Category Archives: Race

Chart of the day: America’s growing wealth divide


From the Urban Institute via the Washington Post:

BLOG Racial divide

Cornel West, others busted in Ferguson protests


From The Real News Network, a report on protests and arrests in Ferguson, Missouri, where demonstrators are demanding answers and action in the 9 August police killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager.

Among those arrested was Harvard professor and civil right s activist Dr. Cornel West, as NBC News reports:

Knocked Down: Cornel West Arrested During Ferguson Protests

Hundreds of protesters committed acts of civil disobedience throughout Ferguson, Missouri, on Monday as they launched another day of demonstrations over the August killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, by a police officer.

Cornel West, a prominent activist, was knocked over during a scuffle at the Ferguson Police Department and was later arrested. West was among the first to be led away, followed by other protesters.

From The Real News Network:

Cornel West, Faith Leaders And Activists Arrested As Ferguson October Continues

From the transcript:

JAISAL NOOR, TRNN PRODUCER: On Monday Oct 13, 20 demonstrators including Dr. Cornel West and other faith leaders and activist were arrested as they carried out civil disobedience at the Ferguson police station, after their demands to meet with local officials were denied.

This was the latest in renewed protests in Ferguson – demanding the arrest of Darren Wilson the officer who killed unarmed black Teen Michael Brown.

Dozens have been arrested in the latest wave of protests- that began on Friday as part of Ferguson October a national campaign to keep pressure on local, statewide and national authorities to take actions months after Brown’s killing.

PROTESTERS: [incompr.] Convict! Send that killer cop to jail!

MEGAN SHERMAN, TRNN PRODUCER: The first began in the morning at the office of prosecuting attorney Robert McCulloch, who was in charge of the investigation of Officer Wilson. Activists are demanding that McCulloch be taken off of the case, as they believe that his bias is in favor of law enforcement, because his father was an officer killed in the line of duty.

EbolaWatch: Alarms, U.S., Spain, African woes


First up, the reality, via Al Jazeera English:

WHO: no control over spread of Ebola

  • UN health authority says almost half of Ebola patients have died, and warns disease will spread to other countries

The Ebola outbreak shows no signs of abating, has killed 3,879 people and threatens more Western African nations poorly equipped to deal with the disease, the World Health Organisation has said in a grim update.

The UN’s health authority said on Wednesday that a total of 8,033 people had caught the infection up to October 5, and 3,879 of those had died. Liberia and Sierra Leone, the two worst-hit nations, had less than a quarter of the beds needed.

“The situation in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone continues to deteriorate, with widespread and persistent transmission of Ebola,” it said. “There is no evidence that the EVD epidemic in West Africa is being brought under control.”

It said a reported fall in the number of new cases in Liberia was “unlikely to be genuine” and rather reflected how responders were being overwhelmed by data.

From CNN, a remarkable look at the African frontline reality by way of a forehead-mounted camera:

Ebola battle through nurse’s eyes

Program notes:

CNN’s Nima Elbagir reports on the desperate effort to save Ebola patients from the viewpoint of those taking care of them.

And a parallel alarm from the Guardian:

Ebola outbreak could cost West African economy $32.6bn, World Bank warns

  • Bank says failure to adequately contain the virus would have potentially catastrophic consequences for the economy

The outbreak of Ebola could cost the West African economy $32.6bn (£20.3bn) by the end of 2015 unless the epidemic is quickly contained,the World Bank has warned.

The Bank said the future path of Ebola was highly uncertain and failure to adequately contain the virus would have potentially catastrophic consequences for the economy.

More than 3,400 people have died after contracting Ebola in the three most greatly affected countries: Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

Jim Yong Kim, the president of the World Bank, said the virus posed a global threat and urged the international community to respond decisively.

And the shrieking alarm from [where else?] the London Daily Mail:

‘It’s literally, “Katie bar the door”’: Marine Corps four-star general warns of ‘mass migration into the US’ if Ebola epidemic hits Central America

  • Gen. John Kelly said Ebola in countries like Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras would bring a new human flood to the US-Mexico border
  • ‘Katie bar the door’ refers to a frantic effort to stop a threat from reaching its target
  • Kelly recalled seeing a line of people waiting to cross a Central American border, all of whom said they were from Liberia
  • Illegal immigrants have poured into the US from those countries this year, including tens of thousands of unaccompanied children
  • Kelly predicted that the deadly disease can’t be prevented from spreading: ‘There is no way we can keep Ebola in West Africa’

The Marine Corps general who leads America’s Southern Command warned Tuesday that the U.S. could face an unprecedented flood of immigrants from the south if the Ebola virus epidemic hits Central America.

‘If it breaks out, it’s literally, “Katie bar the door”,’ Gen John Kelly told said during a public discussion at the National Defense University. ‘And there will be mass migration into the United States.’

And a situation report, via CCTV Africa:

Ebola: Fresh concerns as the virus outpaces mitigation efforts

Program notes:

Health experts in the United States say the Ebola outbreak is unlikely to be eradicated unless a vaccine or other drug treatment is successfully developed. Up until now, the emphasis has been on halting the spread of Ebola by rapidly scaling up public health care facilities. But, experts now say those efforts are unlikely to keep pace with the disease. Daniel Ryntjes reports.

From the New York Times, in case you hadn’t read it before:

Dallas Ebola Patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, Dies

Thomas Eric Duncan, 42, the patient with the first case of Ebola diagnosed in the United States and the Liberian man at the center of a widening public health scare, died in isolation at a hospital here on Wednesday, hospital authorities said.

Mr. Duncan died at 7:51 a.m. at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, more than a week after the virus was detected in him on Sept. 30. His condition had worsened in recent days to critical from serious as medical personnel worked to support his fluid and electrolyte levels, crucial to recovery in a disease that causes bleeding, vomiting and diarrhea. Mr. Duncan was also treated with an experimental antiviral drug, brincidofovir, after the Food and Drug Administration approved its use on an emergency basis.

“The past week has been an enormous test of our health system, but for one family it has been far more personal,” Dr. David Lakey, the commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, said in a statement. “Today they lost a dear member of their family. They have our sincere condolences, and we are keeping them in our thoughts.”

CNBC posits the inevitable:

Could Dallas hospital be liable for Ebola death?

Thomas Eric Duncan, the Ebola patient in Dallas who died Wednesday, may have been sent home while ill with the disease, and the doctors and nurses treating him may have failed to act on his report of coming from West Africa.

But will those health-care providers or their hospital be legally liable? Not likely, Texas legal experts say.

Tort reform and other legal changes in Texas since 2003 have made it one of the most difficult states in which to bring a medical malpractice suit, said Charles Silver, a law professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

“I doubt that you could find a plaintiff’s attorney to even take this case unless it was solely for the publicity value,” Silver said. “I can’t see why somebody would take this case for just strictly a contingent fee.

Meanwhile in California, this from the Los Angeles Times:

8th person tested for Ebola in L.A. County, 8th negative result

A man who was admitted to Centinela Hospital Medical Center in Inglewood with Ebola-like symptoms has tested negative for the deadly virus, hospital officials confirmed Wednesday.

The unidentified man, who officials said was admitted to the hospital Tuesday night, is the latest such case in the U.S. amid heightened screening and other measures put in place to prevent the virus from spreading.

Since the Ebola outbreak began in West Africa in December, there have been seven other instances in Los Angeles County in which patients were initially deemed to potentially have Ebola. Patients are quarantined until tests are completed.

Reuters covers belated preparations:

Dallas hospitals set up Ebola wards as city watches for spread

Hospitals in Dallas have set up Ebola isolation wards and revamped procedures to deal with new patients, as the sprawling Texas city waits to see if the deadly virus spreads following the first case diagnosed on U.S. soil.

Some 48 people are being monitored by health officials in Dallas after Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian visiting family in Dallas, came down with the disease in late September. He died early on Wednesday, hospital officials said.

Ebola’s incubation period can last as long as three weeks, but victims typically start showing symptoms within 10-14 days, making this week crucial, according to state officials.

From the Guardian, help in vein:

Ebola survivor gives blood for transfusion with Nebraska patient

  • Journalist Ashoka Mukpo, the most recent patient to arrive in the US for treatment, will receive blood of Dr Kent Brantley

The first American flown back to the US for treatment of Ebola this summer has donated blood to the most recent one to return from west Africa with the disease.

The Nebraska Medical Center said Wednesday that it called Dr Kent Brantly on Tuesday to tell him his blood type matches that of Ashoka Mukpo, a freelance video journalist who arrived at the medical center Monday.

The hospital says Brantly was driving through Kansas City, Missouri, and was able to give blood locally that was flown to Omaha. It says Mukpo will receive the transfusion Wednesday.

The Los Angeles Times watches the airports:

Ebola screening of travelers to U.S. may begin this weekend at 5 airports

Officials hope to begin screening air passengers entering the United States for Ebola as soon as this weekend, the White House confirmed Wednesday.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest confirmed at a press briefing Wednesday that the stepped-up screening is planned for John F. Kennedy International Airport, Newark Liberty, Dulles International, Chicago O’Hare, and Hartsfield International Airport in Atlanta.

Earnest said 94% of air travelers from the three affected West African countries — Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone — pass through those five ports of entry, which he said amounts to about 150 passengers at all five airports daily.

More from the Associated Press:

Obama: New Ebola measures add layer of protection

President Barack Obama describes says new screening measures at key international airports are “just belt-and-suspenders” to add a layer of protection to measures already employed.

He says the new measures will include more screening questions for passengers arriving from the countries worst hit by the outbreak — Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. He says the procedures will allow United States officials to isolate, evaluate and monitor travelers and collect any information about their contacts.

He says the case of Ebola in the U.S. — a patient who died Wednesday in Dallas — illustrates that “we don’t have a lot of margin for error.” But he said chance of an Ebola outbreak in the U.S. “remains extremely low.

A white Southerner says old school white Southerner, via The Hill:

Vitter: Block Ebola funds until Obama details plan

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) is urging his colleagues to block any additional funding to combat Ebola until the Obama administration more clearly details its plans to stop the deadly outbreak.

In a letter Wednesday to the leaders of two congressional panels, Vitter questioned the administration’s request to shift $1 billion in funds toward Ebola prevention.

“I strongly support addressing this crisis with the full force of the government to help bring the epidemic under control,” he wrote. “However, I ask you to oppose fully allowing the additional $1 billion in reprogramming requests until previously requested additional information is available for members of Congress to be fully briefed.”

But Vitter said more should be done, suggesting the administration should bar foreign nationals from countries dealing with Ebola from entering the U.S.

“Instead of using powers given to him, the President is requesting $1 billion for a plan that has not been presented to members of Congress, focuses on Africa, and largely ignores our own borders,” he wrote.

The Verge makes a point familiar for esnl readers:

Ebola panic is getting pretty racist

  • The real culprit in Ebola’s spread has been cuts to public health budgets

The first time a reporter asked a CDC representative whether Thomas Duncan — the first patient to receive an Ebola diagnosis in the US — was an American citizen, the question seemed pretty tame. One could excuse it as a general inquiry about the Duncan’s nationality during the first press conference announcing his diagnosis. But after the CDC declined to answer, the question kept coming. “Is he a citizen?” reporters repeatedly asked. “Is he one of us?” they meant.

The current Ebola crisis has been tinged with racism and xenophobia. The disease rages in West Africa, and has therefore largely infected people of color. But somehow Americans were among the first to get a dose of Zmapp — the experimental anti-Ebola drug — this summer, despite the fact that Africans have been dying from the current Ebola epidemic since its emergence in Guinea in December. There are a lot of reasons for that, of course. The drug is potentially dangerous and only exists in short supply. It’s also extremely costly. And it originated in Canada, so it’s unsurprising that North America controls its use.

And now that Ebola has “reached” the US, American privilege — white privilege, especially — is floating to the surface, in even less subtle ways.

On a related note, from Public Radio International:

Why doubling down on aid to West Africa will do more to halt Ebola than increased airport screening

Although many treatment centers in Liberia are at capacity, local and international staff at most facilities are soldiering on, according to physician Sheri Fink, who is reporting on the outbreak for the New York Times. Fink is now in Suakoko, Liberia, at an Ebola clinic run by the International Medical Corps.

She says Liberians in that rural outpost fear that [Dalla fatality Tomas] Duncan’s death, along with increased screenings at airports worldwide, might mean fewer international volunteers will step forward to work in Ebola wards.

“They’re really worried that this will have a dampening effect on getting volunteers to come over here, where you really need to fight this disease at its source, and help the people out which is going to contribute to the US protection as well,” Fink says. “The fear is that if volunteers think that they might not be able to get back to their countries of origin, or have difficulty with that, that could be a problem.”

Another shrieker from the London Daily Mail:

BREAKING: Texas sheriff’s deputy rushed to hospital with Ebola symptoms after attending apartment of ‘patient zero’ who died today

  • Dallas County Sheriff Deputy Michael Monning went to an urgent care clinic in Frisco, Texas with his wife on Wednesday
  • A witness at the clinic described him as ‘hunched over and flushed’
  • The deputy was inside the apartment where Ebola patient Thomas Duncan fell ill – the officer wasn’t wearing protective clothing
  • The CDC said the person is not one of the 48 contacts being monitored
  • The CareNow clinic was placed in lock-down
  • Liberian national Mr Duncan, 42, died from Ebola on Wednesday morning
  • Sgt Monning’s family said today the CDC had told them that their loved one was not at risk and they were just taking precautions

United Press International sounds a softer note:

Officials: Dallas sheriff’s deputy unlikely to have Ebola

The son of Texas Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Monnig said there is “almost no chance” his father is infected with the Ebola virus.

A Dallas sheriff’s deputy who visited the apartment occupied by Ebola patient Thomas Duncan is unlikely to have been infected with the deadly disease, officials said.

Michael Monnig’s son said Wednesday his father decided to visit a clinic because he had stomach pains and felt tired. Monnig had been monitoring his temperature since a visit to Duncan’s apartment last week, but Logan Monnig said his father spent very little time there and did not come into direct contact with Duncan.

“We don’t want to cause a panic,” Logan Monnig told the Dallas Morning News. “There is almost no chance my dad would have Ebola.” Mark Piland, the fire chief in Frisco, where Monnig lives, concurred. He described Monnig’s illness as a “low-risk event.”

Another false alarm, this one in the Big Apple, via the New York Post:

NYC man cleared after being hospitalized for symptoms of Ebola

A Harlem man showing Ebola-like symptoms was taken to Bellevue Hospital on Wednesday, sources told The Post.

The 31-year-old, who had recently visited Nigeria, was later cleared by doctors after a battery of tests, sources said.

The FDNY confirmed that an ambulance responded to a call for a patient who was feeling sick at the Center for Urban Community Services and took the person to the city hospital around 12:42 p.m. His symptoms included fever, vomiting and diarrhea, the sources said.

On to Spain and the latest alarm from El País:

Second nursing assistant admitted to hospital with a fever

  • The woman formed part of the team that cared for the Spanish missionaries with Ebola

A second nursing assistant was admitted to hospital in Madrid on Tuesday night showing symptoms that could correspond to infection with the Ebola virus. The woman formed part of the medical team that treated two Spanish missionaries with Ebola, who were repatriated from Africa and later died in care. Another nursing assistant from the same team, Teresa Romero, was confirmed to have contracted Ebola on Monday and is being treated in Madrid’s Carlos III hospital, where this second woman has also been admitted.

According to a spokesperson from the La Paz and Carlos III hospitals, the suspected victim is running a fever, and is under observation. No further information was given, and it is not known whether the nursing assistant advised the medical authorities of her temperature, or whether she is one of the 50 or so people being monitored by doctors. Most of these formed part of the team who took care of the missionaries, and the remainder are medical staff who came into contact with Romero on Monday before she was placed in isolation.

The second potential victim was “very frightened” given that she is “a friend” of Romero, said hospital sources. The woman worked the morning shift on the team that cared for missionaries Miguel Pajares and Manuel García Viejo, who both died several days after being brought back to Spain. “They have told us that she is fine, but they have admitted her just in case,” the same sources added.

From the Guardian, the first of a barrage of allegations:

Spanish nurse reported Ebola symptoms many times before being quarantined

  • Teresa Romero Ramos says when she first told health authorities of her symptoms she was given only paracetamol

Her first contact with health authorities was on 30 September when she complained of a slight fever and fatigue. Romero Ramos called a specialised service dedicated to occupational risk at the Carlos III hospital where she worked and had treated an Ebola patient, said Antonio Alemany from the regional government of Madrid. But as the nurse’s fever had not reached 38.6C, she was advised to visit her local clinic where she was reportedly prescribed paracetamol.

Days later, according to El País newspaper, Romero Ramos called the hospital again to complain about her fever. No action was taken.

On Monday, she called the Carlos III hospital again, this time saying she felt terrible. Rather than transport her to the hospital that had treated the two missionaries who had been repatriated with Ebola, Romero Ramos was instructed to call emergency services and head to the hospital closest to her home. She was transported to the Alcorcón hospital by paramedics who were not wearing protective gear, El País reported.

On arrival at the hospital, Romero Ramos warned staff that she feared she had contracted Ebola. Despite the warning, she remained in a bed in the emergency room while she waited for her test results. She was separated from other patients only by curtains, hospital staff said on Tuesday.

More from the Guardian:

Ebola crisis: Spanish health workers attack poor training for combating virus

  • Doctor treating Spanish nurse says she might have become accidentally infected with Ebola when taking off her protective equipment

Spanish health professionals have taken aim at the scant amount of training offered to those on the frontline fighting the Ebola virus as the investigation continues into how a Spanish nurse became the first known person to contract the disease outside of west Africa.

On Wednesday, the doctor treating Ebola patient Teresa Romero Ramos said the infection might have been caused by “an accident” when the 44-year-old was taking off her protective equipment.

Germán Ramírez said he had spoken to the nurse three times in an effort to home in how she got infected. Romero Ramos, he said, believes she might have touched her face with her gloves while she was taking off her protective equipment.

In an interview from her hospital bed, Romero Ramos told Spanish broadcaster Cuatro that while she had been given training on how to put on and take off the protective equipment, it was “little training”. She refused to give more details.

Still more from RT:

Spain’s Ebola-infected nurse not immediately isolated, treated in cuts-hit hospital

Healthcare activists report that Madrid’s authorities decided to “dismantle” the infectious diseases center at the Carlos III hospital just months before the Ebola patients were brought there.

The “dismantling” has led to Ebola being “treated in a place that did not meet adequate security conditions,” according to a spokesman for the Public Health Service Defense Federation, Dr Marciano Sánchez Bayle.

“The whole section devoted to infectious illnesses has been closed,” he explained in an interview with Euronews. “The professionals who worked there have been moved to other positions. The laboratory was closed, and so was the intensive care unit. It’s just to say that, one way or another, its capacity to take care of illnesses with these characteristics has been most remarkably reduced.”

Sky News adds insult to injury:

Spanish Nurse Found Out She Had Ebola Online

  1. The 40-year-old says doctors failed to tell her she had the deadly disease and she only realised after reading it on her phone

And some other notable headlines from El País:

Madrid health chief accuses Ebola victim of lying to doctors

  • Francisco José Rodríguez denies any failures regarding training of medical teams

Health workers demand resignations over Ebola infection

  • “We did not have the infrastructure to deal with a virus of this importance,” says labor union

Neighbors of woman with Ebola left in dark by authorities

  • No attempt made on Tuesday to seal off building or apartment of Teresa Romero

From the New York Times, a canine excess:

Spain, Amid Protests, Kills Dog of Ebola-Infected Nurse

A dog named Excalibur who belonged to an Ebola-infected nurse was put down on Wednesday, even as protesters and animal rights activists surrounded the Madrid home of the nurse and her husband. A online petition calling for the dog’s life to be spared had drawn hundreds of thousands of signatures.

The furor came amid questions about whether dogs can get and transmit the disease.

In the United States, a spokesman for the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Thomas Skinner, said Wednesday that studies had shown that dogs can have an immune response to Ebola, meaning that they can become infected. But he said there have been no reports of dogs or cats developing Ebola symptoms or passing the disease to other animals or to people.

And from the Associated Press, a sobering pronouncement:

WHO: Spain’s Ebola case won’t be last in Europe

“What happened in Spain is unfortunate, but given the size of the outbreak in West Africa, we can expect to see more cases in different countries, including in Europe,” said Dr. Isabelle Nuttall, a director at the World Health Organization tasked with helping countries prepare for Ebola. West Africa is currently battling the biggest-ever outbreak of Ebola, which doubles in size roughly every three weeks.

WHO earlier issued guidelines for all countries on how to prepare for the arrival of suspected and confirmed cases, and the agency doesn’t see any reason to change that advice in the aftermath of the Spanish infection, Nuttall said.

“At the top of the priority list is good training and infection-control practices before any Ebola cases arrive,” Nuttall said. She said the agency’s efforts were focused on helping countries in Africa. “We’re not too worried about preparations in Europe,” she said.

And from News Corp Australia:

Sydney Airport health scare sparks panic

A HEALTH scare has thrown Sydney Airport into chaos with a sick passenger who was vomiting blood causing a flight to be grounded and quarantine officials called to the scene.

The Sydney to Darwin flight JQ 672 was turned around overnight when the man in his 50s fell seriously ill while on board a Jetstar flight. Fears his condition is highly contagious were evident as he was treated by paramedics wearing protective hazmat suits.

A Jetstar spokesman told news.com.au the man had been vomiting and the crew were advised the best course of action was to turn the fight around so the man could be treated in Sydney.

Hospital sources have also confirmed the man was not suffering from a contagious disease, Today has reported.

After the jump, on to the real front lines in Africa, starting with that American military presence and a hands-on retraction, Marines added to the mix, and British troops on the way, an EU-organized airlift, a U.N. medic stricken in Liberia, the heavy price paid by health workers, another tragic consequence for mothers and children, a walkout by burial squads and its rapid end in Sierra Leone, angry Liberians take vehicular retribution, the president takes aim at more civil liberties while another politician fires back, survivors rejected on coming home, tangible good news in Nigeria and an African countries outreach to still-stricken countries, while the country remains on alert in the schools and alarm spreads at airports over possible contagion from passengers arriving from the U.S. and Europe, a computing-for-Ebola computer challenge, and Big Pharma prepares to gamble. . . Continue reading

The two Americas and confrontations with cops


The radical differences between two lawyers, one a white man and the other a black woman, define the vast cultural divide separating two Americas.

The catalyst for confrontation is a bizarre encounter 24 September between a black family and the white cops who stopped their car for the offense [ostensibly] of driving without seatbelts in Hammond, Indiana. The offender, Lisa Malone, who was driving, asked to be ticketed so she could drive to the hospital where she said doctors had told her that her mother was near death.

The problems came after her companion, Jamal Jones, was unable to produce identification and refused a police order to leave the car.

The encounter was captured on video by the 14-year-old son of the couple riding in the front seats, on the reasonable suspicion that the three armed white officers might do something endangering their safety, a not unreasonable suspicion.

When the Jones continued to search for ID, one of the officers smashed the passenger door window with an ax as Jones’s back was turned, followed by a dart from a Taser, leaving the seven-year-old in the back seat screaming and covered with broken glass and Jones in handcuffs and on the way to jail.

A lawsuit followed, as the Chicago Tribune reports:

According to the lawsuit and the police statement, Jones was arrested and issued citations for resisting law enforcement and refusal to aid an officer. Mahone was cited for not wearing her seatbelt and was allowed to leave.

The lawsuit accuses Hammond police of excessive force, battery and false arrest, saying the officers’ actions “were taken intentionally with malice, willfulness, and reckless indifference to the rights and safety of plaintiffs.”

But police, in their statement, said officers “who make legal traffic stops are allowed to ask passengers inside of a stopped vehicle for identification and to request that they exit a stopped vehicle for the officer’s safety without a requirement of reasonable suspicion.

“When the passenger displayed movements inside of the stopped vehicle that included placing his hand in places where the officer could not see,  officers’ concerns for their safety were heightened,” it added.

Here’s the CNN report on the suit, which includes extensive segments from the video. Pay close attention to the heated debate, starting at about 5:50 between CNN legal analysts Paul Callan and Sunny Hostin:

Police smash window, taser man

We’ve seldom seen a more clear articulation of the fundamental cultural divide between black and white America.

Callan speaks with the supreme but unconscious arrogance of a white man who deep in his heart knows he will never have to face such a confrontation because he dresses he’s a self-confident white professional dressed in bespoke suits and who undoubtedly drives a spiffy, costly set of wheels, while Hostin is a black woman knows that however well-tailored her dresses and how new or upscale her car, she will always be treated with a deep suspicion by most of America’s police.

And there you have, America in a nutshell: A house deeply divided against itself on a planet poised on the brink of a second wave of economic collapse.

Two authors on American Black radical voices


Two authors have just penned books on on African Americans who challenged a racist and imperialistic status quo to call for broader vision of humanity incorporating the aspirations of the nation’s poorest and least powerful.

Here are two interviews, the first from Democracy Now! and the second from RT America’s Breaking the Set.

First, from Democracy Now!, Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez interview Princeton University Professor Cornel West about his latest book, Black Prophetic Fire:

Black Prophetic Fire: Cornel West on the Revolutionary Legacy of Leading African-American Voices 

Program notes:

The renowned scholar, author and activist Dr. Cornel West, joins us to discuss his latest book, “Black Prophetic Fire.” West engages in conversation with the German scholar and thinker Christa Buschendorf about six revolutionary African-American leaders: Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. Du Bois, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Ella Baker, Malcolm X and Ida B. Wells. Even as the United States is led by its first black president, West says he is fearful that we may be “witnessing the death of black prophetic fire in our time.”

Next, from Breaking the Set, an episode in which Abby Martin interviews journalist and broadcaster Tavis Smiley, author of Death of a King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Final Year. Also featured is an interview with Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mohandas K. [Mahatma] Gandhi, about his new book, Legacy of Love: My Education in the Path of Nonviolence, about the impact of the Indian freedom activist’s legacy on his own life:

MLK & Gandhi: The Uncomfortable Truths History Books Won’t Touch

Program notes:

EPISODE BREAKDOWN: On this episode of Breaking the Set, Abby Martin speaks with television host Tavis Smiley, discussing his book ‘Death of a King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.s’ Final Year’ which explores aspects of Dr. King’s life that have been whitewashed and back-paged in US history books. Abby then highlights the need to reflect on the message of Mahatma Gandhi to apply non-violence in current world conflicts, and speaks with the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, Arun Gandhi, about how his book ‘Legacy of Love’ which outlines the most important lessons learned from his grandfather’s mission of peace.

EbolaWatch: Alarms, American angst, Africa


We begin with another illness, and just as scary via Reuters:

Outbreak of Ebola-like Marburg fever kills man in Uganda

A man has died in Uganda’s capital after an outbreak of Marburg, a highly infectious hemorrhagic fever similar to Ebola, authorities said on Sunday, adding that a total of 80 people who came into contact with him were quarantined.

Marburg starts with a severe headache followed by haemorrhaging and leads to death in 80 percent or more of cases in about nine days. It is from the same family of viruses as Ebola, which has killed thousands in West Africa in recent months.

There is no vaccine or specific treatment for the Marburg virus, which is transmitted through bodily fluids such as saliva and blood or by handling infected wild animals such as monkeys.

The health ministry said in a statement that the 30-year old radiographer died on Sept. 28 while working at a hospital in Kampala. He had started feeling unwell about 10 days earlier, and his condition kept deteriorating. He complained of headache, abdominal pain, vomiting blood and diarrhoea.

From the Observer, alarming words:

‘In 1976 I discovered Ebola, now I fear an unimaginable tragedy’

  • Peter Piot was a researcher at a lab in Antwerp when a pilot brought him a blood sample from a Belgian nun who had fallen mysteriously ill in Zaire

Why did WHO react so late?

On the one hand, it was because their African regional office isn’t staffed with the most capable people but with political appointees. And the headquarters in Geneva suffered large budget cuts that had been agreed to by member states. The department for haemorrhagic fever and the one responsible for the management of epidemic emergencies were hit hard. But since August WHO has regained a leadership role.

There is actually a well-established procedure for curtailing Ebola outbreaks: isolating those infected and closely monitoring those who had contact with them. How could a catastrophe such as the one we are now seeing even happen?

I think it is what people call a perfect storm: when every individual circumstance is a bit worse than normal and they then combine to create a disaster. And with this epidemic there were many factors that were disadvantageous from the very beginning. Some of the countries involved were just emerging from terrible civil wars, many of their doctors had fled and their healthcare systems had collapsed. In all of Liberia, for example, there were only 51 doctors in 2010, and many of them have since died of Ebola.

China Daily sounds another alarm:

Ebola could reach France and UK by end-Oct

Scientists have used Ebola disease spread patterns and airline traffic data to predict a 75 percent chance the virus could be imported to France by October 24, and a 50 percent chance it could hit Britain by that date.

Those numbers are based on air traffic remaining at full capacity. Assuming an 80 percent reduction in travel to reflect that many airlines are halting flights to affected regions, France’s risk is still 25 percent, and Britain’s is 15 percent.

“It’s really a lottery,” said Derek Gatherer of Britain’s Lancaster University, an expert in viruses who has been tracking the epidemic – the worst Ebola outbreak in history.

From the Los Angeles Times, expectation:

U.S. official ‘would not be surprised’ if new Ebola case emerges in Texas

The federal government’s top infectious disease expert said Sunday he wouldn’t be surprised if one of the people who had close contact with the Ebola patient in Dallas contracts the deadly virus.

But the official, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci of the National Institutes of Health, along with Dr. Tom Frieden, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, appeared on four Sunday TV talk shows to stress that U.S. health authorities are taking aggressive steps to prevent an outbreak here even if another case appears.

The mixed message came as Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian who was the first person in the U.S. to be diagnosed with the virus that is suspected of killing more than 3,400 people in West Africa, remained in critical condition at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.

“It’s really understandable that people are scared. It’s a deadly virus,” Frieden said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

From the New York Times, an update:

Ebola Patient in Dallas ‘Fighting for His Life,’ C.D.C. Director Says

The Ebola patient in Dallas is “fighting for his life,” but he remains the only confirmed victim of the disease in the United States, and public health officials remain confident about their ability to contain the disease, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Sunday.

While expressing such confidence about the American effort, the director, Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, said on the CNN program “State of the Union” that in Africa, “the virus is spreading so fast that it’s hard to keep up.”

As top public health officials worked to educate the American public about the highly deadly disease without fueling a sense of panic, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci of the National Institutes of Health said on Sunday that there was nothing to support fears that the disease is more readily transmissible than previously believed, or that American troops setting up medical facilities in West Africa could spread Ebola upon their return. Both possibilities had been raised by Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky.

CBC News sounds an alarm:

Dallas Ebola case: Officials seek ‘low risk’ homeless man linked to Ebola case

  • 50 people being monitored for signs of the deadly disease who may have had contact with patient

Officials in Texas are looking for a homeless man who may have had contact with an Ebola patient hospitalized in Dallas. The man, who walked away from a health facility Saturday after having his temperature tested, is considered at low risk.

“We have a great place for him to stay and we can attend to his every need. We just need him to be a hero to his community and to come forward,” Clay Lewis Jenkins, Dallas County judge, said at a news conference Sunday.

Jenkins added that police and other public officials are looking for the man, who is part of a larger group of 38 people who may have been around Duncan when he was showing symptoms of the disease.

And the Associated Press damps it down:

Officials locate possible Ebola patient contact

Authorities say they’ve located a homeless man who needs to be monitored because he may have had contact with the lone Ebola patient in the United States.

Dallas city spokeswoman Sana Syed said the man was located Sunday, a few hours after officials first said he was missing.

The person is not considered to be one of the 10 people who definitely had contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, who is in critical condition at a Dallas hospital.

Reassurance from the Christian Science Monitor:

CDC official: ‘We know how to stop Ebola’

Authorities around the country are investigating reports of Ebola-like symptoms among patients. But so far, there is just one confirmed case of the disease in the US, and the head of the CDC says, “We can stop it in its tracks.”

As concern mounts over Ebola, US officials in charge of dealing with the infectious disease have one basic message meant to address public fears:

“The bottom line here is we know how to stop it,” says Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, Dr. Frieden explained his confidence: “It’s not going to spread widely in the US, for two basic reasons. We can do infection control in hospitals, and we can do public health interventions that can stop it in its tracks. We do that by identifying every possible contact, monitoring them for 21 days and if they get any symptoms, isolating and monitoring them as well.”

While the Washington Post looks at the bigger picture:

Out of control

How the world’s health organizations failed to stop the Ebola disaster

The virus easily outran the plodding response. The WHO, an arm of the United Nations, is responsible for coordinating international action in a crisis like this, but it has suffered budget cuts, has lost many of its brightest minds and was slow to sound a global alarm on Ebola. Not until Aug. 8, 4-1/2 months into the epidemic, did the organization declare a global emergency. Its Africa office, which oversees the region, initially did not welcome a robust role by the CDC in the response to the outbreak.

Previous Ebola outbreaks had been quickly throttled, but that experience proved misleading and officials did not grasp the potential scale of the disaster. Their imaginations were unequal to the virulence of the pathogen.

“In retrospect, we could have responded faster. Some of the criticism is appropriate,” acknowledged Richard Brennan, director of the WHO’s Department of Emergency Risk Management and Humanitarian Response. But he added, “While some of the criticism we accept, I think we also have to get things in perspective that this outbreak has a dynamic that’s unlike everything we’ve ever seen before and, I think, has caught everyone unawares.”

The epidemic has exposed a disconnect between the aspirations of global health officials and the reality of infectious disease control. Officials hold faraway strategy sessions about fighting emerging diseases and bioterrorism even as front-line doctors and nurses don’t have enough latex gloves, protective gowns, rehydrating fluid or workers to carry bodies to the morgue.

More from Reuters:

Aid workers ask where was WHO in Ebola outbreak?

In the first days of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, as aid workers and health authorities battled to contain the deadly virus, Mariano Lugli asked himself a simple question: where was the World Health Organization?

Lugli, an Italian nurse, was among the first responders from medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) to reach the remote forests of Guinea in March where the hemorrhagic fever – one of the most lethal diseases known to man – was detected.

When the epidemic spread to the capital Conakry, Lugli set up a second Ebola clinic there. He encountered a foreign medic and a logistician sent by the U.N. health agency but saw no sign of a WHO official in charge of handling the escalating outbreak.

“In all the meetings I attended, even in Conakry, I never saw a representative of the WHO,” said Lugli, deputy director of operations for MSF Switzerland. “The coordination role that WHO should be playing, we just didn’t see it. I didn’t see it the first three weeks and we didn’t see it afterwards.”

More reality — and its lack — on the ground via the South African Government News Agency:

Fight against Ebola hampered by gaps in data, hidden cases

Ebola’s rapid spread through West Africa has been quickened by the difficulty of keeping track of the deadly disease, and filling in the huge gaps in knowledge about the epidemic is key to eventually containing it, health experts say.

UN and World Health Organization data show the number of cases across the region had reached 7 423 by September 29, including 3 355 deaths. That is widely agreed to be an underestimate.

Many patients are not counted because they never get medical help, perhaps hidden by fearful families or turned away by overwhelmed clinics. Some villages have turned into “shadow zones” where villagers’ resistance or the remote location makes investigating numerous deaths impossible.

In Liberia, a surge of previously unknown patients who appear whenever a medical facility opens “suggests the existence of an invisible caseload of patients”, the WHO said in August.

Last week, the U.S. Centres for Disease Control estimated there would be 8 000 cases reported in Liberia and Sierra Leone by September 30, but said the true figure would likely be 21 000 after correcting for under-reporting.

CCTV Africa covers another side of the ongoing public health disaster:

UN estimates there are almost 4000 young children orphaned by Ebola

Program notes:

Ebola outbreak is having a huge impact on children in the West African region. The UN estimates ebola has orphaned almost 4,000 youngsters already – and says the number could double in coming weeks. Many of the orphans are shunned – but for some, there is help.

And another frightening number from Reuters:

Sierra Leone records 121 Ebola deaths in a single day

Sierra Leone recorded 121 deaths from Ebola and scores of new infections in one of the single deadliest days since the disease appeared in the West African country more than four months ago, government health statistics showed on Sunday.

The figures, which covered the period through Saturday, put the total number of deaths at 678, up from 557 the day before. The daily statistics compiled by Sierra Leone’s Emergency Operations Centre also showed 81 new cases of the hemorrhagic fever.

The overall death toll from the epidemic reached 3,439 out of a total of 7,492 cases in West Africa and the United States as of Oct. 1, the World Health Organization said last week. The U.N. agency’s statistics varied from those compiled by Sierra Leone.

TheLocal.se lends a hand:

Sweden boosts Ebola fight funds

Sweden has announced that it is boosting funds to be used in the fight against the spread of Ebola with most of the aid channelled through the UN and NGOs.

“If we don’t stop the spread of the disease we are heading for a catastrophe,” said Ewa Nunes Sörensson, Sweden’s ambassador to Liberia to the Dagens Nyheter daily.

Sweden has decided to boost its provision of aid funds from 35 million kronor to above 100 million kronor with most of the money to various NGOs such as Save the Children and Doctors Without Borders.

United Nations organisations such as WHO, Unicef and Unhas will also benefit from the funds.

The Los Angeles Times traces etiology:

From Guinea to Dallas: Tracing the Ebola threat

It began in a village deep in the forests of southeastern Guinea, when a 2-year-old boy named Emile developed a mysterious illness.

Nothing, it seemed, could stem the child’s fever and vomiting, and he died within days. A week later, the illness killed his 3-year-old sister, then his mother, grandmother and a house guest.

The grandmother consulted a nurse before she died. Friends and family gathered for her funeral, and soon the illness was spreading down rutted dirt tracks to other villages and towns.

Local health officials were alarmed, but it would take nearly three months from the boy’s death in December to identify the culprit: the dreaded Ebola virus. By then, the lethal virus had reached Guinea’s bustling capital, Conakry, and there were suspected cases across the border in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Via New Zimbabwe, concerns in a country a long way from the West African hot zone :

Stop Ebola Scare Tactics, Parirenyatwa

HEALTH Minister David Parirenyatwa has urged health workers to partner the government in spreading information about the deadly Ebola virus but warned them not to scare the people.

Parirenyatwa told a gathering of pharmacists in Victoria Falls on Saturday that people had been misinformed on the symptoms of the epidemic sweeping across West African countries where 3 300 people have been confirmed dead so far since its outbreak in March this year.

“There is no Ebola in Zimbabwe contrary to reports going around and we hope we will remain free from it,” he said. “All you have to do is help spread the correct information to the citizenry that coughing and sneezing which people always associate with symptoms are not signs of the disease. “There must be contact first for one to contract the disease as it spreads through contact,” he said. Parirenyatwa, who is also chairman of Sadc Health Ministers, allayed fears of any outbreak in Zimbabwe saying the country was Ebola-free although it will remain on high alert.

Punch Nigeria covers a familiar process, the politcalization of peril:

APC frustrated by Nigeria’s success on Ebola containment -PDP

The leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party has lambasted the All Progressives Congress for what it described as its yet another failed attempt to discredit the PDP-led Federal Government and relegate its efforts in the containment of the Ebola Virus Disease in Nigeria.

PDP National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, in a statement in a Abuja on Sunday, said the APC was frustrated and unhappy because Nigerians are happy with the PDP-led Federal Government for “the speed and energy with which it tackled the scourge and brought it under control.”

“We know that the APC prefers that the Ebola scourge continued unabated in Nigeria so as to have what to blame the PDP-led government for. Now that it has been contained, the APC is frustrated because the people are happy with President Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP-led Federal Government for the proactive manner with which the disease was confronted and overcame,” the party said.

And from Punch Nigeria again, metaphor become reality:

Akon performs in giant bubble to avoid Ebola

In an effort to guard against contracting the Ebola Virus Disease, a United States-based R&B star, Akon, last Sunday climbed inside an airtight blow-up during a performance in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo.

The singer rolled over the crowd, pushed along by the outstretched hands of 60,000 screaming concert-goers while performing at a concert.

The performance was part of a larger free concert held by charity, ‘Peace One Day,’ to help promote and support the United Nations’ International Day Of Peace.

Akon was, however, accused of going to extreme lengths to avoid catching Ebola during a concert in Africa by crowd-surfing inside a giant plastic bubble.

CCTV Africa covers voluntary confrontation with peril:

Liberia’s ex- police chief joins Ebola fight

Program notes:

The raging Ebola outbreak has taken more than two thousand lives in Liberia. This has prompted some people to divert their careers from the usual path, as part of joint efforts to contain the spread of the deadly disease. Former Police Commissioner Samuel Nimley is usually in charge of police work involving Interpol matters.

From TheLocal.fr, another Northerner saved:

French nurse cured of Ebola

A French nurse who contracted Ebola while volunteering for Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in Liberia has been cured of the deadly virus, the French health minister said Saturday.

The nurse, who has not been identified, “is now cured and has left hospital,” Marisol Touraine said in a statement.

The first French national to be infected with the virus was airlifted back to France on September 19 and received experimental treatment at a military hospital on the outskirts of Paris.

From Raw Story, the merger of Ebola and GOP extremism focused on black people:

Former SC GOP director: Execute anyone who comes into contact with Ebola — ‘it’s just math’

The former general counsel and executive director of the South Carolina Republican Party is coming under fire for the novel solutions to the Ebola epidemic he is posting on Twitter.

The vehemently pro-life Todd Kincannon began by arguing that anyone who contracts Ebola should be summarily executed.

Chart of the day III: Racism behind the badge


From the Public Religion Research Institute’s American Values Survey, dramatic evidence that an increasing number of American’s see police treatment of minorities as racially biased:

BLO Race

H/T to Sociological Images.