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Archive for October 12th, 2014

Kristof: When Whites Just Don’t Get It

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 12th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Kristof: When Whites Just Don’t Get It
Nicholas Kristof, New York Times: The greatest problem is not with flat-out white racists, but rather with the far larger number of Americans who believe intellectually in racial equality but are quietly oblivious to injustice around them. Too many whites unquestioningly accept a system that disproportionately punishes blacks and that gives public schools serving disadvantaged children many fewer resources than those serving affluent children. We are not racists, but we accept a system that acts in racist ways.


Hong denies Biles 3rd gold at gymnastics worlds

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 12th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Hong denies Biles 3rd gold at gymnastics worlds
NANNING, China (AP) — Hong Un Jong of North Korea won the vault event on Saturday, denying Simone Biles of the United States a third gold medal at the gymnastics world championships.

Federal judge strikes down Alaska gay marriage ban
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A federal judge has struck down Alaska’s first-in-the-nation ban on gay marriages.


Oregon governor’s fiancee admits to secret green card marriage

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 12th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Oregon governor’s fiancee admits to secret green card marriage
First lady-to-be Cylvia Hayes says she didn’t tell Gov. John Kitzhaber because she was “ashamed and embarrassed.”

Leon Panetta: Obama “has got to get into the ring” with Congress
The former Defense Secretary says the country can’t afford two more years of stalemate


CBS Medical Correspondent Shuts Down Fear-Mongering On The Transmission Of Ebola

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 12th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

CBS Medical Correspondent Shuts Down Fear-Mongering On The Transmission Of Ebola

From the October 12 edition of CBS’ Face the Nation:

Previously

Chuck Todd Calls Out Media For Helping GOP Irresponsibly Push Ebola Fears To Win Votes

Media Promote Ebola Fear-Mongering Stunt

CNN Turns To Outbreak Fiction Writer For Ebola Coverage


Stop Calling It Marriage Equality

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 12th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Stop Calling It Marriage Equality
David Harsanyi, RealClearPolitics
This week, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected gay marriage appeals from Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin, in essence allowing lower courts to legalize same-sex couples. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, an institution that has vigorously opposed gay marriage for some time now, conceded that the political battle over marriage is over. “As far as the civil law is concerned,” the Mormon church admitted, “the courts have spoken.” Actually, nothing is over until God says it’s over. At least, this is my understanding of how religion operates. So though I don’t want to…


MPs to ‘work harder’ after UKIP win

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 12th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

MPs to ‘work harder’ after UKIP win
Welsh MPs say they must work harder to earn voters’ trust following UKIP’s success in an Essex by-election last week.

MLAs vote to replace NI Speaker Hay
The Northern Ireland Assembly will vote later for a new speaker to succeed William Hay.


‘Homeland’ Season 4, Episode 3 Recap: Shalwar Kameez

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 12th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

‘Homeland’ Season 4, Episode 3 Recap: Shalwar Kameez
We’re back in Islamabad and Carrie’s back to being her bossy, childless self. She takes her first few moments back in Pakistan to visit the scene where Sandy was killed. For the first time in a while, we see her register some semblance of emotion but it’s still work-related so she doesn’t get too many brownie points for that.

At Langley, Quinn’s attempting, for the second time, to leave the CIA. As previously discussed, the man is damaged, stressed, and wants to get the hell out of dodge and after all he’s seen? I can’t particularly blame him. But, as per CIA protocol, they have to make sure everything’s kosher with him before he leaves so that he won’t be a threat to himself or others. The exit interviewer presses Quinn on all of the terrible events he’s been a part in his tenure and repeatedly brings up Carrie. After touching the “are you guys a thing?” nerve, Quinn snaps and abruptly leaves the room. All-seeing omniscient Dar Adal has been watching from a camera the whole time and remains stoic as Quinn leaves.

Carrie heads to the embassy and the first thing she sees is the busted car from the failed Sandy endeavor, followed almost immediately by seeing a security guard that tugs at her (and my…) heartstrings because he’s reminiscent of Brody. I’m sort of missing that guy… ANYWAY. In traveling back to her old office, Carrie finds out that the entire embassy is on lockdown and no one has been made aware that there is a full-staff meeting that morning. She heads to the ambassadors office and is met with an icy reception from Redmond, who makes no effort to hide his discontent that Carrie has taken over Sandy’s position. The ambassador tells Carrie that the lockdown is necessary for the safety of the staff while Carrie argues that she needs her men on the street. Carrie dishes out some “Lean In”-esque crap to try and make the ambassador take her side but the ambassador doesn’t take the bait.

walking carrie

After Redmond informs the staff of the meeting Carrie wanted, everyone convenes and Carrie asks them about Jordan Harris. She tells them the information she’s garnered about Sandy and no one seems suspicious about him except for Carrie but they also can’t make any moves until the lockdown is lifted. When the meeting is over, Redmond’s bitterness comes to a head and he flat out tells Carrie that he has no idea how she managed to take this job away from him. She dishes out a condescending lie and manages to insult Redmond several times before he leaves. I don’t exactly like the schlub but I do feel pretty bad for him. Carrie is an uber bitch sometimes.

Quinn’s alcohol-fueled bender with the overweight hotel manager continues. He airs his frustration with trying to quit his job to her and the conversation is actually semi-intimate. The exchange is interrupted by his phone ringing which he ignores by throwing in the hotel pool. Quinn’s just done with errrrybody.

Apparently the CIA gives its employees swanky apartments because Carrie’s pad in Islamabad is awesome. She’s just about to settle in when she gets a text from a mysterious number that just says ‘Landed.’ She convinces her team to make moves and drive her to a location where she can shake them, hop in a cab, and drive to another location to see this mystery person. The entire time she’s being followed by members of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, ISI. After narrowly escaping the ISI, Carrie heads to the office of Fara, the face behind the text. Max is also there and the three of them discuss the plans for the following morning. The operation at hand is that they’re going to talk to Aayan and everyone’s nervous about it.

Dar Adal goes to Quinn’s residence and tries to convince Quinn to stay at the agency. After another accusation of Quinn not saving Sandy because he’s secretly in love with Carrie, Quinn goes batshit and chokes out Dar Adal. He nearly kills Dar Adal and then regains sanity and lets him go. With his CIA career now officially down the tubes, Dar Adal bids Quinn adieu by saying “have a nice life.” Someone needs to give Quinn a hug… and maybe a 5150 hold, particularly after he falls down a YouTube rabbit hole and watches the video of the attack on Sandy on repeat.

Upon return from a casual run around the embassy, Carrie runs into the ambassador chatting it up with Saul. She’s equally shocked as she is relieved to see him because she doesn’t want it to look like she asked for help but she also legitimately does need his help. Saul agrees to help get the hold on the lockdown lifted so Carrie’s case officers can get back to work. The dynamic duo is back.

ambassador and carrie

Later that morning, the mission to chat with Aayan fails miserably as he rebuts any attempt Fara makes to talk. Fara, Max, and Carrie reconvene to discuss alternative courses of action on how to get to Aayan. Carrie resolves to think on it. The next scene is nighttime and Carrie is dramatically pondering while smoking a cigarette. The ambassador, also with a cigarette in hand, appears and the two discuss starting over with one another because they’ve clearly gotten off on the wrong foot. Personally, I blame Carrie 100% for this but I’ll leave you all to your own thoughts. As the conversation continues, the ambassador drops a fantastic little nugget of information about Saul: apparently the two almost got married. IN BEIRUT. How adventurous! Reverting back to business, the ambassador agrees to lift the lockdown if Carrie agrees to check in with her periodically. The two smoke a second round of cigarettes and it looks like this is about to be the best power couple ‘Homeland’ has ever seen.

The lockdown has been lifted at the embassy, courtesy of Saul. Carrie finds him eating breakfast and takes the opportunity to get back into their old groove. They discuss the “tyranny of secrets” and it’s just further emphasis on how I will never want to become a member of the CIA. I’d never be able to keep that many secrets. Or maybe I could. I never want to find out.

Saul knows Carrie can’t tell him what she’s doing with the day but he correctly guesses when he says she needs to get Sandy’s networks up and running again and that she also needs to find out who she can trust so she needs to set up a station outside the embassy with people of her own. There’s an ADORABLE father-daughteresque moment when Saul realizes she’s already done that and is visibly impressed. Carrie gets suddenly bashful and it’s, again, another moment when she’s certifiably human. Carrie gets up to leave and Saul says he leaves the following morning. Stay, Saul, stay.

Aayan’s chilling out, drinking coffee at a coffee shop when the shop owner comes rushing out saying she needs a doctor. I guess being a medical student in Pakistan basically makes you a doctor because they send Aayan up to the ladies bathroom where the woman needing a doctor apparently is. Aayan gets behind the door and the crying woman turns out to be none other than Carrie. Carrie tells Aayan that she wants to be the one to tell his story and that in exchange she can help him relocate and protect him from whoever is threatening him. The scene becomes bizarrely seductive as she slips a card into Aayan’s pocket but Aayan looks nothing but perturbed, scared, and annoyed. He leaves without agreeing and Carrie feels semi-confident that her mission was a success.

aayan coffee shop

Quinn continues to obsessively watch the YouTube videos of Sandy’s bludgeoning and he spots a man with an earpiece in several of the videos. Realizing that the entire attack was coordinated and that he truly could not have done anything more to save Sandy, Quinn calls Carrie. He sends Carrie the link to the video so she can see for herself and Carrie realizes how much this changes the situation at hand. She begs Quinn to come help her and, in typical “Homeland” fashion, he agrees without agreeing. He’s so in love with Carrie and it’s probably not going to end well. If the creepy foreboding music juxtaposed over the phone call didn’t emphasize it enough… love hurts, y’all.

“Homeland” airs on Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on Showtime.

Remains Of Thousands Of U.S. Soldiers Killed During Korean War Being Moved
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea says the remains of thousands of American soldiers killed during the Korean War are being moved due to construction projects and flood damage.

The United States suspended efforts to recover war remains in North Korea over the country’s plans to launch a long-range rocket in 2012. About 8,000 U.S. service members are listed as missing from the 1950-53 war. An unidentified North Korean military spokesman said in a statement Monday that American soldiers’ remains are “left here and there uncared and carried away en masse” because of building projects, land reorganization and flood damage.

Analysts say the North’s statement is aimed at pressuring Washington to resume the recovery project as a way to get money and improve ties with the U.S.


I.M.F. Warns of Global Financial Risk From Fiscal Policies

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 12th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

I.M.F. Warns of Global Financial Risk From Fiscal Policies
Leaders of the International Monetary Fund said that high debt in China and a lack of spending in Europe, among other factors, could provoke a market convulsion.

Dallas Nurse Contracts Ebola Virus, Elevating Response and Anxiety
The woman wore protective gear while treating Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian who died of Ebola last week, but there was a clear breach of safety protocol, the C.D.C. said.

Kurdish Rebels Assail Turkish Inaction on ISIS as Peril to Peace Talks
P.K.K. commanders say their halting, nine-year-old peace process with the Turkish government and, indeed, the future of the region, turn on the battle for Kobani and on Turkey’s response.



Police Move on Barricades; Hong Kong Leader Rejects Protesters’ Appeal
Demonstrations continued after Leung Chun-ying, the city’s chief executive, said the possibility of a reversal of the Chinese legislature’s policy is ‘almost nil.’




Second Ebola Diagnosis In Texas Raises Questions About What The Hospital Is Doing Wrong

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 12th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Second Ebola Diagnosis In Texas Raises Questions About What The Hospital Is Doing Wrong

Hospital officials may not have followed the CDC’s protocol for containing the virus.

The post Second Ebola Diagnosis In Texas Raises Questions About What The Hospital Is Doing Wrong appeared first on ThinkProgress.

The Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, where a health care worker has tested positive for Ebola

The Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, where a health care worker has tested positive for Ebola

CREDIT: AP Photo/LM Otero

A health care worker in Dallas has been preliminarily diagnosed with Ebola, suggesting that the first case of the deadly virus has been transmitted on U.S. soil. The news has renewed questions over whether Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, the facility that recently treated the first case of Ebola diagnosed in the United States, is doing enough to stem the spread of the disease.

The worker — who has not been identified by name — was one of the hospital employees who helped treat Thomas E. Duncan, the Liberian man who recently died of Ebola after traveling to Dallas. Federal health experts have been tracking all of the Americans with whom Duncan may have come into contact while he was contagious.

According to hospital officials, the infected individual helped treat Duncan during his second trip to the emergency room, when he was seriously ill. “That health care worker is a heroic person who provided care to Mr. Duncan,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkin said at a news conference on Sunday morning.

The infected worker was reportedly wearing full protective gear around Duncan, so it’s not yet clear how the virus was transmitted. But, according to federal officials, the hospital failed to follow at least part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s protocol for containing Ebola. The agency has released a set of detailed guidelines for health care facilities to ensure that the virus is not transmitted further.

There has been some controversy over the care that Duncan received at Texas Health Presbyterian. First of all, it’s concerning that he was sent home after his first visit to the ER; the fact that he had a high fever and had recently traveled from Western Africa should have alerted officials to the potential Ebola risk.

According to the Associated Press, the hospital has repeatedly changed its story about what exactly medical professionals knew about Duncan’s health. Newly released documents show that some of the hospital staff may have recognized the Ebola threat when he was first admitted, but that didn’t translate to swifter action. The state health department is now considering a probe into the hospital to make sure it’s following health and safety laws, and the CDC is going to send additional staff to Texas.

Joined by the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Duncan’s family has repeatedly criticized the hospital, saying he was given substandard care because he was not a white American. They point out that Duncan was the only person treated for Ebola in the U.S. who wasn’t taken to Nebraska Medical Center, which has a high-tech quarantine unit, or given experimental drugs that may help combat the virus. Duncan’s nephew has told reporters that said his uncle’s care was “either incompetence or negligence,” and he finds it “conspicuous” that all the white Ebola patients in the U.S. have survived while “the one black man died.”

More broadly, there has been some concern that panic over the global Ebola epidemic — which has claimed more than 4,000 lives in Western Africa — is leading to an uptick in xenophobia and racism. Pundits’ increasingly insistent calls to close the U.S. borders to protect against Ebola-infected travelers is furthering a narrative of “otherness.” Some African travelers arriving back to the U.S. and Europe say that medical staff is now refusing to care for them in routine doctor’s appointments out of fear of contracting Ebola, even if they’re not showing any symptoms.

When it comes to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, officials promise they’re continuing to “review and evaluate” the decisions around Duncan’s treatment. The hospital has also isolated the health care worker who is showing signs of Ebola infection and is working to track down the other people who may have come into contact with them. Officials say they’re still confident they know how to contain the virus.

“Contingency plans were put into place, and the hospital will discuss the way that the health care worker followed those contingency plans, which will make our jobs in monitoring and containment much easier in this case than in the last one,” Jenkin said. “While this was obviously bad news, it is not news that should bring about panic.”

In response to growing concern about travelers bringing Ebola into the United States, airport officials began enhanced screenings on Saturday. Still, experts maintain that the best way to respond to Ebola is to address the outbreak’s epicenter in Western Africa, where embattled countries are still struggling to get the health care resources they need to treat the virus.

Update

President Obama was briefed on the new Ebola case on Sunday. He ordered an expeditious investigation into the failures of Texas Health Presbyterian, and also asked the CDC to ensure that hospitals get more preparation for how to deal with other Ebola cases that may emerge.

Update

The CDC has confirmed that the health care worker has contracted Ebola.

The post Second Ebola Diagnosis In Texas Raises Questions About What The Hospital Is Doing Wrong appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Why Christians Are Helping Lead Hong Kong’s Pro-Democracy Movement

“I believe everyone [is] born equal. And they’re loved by Jesus. And I think that everyone, therefore, should get equal rights in the political system,” Jason Wong said.

The post Why Christians Are Helping Lead Hong Kong’s Pro-Democracy Movement appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Joshua Wong, 17-year old student leader and evangelical Christian, stands among student pro-democracy protesters.

Joshua Wong, 17-year old student leader and evangelical Christian, stands among student pro-democracy protesters.

CREDIT: AP

When thousands flooded the streets of Hong Kong late last month to protest the Chinese government’s encroachment on the city’s political autonomy, demonstrators were quick to claim many common beliefs: a love of freedom, a support for Hong Kong’s unique status within China, and a passionate belief in democracy.

But as the protests stretch into their third week, many participants have discovered that they are also unified by something else: their Christian faith.

As several news outlets have noted, the leadership of Hong Kong’s burgeoning protest movement — which seeks to preserve the city’s right to elect its own politicians without interference from the Chinese government — is headed up by several self-identified Christians. One of the effort’s most prominent leaders, for example, is Jason Wong, the 17-year-old student activist who achieved fame for leading several student demonstrations in Hong Kong before helping organize the recent pro-democracy protests. Although Wong, an evangelical Christian who attended United Christian College in Hong Kong, has said that his activism is primarily about protecting Hong Kong’s democratic process, he has also rooted his advocacy in a distinctly Christian theology.

“I believe in Christ,” Wong told PRI. “I believe everyone [is] born equal. And they’re loved by Jesus. And I think that everyone, therefore, should get equal rights in the political system. And we should care [for] the weak and poor in our society.”

Other Christians have also worked to assist the protestors. In addition to Wong, two of the three leaders of Occupy Central, one of the main protest groups, are Christian, and Rev. Joseph Zen, Hong Kong’s former Catholic bishop, has taken to the streets to express solidarity with the movement. Moreover, when government forces fired tear gas canisters at protestors in late September, nearby Wan Chai Methodist church opened its doors to assist, offering its facilities for demonstrators to receive first aid, store supplies, and distribute food. As media coverage of church’s actions mounted, Rev. Tin Yau Yuen, the president of the Methodist Church in Hong Kong, published an open letter explaining the church’s position towards the protestors, noting that while the religious body doesn’t formally endorse groups like Occupy Central, the Christian faith inspires many believers to fight for democracy.

“The Gospel we believe in is a Gospel which redeems people from evil and sin, not only saving us from personal sin, but also freeing us from the suppression and binding of evil and sin caused by others, society and constitution,” the letter read. “It’s impossible to be politically neutral, as who can have no political view? … As Christians, we take sides according to Bible teaching and church tradition, rather than simply seeing things from the social perspective.”

But while many protestors in Hong Kong cite their faith as a key motivator, experts argue that their participation is also due to a mixture of politics, demographics, and fear of persecution. To be sure, the primary concern of demonstrators in Hong Kong is holding Beijing accountable to its promise to guarantee the former British colony full democracy by 2017. However, as Hong Kong locals malign Beijing’s attempt to increase control over the city, some speculate that religious protestors are concerned that the Chinese government will eventually implement other oppressive policies typical in mainland China — namely, the government’s much-maligned restrictions on religious freedom.

“The Hong Kong society is very free,” Carsten Vala, Associate Professor of Political Science at Loyola University, Maryland and research fellow at Purdue University’s Center on Religion and Chinese Society, told ThinkProgress. “The pushback here is [partly] the fear that what happens in China will someday happen in Hong Kong unless people speak out.”

Indeed, the Chinese government, which is run entirely by the ardently atheist Communist Party of China, is well known for limiting expressions of faith — especially those of religious minorities. The U.S. State Department cited China as a “Country of Particular Concern” in its “International Religious Freedom Report for 2013,” released in July, noting that several religious groups in the region regularly face obstacles to the free expression of their faith. The government in Beijing has attempted to control religion by sanctioning “official” versions of Catholicism and Protestantism, inventing its own brand of state-sponsored Christian theology, and detaining or imprisoning congregants who attend underground “house churches” that operate without government approval. Chinese officials have also recently launched a campaign to forcibly remove crosses from several churches, and detained several Chinese Christians who resisted through acts of civil disobedience. And in addition to cracking down on the actions of Tibetan buddhists, the Chinese government has officially banned fasting during Ramadan for Uighur Muslims in the country’s Western region, with local police reportedly forcing some Muslim students to end their fast.

As the protests in Hong Kong enter a new phase of negotiations with local officials, Vala noted that religious minorities in mainland China are likely keeping a close eye on the effectiveness of the demonstrations.

“The bigger issue is that there are many other groups that the primarily Han Chinese party rules — mainly Tibetans and Uighurs — who are watching this,” Vala said.

The prominence of Christianity among the protest movement’s leadership is also a byproduct of the heightened role religion plays in Hong Kong society. Christians only make up 11.7 percent of the population of Hong Kong — 6.6 percent Protestant and 5 percent Catholic — but that is significantly higher than in mainland China, and is evidence of Christianity’s unique history in Hong Kong. The British brought Christianity with them when they annexed Hong Kong from mainland China during the Opium Wars in 1842, and the faith has remained a key part of the city’s political infrastructure ever since — especially within the education system and student population.

“Christian and mission bodies cooperated with the British colonial government in setting up schools and social welfare organizations,” Francis Yip, Associate Professor at The Chinese University of Hong Kong’s Divinity School of Chung Chi College, told ThinkProgress. “This historical legacy explains why about half of the elementary and high schools in Hong Kong have some sort of Christian background. This is also why a substantial percentage of the elites in Hong Kong are Christians.”

Still, not all Hong Kong Christians have been supportive of groups like Occupy Central. Rev. Paul Kwong, the archbishop of the Hong Kong Anglican Church, has openly opposed the protests, preaching a sermon in which he asked his parishioners not to join the demonstrations.

“Jesus remained silent in the face of Pilate,” he said, according to the South China Morning Post. “He was like a lamb awaiting slaughter. Sometimes we don’t have to say anything. Silence is better than saying anything.”

Kwong’s sermon, however, was blasted by several other faith leaders, and the provincial secretary of the Anglican church quickly attempted to walk back his comments, saying he “did not intend to belittle anyone.”

Ultimately, however, experts agree that while there is some disagreement in their ranks, Christians seem to be an important component of Hong Kong’s growing pro-democracy movement. And while the current protests might fade over time, the city’s Christian supporters of democracy — like the rest of the protestors marching through streets — don’t look to be going away anytime soon.

“People who are aware of the relation of their faith to social-political issues will continue to do something,” Yip said. “They will continue to work for the good and transformation of Hong Kong.”

The post Why Christians Are Helping Lead Hong Kong’s Pro-Democracy Movement appeared first on ThinkProgress.


How to Respond to Ebola? Nurses Have a Plan

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 12th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

How to Respond to Ebola? Nurses Have a Plan
From: John Nichols

US hospitals are not prepared to respond to Ebola, warns National Nurses United.