Delta Airlines to crackdown on service animals

Delta Airlines has announced new draconian new rules concerning service animals. From CNN:

All passengers attempting to board with a service animal will have to show “proof,” 48 hours before flying, that the animal is in good health and has been vaccinated. Passengers with emotional support animals must sign a form that the animal is well behaved and won’t act aggressively. In addition they have to present a letter prepared and signed by a doctor or licensed mental health professional that certifies they need a comfort pet.

I don’t fly Delta, but usually, when one airline rolls out a new rule or fee, the others follow very quickly.

Personally, I don’t really care as long as I can continue to fly with my service pelican Randy. He’s a real godsend, especially on long flights or when there’s turbulence. Having him sit next to me really calms me down.


Ebola makes landfall in the United States

The first case of Ebola in the United States has been diagnosed in Dallas, Texas.

The patient is a man from the west African country of Liberia. He was on an airplane that left Liberia for the United States on September 19. He arrived in Texas on September 20 to visit family members. He began feeling sick on September 24 and went to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital on September 26 and he was released that same day. He returned to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital on On September 28 in an ambulance and that time, was admitted.

Nobody knows yet how many people he infected. Ebola is spread by bodily fluids such as blood, vomit or diarrhea, three things I already try to avoid. He, or more correctly, his bodily fluids, weren’t infectious on the airplane; he wasn’t yet sick. The risk of infection began on September 24, when he first started feeling sick.

There’s so much of this story that makes absolutely no sense to me. Why was someone from Liberia, ground zero for the current Ebola outbreak, allowed to board an airplane for the United States? This is how pandemics happen. Secondly, why was he turned away from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital the first time he went there? A man who just came here from the Ebola capital of the world rolls into the emergency room with Ebola-like symptoms and he is sent home? Did he see a doctor? Did they even test his blood? Was the man uninsured and did this contribute to the decision to send him home?

If anyone gets infected as a result of this man and his Ebola laden bodily fluids, I’m sure these questions, along with lots of others, will be asked.

5.8 Earthquake shakes the eastern United States

An earthquake (earthquake!) struck the east coast of the United States today. It registered 5.8 on the Richter scale. It was the largest earthquake to hit the east coast in 67 years.

Growing up in southern California, I’m no stranger to earthquakes. I’ve been in some really big ones. With that said, this was the most frightened I’ve ever been in an earthquake. The reason? Because I didn’t think it was an earthquake.

I thought a nuclear weapon had gone off in nearby Washington D.C.

Living only 75 miles from Washington D.C., I’ve often wondered what things would be like here in Hagerstown if and when a nuclear weapon was used in our nation’s capital. When the floor started shaking and I could see the ceiling ripple, the last thing I thought about was an earthquake. An earthquake in Maryland? That’s just silly.

A nuclear weapon going off seemed a lot more plausible, more likely, than an earthquake.

Needless to say, I was pretty relieved to learn it was just a plain old earthquake.