“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Swine flu.

(CNN) -- Mexican officials are asking citizens to avoid large crowds, refrain from kissing as a greeting and maintain a distance of at least 1.8 meters (six feet) from each other amid growing concern in the country and elsewhere over new cases of suspected and confirmed swine flu infection.

Several countries issued travel notices and tightened restrictions to brace against the virus the World Health Organization is calling "a public health emergency of international concern."

By Sunday, 81 deaths had been deemed "likely linked" to a deadly new strain of the virus by health authorities in Mexico. Viral testing has confirmed 20 cases, said Dr. Jose A. Cordova Villalobos, Mexico's health secretary. In the United States, the number of confirmed swine flu cases stood at 11.

In New Zealand, officials said 22 students and three teachers, who returned from a three-week-long language trip to Mexico, may have been infected with the virus.

The 25 students and teachers at Auckland's Rangitoto College returned to New Zealand via Los Angeles on Saturday.

Fourteen have shown flu-like symptoms, with four "more unwell than others," said Dr. Julia Peters, clinical director of Auckland Regional Public Health Service.

Health Minister Tony Ryall said 10 students tested positive for influenza A. The specimens will be sent to WHO to determine whether it is H1N1 swine influenza. H1N1 influenza is a subset of influenza A.

The WHO results are expected back by midweek. The group remains quarantined at home.

"It's certainly has not been confirmed that they have swine flu," said Dr. Craig Thoinley, medical officer of health in influenza. "We already have provisional information that some of the group have influenza A. We won't know if they have the type of influenza A that is swine flu."

In England, authorities stressed that a crew member who developed flu-like symptoms during a flight from Mexico City to Heathrow did not test positive for swine flu.

"I can confirm that the patient doesn't have swine flu," said Jonathan Street, a spokesman for Northwick Park Hospital in London.

"We have done all test, and they all came back negative."

In Israel, doctors are running tests on a man who recently returned from Mexico with light flu symptoms.

U.S. health officials said Friday that some cases of the virus in the United States matched samples of the deadly Mexican virus. All the patients have recovered or are expected to.

The panic over the virus prompted Canada to issue a travel health notice, saying the public health agency was "tracking clusters of severe respiratory illness with deaths in Mexico." Watch CBC report on Canadian microbiologists' concerns »

South Korea said it will test airline passengers arriving from the United States. And Japan will convene a Cabinet meeting Monday to come up with measures to block the entry of the virus into the country.

The United States had not issued any travel warnings or quarantines.

But US Airways said Saturday night it would allow passengers to change plans if they wanted to because of the outbreak.

Airline spokeswoman Michelle Mohr said it was not asking people not to travel to Mexico, but wanted to "give them that flexibility" if "they don't feel comfortable."

Gregory Hartl, of the World Health Organization, said the strain of the virus seen in Mexico is worrisome because it has mutated from older strains. Watch how public health officials grade phases of pandemic alerts »

"Any time that there is a virus which changes ... it means perhaps the immunities the human body has built up to dealing with influenza might not be adjusted well enough to dealing with this new virus," Hartl said.

He said that, in Mexico, otherwise young, healthy people have been hit by the virus -- "one of the pieces of the puzzle that is worrying us," he said.

More than 1,300 people with flu-like symptoms have been admitted to hospitals in Mexico, and officials are trying to determine how many of them have swine flu, said Jose Cordova Villalobos, the country's health minister.

The H1N1 strain of swine flu is usually associated with pigs. When the flu spreads person-to-person, instead of from animals to humans, it can continue to mutate, making it a tougher strain that is harder to treat or fight off.

Symptoms of swine flu include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite, coughing, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, the CDC said. Learn more about swine flu and how to treat it »

President Barack Obama, who visited Mexico last week en route to the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago, is not sick.

"The president's trip to Mexico has not put his health in any danger," spokesman Robert Gibbs said.


  1. WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Health minister says 10 students in New Zealand 'likely' have swine flu.

  2. AP
    Students at a New York City high school could learn as early as Sunday if the flu that sickened them was the same strain of the human swine influenza that has killed people in Mexico.

  3. This certainly is not a "good thng".

    Especially as we cannot isolate Mexico, from US. We gave up on that option, long ago.

    Wonder how it'll effect pork sales?

  4. Eleven cases of swine flu were confirmed in California, Texas and Kansas, with more suspected in New York City.

  5. ...the new flu strain, a combination of pig, bird and human viruses that humans may have no natural immunity to.The whirled is always watching for the next plague of Biblical proportions.

  6. The checkout girl @ Safeway was shocked and saddened when I declined our customary kiss. was the young Filipino Stock Clerk @ Longs.
    He looked almost devastated.

  7. Don't live in fear, doug, or the pigs win.

  8. AP
    Sources are reporting an upswing in anti-swine messages coming out of mosques this weekend.

    Swine spokesmen are urging the whirled not to overreact.

    Coming soon - raw video of entire swine neighborhoods celebrating news of possible pandemic.

  9. Correctomundo:
    No Kissy
    Means the Pigs have won.

  10. Swine Abuse already runs rampant across the land.
    Swine Flu,
    and Redneck Fever.

  11. Rednecks join forces with Towelheads to racially cleanse Swine from the land.

  12. This poor fellow is so far behind the curve, it is comical.
    Fools, knaves and idiots

    Lawmaker wants border closed over swine flu
    By Molly K. Hooper
    Posted: 04/25/09 11:28 PM [ET]
    The "swine flu" that has infected more than 1,000 people in Mexico has led a lawmaker on the House Homeland Security Committee to call on U.S. officials to close the southern border.

    Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.) said the border should be closed until the threat is resolved.

    "The public needs to be aware of the serious threat of swine flu, and we need to close our borders to Mexico immediately and completely until this is resolved," Massa said in a statement.

    "I am making this announcement because I see this as a serious threat to the health of the American public and I do not believe this issue is receiving the attention it needs to have in the news," Massa said

    He's letting fear of the pigs overcome rational reality. We cannot close that border fast enough, not to contain the virus.

    Pandora's box is already opened.

    Years late and millions short, that idiot with a New York state of mind.

  13. Which is worse:
    A Swine spokesman,
    or a Congressional Communications Agent?

  14. A New York Democrat for closing the border warms the cockles of my heart.

    ...I'd give an update on what it does for my Cock, but this is a family friendly site,
    according to the American Association of Public Library Administrators.

  15. According to an Earth Day survey, one-third of schoolchildren between the ages of 6 and 11 think the Earth will have been destroyed by the time they grow up. That's great news, isn't it? Not for the Earth, I mean, but for "environmental awareness." Congratulations to Al Gore, the Sierra Club and the eco-propagandists of the public education system in doing such a terrific job of traumatizing America's moppets. Traditionally, most of the folks you see wandering the streets proclaiming the end of the world is nigh tend to be getting up there in years. It's quite something to have persuaded millions of first-graders that their best days are behind them.

    Call me crazy, but I'll bet that in 15-20 years the planet will still be here, along with most of the "environment" – your flora and fauna, your polar bears and three-toed tree sloths and whatnot. But geopolitically we're in for a hell of a ride, and the world we end up with is unlikely to be as congenial as most Americans have gotten used to.

    For example, Hillary Clinton said the other day that Pakistan posed a "mortal threat" to … Afghanistan? India? No, to the entire world! To listen to her, you'd think Pakistan was as scary as l'il Jimmy in the second grade's mom's SUV. She has a point: Asif Ali Zardari, the guy who's nominally running the country, isn't running anything. He's ceding more and more turf to the local branch office of the Taliban.
    Mark Steyn

  16. A WaPo Editorial

    Yet it is clear from a recently released and well-documented report by the Senate Armed Services Committee that such abuses were not committed by rogue service members or CIA agents who took matters into their own hands. The extreme interrogation methods were, according to the report, sought out and authorized by administration officials at the highest levels, including then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. The report also documents episode after episode in which military and civilian personnel raised red flags about the legality and efficacy of applying techniques to terrorism suspects that were meant only to help train U.S. service members to withstand such horrors if captured by thugs. The use of such techniques against detainees, they argued, would more than likely produce false confessions and toughen up detainees to resist cooperating in the future.

    Such warnings were routinely ignored, yet it is gratifying to know that men and women from the various branches of the armed services stuck their necks out in defense of the rule of law and common decency. The FBI should also be commended for refusing to participate in these dishonorable acts.

    Some of those singled out by the Armed Services Committee report include:

    -- Maj. Carrie Ricci and Maj. Nathan Hoepner of the Army. Maj. Ricci, a lawyer, told superiors that the harsh interrogation techniques were barred by the Geneva Conventions; Maj. Hoepner wrote in an e-mail objecting to an officer's support of enhanced interrogations: "We need to take a deep breath and remember who we are . . . . We are American soldiers, heirs of a long tradition of staying on the high ground. We need to stay there."

    -- Navy Capt. Daniel Donovan, a military lawyer, who, in an e-mail to superior officers, objected to the use of harsh techniques for prisoners in Iraq: "[Some interrogators] will swear that the 'water board' does not actually physically harm subjects if it is administered by properly trained . . . instructors, under close supervision, etc. . . . I fail to see how anyone can reasonably say that employing such techniques against those in our custody is worthy of the United States, no matter how much we may need the information."

    -- Air Force Col. Steven Kleinman, who intervened to stop an interrogation in which a detainee was subjected to prolonged kneeling and was slapped after answering every question.

    -- Marine Lt. Col. Stuart Couch, a military prosecutor who refused to participate in cases after learning about detainee abuse.

    Time and time again, civilians and political leaders pressed service members to use tougher, harsher and in some instances almost certainly illegal methods. Time and time again, the men and women in uniform -- those who put their lives on the line for this country -- were the ones who pushed back. It's a shame that so many of the civilians in the Bush administration failed to heed their advice.

  17. The fact that the Germans cannot effectivly respond to Somali pirates, a sure sign of the US foreign policy success. We've achieved the Goal of the past 60 years.

    Germany cannot project military power.

    Stop the whining, we got what we wanted. We are seeing success in motion.
    Learn it, live it, love it.

  18. We elected Obama, and got the flu.

    Gotta be a connection in there somewhere.

    Agency memo, DOD photo release a feint.

    THIS is the real deal.

    What's more, it's Mexican in origin AND it's type A. High-functioning, hard-driven Latin Am. virus...What're the odds of that developing on its own?

    Don't be complacent! Spanish flu killed up to 600K in the US, mostly Republicans. The country is still dotted with flu cemeteries.

    And who was President then? Woodrow Wilson, paragon of the Progressive movement that swept the nation like a VIRUS. From *which* we are yet to recover.

    Created the Fed and promoted the integration of immigrants into the Democratic Party. Need. I. Say. More?

    I didn't think so.

  19. Yes, that was excellent, Trish.

    That 1918 pandemic was a bugger. The only good thing to come out of it that I have found was--

    The title story "Pale Horse, Pale Rider" is about the relationship between a newspaper woman, Miranda, and a soldier, Adam, during the influenza epidemic of 1918. In the course of the narrative, Miranda becomes sick and delirious, but recovers, only to find that Adam has died of the disease, which he likely caught while tending to her. The story is set in Denver, Colorado. Porter herself lived for a time in Denver, where she wrote reviews for the Rocky Mountain News and was stricken with the influenza. The historian Alfred Crosby considered Pale Horse, Pale Rider to be such an exceptional depiction of the suffering caused by the influenza that he dedicated his book about the 1918 epidemic to Porter.--

    Long live hysterical New York democratic Congressmen.

    Suggest this book/story for the book club, Trish. Though I've heard the club is defunct.

  20. Change the Leader-board.

    "Don't live in fear, doug, or the pigs win."

  21. Best line of the week, from John Cole:

    "It is just beautiful weather here today. I have no idea what I am going to do, but I think it will involve sitting on a deck somewhere. I might have to go galt on a margarita. Does that even make sense?"

    I'm gonna go Galt on some rum and fresh OJ, myself.

    I hope everyone enjoys a lovely Sunday afternoon.

  22. NEW YORK – New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg says that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed that students at a city high school were infected with swine flu.

  23. We can nuke Spain, now that the technology is available.

    If they killed 600,000 of US, in 1918, then payback delayed is better than payback denied.

    Revenge is sweetest when served cold. Well worth waiting 100 years if we can further justify toasting 'em, now that their proxies in Mexico have launched another bio-tech offensive.

    They all speak the same foreign language, you know.

    Go grab a couple of Mexicans off the corner, and waterboard 'em until they confess to the connection.

  24. WASHINGTON, April 26 (Reuters) - The United States is not testing airplane travelers from Mexico for the swine flu virus that has heightened fears of a possible pandemic, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said on Sunday.

    "Right now we don't think the facts warrant more active testing or screening of passengers coming in from Mexico," she said at a White House briefing.
    When the pandemic is well ensconced here and voters start linking their dead relatives to the policies of this Administration's Homeland "Security" then facts will warrant more active testing.

  25. It's your ass, America. I don't think even the illegal aliens who are already here are magically immune to swine flu. But no, don't wanna do any profiling, that's racist.

  26. Back to the Germans:
    The Associated Press

    APPENZELL, Switzerland — Voters in the heart of the Swiss Alps have banned naked hiking after dozens of mostly German nudists started rambling through their picturesque region.

  27. We vote for socialism here, they vote to cover up Heidi Klum there. Its a world of masochists we live in.

  28. Killing innocent civilians is worse than torture. It looks like war crimes to me from the Obama Administration. Barack is golfing but still where was Biden when this was happening?

    "Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Sunday that a US raid in which a policeman and a woman were shot dead was a "breach" of a landmark security pact signed with Washington in November."

  29. First we have teen age sailors shot dead, not even taken to Guantanamo, shot in the head for stealing a life raft, now this. This is worse than Bush-Cheney.

  30. a breach of international treaty unilaterally, without as much as a phone call or memo.

  31. I guess because it is Sunday.

    Sunday bloody Sunday now that I think about it.

  32. Anger at deadly U.S. military raid in southern Iraq

    Sunday, April 26, 2009; 10:08 AM

    BASRA, Iraq (Reuters) - Hundreds of Iraqis protested against U.S. forces on Sunday after U.S. soldiers killed a man and a woman in an overnight raid that was condemned by the provincial governor.

    The U.S. military said it targeted "special groups" fighters, or elite Shi'ite militiamen the United States says are funded and armed by Iran, in a raid on their house early Sunday in the city of Kut, 150 km (95 miles) southeast of Baghdad.

    In a statement, the military said U.S. troops had shot and killed a man suspected of being behind supplying weapons to the Shi'ite fighters. One woman was killed in the crossfire and six suspected militants were arrested, it said.

    As a funeral procession made its way through Kut carrying the cloth-draped coffins of the two people killed in the raid, protesters shouted angry slogans and demanded the release of the seized men, calling Americans "criminal occupiers."

    "We condemn this horrific incident. It violates the agreements between U.S. forces and the Iraqi government," said Latif al-Tarfa, governor of Wasit province. "Innocent people were killed and the city is now very tense."

    U.S. First Lieutenant John Brimley said the women killed "was in the area during the engagement with a suspect, and moved into the line of fire ... A medic treated her on site, but she died of her wounds before she could be evacuated."

    Another U.S. military statement said the operation had been approved by the Iraqi government.

    But Iraqi police Major Aziz al-Amara, who commands a rapid reaction force in Kut, said all of those targeted in the raid were innocent. One of those arrested was a police captain.

    "They were poor people. They do not cause any political or security problems," he said.

    The raid came just months before U.S. combat troops are due to withdraw entirely from Iraqi cities.

    Such U.S. raids are authorized under a new U.S.-Iraq security pact but only with Iraqi approval.

  33. Jackbooted swine fascists!

    Impeach Obammer!

  34. It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood. I have my sunglasses, sun-screen lotion and my bright blue medical mask