Vaccines Fall Off — Sickness Jumps

Vaccine anti Damage

The graphic [above] was provided by the Council on Foreign Relations and it illustrates in shockingly easy-to-understand visual language the impact the anti-vaccination movement is having in countries which should be free of easily preventable diseases. Outbreaks of whooping cough, thought to be eradicated almost entirely, now appear in places like the United States and Europe with even greater frequency and in larger numbers than in the economically underdeveloped world.

The state of Wisconsin alone saw more than 7,000 cases of the disease between 2011 and 2013. In California, the number was over 10,000. At least 10 babies died in the state from the disease in 2010. In 2009, there were no news reports of vaccine-preventable diseases in the state of Washington. In 2012, the state suffered five distinct outbreaks of whooping cough, totaling 7,000 cases of a disease that was once close to eradication.

from the LA TImes via the Daily Banter

News From Mali

Mali has been too much in the news these days, after decades of never appearing in the western press except by proxy as the location of Timbuktu, the most remote end of a travel route in the imagination.  Now we read of radical Islamists,  splits between factions and leaders, Tuareg tribesmen allying with the rebels and then back to the government, refugees pouring across the borders and uncertainty screwed down tight by approaching death. All this you can read about.

Here is something else: a letter from a Malian artist who has lived in Portland, Oregon for years, traveling back in his homeland.

Today is January 16Friends in Malith 2013.  I have just returned from Baroueli visiting the Kone family that I met through David, Kay and Sasha Pollack. It was a spectacular time that Gaoussou Kone and his family showed me.

Gaoussou is a type of person my mother would describe as “A man with an extra eye in the back of his head.”  Despite his intense hard work in their little family restaurant, he also seems to be the ambassador of the town. He is the head of the farmers association and takes part in every small organization for the betterment of Baroueli. Gaousou Kone is also a respectful butcher in town because of his expertise in recognizing the healthiest animals.

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Liberal Egyptians LOVE American Right Wing

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is reported to have been pelted with tomatoes and shoes during a visit to the new government of Egypt, in Cairo.  Why?  Even though some of the signs and chants referred to Monica (Lewinsky) it seems the main grievence from the mostly anti-Islamist crowd was the belief that the U.S. government had colluded with, and funded the Muslim brotherhood to help it win the recent elections.

Their proof?  American right-wing bloggers, including the likes of Michelle Bachman, Frank Gaffney,  Glenn Beck, Judi McLeod (Canada) and others… still convinced that Obama is a closeted Muslim and bent on destroying their idiocy.

In an online conversation on Monday, when Matt Bradley of The Wall Street Journal asked an Egyptian blogger named Sara Ahmed for proof that the Obama administration was “financing” the Muslim Brotherhood, she directed him to a blog post about American aid to Egypt by an ultra-conservative Canadian blogger, Judi McLeod. Ms. McLeod’s post was based on a news story posted on, a site run by Lucianne Goldberg, an American conservative who played a central role in the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

As Mr. Bradley pointed out to Ms. Ahmed, though, Ms. McLeod had badly garbled the original news report, which simply said that the U.S. had decided to release $1.3 billion in aid to Egypt’s military in April. Ms. McLeod falsely reported that the money had been given instead to a delegation of Muslim Brotherhood leaders who visited Washington around the same time.

The lede….

It’s Even Worse Than It Looks — Ideology at the throat of governance

Coming back to the American political scene after three weeks away and not much has changed.  Or perhaps that is unfair: at least more, and more from the middle, are talking about the root cause of the toxicity in politics.  Not everyone is pumping the same sludge.   The Washington Post has a review of a scathing new book about Republican extremism, by two veterans of the political scene who have striven to keep their views free of damaging rhetoric.

It’s Even Worse Than It Looks  — by y Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein

Today’s Republicans in Congress behave like a parliamentary party in a British-style parliament, a winner-take-all system. But a parliamentary party — “ideologically polarized, internally unified, vehemently oppositional” — doesn’t work in a “separation-of-powers system that makes it extremely difficult for majorities to work their will.”

These Republicans “have become more loyal to party than to country,” the authors write, so “the political system has become grievously hobbled at a time when the country faces unusually serious problems and grave threats. . . . The country is squandering its economic future and putting itself at risk because of an inability to govern effectively.”

“Patriot” Movement Explodes

The Southern Poverty Law Center is reporting explosive growth in the self designated Patriot Movement


The radical right grew explosively in 2011, the third such dramatic expansion in as many years. The growth was fueled by superheated fears generated by economic dislocation, a proliferation of demonizing conspiracy theories, the changing racial makeup of America, and the prospect of four more years under a black president who many on the far right view as an enemy to their country.

The number of hate groups counted by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) last year reached a total of 1,018, up slightly from the year before but continuing a trend of significant growth that is now more than a decade old. The truly stunning growth came in the antigovernment “Patriot” movement — conspiracy-minded groups that see the federal government as their primary enemy.

Loud Mouth Braggart Watch

I for one can’t watch the Repugnant Debates.  I have to depend on others to give me the details textually so I can skip and skim. Newtie, as usual, slung his tongue around without much relation to the facts of his own life, or that of others.

In Monday night’s debate, Gingrich characterized the end of his Congressional career after the 1998 midterms as wholly volitional, making his exit sound like a self-sacrificing blaze of glory rather than the acrimonious firestorm it was.

With Gingrich, the distance between reality and rhetoric isn’t shrinking but growing, and the incongruities mount. He has lately fallen in love with his rants against “the elites,” and casts himself as their most determined foe, but I can’t for the life of me figure out a definition of elite that doesn’t include him.

Frank Bruni in the NY Times

I’m with Bruni is his caution to those Dems who think Newt would be the easiest for Obama to wallop.  Sanity would suggest so, however the American people gave W Bush a second term despite knowing what he had given us in the first four years.

In a country which celebrates loud-mouthed braggarts it isn’t a given that one wouldn’t be elected in a kind of American Idol p0erversion of the thoughtful consideration of men and matters the forefathers imagined.

The lead editorial in the NY Times reminds us, as does Bruni, that the Gingrich contempt for the “elites” must surely be self contempt.

Newt Gingrich’s victory in South Carolina turned on an almost comically broad deception, an inversion of the truth in which the insider whose personal wealth and political experience are entirely creations of Washington becomes the anti-establishment candidate. That it worked speaks poorly of voters who let themselves be manipulated by the lowest form of campaigning, appealing to their anger and prejudices.

Ron Paul Supporters Show Their “Colors”

Ron Paul himself may not know about these ads.  Being informed, he will certainly say he did not know.  He may even say he disapproves.  Strongly.  Many of his supporters will say they, too disapprove, disavow and disbelieve.  Nevertheless, it was posted, and by those who claim to support Mr. Paul.

  Jon Huntsman is incensed that Ron Paul supporters here have posted an ad online that that uses footage of Huntsman speaking Chinese to his adopted Chinese daughter to question whether Huntsman, the former U.S. Ambassador to China, is committed to “American values” or whether he’s a “Manchurian candidate.” It also features an image of Huntsman depicted as former Chinese leader Mao Zedong.

Here’s the ad, which was posted to YouTube by NHLiberty4Paul:

Mebe NHLiberty4Paul is a plant; mebe not.  But just as Ron Paul supporters would encourage all moderate Muslims to fight back against extremists, so they will take on dip-shts like this guy, and the white racists who have said they will be campaigning for him, and fight them down….