Over the past couple of weeks, there has been an extreme outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in the Bronx. So far this is the most devastating Legionnaires outbreak in New York’s history as 92 people have been hospitalized, and sadly, 10 individuals have died. The disease is caused by a bacteria that is usually found in the water of cooling systems, and it has already been found in several south Bronx cooling towers. Legionnaires is a very alarming disease, especially in the South Bronx, since it tends to attack the very old or those who are already sick. This disease is basically a more aggressive form of pneumonia, so those with asthma have to be especially cautious in areas of the outbreak. So far, due to this outbreak we have seen public health officials working franticly to try and contain the disease, but unfortunately, this disease can not be stopped by quarantine. The only way to stop the outbreak is to kill the bacteria at its source as it is not contagious from person to person. Health officials have started implementing free cooling tower checks and cleanings in the Bronx, and while I feel these measures are both warranted and reasonable, I feel more needs to be done to prevent another outbreak of this measure. Legionnaires is devastating, but with proper prevention I am certain that we could completely rid ourselves of this terrible disease. I hope to see health officials implement mandatory cooling tower cleanings every spring in order to reduce the risk of further cases of this disease, the best way to stop an outbreak is prevention. I’m sure that if proper preventative measures are put in place, we could stop the spread of this awful bacteria for years to come.
The title of this post sounds like a great name for a children’s book, unfortunately the story behind this title is less jovial. The web is running wild with hate for Walter Palmer, a Minnesota dentist who is now infamous for killing Cecil, a protected lion in a Zimbabwe nature preserve. I have to start my opinion on these proceedings by stating that I love wildlife, I am a huge wildlife advocate, and I have previously stated my displeasure with the safety or lack of safety in many nature preserves. With that said, I think everybody is essentially missing the point when it comes to this anger being pointed at this individual. The dentist did wrong, that much is true, it was incredibly stupid for him to take a trip to another country just to spend such an exorbitant amount of money on killing a majestic and protected lion, but the biggest issue is the fact that there is a market for this type of foolish behavior in the world. Death threats against a dentist will not change the system, and to be honest threatening to kill a human being is a bit excessive no matter how upset you are by their actions. I think what it comes down to these days is “fad outrage,” bloggers and social media users seem to be scouring the web for topics to be upset about, regardless of how they actually feel about the issue. I am confident that Dr. Palmer will face prosecution for his idiotic and selfish crime, but until that happens, I would love to see more Americans focus on the problems we still face as a country in hopes of finding some solutions.
Recently, there has been much news coverage of rampant corruption in the upper ranks of FIFA, which is the organization in charge of regulating the sport of soccer worldwide. Reports show that the corruption involves bribery to the tune of over 150 million dollars in order to secure broadcast rights and possibly the rights to host the World Cup tournament. This is not the first time FIFA officials have been in trouble for corruption, but this is big news since it comes on the heals of the designation of Qatar as host of the 2022 World Cup. The 2010 vote that gave Qatar the World Cup has been under scrutiny for years for several reasons, for one this country is in the desert so the average temperatures are well above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and another is the fact that this tiny country has plenty of money to give out if need be, to potential voters. I don’t want to speculate that bribery was a part of Qatar’s World Cup 2022 designation, but many people are unhappy with that decision, and feel as though money was involved. One country that seems to be extremely upset with the choice of Qatar for the World Cup is the country that seemed to be front runner to get the tournament that year, the United States. I sense a hint of “saltiness” on the part of the U.S. since our country was spearheading the efforts for a revote, and not surprisingly has led the investigation into FIFA corruption. I understand that corruption is terrible, and that the currency passed in these illegal transactions was American dollars, but I just can’t shake the feeling that this investigation is personal. I can not condone the actions of the FIFA executives that took bribes, but I do think the U.S. came down with an extremely heavy hand. I guess this whole episode can be used as a lesson, if you slight a powerful adversary, prepare to face powerful retaliation. I don’t think FIFA will change much since they just reelected the same president, but I do hope they learn their lesson and act more ethically in the future.
The broken narrative of the news media in the midst of the civil unrest in Baltimore is extremely alarming. For those who are unaware of what is going on, there was a young man who was fatally injured while in police custody, his death has lead to protests and riots throughout the city. The young man, Freddie Gray, was arrested by police officers under what they called normal circumstances but was then hospitalized with a severed spine, which lead to his death. My stance on this as an American is that nobody deserves to be punished before a trial, and my stance on this as a human is that nobody deserves to die in such a brutal way. The news media is showing a picture of brutality and war in the streets of Baltimore that has only lead to extreme reactions from the many who are too ignorant, or too preoccupied to look into the situation as a whole. The fact of the matter is that a young man is now dead, after being simply taken into custody, and many people are taking action rather than asking the necessary questions we all have about the situation. I have an eclectic group of friends, and just seeing the varying views on social media causes me to believe that this issue is much bigger than Baltimore, and the news media is doing nothing more than causing widespread separation in a country that ironically has the word “united” in its name. In the midst of the wild riots of confused and at times foolish young people, there are large united groups of all ages and ethnicities peacefully trying to quell the confusion, and air their grievances. The news has refused to cover any of the peaceful protests or any of the peaceful crowd interactions with the police, and this is really causing me to question just how united the news producers want this country to be. I understand that two wrongs will never make a right, but when all we are shown is turmoil, there can never be progress. I hate what I am seeing on the news and I am even more upset that many people are not taking the time to fully understand what is going on all around Baltimore. The only thing I have learned from the news that I will agree with is that peace must be brought back to that city, and the road to peace starts with the media giving some airtime to those advocating it.
Over the past few days the famous NBC Nightly News anchor, Brian Williams, has been heavily scrutinized for claims he has made about his time in the Middle East. He stated a chopper he was riding in was hit by enemy fire, and forced to make a crash landing. Williams’ claims were disputed by an individual who was present at the time of his tour in Iraq, but that is not the only issue. Williams actually recounted the story multiple times over the last ten years, only once stating he was not in the chopper that was hit. As a Nightly News anchor, Williams is in a position that requires the trust of his viewers, and while I usually take any news broadcast with a grain of salt, it is much harder to try and believe someone who is caught in a lie. Many people have stated it is very likely that Williams simply misremembered the stressful details of his time in Iraq, I find that explanation understandable, but the fact that he has changed the story over the years does hurt that idea. Ever since the probe began into the helicopter story, many other reports by Williams have been called into question, completely damaging his credibility. Brian Williams has been put on a six month suspension by the network as punishment for his reporting, but I wonder if that is really enough. Will a six month hiatus fix his credibility? I think Williams should use this six months to clear his name, instead of being away from the camera, I feel he should take many interviews and reestablish himself as the trusted newsman millions allowed into their homes every night. While he cannot take back what he said, Williams has the chance to explain himself, and apologize for the discrepancies in his reporting. I am sure he will be able to return to a news desk, but it is how he takes his punishment that will determine how the nation receives him upon his return.