Saturday, October 4, 2014

"If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." 1 John 2:1

"If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."
1 John 2:1

"If any man sin, we have an advocate." Yes, though we sin, we have him still. John does not say, "If any man sin he has forfeited his advocate," but "we have an advocate," sinners though we are. All the sin that a believer ever did, or can be allowed to commit, cannot destroy his interest in the Lord Jesus Christ, as his advocate. The name here given to our Lord is suggestive. "Jesus." Ah! then he is an advocate such as we need, for Jesus is the name of one whose business and delight it is to save. "They shall call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins." His sweetest name implies his success. Next, it is "Jesus Christ"--Christos, the anointed. This shows his authority to plead. The Christ has a right to plead, for he is the Father's own appointed advocate and elected priest. If he were of our choosing he might fail, but if God hath laid help upon one that is mighty, we may safely lay our trouble where God has laid his help. He is Christ, and therefore authorized; he is Christ, and therefore qualified, for the anointing has fully fitted him for his work. He can plead so as to move the heart of God and prevail. What words of tenderness, what sentences of persuasion will the anointed use when he stands up to plead for me! One more letter of his name remains, "Jesus Christ the righteous." This is not only his character but his plea. It is his character, and if the Righteous One be my advocate, then my cause is good, or he would not have espoused it. It is his plea, for he meets the charge of unrighteousness against me by the plea that he is righteous. He declares himself my substitute and puts his obedience to my account. My soul, thou hast a friend well fitted to be thine advocate, he cannot but succeed; leave thyself entirely in his hands.

Today's reading is drawn from Charles Spurgeon's beloved devotional classic Morning and Evening.

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Friday, October 3, 2014

Obama just got stabbed in the back by a big-name journalist (Piers Morgan) who used to worship him

Ouch: Obama Just Got Stabbed In The Back By A Big-Name Journalist Who Used To Worship Him

"He managed to single-handedly alienate 200,000 employees in the American..."

Photo credit: Everett Collection /
When he had a nightly show on CNN, Piers Morgan was generally known for three things:

– relentless diatribes against guns in America and the Second Amendment to a Constitution he belittled,

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– treating Republicans, conservatives, and Tea Party types with the arrogant scorn of a stuck-up, bombastic Brit, and
– lauding, supporting, or occasionally offering helpful, friendly-fire criticism to Barack Obama.
Then, of course, there was the time when Morgan used the word “perfect” twice in the same breath to describe the president he so often praised.
CNN host wondered out loud on his show this evening whether the physically unfit Chris Christie could follow the “perfect physical specimen” Barack Obama into the White House.
“After the perfect Barack Obama, who’s a perfect physical specimen to many people’s eyes, does it matter?” Morgan asked his guest.
Now that Morgan is back in his native Britain — after having been fired by CNN — he writes an opinion column for The Daily Mail. And what Piers Morgan wrote in one of those columns that’s incredibly, astonishingly critical of Barack Obama raises three questions:

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– Has Piers Morgan really changed his opinion of the man he once called “perfect”?
– Is the Daily Mail more inclined to feature unforgiving attacks on Obama’s presidency?
– Did CNN — Morgan’s former employer — prefer content that aligned with their general support of Barack Obama?
Here are some of the more memorable slice-and-dice segments of the Piers Morgan opinion piece whose title states: “the real scandal is a President who is so complacent about protecting Americans.”
President Obama this week committed professional suicide.
He managed to single-handedly alienate 200,000 employees in the American intelligence agencies by going on 60 Minutes and ruthlessly chucking them all under a bus over the rise of terror group ISIS.
A more shameless, reprehensible display of buck-passing would be hard to find from a sitting President.
The truth is that Obama is the one who underestimated ISIS, plunging his head ostrich-like into the sand and hoping they would go away without having to do anything to actually make them go away.
Far from making America stronger, Obama has made the world’s greatest military power look weak. So weak that these Jihadist thugs think they can behead American citizens with impunity in glossy snuff movies.
It’s time he got off the damn golf course, got up to speed with his intelligence briefings and focused on wiping out ISIS.
Before they wipe out more of the people he serves.
Ouch. Big ouch.



We gave God the reins of our lives.

Verne Strickland

By Verne Strickland  October 3, 2014

Chemo suite. I've been there many times now. I'll continue to visit every few months, at least, for the rest of my life.


My cancer is multiple myeloma. I had never heard of it until I got it. It's a blood and bone disease. There is no cure. It will take your life if it's not managed. I've lost at least one friend to this cancer.

My oncologist, Dr. William McNulty at Cape Fear Cancer Specialists, has skillfully steered me toward recovery. It has been a long and winding road. I have much respect and admiration for him.

My walk with cancer actually began when I found that I was losing the ability to walk. This was about three years ago. Pain froze my hips, hobbled my legs, and forced me to shuffle along, barely lifting my feet. I was suddenly old and infirm.

I was 75 at the time, but had enjoyed very good health most of my life. I tried to watch my diet, curb cholesterol, do light weight training, and stay off the smokes, which I quit over thirty years ago.

But then this "thing" happened. I had to curtail all my activities. I was grounded. My energy plummeted. I had no appetite, and my weight dropped markedly. Before I knew it, I was down to within five pounds of what I scaled in at when I was in boot camp at Fort Jackson in 1960.

I dropped out of sight. Could not function. Early onset of Dementia worsened, and I was often confused and inarticulate. I couldn't think. To my family the change was evident, and alarming. We were all concerned. I didn't announce to friends until later what was going on. I didn't know.

Foolishly, I cut down on and then stopped altogether the 20 or so prescription meds which glued me together, regulating my heart, breathing, digestive and circulatory systems -- and my brain. As a result, I crashed, and dove into a depression so deep I didn't think I would get out. I honestly questioned how long I could tolerate it. It was a desperate time.

I didn't know I would talk about this, but it's a part of the story. I entered a recommended mental rehab facility, which helped me get emotionally stable again. I needed that. While there for a brief period, I lived with unfortunates more desperately ill than I.

There is no shame in this for me. Quite the contrary. It was a priceless and touching opportunity to see the other side. Even to be on the other side for a time. It broadened my horizons. I can even liken the experience in a way to the crushing emotional burden and depression that many combat veterans feel, although to compare my own sickness to theirs would be disrespectful.

But my fleeting passage through that dark world fed the kinship I feel with our soldiers and Marines like my dear friend Ilario Pantano, whose campaign I take pride in having supported. He has talked about the horrors of PTSD, which has beset so many veterans, and talks frankly about his own bout with these demons. I think perhaps I may understand that a bit better now.

Mine was a profound experience. At the rehab facility, we had nothing but the staff and each other. They helped me. I helped them. They were all good people with bad problems. I'm sure many of them are still there. I will never forget them.

With the VA scandal now unfolding, it is clear that our damaged heroes, who had sought refuge and help at what we believed was a safe harbor, have been deceived and neglected.

This makes us double over in anger and regret. President Obama, who has let his Nation down in so many ways, may have committed the unpardonable sin here -- turning his head as our valiant warriors are thrown on the trash heap in what appears to be an effort to dispose of them quietly, secretly, by denying them access to an appointment with a doctor.

Ours is an American holocaust more sinister than Hitler's "final solution". But if my writing can gain a wider audience, that unspeakable horror in Germany will not be allowed to drag on here. God grant that this will be the case.

In my own personal jouney, I undertook the next step -- to find out what was physically wrong with me. My loving, caring family gathered around me. This was so important. We prayed for direction, courage and resolve. It all came, of course. Faith is wonderful when you have it, and a lifesaver when you need it.

We gave God the reins of our lives. He guided us to the man who took charge of our medical dilemma -- Dr. William McNulty, at New Hanover Cancer Specialists. He is a board-certified Wilmington oncologist and internist of national reputation, a brilliant and cheerful physician who changed my life and gave me a new sense of hope.

I surrendered myself to a procession of tests and probes -- biopsies, CT scans, MRIs. The problems seemed to have originated in my pelvic structure, which seemed reasonable, because my ability to walk had been most seriously compromised.

Dr. McNulty early on suspected multiple myeloma (blood and bone cancer)  a type of cancer which starts in plasma cells. It's the most common type of plasma cell cancer -- intimidating, but treatable with what my oncologist described as "modern medicine" -- radiation, and chemotherapy -- utilizing an "old" drug enjoying a resurgence in popularity due to new creative techniques in IV usage.

  I was helped in many ways by many different procedures, but the Terminator -- the  most important weapon at this time in battling cancer was chemotherapy.

Initially I was given a cocktail of drugs to kill the cancer cells while making certain the drugs didn't wipe me out as well. I tolerated them better than most, and experienced steady improvement.

While at first I was somewhat depressed by visits to the chemo suite, where as many as twenty or more patients receive life-saving infusions, through God I was encouraged to reach out to others who were there.

Since we shared a unique community -- we all were threatened by cancer -- my questions didn't seem intrusive to them. What type of cancer has attacked you? How do you deal with this unsettling reality? Where do you look for hope?

I invariably introduced myself as a Christian, and this seemed to melt any misgivings they might have had about me. My visits evolved into a very important ministering experience for me. I prayed with them, encouraged them, and we fast became friends.

As a result I began to look forward to going there and being able to raise the spirits of those I met-- many of whom dealt with more devastating illnesses than I had experienced. I have met courageous people with brain cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, lymphoma, leukemia.

I was blessed by each encounter, and felt the presence of the Holy Spirit hovering over us in that place. Typically, we chatted about their lives, their families, the things that made life good for them -- and their struggles.

My most recent consultation with Dr. McNulty brought good news. My blood tests were positive. No new cancer cells. Organ functions were normal -- heart, kidneys and liver. I was advised to continue exercising. "This will keep you alive. It's that important," the good doctor noted.

During my session in the chemo suite this week, I talked with a gentleman of perhaps seventy who has lung cancer. His career was in the U.S. Air Force. He talked about his service, in war and in peace. He said he is very concerned with America's national leadership. "But I'm too troubled by it to talk about it now." We agreed that we would communicate via email. I will enjoy that.

Also, I visited with a cancer patient whose demeanor was especially dire. He has leukemia. I ventured, "I'd like to pray for you." He said, "Don't bother." I responded, "Prayers are cheap, sir. I'll send them up anyway. They may help."

I believe that they will. God works miracles.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Obama Just Uttered 14 Words That Could Totally Destroy Every Democrat Running In November

Obama Just Uttered 14 Words That Could Totally Destroy Every Democrat Running In November

"Obama just gave every Republican ad-maker in the country..."

Obama speaks

In one of his now infamous “pivots,” President Obama on Thursday tried to change the subject and redirect the national conversation to the economy. The president went to Northwestern University, appearing before the kind of crowd that is traditionally kind to him — students — trying to convince them that America is better off economically under his leadership.

But as The Washington Post reports, in a piece by politics blogger and White House correspondent Chris Cillizza, that message may well be overshadowed by only a few of Obama’s words — words that Cillizza says could give Republicans incredibly powerful ammo for campaign ads against Obama’s unpopular policies and programs.

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Obama just gave every Republican ad-maker in the country more fodder for negative ads linking Democratic candidates to him.
Here are the four sentences that will draw all of the attention (they come more than two thirds of the way through the speech): “I am not on the ballot this fall. Michelle’s pretty happy about that. But make no mistake: these policies are on the ballot. Every single one of them.” Boil those four sentences down even further and here’s what you are left with: “Make no mistake: these policies are on the ballot. Every single one of them.”
There you go, GOP ad producers — the ominous 14 words, courtesy of Barack Obama himself: “Make no mistake: these policies are on the ballot.  Every single one of them.”

For a guy whose supporters and defenders claim is so smart, so insightful, and so politically tuned in — a guy who supposedly surrounds himself with the best and the brightest — to deliver this sort of midterms gift to his political opponents would seem to be an uncharacteristic blunder.

However, if you consider the degree to which Obama has appeared to be extraordinarily out of touch lately — exhibit #1 would be Obama’s blaming poor intelligence reports for his being caught off guard by the rapid rise of ISIS, which was easily debunked — if you consider his apparent detachment, even disinterest, you might better understand his/his speech writers’ poor choice of words and terrible timing.
Again, from Chris Cilliza’s piece in The Post:

It doesn’t take a political mastermind to realize that an ad in which the President of the United States says “Make no mistake: These policies are on the ballot. Every single one of them” might not be helpful to the Democratic candidates trying to run away from him this November.
Obama’s popularity is badly hurting. He generally has poor approval ratings in states where Democrats are struggling to stay competitive in key Senate races. The president’s numbers on front-of-the-mind issues such as the economy, national security, and health care are seen as heavy weights on candidates in his own party who are trying desperately to distance themselves from an unpopular leader.

So, those 14 words — captured forever on video…available forever to GOP ad masters — could soon show up in campaign spots across the country.

As The Washington Post’s Chris Cilliza observes, trying in that way to rally the Democrat base at this point — if that’s what Obama was hoping to do — may well be a fatal political mistake.
I think that underestimates the impact of an unpopular president (on video no less!) bluntly insisting that an election in 33 days is indeed a referendum on his policies. Republicans couldn’t have written a better script than that.
Image Credit: youtube | The White House



It now seems probable that U.S. Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan lied on his health screening questionnaire before leaving West Africa. Whatever. U.S. authorities have really dropped the ball, and it is possible that these missteps may be the tinder box that lights a runaway wildfire of Ebola on the U.S. mainland.
Ebola in the US, US Ebola diagnosis, Ebola, Ebola in America, Ebola, Liberia Ebola, traveler Ebola, Ebola outbreak, Ebola prevention, Ebola spread, Ebola in the US, Ebola in Dallas, Ebola in Texas


By Verne Strickland  October 2, 2014

The usual excuse is -- "Real sorry. We'll make sure this never happens again." But the genie is out of the bottle, the cat is out of the bag, and we will never have another "first chance" at prevention of Ebola in the U.S. again. Unforgivable errors at a time like this. The possible consequences are too horrid to be contemplated at this time.

Tonight some new wrinkles bestirred themselves in my brain. One person interviewed on CNN said that the first line of defense in the U.S. needs to be at the ports of entry.

This presumes that mistakes may have been made overseas, when a person who is throwing up on the floor in the departure lounge in Monrovia is trying to board an airplane to the U.S. That is an overwhelming possibility.

I want that person enveloped immediately in a virus-impervious sheet, rolled up on the floor, then secured with gaffer's tape, and the whole package sprayed liberally with Lysol or Scrubbing Bubbles and whisked away to somewhere else. I'm not asking where.

While I exaggerate, that scene describes the kind of caution that needs to exerted here. This is a serious mess.

I do not doubt that it will be long before Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and Rev. William Barber of  NC will be standing in the arrival lounge at JFK with signs reading -- "Don't profile a brother" just because he black. The fact the man can't speak English, is running a high fever, and says he's nauseous should be factored into the equation.

Well, I've had my fun with an emergency that should not be treated lightly. One of my concerns is that politically-correct inclinations on the part of some may make it tougher for us to be not only vigilant, but wise as well, in taking this global threat seriously.

Another concern is how native Africans may be loathe to take maximum precautions at a time like this. If this happens -- and it already is -- the U.S. should be serious and unyielding -- you, my African brother -- may be careless and unconcerned. But, by damn, we won't.

From my Facebook page:

Kathy Harbin Scruggs This is one time I pray you are wrong, my friend. It is very troublesome.... They are trying not to cause panic, and being lax in the process
  • Verne Strickland Kathy: I take no offense at that. In fact, I gratefully join you in prayer. I don't wish the worst outcome. I of course wish just the opposite. Don't misjudge me just because I bring fire and brimstone to America's huddled masses. I do that all the time. But my mission is to inform. I see that as a noble cause. Don't indict the messenger, okay?

Texas Ebola patient denied he had contact with virus, Liberian official says


Texas Ebola patient denied he had contact with virus, Liberian official says

 Verne Strickland USA DOT COM  October 2, 2014

By Gary Tuchman, Jacque Wilson and Holly Yan, CNN
updated 3:53 PM EDT, Thu October 2, 2014
Source: CNN
  • Health officials are reaching out to as many as 100 people
  • The patient came into contact with up to 20 people, the Dallas mayor says
  • Five of them are children who attend four different schools; some parents are worried
  • Official: Hospital "dropped the ball"; Hospital: Initial symptoms didn't warrant admission
Dallas (CNN) -- [Breaking news update at 3:52 p.m. ET Thursday]
Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan answered "no" to questions about whether he had cared for an Ebola patient or touched the body of someone who had died in an area affected by Ebola, Binyah Kesselly, board chairman of the Liberia Airport Authority, told CNN. Duncan is hospitalized in Dallas, Texas.
A contractor will arrive "as soon as possible" to deal with "hygiene issues" at the Dallas apartment where a family is quarantined after Duncan stayed there, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins told reporters Thursday. So far, no one who had contact with Duncan has shown any indication of having contracted Ebola, Jenkins said.
Sheets inside the apartment that were used by Duncan "were placed in a sealed plastic bag," along with the man's belongings, Jenkins said. Contractors hired to clean the apartment will "appropriately dispose of those items," he said.
Custodians are stepping up cleanup work at Dallas schools attended by the five students who may have been in contact with Duncan. "We don't think there's any virus at any of those buildings, but we'll take that off the table, so we're doing extra cleaning and disinfecting," said Mike Miles, superintendent of the Dallas Independent School District. Attendance at those schools Thursday was down to about 86%, Miles said.
Dallas mayor: Safety is first priority
Ebola patient's contacts being monitored
Officials are dividing into two teams to narrow a list of people who may have had contact with the Texas Ebola patient, CDC spokesman David Daigle told reporters Thursday. "We're making great progress on that," Daigle said. "I think you've heard already that there's a list of about 100 what we call potential or possible contacts. And that will be culled down to a list that we will begin contact tracing on."
[Original story, posted at 3 p.m. ET Thursday]
Did U.S. Ebola patient lie on airport questionnaire?
(CNN) -- If it's determined that U.S. Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan lied on his health screening questionnaire before leaving West Africa, the Liberia Airport Authority "will seek to prosecute," board chairman Binyah Kesselly told CNN on Thursday.
The health questionnaire typically contains questions about the passenger's recent contact with Ebola patients. Passengers also are asked whether they've experienced any symptoms consistent with Ebola, such as vomiting, diarrhea or joint pain, in the past couple of days.
Duncan was helping Ebola patients during his stay in Liberia, witnesses say. Liberian community leader Tugbeh Chieh Tugbeh said Duncan was caring for an Ebola-infected patient at a residence in Paynesville City, just outside of Monrovia.
Duncan was screened three times before he boarded his flight in Liberia to Brussels, Kesselly said.
"The first screening was at the gate, before you get to the parking lot. The second time is before you enter the terminal building and the third is before you board the flight. At every point your temperature is scanned."
His temperature at those checkpoints was a consistent 97.3 degrees Fahrenheit, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention chief Thomas Frieden told reporters Thursday. "Basically, he didn't have a fever," Frieden said, noting that the Ebola patient's temperature was taken by a trained CDC health care worker with a thermometer approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
Kesselly said airport authority would seek to prosecute Duncan "if it is determined that he made a false declaration during the health screening questionnaire."
"We cannot make the (Ebola) risk zero until the outbreak is controlled in West Africa," said Frieden. He went on to say that isolating West African countries completely through travel restrictions would make it more difficult to assist in controlling the outbreak, and would eventually put the United States at greater risk.
Medical waste team sent to patient's home
Woman, kids shared home with Ebola patient
Ebola preps difficult for hospitals
Duncan is in serious condition at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.
Wilfred Smallwood, who says he's a half-brother of Duncan, said Thursday that he doesn't believe Duncan knew he had Ebola when he left Liberia for the United States. "(It's) what we do in Liberia -- our tradition is to help somebody who needs help," he said when asked about Duncan's contact with Ebola patients.
Smallwood said that when Duncan first visited Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, neither Duncan nor the hospital knew then that he had Ebola.
This was Duncan's first time in the United States, Smallwood said. Smallwood left Liberia nine years ago to move to the United States, where many relatives live. Duncan, a resident of Liberia, was visiting his son and his son's mother in Dallas, Smallwood said.
The partner of Duncan has been quarantined in her Dallas apartment where Duncan became sick with the virus, the woman told CNN's Anderson Cooper. The woman, who asked to be identified only by her first name, Louise, is quarantined with one of her children who is younger than 13 and two nephews in their 20s. The four of them were in the apartment when Duncan became ill, Cooper said.
Louise and her family are in isolation with sheets and towels used by the Ebola-stricken Duncan, Cooper said. Louise did use bleach to clean her apartment, "but it's not clear to me how systematic the cleaning was," he said.
Dr. David Lakey, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, said the home's conditions "need to be improved." There has been "hesitancy" on the part of companies in Texas that would be able to clean the woman's apartment, he said, but the department has identified an "entity" that is on its way to help.
There is a law enforcement officer stationed at the apartment to ensure the four people inside do not come into contact with anyone else, Lakey said. Food is being delivered to the family.
Up to 100 people being contacted
Health officials are reaching out to as many as 100 people who may have had contact with Duncan, a spokeswoman with the Texas Department of State Health Services said Thursday. These are people who are still being questioned because they may have crossed paths with the patient either at the hospital, at his apartment complex or in the community.
Tracking the travel of Ebola patient
Ebola patient released by mistake
Photos: Ebola outbreak in West Africa Photos: Ebola outbreak in West Africa
"Out of an abundance of caution, we're starting with this very wide net, including people who have had even brief encounters with the patient or the patient's home," spokeswoman Carrie Williams said. "The number will drop as we focus in on those whose contact may represent a potential risk of infection."
The number of direct contacts who have been identified and are being monitored right now is "more than 12," a federal official told CNN on Thursday.
"By the end of the day, we should have a pretty good idea of how many contacts there are," the official said.
Being "monitored" means a public health worker visits twice a day to take the contact's temperature and ask them if they are experiencing any symptoms.
None of the people being monitored has so far shown symptoms. Most are not being quarantined, though Dallas County health officials have ordered four close relatives of the patient to stay home and not have any visitors until at least October 19.
"The family was having some challenges following the directions to stay home, so we're taking every precaution," Texas Department of Health spokeswoman Carrie Williams said about why the state had issued a legal order.
Two things are still spreading in Dallas: fear and frustration. Some parents are scared to take their kids to the schools that his girlfriend's children attended.
Others are upset at the hospital where Duncan first sought care, which sent him home and raised the possibility he could infect others for at least two additional days.
'I just got scared'
Among the people Duncan encountered were his girlfriend's five children, Liberian community leader Stanley Gaye said.
Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Mike Miles said the patient came in contact with five students who attended four different schools in the area.
Sam Tasby Middle School is one of those schools.
"I just got scared because I thought that that kid came to that school and probably got contact with him," said Nellie Catalan, whose child attends the middle school.
Lethal virus hit U.S. years ago
Perry: Ebola patient had contact with kids
"I know it doesn't get (spread) by the air, but you never know."
More than 3,500 students attend the four schools, which are getting cleaned and sanitized over the next few days.
But student Denise Trujillo said she's still worried.
"I don't feel like going to school tomorrow," she said.
While the five students who were near Duncan are staying home and being monitored, their schools will remain open.
The investigation is ongoing, but health officials don't believe there is a workplace or community organization that Duncan visited where anyone was exposed, Frieden said Thursday.
'It gets bad -- fast'
Because the early symptoms of Ebola can include abdominal pain, fever and vomiting -- ailments that also come with other illnesses -- there are concerns about how to distinguish between Ebola and, say, the flu.
But the answer is fairly simple.
"Ebola tends to progress much more quickly," said Sanjay Gupta, CNN chief medical correspondent. "It gets bad -- fast."
And once it gets bad, Ebola can bring on a host of ghastly symptoms, including diarrhea and unexplained bruising and bleeding.
But Ebola is much harder to contract than the flu. The virus can be spread only through the bodily fluids of people who have active symptoms of the illness.
'They dropped the ball'
On September 24, four days after he arrived in Dallas from Liberia, Duncan started feeling symptoms. That day is significant because that's when he started being contagious.
Late the following night, he went to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas with a low-grade fever and abdominal pain, the hospital said.
Duncan told a nurse he had been in Africa.
But "regretfully, that information was not fully communicated throughout the full team," said Dr. Mark Lester, executive vice president of Texas Health Resources.
Duncan was sent home with painkillers and antibiotics, only to return in worse condition on September 28. That's when he was isolated.
"It was a mistake. They dropped the ball," Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said of the miscommunication at the hospital.
"You don't want to pile on them, but hopefully this will never happen again. ... The CDC has been vigorously emphasizing the need for a travel history."
Gupta said this mishap doesn't make sense.
"A nurse did ask the question, and he did respond that he was in Liberia, and that wasn't transmitted to people who were in charge of his care," he said. "There's no excuse for this."
And one of Duncan's friends said he was the one who contacted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with concerns that the hospital wasn't moving quickly enough after Duncan's second hospital visit.
But the hospital said the patient's condition "did not warrant admission" last week.
Searching for others
Duncan's contacts will be monitored for 21 days -- the longest amount of time it takes for Ebola symptoms to show up.
If any of Duncan's contacts show symptoms, they will be isolated.
So far, so good.
The paramedics who transported Duncan to the hospital haven't shown symptoms, said Rawlings, the Dallas mayor.
Neither have his girlfriend's children.
"They are doing well. ... They are doing fine," said Gaye, the Liberian community leader. "All she asks for are our prayers."
But if one of those contacts ends up having Ebola, the tedious processes of tracking and monitoring a web of contacts would have to start all over again.
CNN's Gary Tuchman reported from Dallas; CNN's Holly Yan reported and wrote from Atlanta. CNN's Elwyn Lopez, Caleb Hellerman, Devon Sayers, Jennifer Bixler, Catherine E. Shoichet, Ashley Fantz, Jake Tapper, John Branch, Jason Morris and Greg Botelho contributed to this report.
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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Archaeologists In Turkey Say They've Discovered Dracula's Dungeon in mountains at Tokat City

Verne Strickland  

The dungeons mentioned here are in Tokat, an ancient Turkish town near the border of the former Soviet Union. I had the opportunity to visit Tokat in 1981 on a film mission to a tobacco plant using NC flue-cured tobacco in "Tekel" cigarettes, a major Turkish brand. The scenery in these craggy mountains was awesome. In a photo with the story on Vlad, I am working with my videographer on a location shoot.

Archaeologists In Turkey Say They've Discovered Dracula's Dungeon at Tokat City


Dracula might be a fictional character, but archaeologists believe they've found the haunts of Vlad the Impaler--the real-life figure who inspired Bram Stoker's vampire tale.
The researchers said this week they had uncovered a secret tunnel and two dungeons in Tokat Castle in northern Turkey, where Vlad the Impaler is believed to have been imprisoned in the mid-1400s.
The discovery was made during a 10-week restoration of a different part of the castle, Turkey's Hurriyet Daily News reported.

tokat castle  
The ruins of Tokat Castle are seen perched atop a hill in this provided by Aviruthia.
İbrahim Çetin, an archaeologist helping with the restoration, told the Daily News that the tunnel is one of many found at the site, including one believed to have been used to reach nearby Roman baths. The dungeons, Çetin told the paper, were "built like a prison."
"It is hard to estimate in which room Dracula was kept," he said, "but he was around here."
vlad 3
Vlad Tepes (1431-1476) whose real name was Vlad III, or Vlad Dracula, is seen in this painting provided by Apic/Getty Images.
Vlad, a Wallachian prince known more formally as Vlad III, is believed to have been taken hostage in the castle by the Ottomans along with his younger brother, Radu, in 1442.
He was released after his father and another brother were murdered, at which point he started the brutal practice of impaling his enemies on poles, according to the Washington Post.
Vlad reportedly inherited the patronym of "Dracul" or "dragon" from his father, Vlad II, who belonged to the Order of the Dragon, a group which fought against the Ottoman Empire in Eastern Europe.
In one particularly gruesome tale, Vlad is said to have dined among a forest of his impaled enemies as they died, perhaps even dipping his bread in their blood.
Stoker is said to have read a book containing accounts of Vlad's sadistic habits, on which he fashioned his famously bloodthirsty vampire, "Dracula," in 1897.

Convicted Cop-Killer Mumia Abu-Jamal SlatedAs Commencement Speaker For Vermont College






Convicted Cop-Killer Mumia Abu-Jamal Selected As Commencement Speaker For College In Vermont

Verne Strickland: Well, you know Vermont -- right? They should join the union and quit playing footsie with Muslim fanatics and murderers -- scum of the earth and declared enemies of the United States. Who are the mamas and poppas of these misguided air-headed radical left-wing kids in that "small Vermont college?"


Related Tags: Daniel Faulkner, Goddard College, John McNesby, Maureen Faulkner, Mumia Abu Jamal, Vermont

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By John Ostapkovich

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A small Vermont college is poking a lot of people in the eye by having convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal as its commencement speaker next Sunday.

The president of Goddard College, where Abu-Jamal got a Bachelor of Arts degree in 2007 despite being imprisoned hundreds of miles away, says he was selected as speaker by this class of grads, expressing their freedom to think radically.

But John McNesby, president of the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police, thinks otherwise.

“We have somebody who’s a convicted murderer, who’s in prison, and they’re allowed to be able to have special privileges. It just seems the only one being penalized here is Maureen Faulkner and she’s fed up with it,” McNesby said.

Corrections Department spokeswoman Sue McNaughton says Abu-Jamal is merely making use of his phone privileges.

“He’s done this before in the past. He’s made other commencement addresses. They’re not live, from what I understand. They’re recorded and then played.”

McNaughton says the department does not endorse Abu-Jamal’s speech, but he has the right to talk.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Midterm Calculus

It’s not usually wise to focus too much on individual polls, but Sunday’s CNN/ORC poll in North Carolina is worth a little extra attention.
The poll’s top-line findings are unsurprising. As with other polls, it finds Senator Kay Hagan, a Democrat, leading Thom Tillis, the Republican challenger, by three percentage points, 46 to 43 percent.

But there was a piece of good news for the Republicans buried inside the poll, one that might influence our view of the race: Mr. Tillis’s favorability rating.
The conventional view holds that Ms. Hagan has a lead because Mr. Tillis is unpopular. He’s the speaker of the state’s unpopular House of Representatives, and he passed an education budget that the Hagan campaign and its allies have hammered over the summer.

It’s a seemingly sound story line. Given the state’s demographics and her own ratings, Ms. Hagan should probably be behind in this race; if she’s ahead, it stands to reason that Mr. Tillis is the problem. It also lines up with Ms. Hagan’s advantage in fund-raising — perhaps her only advantage — which has allowed her to spend millions attacking Mr. Tillis on education.


Thom Tillis, a North Carolina Senate candidate, received some 
encouraging news in a poll that showed a boost in his favorability rating.  Credit Travis Dove for The New York Times

There’s one weakness in this narrative: the amount of evidence supporting it. A USA Today/Suffolk poll in August found Mr. Tillis’s favorability rating at minus-14, but there isn’t much other evidence to back it up. Most of the polls haven’t asked about Mr. Tillis. Nonetheless, it was enough for me to come down on the side of a Hagan advantage when I weighed in last week. Minus-14 is a pretty big number, and it’s consistent with Ms. Hagan’s surprisingly solid position.

Enter the CNN/ORC poll on Sunday. It found that 47 percent had a favorable impression of Mr. Tillis, and 40 percent had an unfavorable view. It didn’t find Ms. Hagan faring much better than she has in other polls: 46 percent favorable, and 47 percent unfavorable.

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The latest news, analysis and election results for the 2014 midterm campaign.

If there were more surveys showing Mr. Tillis as unpopular as the conventional view, then perhaps we could discount the CNN/ORC poll as an outlier. But in the absence of more evidence to the contrary, one should at least be open to the possibility that Mr. Tillis is more popular than was thought.

That opens the door to a different view of the race: that Mr. Tillis is poised to narrow or eliminate Ms. Hagan’s lead behind undecided voters who view him favorably and who view Ms. Hagan and President Obama unfavorably.
Mr. Tillis might also benefit from the inevitable decline in the support of Sean Haugh, a libertarian candidate who attracted 7 percent of the vote in the CNN/ORC poll.

Even in that scenario, Ms. Hagan would still probably be near even-money to win. She’s already at 46 percent of the vote, and her magic number is probably only 48 or 48.5 percent in a contest in which minor party candidates are poised to take at least 3 percent of the vote.

But if Mr. Tillis is as popular as the CNN/ORC poll suggests, then her three-point lead could easily evaporate, along with the basis for the view that she’s favored.

Armed contractor with criminal record was on elevator with Obama in Atlanta

September 30 at 5:14 PM
A security contractor with a gun and three prior convictions for assault and battery was allowed on an elevator with President Obama during a Sept. 16 trip to Atlanta, violating Secret Service protocols, according to three people familiar with the incident.

President Obama was not told of the lapse in his security during his trip. Director Julia Pierson, according to two people familiar with the incident, took steps to have the matter reviewed internally and did not refer it to an investigative unit that reviews violations of protocol and standard.
The incident, which rattled Secret Service agents assigned to the president’s detail, occurred as Obama visited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to discuss the U.S. response to the Ebola crisis.
The private contractor aroused the agents’ concerns when he did not comply with their orders that he stop using a phone camera to videotape the president in the elevator, according to the people familiar with the incident. The man was also acted oddly, the people said.
Agents questioned the man when they exited the elevator and then used a national database check to learn of his criminal history.
There were some heated moments Tuesday when Secret Service Director Julia Pierson testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee about two security breaches at the White House, one in 2011 and one less than two weeks ago. (Sarah Parnass/The Washington Post)
When a supervisor from the firm providing security at the CDC approached and discovered the agents’ concerns, the contractor was fired on the spot and agreed to turn over his gun — surprising agents, who had not realized he was armed during his encounter with Obama.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who first heard of the breakdown from a whistleblower, said he was appalled at the incident. The Washington Post confirmed details of the event with other people familiar with the agency’s review.
“You have a convicted felon within arm’s reach of the president and they never did a background check,” Chaffetz said. “Words aren’t strong enough for the outrage I feel for the safety of the president and his family. “
Chaffetz added: “His life was in danger. This country would be a different world today if he had pulled out his gun.”
It is the latest in a string of embarrassments for the Secret Service, whose director, Pierson, drew criticism Tuesday from lawmakers in both parties during a combative hearing that focused on her agency’s security lapses. The hearing focused on a man who was able to foil Secret Service officers by jumping the White House fence Sept. 19 and also a 2011 shooting at the residence that the Secret Service failed to identify and properly investigate.
The elevator incident exposed another serious breakdown in the Secret Service’s safety protocols: this one meant to keep the president safe from strangers when he travels to events outside the White House. In close quarters or small events, when the president is on the road, all of the people who could have access to him must be checked in advance for weapons and any criminal history.
In response to a question at the hearing Tuesday, Pierson said she briefs the president “100 percent of the time” when his personal security has been breached. However, she said Tuesday that has only happened one time this year: Soon after Omar Gonzalez jumped over the White House fence Sept. 19 and was able to burst into the mansion.
The night bullets hit the White House and the Secret Service didn’t know
 View Graphic 
A Secret Service spokesman said the agency would provide a response soon.
Some elements of the Atlanta incident were first reported Tuesday afternoon on the Washington Examiner’s Web site.

Under a security program called the Arm’s Reach Program, Secret Service advance staff run potential staff, contractors, hotel employees, invited guests and volunteers through several databases, including a national criminal information registry, and records kept by the CIA, NSA and Department of Defense, among others. Anyone who is found to have a criminal history, mental illness, or other indications of risk is barred from entry.
Local police and federal officers are not checked in the same way under the Arm’s Reach Program, with the Secret Service presuming they meet the safety standards because of their employment. But private security contractors would be checked, two former agents who worked on advance planning for presidential trips said.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Battle Against Islamic State Creates Vital New Alliances

Battle against Islamic State creates vital new alliances


AMMAN, Jordan (AP) -- On a recent evening, two of Jordan's top pro-al-Qaida ideologues held court on the rooftop of a villa decorated with strings of lights. Sporting shaggy beards and robes, the Muslim preachers whispered to each other and rose occasionally from plastic chairs to greet supporters. It would have been hard to picture such a scene just a few months ago, with Abu Qatada and Abu Mohammed al-Maqdisi then being held in Jordanian prisons on security charges. But Jordan's priorities appear to have shifted because of the mounting threat posed by the Islamic State group, an al-Qaida offshoot that has seized large areas of neighboring Syria and Iraq, sending shivers through the kingdom.
Abu Qatada and al-Maqdisi have denounced some of the group's practices as un-Islamic - comments some analysts say have turned the preachers into assets in Jordan's campaign to contain the Islamic State, which is believed to have attracted thousands of followers in the country. Authorities say their release from prison - al-Maqdisi in June and Abu Qatada after an acquittal last week - had nothing to do with politics.
But the clerics' outspokenness points to ways the U.S.-led fight against the group is upending old assumptions in the Middle East. At the core of issue: the Islamic State group is viewed by some regional players as an existential threat, creating an unlikely mix of allies and reshaping regional priorities.
Longtime foes such as the United States and Iran now find themselves fighting a common enemy, as do Iraq's Arabs and Kurds - who rarely agree on much. Squabbling Arab states, such as Qatar and its Gulf neighbors, have at least temporarily put aside their differences in the fight against the militants.
One-time rivals "view the Islamic State through a similar lens, that it represents a threat to their national security interests," said Fawaz Gerges, a London-based expert on Islamic movements.
"This tells you the extent to which the Islamic State has really reconfigured regional security and global security," he added.
The coalition has quickly grown since the U.S. first launched airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq on Aug. 8, followed by bombardments in Syria that began Sept. 21.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Jordan have participated in attacks in Syria, while Qatar hosts an air base used by the coalition. France, the Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium and Britain are among European countries contributing to U.S. efforts to hit the Islamic State group in Iraq.
The shakeup of alliances is perhaps most dramatic in Syria, ravaged by a civil war between President Bashar Assad's troops and Sunni Muslim-led rebels, including Islamic State fighters and al-Qaida's local branch, the al-Nusra front.
A year ago, the Obama administration appeared on the verge of striking government targets in Syria after blaming Assad for a deadly chemical weapons attack on rebel-held areas outside Damascus. Now Assad stands to benefit from U.S.-led airstrikes that are hitting some of his most ruthless enemies while, for now, staying clear of his fighters.
Saudi Arabia and Qatar, among the most active supporters of the armed opposition seeking to topple Assad, are now part of the coalition that appears to be helping him militarily, even if unintentionally. How long they are willing to do so is unclear.
"The coalition is being held together by American resolve, determination and leadership. But we shouldn't take it for granted," said Salman Shaikh, director of the Brookings Doha Center in Qatar.
Qatar's participation in the coalition is significant. It has been under mounting political pressure over its backing of Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, its ties with Hamas, which fought a 50-day war with Israel this summer, and for not doing more to stamp out private funding for extremist groups.
It now finds itself allied with three Gulf neighbors who pulled their ambassadors from the country earlier this year to protest Qatar's perceived regional meddling and support for Islamists. While the diplomats haven't been formally reinstated, it appears the Islamic State threat is now a more pressing concern.
"This is helping to push the GCC (alliance of six Gulf states) together against the Sunni extremists in Syria," said Theodore Karasik, an analyst at the Dubai-based Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis.
Jordanian government spokesman Mohammad al-Momani predicted a long fight against the Islamic State militants.
"They have been trying to infiltrate into our borders, and therefore the threat is there," he said. "We will continue until we achieve our objective of degrading and finishing the terrorist organization."
The new counterterrorism fight isn't prompting the Obama administration to ease efforts against other long-term threats to the United States. Washington is still pushing for a nuclear deal with Iran and targeting the financing of Hezbollah and Hamas.
But shifting the priority to destroying the Islamic State group is creating new opportunities for indirect collaboration, even with sworn enemies.
U.S. and Iranian officials have held discussions on counteracting the Sunni extremists, although they deny direct cooperation.
In a sign of the overlap of Iranian and U.S. interests, Iran last week said one of the Islamic Republic's most senior generals and 70 Iranian soldiers helped Kurdish fighters defend Irbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq that has been a focus of the American military. The city is home to a U.S. consulate and offices of numerous Western companies, and the approach of Islamic State militants to its outskirts prompted American airstrikes in August.
Lebanon's powerful, Iranian-backed Shiite Hezbollah militia has used the threat posed by the Islamic State to justify fighting in Syria, alongside Assad's forces. After sending fighters to Syria last year, Hezbollah had faced mounting criticism at home that it was dragging the country into the civil war there.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah now argues that Hezbollah's actions have prevented Islamic State militants from overrunning Lebanon.
The new regional climate also helped refocus Egypt's relations with the West on the issue of terrorism, a conversation President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi appears more comfortable with than Washington's concerns about human rights violations resulting from his domestic crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood.
El-Sissi deposed an elected president from the Brotherhood last year and has tried to portray his move against the group as a model for fighting terrorism. Washington remains critical of Cairo, but observers believe the ties between the two are improving.
Some in the Arab coalition say they are engaged in an existential battle.
"What we are fighting is not just a terrorist organization, but the embodiment of a malicious ideology that must be defeated intellectually," the vice president and prime minister of the Emirates, Dubai ruler Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, wrote in an opinion piece Sunday.
"I consider this ideology to be the greatest danger that the world will face in the next decade," he said.
Schreck reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Associated Press writers Bassem Mroue and Diaa Hadid in Beirut, Bradley S. Klapper in Washington and Maggie Michael in Cairo contributed to this report.
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