Growing Fears Of Coronavirus

As the coronavirus continues to infect more and more people, the fear is continuing to grow.


Today, Apple announced that the outbreak will imagine their sales


And I read yesterday that airlines, even Israeli El Al, is warning of the impact


But how you know that the people, as individuals, are getting seriously worried are by the level of precautions they are starting to take.


These include: canceling travel arrangements, wearing (antiviral) face masks and latex gloves, and ever more frequent hand-washing and use of hand sanitizers. 


The picture here shows a couple of ladies waiting on line for some gelato at the airport, and they have masks over their faces and this is in the Holy Land, and not even where the outbreak is in China!


I hear official figures of 70,000+ infected and 1,800 dead, but on the street people are saying these are grossly understated. 


Let us pray that this virus is brought speedily under control, that a cure is found, and that no more people are sickened or killed by it. 


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Jew-Hate Shouted Aloud

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called “Jew-Hate Shouted Aloud.”

We were walking to synagogue today for Shabbat services, and were taken aback when out of the window of a speeding car someone yelled, “Heil Hitler!”…While I value all the freedoms we have in this country, including the freedom of speech (especially as I am a writer), I am concerned that if the anti-Semitism can’t be addressed through law enforcement action when it’s at the verbal stage of offense then what does that leave—it has to escalate to violence for the police to be able to take action against the haters and perpetrators?


Just as it is illegal to yell “fire” in a crowded theatre and cause danger to the public, I believe that shouting vile hatred and incitement should be illegal for the same reasons. We don’t need to be able to punish people for thought crimes, but we do need to be able to protect people from hate-mongers who are openly leading up to violent expressions of their deep-seated Jew hatred, by identifying hate speech as a bona fide illegal and punishable crime.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Culture Intersects With Preparedness

Preparedness Kit.jpeg

Just really loved this emergency preparedness poster by the Center for Disease Control (CDC).


It builds off of the #1, hit TV show, The Walking Dead that films in Atlanta where the CDC is. 


The show is about a zombie apocalypse and the story of how people survive (or not) amidst a global pandemic and the murderous awakened dead that feast off of the living. 


Here’s a link with what the CDC recommends you have in an emergency preparedness kit. 


The CDC also has a comic book with a zombie outbreak theme that further drives home the importance of a preparedness kit and what to have in it. 


I think it’s great when government thinks outside-the-box in ways that appeal to everyday citizens to serve them, help them, and especially keep them safe from disasters. 


(Source Photo: here with attribution to CDC)

Losing Deadly Control

Skull

So today we hear that there was a horrible mistake in which at least 52 sites (in 18 states here and 3 other countries) were inadvertently sent LIVE anthrax!!!


This after a prior incident in December where ebola had been mishandled and a technician potentially exposed. 


Again last August, they announced that a lab had accidentally cross-contaminated benign bird flu virus with a deadly strain of it. 


And there are at least five other major mishaps just since 2009 including more with anthrax and bird flu as well as with Brucella and botulism–these involved everything from using improper sterilization and handling techniques to inadvertent shipments of deadly live germs. 


Also in July, the CDC discovered six vials of LIVE smallpox in an unused storage room at the NIH.


This is reminiscent of similar gaffes by the military with an inadvertent shipment in 2007 by the Air Force of six nuclear warheads while the crew was unaware that they were even carrying it.


And here we go again (a doozy this time), information was disclosed in 2013 that we nearly nuked ourselves (specifically North Carolina) with 2 hydrogen bombs (260 times more powerful than that exploded on Hiroshima) in 1961. 


Yes, mistakes happen, but for weapons of mass destructions that we are talking about here, there are layers of safeguards that are supposed to be strictly in place. 


After each incident, it seems that some official acknowledges the mistakes made, says sorry, and claims things are going to be cleaned up now. 


But if the same or similar mistakes are made over and over again, then what are we really to believe, especially when millions of lives are at stake?


We have too much faith in the large bureaucratic system called government that despite how well it could be run, very often it isn’t and is prone to large and dangerous errors and miscalculations.


With all due respect for our experts in these areas, we need to spend a lot more time and effort to ensure the safety of our most dangerous stockpiles–be it of nuclear, chemical, biological, or radiological origin. 


We can’t afford any more mistakes–or the next one could be more than just a simple (not) embarrassment.


What good is all the preparation to win against our enemies, if we are our own worst enemy or we have meet the enemy and it is us! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Stop Harassment Now

Harassment 2

I took this photo on the Washington, D.C. Metro. 


“If It’s Unwanted, It’s Harassment.”


Only a day or two later, some ladies came to me complaining that they had been harassed on the Metro.


Apparently, they had been on the platform waiting for a train and a young man was first staring at them, then coming around them menancingly, and then following them. 


Thank G-d, they got away, but it was a frightening situation that left them wanting to actually move away. 


Residents in the metro D.C area and customers of Metro should not have to ride in fear. 


We need more police and surveillance cameras on the Metro system now!


Signs are a great reminder, but law enforcement action is what is really needed and called for. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

rED pEPPERS Anyone

Red Peppers
No, this is not a Washington, D.C. crime scene.



Just someone dropping their jar of roasted red peppers smack in the middle of the street in Foggy Bottom, and just in time for the morning commute.



Well, watch your step folks (there’s broken glass there) and don’t step in the slimmy red pepper sauce (ala Whole Foods “everyday value”).



Just another hump day in the nation’s Capital. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Terrorism – Is it Going Away?

Terrorism - Is it Going Away?

Going on 13 years since 9/11…

Ukraine invaded by Russia seeking to annex Crimea

Malaysia Airline with 239 aboard missing and still a mystery

Sochi, suspected hijacker tries to divert plane, F-16s scrambled

Syria aided by Hezbollah fighters, estimates of more than 150,000 dead

Iran ships medium range missiles to Hamas in the Gaza Strip

Iraq Suicide bombing a somewhat regular occurrence

Pakistan death toll in war on terror estimated at 49,000

Saudi Arabia concerned about Muslim Brotherhood and
Hezbollah

Lebanon, twin suicide car bombings in capital

Egypt, terror attack on tourist bus in Red Sea resort

Somalia, car bombing at national intelligence headquarters

North Korea accused by South of “reign of terror”

Where are we in the war on terror–are we really any safer?

All opinions my own.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)