Ebola is a political issue, not a medical one

Ebola is a political issue, not a medical one. Know how I know? Because President Obama nominated someone with zero training in infectious diseases to be his Ebola Czar.

President Barack Obama is expected to name Ron Klain, a former chief of staff to two Democratic vice presidents, as the country’s Ebola czar, knowledgeable sources told CNN’s Jake Tapper today.

Klain is a former chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden and also to former Vice President Al Gore. Klain is currently president of Case Holdings and General Counsel of Revolution, an investment group. He has clerked for the U.S. Supreme Court and headed up Gore’s effort during the 2000 Florida recount.


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Christian Shirt Comany in Kentucky in Trouble for not Pringing Gay Pride Parade T-shirt

A civil rights commissioner has found that a Kentucky T-shirt company that refused to print shirts for a gay pride parade is guilty of discrimination, calling for its employees to attend diversity training — but the company likely won’t be backing down.

Greg Munson of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission announced last Tuesday that Hands on Originals, a T-shirt company based in Lexington, Kentucky, discriminated against the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization of Lexington when it refused to print the shirts.

via This Guy Cited His Christian Faith in Refusing to Make T-Shirts Advertising a Gay Pride Parade — and Now His Company Is Being Punished | Video | TheBlaze.com.

California School Purging Library of ANY Book with a Christian Author or Theme

Springs Charter Schools in Temecula, Calif., not only had a problem with “The Hiding Place,” they also took issue with any other book that was written by a Christian author or included a Christian message.

“We do not purchase sectarian educational materials and do not allow sectarian materials on our state-authorized lending shelves,” Superintendent Kathleen Hermsmeyer wrote in a letter to attorneys at the Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) .

Pacific Justice Institute is representing a parent who discovered what they called a “Christian purging” of the charter school’s library.

“She was told by one of the library attendants that the library has been instructed to remove all books with a Christian message, authored by Christians, or published by a Christian publishing company,” read a letter PJI sent to the public charter school. “The attendant advised that the library would no longer be carrying those books. Indeed, our client was told that the library was giving those books away, and she actually took some.”

Among the books deemed inappropriate, the PJI said, was “The Hiding Place” the biography of Corrie ten Boom, a Dutch Christian who was imprisoned by the Germans for helping Jews escape the Holocaust.

via Unreal: California School Purging Library of ANY Book with a Christian Author or Theme | John Hawkins’ Right Wing News.

Substitute-Teach for One Day, Get $1 Million Pensions

Two teachers-union lobbyists, Stephen Preckwinkle and David Piccioli, managed to get pensions worth more than $1 million after substitute teaching for just one day apiece.

Definitely pays to be in the teacher’s union! 

A couple of weeks ago, we spotted Preckwinkle and Piccioli within a long list of 30 state retirees from the Illinois Federation of Teachers (private sector teachers union).  Sure enough, in 2014, Piccioli is receiving $30,564 and Preckwinkle $37,416 pensions (click here for their life expectancy pension payouts of nearly $1 million each). The experience was a bit overwhelming, even for our seasoned team of forensic investigators….

Sadly, these cases represent a systematic problem. The Washington Times recently ran a story based on data collected at OpenTheBooks.com exposing 40 private sector union leaders from the National Education Association, Illinois Education Association and the Illinois Federation of Teachers who cleaned out $5,000,000 a year in Illinois teacher pensions.

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Catalonia calls off independence vote – but doesn’t throw in the towel (+video) – CSMonitor.com

The Catalan government in Spain has called off plans for a vote on independence, but they may still pursue autonomy through incremental means.

The Catalan government canceled plans Tuesday to hold a referendum on independence from Spain amid growing pressure from Madrid.

Despite the setback, Catalan leader Artur Mas vowed to take a more incremental approach towards independence, one that falls within the boundaries of Spanish law. His commitment reflects a resurgence of secessionist sentiment among Catalans disillusioned by economic stagnation across Spain and Madrid’s refusal to grant them more autonomy.

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Denver jury: Deputies used too much force in death – SFGate

Jurors in Denver determined that five deputies used excessive force against a homeless street preacher who died after an encounter with them in 2010 that involved Tasers and sleeper holds. The family of the victim was awarded $4.6 million in damages.

A federal jury on Tuesday found five Denver sheriff’s deputies used excessive force against a homeless street preacher who died in the city’s downtown jail and awarded his family a record $4.65 million in damages, a verdict an attorney said should send a message to law enforcement everywhere.

Marvin Booker died in 2010 after deputies shocked him with a Taser while he was handcuffed, put him in a sleeper hold and lay on top of him, apparently in an effort to control him. His family’s attorneys said that was a zealous overreaction to the 56-year-old, who was frail and suffered a heart condition. The city had argued the deputies’ actions were in line with the department’s policies for subduing a combative inmate.

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CDC acknowledges it could have done more on Ebola | abc7chicago.com

The death rate for Ebola infections has risen to 70 percent. The World Health Organization warned there could be up to 10,000 new cases a week over the next two months.

The nation’s top disease-fighting agency acknowledged Tuesday that federal health experts failed to do all they should have done to prevent Ebola from spreading from a Liberian man who died last week in Texas to the nurse who treated him.

The stark admission from the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention came as the World Health Organization projected the pace of infections accelerating in West Africa – to as many as 10,000 new cases a week within two months.

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I Can’t Believe It’s Not Peanut Butter

Wowbutter looks like peanut butter. Smells like it. Tastes like it. But it’s made from soybeans. It has no actual peanuts in it. Yet the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District in Canada has warned schools that have peanut- and nut-free policies that those rules also bar peanut butter substitutes such as Wowbutter. Officials say that because these products are so similar to peanut butter in looks and smell allowing them would make it difficult for a school to enforce a peanut butter ban.

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Ebola Test Is Positive in Second Texas Health Worker – NYTimes.com

A second Texas health worker has tested positive for Ebola.

Three days after a nurse who treated a Liberian man with Ebola was found to have the virus, a second worker at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas has tested positive for the virus, state and federal health officials said Wednesday morning.

The hospital worker, who has not been identified, was part of the medical team that cared for the Liberian patient, Thomas Eric Duncan after he was admitted to the hospital on Sept. 28 and put in isolation. The worker reported a fever on Tuesday and was immediately isolated at the hospital.

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Justices stop parts of Texas abortion law

The U.S. Supreme Court stepped in to block several parts of a Texas abortion law, which the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld earlier this month. 

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday blocked key parts of a 2013 law in Texas that had closed all but eight facilities providing abortions in America’s second most-populous state.

In an unsigned order, the justices sided with abortion rights advocates and health care providers in suspending an Oct. 2 ruling by a panel of the New Orleans-based U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals that Texas could immediately apply a rule making abortion clinics statewide spend millions of dollars on hospital-level upgrades.

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Hong Kong tycoon calls for protests to end after tension over police beating | Reuters


Footage of Hong Kong police beating a pro-democracy protester has gone viral; officials say the officers involved will be suspended. 

Hong Kong’s most prominent tycoon, Li Ka-shing, on Wednesday urged protesters who have occupied parts of the city since late last month to go home, after police mounted their toughest action against the democracy activists in more than a week.

Police arrested about 45 protesters in the early hours of Wednesday, using pepper spray against those who resisted, as they cleared a main road in the Chinese-controlled city that protesters had blocked with concrete slabs.


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Education Works Best When All the Parts Are Working

Here’s an unintentionally profound illustration of public education. 

Aside from the “cogs in the machine” metaphor, do you recognize what’s wrong with this design? 

Those gears can never turn. When all three mutually engage, whichever gear is trying to drive the other two, succeeds only in moving those gears at cross-purposes.

Parents are clearly the problem here. 

Lesson is right but mechanics is wrong

Bono hails Ireland’s controversial business tax laws

Controversial?  Really?

Bono, the self-styled Robin Hood of rock, has defended Ireland’s controversial policies on business taxes.The U2 frontman said he believes large companies that avoid paying billions in taxes bring prosperity, rather than harm the economic growth of the country.

However, fans of the singer may be surprised by his seeming change of tact on the issue of corporate tax avoidance – Bono was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 for his campaign to alleviate world debt.

via Bono hails Ireland’s controversial business tax laws: ‘Tax competitiveness has brought the only prosperity we’ve known’ – People – News – The Independent.

Major U.S. city demands oversight of sermons

Funny, Hitler made similar moves in the beginning of his reign.

Officials with the city of Houston, Texas, who are defending a controversial ordinance that would allow men to use women’s restrooms now have demanded to see the sermons preached by several area pastors.

The recent move came in a subpoena from the city to pastors for copies of their sermons and other communications in the city’s legal defense of a “non-discrimination” measure that allows “gender-confused” people to use public restrooms designated for the opposite sex.

via Major U.S. city demands oversight of sermons.

Hong Kong police use sledgehammers, chainsaws to clear protest barriers, open road | Reuters

Police tried again to remove protester camps in Hong Kong, after hoping public pressure would force the pro-democracy demonstrators to clear the city’s major streets.

Hundreds of Hong Kong police used sledgehammers and chainsaws on Tuesday to tear down barricades erected by pro-democracy protesters near government offices and the financial centre, reopening a major road for the first time in two weeks.

But late in the evening demonstrators retaliated by swarming into a tunnel on a major four-lane thoroughfare, bringing traffic to a halt and chanting for universal suffrage.

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NSA agents may have infiltrated the global communications industry – Boing Boing

Sentry Eagle

Leaked Edward Snowden documents about the National Security Agency program SENTRY EAGLE suggest the agency could’ve placed undercover agents at communications firm at home and/or abroad.

Leaked Snowden documents published by Laura Poitras and Peter Maass in The Intercept describe the NSA’s SENTRY EAGLE program describe six programs aimed at weakening the capacity of people all over the world to communicate in private.

Part of the SENTRY EAGLE effort involves infiltrating “commercial entities” with undercover agents — though it’s not clear whether these are US or foreign companies. If the NSA has put secret operatives into foreign companies — for example, cloud companies in the EU — this could change the calculus of non-US businesses that have moved their data-centers and operations away from American-based firms whom they fear to be secretly in cahoots with the NSA, a fear that was magnified by the revelation that RSA had secretly taken $10M from the NSA to fatally weaken its products.

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Metro Bus Passenger: ‘Don’t Mess With Me; I Have Ebola’ « CBS Los Angeles

A man in Los Angeles, meanwhile, tried to take a bus hostage by claiming to the driver he had Ebola.

Sheriff’s deputies were searching for a man Monday who made threats while traveling on a Metro bus through Lincoln Heights.

According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, a man and a woman boarded the bus from Line 33 around 1:45 p.m. at Venice Boulevard and Hoover Street.

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CDC head says more health care workers could have Ebola, despite claiming ‘any hospital’ can handle virus | Fox News

The head of the Centers for Disease Control says other hospital workers in the U.S. could have Ebola and that the agency will “double down” on training for healthcare workers.

The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Monday that other U.S. hospital workers may have Ebola after a Dallas nurse tested positive for the virus, as he vowed to “double down” on training for health care workers — raising questions about whether he told the truth when he initially assured the public and Congress that U.S. hospitals are capable of treating Ebola patients. 

Thomas Frieden, at a press briefing on Monday, said the CDC would be taking a number of steps including offering more training and outreach throughout the health care system. He said they need to “rethink” their approach to the virus. 

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Vatican Proposes Dramatic Shift In Attitude Towards Gays, Same Sex Couples


In a dramatic shift in tone, a Vatican document said on Monday that homosexuals had “gifts and qualities to offer” and asked if Catholicism could accept gays and recognize positive aspects of same-sex couples.

The document, prepared after a week of discussions at an assembly of 200 bishops on the family, said the Church should challenge itself to find “a fraternal space” for homosexuals without compromising Catholic doctrine on family and matrimony.

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BBC News – Kmart shops hit by payment card hack attack

Here we go again. Over 1,000 Kmart stores’ registers were compromised by malware.

If you do not have some system for monitoring your credit card transactions for fraud, you need to get one. 

Cash registers at 1,200 Kmart stores were infected with malware that scooped up payment card numbers for over a month, reports the retailer.

In a statement, Kmart said the security breach was discovered on 9 October and that the malware had been operating since early September.

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Feds rethinking Ebola strategy | TheHill

The Center for Disease Control says it must “rethink” its Ebola strategy after a Texas nurse caught the virus.

How much do you want to bet that the “rethought strategy” looks the same as the current one? 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday said it is starting to “rethink” its Ebola strategy after the first-ever US transmission of the virus put a “relatively large” number of healthcare workers at risk.

“We’re concerned, and unfortunately would not be surprised if we did see additional [Ebola] cases in healthcare workers who also provided care to the index patient,” CDC Director Tom Frieden said.

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Hagel: Climate change will challenge US military

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel says that climate change is going to pose a big risk to America’s military.

We obviously need to increase the military budget immediately! 

Rising sea levels and other effects of climate change will pose major challenges for America’s military, including more and worse natural disasters and the threat that food and water shortages could fuel disputes and instability around the world, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Monday.

Addressing a conference of military leaders as the Pentagon released a new report on the issue, Hagel said, “Our militaries’ readiness could be tested, and our capabilities could be stressed.”

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Obama advisers appear at odds over US troop role, as ISIS holds ground | Fox News

Senior officials in the Obama administration can’t decide whether the failure of our airstrikes means we should expect a new strategy involving American troops on the ground.

Key Obama administration advisers appear at odds over the use of American boots on the ground in Iraq, as Islamic State militants – at the very least – seemed to be holding their own against U.S.-led airstrikes and local security forces.

Asked in an interview on Sunday about a request from an official in Iraq’s Anbar Province for ground troops, National Security Adviser Susan Rice stressed that no American military commander has recommended “ground combat forces” in Iraq.

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Reuters: 1:4 Americans want their state to secede from the U.S.

SECESSION_opinion_map with q

For the past few weeks, as Scotland debated the wisdom of independence, Reuters has been asking Americans how they would feel about declaring independence today, not from the United Kingdom, but from the mother country they left England to create. The exact wording of the question was, “Do you support or oppose the idea of your state peacefully withdrawing from the United States of America and the federal government?”

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No charges in fight at party attended by Palins

No charges will be filed in connection to the Alaskan brawl that involved the Palin family. 

Police in Alaska say no charges will be filed in connection with a fight that broke out at a party and involved members of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s family.

Police on Thursday released a report on its investigation into the Sept. 6 brawl in Anchorage, including transcripts of interviews with multiple witnesses who said Palin’s daughter Bristol and son Track were in the thick of the brawl.

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Army won’t release Bergdahl review

The Army will not release its investigation into Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s disappearance and capture while in Afghanistan.

The Army has no plans to release the results of an investigation into Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s disappearance and capture by the Taliban in 2009, a spokesman said Friday.

“We recognize the importance of the media and the public understanding of our investigative process, and look forward to future discussions on this issue. However, the Army’s priority is ensuring that our process is thorough, factually accurate, impartial, and legally correct,” Army spokesman Wayne Hall said in a statement. 

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U.N. envoy calls on Turkey to prevent Srebrenica-style massacre in Kobani – Yahoo News

The U.N. is predicting a massacre if ISIS takes the Syrian city of Kobani.

A U.N. envoy called on Turkey on Friday to help prevent a slaughter in the Syrian border town of Kobani at the hands of Islamic State fighters, saying he feared a repeat of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre when thousands died.

Staffan de Mistura, the United Nations’ envoy to Syria, appealed to Ankara to let “volunteers” cross the frontier so that they can reinforce Kurdish militias defending the town that lies within sight of Turkish territory.

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UN envoy: Ebola cases doubling every 3-4 weeks

 The U.N. says the number of Ebola cases is doubling roughly every three or four weeks, and the death toll is over 4,000 according to the World Health Organization.

The number of Ebola cases is probably doubling every three-to-four weeks and without a mass global mobilization “the world will have to live with the Ebola virus forever,” the U.N. special envoy on the disease said Friday.

David Nabarro told the U.N. General Assembly that the response needs to be 20 times greater.

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U.S. troops in Liberia are learning how to build hospitals

Wouldn’t it make more sense to hire people who already know how to build hospitals than train our warriors to do so? 

the U.S. military was rushing to set up a 25-bed hospital to treat health workers who may contract Ebola. Rear Adm. Scott Giberson, the acting U.S. Deputy Surgeon General, said the facility would be ready within weeks.

“We’re in training right now. As you may know, not everybody is fully experienced in seeing Ebola related care of patients,” Giberson said. “We have experience deploying in lots of medical settings. However, this is unique.”

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U.S. senator lifts objections to $750 million Ebola funding shift | Reuters

The Defense Department is allowed to shift $750 million in war funds to fighting Ebola

The U.S. Defense Department won permission to shift $750 million in war funds to fight Ebola in West Africa as a Republican senator on Friday lifted his remaining objections to the transfer.

The action by Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma will give the Pentagon enough funding for about six months of operations in West Africa, including the deployment of up to 4,000 troops and the establishment some 17 Ebola treatment facilities with 100 beds each.

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