Bigger Than The Law Should Allow

First, my heart and prayers go out to the people of Haiti and to the country of Haiti that has seen more than its share of natural disasters and destruction. Haiti was hit with an earthquake over the weekend that resulted in, as of now, a death toll of 1,419 and 6,000 injured. This happened in a place that is still recovering from a 2010 earthquake and dealing with a current Tropical Storm. Haitian officials are asking for International help as the death toll mounts. The US has deployed a response team and is coordinating relief efforts. And on top of all this, COVID is still a looming threat. If anyone is looking for a way to donate, USA today listed some organizations and their descriptions here

On another note, we may be getting vaccine booster shots. It is currently being recommended 8 months after being fully vaccinated. So, while waiting in another cattle call to get a vaccine does not appeal to me in any way. If it is offered, I will likely get it because I do not, under any circumstances, want to end up in the hospital with COVID-19. But the current data is saying, the fully vaccinated are really only at risk of getting a “bad cold.” Thus is may not be offered to everyone. The moral question however: Should Americans be getting third shots when so many people in poorer countries can’t get vaccine at all? ( Don’t look at me, I don’t know the answer.)

Exit Emergency

Well the dumpster fire in Afghanistan is about as bad as it can get. Taliban has taken over the country in a matter of weeks. Earlier this week, the Taliban seized Kabul and its 5 million people. I think the question that stays on a lot of peoples minds is how did it happen so fast? My other question is what have we (American military + Afghan forces) been doing for 20 years? I think that’s a real question. How has no progress in the region been made in 20 years? I’m sure this question an many others will be pontificated on for years to come. 

Back to Kabul, After Taliban takeover, citizens fled to Kabul’s International Airport. Crowds stormed past security forces and flooded the tarmac trying to get out of the country. That creates a crazy picture. Seven people died in the maylay and some fell mid-air. Other barriers to escape are that border crossing are under Taliban control and banks are closed in Kabul. The US is working to get 30,000 Afghans under a special visa program out of Kabul. US also reports the airport is now secure and they are working to make it completely functional. Many say this is not nearly enough. Biden doubled down on his plan yesterday, amid questions as to why is appears there was no plan to get Afghans out who wanted to leave and why the Biden administration seems so unprepared. 

Conceding the fall of Kabul had been “hard and messy,” the president blamed the chaos on the failure of the Afghans to fight. “It is wrong to order American troops to step up when Afghanistan’s own armed forces would not,” he said. “We gave them every tool they could need. We paid their salaries. Provided for the maintenance of their airplanes,” Mr. Biden said. “We gave them every chance to determine their own future. What we could not provide was the will to fight for that future.”

New York Times: Biden Defends Decision to Pull Out of Afghanistan

“It’s sad. The West has done what it’s done, We have to do our very best to get people out and stand by our obligations and 20 years of sacrifice — is what it is.” More than half a dozen countries that joined the U.S. invasion 20 years ago are also dealing with the fallout. Wallace fought back tears as he talked about getting Afghan allies out. “Some people won’t get back,” he said.

British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace

“President Biden has made it clear that any action that puts U.S. personnel or our mission at risk will be met with a swift and strong military response.”

U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield

This situation is far from over. The world will continue to watch. But, right or wrong, Biden can expect major fire for the foreseeable future on this issue. 

I Do Over, Kinda

“State lawmakers are nearing passage of a bill that could dampen the state’s appeal as the go-to place to bring child brides — but would still leave it short of a national push to increase the age to 18. The proposed legislation would raise the minimum marriage age from 14 to 16 and limit the age difference between a 16-year-old and their spouse to four years.”  CBS News: North Carolina, a child bride destination, moves to change law  I must admit I did not know this, probably because I have not been searching for a wedding destination for a child. But, how nice of the state lawmakers to try and make a change. So noble, to “dampen” the state’s appeal. By all means let’s leave the window open for the 16 year olds that have to get married. 

Not So Fast

New York Attorney General Letitia James is catching flack this week because of her handling of the Daniel Prude case. “Last March, Prude was handcuffed without resistance, hooded and pinned to the ground by police in Rochester, N.Y. Authorities were called to the area when Prude left his brother’s house mentally distressed, shoeless and shirtless. While pinned, Prude had stopped breathing for two minutes and despite life saving efforts by medics on the scene, he died a week later in the hospital. He was a father of five struggling with his mental health and suffering from paranoid episodes.” Following the incident with Prude and after the release of the footage, James announced that her office would investigate and set up a grand jury to consider the evidence in the case. When they failed to persuade the jury and get an indictment of the officers involved, James promised that her office would continue to address police abuses and seek ways to reform. 

In the meantime, the attorney general’s office released a 165-page report detailing the sexual harassment allegations against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The report included interviews with 11 accusers, 179 witnesses, and found thousands of documents as evidence over the course of a five month investigation. And this was good to everyone but the Prude family. They felt the handling of the Cuomo case showed what the office could do. Thus, meaning they could have done more for Prude and his family. CBS News: New York Attorney General Letitia James criticized for handling of Daniel Prude killing after Cuomo investigation You can’t blame his family for being upset. Where is their detailed report?

Water, Please

The earth is tired of screaming at us. Yet, we refuse to address climate change.  “Yesterday, U.S. officials declared the first-ever water shortage from the Colorado river that serves 40 million people in the West, triggering cuts to some Arizona farmers next year amid a gripping drought. Water levels at the largest reservoir on the Colorado River — Lake Mead — have fallen to record lows. Lake Mead was formed by building the Hoover Dam in the 1930s. It is one of several man-made reservoirs that store water from the Colorado River, which supplies household water, irrigation for farms and hydropower to Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming and parts of Mexico. Water stored in Lake Mead and Lake Powell is divvied up through legal agreements. The agreements determine how much water each gets, when cuts are triggered and the order in which the parties have to sacrifice some of their supply.”  NPR: Western States Face Water Cuts As A Shortage In The Colorado River Is Declared  Declaring this  water shortage means that the government can cut down the water supply to several states. These cuts are currently expected to go in to effect in January.  Anytime we want to really address climate change that would be great. 

Dylan Trouble

“Bob Dylan has been accused of drugging and sexually abusing a minor in 1965. A complaint filed in Manhattan Supreme Court on behalf of a woman referred to only as J.C. alleges that the legendary musician “befriended and established an emotional connection with the plaintiff, J.C., to lower her inhibitions with the object of sexually abusing her, which he did…” J.C. is seeking a jury trial and unspecified damages.  The complaint, which NPR has reviewed, alleges the abuse occurred over a six-week period between April and May of 1965 at the Chelsea Hotel in New York City, where Dylan, then in his early 20s, kept an apartment. At the time, J.C. “had just turned 12-years-of-age and was a minor,” the suit claims. J.C. is described today as a 68-year-old resident of Greenwich, Conn.” NPR: Lawsuit Alleges Sexual Abuse By Bob Dylan