How do you battle ignorance?

Ignorance has always been the biggest killer, but I will say it again: You can’t help people who don’t want your help. Sierra Leone burial team attacked despite lockdown | Reuters.

A team burying Ebola victims was attacked in Sierra Leone’s capital on Saturday, a member of parliament said, as a small group defied a three-day lockdown aimed at halting the worst outbreak of the disease on record.

The middle of a crisis is probably not the time to address issues of public education. But then I have to ask, if this disease broke out in an American city, would the results be that much different? Can we really handle it, or are we just kidding ourselves?

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Group of 20-somethings Top off Evening Out with Attack on Gay Couple

Those pesky gays and the special rights they want… like being able to walk down the street without ending up in the hospital. Outraged tweeters help to ID suspects in Center City beating.

There is video, and people have trolled through social media to determine who the folks were. So far only one has been identified publicly. He was (past-tense) assistant basketball coach at a Catholic High School.

“He was terminated this evening and will not be permitted to coach in any archdiocesan school,” Gavin said. “We expect all those who work with students in our schools to model appropriate Christian behavior at all times.”

As far as I can tell, beating up gays is model Christian behavior. (Or were all my friends sent to hospital by Buddhists?)

“No true Scotsman” is a logical fallacy, not a reason to exclude folks from the ranks of Christians. Just like ISIS really is Islamic, the worst Christians are still Christian.

So the people identified via social media are going to “give their side of the story.” What, did the 2 gay men attack the 6 straights out on the town? Yeah, I can believe that. Gays are always giving heterosexuals a hard time.</sarcasm> [Hat tip to Colossus of Rhodey]

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You Know the Manure Has Hit the Rotating Air-moving Device When…

When a major news organization (NPR in this case) makes reference to mathematics. And not just reference to second-grade mathematics, but actually uses the term “exponentially.” Things must really be bad, if they have to stretch their tiny little minds around 6th-grade math. A Frightening Curve: How Fast Is The Ebola Outbreak Growing? : Goats and Soda : NPR.

Of course when their hero and chief, uses the word, they don’t have a lot of choice – even if they feel like their heads are about to explode.

“It’s spreading and growing exponentially,” President Obama said Tuesday. “This is a disease outbreak that is advancing in an exponential fashion,” said Dr. David Nabarro, who is heading the U.N.’s effort against Ebola.

Then of course they feel compelled to give a reprise of 6th-grade math to define what ‘exponentially’ means without actually using the word ‘exponent.’ That is quite a bit of legerdemain, even for a group of journalism professionals who couldn’t balance their check-book, if they ever bothered to try. (I’m sure there is an app for that.) They don’t get it quite right. Are you surprised?

Of course the math-challenged at NPR didn’t want to believe it.

When we first heard about these numbers, they sounded a bit alarmist. But then a few other modelers published their own models. The forecast is consistent: There’s exponential growth with somewhere around 15,000 cases by mid-October.

But then epidemiology is really a branch of statistics. And besides, math is hard. And science involves a lot of math, so can’t we go back to covering stories about Scotland? (Braveheart was such cool movie!)

I expect the next major story to be that this Ebola outbreak will spread somewhere – the near east, or Asia perhaps. Or even to the west, though we have a better chance of containing it than people who kill the folks disinfecting public spaces.

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Tam’s Lack of Comments Really Sucks

Not that I commented all that often, but her writing style invites you think, and on most blogs that invites you to comment. I hope there is a special place in hell for comment trolls.

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Vladimir Putin Threatens to Start World War 3

Hillary and her damn “reset” button. I thought she managed to turn the clock back to the 1980s. Actually, it looks more like the 1950s. Putin ‘privately threatened to invade Poland, Romania and the Baltic states’ – Telegraph.

German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung reports that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko told European Commission that Putin made the threat in a recent conversation.

Poland and the Baltic states are members of NATO. I would have to research to see whether or not Romania is a member. So much for the merits of “smarter diplomacy.” So much for everyone who said that Obama would make everyone love the West. So much for pretending enemies aren’t really enemies.

Next, I expect to hear a chorus of how “He doesn’t really mean it.” Just like all the other times in history, when despots spelled out what they were going to do, and the folks who like to sing Kumbayah said they didn’t really mean it.

“If I wanted, in two days I could have Russian troops not only in Kiev, but also in Riga, Vilnius, Tallinn, Warsaw and Bucharest,” Mr Putin allegedly told President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine, reported Süddeustche Zeitung, a German newspaper.

I wonder how much a backyard bomb-shelter costs these days.

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You Can’t Help People Who Don’t Want Help

This doesn’t give me hope that “the authorities” can do anything to stop this epidemic. Eight reported dead in attack on Ebola workers in Guinea – LA Times. (And who are the people in charge? The UN? What exactly is the UN track record of stopping regional crises, let alone regional pandemics? Their involvement after the tsunami in Indonesia was laughable, and in many deployments the UN only manages to make things worse – remember Srebrenica?)

It started with the simple (and laudable) goal of educating people about Ebola, its transmission and ways to stop its transmission. It was a simple, if a bit simple-minded, goal.

But it all went disastrously wrong.

Villagers responded furiously, pelting the delegation with stones and beating the visitors with clubs, according to Guinean radio. The delegation, which included doctors and journalists, fled into the bush after the attack Tuesday.

When the dust had settled eight members of the delegation had been killed. (The London Telegraph is reporting that the bodies were dumped in a latrine.)

And why would these “simple villagers” do such a thing?

A local police officer, Richard Haba, said the villagers believed that Ebola “is nothing more than an invention of white people to kill black people.”

Given that state of affairs in West Africa, I don’t believe we can do much to help. You can’t help people who don’t want your help, and these people don’t want our help. (This wasn’t the first aid group to be attacked in a village, and it probably won’t be the last.

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“Irony is Not Coincidence”

I hadn’t paid attention to anything from Weird Al Yankovic in a long time, but I think some of his new stuff is his best.

While I do commit a few of these word crimes, others drive me crazy.

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I Got Nothing


Manhattan Transfer doing Birdland

War is not war. (Is “War is Peace” in there somewhere?) ISIL/ISIS is not Islamic. Ebola is tearing up a continent. And Kanye West, the NFL, and the latest gadget from Apple have garnered all the news coverage. Time to head down-island. (It is a bit early in the year, but, “Get me a ticket to Saint Somewhere, and get me out this cold weather.”)

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This is a Test. This is Only a Test

What is the capital of Assyria?

What is air-speed-velocity of an unladen swallow?

This has been a test. If it wasn’t a test, you would have been given the answers.

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Officer Misconduct: Not One Guy, Having a Bad Day.

Two Denver Sheriff's deputies fired in jail inmate abuse cases – The Denver Post. Run of the mill excessive force. Except they don’t usually end in firing, just in suspension. (And why not assault charges?)

Denver deputy suspended for taekwondo moves on jail inmate – The Denver Post. This guy basically picked a fight for no discernible reason.

Review board says deputies could have saved inmate who swallowed meth | UTSanDiego.com. Several lied – said they checked on him, when the video shows otherwise. Even when they found him unconscious, they did nothing. If they had followed their own procedures he would probably be alive.

Federal agent talks about covert operation at deputy corruption trial – LosAngelesRegister.com. Undercover operation, deputies trying to block a federal investigation – in fact several were convicted of Obstruction of Justice and threatening a federal agent. Another surprise – usually this kind of thing results in suspensions.

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