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Funny, I was just watching a documentary on the Black Death.  Now that was scary.  Once the plague became airborne, you were really in trouble. I can remember the day I spent in Siena, Italy looking at all the plague art.  It was chilling and there was so much of it. And yet, there were still countries, like Poland, that managed to isolate themselves from the epidemic.  So, if there was a way to evade an airborne illness in the 14th century, we’re probably going to do Ok against ebola, which isn’t airborne.

Then again, yersinia pestis was a bacteria and ebola is a virus.  The last time we had a viral epidemic of catastrophic proportions was during WWI with the Spanish Flu.  Still, many of those deaths were caused by cytokine storms, i.e. an overreaction of the immune system.

Nevertheless, the probability that this virus will spread is pretty low and is summarized in the following PSA from Vox:


And there you have it.  The way ebola spreads is through direct contact with the bodily fluids of infected individuals.  So, the solution to containing any potential outbreak of ebola in Texas is pretty simple: treat the sick and quarantine them and any person who may have had direct contact with them.

There are only a couple of problems with this.  The first is that Texas, like many states run by Republican governors, has not accepted federal money to expand medicaid.  So, we have to assume that every person who gets sick from ebola is insured.  Uninsured people are not allowed to get ebola in Texas.  The virus should be instructed to avoid infecting uninsured individuals.

Secondly, we have to assume that everyone who gets ebola can take a sick day and won’t lose their jobs if they decide to go into quarantine.  That might be more tricky because it is likely that quarantine wouldn’t be voluntary.  The virus should be directed towards people in the leisure class as they can afford to take time off.

We just have to hope we can reason with the virus in case the single isolated case in Texas turns into more than a single isolated case.

If I were the Feds, I’d try to get ahead of those two issues.

Not that there’s anything to worry about.  Because there isn’t (probably).

Well, I’m not going to panic in any case.


About those Republican candidates- Who gives a f&*#

The horse race coverage is in full stride now.  It’s been neck and neck for the last couple of months, along with a ridiculous number of debates.  First, one candidate is ahead, then another.  One opens a sizeable lead, only to fall back due to something he failed to keep hidden, or bad science.

Let’s take a look at some of these contenders, shall we?

Herman Cain- A businessman who presumably believed that the government should be run like a business.  He’s successful in his pizza biz, why not take that success to Pennsylvania Ave?  Well, for one thing, he’s not a politician and he’s made some really cringeworthy mistakes on the trail.  Not knowing China had nukes? The only thing positive about that is that he doesn’t seem to know anything about China.  Unlike Huntsman, but we’ll get to that in a sec.  And then there are the ladies.  You have to say that like Demitri Martin.  “Ladies“.  A man who thinks he can keep that a secret during a presidential campaign doesn’t have the master manipulator’s fibbing streak to match his gigantic ego.

Newt Gingrich- Everything you need to know about this guy is in his pamphlet on how to manipulate the public during a political campaign using words.  You don’t need to know anything else.

Mitt Romney- One word,”Bakelite“.

Michelle Bachmann- For all we know, she’s a stealth candidate.  She may only look like a fanatic.  She may only be faking her ignorance of how vaccines work.  She may not really mean what she says about destroying the social safety net.  She might really be a bra burning, pro-choice, feminazi who once she has attained power will usher in a new era of equality for women.  Don’t think this possibility hasn’t crossed Rush Limbaugh’s mind.

Rick Santorum- Googling his name doesn’t really tell you anything about him.  So, let me just say that he’s got a house in Penn Hills where I went to high school and he has a respectable number of children for a strict Roman Catholic, which means he has had sex at least seven times.  He probably would have gone to my grandparents’ church where I attended mass when I stayed with them.  I find this much physical proximity to Santorum unsettling.  {{shivver}}

Ok, who else we got?

Rick Perry- Is he really as stupid as he sounds?  He makes George W. Bush sound like mensa material.

Ron Paul- He named his kid “Rand”.  Fergawdssakes, people, RAND!

John Huntsman- another potential stealth candidate.  And a Mormon.  Where did all of these Mormons come from all of a sudden.  Former moderate Republican governor from Utah.  Also, a wealthy scion to a chemical company.  Who was appointed to be ambassador to China by Barack Obama.  What was he doing over there?  Trying to set up new ways to ship the STEM work overseas?  Seriously, I want to know why a guy whose family runs a chemical company was spending time in China on official US business, especially since we have seen a tidal wave of jobs flood there.  Do I trust him?  Not until I see what his mission was.  Cough it up.

Well, it’s not like I’m going to be voting Republican anyway.  It’s not that the candidates bother me so much, except for Newt who I suspect has a real talent for evil.  And not the kind of evil you may first suspect.  I mean evil on a world class scale.  Which is why fundagelical apocalyptic christians will flock to him.  They’ll overlook his infidelities and tax evasion.  The idea that he might be the catalyst that brings on Armageddon will make them breathe heavily and schedule appointments to have their nails done before The Rapture.

The problem isn’t with the candidates, it’s with Republican voters.  They’re not right.  I mean, they’re “tetched”, if you get my drift.  They cheer for misfortune and applaud for death.  They’re like the crowd at the Colliseum, shrieking in orgasmic frenzy for the blood of innocents who were stupid enough to get caught by the Romans.   And they’re motivated.  When it comes right down to it, they don’t really care all that much who their nominee is.  When they get the signal, they will vote in lockstep for whoever that person is.  That person’s job is to knock Obama out of the White House.  He might have faced this kind of opposition anyway but he made it easy for them to want to do it because he’s been so bad at his job.

The Republicans know it.  You know it.  The campaign operatives on both sides know it.  We can all see the train sliding off the tracks and can anticipate the wreck.  But the only party (as of today) that can avoid catastrophe is closing its eyes and praying.