A local warlord banned vaccinations after Pakistani
doctor Shakil Afridi was linked to the CIA operation to find Osama bin
Laden. Under the guise of giving out a Hepatitis B vaccination, the
doctor collected DNA samples from children, looking for bin Laden’s
family members. A link was established between the CIA and vaccinations
and starting on June 16, 2012, tribal leaders banned the vaccination
campaign. The Taliban commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur said vaccinations
would be banned until the CIA stopped its drone campaign in North
Waziristan, according to UPI.
And the ban has been enforced. In the 14 months since it was lowered,
at least 22 people involved in vaccination efforts have been killed and
another 14 have been injured. As a result, an estimated 300,000
children in North and South Waziristan were forbidden from vaccinations,
and the UN was forced to suspend polio eradication efforts in Pakistan.
There have been 24 cases of polio in Pakistan so far this year, and
three cases of paralysis, but as the New York Timespointed out, “even one case shows that the virus is in the area and could spread.” [...]
The medical community is understandably pissed at the CIA for compromising them and making their difficult work even harder. … An opinion piece in Scientific American from May 2 outlined, in more detail and stronger language, why the CIA shouldn’t have used a sham-vaccination ruse. “Few mourn [bin Laden] the man responsible for the slaughter of many thousands of innocent people worldwide over the years,” the article said. “But the operation that led to his death may yet kill hundreds of thousands more.”
The NY Times has been down much of the day because of an attack by a group calling itself the Syrian Electronic Army.
"Media is going down..." warned the Syrian Electronic Army in a Twitter message before the websites stopped working, adding that it also had taken over Twitter and the Huffington Post U.K.
Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy said the disruption was caused by a "malicious external attack" that affected its website and email, while Twitter spokesman Jim Prosser said viewing of images and photos were sporadically affected. Huffington Post U.K. did not respond to requests for comment.
Both Twitter and the Times said they were resolving the attack, which actually hit an Australian company that registered their domain names, Melbourne IT. The firm did not respond to requests for comment. Tracking the hack even further, computer forensics from security firm Renesys Corp. traced the Internet protocol addresses back to the same ones as the Syrian Electronic Army's website sea.sy, which the firm said has been hosted out of Russia since June.
So we watched another brilliant episode of Breaking Bad. That video "confession" was an astounding demonstration of Walt's evil ingeniousness.
And Walt's manipulation of Jesse in the desert almost made me wonder if he might actually care just a little about Jesse. Between the confession, the scene with Jesse in the desert, and the ruthless manipulation of his own son, we're left to wonder if there are any lines whatsoever that Walt is unwilling to cross.
So why would Walt flatly reject killing Hank? I know he said that he couldn't kill Hank because Hank is family, but Walt seems like the kind of psychopath who would kill a family member if necessary to protect his own interests. I suppose that doesn't matter now that Walt neutralized Hank and Marie with his video confession.
Speaking of Hank, am I mistaken or are we seeing the moral fall of the last incorruptible character? Hank began by withholding his knowledge about Walt to protect his career and reputation. It was a temporary corruption with a morally good end in mind, but a moral corruption nonetheless. That corruption has cost him. Now he's poised to further yield the moral high ground because Walt's confession video has him over a barrel. Once again, we see the corrupting power of the situation. Even with the most ethical, steel-spined white-hat character, we see that there are situations that can break moral resolve.
A nod to Marie's corruption in lying to Hank about accepting the $170,000 for his treatment. It was a corruption with a morally good end, but that corruption is what has ultimately boxed Hank into a corner.
Those who might object to this portrayal of the corrupting situation might consider the case of John McCain. The man showed extraordinary moral courage in refusing release from his hellish captivity in North Vietnam, but he admitted that he broke, that everyone breaks under relentless torture. Everyone has a limit. If saints exist, they are needles in a massive haystack.
What about Walt and Skyler's relationship? Is Skyler showing signs of caring about Walt, or is she only going along with him to protect herself and the kids? I'm surprised that she isn't openly furious with Walt, or at least emotionally frosty with him. We haven't seen the bedroom, but they almost seem like a married couple again... a married couple living a nightmare of Walt's making, but a couple with an alliance that seems to be greater than simple pragmatism.
An aside: Anna Gunn's (Skyler) recent NY Times piece about the public hatred she's been subject to is shocking. The Times link isn't working, so here is some commentary on the subject. It's one thing to dislike the character, even if the reasons are morally warped. It's quite another to despise the actor playing the character. Sheesh.
Back to the most recent episode. One important aspect of the story that we couldn't quite follow was the trail and significance of the missing cigarette pack containing the hidden ricin capsule.
Poking around online, I saw that we're not the only ones who were left confused. If you're up to date and unclear on the ricin, this is the best explanation I could find. Still, after reading several discussions, I can't quite wrap my mind around the entirety of it.
Finally, here's a fascinating, recent Charlie Rose interview with Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn and Vince Gilligan. It's well worth watching if you're a fan. And here's Rose's recent solo interview of Gilligan. Charlie is clearly a binge-fan. If you've got time for only one, I'd recommend the group interview.
On Sunday we stopped at CVS so that I could purchase a pack of gum. I used the self checkout. As usual, the receipt began to print... and print... and print... until it was as long as my arm. This happens all the time. On occasion, I've considered taking a video of my purchase and the receipt printing to post here for a bit of amusement.
During my Sunday gum purchase, a CVS employee was standing and watching from a few feet away as the receipt grew to absurd length. I looked at him and said: that's a lot of receipt for a pack of gum. He offered a forced smile of acknowledgment. Anyway, I saw the following item in the paper today.
I know the receipts are long because they include coupons and special offers, but it always strikes me as excessive when I watch the receipt print and print and print, even for the most insignificant purchase.
By the way, the linked story indicates that the company will still offer the savings, but they'll do so by directly applying offers to the customer's CVS card. I was asked about 3 months ago if I wanted to opt-in for just such an arrangement. I signed up and received the offers on my card for about three weeks, and then the system spontanseously reverted to long receipts.
Lombard businessman Daniel Dvorkin had just been ordered to pay more
than $8 million to a creditor last year when prosecutors say he took a
lucrative but deadly proposition to a gun shop owner he knew.
Dvorkin wanted a Texas debt collector who won the legal judgment to
"stop breathing," Assistant U.S. Attorney Heather McShain said as
Dvorkin's trial on charges of solicitation of murder-for-hire and murder
conspiracy opened Monday in federal court.
The gun shop owner, Robert Bevis, told Dvorkin he "might know a hit
man in Florida" but instead went to police and began wearing a wire for
the FBI, prosecutors said. In recorded conversations that will be played
for jurors, Dvorkin coached Bevis on what to tell investigators if they
asked about their meetings. Eventually Dvorkin told Bevis he'd found
someone who would do the job cheaper and quicker and called off their
deal, prosecutors said.
When will people learn? If you don't know a hit man incidental to your career in organized crime, attempting to hire a hit man probably won't end well for you.
Hmmm... I just Googled Daniel Dvorkin and found this comment about him posted last year in Yelp:
Dead beat landlord. No or slow response to get anything fixed. The
owner, Dan Dvorkin, runs this business like he is some kind of mobster.
Rent from someone else!
I'm working up north today, so I'm on break and writing from a Starbucks located in one of the posh burbs. The place is packed with preadolescent and early adolescent children here on their own, buying those $5 frozen drinks. I wonder: do they receive allowances or do they have expense accounts with generous advances?
I favor set allowance over handing a kid a credit card or irregular replenishing of a debit card. I know that some parents will offer their arguments for the latter, but I think there is more value in setting up some firm parameters and letting the kid make financial choices within those parameters, instead of constant negotiation or giving in willy-nilly. A few chores aren't a bad idea either, though I suspect there aren't that many chores to be done with all the hired help many of these families have. Moreover, schedules may be so packed with formal activities, there may not be much time left for chores.