20 October 2014

Update no.670

Update from the Heartland
13.10.14 – 19.10.14
To all,

The follow-up news items:
-- The evolving Ebola situation [669] in the United States is taking on the appearance of the Keystone Cops, except we are not living cinematic humor.  Last week, I suggested the first infection (and now a second infection) was either failed procedures or a misunderstanding of the virus transmission process.  It now appears far more the former rather than the latter.  What we know publicly so far strongly suggests complacency of arrogance – we can handle this; we’re not a third world country.  Well, guess what, a virus does not care about our human frailties and flaws.  One photograph of the medical folks treating Thomas Eric Duncan of Liberia spoke volumes regarding what happened at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, Texas.  We can only hope we collectively learned some hard lessons here.
-- Well now, this is an interesting twist.  The U.S. Supreme Court vacated the stay issued by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of Whole Woman’s Health v. Lakey [668] – the Texas anti-abortion question.  The Court’s order reinstates the injunction issued by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, against the state’s implementation of the HB2 restrictions, and returns the case to the 5th Circuit for further proceedings.  Stay tuned!

An interesting opinion with which I agree:
“Lessons of Russian history must not be silenced”
by Editorial Board
Washington Post
Published: October 15 [2014]
I would also add that we have seen this play before.  There are numerous arguments for the beginning of the most cataclysmic, self-inflicted catastrophe in recorded human history.  Yet, in this context, Vladimir Putin is using the exact same technique as Adolf Hitler did 80 years earlier – no huge moves, just a continuous series of little nibbles.  For Hitler, the excuse was the injustice of the Versailles Treaty and lebensraum für das deutsche Volk (living space for the German people).  Putin’s comparable rationale is recovery of security for the Russian people lost in the breakdown of the Soviet Union.  He is nibbling away at the freedoms of the Russian people and the sovereignty of his neighbors as he freezes his perceived adversaries (or at least obstacles to his hegemony).  Just as Hitler did, he is pushing as far and as fast as he thinks he can to consolidate his power, achieve his objectives, and keep his opponents from acting against him in any meaningful way.  Also, in a repeat of history, Putin is using the threat of his military strength and the aversion to war of his oppugnant contemporaries.  I cannot imagine any nation, group of nations, including NATO and the UN, interfering with Putin’s oppression of the Russian people, and it certainly not clear the Allies have or can draw the line on tolerance of his intimidation of Russia’s neighbors.  History repeats!

Comments and contributions from Update no.669:
Comment to the Blog:
“I have seen a report twice, on Facebook last night and this morning on CBS News, stating that the protocols for handling Ebola patients were not correctly followed. The Facebook discussion is interesting because it was posted by a nurse I know who commented that she was not surprised at all. In the thread she described an incident she witnessed where another nurse in full isolation gear proceeded to the nursing station and handled the patient's paperwork. The isolation nurse seemed not to understand the dangers to everyone else of exposing them to the outside of her equipment.
“The government of Kansas is fighting the tide of history. They will not achieve their goal of preventing same-sex marriages any more than King Canute achieved his goal in commanding the tide to stop. They may, however, slightly aggravate Kansas' population decline as people go to other places for a more accepting climate.
“I have lost what respect I once had for police officers by watching the TV show Cops. Whether or not the officers shown are chosen to be the most presentable, putting them on television only serves to demonstrate their insensitivity and paranoia. We can argue that not all police officers behave this way, but several years of that TV show argue that a majority do.
“In other economic news, I saw a story reporting that, by one measure, China's economy is now the largest in the world. Other such stories are likely to follow as other measures weigh in over about the next ten years.
“I suppose it's not too late to convict the criminals in the LIBOR mess, and of course I favor convicting the guilty. However, I suspect that too much time has passed for the convictions to have maximum impact on other bankers.”
My response to the Blog:
            Cross-contamination is always a problem in haz-mat situations.  To my understanding, sterilization of the exterior is part of all standard procedures before suits are removed, and care must be taken to always keep the exterior away from the individual or anyone else.  The CDC publicly stated the infection was a failure to adhere to the containment protocol.  If they know that for a fact, then they should give us the facts.  This seemed like a rather swift accusation without a rigorous investigation; if true, an attempt to calm the waters may have made things worse.
            Re: Kansas Governor Brownback administration.  Indeed!  One of many reasons we need a new governor.
            Re: police.  We do not see “Cops” the same way.  I would suggest you might wish to ride along with a police officer you know.
            Re: PRC.  Largest . . . second largest . . . I’m not sure why that matters.
            Re: LIBOR.  I hope you are wrong, but I suspect you are not.  Yet, something is better than nothing.
 . . . Round two:
“The only piece of this to which I'll respond is the suggestion to ride along with a police officer. I have met enough police officers to state categorically that I will not voluntarily spend time enclosed in a vehicle with them when they are working. They serve a necessary purpose, some better than others, but that purpose requires or attracts a personality not compatible with mine.”
 . . . my response to round two:
            It is unfortunate you see law enforcement in such a negative light, but at least you recognize your limits and boundaries.
 . . . Round three:
Subject:  Re: [Fwd: [Update from the Heartland] New comment on Update no.669.]
From:  "Uncle Calvin"
Date:  Thu, October 16, 2014 7:38 am
To:  "cap@parlier.com"
“I think if that were studied my attitude would be found more widely than most. A person's experience of law enforcement is highly dependent on social standing, race, and gender.”
 . . . my response to round three:
            I would say a person’s experience with law enforcement is far more dependent upon the personality of the officer(s) involved.  Most of us do not interact with LE often; our encounters are few; thus, one bad cop sours the bunch.  For decades, I have held up four fingers as I encounter a police officer, to signal 10-4 (all is well).
 . . . Round four:
Subject:  Re: [Fwd: [Update from the Heartland] New comment on Update no.669.]
From:  "Uncle Calvin"
Date:  Fri, October 17, 2014 8:37 pm
To:  "cap@parlier.com"
“My experience differs. Old cars with out-of-state tags draw law enforcement officers, as do some other settings I have experienced. Officers seem to have very similar personalities, much more so than other fields. Some manage to be a little more intelligent or calm than others, but basically they closely resemble each other. I have discussed this with many others, especially recovering alcoholics and addicts, most with different backgrounds than mine. Those who experience less stress are white, male, middle class, and ordinary to look at or talk to. In recovery I have managed to be or fake these things, and the response differs from the times I had a hillbilly accent and an old car. That is supported by academic studies.”
 . . . my response to round four:
            I cannot debate your experience.  I can only say, my experience is different.  I can only attest to the reality that there are genuine good people in law enforcement.  You may not have met any yet, but they are there nonetheless.  I have run into bad cops too, so I know you are not wrong.

Another contribution:
“Or in the case of the present Governor of Kansas, ‘denying progress by jerks’!!”
My reply:
            Indeed!  In fact, he is more about regression, as in the status quo ante.  Given his own designs, he would take us back to Victorian morality, to the Doctrine of Coverture, before women’s suffrage.  He knows best.

My very best wishes to all.  Take care of yourselves and each other.
Cap                        :-)