Archive for not again

Bacteria don't discriminate between homeless, affluent. TB is not just a skid row issue. So why was L.A. outbreak covered up?


here we go again smaller

Back in July 2012, Florida was accused of covering up of the worst TB outbreak in 20 years:

That decision now appears to have gone terribly awry, partly because the disease appears to have already spread into the general population but also because just nine days before the CDC warning was issued, Florida Governor Rick Scott had signed a bill downsizing the state’s Department of Health and closing the A.G. Holley State Hospital that had treated the most difficult tuberculosis cases for over 60 years...

However, the itinerant homeless, drug-addicted, mentally ill people at the core of the Jacksonville TB cluster are almost impossible to keep on their medications.

Of course, poor black men were most affected, most likely uninsured poor black men. And they sent those TB patients to $35-a-night motel.

Via the Palm Beach Post:

[F]or at least two years, TB patients were routed by Duval County health officials to the Monterey Motel and told to stay put. [...] until they no longer were contagious, state Department of Health spokeswoman Jessica Hammonds said.

As I wrote in my post:

When health issues go unchecked, they spread. This is why it’s so important to provide proper health care to everyone in the country.

In this case, the “underclass” was affected, and hey, why alert the rest of the state?

When that story broke, many of us were shocked. How could such a thing happen? Well guess what? It's happening again: Tuberculosis outbreak in downtown L.A. sparks federal effort:

Nearly 80 tuberculosis cases have been identified and 11 people have died since 2007, most of them homeless people who live in and around skid row. [...]

Officials are worried the outbreak could spread beyond skid row if action isn’t taken.

Homeless people are especially at risk of getting tuberculosis and of being undiagnosed because they tend to have poor hygiene and nutrition, limited access to healthcare and ongoing contact with infected people. Transmission of the airborne disease is also common because they tend to live in overcrowded areas and to continually move among hospitals, shelters and the streets. Many homeless people also have substance abuse or mental health issues that can impede treatment.

Via a new L.A. Times column by Sandy Banks:

Twelve people have died and 78 infections have been treated — 61 of those on skid row — since the Los Angeles strain emerged five years ago... [M]ore than 4,500 people who may have been exposed to the contagious illness. [...]

But not to worry, health officials say: "The general public is not at risk. There is no danger to the general public." [...]

How will you stop the spread? And why did it take so long to share the news of an outbreak that's five years old? [...]

But people who live or work on skid row say it's naive to think the disease can be contained by focusing only on the homeless... The police officers, social workers, teachers in schools that serve skid row's children, the clerks in the local stores ... they go home to Orange County, Pasadena, Van Nuys, Inglewood.

Dr. V. Diane Woods, who has spent the past two years researching disparities in mental health treatment, said, "If this was a middle-class community, there would be more urgency... People say 'Those are just homeless people. They're nasty, they don't take care of themselves.' "But TB is not a homeless disease."

 But it is a deadly one. So why are we only just now finding out about it?

The county public health department plans to post a link to testing centers on its website,

Tests are already being offered at the Central area health center, at 241 N. Figueroa St. in downtown Los Angeles.


The Hawks Are Circling the Capitol Looking for Another War to Start


Andy Marquis, reporter for, is our guest blogger of the day. He used to consider himself a Republican but not any more.  He changed his voter registration to Independent in 2011 and says that’s how it will remain.

Here’s his latest guest post:

The Hawks Are Circling the Capitol Looking for Another War to Start

Reports from NBC News and CBS News that Syria is preparing to use chemical weapons against the rebellion in the civil war that has torn that country apart is being followed by the usual response from Senator John McCain (R: Arizona) among others.  McCain, appearing at a press conference, said President Barack Obama should prepare for military intervention in Syria.

"We urge the President of the United States to make whatever military preparations are necessary to show Assad that the United States is fully willing and able to impose the consequences that he has spoken of in the event these weapons are used," McCain said. "For deterrence to work it must be based on a credible threat."

McCain spoke along with Senator Lindsay Graham of South Carolina, Senator Chris Coons of Delaware and Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut.

"Time for talking about what to do may now be coming to a close and we may instead be left with an awful and very difficult decision," McCain said.  "We have now reached a point where there are weapons of mass destruction that may be used and also there is a significant question about the security of these weapons should Bashar Assad fall."

"We are all saying to President Obama, who has stated that there will be drastic consequences for Assad and his government if they use chemical and biological weapons, we’re with you," Lieberman said. "There’s strong support across Congress if the president takes the strong action that’s necessary to prevent a very, very — historically horrific — humanitarian disaster in Syria.”

This is the rhetoric that we’ve heard from the right for years.  Following the unsuccessful war on terrorism and the invasion of Iraq, hawks have sought for US intervention in Israel during The 34 Day War, as well as in Libya (the hawks supported going to war before they opposed it when Obama did do so) and Iran.  Now, with a very real threat occurring in Syria, the hawks are beating the war drums once again.

However, this time, it may end up being a necessary evil.