Human to human transmission of swine flu causes alarm via Reuters:
A strain of flu never seen before has killed as many as 61 people in Mexico and has spread into the United States, where eight people have been infected but recovered, health officials said on Friday.
Mexico’s government said at least 16 people have died of the disease in central Mexico and that it may also have been responsible for 45 other deaths.
The World Health Organization said tests showed the virus in 12 of the Mexican patients had the same genetic structure as a new strain of swine flu, designated H1N1, seen in eight people in California and Texas.
Because there is clearly human-to-human spread of the new virus, raising fears of a major outbreak, Mexico’s government canceled classes for millions of children in its sprawling capital city and surrounding areas.
“Our concern has grown as of yesterday,” U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acting director Dr. Richard Besser told reporters in a telephone briefing.
You know how you read this stuff and then wonder if it’s happened to you? A month ago, the flu struck my family and it was bad. It was a weird, clingy virus with a cyclical fever for five days, body-wracking cough and a fatigue that rivaled mono. And it has persisted. The kids still get a rumbling cough when they don’t get enough sleep.
This flu is a huge concern. I’m wondering if it’s more of a problem than even the CDC knows.
Iowahawk’s got a list of many. Here are two of my favorites:
8. Go On a Random Killing Spree. The scientific debate is over: our current environmental mess is caused by an oversupply of human beings, and it’s high time we address these two-legged eco problems head on. Next time you’re on your way to a location shoot, do a little location shooting of your own – Biggie/Tupac style. Have the driver lower the tinted windows and pop a few caps on behalf of Mother Earth. Not only will you be doing the environment a good turn, it will earn you valuable youth market “street cred.”
9. Destroy The Entertainment Industry. Science shows that no single sector of the economy exemplifies America’s obscene energy waste more than show business. Witness the untold megatons of carbon released into the atmosphere every year by the production and consumption of entertainment, with no objective benefit to society. It all adds up to one gigantic, mindless, Earth-raping waste of time, and will take the commitment of progressive industry leaders like you to stop it. Before greenlighting any new project, make sure it contains at least 85% organic recycled preachy self-indulgence. By ridding your products of their dangerous popular appeal, you can keep the public where they belong — at home, with the TV off, playing eco-friendly board games like ‘Scrabble’ and ‘Mystery Date.’
There’s more environmental-friendly goodness at Iowahawk.
Cross-posted at Right Wing News
One of these days, the prophets of doom and gloom will be right, but they’ll be dead right, so who cares? That’s why I have a “We’re All Gonna Die” category. Between Y2K, the economic meltdown ushering in the Next Great Depression (Dems and the Press hope, hope! HOPE!!!), and Global Warming, the world is going to end as we know it. The only problem: we feel fine.
The danger of screeching ala Chicken Little is that no one will pay attention when the poop really does hit the wind farm. Now, about that cooling phase:
Since just January 2007, the world has cooled so much that ALL the global warming over the past three decades has disappeared! This is confirmed by a plot of actual global average temperatures from the best available source, weather satellite data that shows there has been NO net global warming since the satellites were first launched in 1979.
Since there was global cooling from ~1940 to ~1979, this means there has been no net warming since ~1940, in spite of an ~800% increase in human emissions of carbon dioxide. This indicates that the recent warming trend was natural, and CO2 is an insignificant driver of global warming.
And it would be so awesome if the world ended–for the Moonbats, anyway.
If you oppose the bailout, does this, from Megan McArdle, change your opinion? Have you considered what it might mean for making payroll, if your money market is no longer accessible?
No doubt some of my readers are rubbing their hands and saying “Exactly what should happen to people who carry credit card balances!” And I’m sure that among you there are people who pay cash on the barrel for everything, having never taken out any loan for a house, an automobile, an education, a personal financial crisis. These people never even use an American Express Card, which is, of course, a short-term loan. They also do not work for companies that borrow money to buy capital equipment or finance expansion, and their firms do not experience any mismatch between their payables and their receivables. Those people should stop reading now, because I’m pretty sure the Amish aren’t supposed to use the internet.
The rest of us live in a world that is created and run by institutions that amass capital from millions of people and concentrate it in areas where it (usually) makes people better off. I’m particularly confused by conservatives who claim to hate fractional reserve banking, duration mismatches in the financial system, and easy credit/bankruptcy. If you think more deeply about it, there are three reasons why this opposition is silly:
Go read the whole thing. Some form of “fix” is inevitable. Conservatives need to be thinking about rational solutions. Doing nothing might not be a rational solution.
Cross-posted at Right Wing News
Businesses, and I’m assuming the military too, assesses actions and decisions post-consequences to correct any errors. Last night, while I couldn’t sleep (damn caffeine–I had rehooked myself through the long road trips and travel–if it seems like I’m grumpy for the next couple of days, that’s why) my thoughts turned to our experience and what I plan to do differently next time we endure some sort of crisis (could be weather, pay attention to Kyle, could be terrorism, you just never know). I also assessed what worked.
First the gaps:
A back-up generator is not a luxury. When figuring a cost-benefit analysis, the food lost alone (we had a side of beef in a deep freezer), a generator pays for itself after one power outage. So, we need to get a generator. In addition, relief organizations won’t get into the area with ice for at least three days, maybe four. By that time, food is wasted.
We didn’t have enough batteries. I waited until too late to check on how many I had. By the time I figured out we needed more, they were sold out at the store.
Guns and gun training are a must. The police simply cannot be everywhere, but criminals are remarkably effective at being where the cops are not. So, we need to get both.
Don’t let someone borrow tools without supervision. Our chainsaw got damaged. A chainsaw is a precious commodity post-storm.
I ran out of bleach. Again, it was something I thought of too late. Bleach cleans. It kills germs. It’s necessary in large quantities for many reasons.
We needed a good light besides a flashlight for at night. Since we’re not campers, we don’t have a camp light, but we need one.
What we did right:
Plenty of food. We could have gone for a week, probably two with our dry-goods.
Plenty of water. We were okay with that too.
Gas stove. This was unintentional smartness. We do have a gas grill out back fueled by propane and we had extra tanks for back-up, but we used the stove. Here’s the thing though: there’s no ventilation so be careful cooking burgers. Your house will smell for quite some time. Ditto, bacon.
Hand-crank radio. I bought one from Amazon. In fact, after Hurricane Rita, I used Amazon for everything–saw, water purification tablets, bowie knife, etc.
Full tanks of gas. This is a no-brainer but I was surprised how many people were desperate for gas right after everything hit. Lack of preparation has consequences. We needed the gas because we decided to leave The Woodlands. We were at least 100 miles or so out of the area before there were working gas stations. An empty tank would have left us stuck. Also, I was using the car to charge my cell phone every night. The car is an excellent generator. I’m thinking about electric cars too. Wouldn’t get too far with one of them, would you? Trucks are mighty nice in this situation. Our Suburban could be filled to the gills with kids, dogs and stuff and had a nice big (albeit guzzling) gas tank.
Landline, AT&T and Sprint telephone carriers. At one time or another at least one was working–mostly. That was a relief. Its one thing to be without internet (and at my level of addiction that’s painful), it’s another to be without a way to communicate period.
As I think of more, I’ll update.
I’d also like to take a moment to thank the thousands of electrical, tree-cutting, and every other sort of service worker who came to Houston as soon as possible (the tree guy is from Maryland) to help. You cannot imagine the relief and excitement to see caravans of energy trucks pouring into the city.
Reader Rorschach adds this in the comment section and I’m adding it in its entirety because it’s valuable. Also, I want to add this before I quote him. My iPhone was invaluable. I had email, text, internet access, WordPress mobile so I could blog, etc. In short, I could stay connected through this one small device. It earned it’s steep price, I assure you.
To the advice:
An addendum if you don’t mind. Not only are chain saws a necessity, but a chain saw that WORKS is a necessity. There are a number of cheap Poulan made ones (craftsman ones are Poulan ones.) that are absolute junk and will run for about an hour or two and then you’ll have to fight with them to get them started and keep them running. Repairing them costs more than a new saw. do yourself a favor and get a good commercial grade Stihl or Echo one. Make sure you store it properly and drain the fuel out of it, or you’ll be sorry.
Generators are a necessity as well. but gasoline powered ones have one major drawback: gasoline. You can’t buy it for the first 3-4 days after a storm. and you are constantly having to go out and refill the tank. You have Natural Gas. go and get yourself a NG fired permenantly installed backup genset. Northern Tool sells several in the 11KW and up range for under 3 grand delivered. The additional advantage is that NG fired engines don’t put out much CO so you should not have an issue of carbon monoxide poisoning.
LED lanterns are great and last a really long time on a charge, but the problem is that the color put out by them is in a range that the human eye is not terribly sensitive to. It is too blue. Fluorescent lanterns are less efficient, but you’ll at least be able to read by them. Don’t get a propane or camp fuel one, they give of CO. You can’t use them inside, and you can’t use them to light the generator while you are filling it with gas either.
Guns: Get yourself a 12 Gauge shotgun with an 18 inch barrel and load it with 00 buckshot. Best home defense weapon ever conceived, bar none. It will not over-penetrate walls and endanger your neighbors. Is somewhat immune to aiming error. (you still need to aim, but with a shot pattern 3″ across, you’re more likely to hit something than a pattern that is 1/3 of an inch across.) They are impossible to conceal, but for home defense, concealment is not really an issue. Here is a blog with a lot of good info on that score:
Handguns are ideal for protection when you are mobile, but they should be thought of as a bridge to get you to a long gun of some sort, not as a end-all be-all defense weapon.
The concept of being self sufficient for 72 hours is bogus. I don’t know where that number came from but they didn’t even bother wiping the fecal matter off of it when they pulled it out of their butt. 72 hours is at BEST a minimum number, it should really be a week to 10 days.
Many people give up land lines in favor of cell phones. I have friends who have done just that. They’re in their twenties, though. And even though they’ve settled down with a house and a kid, they still have no land line. Well. I haven’t spoken with them about their decision since the hurricane, but Ike confirmed one thing for me: it’s good to have a land line.
Cell towers, I found out, lose power too. When that happens communications come to a screeching halt. For a couple days, the only communication came via a land line. To me, it’s just a good security back-up and important in emergencies.
Our next door neighbors got stuck because they only have digital cord-less phones. Guess what happened when the power was gone? My husband laughs at me, but I keep two boring old phones around that require no batteries for just this purpose–one for upstairs and one for downstairs. And every time we’ve lost power, we’ve used them. In this case, we could let our neighbors borrow a phone.
Conclusion: Yes to land lines. Yes to old phones. It’s just good back up.
It is difficult to comprehend the devastation. Even seeing the aftermath, it is so overwhelming to take it all in. Boston.com has some pictures that might help you at least get a feel for it. Amazing, really.
Just wanted to let readers know that power is returning to parts of The Woodlands and should be up most places there by Friday. Landlines for phone and DSL are still out and cellular service is still spotty. No reports of injuries or deaths, though. Please share your information here.
Other posts about Ike here:
Hurricane Ike, Woodlands, Texas Frustration Edition
Also note, I’m blogging about other stuff too.
People around the Houston area suffer worse. More here:
Residents again waited in line for hours Tuesday at the nearly two dozen supply distribution centers set up in Houston to hand out food, water and ice. Mayor Bill White complained the Federal Emergency Management Agency wasn’t bringing in the supplies fast enough, and Harris County Judge Ed Emmett had personally taken over coordination of efforts to hand out relief supplies.
A note about FEMA and relief supplies to the area. The government is not known for responsiveness, are they? Think DMV. So, relying on them for help seems misguided. That doesn’t excuse FEMA, though. The problem is the “assessment” stage. That takes a couple days. Well by Day 3 post storm, ice is a necessity to save the food a person does have.
I’m not going to say “I told you so”, but man. The problem isn’t often the storm. It’s the lack of power, water and communication after the storm. I could not understand why more people weren’t evacuated–especially those fragile and needing physical help. With families spread out, people are often alone and without support. Also, I know the elderly don’t like to leave home, but if family is offering help, it is wise to take up the offer and go.
I’ve been out of sorts being out of town and out of my schedule. Just noticed that Glenn Reynolds linked again. Thanks! He asks:
Why do hurricanes that hit Texas get so much less attention than hurricanes that hit New Orleans?
UPDATE: Another reader emails: ‘If you want to discuss lack of coverage, wasn’t the hurricane that hit New Orleans the same hurricane that nearly wiped the Mississippi gulf coast off the map?” Yes. Why did New Orleans get so much more attention? Is it because the media wanted to paint the Bush Administration as racially insensitive, or is New Orleans just the only place they could find on a map?
Well, there’s definitely that. New Orleans is an old liberal city. The left loves it because it’s the “most European” city in America. It has history and culture. It has jazz and gumbo. It also has crime and poverty and corruption. It has haves and have-nots. In short, it’s the perfect Leftist city.
In contrast, while Houston has millions more people. It has the oil business and nasty refineries. (It also has more shows than Broadway, but don’t tell liberals.) Basically, Houston just isn’t sexy. But it has jobs and a thriving economy. I guess that’s boring–a basically functional, working city.