Category Archives: What Is / Who Is

What is the Enterovirus D68 Virus (EV-D68)?

What is the Enterovirus D68 Virus (EV-D68)?


A fast-spreading virus related to hand-foot-and-mouth disease is hospitalizing kids across the country.

The virus, called enterovirus D68 or EV-D68, was first discovered in 1962 in California. But until now, it has only been tied to smaller clusters of disease around the U.S.

This is the first time it’s caused such widespread misery, and it seems to be particularly hard on the lungs.

As of Oct. 6, the CDC has confirmed more than 590 cases of EV-D68 in 43 states and Washington, DC. All of the cases have been in children except for one adult case.

Two confirmed cases of children have died in the US in October: a 21 month old girl in Detroit and a 4 year old body in New Jersey.

What Parents Need to Know about EV-D68 and Respiratory Illness, CDC
What Parents Need to Know about EV-D68 and Respiratory Illness, CDC

What are the symptoms of EV-D68 infection?

EV-D68 can cause mild to severe respiratory illness.

  • Mild symptoms may include fever, runny nose, sneezing, cough, and body and muscle aches.
  • Severe symptoms may include wheezing and difficulty breathing. See EV-D68 in the U.S., 2014 for details about infections occurring this year.

Anyone with respiratory illness should contact their doctor if they are having difficulty breathing or if their symptoms are getting worse.

respiratory virus flu D68 sick

How does the virus spread?

Since EV-D68 causes respiratory illness, the virus can be found in an infected person’s respiratory secretions, such as saliva, nasal mucus, or sputum. EV-D68 likely spreads from person to person when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or touches a surface that is then touched by others.

What time of the year are people most likely to get infected?

In the United States, people are more likely to get infected with enteroviruses in the summer and fall. Cases are likely to decline later in the fall.

How common is EV-D68 in the United States?

In general, a mix of enteroviruses circulates every year, and different types of enteroviruses can be common in different years. Small numbers of EV-D68 have been reported regularly to CDC since 1987. However, this year the number of people reported with confirmed EV-D68 infection is much greater than that reported in previous years. See EV-D68 in the U.S., 2014for details about infections occurring this year.

Who is at risk?

In general, infants, children, and teenagers are most likely to get infected with enteroviruses and become ill. That’s because they do not yet have immunity (protection) from previous exposures to these viruses. We believe this is also true for EV-D68. Adults can get infected with enteroviruses, but they are more likely to have no symptoms or mild symptoms.

Children with asthma may have a higher risk for severe respiratory illness caused by EV-D68 infection.

How is it diagnosed?

EV-D68 can only be diagnosed by doing specific lab tests on specimens from a person’s nose and throat.

Many hospitals and some doctor’s offices can test ill patients to see if they have enterovirus infection. However, most cannot do specific testing to determine the type of enterovirus, like EV-D68. CDC and some state health departments can do this sort of testing.

CDC recommends that clinicians only consider EV-D68 testing for patients with severe respiratory illness and when the cause is unclear.

What are the treatments?

There is no specific treatment for people with respiratory illness caused by EV-D68.

Source: CDC website

What’s in a name? ISIS or ISIL or Islamic State

What’s in a name? ISIS or ISIL or Islamic State

So why is the terrorist group in Syria and Iraq referred to by  different names?

The militant group originally called itself Al-Dawla Al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq wa al-Sham, which was translated into English as Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham.

While the first three words translate easily to Islamic State of Iraq, the final letter is the catch.

There’s a debate on what the “S” in ISIS stands for. The word al-Sham refers to Syria — or a truly undefined, larger area around Syria, once referred to as “the Levant,” which is what the ‘L” in ISIL stands for in ISIL. The Levant is a region in the eastern Mediterranean that covers a large area, including Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Jordan. The name illustrates that the Islamic State militants want their region of control to stretch beyond Iraq.

child guns pointed Iraq ISIS terrorist killing children
ISIS kills children in hopes that these shocking atrocities will intimidate their opponents.

The White House uses ISIL, considering it a more accurate translation from the Arabic name. Some say the “s” inferring Syria is tricky for the Obama administration, as NBC’s Chuck Todd posited in Meet the Press on Sunday after his interview with the president.

“Obviously we refer to it at NBC News as ISIS,” Mr. Todd said. “The Obama administration, president, says the word ISIL. The last “S” stands for Syria, the last L they don’t want to have stand for Syria.”

The use of the same moniker isn’t unified. In August, General Martin Dempsey outlined why he called it ISIS, explaining “I actually call ISIL, here we go, right, ISIS, I-S-I-S, because it’s easier for me to remember that their long-term vision is the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham. And al-Sham includes Lebanon, the current state of Israel, Jordan, Iraq, Syria and Kuwait”

Complicating matters, in June, the militants said they were changing their name to just Islamic State, dropping Iraq and al-Sham.

In the press, the name chosen to reference the militants varies. As Mr. Todd pointed out, NBC uses ISIS, as does CNN and Fox News. The Associated Press, however, has also opted to use the term ISIL. The Wall Street Journal has gone with Islamic State in recent months, and often adds that the group is also known as ISIS and ISIL.

There is also discussion that by referring to this group as ISIL it denounces Israel as a legitimate State.  The “Levant” reference shows contempt for Israel and the fact that these terrorist want to consolidate the land Israel occupies into a Muslim state, also known as the Muslim the Caliphate.

So when Obama and the US government refer the Islamic State as ISIL, it just another jab at Israel.  Not sure of this is the real reason, but since its a known fact that Obama and his Administration is anti-Israel and pro-Palestine, this fact can stand to reason.

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name still smells as sweet!” — a famous quote from William Shakespeare.

That which we call ISIS by any other name is still a demonic terrorist group, a venomous snake full of hatred for Christians, Jews, and America.

ISIS Tweet: We Are Coming to America
ISIS Tweet: We Are Coming to America

Ebola Virus Pictures and Images

Ebola Virus Pictures and Images

Corpse laying in street to rot. Died of Ebola.


Ebola is a virus that has a 90% death rate once a person is infected.  It is a terrible disease that has no cure or vaccine.

Ebola: Why isn’t there a cure?

Ebola virus death rate health


There are five strains of the virus with the deadliest spreading throughout West Africa.  (See: What is the Ebola Virus?)


Ebola virus species death rates
Ebola virus species death rates


The main source of contraction is the Fruit Bat.  Other animals contract it from the bat which eventually makes it way to humans where the virus grows quickly due to our weaker immune system.

fruit bat
The Fruit Bat


Ebola bats and animals
Animals carry the disease to humans including bats, squirrels, porcupines , and other animals.
Ebola victim dead in the street
Ebola victim dead in the street


The virus had been contained in West Africa but has now spread to Europe and the US.  It can take 60 days before an infected person will show the first signs of the virus.  So, there are likely many other people infected but not showing signs and who will continue to spread the virus.  The WHO is estimating that up to 20,000 people may be infected by November 2014 (story).

Related: Ebola only a Plane Ride away from US

ebola virus map


Ebola Virus outbreak


Children who died of Ebola waiting for burial
Children who died of Ebola waiting for burial


The symptoms of Ebola start with a low fever, sore throat, and headache then spread to the internal organs.


Ebola Virus WHO Chart
Ebola Virus WHO Chart


Ebola health
Ebola infection of the arm/hand
ebola virus
Ebola virus infection

Ebola Virus

Ebola virus
Child infected with Ebola virus
Statements from medical teams:
Some of the medics have already witnessed many deaths at the camp. They “never had to deal with this many bodies in these few days on any job before.”
You can be helping somebody by getting them a juice, or a glass of cold water, or whatever he wants because you know really he has very little chance to survive, and then less than an hour later he is dead,” 
Then when you are putting his body in the bag, another one behind you has died. Then another one. One old woman died with very bad external bleeding from her body, the symptoms that are the worst of Ebola. It is very difficult.
Ebola virus doctors outbreak health
Medical workers preparing for work to help Ebola victims.


ebola medical gloves drying
A view of gloves and boots used by medical staff, drying in the sun, at a center for victims of the Ebola virus in Guekedou, on April 1, 2014. (AFP Photo / Seyllou)


Ebola health care workers
Ebola health care workers


Dogs have been eating some of the corps of Ebola victims.

Ebola virus: Why isn’t there a cure?

Ebola virus: Why isn’t there a cure?


By Rachael Rettner

A scientist separates blood cells from plasma cells to isolate any Ebola RNA in order to test for the virus at the European Mobile Laboratory in Gueckedou April 3, 2014. (REUTERS/Misha Hussain)

Ebola first appeared more than three decades ago, but there is still no cure or specific treatment for the disease, in part because the dangerous nature of the virus makes it difficult to study, experts say.

People with Ebola are treated with only general therapies meant to support the ill patient. They might be given fluids (Ebola patients are frequently dehydrated), or treatments aimed at maintaining blood pressure and oxygen levels, and treating infections if they develop, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Related: What is the Ebola Virus?

So why aren’t there more specific treatments for Ebola?

Part of the reason is that Ebola is caused by a virus, rather than bacteria, and researchers in general have had a harder time developing treatments for viral diseases, compared with bacterial diseases, said Derek Gatherer, a bioinformatics researcher at Lancaster University in the United Kingdom who studies virus genetics and evolution.

“Antiviral therapy has lagged behind antibacterial therapy for decades,” Gatherer said.

That’s because viruses are small molecules that produce only a handful of proteins, so there are fewer “targets” for treatment, Gatherer said. For this same reason, it has been hard to develop a vaccine against Ebola; a person’s immune system (which is primed by vaccines) has a small target, Gatherer said.

Ebola viruses also evolve quite quickly, so it’s not clear whether a vaccine developed today would protect against future outbreaks, he said. (Ebola viruses belong to a family of viruses called Filoviridae, and there are five known species of Ebola virus.)

And because the virus is so dangerous in some outbreaks, the mortality rate has been as high as 90 percent researchers must work with the virus in special facilities with high-level safety precautions, which limits the number of experiments that can be done.

“There’s only a handful of places in the world were you can actually do Ebola experimentation,” Gatherer said. Ebola viruses require a “biosafety level 4” laboratory the highest level of protection.

In addition, relatively few people have ever been infected with Ebola, and even fewer have survived, thus making it hard to study the virus in people or examine whether there are certain biological factors that help people survive, Gatherer said.

Ebola first appeared in 1976, in outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan. The origin of the virus is not known, but it is thought to reside in bats.

People become infected with Ebola through close contact with infected animals, and the virus spreads person-to-person through contact with bodily fluids, such as blood or secretions, according to WHO. Symptoms include fever, muscle pain and headache, followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash and, in some cases, internal and external bleeding, WHO says.

The Ebola virus attacks immune cells, and can cause the immune system to run out of control and release a “storm” of inflammatory molecules, which cause tiny blood vessels to burst, Gatherer said. This blood-vessel damage can cause blood pressure to drop, and lead to multiple-organ failure, Gatherer said.

Some potential Ebola treatments show promise in animal models, including compounds that interfere with the way the virus replicates. Other experimental treatments aim to prevent the virus from entering cells, by blocking the proteins on the surface of cells to which the virus binds.

Another therapy in the works involves injecting mice with parts of the virus and using their antibodies to treat infection. In a 2012 study, four monkeys with Ebola survived the infection when they were given a combination of these antibodies one day after infection.

What is the Ebola Virus?

Ebola virus disease

Key facts

  • Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans.
  • EVD outbreaks have a case fatality rate of up to 90%.
  • EVD outbreaks occur primarily in remote villages in Central and West Africa, near tropical rainforests.
  • The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission.
  • Fruit bats are considered to be the natural host of the Ebola virus.
  • Severely ill patients require intensive supportive care. No specific treatment or vaccine is available for use in people or animals.

Related: Why isn’t there a cure for Ebola?

Ebola first appeared in 1976 in 2 simultaneous outbreaks, in Nzara, Sudan, and in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo. The latter was in a village situated near the Ebola River, from which the disease takes its name.

Related: Ebola Pictures and Images

Ebola map picture


Ebola is introduced into the human population through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals.

fruit bat
The Fruit Bat

In Africa, infection has been documented through the handling of infected chimpanzees, gorillas, fruit bats, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines found ill or dead or in the rainforest.

Ebola then spreads in the community through human-to-human transmission, with infection resulting from direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people, and indirect contact with environments contaminated with such fluids.

Burial ceremonies in which mourners have direct contact with the body of the deceased person can also play a role in the transmission of Ebola. Men who have recovered from the disease can still transmit the virus through their semen for up to 7 weeks after recovery from illness.

Ebola health care workers
Ebola health care workers

Health-care workers have frequently been infected while treating patients with suspected or confirmed EVD. This has occurred through close contact with patients when infection control precautions are not strictly practiced.

Among workers in contact with monkeys or pigs infected with Reston ebolavirus, several infections have been documented in people who were clinically asymptomatic. Thus, RESTV appears less capable of causing disease in humans than other Ebola species.

Signs and symptoms

EVD is a severe acute viral illness often characterized by the sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding. Laboratory findings include low white blood cell and platelet counts and elevated liver enzymes.

Ebola Symptoms
Ebola Symptoms

People are infectious as long as their blood and secretions contain the virus. Ebola virus was isolated from semen 61 days after onset of illness in a man who was infected in a laboratory.

The incubation period, that is, the time from infection to onset of symptoms, is 2 to 21 days.

Ebola health
Ebola infection of the arm/hand


Other diseases that should be ruled out before a diagnosis of EVD can be made include: malaria, typhoid fever, shigellosis, cholera, leptospirosis, plague, rickettsiosis, relapsing fever, meningitis, hepatitis and other viral haemorrhagic fevers.

Ebola virus infections can be diagnosed definitively in a laboratory through several types of tests:

    • antibody-capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)
    • antigen detection tests
    • serum neutralization test
    • reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay
    • electron microscopy
    • virus isolation by cell culture.

Samples from patients are an extreme biohazard risk; testing should be conducted under maximum biological containment conditions.

Vaccine and treatment

No licensed vaccine for EVD is available. Several vaccines are being tested, but none are available for clinical use.

Severely ill patients require intensive supportive care. Patients are frequently dehydrated and require oral rehydration with solutions containing electrolytes or intravenous fluids.

No specific treatment is available. New drug therapies are being evaluated.

Natural host of Ebola virus

In Africa, fruit bats, particularly species of the genera Hypsignathus monstrosus, Epomops franqueti and Myonycteris torquata, are considered possible natural hosts for Ebola virus. As a result, the geographic distribution of Ebolaviruses may overlap with the range of the fruit bats.

Ebola virus in animals

Although non-human primates have been a source of infection for humans, they are not thought to be the reservoir but rather an accidental host like human beings. Since 1994, Ebola outbreaks from the EBOV and TAFV species have been observed in chimpanzees and gorillas.

RESTV has caused severe EVD outbreaks in macaque monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) farmed in Philippines and detected in monkeys imported into the USA in 1989, 1990 and 1996, and in monkeys imported to Italy from Philippines in 1992.

Since 2008, RESTV viruses have been detected during several outbreaks of a deadly disease in pigs in People’s Republic of China and Philippines. Asymptomatic infection in pigs has been reported and experimental inoculations have shown that RESTV cannot cause disease in pigs.

Prevention and control

Controlling Reston ebolavirus in domestic animals

No animal vaccine against RESTV is available. Routine cleaning and disinfection of pig or monkey farms (with sodium hypochlorite or other detergents) should be effective in inactivating the virus.

If an outbreak is suspected, the premises should be quarantined immediately. Culling of infected animals, with close supervision of burial or incineration of carcasses, may be necessary to reduce the risk of animal-to-human transmission. Restricting or banning the movement of animals from infected farms to other areas can reduce the spread of the disease.

As RESTV outbreaks in pigs and monkeys have preceded human infections, the establishment of an active animal health surveillance system to detect new cases is essential in providing early warning for veterinary and human public health authorities.

Reducing the risk of Ebola infection in people

In the absence of effective treatment and a human vaccine, raising awareness of the risk factors for Ebola infection and the protective measures individuals can take is the only way to reduce human infection and death.

In Africa, during EVD outbreaks, educational public health messages for risk reduction should focus on several factors:

  • Reducing the risk of wildlife-to-human transmission from contact with infected fruit bats or monkeys/apes and the consumption of their raw meat. Animals should be handled with gloves and other appropriate protective clothing. Animal products (blood and meat) should be thoroughly cooked before consumption.
  • Reducing the risk of human-to-human transmission in the community arising from direct or close contact with infected patients, particularly with their bodily fluids. Close physical contact with Ebola patients should be avoided. Gloves and appropriate personal protective equipment should be worn when taking care of ill patients at home. Regular hand washing is required after visiting patients in hospital, as well as after taking care of patients at home.
  • Communities affected by Ebola should inform the population about the nature of the disease and about outbreak containment measures, including burial of the dead. People who have died from Ebola should be promptly and safely buried.

Pig farms in Africa can play a role in the amplification of infection because of the presence of fruit bats on these farms. Appropriate biosecurity measures should be in place to limit transmission. For RESTV, educational public health messages should focus on reducing the risk of pig-to-human transmission as a result of unsafe animal husbandry and slaughtering practices, and unsafe consumption of fresh blood, raw milk or animal tissue. Gloves and other appropriate protective clothing should be worn when handling sick animals or their tissues and when slaughtering animals. In regions where RESTV has been reported in pigs, all animal products (blood, meat and milk) should be thoroughly cooked before eating.

Controlling infection in health-care settings

Human-to-human transmission of the Ebola virus is primarily associated with direct or indirect contact with blood and body fluids. Transmission to health-care workers has been reported when appropriate infection control measures have not been observed.

It is not always possible to identify patients with EBV early because initial symptoms may be non-specific. For this reason, it is important that health-care workers apply standard precautions consistently with all patients – regardless of their diagnosis – in all work practices at all times. These include basic hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene, the use of personal protective equipment (according to the risk of splashes or other contact with infected materials), safe injection practices and safe burial practices.

Health-care workers caring for patients with suspected or confirmed Ebola virus should apply, in addition to standard precautions, other infection control measures to avoid any exposure to the patient’s blood and body fluids and direct unprotected contact with the possibly contaminated environment. When in close contact (within 1 metre) of patients with EBV, health-care workers should wear face protection (a face shield or a medical mask and goggles), a clean, non-sterile long-sleeved gown, and gloves (sterile gloves for some procedures).

Laboratory workers are also at risk. Samples taken from suspected human and animal Ebola cases for diagnosis should be handled by trained staff and processed in suitably equipped laboratories.

Source: The World Health Organization

Five Happiest Cities in the US Are All in One State


Exactly where are the happiest places in America? The answer apparently has nothing to with Disney.

According to a working paper from researchers at Harvard University and the University of British Columbia, the five happiest cities in the U.S. all happen to be located in one state: Louisiana, which also ranks as the happiest state.

Specifically, the list-toppers are Lafayette, Houma, Shreveport-Bossier City, Baton Rouge and Alexandria.

Baton Rouge, LA
River view of Baton Rouge, LA

Rounding out the top 10 happiest cities are Rochester, Minnesota; Corpus Christi, Texas; Lake Charles, Louisiana; Nashville, Tennessee; and Fort Walton Beach, Florida.

The paper, co-authored by Harvard professor Edward Glaeser, UBC Vancouver School of Economics professor Joshua Gottlieb and Harvard doctoral student Oren Ziv, used data from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey titled the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

It was adjusted for age, sex, race, income and other factors, as women, for example, are happier than men, and married couples are happier than single or divorced respondents.

On the other end of the spectrum, the unhappiest cities had New York City topping the list, followed by St. Joseph, Missouri; South Bend, Indiana; Erie, Pennsylvania; Evansville, Indiana–Henderson, Kentucky; Toledo, Ohio; Detroit, Michigan; Jersey City, New Jersey; Gary, Indiana; and Scranton–Wilkes-Barre–Hazleton, Pennsylvania.

Nearly all of the unhappiest places in the nation lean heavily Democratic when it comes to voting, noted Caroline Schaeffer of the Independent Journal Review.

Among the goals of the study was to explain why many “unhappy” cities were still seeing population growth. After all, why would people move there if it were such an awful place?

“Self-reported unhappiness is high in [many] declining cities, and this tendency persists even when we control for income, race and other personal characteristics,” the authors write. “Why are the residents of some cities persistently less happy? Given that they are, why do people choose to live in unhappy places?”

The report concludes many of the unhappy cities have always been so according to limited data. Higher wages play a role in enticing people to move to unhappy places, as does lower housing costs. The authors write:

“Differences in happiness and subjective well-being across space weakly support the view that the desires for happiness and life satisfaction do not uniquely drive human ambitions. If we choose only that which maximized our happiness, then individuals would presumably move to happier places until the point where rising rents and congestion eliminated the joys of that locale.”

“An alternative view is that humans are quite understandably willing to sacrifice both happiness and life satisfaction if the price is right. … Indeed, the residents of unhappier metropolitan areas today do receive higher real wages – presumably as compensation for their misery.”

What is the Gadsden Flag and its history?

What is the Gadsden Flag and its history?

Reposted from

Gadsden Flag Don't Tread on Me history background
Gadsden Flag – “Don’t Tread on Me”

The origins of the Gadsden flag, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Marine Corps

In 1775, the snake symbol wasn’t just being printed in newspapers. It was appearing all over the colonies: on uniform buttons, on paper money, and of course, on banners and flags.

The snake symbol morphed quite a bit during its rapid, widespread adoption. It wasn’t cut up into pieces anymore. And it was usually shown as an American timber rattlesnake, not a generic serpent.

We don’t know for certain where, when, or by whom the familiar coiled rattlesnake was first used with the warning “Don’t Tread on Me.”

We do know when it first entered the history books.

In the fall of 1775, the British were occupying Boston and the young Continental Army was holed up in Cambridge, woefully short on arms and ammunition. At the Battle of Bunker Hill, Washington’s troops had been so low on gunpowder that they were ordered “not to fire until you see the whites of their eyes.”

In October, a merchant ship called The Black Prince returned to Philadelphia from a voyage to England. On board were private letters to the Second Continental Congress that informed them that the British government was sending two ships to America loaded with arms and gunpowder for the British troops.

Congress decided that General Washington needed those arms more than the British. A plan was hatched to capture the cargo ships. They authorized the creation of a Continental Navy, starting with four ships. The frigate that carried the information from England, the Black Prince, was one of the four. It was purchased, converted to a man-of-war, and renamed the Alfred.

To accompany the Navy on their first mission, Congress also authorized the mustering of five companies of Marines. The Alfred and its sailors and marines went on to achieve some of the most notable victories of the American Revolution. But that’s not the story we’re interested in here.

What’s particularly interesting for us is that some of the Marines that enlisted that month in Philadelphia were carrying drums painted yellow, emblazoned with a fierce rattlesnake, coiled and ready to strike, with thirteen rattles, and sporting the motto “Don’t Tread on Me.

An American “Guesser”

In December 1775, “An American Guesser” anonymously wrote to the Pennsylvania Journal:

“I observed on one of the drums belonging to the marines now raising, there was painted a Rattle-Snake, with this modest motto under it, ‘Don’t tread on me.’ As I know it is the custom to have some device on the arms of every country, I supposed this may have been intended for the arms of America.”

This anonymous writer, having “nothing to do with public affairs” and “in order to divert an idle hour,” speculated on why a snake might be chosen as a symbol for America.

First, it occurred to him that “the Rattle-Snake is found in no other quarter of the world besides America.”

The rattlesnake also has sharp eyes, and “may therefore be esteemed an emblem of vigilance.” Furthermore,

“She never begins an attack, nor, when once engaged, ever surrenders: She is therefore an emblem of magnanimity and true courage. … she never wounds ’till she has generously given notice, even to her enemy, and cautioned him against the danger of treading on her.”


“I confess I was wholly at a loss what to make of the rattles, ’till I went back and counted them and found them just thirteen, exactly the number of the Colonies united in America; and I recollected too that this was the only part of the Snake which increased in numbers. …

“‘Tis curious and amazing to observe how distinct and independent of each other the rattles of this animal are, and yet how firmly they are united together, so as never to be separated but by breaking them to pieces. One of those rattles singly, is incapable of producing sound, but the ringing of thirteen together, is sufficient to alarm the boldest man living.”

Franklin portrait
Benjamin Franklin, portrait by David Martin, 1767. White House Historical Association

Many scholars now agree that this “American Guesser” was Benjamin Franklin.

Franklin is also known for opposing the use of an eagle — “a bird of bad moral character” — as a national symbol.

The Gadsden Flag’s Namesake

Christopher Gadsden & Esek Hopkins

Although Benjamin Franklin helped create the American rattlesnake symbol, his name isn’t generally attached to the rattlesnake flag. The yellow “don’t tread on me” standard is usually called a Gadsden flag, for Colonel Christopher Gadsden, or less commonly, a Hopkins flag, for Commodore Esek Hopkins.

These two individuals were mulling about Philadelphia at the same time, making important contributions to American history and the history of the rattlesnake flag.

Christopher Gadsden was an American patriot if ever there was one. He led Sons of Liberty in South Carolina starting in 1765, and was later made a colonel in the Continental Army. In 1775 he was in Philadelphia representing his home state in the Continental Congress. He was also one of three members of the Marine Committee who decided to outfit and man the Alfred and its sister ships.

Esek Hopkins portrait with Dont Tread on Me flag in background
Commodore Hopkins, portrait by C. Corbutt, 1776.

Gadsden and Congress chose a Rhode Island man, Esek Hopkins, as the commander-in-chief of the Navy. The flag that Hopkins used as his personal standard on the Alfred is the one we would now recognize. It’s likely that John Paul Jones, as the first lieutenant on the Alfred, ran it up the gaff.

It’s generally accepted that Hopkins’ flag was presented to him by Christopher Gadsden, who felt it was especially important for the commodore to have a distinctive personal standard. Gadsden also presented a copy of this flag to his state legislature in Charleston. This is recorded in the South Carolina congressional journals:

“Col. Gadsden presented to the Congress an elegant standard, such as is to be used by the commander in chief of the American navy; being a yellow field, with a lively representation of a rattle-snake in the middle, in the attitude of going to strike, and these words underneath, “Don’t Tread on Me!”

What is the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)?

What is the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)?

The Environmental Protection Agency is a US Federal government agency established in 1970 to simply protect the environment.  It was designed to protect our air, water, and earth from contaminants that companies and people were putting into these areas.

A very noble cause.  We all want to breath and drink clean water and air.

cows grazing coal plantFor the most part they have done a great job of this.  However, like most government agencies, they have become a tool to carry out various government agendas.  Just like how the IRS became the “muscle” for the Democrats and Obama to oppress the Tea Party (the IRS Targeting Scandal), so too has the EPA become the “muscle” for the Democrats and liberals for various agendas.

The EPA is used to create and enforce regulations that would otherwise not be allowed by the American people.  Congress nor the people would allow certain activities to happen.  So, loosely written laws are enacted that gives the EPA broad powers making things “legal”.

jobs unemployment workBecause of their strict guidelines and huge fines, many companies have to go out of business because they cannot afford to implement the EPA’s necessary corrective actions.  The EPA will say that “the company decided” to go out of business rather than implement their corrective items.  This has a HUGE effect on jobs, the economy, gas prices, and other price increases that directly affect your wallet.  See EPA’s Impact On Job Losses.

Gun Control:
The EPA is being used to push gun control. What? Yes!  This year the EPA forced a plant in Missouri to shut down that produced the lead in bullets.  It was the last remaining plant in the US.  Now all lead comes from Russia, China, and other countries who don’t like us.  These countries can stop shipping to us at anytime or the US can limit or stop the import of these items at anytime. (see story)

Also the EPA is being used to shut down shooting ranges, both indoor and outdoor ranges.  They created environmental regulations regarding lead poisoning that forces these ranges to close because the can’t afford to meet the regulations.

Lead poisoning is very serious and does need requirements and monitoring but not to the level the EPA requires.  Just like the plant in Missouri that had very safe processes in place, so can ranges.

The EPA (and the Democrats) are strangling the gun market by not attacking with a frontal assault but by circling around behind the “enemy” lines and cutting off the supply which will eventually drive up prices making unaffordable for most people.

Oil and Gas:
This is one of the EPA’s primary targets.  They hate the O&G market.  This includes other “fossil fuels” like coal.  They have a mission to shut down every coal plant in the US that makes electricity.

gas pricesObama has an agenda, as seen in this video, to kill all coal plants. The EPA has to approve EVERY new oil drilling site which can take years and in some cases over 5 years!  Over 85% of our energy (gas for cars, electricity for homes) comes from fossil fuels most of which we have to buy from other countries.  But the US is sitting on the most coal and oil than any other place on earth!

Related: Unions Slam Obama Carbon Emissions Rule!

Wood burning stoveIn other EPA news, they are attempting to stop people from burning wood fireplaces even though the emissions from these sources is very minimal and often the only source of heat for some families. (see story).

They also attempt to go after and shut down businesses that do not meet their agenda.  Like the recent “lost” emails at the IRS, the EPA also “lost” emails related to a Congressional investigation over a mine in Alaska. (see story)

There is an agenda and its not affecting your air or water, its effective your wallets and your jobs.

What is GDP and why is it so important?

What is GDP and why is it so important?

by Investopedia Staff

GDP Gross Domestic Product

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is one the primary indicators used to gauge the health of a country’s economy. It represents the total dollar value of all goods and services produced over a specific time period – you can think of it as the size of the economy. Usually, GDP is expressed as a comparison to the previous quarter or year. For example, if the year-to-year GDP is up 3%, this is thought to mean that the economy has grown by 3% over the last year.

Measuring GDP is complicated (which is why we leave it to the economists), but at its most basic, the calculation can be done in one of two ways: either by adding up what everyone earned in a year (income approach), or by adding up what everyone spent (expenditure method). Logically, both measures should arrive at roughly the same total.

The income approach, which is sometimes referred to as GDP(I), is calculated by adding up total compensation to employees, gross profits for incorporated and non incorporated firms, and taxes less any subsidies. The expenditure method is the more common approach and is calculated by adding total consumption, investment, government spending and net exports.

European video on the basics of GDP explained:

As one can imagine, economic production and growth, what GDP represents, has a large impact on nearly everyone within that economy. For example, when the economy is healthy, you will typically see low unemployment and wage increases as businesses demand labor to meet the growing economy.

A significant change in GDP, whether up or down, usually has a significant effect on the stock market. It’s not hard to understand why: a bad economy usually means lower profits for companies, which in turn means lower stock prices. Investors really worry about negative GDP growth, which is one of the factors economists use to determine whether an economy is in a recession.

Simplified Fact-Based