Archive for the ‘Napolitano’ Category

Arlen Specter: Time for a Congressional Senility Clause?

May 21, 2009

Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) is fully embracing his new party this week, working behind the scenes to bring back a union-organizing bill and publicly defending House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in the waterboarding controversy.

It’s been three weeks since Specter’s defection from the GOP, and while he initially raised some eyebrows among his new colleagues by voting against President Obama’s budget, he is now showing he can be a team player on two of the most controversial topics facing this Congress.

By Alexander Bolton and Reid Wilson
The Hill

He is in the midst of intense negotiations with labor unions and key Democrats to revive the Employee Free Choice Act, a major priority for liberal Democrats and organized labor.

 

And on Wednesday, Specter stood by Pelosi, who has come under heavy fire from the GOP for accusing the CIA of lying to Congress during the Bush administration about tactics used on detainees.

“The CIA has a very bad record when it comes to — I was about to say ‘candid’; that’s too mild — to honesty.”

Read the rest:
http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/spec
ter-defends-speaker-2009-05-20.html

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From The National Law Journal

 The former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said Wednesday that President Barack Obama had asked him to name some possible successors to Justice David Souter on the Supreme Court. And Arlen Specter, D-Pa., said he has complied, though in speaking with reporters he would only hint at the people he suggested.

“I submitted four names — all women, and none who owns a black robe,” Specter said after a speech to the American Law Institute at Washington’s Mayflower Hotel.

He did not elaborate on whom he recommended. There are three female non-judges among those reported to be on Obama’s short list: Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Solicitor General Elena Kagan and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

Read the rest:
http://www.law.com/jsp/law/careercenter/la
wArticleCareerCenter.jsp?id=12024308710
61&rss=careercenter

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Obama Health Team Reverses Flu Advice

May 5, 2009

“Never let a good crisis go to waste” became an Obama Administration motto after it was first said by Rahm Emanuel, the White House Chief of Staff. 
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When the flu hit, everyone seemed to have embraced that philosophy in an administration hell bent on showing how much the nation needs a make-over of its health care system.  So every part of the Federal Government hyped the flu — especially Joe Biden, loyal soul and gaffe machine.

Now, for the first time, Obama health team people are saying maybe they went a little too far….

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By MIKE STOBBE, AP Medical Writer
U.S. health officials are no longer recommending that schools close if students come down with swine flu, the government said Tuesday.

Last week, schools were advised to shut down for about two weeks if there were suspected cases of swine flu. Hundreds of schools around the country have followed the government’s guidance and closed schools, giving students an unexpected vacation and leaving parents scrambling for child care.

“We no longer feel that school closure is warranted,” said Dr. Richard Besser, acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the swine flu virus had turned out to be milder than feared and the government decided to change its advice. So far, the virus has not proved to be more infectious or deadly than the seasonal flu.

The CDC said parents should still make sure to keep sick children with flulike symptoms at home for seven days.

As the threat seemed to diminish, health officials also considered the problems the closings were creating for parents, Besser said. Officials were hearing about children getting dropped off at libraries, or parents who couldn’t take sick leave to care for their children.

“The downsides of school closure start to outweigh the benefits,” Besser said.

U.S. health officials are no longer recommending that schools close if students come down with swine flu, the government said Tuesday.

Last week, schools were advised to shut down for about two weeks if there were suspected cases of swine flu. Hundreds of schools around the country have followed the government’s guidance and closed schools, giving students an unexpected vacation and leaving parents scrambling for child care.

“We no longer feel that school closure is warranted,” said Dr. Richard Besser, acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the swine flu virus had turned out to be milder than feared and the government decided to change its advice. So far, the virus has not proved to be more infectious or deadly than the seasonal flu.

The CDC said parents should still make sure to keep sick children with flulike symptoms at home for seven days.

As the threat seemed to diminish, health officials also considered the problems the closings were creating for parents, Besser said. Officials were hearing about children getting dropped off at libraries, or parents who couldn’t take sick leave to care for their children.

“The downsides of school closure start to outweigh the benefits,” Besser said.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_med_swine_
flu_schools;_ylt=Ar6kjka8POh5Dd38i5gWk
v.s0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTJwaDZ0ZDA4BGF
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QRzbGsDc2ViZWxpdXNzYXlz

‘Maverick’ DHS Office Issues Glossary of Domestic Extremist Groups

May 5, 2009

The Office of Intelligence and Analysis uses a broad brush to define dozens of supposedly extremist ideologies inside the United States, in a report called “Domestic Extremism Lexicon,” which was withdrawn within hours after its release in March.

From Fox

The Department of Homeland Security is reining in a “maverick” division of the agency following criticism of a report it issued that details domestic “extremists” ranging from anti-tax movements to pro-environment groups, a DHS official told FOX News on Tuesday. 

The report, released in March and recalled within hours, was on top of a controversial document the same office produced last month that said U.S. veterans were ripe for recruitment by terrorist groups. 

The quickly withdrawn report, titled the “Domestic Extremism Lexicon,” comes from the department’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis, the same unit that produced the report on right-wing extremists recruiting vets. The document, first uncovered by The Washington Times, uses a broad brush to define terms used when analyzing dozens of supposedly extremist ideologies inside the United States. 

They cover: Jewish extremists, animal rights extremists, Christian identity extremists, black separatism extremists, anti-abortion extremists, anti-immigration extremists, anti-technology extremists, Cuban independence extremists and tax resistance extremists, to name a few.

Department spokeswoman Amy Kudwa said the report was not authorized and is not being used. 

“The lexicon was not an authorized I&A product, and it was recalled as soon as management discovered it had been released without authorization,” Kudwa said. “Since this happened prior to our last experience, our new internal protocols were obviously not in place. Even so, this product is not, nor was it ever, in operational use.” 

The Homeland Security official who spoke to FOX News said the office that released the report had taken on a “maverick” attitude by acting without authorization and is now being “reined in.” 

In addition to the report on right-wing threats issued last month — for which DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano apologized — DHS detailed left-wing threats in a similar report released in January.  

The “Domestic Extremism Lexicon” covers ideologies across the spectrum. 

An explanation at the top of the document claims the glossary is meant to provide “definitions for key terms and phrases that often appear in DHS analysis that addresses the nature and scope of the threat that domestic, non-Islamic extremism poses to the United States.” 

The authors wrote “that DHS/I&A intends this background information to assist federal, state, local, and tribal homeland security and law enforcement officials in conducting analytic activities.”

The definitions are rather broad and apparently raised flags within the department. 

According to the document, for example, tax resistance extremists are people who “vehemently believe taxes violate their constitutional rights … Members (of this group) have been known to advocate or engage in criminal activity and plot acts of violence and terrorism in an attempt to advance their extremist goals.” 

The top of the document also defines “alternative media” as something sinister — though the term is commonly used to describe blogs and popular publications like New York’s Village Voice. 

“Alternative media” is “a term used to describe various information sources that provide a forum for interpretations of events and issues that differ radically from those presented in mass media products and outlets,” the report says. 

The report also covers domestic groups more commonly referred to as extremist, like neo-Nazis.

Click here to read the extremism report.  

FOX News’ Catherine Herridge contributed to this report. 

http://michellemalkin.com/200
9/05/01/defining-domestic-extremism/

Flu Shows Why Government “Health Care” May Not Solve All Our Problems

May 3, 2009

Some Americans look toward Canada, Britain and  other nations as glowing examples of government health care making life better.

But the advocates of not nationalizing health care go to these very nations to ask doctors and those that feel wronged by the government systems to give their opinions — always negative.

And the Brits are now discussing a 50% tax for top earners to pay for health care and the other parts of their system….

Then we have the H1N1 flu: which might actually be a relatively normal flu and not one needing too much government intervention.

The noise of all the government crowing about the flu has actually, as far as we can tell, fueled not wisdom in health care but over reaction — which might be not helping and which could even prevent the government from being effective in a real emergency.

The face of the government response became Janet “watch out for veterans and Canadians” Napolitano — because Team Obama couldn’t come up with a Health Secretary who had paid his or her taxes before the flu hit….usually the flu doesn’t hit until autumn so this is understandable….

One student gets sick and the school closes for two weeks?  One passenger gets sick and the aircraft is diverted?  Please.

But our government kept the border with Mexico open and told border guards not to wear masks — looks too unfriendly.

I mean, who will listen to Joe Biden next time?  He told his family (and the nation) to stay off the train — then took the train home the very next day.

Mexico has taken an economic hit for the flu, and many will say rightly so.  Mexico has the most flu related deaths — maybe all the flu related deaths.  But it might be that Mexico needs better health care and not more “help” from outsiders.

China told people not to go to Mexico and Mexico told people not to go to China — so there.

One wonders how many Mexicans go on holiday in China anyway — with Cinco de Mayo and the USA so near.

Maybe we should try out nationalized health care in Mexico.  I’m just not sure I want Joe Biden, Janet Napolitano and the others who gave us this particular flu emergency to solve the more general problem…..

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From CNN:

“There is too much hysteria in the country and so far, there hasn’t been that great a danger,” said Congressman Ron Paul, a Republican from Texas. “It’s overblown, grossly so.”

The United States’ only death this year from the virus was a 22-month-old boy in Texas who was visiting from Mexico.

“We have people without symptoms going into the emergency rooms asking to be screened for swine flu at the expense of people with real illness,” said Cathy Gichema, a nurse in Pikesville, Maryland.

“Schools are being shut for probable causes – sending these kids congregating to the malls. How is that helping,” Gichema said.

Dr. Mark Bell, principal of Emergent Medical Associates, which operates 18 emergency departments in Southern California, said the level of fear is unprecedented.

“I haven’t seen such a panic among communities perhaps ever,” Bell said. “Right now, people think if they have a cough or a cold, they’re going to die. That’s a scary, frightening place to be in. I wish that this hysteria had not occurred and that we had tempered a little bit of our opinions and thoughts and fears in the media.”

Read it all:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/HE
ALTH/05/03/swine.flu.react/index.html

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From Reuters

Mexico on Saturday accused Beijing of discrimination against its citizens and advised them to avoid China after a Hong Kong hotel was sealed off following confirmation a Mexican guest had the new flu virus.

Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa also condemned China and four Latin American countries for restricting flights from Mexico, the epicenter of an H1N1 flu outbreak that the World Health Organization fears may become a global pandemic.

At a news conference, Espinosa criticized authorities in Hong Kong for quarantining the Metropark Hotel on Friday after test results showed the 25-year-old Mexican guest was infected with the virus. Mexico on Saturday accused Beijing of discrimination against its citizens and advised them to avoid China after a Hong Kong hotel was sealed off following confirmation a Mexican guest had the new flu virus.

Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa also condemned China and four Latin American countries for restricting flights from Mexico, the epicenter of an H1N1 flu outbreak that the World Health Organization fears may become a global pandemic.

At a news conference, Espinosa criticized authorities in Hong Kong for quarantining the Metropark Hotel on Friday after test results showed the 25-year-old Mexican guest was infected with the virus.

Read the rest:
http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/
newsdesk/N02360932.htm

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From AP

Health experts walked a tightrope Sunday, unsure whether the swine flu epidemic was starting to fizzle out or was just in a lull before another surge. Germany reported two more confirmed cases, and Hong Kong kept 350 people under quarantine in a downtown hotel as a precaution.

Read the rest:
http://news.aol.com/article/fl
u-slows/458139

Can Biden Be Right? Is The Flu A Real Crisis? Or Are We Caught with an Obama Government-Media Crisis?

May 1, 2009

O.K., lets just concede that Joe Biden has said a lot of stupid stuff in the past. He may even be a jerk but that is subject to individual opinion and judgment.

But is Biden right to warn that it might be a good idea just to stay out of subways, aircraft and other tight places (like taxis, classrooms, etc.) while the flu is around?

Biden’s boner might just have some merit: as the closing of most public activities and functions seems to be slowing the impact of the H1N1 flu in Mexico (see Catherine Bremer from Reuters below)….

On the other hand, if Biden is overreacting, what is the ground truth? That the Obama Government-Media and Global Government machine has overreacted and scared us to death with the flu? And then decided to keep business on track?

I think this is a very valid question after Katrina: where a Mayor and Governor kept businesses open on a Saturday night in New Orleans and then wept when they needed a real “bailout”….

We need to go back and assess the merits of the Biden plan: even if most of us think he is a jerk….because there is nothing wrong with that…..

Or at least ask if this was a hyped ‘crisis” and why?

After all: “never let a good crisis go to waste….”

Below: Catherine Bremer from Reuters

Mexico started a five-day shutdown of most offices and businesses on Friday to try to halt the spread of a deadly flu strain, and officials said they were encouraged by signs that the number of new cases was falling.Health Minister Jose Angel Cordova said the public hospitals that treat roughly half the country admitted just 46 patients with severe flu symptoms on Thursday, down from 212 patients on April 20. “This is encouraging,” he said.

Mexico, the worst-hit country, has reported 176 deaths from the new strain of the H1N1 virus.

Worldwide, 13 countries have confirmed cases. The latest were Denmark and Hong Kong — where a traveler from Mexico accounted for the first verified case on the Asian continent.

The largest number of confirmed cases outside Mexico is in the United States, with 109. Almost all infections outside Mexico have been mild, and only a handful of patients have required hospital treatment.

Only one person has died outside Mexico: a toddler from Mexico who traveled to the United States.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20
090501/hl_nm/us_flu_167

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From LiveScience.com

There will be about 1,700 U.S. cases of the new H1N1 flu, aka “swine flu,” in the next four weeks under a worst-case scenario, according to a research team’s new simulations.

And a second team working independently, about 200 miles away, on exactly the same question came up with a similar forecast.

As of Thursday, there were 109 lab-confirmed U.S. cases of the new influenza, according to the World Health Organization, which earlier this week raised the risk level of the influenza to one stage below pandemic because the virus is being transmitted within at least two countries in one region of the world. A full pandemic – the virus is also being transmitted within a third country in a different region – is considered imminent.

It is not clear, however, how virulent or deadly this flu strain will become.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20090501
/sc_livescience/worstcasescenarioforfluestima
ted;_ylt=AiGxkU6cKfxxBzU9hn4oAOGs0NU
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dGVkBGNwb3MDMgRwb3MDOARzZWMDe
W5fdG9wX3N0b3J5BHNsawN3b3JzdGN
hc2VzY2U

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By Wesley Pruden
The Washington Times

We were all supposed to be in the graveyard by now, done in by AIDS, SARS, bird flu, poisoned peanut butter, Hong Kong flu, killer tomatoes, global warming and strangulation by kudzu. But here we are, proof that there really is life after death.

Now we learn that we might freeze before the pigs get us. (The chickens failed.) NASA scientists have observed that the solar wind is the weakest since we began keeping such records, that the magnetic axis of the sun is tilted to an unusual degree, and Ol’ Sol is the quietest he has been in a century. A chill, say the solar scientists, may be on the way. (Or not.) Worse, says one of them, this could compel reappraisal of the science of global warning. Try as he might, poor old Al Gore just can’t keep the cosmos in line.

But this week Ol’ Sol has been put in the shade by a new panic du jour. The cable-TV networks and the Internet are bubbling with sunspots, even if the sun isn’t. Sample these latest headlines from the Drudge Report: “Two flu cases confirmed in Scotland. Has globalization made us more catastrophe-prone? Swine flu sweeps the globe. Swine flu closes football stadiums. The world must work together against this threat.”

We haven’t seen a panic quite like this one since the last one. SARS was once thought to be the ultimate panic, though the longest running panic was the AIDS scare, when big media set out to convince us that “now we are all at risk.” SARS was never a threat in the United States, and worth the P-word only in China and even there a risk confined mostly to people who sleep with their chickens. You can step in all manner of unpleasant things in a chicken house. AIDS continues to be a succession of personal tragedies, but it has lost its power to terrorize continents. Worse, it lost its media cachet. Besides, nobody at the New York Times or at CNN wants to credit George W. Bush with anything good, or even acknowledge how he has become a hero in Africa for the American campaign against AIDS in Africa that has saved millions of lives.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news
/2009/apr/28/a-pandemic-of-pani
c-are-we-dead-yet/

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A woman wears a surgical mask at Mexico City's International ...

A woman wears a surgical mask at Mexico City’s International Airport on April 30, 2009. Health authorities in Canada’s eastern New Brunswick province on Friday reported its first case of swine flu, raising the total number of people infected with the virus to 35.

(AFP/File/Alfredo Estrella)

Former Continental Airline CEO: Biden Over Reacting, Over Hyping Flu

April 30, 2009

Frank Lorenzo, the former CEO of Continental Airlines added his voice to a chorus of others today who were taken aback by Vice President Joe Biden’s claim that he would tell his family to stay off airplanes during the flu outbreak.

Lorenzo said Biden was “overreacting and overhyping.”

“If a person decides not to travel due to the risks, that is his issue,” said Lorenzo.

Lorenzo appeared on Fox News with Neil Cavuto during the 4 PM (Eastern) hour.

Earlier today White House spokesman Robert Gibbs had to answer questions about Biden’s gaffe and said, “What the Vice President meant to say was….

Janet Napolitano also tried to rescue Biden and said the best defense from the flu was to wash with soap and water.

Maybe she should wash the Veep’s mouth out with soap and water….

Related:
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/04/30/tapp
er-to-gibbs-can-you-clarify-bidens-moronic
-comment-about-subways/

Related:
Obama Must Be Lonely At The Top
.
 American Airlines: Biden “Fear Mongering” on Flu
.
Monkey See Monkey Do Doesn’t Work: Obama Says Wash Your Hands; Biden Says Stay Off Subways; NBC Says “Panic”
.
 Biden: Stay Off Subways During Swine Flu Panic (Actual NBC Headline)

Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference at ...

Gibbs: “What the Vice President meant to say…”

Obama Must Be Lonely At The Top

April 30, 2009

Sometimes we get the feeling Barack Obama is a one man show — which would make him very lonely at the top.

Who does Barack go to for a laugh about the numbskulls around him?  I mean, when Biden blows a two minute shot on NBC by telling people not to go into tight places like aircraft, subways, trains, cars, taxis, and well, it’s implied, WORK, during a recession because of the flu, who does Barack go to see for a laugh?

Now Janet (“keep your eyes on those veterans and Canadians”) Napolitano is clarifying what Biden says.

This is rich.

And why did the president have to make the Chrysler announcement this morning?  He’s a camera hog?  Nope.  Would you have paid any attention to Tim Geithner?  Or “Sleepy” Larry Summers?

Barack: Get the reset button from Hillary and Biden and start the day over….

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air wondered: Does anyone in the White House actually do research?

Not as far as we can tell….

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Was it Joe Biden, Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton that thought it was a good idea to encourage Russia to just hit the “reset” button?  Well, whoever…..

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov with a red button marked "reset" in English and "overload" in Russian.
Coffrini/Getty

Related:
Barack, Hillary: Moronic “Reset” Idea for Relations With Russia

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/0
4/30/biden-avoid-planes-and-subw
ays-but-not-really/

Related:

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From Politico

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano tried to cover for Joe Biden Thursday by arguing that when the vice president suggested …

… Americans avoid planes and trains, he was giving advice similar to what the government has been saying all along.

“I think the vice president, if he could say that over again, he would say if they’re feeling sick, they should stay off of public transit or confined spaces because that, indeed, is the advice that we have been giving,” Napolitano said during an interview on MSNBC.

“What we’re advising people to do is if you feel sick, take responsibility for yourself and stay off of transportation or crowded areas. Don’t go to work. Don’t send your child to school. And, again, it’s not — it’s not just a cold, but if you have signs of the flu, which is commonly associated with a fever, heavy cough, and the like,” she added.

“So again, let’s not — let’s not overreact. We’re asking people to take common-sense precautions. And that’s how we’re going to work our way through this problem.”

POLITICO:
http://www.politico.com/politico44/p
erm/0409/napolitano_covers_d5a20
ff5-5c11-4ea7-b15b-ddb792a31682.html

Winston Churchill
Persona non grata in today’s White House used as a positive reference during last night’s news confernece….

See:
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/04/
30/100-days-presser-flubbing-churchill/

Related:
Obama’s Dumb Moves Getting More Difficult to Ignore? On Friday Mainstream Media Realiazes Monday’s Cabinet Meeting Was Laughable, Really
.
“Mister Green” Obama Flies To Iowa on Gas Guzzling Jet To Visit Wind Factory On Earth Day
.
Obama White House Engineered Photo Ops, Publicity Stunts Not Always Honest, Well Conceived
.
Obama’s Team Stages Insane Looking Cabinet Meeting: Arms Them With Squirt Guns To Put Out Forest Fire in Economy, Fed Spending
.
Obama Announces 1/35,000th Spending Cut!

Swine Flu: WHO Says “Level 5;” Cases: 51 In New York, Over 100 Nation-Wide in 10 States; Napolitano “Clarifies” Border Assessment

April 29, 2009

Ten U.S. states are now confirmed to have the H1N1 flu virus, also called the Mexican or Swine Flu….51 in New York, 14 in California and 16 in Texas. Two cases have been confirmed in Kansas, Massachusetts and Michigan, while a single cases have been reported in Arizona, Indiana, Nevada and Ohio.

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GENEVA (Reuters) – World Health Organization director-general Dr. Margaret Chan raised the pandemic threat awareness level to 5 out of 6 on Wednesday, meaning the world is at imminent risk of a pandemic from H1N1 swine flu.

 

“I have decided to raise the level of influenza pandemic alert from phase 4 to phase 5,” Chan told a news briefing.

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Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is asserting that the description she initially gave of the border swine-flu monitoring effort no longer applies.

Appearing Wednesday before a Senate panel, Napolitano said that “passive surveillance” is “not an accurate picture of what is going on” at U.S. entry points. She had used that term Tuesday morning to describe the nature of the monitoring for illness.

On Wednesday, Napolitano said that U.S. officials are “actively” questioning visitors at the border, asking questions about “whether they are ill, their travel history and the like.”

She also discounted turning to thermal meters to gauge whether people are carrying a fever, and Napolitano also said she does not believe the facts of the current situation would merit closing the borders.

From : AP

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A Mexican toddler in Texas has died of the new swine flu virus, the first confirmed death outside Mexico, as the World Health Organization said the outbreak showed clear signs of spreading around the world.

Nearly a week after the threat first emerged in Mexico, Spain reported the first case in Europe of swine flu in a person who had not been to Mexico, underscoring the threat of person-to-person transmission.

“It is clear that the virus is spreading and we don’t see evidence of it slowing down at this point,” Dr. Keiji Fukuda, WHO acting assistant director-general, told a news briefing.

With Germany and Austria reporting cases, bringing the number of affected countries to 9, Fukuda said the WHO was moving loser to raising its pandemic alert to phase five, the second highest level possible.

U.S. officials said that a 22-month-old boy had died in Texas — the first confirmed U.S. swine flu death — but they added that he was on a family visit from Mexico, where up to 159 flu fatalities have been recorded.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090429/ts_nm/
us_flu;_ylt=AjDX2iQh
xXQ9DAczdxxDn_Ks0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTI3YT
Y1dGtuBGFzc2V0A25tLzIwMDkwNDI5L3Vz
X2ZsdQRjcG9zAzIEcG9zAzgEc2VjA3luX3R
vcF9zdG9yeQRzbGsDd2hvc2F5c25vc2ln

From CNN:

There are 132 confirmed cases in 11 countries, the majority in the United States, according to the WHO and the Centers for Disease Control. Those figures include seven deaths in Mexico and one in the United States.

The virus spread to five more U.S. states, and the number of people in the United States infected with the 2009 H1N1 influenza strain grew to 91, the Centers for Disease Control reported on Wednesday.

….

Governments around the world are scrambling to prevent further outbreak.

Some, such as China and Russia, have banned pork imports from the United States and Mexico, though the World Health Organization says the disease is not transmitted through eating or preparing pig meat.

Several others countries, such as Japan and Indonesia, are using thermographic devices to test the temperature of passengers arriving from Mexico.

http://edition.cnn.com/2009/H
EALTH/04/29/swine.flu.interna
tional/index.html

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New York Times:

Public health officials said Congress had missed an opportunity by excising nearly $900 million in proposed financing for pandemic flu preparation from this year’s stimulus bill. It was to be the final installment of President George W. Bush’s request for $7 billion in federal spending on vaccines, medical equipment and planning. Congress last allocated money for pandemic planning by state and local governments in 2006 — about $600 million over two years, said Dr. Paul E. Jarris, executive director of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.

“The entire system is lining up to decrease resources at the time we need them most,” Dr. Jarris said. “We have to realize that we’re at the starting line. The stress will come if this escalates.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2009
/04/30/health/30states.html?_r=1&hp

http://hotair.com/archives/200
9/04/29/first-us-swine-flu-death-confirmed/

Some Critical of Obama for “Hyping” Swine Flu; Shows Distrust of O’s Overwhelming News Dominance

April 28, 2009

Jeff Bernbaum, Editor, Digital of the Washington Times, said yesterday he thought the White House was exagerating the swine flu to gain attention for the proper handling of a crisis that was really anything but a minor crisis inthe first place.

The fact that a respected journalist would even have thoughts about the deviousness of the President and his White House team tells us a lot about our national leadership and the  vast majority of the media that has given them a free ride.

Even liberal Juan Williams pitched in to the debate on Fox News’ evening show Special Reprt with Bret Baier, saying the number of cases of this flu were a lot less — insignificant, almost, compared to previous widely spread flu outbreaks.

The panel said the flu “crisis” allowed Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to appear in public in a commanding way — something she has been unable to do since her department tarred veterans as dangerous extremists….

Birnbaum mentioned White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and his now famous, “Never let a good crisis go to waste” remark.  Such callous remarks don’t endear one with public trust….

Birnbaum said the White House reaction to the swine flu is an example of  “not allowing a crisis to go unused.”   Bill Kristol disagreed.

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Coverage of swine flu brought out the piggish side of the press – and some squealing from the public as well.

Journalists couldn’t get enough of the story, garnishing their accounts Monday with alarmist terms, exaggerations and tales of epidemics past. The ailment provided a banquet for news organizations bent on exploring everything from local angles and economic implications to foreign policy, border issues and Tamiflu shortages.

Swine flu panic has ensued.

“We’ve definitely had a big increase in sales of hospital masks since Sunday. Really big,” said Vicky Nichols of the 7 Store, a survivalist and medical supplier in Utah.

Online pharmacies and nefarious spammers alike played on public paranoia to peddle flu cures, using such suggestive sales lines as “Madonna caught swine flu.” Twitter and other social media sites also caught the bug; rumors or facts out of context circulated among millions.

Dow Jones and Hong Kong stock numbers fluttered, then fell as skittish investors considered the impact of a worldwide epidemic. Hogs and pork bellies futures “plunged,” according to a Bloomberg analysis.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and President Obama urged Americans to exercise “concern” but not panic. Press drama, driven by death counts and talk of “escalation,” fed public imagination, however.

ABC News, for example, showcased “the father of bird flu,” virologist Robert Webster, who said “50 percent of the population could die” should the virus mutate.

“This was just one example of television’s trend toward terrifying viewers with a threat where the total fatalities do not yet equal the number of people who are killed each day on the nation’s roadways,” said Dan Gainor of the press watchdog Business & Media Institute.

The sheer volume of coverage was inescapable, prompting some media analysts to conclude that attention to Mr. Obama’s first 100 days would be overshadowed by swine flu fixation.

Read the rest from The Washington Times:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news
/2009/apr/28/hogging-news-covera
ge-slopping-public-fear/

***************************

Are We Dead Yet?

By Wes Pruden
The Washington Times

We were all supposed to be in the graveyard by now, done in by AIDS, SARS, bird flu, poisoned peanut butter, Hong Kong flu, killer tomatoes, global warming and strangulation by kudzu. But here we are, proof that there really is life after death.

Now we learn that we might freeze before the pigs get us. (The chickens failed.) NASA scientists have observed that the solar wind is the weakest since we began keeping such records, that the magnetic axis of the sun is tilted to an unusual degree, and Ol’ Sol is the quietest he has been in a century. A chill, say the solar scientists, may be on the way. (Or not.) Worse, says one of them, this could compel reappraisal of the science of global warning. Try as he might, poor old Al Gore just can’t keep the cosmos in line.

But this week Ol’ Sol has been put in the shade by a new panic du jour. The cable-TV networks and the Internet are bubbling with sunspots, even if the sun isn’t. Sample these latest headlines from the Drudge Report: “Two flu cases confirmed in Scotland. Has globalization made us more catastrophe-prone? Swine flu sweeps the globe. Swine flu closes football stadiums. The world must work together against this threat.”

We haven’t seen a panic quite like this one since the last one. SARS was once thought to be the ultimate panic, though the longest running panic was the AIDS scare, when big media set out to convince us that “now we are all at risk.” SARS was never a threat in the United States, and worth the P-word only in China and even there a risk confined mostly to people who sleep with their chickens. You can step in all manner of unpleasant things in a chicken house. AIDS continues to be a succession of personal tragedies, but it has lost its power to terrorize continents. Worse, it lost its media cachet. Besides, nobody at the New York Times or at CNN wants to credit George W. Bush with anything good, or even acknowledge how he has become a hero in Africa for the American campaign against AIDS in Africa that has saved millions of lives.

But here we go again. The World Health Organization is heroically feeding the hysteria with the warning on front pages across the globe and trumpeted by hundreds of television talking heads: “The World Health Organization has warned that the [swine flu] virus has the potential to become a pandemic.” The words “flu” and “pandemic” are such powerful scare words that almost nobody notices the accompanying weasel words “may,” “could,” “might,” “potentially” and “possibly” that would stand out in bright red and green neon to the skeptical eye of a wizened old city editor. Alas, most of the wizened old city editors really are in the graveyard, having succumbed more to world-weariness than to fashionable diseases. The director of the World Influenza Center in London says of the outbreak, such as it is so far: “It’s difficult to look on the bright side.”

No, it’s actually not difficult. About 2,000 persons in Mexico are down with flu, and about 150 have died. That’s a mortality rate of about 7 percent. Sad, even tragic, but not exactly the most lethal flu virus we’ve ever seen. There’s no mortality rate in the United States because no one has died. Only a few, very few, cases have been reported, and nearly all are described as “mild.” You have to give the medical bureaucrats and the media credit for chutzpah to think they can keep such thin soup on the panic menu.

There are no firm estimates or even hopeful guesses of how many Americans are likely to contract flu this spring, but fortunately the ratio of panic to reality is not governed by facts. In the early hours of counting, barely 50 cases had been reported in the United States, and only two in Britain – that’s 2, not 2,000 or even 200. About 300,000 to 500,000 cases of flu are reported every year in the United States, where 10 percent to 20 percent of the population comes down with the sore throat, coughing and achy bones of flu. Of those, 30,000 to 40,000 die. What we have so far in the United States is a 50-case panic, caused by a remarkably mild variant of the flu.

The medical researchers say it might mutate. Or it might not. If it does, it might, possibly, maybe, potentially be the worst killer since the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918. Or it might not. Researchers are working on the vaccine, and the media is working on the panic. We may not get a vaccine, but soon there won’t be a dry pair of pants on six continents.

• Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.

Napolitano Being Attacked in Ads as Person “Profiling” George Washington, Mother Teresa, Ronald Reagan as “Terrorists”

April 27, 2009

The No Political Profiling Coalition (www.NoPoliticalProfiling.com) is saying Janet Napolitano is “profiling” you as a terrorists if you are like the Pope, Ronald reagan, Mother teresa and George washington

The group has begun placing full-page ads, the first in this week’s Washington Times Weekly edition and the Times’ Wednesday daily edition, demanding the removal of Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano for the DHS report “Rightwing Extremism.”

Coalition Chairman Janet Folger Porter (who hosts a nationally syndicated daily talk show and is the President of Faith2Action) observed: “Even though DHS admits it has ‘no specific information’ of violence planned by so-called right-wing extremists, nevertheless, the report labels millions of law-abiding Americans potential terrorists and calls on state and local authorities to monitor their activities.”
 
Porter charged: “Not content with slander, Napolitano is calling for domestic spying on opponents of the Obama administration.”
 
Among those stigmatized as extremists and potential terrorists are: Iraq War veterans, gun owners and Second Amendment advocates, pro-life activists, Constitutionalists (those who believe in federalism) and immigration-reform advocates seeking to secure our borders.
 
Porter continued: “While the Obama administration refuses to use the word ‘terrorism’ in connection with militant Islam and overlooks jihad terrorist cells currently training on American soil, instead it has labeled millions of law-abiding Americans as ‘the most dangerous domestic terrorism threat in the United States’ for holding views that are not politically correct.”
 
Porter declared: “This is an absolute outrage. We demand Napolitano’s immediate removal, a sincere apology from President Obama for the damage done to the reputations of those smeared by the report and its immediate retraction. “
 
“Every day Janet Napolitano remains Secretary of Homeland Security is further proof of this administration’s disdain for the Constitution and willingness stigmatize its opponents to advance a partisan agenda.”
 
The ad includes pictures of George Washington, Mother Teresa, Ronald Reagan and Pope Benedict XVI – all “right-wing extremists,” according to Napolitano’s Department of Home Land Security.
 
The ad is sponsored by a coalition of more than a dozen conservative organizations, including the American Family Association, Religious Freedom Coalition, Let Freedom Ring, United States Justice Foundation, Vision America, and Faith2Action. A full listing may be found at the bottom of the ad.

See The Ad:
http://www.nopoliticalprofiling.com/

http://hotair.com/archives/200
9/04/27/ripping-the-dhs-report
-from-the-left/