Judge denies Maine in quarantine effort


Image source: bigstory.ap.com

Earlier today, Judge Charles C. LaVerdiere recognized the rights of nurse Kaci Hickox and refused to grant Maine their request to quarantine her in-home.  I understand the fears and concerns that people have about her, but I also understand the science behind her decision to fight being quarantined without need or cause.

As part of the ruling, Judge LaVerdiere wrote, “The State has not met its burden at this time to prove by clear and convincing evidence that limiting Respondent’s movements to the degree requested is “necessary to protect other individuals from the danger of infection,” however.  According to the information presented to the court, Respondent currently does not show any symptoms of Ebola and is therefore not infectious.”

This is a big victory in the eyes of the Constitution, and it should have been a no-brainer.  We can’t be a nation in fear of itself, especially if we’re supposed to be the world’s superpower and the “Exceptional” nation that some claim we are.

We are much better than this, or at least I thought we were.  It’s a difficult decision to balance the need to protect others and not infringe on the rights of people.  At times, those decisions will not make people happy.  This is one of those times where that decision should have been made.  Instead, Gov. LePage tried to go the easy route, and he got his hand spanked by a judge in response to his decision.

Reading the ruling, the judge displays a knowledge and respect for science, respect for the health care professionals fighting Ebola, and concern for the fears of the general public whether those fears are, in his words, rational.

“The Court pauses to make a few critical observations. First, we would not be here today unless Respondent generously, kindly and with compassion lent her skills to aid, comfort, and care for individuals stricken with a terrible disease.  We need to remember as we go through this matter that we owe her and all professionals who give of themselves in this way a debt of gratitude.”

“Having said that, Respondent should understand that the court is fully aware of the misconceptions, misinformation, bad science and bad information being spread from shore to shore in our country with respect to Ebola.  The Court is fully aware that people are acting out of fear and that this fear is not entirely rational. However, whether that fear is rational or not, it is present and it is real.  Respondent’s actions at this point, as a health care professional, need to demonstrate her full understanding of human nature and the real fear that exists.  She should guide herself accordingly.”–Charles C. LaVerdiere Chief Judge, Maine District Court

Just to keep things stirred up, I noticed that Fox News, by way of their official blog, reported that her roommate in Sierra Leone was supposedly treated for Ebola.  I’m not sure where they got that information because I didn’t see it mentioned in the ruling.  Either way, the incubation period from that alleged exposure has already passed anyway, but that little story will undoubtedly stoke the flames of fear even more than they have already been boosted.

If there was ever a time that America needed a common sense vaccine, that time is now.  As long as fear and panic is allowed to rule, the corporate media outlets will push any and every story to gin up that fear and panic because it will boost their ratings.  In their world, boosting ratings means boosting revenue, and the bottom line is always going to take precedence over the byline.  Instead of the fear and panic, our media should be trying to inform and educate.  It may not give them the revenue boost they so desire, but it would go a long way towards getting rid of the unnecessary panic.

A copy of the ruling is posted below.

Don’t dress up for Halloween like this

With Halloween just a day away, most people who are going to dress up have already decided on their costumes.  I saw an interesting story at Viral Nova, Please Don’t Use Any Of These Halloween Costumes This Year, They’re the Worst.  At first, I thought the headline was probably going to be a bit of an exaggeration, but I was sadly mistaken.  Just take a look at #11 on their list for starters.

11.) The Twin Towers. How could anyone think this is a good idea for a costume?!

Click the photo for the entire article.

One last thing, no matter how funny you think it will be, leave the blackface at home.  DON’T walk out the house like this…

Source: Vox Media

It IS offensive, very offensive.  If that’s your idea of a good costume, then consider sleeping in on the 31st.  It may well be the safest thing you could do.  Domestic abuse is not funny.  Blackface is not funny.  Domestic abuse + blackface is the ultimate in facepalm material.

Otherwise, enjoy your Halloween.

Quarantine: Le Freak (Freak Out)

I guess this is the new song to play for a while.  It seems as though many politicians and media types are content with pushing the freak out meme in regards to Ebola.

First, Gov. Cuomo-NY and Gov. Christie-NJ decided they were going to quarantine people for 21 days whether they were symptomatic or not.  I have issues with that, of course, because it makes me think that we haven’t learned from our past instances where we’ve jumped the gun and did things we later regretted.

What we need right now is calm leadership.  We don’t need anyone stoking fears or ginning up anger.  Contrary to opinion, there are people who know about Ebola, including how it’s transmitted and how to treat it.  Here in Georgia, we’re not getting that calm leadership.  Apparently, we’re going to join in with putting people in quarantine crowd with the reasoning best summed up as  “just because they might have a virus that can’t be detected until they get sick so we’re going to keep them locked away until they get sick or they don’t.”

Gov. Nathan Deal announced today that Georgia health officials could quarantine “high-risk” travelers from areas ravaged by Ebola even if they show no symptoms of the deadly virus.

It was part of Deal’s plan to increase the state’s monitoring of symptoms of Ebola for all in-bound travelers to Atlanta’s busy airport from west Africa.

“We intend to be as protective of Georgia citizens as possible. But by the same token, respect the privacy of individuals who may be put in these categories,” the governor said at a campaign stop in Cumming where he announced the new restrictions. “I would remind you, however, it’s better to be overly cautious than not cautious at all.”

The new rules were adopted by conference call by the state’s newly-formed Ebola task force, made up of health experts and emergency officials, he said. The governor also ruled out compensating lost wages for those who are quarantined.

“I don’t think it’s right to ask the taxpayers of this state to pay for individuals who have perhaps put themselves in this category,” he said. “We are incurring the expense of all the monitoring and all the quarantining that may be associated with it. I certainly don’t think we need to compensate them for their lost time.”

Source: Political Insider with Jim Galloway/ajc.com

I understand the need to make it seem like you’re doing something, especially with an election coming up in a week.  At the same time, you can’t screw around with people’s rights and liberties just because someone else is freaking out over something that likely wouldn’t affect them.

Consider this.  There have been nine people treated for Ebola inside the United States, and only one has died.  Of the nine people treated, only two cases were transmitted inside the U.S.  Half of the patients treated here were transported here on purpose to receive treatment.  While these nine cases sound serious, there have been how many people infected with the Enterovirus D68 virus over the same time span?

From mid-August to October 27, 2014, CDC or state public health laboratories have confirmed a total of 1,035 people in 47 states and the District of Columbia with respiratory illness caused by EV-D68.

EV-D68 has been detected in specimens from eight* patients who died and had samples submitted for testing. CDC is reporting test results to state health departments as we obtain them.

*Investigations are ongoing; CDC reviews and updates available data every Thursday.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Now, maybe it’s just me, but I think people are freaking out about the wrong virus.  When the states start mandatory quarantine requirements for Enterovirus D68 or the Influenza Virus, then they may have a valid reason.  Those viruses are much easier to spread, and they have infected and killed more in America at this point.  Until those quarantines start, I’m not trying to pull a hamstring by stretching to justify trampling on the rights of any American without a valid reason.

One week to go

If you haven’t already voted in this year’s mid-term election, here’s a tool that can help you find out the information you need to make an informed decision.

As usual, my family will make the trip to the polls together on next Tuesday.  I know that it may be too early for the newest member to leave the house, but voting is a very important priority in our home.  I’ll have to convince mommy that it’s for the best that he ventures outside for just a minute or two.

If you haven’t voted, then ensure you do.  Whether you’re a Liberal, Conservative, Centrist, Moderate, Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, or Independent has no effect on my message.  Our vote is the one thing that people cannot take from us without us giving it away.

Some claim that the 2nd Amendment is there to stop tyranny, but without the right to vote, the 2nd is almost worthless.  The peaceful process of the transference of power is something that makes America great.  Even when we don’t appear to get along, we don’t have a loss of control when the government changes hands.

This ain’t Reading Rainbow (And it is soooo NSFW too!!!)

LeVar Burton, host of PBS’s Reading Rainbow, got in touch with his inner Samuel L. Jackson for a charity event over the weekend.  At the Rooster Teeth’s Extra Life charity telethon, Burton did a reading of the popular adult bedtime book Go the F**k to Sleep for an attentive group of adults that were all seated before him.

This is one of my all-time favorite audio books.  I grew up watching Burton, first in the mini-series Roots, and then on PBS.  I give him props for taking on such a monumental challenge in reading that book.

Why is reading this book a monumental task?  Only because the audio book was narrated by the above mentioned Samuel L. Jackson.  If you’ve never heard his version, it is a classic.  Most parents will probably get the story and laugh along with it.  New parents will likely not understand the joke, but given time, they’ll laugh right along with it.

Here’s the original audio version for you to compare if you wish.  Who’s version is better, Burton or Jackson?

Searching YouTube, there’s even a Morgan Freeman impersonator reading this book.  It would be quite interesting to actually get him to read this one too.

Here’s one other interesting thing I found while surfing the Net for this post.  The author of Go the F**k to Sleep, Adam Mansbach, has a new book that’s coming out on November 12th.  It’s already available for pre-order, and I may have to get my copy now.  Titled, You Have to F**king Eat, it will undoubtedly be a smashing sequel to his book about going to sleep.  I’m sensing that he may end up with a self-help series for parenting at some point.  I can’t wait to get my hands on this one as I know it will be just as funny as the original, especially based on this sample page.