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Reality Check: 70% Favor Legalizing Over-The-Counter Birth Control

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The latest Reason-Rupe poll finds 70 percent of Americans favor legalizing over-the-counter birth control pills and patches without a doctor’s prescription, 26 percent oppose such a proposal, and 4 percent don’t know enough to say. There has been a slight uptick in support for OTC birth control, rising from 66 percent in May of 2013. Moreover, Reason-Rupe finds that women across income groups highly support legalizing OTC birth control at birthcontrol2about the same rates.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have announced their support for such a proposal arguing it could improve contraceptive access and use and decrease unintended pregnancy rates. Republicans too have been pushing for this reform, with Democrats surprisingly reluctant.

Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal raised the idea in 2012 in his widely read Wall Street Journal op-ed:

“As an unapologetic pro-life Republican, I also believe that every adult (18 years old and over) who wants contraception should be able to purchase it. But anyone who has a religious objection to contraception should not be forced by government health-care edicts to purchase it for others. And parents who believe, as I do, that their teenage children shouldn’t be involved with sex at all do not deserve ridicule.”

Planned Parenthood and some Democrats have pushed back, expressing concerns that legalizing OTC birth control would require women to pay for it, rather than have it paid for by their health insurance premiums. For instance, Rebecca Leber explained:

“For low-income women, cost can be what’s most prohibitive. Under the Affordable Care Act, the pill and other forms of contraception count as preventative care, which means insurance covers them completely—without any out-of-pocket expenses.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Art of the Insane: Historic Archives from British Mental Institutions Go Online

retreat

George Sidebottom suffered from ‘moral and religious delusions’. He was a resident at the center from 1894 until 1912

The paintings, poetry and accounts of cricket matches from British psychiatric patients are among some 800,000 historic documents about to go online as part of a project to digitize mental health records from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.

“This partnership will bring some rare and important historical material from a fascinating period of medical history into an open and free online resource.”

– Simon Chaplin, head of the Wellcome Library

The Wellcome Library has been digitizing thousands of documents related to the United Kingdom’s medical history. The organization announced last week that it is partnering with several archives to make a searchable database of texts and images from the York Retreat, St. Luke’s Hospital Woodside, Crichton Royal Hospital, Gartnavel Royal Hospital and Camberwell House Asylum.

[Also see "Disease and the Art of Medical Illustration" at the Wellcome Library]

“This partnership will bring some rare and important historical material from a fascinating period of medical history into an open and free online resource,” Simon Chaplin, head of the Wellcome Library, said in a statement. “Broadening access to such collections is at the heart of the Wellcome Library’s digitization project, and we are delighted that others are joining with us to make this possible.”

The trove will focus on records dating from the 19th century and the 20th centuries, tracking the movement away from institutional care, according to the Wellcome Library. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: Homeland Security Announces Travel Restrictions to Stall Ebola Outbreak

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Flights between the U.S. and Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea will now require additional screenings

For National Journal reports: October 21, 2014  Travelers flying between West African nations affected by Ebola and the United States will now be subject to additional screenings and “protective measures” to help prevent the disease from spreading into the U.S., the Homeland Security Department announced Tuesday.

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“We are continually evaluating whether additional restrictions or added screening and precautionary measures are necessary to protect the American people and will act accordingly.”

All passengers flying from Sierre Leone, Liberia, and Guinea into the U.S. will be required to enter the country through five major airports: Dulles International Airport in Virginia; John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York; Newark Liberty International Airport; Chicago O’Hare International Airport; and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Read the rest of this entry »


Pentagon Plans Ebola Domestic-Response Team of Medical Experts to Aid Doctors

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The Pentagon announced Sunday that it will create a 30-person team of medical experts that could quickly leap into a region if new Ebola cases emerge in the United States, providing support for civilian doctors who lack proficiency in fighting the deadly virus.

“Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, appeared on the Sunday talk shows, noting that there are just four medical facilities — in Maryland, Nebraska, Montana and Georgia — that are equipped to treat Ebola patients.”

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered the Pentagon’s Northern Command, which has a prime focus on protecting homeland security, to send this new team to Fort Sam Houston in Texas for high-level preparations to respond to any additional Ebola cases beyond the three confirmed in the country.

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The announcement came as federal health officials tried to calm the nerves of Americans rattled by Ebola’s arrival on U.S. soil. In Texas, dozens of health workers and others who came in contact with the lone man to die in the United States from Ebola are in the final stage of an emotional three-week isolation from the public, hoping that by early this week they can resume their lives if they show no hint of the virus.

“We need to have more than just the four in which you have people who are pre-trained so that you don’t come in and that’s the first time that you start thinking about it.”

– Anthony Fauci on NBC’s Meet the Press

“To be on the safe side, we stay home. . . . In my community, people used to come in and out of my house. Because of all the news [about Ebola], no one comes around,” Aaron Yah said in a telephone interview from his two-bedroom Dallas apartment, where he and his wife, Youngor Jallah, and their four children have cloistered themselves, skipping work and school until health officials assure them they are safe.

Jallah’s mother was engaged to Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who died Oct. 8 in a Dallas hospital. “People don’t have education about it, and if they knew we didn’t touch anything [in her apartment], maybe they be different,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »


Obama’s 4 Stages of Crisis Management

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‘We Cannot Allow Ebola to Immobilize Us’

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London (AFP) – Aid agency Oxfam on Saturday said Ebola could become the “definitive humanitarian disaster of our generation”, as US President Barack Obama urged against “hysteria” in the face of the growing crisis.

Oxfam, which works in the two worst-hit countries — Liberia and Sierra Leone — called for more troops, funding and medical staff to be sent to tackle the west African epicentre of the epidemic.

Chief executive Mark Goldring warned that the world was “in the eye of a storm”.

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“We cannot allow Ebola to immobilise us in fear, but… countries that have failed to commit troops, doctors and enough funding are in danger of costing lives,” he said.

The worst-ever outbreak of the deadly virus has so far killed more than 4,500 people, mainly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, but isolated cases have now begun to appear in Europe and the United States.

“The Ebola crisis could become the definitive humanitarian disaster of our generation,” a spokesperson for the British-based charity said as it appealed for EU foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg on Monday to do more. Read the rest of this entry »


Reality Check: Is an Ebola Flight Ban a Good Idea? Nate Silver Doesn’t Think So

editor-commen-deskIt’s exceedingly rare that I agree with an Obama administration decision (though the decision is infirm, and could be weaseled any way the wind blows over the next several weeks) but the increasing calls to impose an Africa travel ban strike me as reflexive, not founded on proven disease strategy. Unlike a lot of bellyaching conservatives, and a handful of election-panicked Democrats, I’m not convinced that declining to respond to pressure to impose a travel ban is a bad thing. And I don’t think it’s motivated purely by narrow political or economic interests. That said, I don’t claim to be informed enough to have a clear opinion either way. So this morning I saw this, and thought it might be useful reading.

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Nate Silver writes:

On Sept. 19, Thomas Eric Duncan boarded a flight in Monrovia, Liberia, possibly after having lied on a screening questionnaire about his contact with persons carrying the Ebola virus. The next day, Duncan arrived in Dallas to visit his fiancée and son. Initially complaining of a fever, Duncan would soon become the first person in the United States diagnosed with Ebola. Before dying of the disease on Oct. 8, Duncan would transmit it to two nurses, Nina Pham and Amber Vinson, who treated him at Dallas Presbyterian Hospital.

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Duncan’s case has sparked calls to ban flights to the United States from the countries hardest hit by the recent Ebola outbreak — Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone — possibly along with others in West Africa. While some of these APPROVED-non-stop-panicarguments have been measured, others seem to convey the impression there are thousands of passengers arriving in cities like Dallas each day from flights originating in these countries.

There aren’t. We searched on Kayak.comExpertFlyer.com and airline websites for direct flights from West African nations (as the United Nations defines the region) to destinations outside the African continent. Specifically, we looked for flights available for the week from Jan. 2 to Jan. 8, 2015, a time period far enough in advance that such flights are unlikely to have sold out.

There are no regularly scheduled direct flights to the U.S. from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone — and very few from other countries in West Africa. There are far more flights from West Africa to Western Europe instead. Duncan’s case was typical. Before arriving in the United States, he connected through Brussels.

Here are all the routes we identified:

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Our search may be missing a few flights here and there, but it ought to be reasonably comprehensive, especially for travel to and from the United States. Read the rest of this entry »


Meet Ron Klain, Ebola Czar: Management Experience, Handing Out Stimulus Money

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For the WashingtonExaminerByron York writes: President Obama’s choice of veteran Democratic politico Ron Klain to serve as Ebola czar stunned many Republicans. Their first objection is that Klain has no experience in public health or infectious diseases. But in a larger sense, GOP critics see Klain, a former chief of staff for Vice Presidents Al Gore and Joe Biden, more as a political operative than a potential leader of the fight against Ebola.

 “He’ll control the message better than most people would, which is really important from an economic standpoint, from a health standpoint, but it’s also important from a political perspective.”

– Anonymous Democratic donor

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What qualifies Klain for the job, the formal title of which is Ebola Response Coordinator? First, the White House makes no claim of any expertise in health matters. Instead, officials point to Klain’s impressive Washington resume — the jobs with Gore and Biden, plus chief of staff for Clinton administration Attorney General Janet Reno and top positions with Senate Democrats.

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Susan Rice: the woman who went on five Sunday talk shows to lie about a YouTube video being responsible for the 9/11 attack in Benghazi. She is also the same person who said alleged Army deserter and Taliban sympathizer Bowe Bergdahl served with honor and distinction.

But those are job titles. What specifically has Klain done in those positions that would prepare him for the Ebola assignment? White House officials cite Klain’s work in Biden’s office, overseeing the dispensing of billions of federal dollars through the American Recovery Act, better known as the stimulus, as evidence that Klain can handle a problem like Ebola. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] White House Forward Backward Forward: Travel Ban On/Off Table?

“It’s an option that will continue to be on the table, but it’s one that is not being considered right now.”

Two days after expressly ruling out a travel ban to and from Ebola-stricken countries, White House press secretary Josh Earnest admitted such a ban is now “on the table.” Read the rest of this entry »


Help Wanted: Cuckoo Bananas Seattle Socialist Group Pushing $20 an Hour Minimum Wage Wants to Hire Web Developer for $13 an Hour

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Killer item from Pundit Press:

It’s sometimes said that if some people didn’t have double standards, they’d have no standards at all. That applies to the Freedom Socialist Party.

In 2012, their official website was pushing for a drastic increase in the minimum wage. In fact, they pushed for a full $20 per hour minimum wage, even for the most basic jobs:

From the dustbin of history: The socialist zombies of Seattle

From the ash heap of history: The Seattle SOCIALIST ZOMBIES

Minimum-Wage-20-Dollars

Well, if you are a socialist, I have good news: the Freedom Socialist Party is hiring! They must have competitive wages for a web developer, right? Not exactly.

The people who want people who flip hamburgers for a living to earn $20 an hour to do that are willing to pay an experienced web developer… $13 an hour.

Their ad, posted on both indeed.com and craigslist.org, can be seen here:

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Read the rest of this entry »


[PHOTO] Richard M. Nixon Wants to Know

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[VIDEO] Center for Disease Control: Ebola Spreading in Africa Would Be ‘Threat to U.S. Health System for Long Time to Come’

“I will tell you, as the director of CDC, one of the things I fear about Ebola is that it could spread more widely in Africa. If this were to happen, it could become a threat to our health system, and the health care we give, for a long time to come.”

National Review Online


New York Post Cover ‘AIR EBOLA: Frantic Hunt for 132 Passengers’ Oct. 16th 2014

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‘For God’s Sake, Get a Grip': An Early Look at Tomorrow’s New York Daily News Front Page

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New York Daily News on Twitter


[VIDEO] EBOLA MAINA in Sierra Leone: Tear Gas Fired in Freetown After Body Left on Street

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Police in Freetown, Sierra Leone, have fired tear gas as people took to the streets to complain about the authorities handling of the Ebola virus.31xsDUyPMZL._SL250_

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They were angry that the body of a woman who died from the disease was left on the street for two days.US, British, French, German and Italian leaders are due to hold a video conference to talk about what to do next to prevent the spread of the disease.

BBC News


Tick Tock: HazMat Team Awaits

NON-STOP-PANIC-2

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[VIDEO] Animal Rights Activist Goes Cuckoo Bananas In San Francisco Restaurant, Unhinged Anti-Meat Rant Goes Viral

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Direct Action Everywhere website

Emotionally Fragile Emo Girl Has Breakdown Over Chicken

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – An animal rights group said they would continue to target restaurants after one of their members stormed into a San Francisco restaurant and gave a tearful speech urging diners not to eat meat.

“I see the suffering that she faced, and I’m so happy that I took her out of there and I want the same for every animal.”

Kelly Atlas of Direct Action Everywhere entered Bluestem Brasserie and spoke out on the plight of her chicken Snow, in a videotaped speech that has gone viral. As of late Monday night, the video had more than 573,000 views.

“We’re so enraged when we hear someone hurting a dog or a cat, but because of this ‘speciesism’ in our minds, we don’t think twice about a chicken being hurt or a pig or a cow.”

Atlas and others said they want equal rights for all animals, not just cats, dogs and other non-food species. Read the rest of this entry »


Ebola Cases May Reach 10,000 Weekly, Virus Killing 70% of People Who Contract Disease

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U.N. Health Body Aims to Have Majority of Cases Isolated Within Two Months to Reverse Outbreak

WHO: Virus is Killing 70% of People Who Contract Disease

ZURICH— WSJ - Andrew Morse reports: The Ebola virus is killing 70% of the people who contract the disease, the World Health Organization said Tuesday, and as many as 10,000 new cases a week could be reported by early December.
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“Every time you isolate another patient, every time you have a safe burial, you’re taking some of the heat out of this outbreak.”

– WHO assistant director-general Dr. Bruce Aylward

Dr. Bruce Aylward, the WHO assistant director-general in charge of the organization’s response to the epidemic, said the Ebola virus is “still moving geographically, still escalating” in some bigger cities. He expressed concern the disease could spread to countries that share borders with Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, the epicenters of the current outbreak, singling out Côte d’Ivoire as particularly vulnerable. Read the rest of this entry »


Desperation: Blaming Eboloa on…Who Else?


[VIDEO] Watch What Happened When a Joker on an Airplane said ‘I Have Ebola!’

From Gawker

A US Airways flight from Philadelphia to Punta Cana, in the Dominican Republic, was held upon landing yesterday after a sneezing passenger joked about having been to Africa.

“I have Ebola, you are all screwed,” the 54-year-old man said, according to the Dominican news site Diario Libre. Fox News reported he also screamed, “I’ve been to Africa!”

The director of operations of the airport in Punta Cana confirmed a medical team boarded the plane in hazmat suits and took the passenger to a separate medical health area, where he was examined and found not to have the lethal disease. The Ministry of Public Health also confirmed the scare was a false alarm…(read more)

The headline I shoulda thought of:

From the YouTube description:

Once we landed in Punta Cana we were told by the flight attendants that there was a situation and that a passenger may have been in Africa and had Ebola. She was certain it was a hoax but they did not take any chances and had a full hazmat crew board the plane and take the passenger off. It was later confirmed that the passenger was never in Africa and after 2hrs we were finally able to get off the plane.

YouTube – Gawker


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