Ebola is now a global health emergency – for the second time

The Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2013-16 was declared a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern” by the World Health Organization, one of only five such events in history that have been officially given that title.  I don’t know that the declaration did much in practical terms, apart from give warm fuzzies to the bureaucrats who issued it;  but it did underline the seriousness of the outbreak, and the potential threat it posed.  The world avoided a major international health crisis by the skin of its collective teeth in that outbreak, by shutting down as much travel as possible from the

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Political correctness gone mad, yet again

A Christian doctor in England has apparently lost his job because he refused to acquiesce to politically correct nonsense. Dr David Mackereth, 56, claims he was sacked as a disability benefits assessor by the Department of Work and Pensions over his religious beliefs. The father-of-four alleges he was asked in a conversation with a line manager: “If you have a man six foot tall with a beard who says he wants to be addressed as ‘she’ and ‘Mrs’, would you do that?” Dr Mackereth, an evangelist who now works as an emergency doctor in Shropshire, claims his contract was then terminated over

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“Government” and “Efficiency” . . . two words seldom found together

In recent weeks, two fellow bloggers have posted strong views on government (in)efficiency. Aaron, a lawyer blogging at The Shekel, notes that “Your Call Back Time Will Be In Approximately 1,144 Minutes“. So in short, USCIS has lost an application, refuses to do anything about it, refuses to connect me to anyone who can do something about it and this should in a normal world not take this farging long and this much time to even get to the point to find someone to fix their mistake, and we’re still not there. And all this for a simple I-129 application that should have been granted

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Homelessness: the bureaucrats just don’t get it

There have been many articles bewailing the increase in homelessness in West Coast cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle.  Here’s one recent report about Los Angeles.  Bold, underlined text is my emphasis. The number of homeless people in Los Angeles County jumped 12 percent over the past year, officials announced Tuesday, despite $619 million in government spending to help alleviate the problem. The annual point-in-time count recorded nearly 59,000 homeless people countywide, with the largest number — 36,000 — coming from the city of Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, a county agency which conducted the count, delivered

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“People are getting dumber. That’s not a judgment; it’s a global fact.”

Evan Horowitz examines the global phenomenon of declining IQ scores. For a while, rising IQ scores seemed like clear evidence of social progress, palpable proof that humanity was getting steadily smarter — and might even be able to boost brainpower indefinitely. Scholars called it the “Flynn effect,” in homage to J.R. Flynn, the researcher who recognized its full sweep and import. These days, however, Flynn himself concedes that “the IQ gains of the 20th century have faltered.” A range of studies using a variety of well-established IQ tests and metrics have found declining scores across Scandinavia, Britain, Germany, France and Australia.

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It’s about time!

For some time, the US military has been investigating medals awarded for valor in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.  It’s been postulated that some actions should have been recognized at a considerably higher level than the medals that were actually awarded.  Military.com tells us that several Medals of Honor may be conferred as a result. Four Medals of Honor. Thirty Service Crosses. Twenty-three Silver Stars. After a three-year review of medals for military heroism in conflicts following Sept. 11, 2001, the Pentagon has upgraded 57 awards for valor — and so far, sailors are the biggest beneficiaries. Officials told Military.com that the

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Doofus Of The Day #1,044

Today’s award goes to the Crown Prosecution Service in England. A multi-million-pound diamond scam case collapsed after it emerged that the prosecution’s star witness was a fantasist with no qualifications. Between May 2011 and February 2015, more than 70 victims – mainly vulnerable pensioners – were conned into investing into one of five companies which invested in the diamond and carbon credit industries. In total, they lost £3.5million [about US $4.4 million] and today at Southwark Crown Court eight defendants walked free from court after a judge was forced to deliver not guilty verdicts on multiple fraud charges. The case collapsed following “chaotic”

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Crocodile tears for the swamp denizens

I was very pleased to read about one attempt to drain the swamp in Washington, D.C. Two small agencies within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) may be moving outside of Washington, D.C. and the federal employees involved are not happy about that. Both agencies are seeing an increase of resignations on a monthly basis. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced his intention to relocate the Economic Research Service (ERS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) from the swamp to the heartland. Perdue said to think of it as moving the department’s scientists closer to its “customers”, the farmers. Perdue

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Allen West lays it down on the NRA

A few days ago, I asked whether it wasn’t time to clean house at the NRA by firing everybody involved in recent controversies.  I’ve been reinforced in that opinion by these words from Allen West, former US Army Lieutenant-Colonel and congressman, whose opinions I respect.  I’ll reproduce them in full. It has become very apparent that I need to speak out about what is happening at the National Rifle Association. I am in my second term as a Board member, and I am deeply concerned about the actions and statements being made. The recent statements by Charles Cotton and Carolyn Meadows that are

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The NRA: time to clean house by firing everybody?

The most recent allegations of financial irregularities at the National Rifle Association should be enough to get its members’ blood boiling.  How many of them knew that their membership fees and other contributions were being used to finance this sort of thing? National Rifle Association Chief Executive Wayne LaPierre billed the group’s ad agency $39,000 for one day of shopping at a Beverly Hills clothing boutique, $18,300 for a car and driver in Europe and had the agency cover $13,800 in rent for a summer intern, according to newly revealed NRA internal documents. The documents, posted anonymously on the internet, provide

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