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  • Ebola should be a concern for everyone, and not because Ebola represents a direct threat to Americans' health; it doesn't. The world is a small place when you consider jet air travel, and an epidemic in 3 countries in Africa can expand and become worse. Ebola will kill far more people than ISIS if we do not help end this epidemic. Talk about a problem that involves the concept that, "we've got to fight it there so we don't have to fight it here." But this involves Africans and doesn't involve oil, and since half of you are Republicans let me cut to the nitty gritty, and explain why you should care about someone other than yourself, and that means I need to explain how it will affect you personally, and the tiny few you really care about. This little mini-scare brings to light the absolutely dismal level of crisis medical care in America and the complete absence of a public health and disease control system in the US - you know, the kind of system that stopped smallpox, polio and other diseases which really are highly contagious and also maim and/or kill. Ebola isn't a highly contagious disease. In Africa, one case gets two more. That's in stark contrast to a disease like Smallpox where one case can get dozens more. Honestly there are no modern figures on the subject because smallpox was effectively eradicated before people hopped on jets at whim. If a person got on a plane from say, England, with fever from Smallpox EVERYONE on the plane would get it! New diseases pop up all the time, and its only a matter of time until this hapens. There was a world before HIV, and before Ebola, and there will be something new again. When that something new spreads by airborne droplets and is as deadly as Ebola, we, in the US, will lose millions, if not tens to hundreds of millions, if we do not return our public health system to what is was before Republican had their way. (We also have a severe health care delivery system problem, which needs to be fixed, too, but that's for another day.) I watched our Congressmen on CSPAN, the ones who remind us, when asked about Global Warming, that they are not scientists, and so offer no opinion, pontificating and excoriating the people from the CDC, suddenly having become scientific experts - wow! Unfortunately they have the power to hold people who speak Truth to them, in Contempt of Congress, yet contempt is all that Congress deserves from anyone with a scientific education. Our Congress is filled with truly scientifically illiterate people, who are only there to fill their pockets. They will say anything to get elected, which to appeal to those on the right is "cut, cut, cut," but when something doesn't go right, suddenly it's everyone else's fault, except the only people who could really have made sure that we are prepared. Whether it's cutting diplomatic security, or public health services, or food inspection, they are the first to scream "Benghazi" or go into a tirade over an epidemic which they have decimated the ability to respond. Please try to understand that safety mechanisms, like say a seatbelt, are a complete waste of money the thousands of times you're forced to pay for and use them, until that one time when it isn't. We must have a robust, protective CDC, which stands for Center for Disease Control, in times when there is no disease which needs controlling. Congress should be ashamed for not working with Obama to make sure that all government jobs are filled, including the Surgeon General, whose job it is to supervise issues like this, and not try to do the stupid thing and name an Ebola Czar. Even in an era of austerity, Congress just can't help itself. They are compelled to add complexity as window dressing, just like they did after 9/11 when they took the Central Intelligence Agency, which was created to centralize and streamline our intelligence gathering, and then added another huge government bureaucracy, complete with tons of paper pushers and a new high paying cabinet position, so that now there's just another layer before anything ever gets to the President. Most adults try to teach their children that actions have consequences; too bad that no one has ever taught that to Congress.
  • All rooms rented, whether from AirBNB or a hotel chain are "private property." We don't have government ownership of hotels. AirBNB shouldn't be used as a way to avoid fair and proper health and safety regulations for public lodgings, and hotel taxes. Most of the business done on these websites is done by large commercial entities just trying to avoid regulation and taxes. Especially now, when we're all aware of public health hazards due to the Ebola scare, we should remember that hotel regulation is done for our health and safety. Forget that and you might learn about bedbugs and the diseases they can spread. If you knew that the place you were renting on the cheap didn't meet the fire code would you still try to save a few bucks? What about roaches, etc. I could go on, but I think that most of you get the idea.
  • Occaperson, what do you think your "facts" show? That Obama took off 3 hours every other weekend to hit a little ball, or that he took only 125 days of vacation compared to the over 400 days Bush took? Do you think that Obama's golf game is worse than Eisenhower who hit the ball over 1600 days in office? Obama doesn't walk out of a briefing saying that your ass is covered and then allow a 9/11 type event to happen on his watch. Let's see what Obama has accomplished. Osama is dead, everyone's got access to health care -(and premiums will rise by the smallest amount in decades next year)- the stock market has doubled, unemployment is below the level Romney promised to reach by the end of 4 years, and despite the mess in Iraq, American troops are not dying for nothing. Then let's add on top of that that gas prices are falling, and are projected to keep falling for months. Despite your ignorance about "germs" (and why epidemics are getting worse) and 'Illegal/Undocumented People' entering the country, he has effectively stopped almost all border transgressions. Germs have and always will cross borders, and they will almost certainly get worse in the future. The way you slow that down is to SPEND money on public health, not keep cutting the CDC's budget like Republicans do. You don't want to pay for unnecessary government services, then when a problem appears you wonder why there aren't government workers ready to solve every problem. Grow up! Good government services cost money and that requires taxes. Most of the illegal entries today are people flying in on valid visas and just not going home. We'd need a Nazi style police state to stop that. ISIS is a media creation. Yes, they're bad people doing horrible things, in a very backward area of the world, but they are not a threat to us, and the "we've got to fight them over there, to keep them from coming here," is nonsense. Utter nonsense. I've heard people say that they're the next Nazis and will march across Europe. People who say this don't know any history at all. Germany was the most advanced industrial nation when it went to war. They had well educated disciplined soldiers supplied with the most advanced machinery in the world. ISIS has no industrial base, and the rabble fighting is far from disciplined. They have no logistical support and would fold against any European Army. As for who is to blame for the mess, the media created "the Arab Spring," which was supposedly the people in that area rising up to want democracy. The media couldn't be more wrong. Every country with political instability the media called "the Arab Spring" shares one thing in common: a severe drought causing severe escalation in food prices. That is what led to all the political instability and that is at the root of this problem. There is no hunger for democracy like all the media, including FOX tried to tell us. But hey, you on the right don't believe in global warming and droughts, so let's blame Obama for things that he has absolutely no control over. And you probably never stopped to ask why all those kids came up from Honduras this year and not 5-10 years ago when the border was wide open? You probably have no idea what rust is to a coffee plantation, and how thousands of coffee workers lost their jobs creating a crime wave which sent those kids here, and you'll never be able to figure out why the rust is affecting the coffee now, but didn't before. So stick your head in the sand and make sure that Obama can't enjoy a few hours of exercise and relaxation. You've solved all the world's problems going forward; they'll be caused by the guy in the white house.
  • Yes, Ikelives, history is written by the victors, and is therefore potentially slanted by the views of the victor. That's why a free press, and a free academic system, with tenure, are so important. Often both sides keep excellent records, and we're able to report events like the Holocaust using the records kept by the Nazis themselves as evidence. Nazis are free to try to justify their acts, as opposed to those in Germany who are prohibited from publishing pre-Nazi comments. I HATE the Nazis but I like the idea of free competition of ideas as a means to find "truth." America has kept detailed records of its abuse of Native Peoples and minorities which were left out of early history books and are now more widely known. But revisionism can work both ways, so there is a need to read more than one source, and to think and think critically about what you read. Life is supposed to be a learning experience, not a shopping marathon. If people even read as much as they shopped we'd be much better off, but less than 5% of Americans read even one book a year. My parents, who evolved into adults far before TV, were in the habit of reading 6 books/wk, each. In addition, they read three daily newspapers, the New York Times, The Miami Beach Sun and the Miami Herald. Compared to them I feel illiterate, but I try to read and stay informed from various sources. Metaphysics teaches us that there is only subjective experience and that there is no objective "Truth" with a capital T, but if we read critically and continue to have an open mind, I think that each of us is capable of discerning most cases of blatant propaganda. Columbus was a man of his times and not a saint. There is no question that his voyages changed the course of history, although if he didn't do it then someone else surely would have eventually. That in no way lessens his impact, and his is a valid historical person. I would be interested in seeing a list of names of people who each of you think would deserve to have holidays named after them rather than, or in addition to, Columbus. Personally, I don't see the need for more shopping mall days. Go to Israel on their Memorial Day type holiday and you will not find people in the stores. You will find them in the cemeteries honoring their dead. Europe doesn't move VE Day to the first Monday if it falls on a weekend so people can go shopping an extra day. They celebrate the holiday on the actual anniversary of the event.