Tuesday October 14th 2014

"It Is Not A Question of Who Is Right Or Wrong But What Is Right Or Wrong That Counts."
--Geoff Metctalf



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World & National     
Texas nurse who contracted Ebola understood risks
              

A Texas nurse who contracted Ebola while caring for a Liberian man who later died of the disease understood the risks and tried to reassure her family that she would be safe, a family friend said.

When Nina Pham's mother learned her daughter was caring for Thomas Eric Duncan, Pham told her: "Mom, no. Don't worry about me," Christina Tran told The Associated Press Monday at Our Lady of Fatima church in Fort Worth, where about 30 people gathered for the regular evening Mass, where they offered extra prayers for Pham.

But despite wearing protective gear that included gowns, gloves, masks and face shields while caring for Duncan, the 26-year-old nurse became the first person to contract the disease within the United States.

Duncan died Wednesday at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, where Pham works.



WHO: 10,000 new Ebola cases per week could be seen

West Africa could face up to 10,000 new Ebola cases a week within two months, the World Health Organization warned Tuesday, adding that the death rate in the current outbreak has risen to 70 percent.

WHO assistant director-general Dr. Bruce Aylward gave the grim figures during a news conference in Geneva. Previously, the agency had estimated the Ebola mortality rate at around 50 percent overall. In contrast, in events such as flu pandemics, the death rate is typically under 2 percent.
Death rate reaches 70%...


Metro bus driver quarantined after passenger yells 'I have Ebola!'

A Metro driver has been quarantined and the bus he was operated taken out of service after a masked passenger began yelling, "Don't mess with me, I have Ebola!"

Metro officials said they are working with Los Angeles County sheriff's transit authorities to review surveillance footage taken from inside the bus to determine the identity of the masked passenger, who was accompanied by a woman, Metro spokesman Marc Littman said.

The Monday afternoon incident is being investigated as a possible terrorist threat because of the fear it incited, he said.



Obama Adminstration Has Kiss-and-Tell Problem
In its excitement to trumpet the coalition against the Islamic State, the U.S. is outing partners before they're ready to go steady.
                  


The Obama administration insists that it has a large and growing coalition of nations arrayed to fight the Islamic State. If a new diplomatic blowup with Turkey is any example, though, the alliance may be far less robust than Washington says.

The latest row concerns the key question of whether Turkey, which hosts a sprawling American air base, will let U.S. warcraft fly from it into Iraq and Syria to batter the militant group. U.S. officials said Sunday that Ankara had given the green light. Less than a day later, Turkish officials categorically denied that they'd agreed to allow their bases to be used against the terror group.



OPEC Split as Oil Prices Fall Sharply

Oil prices sank again on Monday, giving consumers more of a break and causing a split among OPEC leaders about what action should be taken, if any, to halt the slide.

The price drop has led to a near free fall in gasoline prices in the United States. On Monday, the national average price for regular gasoline was $3.20, 9 cents lower than it was a week ago and 14 cents below the price a year ago, according to the AAA motor club.

The price at the pump generally follows oil after a few days, leading energy experts to predict lower prices for the rest of the month at least.



Senate Race Rankings: Republicans on the Brink
Senate control looks tantalizingly close for the GOP, but Democrats still have a fair chance to hold the line.


October 13, 2014 Three weeks before Election Day, Republicans are on the brink of winning the Senate. But their advantage is so slight that a morale-sapping defeat is still very much possible.

That's the state of play in the latest edition of National Journal Hotline's Senate race rankings. At this point, it looks like Republicans have the inside track on taking over six red states currently represented by Democrats, and two of this year's rock-star GOP nominees also have Democrats on the ropes in a pair of swing states, Iowa and Colorado. Those states could give Republicans some breathing room if a state such as Alaska surprises when the returns come in. But late-breaking trouble in Kansas, of all places, has opened the door to continued Democratic control a little bit wider.



GOP Fears a Liberated, Post-Midterm Obama


Republicans are bracing for an avalanche of edicts from President Obama as soon as the constraints of the midterm elections are over.

Increasingly, conservatives worry they face two years of a diminished president who views a full-court progressive push as his best chance to establish a lasting legacy.

It was Obama himself, after all, who announced last month that he would delay unilateral implementation of some form of amnesty for the undocumented until after the midterms.
The transparently political nature of that decision — White House press secretary Josh Earnest conceded Republicans would have made the issue "more central to their campaign," and House Speaker John Boehner denounced it as "raw politics" — left many voters pondering how many other directives might be pending on the president's Resolute desk.



Bill O'Reilly: CDC's Frieden Should Resign Over Ebola

Fox News host Bill O'Reilly called Tom Frieden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control, the government's "chief propagandist" and called on him to resign because of a lack of candor and transparency about the threat of Ebola.

As part of the "Talking Points Memo" of his program, O'Reilly criticized the government for its handling of the Ebola crisis and of Frieden's honesty about the danger the virus poses.

“He knows that I know he’s not being candid, that he is spinning the situation and not being forthcoming about how the disease is being spread. Frieden should resign,” said O'Reilly, host of "The O'Reilly Factor."



Airstrikes Hit Jihadi Targets in Syria

The U.S.-led coalition has launched several airstrikes on Islamic State group positions in Syria, mainly in and around the town of Kobani near Turkey, where Kurdish fighters captured a strategic hill and brought down the jihadists' black flag, activists and a Kurdish official said Tuesday.

The battle for Kobani is still raging despite more than two weeks of airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition, raising concerns over whether the air campaign will be enough to degrade and eventually destroy the extremist group, which controls vast swaths of Iraq and Syria.

"Over the past night there have been very intense airstrikes by the coalition that targeted several Daesh positions in and near Kobani," said Idriss Nassan, deputy head of Kobani's foreign relations committee, using an Arabic acronym to refer to the Islamic State group.



In starkly different tone, Vatican report says gays should be welcome

               Related story: Pope Francis appoints panel to streamline annulments

Cardinals and bishops summoned by Pope Francis to the Vatican to discuss the modern family have said that homosexuals should be welcomed into the Roman Catholic Church and that heterosexual civil unions have “positive” aspects.

Without shifting on church doctrine, a document that was released Monday summing up views expressed halfway through a two-week synod offers a starkly different tone to the traditional Catholic take on gays and civil unions.



Fighting extremism with extremism


In his speech last month to the United Nations, President Obama summoned foreign leaders to join his “campaign against extremism.” While his clarion call was spurred by beheadings by the terrorist group the Islamic State, Mr. Obama has repeatedly invoked the “extremist” threat since taking office in 2009. However, the president’s own record makes it tricky for him to pirouette as the World Savior of Moderation.

Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater was vilified in 1964 for declaring that “extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.” Nonetheless, Mr. Obama seems to think that seizing unlimited power in the war against extremism is a virtue.



Letting no panic go to waste
Ebola, ISIS, global warming — take your pick

There’s so much fuel for hysteria, a crisis-monger hardly knows where to start.

The Ebola “epidemic” in America — two cases so far, and one them actually originated on another continent, oceans away — is reported by certain tabloids, television correspondents, radio talkers and Web “news” sites as though it were the greatest threat to mankind since dinosaurs walked the earth, which was even before there was a mankind. The Malaysian airliner that disappeared over the Indian Ocean was the previous worst world crisis.



Medal of Honor
The Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States.
GeneTrerally presented to its recipient by the President of the United States of America in the name of Congress.
The first award of the Medal of Honor was made March 25, 1863 to Private JACOB PARROTT.The last award of the Medal of Honor was made September 15, 2011 to Sergeant DAKOTA MEYER.

Since then there have been:  • 3458 recipients of the Medal of Honor.
    • Today there are 85 Living Recipients of the Medal of Honor.

PETRY, LEROY A. Photo

PETRY, LEROY A.

Rank: Staff Sergeant

Organization: U.S. Army
Company: Company D
Division: 2d Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment
Place / Date: 26 May 2008, Paktya Province, Afghanistan

Citation

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty: Staff Sergeant Leroy A. Petry distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in action with an armed enemy in the vicinity of Paktya Province, Afghanistan, on May 26, 2008. As a Weapons Squad Leader with D Company, 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Staff Sergeant Petry moved to clear the courtyard of a house that potentially contained high-value combatants. While crossing the courtyard, Staff Sergeant Petry and another Ranger were engaged and wounded by automatic weapons fire from enemy fighters. Still under enemy fire, and wounded in both legs, Staff Sergeant Petry led the other Ranger to cover. He then reported the situation and engaged the enemy with a hand grenade, providing suppression as another Ranger moved to his position. The enemy quickly responded by maneuvering closer and throwing grenades. The first grenade explosion knocked his two fellow Rangers to the ground and wounded both with shrapnel. A second grenade then landed only a few feet away from them. Instantly realizing the danger, Staff Sergeant Petry, unhesitatingly and with complete disregard for his safety, deliberately and selflessly moved forward, picked up the grenade, and in an effort to clear the immediate threat, threw the grenade away from his fellow Rangers. As he was releasing the grenade it detonated, amputating his right hand at the wrist and further injuring him with multiple shrapnel wounds. Although picking up and throwing the live grenade grievously wounded Staff Sergeant Petry, his gallant act undeniably saved his fellow Rangers from being severely wounded or killed. Despite the severity of his wounds, Staff Sergeant Petry continued to maintain the presence of mind to place a tourniquet on his right wrist before communicating the situation by radio in order to coordinate support for himself and his fellow wounded Rangers. Staff Sergeant Petry's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service, and reflect great credit upon himself, 75th Ranger Regiment, and the United States Army.




From the Archives

American Fairness to a Fault — a Deadly One
Tuesday, 10 Nov 2009 02:28 PM

American’s tragic flaw is our unbridled fairness, which has been corrupted ever more by the cancer of political correctness to the point we put ourselves at risk rather than create even the perception of prejudice.

Sometime after the VOLAR (all volunteer) Army, the military veered from the “yes sir, yes sir, three bags full” blind adherence to all orders to the concept of refusing “unlawful orders” and that was ostensibly a good thing.

However, the uniformed services do not set or get to pick and choose foreign policy. The civilian leadership sets foreign policy, and the U.S. military enforces it — with a big, honking combined arms stick.

Retired Lt. Col. Ralph Peters has been one of the rare pundits with the courage to target the “culture of political correctness” in leadership of the military. In at least two interviews on Fox, Peters (correctly) blamed the culture of political correctness for the Army’s diffidence in taking action against Nidal Malik Hasan in the wake of knowledge of the problem.

Many mechanisms exist for dealing with matters of deep conscience — all without killing those one might think disagree with in principle.

However, it is not prejudice to discriminate based on threat facts in evidence. Refusal to act judiciously for fear of a tainted perception is just plain dumb.

Notwithstanding the articulated fears of the Army chief of staff and the secretary of Homeland Security, officials made an epic mistake in handling suspicions about Hasan. A mistake founded on political correctness and sustained by diffidence that cost the lives of innocents.

Reportedly, U.S. intelligence agencies were aware (months ago) that Hasan was attempting to make contact with people associated with al-Qaida. He spoke openly to too many people about his angst and misdirected sympathies. He was apparently a poster child for suspicion, and the Army failed bigtime to intervene.

“It is not known whether the intelligence agencies informed the Army that one of its officers was seeking to connect with suspected al-Qaida figures," the officials said.

But you damnbetcha they SHOULD have done so.

Investigators want to know whether Hasan maintained contact with a radical mosque leader from Virginia, Anwar al Awlaki, who now lives in Yemen and runs a Web site that promotes jihad around the world against the United States.

In a recent blog posting titled "Nidal Hassan Did the Right Thing," Awlaki calls Hasan a "hero" and a "man of conscience who could not bear living the contradiction of being a Muslim and serving in an army that is fighting against his own people."

Increasingly we are told people who knew or worked with Hasan say he seemed to become gradually more radical in his condemnation of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Subordinates and superiors had a responsibility to flag the inappropriate rhetoric, and they apparently did not.

The fear to speak out is a symptom of the PC disease fueled by recriminations and implied threats of discrimination — a fear that indirectly resulted in mayhem.

Sen. Joseph Lieberman said, "If Hasan was showing signs, saying to people that he had become an Islamist extremist, the U.S. Army has to have a zero tolerance," and despite the echo of shutting the barn door after the horse got out, he is right.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey Jr. is concerned that speculation about the religious beliefs of Hasan could “cause a backlash against some of our Muslim soldiers.” He’s right, but such a backlash would be a direct result of the failure of command — not prejudice.

When confronted about whether he thought the Army “dropped the ball” in not responding to warning signs, Casey replied that the Army needs to be careful not to jump to conclusions based on early tidbits of information.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R.-S.C., and Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., both of whom are veterans, took pains to say that Muslims have served honorably in the military and at risk to their lives.

“At the end of the day, this is not about his religion — the fact that this man was a Muslim,” Graham said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

But, hey, it is (kinda/sorta) about religion (when the FBI says 10 percent of American Mosques preach jihad) — at least from a risk analysis perspective.