Thursday, October 30, 2014

To Quarantine, Or Not To Quarantine, That is the Question for Ebola: The Answer is a Resounding Yes

Kaci Hickoh arrived back in the United States with a fever after treating Ebola patients in Africa. She was quarantined. She felt terribly inconvenienced and humiliated. She was, but it is a critical safety measure to protect society. Ebola is deadly, with fatality rates between 50% – 70%. Hundreds of medical personnel, including doctors and nurses, in Africa have died from Ebola eventhough they were exercising the utmost care. An estimated 450 healthcare providers have contracted Ebola this year. 244 died. Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of the CDC, claims the response to Ebola should be based on the “science.” The Obama Administration parrots the “science” argument. Any competent trial lawyer could skewer Dr. Frieden on cross-examination over the “science of Ebola.” Dr. Frieden, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institutes of Health, argue that self-quarantine and self-monitoring will suffice. They are worried that a mandatory quarantine will discourage healthcare workers from going to the affected countries. Dr. Fauci said we do don’t want to make it “very, very uncomfortable for them to even volunteer to go.” They just don’t get it. They forget that their primary responsibility is the public health of the American people. The Ebola virus is dangerous. They believe they know its limits of exposure, but that was proven wrong in Dallas. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed 13% (roughly 1/7) of Ebola patients were diagnosed with Ebola before having a fever. Several victims felt fatigue before the onset of a fever. Both Dr. Craig Spencer and nurse Amber Vincent were fatigued before the onset of the fever. The CDC looked to a fever of 100.3 as the triggering symptom. That is clearly wrong. Amber contacted the CDC before flying back to Texas from Cleveland. She reported a fever. She was told it was OK to catch the flight. Dr. Frieden and others kept stating that Ebola was not communicable through the air, unlike the cold and flu viruses. CDC now tells us that, yes, Ebola is spreadable by droplets in the air. Saliva, sweat, and mucus are bodily fluids that can contain the Ebola virus. Thus a sneeze on a crowded bus, train, airplane, or even an elevator poses a risk. The CDC’s new self-quarantine protocol advises against riding a bus or flying airplanes, and avoiding “aggregate spaces,” such as offices. The Obama Administration refuses for inexplicable reasons to deny entry to travellers from the affected countries in West Africa. The alternative to protect America therefore is a strict quarantine. Quarantines have been common throughout history to protect the populace. They were extensively used in the United States to fight smallpox. Victims of leprosy were isolated, such as the Leper Colony on the island of Molokai. Typhoid Mary, an asymptomatic carrier of typhoid, worked as a cook. She is believed responsible for 51 cases of typhoid and three deaths. She was finally confined to North Brother Island to prevent her from further spreading the disease. Quarantines have been practiced historically, even in the United States. Immigrants arriving from Europe had to present proof of vaccination, or be quarantined, for smallpox. People are scared. Rather or not the fear is rationally based on science, the fear itself is a reality. The public has seen Dr. Frieden and the CDC as dead wrong. The public has lost faith in the Obama Administration. Reassurances from the President are disbelieved. The CDC currently recommends “voluntary isolation,” which has proven ineffective. Dr. Craig Spencer, currently under treatment at New York’s Bellevue Hospital, initially misinformed the authorities of his activities. He claimed to have self-quarantined when he arrived back in New York City except for a restaurant and bowling alley the night before his fever developed. The NYPD check of his credit cards and metro cards showed he rode several subway lines, visited the High Line Park, took a three mile jog, and engaged in other activities during his “self-quarantine.” NBC’s Dr. Nancy Snyderman broke her voluntary three week quarantine by seeking food at the Peasant Grill in Hopewell, New Jersey. Kaci went on a bike ride today in Maine, asserting she doesn’t have the disease. She probably doesn’t, just as the risks for Dr. Snyderman are low. But they are playing Russian Roulette, or Ebola Roulette, with the American people. The Obama Administration is “The Gang that Couldn’t Shoot Straight:” Veterans Administration Drip, drip, drip IRS Drip, drip, drip ISIS Drip, drip, drip Benghazi Drip, drip, drip NSA Drip, drip, drip Fast and Furious Drip, drip, drip The flood of children immigrants Drip, drip, drip Immigration Drip, drip, drip Syria Drip, drip, drip Ukraine Drip, drip, drip ObamaCare Rollout Drip, drip, drip Secret Service Drip, drip, drip And now Ebola Drip, drip, drip No one alone would create a crisis of confidence in the Administration, but the cumulative impact of each drip is a flood. Leading from behind is not a panacea for Ebola. Dr. Frieden constantly assured the American public that the CDC was prepared for Ebola reaching the United States. He claimed any hospital with an isolation unit could handle Ebola. The CDC Director kept repeating the word “Protocol,” “Protocol,” “Protocol.” The CDC and hospitals had the proper protocols in place because they understood the disease. He was wrong. So was the CDC, as was the highly regarded Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas Hospital. Most of the hospitals in the United States were unprepared before the Dallas debacle. Many even lacked the necessary protective equipment. The Associated Press released a report showing the American hospital system is unprepared for Ebola. Dr. Frieden was wrong. New Jersey was unprepared. Kaci Hickoh was quarantined in a plastic tent on the grounds of the hospital. The World Health Organization also admitted it failed in Africa. Dr. Frieden failed. CDC failed. Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital failed. The Obama Administration failed. We also don’t trust this administration. Samantha Powers and President Obama assert we should treat the returning medical workers as “heroes.” They are heroes. They are upholding the highest calling of the medical profession. The doctors and nurses of Doctors Without Borders are heroes, but any one of them could unleash the deadly Ebola into the American populace. Let’s look at the cases of the two Texas nurses, Nina Pham and Amber Vinson, the NBC freelance cameraman, Ashoka Mukpo, and Dr. Craig Spencer. Neither Nina Pham nor Amber Vincent know how they contracted the disease. They were apparently following the CDC protocols at the time amidst confusion in the hospital. The NBC reporter does not know how he was exposed to the virus. Dr. Spencer exercised the utmost care in treating the Ebola victims in Guinea. Just the slightest misstep seemingly opens the door to the Ebola virus. Doctors Without Borders recognizes that even with safety measures the risk of contracting Ebola cannot be zero. No wonder Governor Christy wants a mandatory quarantine. The Defense Department issued a mandatory 21 day quarantine period for soldiers who had come into contact with Ebola victims. The solution to Ebola is isolation.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

How Could I Have Left San Francisco?

Why Did I Ever Leave San Francisco? Standing on the patio of the St. Francis Yacht Club, admiring the Golden Gate: a perfect view of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, sailboats riding the winds of the Bay (“Ride Captain, Ride,”) seagulls perching (not sitting) on the “Dock of the Bay,” waves breaking on the shore, and my hair, what’s left of it, blowing in the breeze. On the landside, the Palace of Fine Arts towers over its surroundings. San Francisco is my home, but I left in 1970. Why? Because my life took me elsewhere. I’ve been back several times, but this visit was different. It was the 50th Reunion of the Lowell High School Class of 1964, my incredible classmates. It all came back – not just the streets, neighborhoods and byways of San Francisco, but all the wonderful memories, seeing friends and classmates from half a century ago. We are a remarkably well-preserved class. Many of us resemble the 1964 yearbook photos. The 900 graduates scattered to the winds, doing well with their lives. Lowell and San Francisco always remained with them. The class beauties are still beautiful. So much happened in San Francisco, the nation, and the world in the 1960’s since we graduated in 1964: The Civil Rights Movement, Vietnam, LBJ, The War on Poverty, race riots. San Francisco had the Haight Asbury, Hippies and the Flower Children, while Berzerkley had the Free Speech Movement. We all knew where we were on that terrible day, November 22, 1963 when JFK was assassinated. The fog, the Sunset Fog, which shrouds the Sunset District, enveloped me as I crossed the line from the Peninsula into the City and County of San Francisco. Welcome home! The hills and the neighborhoods beaconed as I drove through the maze of the streets, trying to remember and retrace the routes: Twin Peaks, Upper Noe Valley, the Mission and the Marina, the Richmond and Sunset Districts, former homes and apartment houses. I’ve done it before, but it felt different this visit. Development has filled in empty lots and replaced homes, but the essential character of the neighborhoods remains, a city of soaring skyscapers, but thousands of small merchants. No Silicone Valley 50 years ago, but today the signs are there: parking spaces at a premium and every other vehicle seemingly being a Bimer or Prius. Tourists fall in love with one of the world’s greatest cities. Those of us raised in the City by the Bay take it for granted. But to return to the City in all its grandeur as an expatriate adds a deeper meaning; it’s personal. No wonder many of my classmates left, but returned. Questions arose: 1) I never had a driver’s license while living in the City of Seven Hills, but climbing Divisadero and Clipper yesterday, did I really drive a stick shift for a week up those hills on an earlier return? Check out Bill Cosby’s classic comedy skirt “Driving in San Francisco.” 2) While driving past some of the old homes and apartments, did I really walk up and down those steep hills, often daily, while at Lowell and USF? Is that why I was a skinny 165 pounds? Young people are everywhere walking “The sidewalks of San Francisco.” The future is theirs. San Francisco to me is Neil Diamond’s great song, “I am, I said.” San Francisco is home, but it’s no longer mine. It is also Tony Bennett’s “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.” The O.C. is fine, but it’s not home. And yet, I left 44 years ago because my life led me to Michigan, Ohio, Washington, Massachusetts and then Orange County. I would still travel the same voyage away from the City. I was blest growing up in San Francisco. And finally, thanks to Maurice Englander, the Lowell English teacher from Fresno, who futilely tried to teach me to write, using metaphors of San Francisco. Now I know.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Even the Electronic Voting Machines Cheat Democratic in Cook County

Chicago, the heart of Cook County, is notorious for voter fraud. The fabled Chicago Rule of Voting is simple: “Vote early, Vote often, Make your vote count.” Actually, it’s “Vote early, Vote Democratic, Vote often; make your votes count.” Every Democratic vote should be counted. And counted. And counted. As often as necessary. Republican votes are not considered votes. They are not to be counted, as illustrated by the number of precinct in 2012 that apparently did not cast a single ballot for Governor Romney. Mayor Daley would be proud. If you can't make it to the voting booth, don't worry. The machine will vote for you. Chicago believes in voting. Chicago also believes in the Afterlife. Chicago residents can vote from the grave, for eternity, as long as they vote Democratic. No limit exists on cemetery votes. The dead votes are allowed to exceed the number of live voters in the precinct. Chicago voters are loyal to the Party. The deceased still vote Democratic. Electronic voting machines are supposed to be voter fraud proof. Not in Cook County. Jim Moynihan is running for the State Assembly as a Republican against Michelle Mussmann, the Democratic incumbent. He voted in early voting in the public library in Schaumberg, Illinois two days ago. He voted for himself. His vote registered as a vote for Michelle. He tried voting for other Republican candidates, and these votes all registered for Democrats. Jim should not be surprised. This is Cook County. Even the electronic voting machines understand they are to vote Democratic or risk a short circuit. Republicans have a tough slough in Illinois. You know it’s bad when they cannot even vote for themselves. The Cook County Registrar of Voters Office explained the problem as a simple miscalibration. Seemingly no other machines were similarly misbehaving. Attorney General Eric Holder has not weighed in on the nefarious machine. Democrats are worried this cycle about turning out the vote. They shouldn’t be. They only need to turn actual Republican votes into Democratic votes. Cook County has shown the way.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Lessons From The Dallas Ebola Outbreak

The Dallas Ebola Outbreak has not yet run its course. Others may be infected, or it may be over – for now. The key to defeating the spread of Ebola in America is Planning. General Eisenhower is famously quoted as saying before the D Day Invasion: “Planning is Everything; the Plan is nothing.” He recognized that even the best-prepared plan will not withstand the fog of war. CDC has proven that with the failure of its Ebola Protocols. It possessed a false sense of confidence. The keys to emergency planning are: 1) The plan 2) Training 3) Testing the plan with exercises 4) Heeding the lessons learned from the exercises Plans should be site or incident specific without boilerplate. The plans should be communicated to those who will need to implement them. The keys to fighting Ebola are 1) Diagnosis 2) Treatment and Containment 3) Disposal of potentially contaminated materials. CDC, Dr. Frieden, and the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas failed these tests. The first mistake was failing to understand that no human activity is risk free. Humans, even the best trained experts and professionals, make mistakes. Dr. Frieden and the CDC assumed that by circulating a protocol to hospitals the medical providers would immediately and properly implement it. The heretofore highly respected Dallas hospital proved that is not the case. Nurses from around the country attest that many hospitals fail to meet the preparedness standards. Many do not even possess the proper protective attire. Presbyterian Hospital acknowledged it received the protocols, but did not train the staff. Training and exercises serve two purposes. First, they identify weaknesses in the plan (protocol). Second, training with repeated exercises allows the staff to quickly react, almost by instinct, when the patient arrives. They do not have to “wing it,” unlike the Presbyterian nurses. Responding to Ebola is unlike any other contagious disease, even SARS or MERS. A learning curve exists. Dr. Frieden, Director of the CDC, arrogantly assumed that the protocols would be expertly followed in the field. The agency did not follow up over the past decade to ensure training, testing, and exercises were implemented. A major problem with the CDC protocol is the basic assumptions that go into the initial diagnosis of Ebola. The incubation period is not 21 days, but can range from 2-21 days and by one report extend to 42 days. Second, individuals, as with most diseases, may experience different symptoms. A fever of 100.4 may not be the initial symptom. Fatigue may be. Nor may the disease progress uniformly for all victims. The temperature marker can be defeated by aspirin, Tylenol or Advil. Questions at airports can be thwarted by lies. Isolation of the patient is possible, but containment to the initial victim is difficult, as shown by the two nurses contracting the disease in the hospital. Monitoring the hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of possible contacts in the jet age will be imperfect. We have problems with the use of the word “monitoring” by the CDC. It apparently included self-monitoring on the honor system. Self-monitoring failed with at least two contacts, one developing Ebola, on airplanes and cruise ships. It may be, as with contagion in the past, especially smallpox, that a strict quarantine regime may be necessary to stop the spread of Ebola. Thomas Eric Duncan’s family stayed in the contaminated apartment for days after he was admitted into the hospital because the authorities could not obtain the proper disposal methods, materials, contractor, or permits. The CDC guidelines and the local standards varied. These contingencies must be prepared in advance. Someone must be in overall command of the incident, an “incident command leader.” President Obama has appointed Ron Klain to be in overall control of the Ebola fight. Time will tell if he is the proper person. There must also be one person, a credible source, to be the media contact. Dr. Tom Frieden was not up to the task. It’s best to be upfront with the situation. If not, social media and the internet will quickly destroy the credibility of the spokesperson. The current Ebola outbreak proves another adage: Failing to plan is planning to failure. Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital failed to plan. CDC failed to properly plan. The result is a public health crisis and perhaps tragedy.

Friday, October 17, 2014

"Giant Squids Attack Greenpeace Sub"

In the immortal words of Monty Python: “And now for something different.” Saturday afternoons in the 1950’s and 1960’s were always a double bill at the neighborhood theatre, usually The Surf. The Hollywood Studios pumped out the B Movies. Two movies, several cartoons (Looney Toons, Disney and Casper the Friendly Ghost), popcorn, candy and a drink for less than $1 would fill the whole afternoon with sheer escapism. Republic led with the westerns, Universal with the horror films, but there was much more. We learnt ancient history and mythology from movies, such as The Odyssey, Helen of Troy (with a blond Helen), Jason and the Argonauts, The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad, The Vikings, Ivanhoe, Robin Hood, The Robe, Demetrius and the Gladiators, The Ten Commandments, and El Cid. Swashbucklers and cowboys: John Wayne, Charlton Heston, Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster, and Yul Brenner dominated the big screen. Laurie and Hardy, Abbott and Costello, The Three Stooges, W. C. Fields, Ma and Pa Kettle, and even Francis the Talking Mule headlined the comedies lineup. The above ground nuclear tests created a sci fi genre of mutants. “Them” involved giant, mutant ants living in the drainage channels of the cemented Los Angeles River. The movie relevant to this blog is “It Came From Beneath The Sea.” A giant mutant octopus attacked the Golden Gate Bridge and the Ferry Building (special effects by the great Ray Harryhausen). San Francisco was terrified. That’s what came to mind when I saw the tagline: “Giant Squids Attack Greenpeace Sub.” (Octopus, squid, we didn’t know the difference). I visualized mammoth tentacles ripping Greenpeace’s minisub into pieces and pulling the submariners into the squalid, squid beaks. I envisioned giant squids moving on to shredding the Rainbow Warrior II.The irony, or is it tragedy, of nature’s creatures devouring their Greenpeace saviors was worth a look. Nature accomplishing what France failed at in blowing up Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior, killing an innocent photographer, in a futile attempt to defeat a Greenpeace mission. Perhaps Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, starring a singing Kirk Douglas, came to life. Sea creatures accomplishing what Japanese whalers fail and flail at – stopping Greenpeace. Squid doing what lawyers can’t – Stop Greenpeace. Lego caved to Greenpeace. Could giant Bering Squids play the role of Moby Dick? Was it possible? Alas, the 5½ minute video is highly engaging, but the squids were more like baby squid rather than full grown Humboldt Squids. These "Jumbo Squids" grow up to six feet, two inches in length and weigh up to 100 pounds - hardly the mutant octopus attacking San Francisco. These two squids were only a few feet in length. They did not pose a threat to Greenpeace's "Dual Deep Worker Submersible." It appears that one of the squids may have been shredded into chum by the sub’s propeller – an abominable act by Greenpeace intruding into the land of the Humboldt Squid. The squid were defending themselves against the trespassing James Cameron wannabes with a bright light, perhaps 2,000 feet under the sea. Once again technology bested primitive nature. Squid evolved in the depths of the ocean free from human intrusion. They were as helpless against Greenpeace as the passenger pigeons and buffalo against Man. Greenpeace has not disclosed the purpose of the mission, specific details of the sub’s mission or the names of the squid killing crew members. President Obama, as usual, knows nothing about it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Ebola:

President Roosevelt famously said in his March 4, 1933 Inaugural Speech that “ The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” By this reasoning, and the repeated reassurances of the Obama Administration, the only thing we have to fear about Ebola is fear. I submit we have four things to fear about Ebola: 1) Ebola itself; 2) The CDC; 3) Dr. Thomas Frieden, Director of the CDC, and 4) Dr. Nancy Snyderman Disease has shaped civilization. The Bubonic Plague (Justnian’s Plague) destroyed Justinian’s goal of restoring the Roman Empire. The Black Death ravaged Europe 800 years later, killing over 100 million. It struck Constantinople in 1347, weakening the remnants of the once great Byzantine Empire, leading to the ultimate Ottoman conquest a century later. Small Pox was finally eliminated through vaccination. The deadly polio of a century has almost been eliminated. The Spanish Flu of nine decades ago was an exceptionally virulent influenza. AIDS has been with us for 3½ decades. We’ve lived with Leprosy since Biblical Times, and syphilis and gonorrhea for centuries. Malaria kills millions, mostly children, annually. Today we hear of SARS, MERS, Dengue Fever, Marburg virus, H1N1 (Swine Flu), and H5N1 (Bird Flu). All can be deadly, but Ebola poses the greatest risk. No vaccine exists and fatality rates, even with the best of treatment, will often exceed 50%. At least 413 healthcare providers contracted Ebola as of a few days ago. At least 233 of them died from Ebola, a rate over 56%. If medical staff, taking the best precautions available, and receiving the best treatment available, catch the disease fairly easily and then have a 56% fatality rate, then we are witnessing a horrific threat. CDC tells the disease in theory, or so we are told, is transmitted through contact with bodily fluids and is not contagious within a 21 day incubation period or as long as it is asymptomatic. Now we learn that the incubation period may be less than 21 days or as long as six weeks. It is also unclear if Ebola may be contagious before symptoms occur. We are told that airline passengers arriving to the United States from West Africa are screened for fevers, which risks over and under containment. The under containment comes through taking aspirin, Tylenol or Advil during the transit. The over problem is that high temperatures will be common during flu and cold season. The early symptoms of Ebola mirror those of the flu. We also learnt today that the testing is for fevers of 100.4 and higher. Amber Vinson, the Ebola suffering nurse who flew from Cleveland to Dallas tested at 99.5. Thus, she would pass the screening. Amber contacted the CDC prior to the flight, saying she had a temperature. Someone at the CDC did not tell her not to fly. If the virus mutates to aerial transmission, then the effect could rival that of the Plague. If the incubation period is shorter than 21 days, and if transmission can precede a fever, then the risk will have been severely underestimated. Dr. Frieden, Director of the CDC, repeatedly assured us that the risks were low, protocols existed to respond to the virus. He also said that He said that “virtually any hospital in the United States that can do isolation can do isolation for Ebola.” He spoke with smugness, arrogance, contempt, consumed by his own contempt. His statements were either knowingly false, or based on ignorance. The tragedy of Dallas’ Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital illustrates how grossly unprepared we are. The Dallas hospital is a major 898 bed acute care hospital. Thomas Eric Duncan checked into the ER with a 103 temperature and mentions he flew in from Liberia. He’s sent home with antibiotics. He returns a few days later and sits in the waiting room for hours before treatment. 76 hospital workers are exposed to him during his 10 day hospital stay. We learn the staff had no protocol to follow. They “winged” it along the way. Many lacked the total protection called for by the CDC. So far two nurses, Nina Phan and Amber Vinson, contracted Ebola. More are still at risk. Nurses, including the large nursing union National Nurses United, report that nurses at many hospitals lack protocols or training to deal with Ebola patients. Hospitals also lack the requisite protective wear. We are unprepared. Dr. Frieden has engaged in the standard Obama Administration practice of shifting the blame. First was his remark that Nina Phan’s exposure occurred because the protocol was not followed, although he could identify the breach in protocol. He then blamed the outbreak on Republican budget cuts. We have been told that you cannot get Ebola by sitting next to someone on a plane. Maybe? Ebola has been a threat for over a decade. Yet, despite of Dr. Frieden’s statements, the country is unprepared. Only four hospitals, Emory in Atlanta, the Nebraska Medical center in Omaha, St, Patrick Hospital in Missoula, Montana, and the national Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. The major airports of entry into the United States are Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Miami, Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Minneapolis, Chicago, and Detroit. Yet, only Atlanta and Washington, D. C. have hospitals equipped with bio-containment units. The capacity of the four hospitals is a dozen beds. The nation is unprepared. President Obama was so concerned earlier today that he postponed a campaign stop and fundraiser to remain in the Capitol to do his job, to protect the American people. The Administration was as unprepared with Ebola as it was with the Veterans Administration, IRS, Benghazi, Fast and Furious, and ISIS. The tone is set by the President: 200 fundraisers, more golf matches, weeks of vacations. He’s simply not interested in governing. He proposed cutting the 2014 CDC budget by $270 million. The Congressional republicans increased the CDC budget by $567. Dallas is a wakeup call.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The World According to Goop

I was attending a conference in Banff last week, rarely catching TV, surfing the web, or reading hardcopy – the conference was that engaging. Banff itself was invigorating. Yet I saw that Gwyneth Paltrow was doing the unspeakable. She spoke. She fawned, Giddy in Love, over President Obama: “You’re so handsome that I can’t speak properly.” So that’s her excuse. From early Friday morning to Thursday night I turned off my cell’s internet to avoid obscene roaming charges. But Goop was hovering in the background with nonsensical profundity. The speakers and panels in Banff were scintillating, but the spoiled preppie child of Hollywood royalty, loose in Brentwood, is in a league of her own. Mrs. Malaprop is normal compared to Goop. Ms. Paltrow should provide lessons to Vice President Biden. Shallow Gwyneth tries to relate to working women: “It’s much harder for me. I think it’s different when you have an office job, because it’s routine and you can do all the stuff in the morning and then you come home in the evening.” I’ve known several working mothers, beginning with my mom, struggling to balance the workplace and motherhood without maids, nannies, drivers, agents, and bodyguards. She continued: “I think to have a regular job and be a mom is not as, of course there are challenges, but it’s not like being on set.” They will never know. The ten year expatriate to London has this recipe for America’s success: “It would be wonderful if we were able to give this man all of the power that he needs to pass the things that he needs to pass.” Does she not realize that Americans have quit on President Obama? Democrats are running away from the President. Chris Matthews has lost that thrill going up his legs. Of course not; Goop has just reentered the United States from a self-imposed, decade long exile in England. She plans to move her two children, Apple and Moses, back to England in two years because the English educational system is “second to none.” We have the same elite prep schools in America. The Oscar winning thespian hates bloggers: “You come across (online comments) about yourself and your friends, and it’s a dehumanizing thing. It’s almost like how, in war, you go through this bloody, dehumanizing thing, and then something is defined out of it.” A famous celebrity, as shallow as the “Real Housewives of Wherever,” with a web site and eccentric cooking tastes, and who writes with apparent Glee of her impending divorce in terms of “consciously uncouple and co-parent” invites contempt and ridicule. Let your acting and singing speak for you. Remember that we uncouth Yankee rubes pay your lifestyle. STFU!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

The Halfway Mark of Michigan's Season: The Party's Over

We sing/yell “Hail to the Victors,” chant “It’s great to be a Wolverine,” and politely say “Go Blue.” “Hail to the Victors sounds flat when the Wolverines are losing. Michigan is an underdog at Rutgers tomorrow, the halfway mark of the season. “Dandy” Don Meredith sang “The Party’s Over” on Monday Night Football. Michigan’s party is over. They could upset Rutgers later today, imagine that, beating Rutgers would be an upset, get their mojo working, and sweep the rest of the schedule, defeating Michigan State and Ohio State on the road. The season would still be over. John Beilein, Michigan’s winning basketball coach, said the atmosphere would change with a win. Team 135 is beaten down, at a loss, but a win, a series of wins, could restore their spirits. It would also reduce the chorus of boo birds, who want Brady Hoke, the head coach, and Dave Brandon, the Athletic Director, fired, effective immediately. Michigan is being pummeled daily on network TV, cable TV, sports writers and especially the blogs. The losing is bad, but the concussion is unacceptable. The ABC broadcast of the Maryland game last Saturday caught the Michigan quarterback, Shane Morris, sent back into the game when he could hardly stand and appeared to suffer a concussion. The cameras also caught a Maryland player delivering a cheap shot to his head. That’s where the national outcry is coming from. Michigan mishandled the situation, letting the story get ahead of itself. Concussions are a major issue in sports today, especially in football. The days are long gone when a coach would hold his hands up to a groggy player, and ask “How many fingers?” The correct answer would then get the player back into the game. Sending a player with a suspected concussion back into the game today is unacceptable. Yet, that’s what Michigan appeared to do. Probably the only thing worse today would be if the university covered up a player being the suspect in a domestic violence event. The national outcry is justifiable. Michigan is now the poster child for what not to do – it’s a teachable moment. Michigan’s official story is that no one among the doctors watching the game, the coaching staff, or the trainers saw the possible concussion. The trainers were concentrating on Morris’ high angle sprain. Some of the furor though is suspect, especially from the Michigan fan base. They would be quiet if Michigan were still the football juggernaut, convincingly winning most games, and blowing out opponents. Coach Hoke said he did not think there was a concussion. The Athletic Director at1:00am said there was a probable mild concussion. Michigan’s new president, Mark Schlissel, issued a statement apologizing for the University: “We did not get that right and for this I apologize to Shane, his family and teammates, and to the entire Michigan family.” Michigan has changed the game protocol to try to prevent a similar incident going forward. Some of the outcry is payback for the Michigan, the winningest team in college football. Michigan was arrogant, seemingly a bully. The fans delighted in the team running up the score against “patsies.” Those days are gone, at least for now. Schadenfreude is the phrase. The slide started eight years ago when Lloyd Carr’s wolverines lost to Appalachian State, and then were blown out by Oregon the next week. Both games were in Ann Arbor. Coach Carr had also lost some of his effectiveness in recruiting. He retired at the end of the season, defeating Urban Meyer’s Florida Gators in the Capitol One Bowl. Michigan had consistent problems playing against the spread offense. Bill Martin, the then athletic director, after a messy search hired West Virginia’s highly successful coach, Rich Rodriguez, as the new coach. Rich Rod was the inventor of the spread; he had directions to change Michigan. He is an outstanding coach. Just Thursday night his Arizona Wildcats defeated Oregon, the second time in two years. Yet he was the wrong coach at the wrong time at the wrong school. His Michigan record was 3-8, 5-7, and 7-6. The teams did not play defense. Dave Brandon had replaced Bill Martin as AD. Brandon had played for Bo. The fans wanted a “Michigan Man.” He gave them a “Michigan Man,” Brady Hoke. Hoke started out like gangbusters, 11-2 four years ago, beating Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl. Michigan was back, where it belonged. Then the roof caved in, 8-5, 7-6, and now 2-3, being shut out by Notre Dame. The team is losing ugly. Hoke’s fate is sealed. The 114,000 seat Big House is struggling to get 100,000 in the stands. Michigan needs football to fund the athletic program. View the Big House like a 747. It generates tremendous profits when the seats are fully occupied. Too many empty seats are an economic disaster. Make no mistake; attendance is plunging. The students are upset because Brandon dropped the long tradition (Michigan football is tradition) of student tickets being sold on the basis of seniority (years at Michigan). The students were beginning to stay away, leaving thousands of visible empty seats in the stands. He experimented with general admissions. That was also a disaster. He also substantially raised the price on student season tickets to $295. They would pay more for less. Michigan students are not stupid. They easily figured that one out, without taking a basic economics course. I won’t be watching the game today. This blog was typed on a plane as my new song for the next six days is “O, Canada.”