By Lambert Strether of Corrente
Chief clinical officer at Texas Health Resources Dr. Daniel Varga issues non-apology apology [New York Times]. To wit:
[VARGA:] We’re a hospital that may have done things different [sic] with the benefit of what we know today. But make no mistake: No one wants to get this right more than our hospital, the first to diagnose and treat this insidious disease.
So, wait. The MBAs running Texas Presbyterian dump a few wheelbarrows-full of all that non-profit money from Neiman-Marcus shoppers at Burson-Marsteller, and the best PR those guys can come up with is “Mistakes were made”? Can’t anybody here play this game?
The Médecins Sans Frontières protocols were the protocols that should have been used, not the CDC’s, one. Two: Dr. Varga, you had one job, and that was to get the right protocol used by the health care workers in your charge. I mean, it’s not like ebola hasn’t been in the news. Didn’t anybody in the MBA misleadership class at Texas Presbyterian think to check into the protocol the people on the front lines were using? Dear Lord.
And speaking of expensive PR firms and bang for the buck, somebody should ask Burson-Marsteller whether they recommended maintaining the gag order for medical personnel at Texas Presbyterian, and, if so, what their rationale was.
Meanwhile — and this will surprise you — kudos to Obama [WaPo]:
[OBAMA:] I shook hands with, hugged and kissed not the doctors, but a couple of the nurses at Emory, because of the valiant work that they did in treating one of the patients. They followed the protocols, they knew what they were doing, and I felt perfectly safe doing so.
OK, the usual Obama-esque mealy-mouthed caution — he’s not kissing the doctors! — and “perfectly safe” rings false because, well, if you’ve got to say it, why say it, but respect due for the simple human gesture of touching.
Ebola fears are similar to early HIV-AIDS myths [Pete Hammil, New York Daily News].
NOTE  “First” in the United States, you moron. American exceptionalism yet again. What copywriter at Burson-Marsteller drafted that talking point for Varga, anyhow?
Hong Kong government re-opens talks with students after brutality video [Agence France Presse].
South China Morning Post throws weight behind government, tells students to go home [South China Morning Post].
China’s biggest and mainland-based umbrella exporter has filed for an initial public offering in Hong Kong [Reuters]. So, different bet from SCMP?
Students give tents to visitors who wish to stay overnight [Economist]. The students improve their WiFi-enabled study corner with new desks. Others take their wedding photos at Admiralty [WSJ]. Isaac Cheung, 20:
“A lot of people say this can’t be a success (if the government doesn’t change. But) you can’t judge it that way. (We) will remember this in 10, 20 years.”
So, no, the students aren’t dreamers [Asian Correspondent]. But I’d like to hear more about the taxi drivers, street vendors, and nannies; the ones who aren’t studying because they have to go to work.
Some fear Hong Kong could slip intp a recession [WSJ, “Hong Kong Hotels, Shops May Suffer Long-Term”].
Activist calls back police officer who called her place of work based on her tweets “against the police.” “Hi, is this Keith?” [YouTube]. “Inciteful” is now a thing, apparently. And indeed, why not?
Whatever the story in Ferguson might be, it is not about “religious leaders” — many of whom, though not all, are from what Black Agenda Report calls “the black misleadership class” — parachuting in and bringing “healing” to a “badly damaged community” [The Atlantic].
Historical note: The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency at 3200 South 2nd Street is the oldest Federal arsenal complex west of the Mississippi [Matthew Aid].
One Maine story: How George W. Bush was arrested for drunk driving — with tennis great John Newcombe [Daily Mail].
And TNR butchers Maine politics [The New Republic]. Our crazypants R governor, Paul Lepage, won office in 2010 with 38.1% in a three-way that also included No Labels-type cipher Eliot Cutler (36.7%) and the tired and uninspiring Libby Mitchell of the corrupt but rickety Baldacci D machine (19%). Obviously, the spoiler who put LePage in office was not the putatively “independent” Cutler, as TNR avers, but the distantly trailing Mitchell. If LePage were truly the demon figure that Ds then and now make him out to be, then the only ethical course of action for Mitchell — given what her internal polling must surely have told her — would have been to throw her votes to Cutler. Of course, the iron law of institutions prohibits that, then as now. You gotta know the territory, TNR.
And another Maine story: Both independent Larry Pressler in South Dakota and sleazy felon-loving private equity “No Labels” D mole Greg Orman in Kansas look to Maine’s Angus King for inspiration and advice in their Senate races [Bloomberg]. Perhaps they can form a Gang of Three. Ka-ching?
Meanwhile, all is not lost for the Ds, if three races — South Dakota (Pressler, see above), Kansas (Orman, see above), and Georgia break their way [Atlantic].
The New York State Democratic Committee “housekeeping account,” an obscure but powerful vehicle for the governor, and the linchpin of a network of interlocking campaign accounts, makes meaningful opposition to Cuomo all but impossible [WYNC]. So, in other words, whatever Cuomo wants to do after the election, including fracking, casinos, and tolls on the Tappan Zee, he is free to do, no matter what the election outcome. Yay!
Drone trailing Albanian flag flies over Serbian soccer field, igniting fracas [AP].
Yemen separatists Southern Herak tell oil firms to stop exports from south, following political crisis in the north [Reuters].
Jobless claims, week of October 11: “Stunning 23,000 decline in initial jobless claims” [Bloomberg]. Is “stunning” over-egging the pudding?
Industrial production, September 2014: “Industrial production for September topped expectations-and it was not just a swing in utilities” [Bloomberg]. Is “not just” over-egging the pudding?
Consumer comfort, week of October 12: “Bloomberg comment that the lowest jobless rate since 2008 and the cheapest gasoline costs in a year probably combined to lift households’ spirits about the future. The upbeat mood may be difficult to sustain as stocks slump and concern grows that the Ebola virus poses a wider health risk” [Bloomberg].
Panic on the Street
Except not. Stocks advance, Treasuries and dollar fall [Bloomberg].
News of the Wired
- UK’s NHS reorganised 20 times in since 1973 — Thatcher’s election in 1979 being the opening gun for the neo-liberal era — the 2012 disruption abolishing 170 orgs and creating 240, at cost of £1 billion pounds [Institute for Government (full report)]. A billion pounds? That’s real money. But let’s be fair. If you’ve ever been through a re-org, you know it was done in complete good faith, and all that churn could only have had positive effects. I mean, for the public.
- Vatican backtracks on gay tolerance [Independent].
- Up to a third of all cell lines in cancer research are contaminated “imposters” yet researchers continue to use them [Discover]. “There are about 10,000 citations every year on false lines.”
- Streams of hydrogen drifting away from Mars [Scientific American]. Maybe Musk can bring more gas with him?
- Researchers erase memories in mice using flashes of light [Daily Mail].
- Dark Age America [The Archdruid Report]. Ending on a cheerful note!
Readers, feel free to contact me with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, and (c) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant:
Talk amongst yourselves!