Or, Travel in the Time of #Ebola.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is one of my favorite book titles (and the book’s a good read, too), so I borrowed the title for this post, as we now read news that boggle the mind more than the best fiction:

Texas worker who may have handled Ebola samples quarantined in Belize. The hapless Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital worker went on a cruise on Sunday. Now she and her husband “have voluntarily remained isolated in a cabin,” said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki,

“We are working with the cruise line to safely bring them back to the United States out of an abundance of caution.”

Why the cruise line? Because

The Belize government turned down a request by the United States to evacuate the worker through the international airport in Belize City.

Thus provoking an international incident, about which the State Department is apparently doing nothing.

But wait! There’s more!

The Belize coast guard is not allowing the ship to dock or its passengers to disembark
. . .
Belizean news reports identified it as the cruise ship Carnival Magic, and said it was being kept offshore after the island nation’s government learned that a U.S. hospital worker on board may have been exposed to Ebola. The government assured its citizens that neither the health care nor as many as 4,000 others aboard the ship were allowed on the island.

Let’s do the numbers here: the Carnival Magic carries a total of 6,000 people: 4,631 passengers and 1369 crew members [SEE UPDATE BELOW], all now stranded (and likely quarantined) because a lab worker decided to “self-monitor” while on a cruise ship, since “she is deemed by CDC to be very low risk.”

Over at the Department of Homeland Security, they’re proudly advertising its “Ebola Outbreak-related Immigration Relief Measures to Nationals of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone Currently in the United States,” that is, they’re actually expediting visa requests.

Contrast that with how Nigeria stopped ebola. “Of course, you can’t expect our government to be as competent as Nigeria’s.”

Or Belize’s, either.

UPDATE:
There’s good news, and there’s bad news.
Good:

The ship is reportedly carrying 3652 passengers and a total population of 4633 persons.

Bad:

“Confirmed with representatives of the Ministry of Health that they have indeed received a report that there is at least one passenger on board the cruise ship, Carnival Magic, showing symptoms similar to that of the Ebola virus.”

MUST-READ:
An Outbreak of Epidemiological Hysteria.

As Tyler Durden said, It’s almost as if the administration is doing everything in its power to spread a panic.
Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

Our friend Pete has coined the term Pope-a-Dope regarding the media’s spin on Pope Francis. “The Pope married people who were living in sin! The Pope is challenging taboos!” Over the decades (yes, I’m that old), I have attended Catholic weddings of couples who had lived together and were now getting married;. married in a civil ceremony, had children, and then married by the Church; and on and on, so the so-called “taboos” headlines were particularly amusing.

Following the news on the Synod on the Family, I would now like to expand the term Pope-a-Dope to include the spin on the Catholic Church in general. Not that we didn’t see it coming:

Sure enough:

the real danger of what is coming out of the Synod not what the words say but how they’re spun.

The media’s goal, as Pete so aptly puts it, is

to have the church decide to not only consider such states of Mortal Sin acceptable for individuals but to actually redefine sin itself.

Princeton professor Robert P. George (one of Ted Cruz’s former professors), expands on the subject:
Has the Catholic Church Changed Its Teaching on Sex and Marriage?
Amid reports of “earthquakes” and “seismic” shifts, we ought to remember the Catholic Church’s moral teachings in their wholeness, which have not shifted.

Now, if you’ve been reading the papers or watching television or visiting blogs and online news sites, you may be thinking:

“Hang on there, professor. Haven’t you heard? On Monday the Catholic Church changed its teachings on marriage and sexuality. There has been an ‘earthquake,’ a ‘seismic shift.’ Things will never be the same. The Church now welcomes remarried people to communion, has dropped its objections to homosexual conduct, and denies that homosexual desires are ‘intrinsically disordered.’ Or it’s about to do all of that. Francis is a new kind of Pope, and it’s a new day. He has brought Catholicism into line with the teachings of the Episcopal Church USA, the Unitarian Universalists, and the New York Times editorial board.”

Prof. George points out that the (emphasis added)

document released on Monday as an interim report on discussions occurring at a Vatican synod of bishops (called an “extraordinary” synod because it is preparatory to a larger synod—an “ordinary” synod—that will occur next year) on contemporary challenges to the family.

The relatio, then, is raw material for this week’s discussion, which will prepare for next year’s discussion, which may provide fodder for a document by the Pope.

So it’s conducive to something preparatory to something (possibly) advisory.

It has no teaching authority whatsoever.

What’s more, it proposed no changes—none—in the doctrine or moral teaching of the Church.

Read Prof. George’s article.

The bottom line is, while the media tries to actually redefine sin itself, the Church asserts that sin is sin and must be rejected.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

imageby baldilocks

When a group of people have become guided by their bellies–their appetites–appealing to them on an intellectual, spiritual and/or altruistic basis is pointless. Not only do they become unable to discern any difference between good and evil, but they even become unable to figure out what is best for themselves.

We see this attitude made flesh–pun intended–in the latest Missouri drama involving the police.

Vonderrit Deondre Myers, a teenager who died in a police shooting, was struck by seven or eight bullets, St. Louis city Medical Examiner Dr. Michael Graham said Thursday night.

“All but one gunshot wound were to the lower extremities,” Graham said. “The one fatal wound was to the head.”

Police Chief Sam Dotson said the killing happened Wednesday evening when a suspect shot a pistol three times at the St. Louis officer, who was off-duty but wearing his uniform while moonlighting for a security company. The officer fired his pistol 17 times, police said.

The shooting sparked angry street protests, with residents pointing out similarities to the August killing of Michael Brown in nearby Ferguson.

Emphasis mine. There has also been rioting.

Many things fall under the heading of appetite. There is food, of course. (Esau famously sold his birthright to his brother Jacob–one of the earliest examples of selling oneself out against what is best for self.) And there are physical intoxicants and hallucinogens for which people will do anything to obtain.

But there are other appetites as well–tribalism, vengeance, covetousness, etc., and these are all spiritual in nature. And here’s how they operate: in the absence of the Holy Spirit, an individual–or a people–will be prone to these appetites.

Here we have black people protesting against the police because the latter responded to a shooter with identical force and, of course, the only reason they are protesting and rioting is because the shooter is black. Their appetites are more important than right and wrong. Which appetite? Their appetites for tribalism, tribal vengeance, and covetousness. Their bellies for these things have become their gods.

And many of these people won’t realize that they have food poisoning until it is too late.

Burp.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her second novel, Arlen’s Harem, will be done in 2014.

Please contribute to Juliette’s Projects: Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or contribute to Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>

baldilocks

 

Back in April of 2012, 11 Secret Service agents were placed on administrative leave amid allegations they brought prostitutes back to their hotel rooms (prostitution is legal in Cartagena) while preparing for a visit by President Barack Obama to the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia. I mentioned it in passing on a post on the Summit of the Americas.

The story faded into the background, especially after a much bigger story happened on September 11 the same year.

As it turns out, the White House tried to cover up the Cartagena prostitution story:

“We were directed at the time . . . to delay the report of the investigation until after the 2012 election,” David Nieland, the lead investigator on the Colombia case for the DHS inspector general’s office, told Senate staffers, according to three people with knowledge of his statement

Jonathan Dach,

who was a White House volunteer during the Cartagena trip, this year started working full time in the Obama administration on a federal contract as a policy adviser in the Office on Global Women’s Issues at the State Department.

Dach’s father is a lobbyist/fundraiser, now also working for the Obama administration.

Ten members of the Secret Service lost their jobs, while the White House denies that any of its staffers were involved with prostitutes and decided to not fully investigate one of its own.

Why bother? As Ace points out,

Assuming the worst is true, the son of donor, working in a fairly low-level capacity for the White House had, allegedly, maybe, had something to do with a prostitute in a foreign country.

It’s precisely how small potatoes that is that makes the cover-up frightening — if they’re willing to cover-up something so trivial, so unlikely to generate a few bored headlines for half a news day, then what won’t they cover up?
. . .
Likewise, Ron Fournier calls this latest misrepresentation from the White House as just the latest in an “epidemic of half truths” from the White House.

Epidemic indeed; Victor Hanson lists the ways the Obama administration is following more the French model than the American to fundamentally transform America. The method?

Official stories change to fit larger agendas.

In the case of the Cartagena, Colombia, prostitution scandal, the coverup is simply part of the method.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

Farrow in Ecuador raises a gloved hand.

In a propaganda move against Chevron, the government of Ecuador paid Mia Farrow $180,000 for a photo-op earlier this year. Monica Showalter’s excellent editorial shows the truth behind Mia Farrow’s Greased Palm

It would probably be bearable to hear the vapid, views of Hollywood’s finest if it were just a matter of stupid people issuing their opinions.

But when opinions become far-left activist causes and would not even be issued were it not for Third World dictatorship cash, then something else is going on.

Call it greased palms. The candidate for scrutiny who stands out, but isn’t alone, is Mia Farrow, whose talent agency took $188,000 from the government of Ecuador, a supposedly neutral party in the dirtiest shakedown of a corporation ever attempted, the $9.5 billion lawsuit by activist NGOs against Chevron, over pollution in Ecuador it had nothing to do with.

The former Mrs. Sinatra, who was best known for the 1960s film Rosemary’s Baby, wasn’t the only one receiving money from PR firm MCSquared: Danny Glover got $300,000. As you may remember, Danny reportedly received US$18 million bucks from the late Hugo Chavez for making a movie about Toussaint D’Overture, the Haitian slave that led the revolt against the French and declared himself emperor.

We’re still waiting for Danny’s movie.

But back to the $9.5 billion lawsuit

The Farrow visit was part of a campaign centered on an Ecuadorian court ruling that found against Chevron and ordered it to pay more than $9 billion in compensation, the largest civil penalty in history.

But, as Farrow knows from her other performances, there is often a final twist that can turn the story on its head. And so it is with her Ecuadorian jaunt and the Chevron suit.

A few months ago, a New York court found the Chevron judgment was obtained by fraud and bribery — mostly masterminded by Manhattan-based attorney Steven Donziger. The fraud was so outrageous that the judge found the Ecuadorian lawsuit was the equivalent of organized crime extorting money from Chevron.

The RICO laws, normally used against organized crime, are now being applied to Donziger and his associates.
The case was so corrupt, it’s impossible to list here all the outrages.

Basically the court found that the plaintiffs had bribed everyone in Ecuador from “independent” experts to the judges, and also corrupted or lied to US lawyers and scientific groups.

Judge Kaplan’s 497-page decision details the multiple instances of fraud; Paul M. Barrett, in his book Law of the Jungle: The $19 Billion Legal Battle Over Oil in the Rain Forest and the Lawyer Who’d Stop at Nothing to Win, about fraudster Steven Donziger, explains how

Donziger lost sight of the fact that the laws of politics are not the laws that govern the practice of law. As Barrett says, “Invoking legal process brings into play constraints that Donziger declined to observe.” Donziger’s failure to play by the rules didn’t just hurt his clients because his “reckless business management and lack of a moral compass” cast doubt on the wisdom of the entire business model of celebrity litigation.

But Judge Kaplan’s decision is not the end of it. Donziger is appealing, and Ecuador recently hired Putin’s American flack, New York-based Ketchum, which is attacking Barrett and his book. Ironically, Ecuador’s global public relations initiative against Chevron is called “the Dirty Hand.”

Ecuador engages in “widespread repression of the media”; by attacking Barrett, now they try to export the repression to our shores via a public relations firm.

We’ll be hearing more celebrity endorsements. Like Mia and Danny, having had their palms greased, the useful fools get to keep their money.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

by baldilocksBaldilocks mini

So, it’s another one of those days when I’m just winging it.

This morning was a fulfilling one. I finished listening to an audio-book copy of World War Z and began listening  to a like-formatted copy of Lone Survivor–both courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library. (As an author myself, I normally buy books I’m very interested in, professional courtesy and all. But I’m just too broke for that right now.)

Isn’t it great that we can do such things so easily and cheaply now? It makes sweeping, mopping and other methods of bring order out of chaos so much easier–alleviates the boredom. And it saves so much time.

Thinking along the lines of informal education/entertainment through reading, it is frightening how many people scorn reading–it’s not just that they won’t do it themselves but they view those who do as some sort of deviant.

I had a Twitter conversation with a celebrity this morning, a person who cited Ebola as “karma” for America due to America’s “history” of “raping Africa.” (Don’t ask.) Seems concerned with “history,” right? Not so much after I reminded him–or informed him–of the Ottoman Empire’s and other Muslims sordid African history and present.

Still another interesting conversation with an  actual friend and my own brother about the spiritual contradictions of call oneself a Christian while subscribing to the demonstrably non-Christian concept of karma. They both seem to think that I’m being judgmental.

Suffice it to say that today is one of those days that I feel thankful to be living alone.

P.S. Don’t fear the Reaper.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her second novel, Arlen’s Harem, will be done in 2014.

Please contribute to Juliette’s Projects: her new novel, her blog, her Internet–to keep them going and to the COFFEE fund to keep her going!

Or contribute to Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>

by baldilocks

President Obama, his puppets and his puppeteers intend to overwhelm several systems and create a pretext for the implementation of the Martial Law which has already been sanctioned. Because of the guns in private hands, a pretext is needed, something like domestic unrest. And the government and the mainstream media have been trying to gin up domestic unrest since the death of Trayvon Martin.

They keep getting close, but don’t quite get there and they try a given tactic twice.

The two latest tactics–domestic attacks by the government–are both in play right now.

One began a few months back with the invasion by illegal aliens, who were aided by the U.S. Government and the Mexican government.

We are just beginning to see the fruit of that attack.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that the Hamilton preschooler who died last week tested positive for the respiratory illness Enterovirus D-68, the N.J. Department of Health announced late Friday. […]

The 4-year-old’s death is the first in New Jersey involving the virus. Enterovirus D-68 has been found in at least four other people who have died in the United States, according to a report on CNN.

That particular tactic–inserting a diseased foreign population into the national one in order to overwhelm various American systems–didn’t work quite fast enough for the rogue US government, so it was tried again–this time with something scarier and more lethal.

Ebola.

And now half the country is in an uproar. The other half? Well, they are proof that technology cannot fix stupid.

Not that an uproar isn’t justified. It is. Our government is purposefully trying to kill us. The government executor–President Barack H. Obama–took down the barriers which were intended to protect us, and invited usurpers in. (Yes, Thomas Duncan is a usurper. He knew he had been exposed to Ebola before he boarded a plane in his native Liberia, and one wonders how he was able to afford the rather expensive flights from Monrovia to Dallas.)

But there are still people defending President Obama. And that really doesn’t matter because Barack H. Obama isn’t the cause of the catastrophes which have befallen our country. He is the effect.

We’ll see how successful these tactics are this time, as we beseech our Lord in prayer.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her second novel, Arlen’s Harem, will be done in 2014.

Please contribute to Juliette’s Projects: her new novel, her blog, her Internet–to keep them going and to the COFFEE fund to keep her going!

Or contribute to Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>

 baldilocks

Not only different from everyday topics, but different because the book does not deal with the horrific Communist Revolution.

The book, La Belle Créole: The Cuban Countess Who Captivated Havana, Madrid, and Paris, is about the life of a Cuban lady of aristocratic background who was a contemporary of George Washington, Napoleon Bonaparte, and many illustrious writers who in turn wrote about her.

Her name was Mercedes Santa Cruz y Montalvo. Mercedes was raised by her grandmother in Cuba, moved to Spain where her parents were involved with the royal court, married a general almost twenty years her senior, and then things got interesting, in the form of the Napoleonic wars.

The beautiful child whose school education was mostly ignored grew up to be a most resourceful woman who became a writer and hosted some of the brightest authors of her time. One of them, Alexandre Dumas, had Mercedes herself appear as a character in his novel Pauline. Aristocrat, wife, mother, hostess, opera singer, writer, and traveler, she was also one of the celebrities of her time.

Note that the term Créole of the title refers to a person who was born outside of the country holding a kingdom, and is not a racial term; Mercedes was born in Cuba, which belonged to Spain, hence she was a Créole. As her fame increased, she was nicknamed the Beautiful Créole (La Belle Créole).

Author Alina García-Lapuerta brings to life an extraordinary woman. García-Lapuerta’s skills as researcher and writer shine in a book that illuminates a period of history most of us never hear anything about. Silvio Canto and I had the pleasure of talking to her about this most interesting character, whose life reads like a novel. You can listen to the podcast here.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin America politics, news and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

faustaI lived in the North East for most of my life, having moved to the region right after graduating from college; first, upstate New York, then, New Jersey.

New Jersey, contrary to what the despicable Woody Allen thinks, is a beautiful state, home to the wealthiest zip code in the United States. I was blessed to have owned houses not in that zip code, but in Morristown, Convent Station, and Princeton, three towns that are affluent and charming.

My son is a true Princeton native, having been born, raised, and lived in the town (and township, before consolidation), who, once it was time for college, went away to his top college choice, graduating with honors this year. Because of his occupation he must live in New York City – otherwise he would subject himself to a very long commute at all hours of the night. Like both his parents, he is ready to make his own way into the world.

At the same time, my mom is in her nineties and lives in Florida, and I must spend time with her. Most of my relatives live in Florida.

While all this was going on, my real estate taxes went up by $2,000 last year, a 14% increase, bringing the total to $16,000 in annual real estate taxes. While the law says that there’s a 2% ceiling on annual property tax increases, there are a plethora of reasons why your property will get whammed with more (for instance, if you do certain improvements on your property). Properties are assessed at market value, which means that your assessment may go up now that the market is up, so your tax bill increases, while the tax rate itself has remained unchanged. And on and on.

Fighting such increases is expensive – you need to hire a lawyer – and time consuming, and the odds are it may not work.

Then there’s what lurks in the horizon: School taxes make up 1/2 of the total property tax bill (the current budget is $86.9 million), and the school district wants an additional $100 million for sundry projects, which they are likely to get. After all, a prior $100 million was approved ten years ago. Such an increase in debt brings more tax increases.

And let’s not forget that New Jersey has a 7% sales tax, a state income tax, inheritance taxes, and estate taxes.

So I sat down, did a rough calculation of what it was costing me to stay in New Jersey versus what it would cost to move to Florida, which has a 7% sales tax but no state income tax, no inheritance taxes, and no estate taxes. Florida won.

It looks like I’m not alone:
Northeast loses 40% of House seats as people flee high-tax states

The Census Bureau reports that population growth has shifted to the South and the result is that the 11 states that make up the Northeast are being bled dry of representation in Washington.

The 11 states that make up the Northeast have been bleeding dry their constituents, so many of us did the numbers, talked to our families, and moved.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s Blog.