Category Archives: World Events

Hey Blog Buds!


Hello my Blog Buds!!

[I used that term in a comment to another blogger, a fav of mine Opinionated Man and decided to keep it 🙂 ]

I just wanted to thank you again for following me – reading, commenting, and engaging! I doubled my number of Blog Buds over the summer, something I never expected to happen. I’m glad you are enjoying my random rambling thoughts, as I have many! I read as many of you as I can when I can.

Shield-Nano-Blue-Brown-RGB-HiRes

I mentioned I am participating in National Novel Writing Month. Yes, I am definitely a glutton for punishment!

This is not my first attempt at this, but I hoping this will be my first success. I am proud to say that as of the end of today, Day 3 (just finished up for the day), I am 6543 words in, though my friendly counter reminds me that I still have 43,457 to meet my challenge goal.

I voted early last Friday. Political races are nasty here, so I’ll be glad when it’s over, tired of hearing all the bullshit. Today is Election Day – I hope you go and exercise your right to vote. Though inherently we all want and need the same things, we will never all think the same, nor should we – BUT we should think ☮

Now the Panic Sets In


I am watching the Congressional Hearings on Ebola now. The CDC is looking really bad and in my opinion is not currently up for the task of protecting this country. Dr. Frieden, head of the CDC, was asked if he knew of any hospitals in Ohio that have practiced procedures for handling an Ebola patient. (Ohio is where Vinson flew to.) Dr. Frieden did not know if this has been done. If I was him, that would’ve been one of the first things I did after learning about Ms. Vinson’s travel.

Someone mentioned that Pham’s dog is being quarantined, and that old CDC reports noted that transmission to/from dogs is unknown, but suspect. This congressman then asked if we shouldn’t be imposing travel restrictions on animals – yet still no mention of actually imposing travel restrictions on people. And when I say restrictions – I don’t just mean preventing airplane travel.

School districts in Texas and Ohio have now closed some schools due to the risk of exposure.  I heard that Frontier Airlines has grounded their exposed employees – finally someone with a brain. Hopefully they are going to decontaminate the plane – though that is just one of the places Vinson exposed to the virus.

A nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas stated that she had questioned the protective apparel at the time. She also said if she got sick, she would NOT go to the hospital she works for. Apparently, quite a few people are refraining from visiting that hospital – thank goodness.

And one last thing that keeps going through my mind – what exactly is meant by “monitoring” of the exposed people. (They may have asked that during the hearing, but if so I missed it.) And why are so many being allowed to “self-monitor?”

Just something I was thinking about . . .

She Flew With a Fever


I swear this was not what I had in mind for my next post. I have some other things I am working on, but I just can’t believe healthcare worker Amber Vinson got on a plane knowing she had a fever and knowing she had been exposed to Thomas Duncan, and Nina Pham, the other nurse who has been diagnosed with Ebola. She of all people KNEW BETTER! Vinson has now been diagnosed with Ebola, and flown to Atlanta for treatment.

When asked how this could happen, that one of these exposed healthcare workers could get on a plane and travel during the incubation period when they were supposed to be being monitored for symptoms – the answer the official gave was the one we keep hearing over and over – Well, somebody dropped the ball there.

I heard another official say that the risk of the infection spreading was “very very low,” but we all know that’s bullshit. Why don’t they just tell the truth – though the risk appears to be low, this is a dangerous disease, and everyone must be vigilant, period. AND they haven’t been!! Those that could be exposed need to be trained thoroughly and provided the appropriate protective equipment. AND they haven’t been!! It’s been reported that the nurses who treated Duncan also treated other patients. Those in charge really are not taking this issue seriously. How could they be, with this type of decision-making and resulting behavior?

And I’m sorry, regardless whether anyone kept Vinson from flying or not – SHE should’ve known better, she did know better, she just didn’t care. Shit, I take more precautions to keep from exposing people when I have a cold. I have to admit, I was fucking blown away when I heard she got on a plane knowing she had a fever and her exposure history. I could go on about that, but serves no purpose.

[I have to add a post-script here: A few hours after the initial report that Vinson traveled by plane, it was discovered that she DID contact the CDC and inform them that she had a fever. The CDC, in their infinite wisdom, told her to go ahead and fly, as her fever was still under the threshold they had set. The CDC , in my opinion, have just lost an immense amount of credibility by not erring on the side of caution. I pray that mistake doesn’t come back to haunt them, as well as the rest of us.]

I said in my last blog – I hope everyone that has come in contact with these patients is being quarantined and monitored. I can’t help but worry that someone has been missed, unnoticed, or unidentified. Well, we now have proof that exposed people are out there in the general population coming in contact with others who have no idea.

There are 70+ other healthcare workers who came in contact with Duncan, not counting how many others who have come into contact with Pham and Vinson. So far, none of the original 70+ people are being quarantined, knowingly allowing them to possibly expose others.

AND while all of this is going on, and we have turned our attention to our own inattention to precaution against Ebola and are now scrambling to stop the possible impending crisis, I can’t help but wonder what else might be going on elsewhere – while we aren’t paying attention?

Just something I was thinking about . . .

Catching up with NASA & Ebola


There are a lot of things going on in the world these days. I need to catch up on a couple of things that are on my list of interests I like to keep an eye on. After editing, it dawned on me the title of this post might be a bit misleading – I apologize for that – but the NASA piece was short, and I liked the image. So, I’ll start with the cool stuff, and finish with the scary shit.orion-boarding-pass

NASA’s Human Exploration Space Program: NASA awarded Boeing and SpaceX the contracts to provide crew transportation – beginning with trips to the International Space Station targeted for 2017. I pretty much anticipated that they would get these contracts, as their designs were probably the furthest along. It helps that these companies are full of ex-NASA engineers, flight controllers, program managers, and even a few astronauts, as well as contractors in various positions,  that left NASA to build something in the way a new generation might. I sure hope we can eliminate our dependence on Russia by 2017. Not sure what else is going to shake out for the future . . . only time will tell at this point. But NASA’s Orion crew module – with Mars and other destinations in mind – is scheduled for its first exploration flight test this December. I’ve got my boarding pass 🙂 (Which is ironic, since I don’t fly!)

Ebola:  With the disease continuing to spread and the number of fatalities rising (close to 4500 so far), new cases have have been reported in Spain, and a few cities here. I’m afraid other places will also experience people contracting this virus. The U.S. has experienced its first case of the virus being spread from one person to another. Nina Pham, a nurse who had contact with Thomas Duncan the patient who died in Dallas earlier this month, has been diagnosed. I hope everyone that has come in contact with these patients is being quarantined and monitored. I can’t help but worry that someone has been missed, unnoticed, or unidentified.

Nurses in various cities have held rallies to voice their concern for the lack of preparedness for this infectious disease, though their employers (the hospitals) are saying they are fully prepared to handle these types of diseases. CNN reported nurses from the Texas hospital involved have anonymously complained to their union stating, “guidelines were constantly changing” and “there were no protocols” – the situation described of the handling of Duncan is exactly as I feared.

I read an article a few days back stating several issues that could increase the odds for a pandemic. I can’t remember all the points cited, and I didn’t get to read it all either, but the two that stuck out were if an infected person traveled to India or China, and the possibility for mutation and increased virility. (I have been trying to find that article so I could finish reading it, but haven’t yet.)

Stanford University Dr. David Sanders, who has studied the virus since 2003, commented on a news interview that Ebola can enter the lungs, via the airway side. With continued spreading of the virus, mutations could occur increasing virility, which could result in it becoming airborne.  He added that suppressing the outbreak in Africa is key to preventing it from continuing to spread globally. Well, we already know they have not been exactly successful in this endeavor.

Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, the CDC and a host of others are trying to figure out how Mr. Duncan’s nurse became infected. They believe it has to do with the removal of protective wear. Last I heard, they have honed in on the possibility that the nurses necks were exposed in some way. Pham is improving, since having a blood transfusion from one of the recent Ebola survivors.

As a side note, I heard the patient in Spain had a dog that was euthanized. Pham’s dog is in quarantine. I wonder if anything might be learned from this.

Some people feel that travel should be suspended from the affected countries where the outbreak began and is concentrated. Though I can certainly agree with that sentiment, I get the impression, in today’s global village mentality, this is not going to happen. After hearing what Dr. Sanders and others have said, I think those in charge need to re-examine how to proceed further for the best interests of the global community.

When I took a training class on Pandemic Preparedness a few years ago (they were mostly targeting influenza) it was noted that a pandemic would cause major impacts on society due to widespread restrictions on travel, as well as other closings and cancellations affecting schools, large gatherings, and businesses. It was stressed a pandemic could have the “potential for severe impact on domestic and world economy.” Hmm . . . (yes, I have to admit, it was not a subtle hmm!)

What do you think about suspending travel? Do you think they are handling this crisis properly, or in a lackadaisical manner? Do you believe a robust Pandemic Plan is in place nationally in your country or globally?

Just some things I was thinking about . . .

Outer Space Treaty


orion-image

While reading the newspaper today, it was mentioned that on this day back in 1967 the Outer Space Treaty was agreed upon and entered into force. This agreement prohibited placing weapons of mass destruction on the moon or elsewhere in space. Space exploration was recognized as a peaceful endeavor and a benefit to all mankind , among other things.

That was almost 50 years ago . . . I can’t help but wonder what will happen in the next 50 years. Will Russia, India, China, and North Korea honor this treaty as they excel in their space exploration?

Just something I was thinking about . . .

Fine & Boycott the Bastards


stop-outsourcing

Okay – so in the last three days I have had to call Comcast, Chase and my local credit union. Do you know where their customer service call centers are located – The Philippines (yeah, I asked!), every last one of them, even my credit union (which I must say surprised the shit out of me).

It’s no wonder people here can’t find jobs . . .

And don’t get me wrong, I want people in the Philippines to be able to work and eat and raise their families, but not at the expense of American’s doing without these jobs that President Bush-43 called the jobs of the 21st century.

Now, mind you, I have been out of work for over a year, though I am not a customer service person, but this kind of business practice affects us all!

I think everyone who does business this way should be heavily fined, and if possible boycotted!

Okay my rant for the day is done . . . (yes, this pisses me off!)

Just something I was thinking about . . . something I think about often, as a matter of fact! ☮

 

 

It’s here . . .


Ebola could be just a plane ride away . . . From: http://heavy.com/news/2014/07/ebola-virus-outbreak-2014-spreading/
Ebola is just a plane ride away . . .

Ebola has been diagnosed in the United States, brought in from Liberia by a man visiting family in Dallas, Texas. He had been here about a week before becoming ill enough to go to the emergency room. He told ER medical staff at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital he was visiting from Liberia, noting the Ebola outbreak there, and true to my biggest fear they dropped the ball – into the fire, per say – and released him after failing to recognize his symptoms. He returned to the ER two days later, by ambulance, and was admitted immediately.

He has since been diagnosed and CDC representatives are going door-to-door in the neighborhood surveying neighbors. The ambulance he rode in is no longer in use until it has been decontaminated. The hospital is taking the necessary precautions now. But originally, protocols were not followed, and this is disconcerting to me, especially in a place like Dallas that has a huge international traveling population.

The man’s family has five school-aged children he has been in contact with, who then went to school. I pray none of those children get sick. That could be absolutely catastrophic. Kids touch and share all kinds of things and are not great at washing their hands. We all know this. Kids get diarrhea, vomit, and have traces of saliva, urine, and feces on their hands. And they are almost always sweaty, especially if they are outdoors. I’m not panicking about this, nor do I think anyone else should, but this is some frightening shit. THAT is why the medical protocols were put in place and that is why I am so upset that the hospital missed this on first visit.

Besides being spread by all bodily fluids, Ebola can also survive outside the body for one to two days. Simply touching an infected person can be fatal. The virus is continuing to spread in West Africa at an alarming rate, making this the deadliest outbreak in history. Many frightened and confused infected people in those countries are hiding from health workers – hiding in their homes infecting their families and others in their villages out of fear and ignorance. Ignorance is often deadly.

Ebola under the microscope.  From: http://ebolaviros.com/images/0.jpg
Ebola under the microscope

I heard on the news last night that so far there have been almost 6600 confirmed cases of Ebola and almost 3100 deaths. I also heard The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation granted the World Health Organization $4 million for help in the Ebola fight, as well as so many others working to help by contributing time, money, knowledge and expertise – especially those on the front lines trying to stop the monster from spreading any further.

Getting back to the U.S. case, CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden seems quite confident that there is no danger of this disease spreading out of control. I’m glad he is so sure, because I’m afraid that I’m not. I read somewhere when asked if this newly diagnosed Ebola patient would be sent to one of the four isolation units in the country, Frieden had said this was not needed because “virtually any hospital can provide the proper care and infection control” – seriously … hospitals have high infection rates resulting in “superbugs” over the last decade or so.

I would think the special isolation units have highly-trained staff to provide care – staff who have practiced exposure to these types of infectious diseases. I certainly hope Dallas doesn’t drop the ball again.

After this initial blunder, I hope all medical professionals are following the CDC protocols put into place regarding this disease. They are truly our first line of defense in this battle and they have to be ever vigilant.

Just something I was thinking about . . .

A 9/11 Memory


never-forget-9-11-01

Today is the 13th anniversary of one of the worst days in American history. I am sure many of us remember where we were and what we were doing that horrific fateful day. I was working at NASA as an education project manager and journalist. I had an interview that day with one of my subject matter experts onsite at 10:30 a.m.

I had just gotten out of the shower, and had walked into the kitchen in my towel to get a glass of water, when I noticed on the television that a plane had flown into one of the Twin Towers. The sound was down on the television, so I couldn’t hear what was going on and just thought there had been an accident. About that time, my phone rang. I answered it, and my sister, almost frantically, asked if I had heard what happened. I explained to her that I had been in the shower, but from what I was looking at, some fool had hit one of the towers. At that point, as I am watching the television, another plane struck the other tower.

“What the hell is going on,” I asked my sister. She is a first grade teacher and was at school, which is why I thought it so odd that she had called me.

“We are being attacked!” she replied, her voice cracking.

“No, we’re not,” I said. “We are not being attacked! No way!!”

She asked me if I was going to work that day. “Yes,” I said, “I’m getting ready to go in and interview this cool scientist.”

I was stunned, as she begged me not to go in. “You can’t go in today! Please stay home!”

“I have to,” I told her. “This guy’s real busy and I have been trying to pin him down for weeks. This is going to be an awesome interview and I’m not going to miss it.”

“You CAN’T go in to work. PLEASE stay home today – NASA could be a target,” at this point she is crying so hard I can barely understand her.  She continues to plead with me to stay home and not go to my place of work.

“Okay, okay. Calm down. Let me get online and see what’s going on. If it’s a true threat, the center will post a message telling employees and contractors not to come in. Let me get dressed and then I’ll check it out and call you back.”

“Okay, we’re on lock-down here, so call me back,” she said as we hung up.

I got off the phone, and got dressed, combing out my hair wondering if we were truly under attack ,and if so what would that mean. I turned the TV up so I could hear it. Back then, my Internet access was dial-up, so I couldn’t be on the phone (no smart phones back then either) and get online.

I got on my computer and signed in via VPN to the local intranet for my NASA center. I didn’t even have to log-in to the internal network when I saw the message that all NASA centers were closing down and would be closed until further notice, and all non-essential employees were instructed to leave.

I called my sister back and assured her I wasn’t going to work, and asked how things were going at school. Some of the teachers were freaking out, and this was starting to make the kids uneasy. They were all doing the best they could to keep things as normal as possible under the circumstances.

I called my husband at work, and he and his co-workers had found a television and were gathered around watching in shock, too. I thought about my child and her safety – but had already heard her school was on lock-down, too – no one in and no one out; so nothing I could do there at this point. (Yes, I must admit, this made me quite uneasy as a mother!)

Okay, now I was in total disbelief and was completely glued to my television. (Actually, as a journalist, by this point I had 3 TV’s on – the 2 with recording capability were set to record different channels.)  I had hoped that this Twin Towers accident was all just being blown out of proportion, but by now the Pentagon had been hit, also.

New York City was completely shut down – all airspace, bridges and tunnels. Then one of the towers collapsed. Then the second tower collapsed. I watched this and was absolutely horrified at the images I was seeing and the knowledge I was now aware of. The fate (and heroic measures) of Flight 93 were now being discovered, as well. [My timeline may be off a little, but I believe this is an accurate one.]

At some point, it was announced that ALL flights in the continental United States airspace were grounded. This had never happened in my lifetime; as a matter of fact this had never happened before in American history. As I sat and watched all of this play out in my living room, I was completely shocked. I was on the phone here and there when people who knew I might be home would call for more info.

I continued to watch all day and late into the night. The United States was on its highest military alert next to ready for nuclear attack. (I believe we were at DEFCON 2.) I woke early the next morning to see the news coverage continuing. It was like this for days (as almost all regular programming on television had been pre-empted), and after about three days, I had to disengage for a bit. That’s when having a large CD and movie collection helps.

I was also about to turn 40 and had a huge party planned, margarita machine rented and all. This had been planned for months. I had no idea if I should still have the party under the circumstances. Though it was planned for 4 days after the attack, I just wasn’t sure I was in a partying mood, of if anyone else would be either.

I discussed it with several family members and friends, and I decided to go ahead and have the party. Looking back on it, I’m so glad i did, as it was obvious people needed something fun to focus on. People needed to laugh and spend time with those they cared about and loved. THIS is what living and life is all about.  The terrorists want us to live in fear – that’s one of their goals. I think I can safely say, as a nation, we do not live in fear, per say – though there is a huge amount of information and data gathering as a result.

My heart went out to all of those involved, those who knew the fear, had a sense of what was coming, those who died just for being there, and those who died trying to save those in the wrong place at the wrong time. This country may be divided on many things, but I think we all feel the same about the events of this day. As a country, we were violated. We were raped. We were maimed. And after the reality of what had happened set in, we were outraged.

[I am sure many who live in other parts of the world wonder about American’s “false sense of security.”  They wonder why we feel we are above being attacked on our own soil. It’s not that we think we are above it all, it’s that except for the American Revolution and our own Civil War this is not part of our experience – particularly anyone alive today; that was not part of our everyday world. It has been mentioned in a few conversations I have had that our location on Earth with the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans separating and buffering us from Europe and Asia and the Middle East, have made us less of a target than many other countries. But if we were attached in land mass, things might very well be different. I don’t know, thoughts for another day, maybe. I have a few thoughts that might be for another day, but not for today.]

Today, on the anniversary of one of the worst days in the history of this country, I am bowing my head in respect, honor, reflection, sorrow, and prayer. I don’t mind telling you, I shed many tears as I wrote this. I can only hope this never happens here again . . .

I wish this kind of violence, murder, intimidation and oppression never happened anywhere, but I know that’s not even a pipe dream . . .

Just something I was thinking about today . . . Peace ☮ ~ ☮ ~ ☮
Just realized this is my 50th blog post!

What Was He Thinking??


Watching the news today – I know, it’s always an experience and often entertaining, and it has been a few days since I’ve watched any because I had to check out for awhile – and as I’m listening, the reporter starts talking about the color of President Obama’s suit at a news conference yesterday. It was tan, or what some would call taupe. Seriously, I’m not shitting you. I saw it, of course you know they had to show it, and it was a nice suit; I saw nothing wrong with it. (I haven’t seen the news conference yet, wasn’t engaged yesterday and have been busy today – but I will find it and watch it.)

Those that know me know I am not a fashion icon by any means, BUT come on people – with all the problems in the world, in our country and in our own lives – does the color of his suit really matter? Am I just an idiot for thinking it doesn’t??

Then one of my Facebook friends commented that some news reporter/commentator went on to chastise saying – after mentioning the suit debacle, of course – that President Obama stated that first he wanted to say something about some revised numbers on the economy, like real Americans cared about that after the beheading of James Foley and ISIS concerns. Then the president went on to say that we don’t have a strategy for ISIS.

Now I am a real American, and for the first time in decades, I have been unemployed for 15 months. I’m living off my retirement money and I have at least 15 years until I can retire. So I do care about the economy. That is most important to me at this moment. Having said that, what we ALL better be concerned about is that we don’t have a strategy to deal with ISIS, and if that’s not bad enough, now the whole world knows. The whole world also knows that those crazy ass Americans are in an uproar about the president’s suit color, not that their military has no plan.

Oh my goodness – as I am writing this, just heard the news reporting the color of Obama’s suit was the top trend on Twitter. That, my friends, is exactly why this country and maybe some other parts of the world are in the shape they are in. Look at the shit the “important people” – the communicators, the decision makers, the money makers/spenders, the policy makers – are focusing on. What the fuck is wrong with you people?!?

Okay – I am so not related to these people, I can tell you  . . .

I’m curious what y’all think about this, too.

Anyway just something I was thinking about it . . . and felt the need to rant about 😉

Some Days I Just Breathe


I’ve been listening to this song lately, probably because right now I am having trouble making sense of so many things – things in my personal life and events and happenings in my own country and in the world at large. I have said this before, the world is a scary place. Most times, life is never easy. People’s thought processes and actions and reactions continue to confound me. Sometimes as I write this blog, it’s not so much to share MY opinions, but to get insight from you, my readers and others I follow, as to how to make sense of it all. Are you as confused (and concerned) as I am?

The racial tensions in Ferguson, Missouri, are troubling. I saw a town meeting today on one of the news channels, and it was pretty apparent, to me anyway, that the governor of Missouri is totally in over his head and has very little control over the situation due to  a lack of trust from his constituents.

The crowd kept asking why the police officer involved, Darren Wilson, hadn’t been arrested yet. I do not know all the details of the Michael Brown shooting, but in all honesty I don’t believe a week is long enough to investigate it, all the while dealing with the protesters and rioting. Just being realistic here.

I know the cops aren’t always the good guys, though I was raised to believe that they were. I also know sometimes kids are ignorant and immature and do stupid and crazy-ass things. I did (not stuff like robbery but still really cocky , thoughtless, careless and stupid stuff) and I am not that person anymore. Unfortunately these days, we can’t be sure if some dumb-ass punk  (AKA young adult or teenager totally not acting in an age-appropriate morally and socially acceptable way) is going to try and kill us when they act stupid.

IF this kid acted towards the cop the way he did toward the store clerk he robbed, I can understand why the outcome was what it was. In all honesty, if that was my store and I had a concealed handgun license, I might have shot him myself when he doubled back and came back into the store rushing me, after pushing past me to get out and make a run for it. Pretty sure as big as he was and as small as I am, I would have felt threatened. Shit, what is wrong with kids today?

They are doing a second independent autopsy to confirm the findings. I am sure that is going to answer a few questions. {Man I love science!} Then again maybe not. They’re also continuing to investigate the robbery. I hope they do an honest and thorough investigation of this entire case. I hope the people of Ferguson can find some closure soon.

A curfew was to begin tonight – just checked the news, and it is not going well. Protesters and others are not getting off the streets and looting is going on. Peacefully protesting I understand, looting, definitely NOT. I can only say, with the way the situation continues to escalate, I hope no one else gets killed.

ISIS – now I do not even know where to begin with these radical killing machines. Their ideology and attitudes and mind-set are beyond me. I certainly comprehend it, but for the life of me, can’t understand it. My husband and I watched some 30 minute piece CNN ran with a reporter embedded on the mountain with the Yazidis, flying in on a supply drop helicopter. It was truly horrific what these people are going through, AND we didn’t see any of the really bad stuff – but I can just imagine . . .

What is going on over there has to be stopped. I don’t know what they need to do, or even actually WHO “they” are. But collectively, all of these leaders have got to get on the same page against ISIS and figure out how to take them out. Warring between themselves is bad enough, but this is a whole new enemy. And I know this sounds really bad, but between everyone involved, they ought to be able to figure out a resolution. I’ve said this before, when Syria, Iran, and Iraq are asking for us to help them, it’s some bad shit.

I’ve already talked about Ebola and it’s getting worse.

In light of all that, I got my own stuff nipping at my heals, too. Some days are longer than others. Music (though I can’t play it – or sing it 😉 ) is a staple in my life – kind of like breathing. On that note – yeah pun intended – I like to start my day with this one . . . here’s to you . . . with blessings from above . . .

Just something I was thinking about . . . ☮