist pundits and bloggers lost their minds over:

U.S. DEVELOPMENTS President cautiously optimistic 

President Barack Obama said a number of things made him "cautiously more optimistic" about the Ebola situation in the United States and around the world. Obama said he was encouraged that dozens of people who had initial contact with Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan did not get the virus. In addition, the two Americans who contracted Ebola outside and came to the United States for treatment were cured. He said he was pleased that both Nigeria and Senegal were Ebola free. "It gives you some sense that when it's caught early and where the public health infrastructure operates effectively, this outbreak can be stopped," Obama said.

Texas Hospital Admits Errors in Handling Ebola Patient:

"Texas Health Presbyterian admits breakdown The hospital system that owns Texas Health Presbyterian said it "fell short" several times in treating Duncan, starting by not asking the right questions in the emergency room. When the Liberian native came in with a fever, the nurse wrote down he "came from Africa" but didn't specify which nation. A physician wrote that Duncan was a "local resident," with "no contact with sick people. No symptoms of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea."

Leave it to the bottom feeder extremists to smear and slander the president at every chance they get, even when they're stupidly and embarrassingly wrong.  

Those Chicken Littles even suggested that Mr. Obama deliberately brought the ebola virus to the U.S. so that...blah, blah, blah, FEMA camps...blah, blah, blah...Messicans...blah, blah, blah...declare Martial Law...blah, blah, blah...stop the elections...blah, blah, blah...he's loyal to Africa, not the U.S. because...blah..blah...

These extremists are the same jumping jerks who claim President Obama is divisive but who grabbed onto their hysteria rocket and rode it into their wild blue crazy over one person in the U.S. who died of the ebola virus, because Obama is a Sochialist, Commie, America-hating African!  Just wait for some other news-grabbing story, and they'll come squawking at the top of their Little Henny Penny lungs to BLAME OBAMBOLA!

Now go get your flu shot.  

It's more likely you'll die from that than EBOLA!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

GOP governor: Obamacare has made ‘real improvements in people’s lives’

ZOMG!  This guy better have someone watching his back!

Once in a great while, a politician will slip and accidentally tell the truth. Take Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R), for example, who inadvertently praised the Affordable Care Act. “Repeal and replace” has been a Republican mantra for nearly as long as Obamacare has been in existence. Yet one of the GOP’s rumored 2016 front-runners isn’t playing along. 

 Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who is expected to cruise to reelection this year and then seek the Republican nomination in 2016, recently told the Associated Press that repealing the Affordable Care is “not gonna happen.” “The opposition to it was really either political or ideological,” he said. “I don’t think that holds water against real flesh and blood, and real improvements in people’s lives.” You could almost hear Kasich’s national ambitions evaporating as the AP article made the rounds.

Remember the right wing hysterics from their bloggers from a year ago?

Right wing blogger:

"Think about what this ineptitude means in the bigger debate about Obamacare. The administration spent 3½ years and $698 million of taxpayers' money to develop this software. 

They've known since earlier this year that the system wasn't ready to support the rollout of the exchanges. Yet they proceeded anyway, apparently unconcerned about their faulty software costing Americans millions of hours of frustration and lost productivity. 

 These same bureaucrats continue to assume more and more control of our medical care. What does their incompetence say about how they will handle making life-or-death medical care decisions? Like a parasite taking over its host, Obamacare will commandeer almost 20% of our economy, crowding out private options. 

With 2014 fast approaching, what should we expect in its next phase?"

Ineptitude?  Yeah, right.  Here's what we got in the next phase:


And even Republican governors agree!

Funniest comment that was totally wrong:

"Always wonder about a program that is so wonderful the people who passed it don't want it, big business gets an extension because they don't want it, unions don't want it, healthy young people don't need it and they spend tens of millions trying to convince people how great it is and still few are signing up, so few they won't tell you how many." 

More on the A.C.A. (Obamacare)'s success:

"If you're a decent person, or someone who hasn't contracted a political bug, the most satisfying thing about the Affordable Care Act's enrollment total is the knowledge that it's improved many people's lives, and contributed to a sizable reduction in the uninsured population. But if you have a lot invested in the law's success, you're also relieved to have an answer to everyone trying to create the impression that Obamacare is a slow-rolling fiasco."


Obamacare Death Spiral Looks Unlikely, Study Finds

Ted Cruz's Worst Nightmare is Coming True:  Obamacare is Working!

3 Measures of Obamacare's Success

Obamacare a success? 10.3 million gained health coverage since last October 

Obamacare causes steep drop in uninsured — in deep red states

 "Gallup finds that three of the largest drops in the rate of the uninsured just happened to take place in states with the most hard-fought Senate races: Arkansas and Kentucky lead all other states in the sharpest reductions in their uninsured rate among adult residents since the healthcare law’s requirement to have insurance took effect at the beginning of the year. 
 Delaware, Washington, and Colorado round out the top five. All 10 states that report the largest declines in uninsured rates expanded Medicaid and established a state-based marketplace exchange or state-federal partnership. 

In Arkansas, the rate of uninsured dropped from 22.5 percent in 2013 to 12.4 percent now — a change of over 10 percentage points. In Kentucky, it dropped from 20.4 percent to 11.9 percent — a change of over eight percentage points. In Colorado, it dropped from 17 percent to 11 percent — a change of six percentage points."

The mid-terms?  As far as they concern Obamacare, they don't matter.  Obamacare succeeded against all hopes by the GOP that it wouldn't.  If the Republicans gain in seats in the US. Senate, so be it.  But the most important piece of legislation in Mr. Obama's presidency will not be affected by any gains in the Senate.  If anyone thinks the GOP will repeal a successful insurance program, they're dreaming.  It's not going to happen.  The GOP doesn't have the nads to repeal it.  

Everything the GOP predicted about the A.C.A. HAS NOT HAPPENED.  Everything the right wing pundits and bloggers wrote about it IS WRONG.

The A.C.A. will be the jewel in the crown of Mr. Obama's presidency, whether the U.S. Senate goes to the GOP or not in November.  It doesn't matter.  Mr. Obama's most important domestic program is here to stay, and it has succeeded in lowering the number of people in the United States who had no health insurance.

Meanwhile, here's a look back in recent history on how another president dealt with the outbreak of a deadly disease in the U.S. and a reminder of how many Americans actually died from it:

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

P.S.A.s From The G.O.P.


h/t Democratic Underground

h/t D.U.

Here's some Stupid for lunch, brought to you by Americans who know diddly-squat about geography and who've listened to the ALL SCARY EBOLA ALL THE TIME! 

From Talking Points Memo:

Two Rwandan students who were supposed to begin classes Monday at a New Jersey elementary school are instead being held at home after parents expressed concern about the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. 

 Philadelphia TV station WTXF reported that the school nurse at Howard Yocum Elementary School in Maple Shade, N.J. sent a letter to staff members informing them that the school planned to take the new students' temperature three times a day for 21 days as a precaution. But that letter began to circulate among concerned parents, according to WTXF, prompting the school district to post a public statement Saturday on its website. 

 "The Maple Shade School District takes the health of all students and staff very seriously," Superintendent Beth Norcia said in the statement. "As many of you are aware, we have students who have spent time in the eastern portion of Africa that were scheduled to start in our schools on Monday. This area of Africa has been unaffected by the Ebola virus. 

Despite the fact that the students are symptom-free and not from an affected area, the parents have elected to keep their children home past the 21 day waiting period." Twenty-one days is the longest known incubation period for the Ebola virus. But as WTXF pointed out, Rwanda is an east African country that lays 2,600 miles from the closest affected country in West Africa — that's about the same distance from Seattle, Washington to Philadelphia. 

 Norcia's statement said that the students would begin classes the week following the 21-day waiting period. It's unclear whether the students' parents volunteered to keep their children out of school or whether the school district suggested they do so, according to WTXF.

Monday, October 20, 2014

What You Won't Read on the Hysterical Right About Ebola


The shameful politicization of Ebola by the right continues with politicians blaming President Obama for their refusal to confirm his Surgeon General nominee, and the rightwing pundits and bloggers spooking themselves and their followers with predictions of certain death for millions of Americans. The reality, of course, is nowhere near their ridiculous Chicken Little squawkings.

Here is that reality from Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo:

Today's Very Good News on Ebola - That You Probably Haven't Heard

"...[As of] October 19th, the last day of the quarantine for the family members who were living with Duncan just before he was hospitalized. I don't know precisely when today public health authorities will end the quarantine or precisely how they will handle it. But as far as we know, according to news reports as recently as yesterday, none of the family members have shown any symptoms of the disease. So we can now say close to definitively that none of them contracted Ebola even though they were living with him in close quarters as he entered the infectious period. So what does this mean? Obviously it's good news for the family members. But it is also good news generally because of what it tells us - or rather confirms for us - about the disease we are dealing with. It is a horrific disease. But prior to the end stage when victims have profuse diarrhea, vomiting and bleeding with extremely high viral loads of the contagion, it is not that easy to transmit."


"... why did two nurses come down with it? It now seems that hospital staff were given contradictory and insufficient guidance on how to protect themselves, were not given access to the proper protective gear and much more. It was literally and figuratively a mess - a failure on the part of the hospital (which the two nurses will hopefully not pay too high a price for) but also a warning that your average US hospital was simply not prepared to deal with the mix of confusion, uncertainty and lack of familiarity with basic protocols that were virtually inevitable with the first 'walk-in' case of Ebola anywhere in the industrialized world. 

 Luckily, though, procedures in hospital settings can be tightened, changed - the contagiousness of Ebola 'in the wild', out in society in the early stages of the disease - can't be. This evidence tends to confirm that it does not move rapidly or that efficiently. The CDC has already created a rapid response team that will go to a hospital as soon as the presence of an Ebola patient is reasonably suspected, to make sure correct protocols are being followed. That clearly should have been thought of and put in place before. It wasn't. But now it has."

From Forbes:

"...the United States’ built-in defenses are stronger than this infection. Every Ebola patient on American soil – there are four – was infected either in Liberia or Sierra Leone or because they were treating Thomas Duncan, the Liberian patient in Dallas. Even though that nurse traveled on a plane, it’s entirely possible—and likely –that she did not infect a single person on that plane. Health officials still have plenty of opportunity to keep the virus from spreading here in the United States. And even if more people do come to the U.S. while infected with Ebola and develop symptoms here, it will still be their family members and the healthcare workers who care for them who will be at risk, not the population at large.

Despite the closure of schools in Ohio and Texas because students or staff members were on the plane with that nurse, despite the fact that people all over the country are suddenly becoming nervous about flying, your risk of catching Ebola is still far less than your risk of dying from the flu, which killed 53,667 Americans in 2010. In fact, if you’re not a healthcare worker treating an Ebola patient, it’s probably zero. The news that a potentially exposed health care worker who had gone on a cruise ship was, in fact, not infected should drive this fact home. 

 'This is not influenza or measles,' says Paul Offit, the Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. 'It’s not spread by the respiratory route. If you’re sitting next to someone on a plane, you’re not going to catch it. People should take note of the fact that Duncan’s family never got sick.' 

 How do we know that this virus can be corralled and controlled? Here’s a one-word answer: Nigeria."


Why do politicians, pundits and bloggers on the right continue to spread fear and misunderstanding about Ebola?  


If you're getting your information only from those sources, it is no wonder you're hiding under your bed.


Senator Ted Cruz (Bat-Shyte-Crazy-TX) intoned on one of the Sunday morning news shows: 

"CANDY CROWLEY: Do you think it would have helped … had there been a surgeon general in place to kind of calm what has become the fear of Ebola? 

 CRUZ: Look – look, of course we should have a surgeon general in place. And we don’t have one because President Obama, instead of nominating a health professional, he nominated someone who is an anti- gun activist. 

To hear the Texas Republican tell it, Dr. Vivek Murthy isn’t even a “health professional,” which is the exact opposite of reality. Outside of far-right politics, the facts are not in dispute.

Murthy is an attending physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and an instructor at Harvard Medical School. He’s also the founder of TrialNetworks, an Internet portal for clinical-trial operations that counts Merck and Biogen Idec as customers. 

Earlier, he helped start a rural community health program in Sringeri, India, and an HIV/AIDS youth education program in India and the United States. He went to Harvard for his undergraduate degree and Yale for medical and business degrees."

Dr. Murthy's anti-gun activity?  He would like pediatricians to be able to ask parents if they own guns and if they keep those guns safely locked away from toddlers and children so that they don't accidently shoot and kill their siblings or anyone else.  

That is the definition of "anti-gun activism" in Senator Cruz's mangled mind.  

Cruz is a miserable blight on American politics.