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The Acholi People

Acholi-Children-1024x768In the forests of Northern Uganda the Acholi people who live there were struck by an outbreak of disease which had no apparent explanation, so they assumed that it must be a gemo – or evil spirit borne disease – which had hit some members of their village. They were also certain who it was that had summoned the gemo, one of the brothers of  villager who had moved on to another area as he got promoted and wealthier, leaving his less fortunate kin behind. He had failed to share in his gain, and was not humble, thus unleashing the gemo. So certain was his family and his old village, that they sent a group of men to kill him in his new home, which would, of course, stop the disease.

They failed, but in the meantime another group of men had come under suspicion of having summoned the gemo and all four of those men were killed with machetes as they worked their fields.

Later, as too many people and apes fell sick, the villagers realized that that it could not be magic or evil spirits. In the words of one of them, “Sorcery does not effect animals.” They realized that his was something else, requiring long ago learned methods and efforts.

Isn’t it odd that today, instead of attacking the disease, instead of directing our efforts to solutions and proper care for the sick, we too look for the gemo that is causing all of this? The politicization of the Ebola crises is eerily similar to the way the villagers tried to blame other people for summoning spirits, just a 21st Century twist since nobody here will accept the idea that ethereal sprite summoned by the fortune of others is the cause of all this brouhaha (or will they?).

The Acholi many years ago figured out that when the occasional outbreak of the strange illness sweeps through their lands, they have to take actions. Even though the gemo might be the cause, their reactions can help to solve the outbreak. They immediately quarantine the victims into their own huts, they only allow people who have survived the disease to treat them. They stop eating meat and they stop having sex. Lastly, the suspend one of their most beautiful and touching customs – they stop the “love touch” at funerals. This is a moment when each mourner says a personal goodbye and kisses the deceased. They’ve been doing this for decades, and they are still round after a number of outbreaks. We could still learn a thing or two, even from people who think that the Ebola outbreak is caused by evil spirits.

Source material – EBOLA: The Natural and Human History by David Quammen (2014)

I am aware that the Torah has prohibitions against this sort of thing, but I guess that the Koran does not?

The State Government continues to tell us that “things are getting better,” but yesterday came the announcement that 200 JOBS WILL BE LOST IN SALIDA as American Medical Response outsources billing jobs to Maryland.

Giants and Royals for the World Series. Finally a World Series that will be worth watching…

Don’t forget that 1pm today is the deadline for the Kim Jong FUn Caption this photo contest. The most likes – if approved by Kim Jong Dave – wins the delicious basket o’ Fiscalini cheese from our dear sponsor, Fiscalini Cheese.


If Not Now, When?

If not now, when? – Hillel

I was doing my Torah study last night when I came across this famous gem from one of the greatest Rabbi’s of all history. He was in the process of addressing the idea that all moments are critical, and what G-d has tasked for a specific moment in time simply cannot be put off until later. For if we do what was meant for yesterday today, when will today get done?

Because of who and what I am, I immediately drew the parallel between the recent political excuses and the Rabbinic Master. “Trust us,” say the GOPers, “When we win the Senate in 2014 we’ll fix this.” In the meanwhile, the moment that was clearly given to them to stop it, passed without action. If now now, when?

The simple truth of the Torah lesson was that every moment has its purpose. It could be as simple as eating or sleeping or chatting with a friend. And it could be the moment when I can change the world. But if I fail to fulfill the moment, there may never be another chance.

I was reminded of how important what I and others do yesterday when my good friend Doug Johnson wrote in his blog about the opportunity we have to change the hearts and minds of people each and every day. It is an honor and privilege, but even more it’s a responsibility, given by G-d, to take the time each and every time I stand behind that microphone to understand the importance and meaning of what I been called to do.

What will we do together today to change the world?

Here come the scare tactics. The threat of Stocktonization grows almost daily as the desperate statists scramble to grab more and more of your money. Der Mayor says that Measure X requires Citizens to “trust the Council” and if they aren’t happy, just vote them out. In the meanwhile, the threat hangs in the air, give them money… or else…

Some of you are joking about the Obamacare (he loves that name) fiasco and the Democrats blaming it all on GOP and Bush. I’m telling you, it no joke. They ARE blaming the Republicans for the Obamacare (he loves that name) rollout fiasco.

Meanwhile Kaiser-Permenente is killing the policies of 160,000 Californians who were promised that if they liked the plan they could keep it. Why? The policies being cancelled don’t meet the minimum requirements of Obamacare (he loves that name). The new policies will provide the required (better?) coverage, at a significant cost to the taxpayers who will have to subsidize the new policies.

The Presidents choice to head the Federal Reserve might be another Nixonian error. she is seen as soft on inflation, seemingly willing to accept a 2% rate of inflation. The Banks are now sitting on $2.2 TRILLION in “excess reserves” with no economic activity to soak that up. We’re are so about to go under…

The High Speed Rail Project is now “pausing” (you know, because construction is right on schedule, according to the CEO) to look for historical artifacts that might be in the way of the Choo-Choo Train.

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