Saturday, October 4, 2014

NBC and Dr. Snyderman Went Too Far in Pursuit of Ratings

Good Day World!

Rule #1: you don’t mess around with deadly viruses.

I wish someone would have told that to Chief Medical Editor and Correspondent Dr. Nancy Snyderman for NBC news. But no…the show literally had to go on.

Ratings are that important to NBC and the good doctor.

For years now weather forecasters have been reporting from the hearts of torrential downpours, hurricanes, and other bad conditions to get viewers attention.

But those efforts at first-hand reporting are usually only a hazard to the reporter and their crew. NBC and Dr. Snyderman have trumped that by being in the middle of a disease outbreak – Ebola – to report it on location.

I don’t think the audience learned anything more with her and her crew there than they could have gotten at a safer distance. Like America, for example.


A freelance NBC News cameraman was diagnosed in Liberia with the Ebola virus. Snyderman and the rest of the crew are under observation. I have to wonder if it was worth it to gain ratings? Questions abound:

How did someone infected with Ebola ever get into the United States in the first place?

Health officials had predicted it, and even planned for it. But now that a patient has been diagnosed with Ebola on U.S. soil, and wasn’t brought here in a special jet with a sealed isolation pod, Americans are clamoring for answers.


The case of the Dallas hospital that initially sent home a man sickened with Ebola highlights an urgent need for better training — not only for the nurses who are the front-line defense against stopping the spread of any disease, but for all health care personnel, some experts say.

It was not necessarily human error (say what?) that caused the hospital staff to mistakenly send home Liberian national Thomas Eric Duncan, the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital claimed.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has repeatedly said that U.S. hospitals are prepared to handle such patients. It sure doesn’t appear that way.

A survey by National Nurses United of some 400 nurses in more than 200 hospitals in 25 states found that more than half (60 percent) said their hospital is not prepared to handle patients with Ebola, and more than 80 percent said their hospital has not communicated to them any policy regarding potential admission of patients infected by Ebola.

Another 30 percent said their hospital has insufficient supplies of eye protection and fluid-resistant gowns. According to this story  U.S. nurses say they are unprepared to handle Ebola patients


The hospital says it has updated software that appears to have made doctors miss a nurse's note flagging that Duncan came from Liberia.

Really? Something that dumb? Why leave a note for someone to see at some unknown time when something this important was discovered? Liberia…the very mention of this country should have rang alarm bells.

That nurse should have put an immediate hold on the man the minute she discovered where he was from. But instead, the nurse makes a note on the computer and calls it a day; then goes home without sharing the blockbuster news with administration or other staff.


According to news reports officials in Liberia give everyone a questionnaire, asking about contact with possible Ebola patients.Liberian officials now say Thomas Eric Duncan may have lied when he filled out his form and said he didn’t come in contact.

As long as a disease is circulating anywhere, the potential is for it to spread everywhere. Health officials say it over and over again — any disease is just a flight away from anywhere else.

Experts at the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention know that well.

Now, if only NBC news could have understood that! Stay tuned…there will be more to this story.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Friday, October 3, 2014

Not a ‘Fair Chase’ When Hunting With Optics

Mail Tribune / Bob Pennell illustration

                              Good Day World!

Disclaimer: I’m not a hunter.

I don’t see the need to kill animals when their meat is already available in stores.

Despite my position on hunting, I don’t condemn hunters who still adhere to the “fair chase” doctrine. I do, however, object to long-range optics on rifles and people shooting at animals from 700 yards or more.

Let’s be realistic, hunting defenseless animals with optics and range-finders is chicken-shit! There’s a big difference between using the old iron sights and thousand dollar scopes.

Technological advances are now inviting hunters to take substantially longer shots in the field, spurring a public debate about whether relying more on improved weaponry over field skills is blurring the lines of hunting's historic fair-chase credo.

There's a lot of historical precedence where a code, call it 'fair chase' if you want, brought people together. It's taught in hunter-education. That's how fair chase has stuck.

The problem is you have wannabe hunters using high technology without enough hours of practice, leading to animals being wounded and suffering a slow agonizing death. 

There’s a difference between just shooting at live targets and actual hunting, where more caution is used to get a clean kill. Because hunters with optics can see their intended target doesn’t mean they have the skill to hit them cleanly. That takes a lot of practice.

Finally, what kind of thrill does anyone get when they kill an animal at 700 yards away? Are they afraid their quarry is going to attack them? Especially when hunters are looking at deer, elk, and other animals with no way of defending themselves.

Hunters like that should stick to arcade games.

Time for me to walk on down the road…


Thursday, October 2, 2014

People who want to shed pounds without dieting and exercise

                                 Good Day World!

America is fat, and wants to lose weight. Sort of.

The only problem is we really don’t want to stray out of our comfort zones to peel those pounds away.

No one wants to go without eating, or to sacrifice their favorite foods for long periods of time…perhaps even forever!

Bummer! And exercise every day? Please!

There must be a simpler way to loose weight without breaking a sweat. This is the 21st Century for goodness sake!

There must be some amazing alternatives to dieting and exercising out there. You know, like taking a pill or something.

I had high hopes for a line of bras, girdles and leggings infused with caffeine that were sold as weight loss aids up until recently. Unfortunately, they didn’t work out.

The Federal Trade Commission said Wacoal America and Norm Thompson Outfitters, which owns Sahalie and others, were using deceptive advertising that claimed their caffeine-impregnated clothing would cause the wearer to lose weight and have less cellulite.

Oregon-based Norm Thompson sold clothing made with Lytess brand fabric infused with caffeine which, the company said, would break down fat. Wacoal America, based in New Jersey, also advertised that its clothing had microcapsules with caffeine, vitamin E and other chemicals that it said led to weight loss.

U.S. regulators laid down the law on those bogus items Monday and made the companies refund about $1.5 million. I wonder how many people that equated to?

Oh well, hope springs eternal.

Here’s 10 Weird Diets and Weight Loss Plans that will amuse you.



Time for me to walk on down the road…

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Have you noticed that gas prices are dropping? Here’s some reasons why

Despite turmoil across the globe, average US gas prices continue to plummet. As supplies continue to rise and demand stays flat, gas prices could stay low for some time.

To the delight of American drivers, gasoline prices are continuing to slide downwards. The national average price of gasoline hit $3.35 per gallon at the end of September, which is about 14 cents lower than at the same time a year ago, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Better yet, gasoline prices could drop further in the coming months.

In recent years it has become commonplace for many drivers to see a gallon sell for well over $4 per gallon. Why have gas prices dropped to such low levels all of a sudden?

There are a complex set of factors that determine the price at the pump, but the largest contributor is the global price of crude oil. Oil prices have plummeted by more than 17 percent since peaking in June of this year, when the Islamic State, also known as ISIL, overran much of Iraq and sparked fears of major disruptions in oil supplies. But with the advance of the Sunni jihadist group slowed, if not contained, concerns over oil eased and prices pulled back from their highs. (Related: Is This $7.6 Billion Deal A Sign of Things Coming?)

Of course, the largest supply shock comes from the United States, which continues to reach record levels of production. The U.S. is now producing over 8.8 million (bpd), the highest rate since the mid-1980’s. The EIA projects that the upward trajectory will continue, with output reaching 9.5 million bpd in 2015.

(Read the whole story here)

Operation Popeye: How US Modifed Weather in Vietnam

Good Day World!

Seeding clouds with silver iodide and lead iodide is nothing new.

The practice began during WW II and is still in use – although supposedly not in military applications.

Silver, as silver iodide, is used in the United States for weather modification, including rain and snow making and hail suppression; as much as 3,110 kg of silver is used for this purpose annually. (Wikipedia Commons)

Silver iodide never dissipates according to some experts.

Once it falls to the ground in the form of a raindrop or snowflake, the water dissipates, but the silver iodide remains, and get washed down streams, rivers and ends up in our water. Some of it soaks into the soil and creates bacteria and robs root systems of moisture.

The practice is controversial and many people and groups want to see it stop.

Today, I want to share a special program we had in Vietnam where the military application for weather modification was used:It was called Operation Popeye:

Operation Popeye (Project Popeye/Motorpool/Intermediary-Compatriot) was a highly classified weather modification program in Southeast Asia during 1967-1972.

The cloud seeding operation during the Vietnam war ran from March 20, 1967 until July 5, 1972 in an attempt to extend the monsoon season, specifically over areas of the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

The operation was used to induce rain and extend the East Asian Monsoon season in support of U.S. government efforts related to the War in Southeast Asia.

The operation seeded clouds with both silver iodide and lead iodide, resulting in the targeted areas seeing an extension of the monsoon period an average of 30 to 45 days. As the continuous rainfall slowed down the truck traffic, it was considered relatively successful.

However, resultant rain and subsequent flooding of the nearby Song Con River is sometimes blamed for the move of POWs from the prison camp at Son Tay and therefore, the failure of Operation Ivory Coast.

The former U.S. Secretary of Defense, Robert S. McNamara, was aware that there might be objections raised by the international scientific community but said in a memo to the president that such objections had not in the past been a basis for prevention of military activities considered to be in the interests of U.S. national security.

The chemical weather modification program was conducted from Thailand over Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam and allegedly sponsored by Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and CIA without the authorization of then Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird who had categorically denied to Congress that a program for modification of the weather for use as a tactical weapon even existed.

Well, there you have it.

Messing with Mother Nature has a price. Surprisingly, our government continues to seed clouds with this method despite evidence it’s harmful to the atmosphere, the earth, and humans.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

‘Republicans are People, Too’: A Pathetic Whine from The Right

Screenshot from the new 'Republicans Are People, Too' campaign.

                                  Good Day World!

Gosh…I’m starting to feel bad for the Republican Party.

They’ve been branded by the public as a bunch of inept bunglers who dislike women and minorities and can’t seem to shake the image.

The last time the GOP looked this bad in the polls was 1974. Remember Watergate and President Nixon? That bad. So, what can turn this negative into a positive?

Try this:

A Republican adman unveiled a new public relations campaign to soften the image of the Grand Old Party using the guiding slogan “Republicans Are People, Too.”

The promotional push came complete with a highly produced video, a website and social media efforts.

Republicans can thank Vinny Minchillo – last seen working as Mitt Romney nasty ads producer in 2012 – for this idea. Never mind the fact that Romney was whipped in the election.

(Photo of 1974 Republican Button)

Minchillo – obviously unaware of the 1974 effort to project a positive image - gleefully told the press that the campaign is meant to

let people know that it’s OK to be a Republican,” in a world in which he feels it has becomesocially acceptable to say bad things about Republicans.”

I think I’m going to cry.

That slogan, however, harkens back to another dark time for the GOP image.

In 1974, when the heavily damaged GOP brand was reeling from the Watergate scandal that brought down Richard Nixon, the Republican National Committee launched its own “Republicans Are People Too” initiative in an attempt to recast the party before a skeptical public.

Here’s how Craig Shirley, a longtime political consultant and Ronald Reagan biographer, put it in his book Reagan's Revolution:


This effort is a sad attempt at getting respect. If you have to go around and remind people that your human(!), something is basically wrong with your message. Your team is riding on the crazy train.

Most Americans don’t think corporations are human despite what conservatives have been trying to sell to the public. The GOP and Big Money can say corporations are human with equal rights – but the rest of us know better.  

The Republican effort to give corporations the same rights as people has not endeared them to the masses.

Instead of wasting time trying to get some pity votes, Republicans should be actively working on positive projects that will benefit the American people.

Actions speak louder than words.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Monday, September 29, 2014

U.S. Agriculture Department: ‘Rogue Wheat in Oregon is a Mystery’

Good Day World!

Normally I like mysteries.

But when I read about wheat plants genetically modified to resist the Monsanto herbicide Roundup turning up in Oregon, I became concerned.

The discovery of the rogue genetically modified wheat plants has officially been deemed an unsolved mystery by the U.S. Agriculture Department on Friday.

Unsolved mystery? Really?

A person has to wonder about how isolated a case Oregon was when the U.S. Agriculture Department also revealed Friday that a similar incident in Montana is currently under investigation.

The new discovery involves unapproved genetically engineered (GE) wheat plants found growing at a University of Montana research center, adjacent to fields where the herbicide-resistant plants were field tested from 2000 to 2003.

While the new discovery raises questions about the regulation of such authorized tests, it is unlikely to generate the same level of alarm as the Oregon find on May 3, 2013, which involved a commercial wheat field.

That prompted Japan, South Korea and Taiwan to temporarily suspend purchases of western white wheat grown throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Critics say that field tests of GE crops have frequently led to contamination of natural crops. And in the case of wheat, such accidental escapes would damage farmers’ livelihoods and cripple the U.S. export market, they say.

“Just as the USDA closes one fruitless investigation, it tries to bury the story of yet another contamination,” Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Center for Food Safety, a nonprofit public interest and environmental advocacy organization, said Friday in a statement to the press.

“USDA cannot keep treating these as isolated incidents; contamination is the inevitable outcome of GE crop technology. It’s time for Congress to take definitive action.”

Related stories:

Rogue Biotech Wheat: Lack of Answers Concerns Northwest Farmers

Is Genetically Modified Wheat Safe?

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Sunday, September 28, 2014

50 countries where it’s not safe to be a Christian

                         Good Day World!

Did you know that you can be murdered for your beliefs in certain parts of the world?

Are you aware that Christians are being persecuted daily?

Take Pakistan for example.

A Pakistani police officer shot two men in jail on Thursday, killing one accused of blasphemy and wounding another condemned to death on the same charge.

Zafar Bhatti, who worked to protect the human rights of the country's beleaguered Christian minority, was on trial after an Islamic leader accused him in 2012 of sending text messages derogatory to the Prophet Mohammed's mother.

Family members say police investigations show the phone was registered to someone else.

Blasphemy is punishable by death in Muslim-majority Pakistan.

Blasphemy charges are hard to fight because the law does not define what is blasphemous. Presenting the evidence can sometimes itself be considered a fresh infringement.

Those accused of blasphemy are often lynched and lawyers in defending those accused of blasphemy cases have frequently been attacked.

According to the National Minority Alliance (NMA), Christians form under three percent of Pakistan’s estimated 180 million people. But the community is spread all over the country, making it almost impossible for Christians to elect representatives who share their religion because they lack the numbers in a free-for-all poll.

Here’s a list of 50 countries that persecute Christians and marginalize them in their societies.

I’m glad that I live in a country where you can worship whatever religion you want openly without fear of persecution. The only exception to this is the current atmosphere against Muslims in the USA.

Many Americans tend to lump all Muslims together as extreme terrorists since 911. Despite that, Muslims aren’t being hunted down for believing in Allah or saying something derogatory about Jesus Christ.

Time for me to walk on down the road… 


Blog Break Until Presidential Election is Over

I finally hit the wall today. I can't think of what to say about all of the madness going on in this country right now. I'm a writer...