Archive for June 20, 2008

Two More Bird Flu Fatalities in Indonesia

Two women from Jakarta and a nearby town have died of bird flu, bringing Indonesia’s death toll from the disease to 110.

The Indonesian Health Ministry and the World Health Organization say a 16-year-old girl from South Jakarta died in late May, after being exposed to sick and dead poultry.

A 34 year old woman from Tangerang died in early June.

It’s not known what caused her infection.

Avian influenza has infected at least 385 people in 15 countries since December 2003, with more than sixty per cent of the cases fatal.

Indonesia has recorded the highest death toll from bird flu.

Source: ABC Australia

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Jeb Bush on Education

“The people that believe in reform aren’t necessarily conservatives,” Bush said. “We’re in the change era. People have been talking about it, so now it’s time to start doing it.”

Bush said he wants people to realize that the world is changing fast and the country’s education system is running late.

“Our education system is an 8-track system living in an iPod world,” Bush said during the summit, which featured almost 500 registered educators and legislators from around the country.

Read the rest here.

JEB certainly turned the education system around in Florida. Not everybody, of course, was happy with the reform. He is absolutely right. The state of education is, for the most part, abysmal. We need more engineers and scientists, but we also need more skilled, high-tech craftsmen and a strong vocational program.

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Pregnant Women Should Avoid Statins (No Matter What the Media May Tell You)

Sandy at Junkfood Science has the whole scoop but statins in pregnant women (or women who may become pregnant) are contraindicated because they have been implicated in fetal deformities.

Please don’t get your science news from television or newspapers. The people reporting them do not know the difference between a press release, somebody’s opinion based on nothing more than a “feeling”, and peer-reviewed science.

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Idiots Shooting Trucks on I-95 in St. Johns County

…All three big rigs were going southbound just past the state Road 16 exit when they were hit. FHP investigators have recovered some bullet fragments and believe a high-powered rifle was used in all three incidents.

FHP is expected to send the bullet fragments to a lab to find out the caliber of bullets and from what kind of weapon they may have been fired.

A St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office helicopter searched the area looking for whomever was firing the shots, but they did not locate anyone. They said the area has been used for hunting, and they’re investigating the possibility that shootings were accidental.

“It may have been some stray bullets from some illegal hunting in that area or if it could have been done on purpose,” Leeper said.

Without knowing the intentions of the shooter, investigators urge all drivers to be on the lookout.

“Be aware of your surroundings and if you see anything suspicious, note that in case something does happen,” Leeper said.

Source: News4Jax.com

Hope they find and shoot his sorry ass so that we, the taxpayers, don’t have to pay for meals for the worthless POS.

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Shark Bites Woman Wading off Coast of Fernandina Beach

FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. — A shark bit a woman wading in waist deep ocean water off the coast of Fernandina Beach late Friday morning.

The victim, of Birmingham, Ala., was near beach access No. 39 at about 11:10 a.m. when the attack took place, police said.

The shark bite left the woman with severe lacerations to both sides of her lower right calf, according to Fernandina Beach police.

Ocean bathers in the area initially treated the victim until a Fernandina Beach Fire Rescue lifeguard arrived and performed emergency treatment until the arrival of paramedics who performed advanced life support.

The bite victim was flown via air ambulance to Shands-Jacksonville Medical Center, according to acting Fire Chief Jeffrey Bunch.

Police said all precautions have been taken to alert beach goers of the potential dangers in the water and lifeguards will monitor the ocean waters throughout the weekend.

The State of Florida Flag Warning System is in place and “dangerous conditions” and “dangerous marine life” flags have been placed at all guarded areas.

Although warned of the potential danger evidenced by the shark bite incident, the beach has not been closed and swimming is still being permitted at city beaches, police said.

Source: News4Jax

That’s MY beach! I wasn’t there with the grandkids this morning because we went to the zoo instead. (No chance of being snacked on by a shark at the zoo water park.)

Seriously, there are some very large sharks that come into shallow waters after the fish at the beach. Be careful out there.

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Obama Wants to Create “Green Jobs” and “Green Cars” to run off Electricity of Undetermined Color

JACKSONVILLE, FL (AP) — Barack Obama on Friday dismissed rival John McCain’s proposal to allow offshore drilling as an election-year conversion, arguing that it will not lower gas prices for families “this year, next year, five years from now.” The likely Democratic nominee pledged to keep in place the federal government’s 27-year moratorium on offshore drilling, and criticized McCain on changing his position on the matter. Said Obama: “The politics may have changed but the facts haven’t.”

In McCain’s 2000 campaign, the Republican said he favored the moratorium. This week, he said he supports lifting it to give states the option to drill, and cited as a reason alleviating the pressure on consumers facing high gas prices. McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds responded that Obama is rejecting measures needed to lower gas prices. “The American people cannot afford Barack Obama’s do-nothing, out-of-touch energy policy,” Bounds said. Obama asserted that opening up the U.S. coastline to oil exploration would not give Americans any short-term appreciable savings.

“John McCain’s proposal, George Bush’s proposal, to drill offshore here in Florida and other places would not provide families any relief this year, next year, five years from now,” he said from the banks of the St. Johns River. “We can’t drill our way out of the problems we’re facing,” he said tapping the podium for emphasis.

Offshore drilling is not popular in many — if any — coastal states, particularly Florida, the presidential swing state that decided the 2000 election and where McCain is favored and Obama is looking to gain ground. Both Obama and McCain are navigating the tricky political terrain around energy policy as rising gas prices infuriate voters who are largely focused on pocketbook issues in a shaky economy.

In announcing his support of lifting the moratorium, McCain said that with gas prices rising and the country chronically dependent on foreign oil, his proposal would “be very helpful in the short term resolving our energy crisis.”

“With gasoline running at more than four bucks a gallon, many do not have the luxury of waiting on the far-off plans of futurists and politicians. … And I believe it is time for the federal government to lift these restrictions and to put our own reserves to use,” McCain said in a speech this week. His remarks were aimed at working-class voters, but his proposal no doubt won over big oil companies while infuriating environmentalists. Obama, for his part, is using an argument similar to what he did during the Democratic primary season when rival Hillary Rodham Clinton followed McCain in calling for a summertime holiday from the federal gas tax. Now as then, Obama says the proposals are nonsense because they won’t help consumers hurting now. Earlier, in Chicago, Obama said McCain’s proposal “makes absolutely no sense at all” and won’t lower gas prices until 2030.

“Even then you’re looking at cents on a gallon of gas,” Obama told Democratic governors at a meeting in his hometown. “Who knows 22 years from now, what would gas be at the pace that we’re going right now?”

Instead, Obama said he would invest $150 billion over the next 10 years to create green jobs, particularly in the automotive industry and to improve the electricity grid so people can drive plug-in hybrid vehicles. Obama discussed the economy with the 16 Democratic governors. They told him how people in their states are suffering, from high energy and food costs, loss of manufacturing jobs and the housing slump.

“There is a deep recession and frankly I believe it’s gaining momentum,” said New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine, who backed Obama’s primary Clinton. “I don’t think we’re half way through.”

Obama said he would work with them on policies that would help, including a plan to spend billions in taxpayer dollars to build roads, bridges and other infrastructure projects that could create jobs and improve transportation routes. Obama asked if they have projects that were ready to go if they had the money, and there were nods and calls of “Absolutely!” around the table.
“Within three months, you could start putting people back to work,” he said.

West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin responded: “I think we could put a lot of people back to work in one month. We’re ready.”

Source: First Coast News

Well, Obama seems to be a believer in fairy dust economics, promising “green” industries that can’t actually make it in the free market. That’s okay, though. It’s not like he believes in free markets, anyway.

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The House is Silent Again…..

The grandkids have gone home with mommy, and the house is once again quiet with no shrieking and giggling (unless you count myself and SwampMan when the car left the driveway). The (plastic) hockey stick that the lil’ 1-year-old angelic-looking cherub with the auburn ringlets used to repeatedly whack his 4-year-old brother with while he watched cartoons is still in time out on top of a shelf. About 150 toys are scattered on the living room floor, as is MeeMaw’s (formerly clean) laundry that was tossed out of the laundry basket onto the floor and used as a leaf substitute for lil’ boys to jump into from a running start.

Daughter brought a nice cat home from the animal shelter that was going to be euthanized. She said she couldn’t bear the thought as it was such a nice cat. I had been having some issues with allergies recently with my eyes swelling almost shut and my vision being affected, but didn’t know which allergen was causing it. I live on a freakin’ farm, for cryin’ out loud. Could have been ducks, poultry, dogs, cats, flowers, trees…..just about anything. Well, I know now! That cat came in, was handed to me, and before I got him into the bathroom to chill and settle in quietly away from the kids, my eyes were nearly swollen shut. This is crazy because I’ve ALWAYS had cats, lots of them, and am down to my last two elderly outside cats. I suppose when those two go the way of all cats, I won’t be able to get any more.

We (myself and daughter’s boys) joined my former daughter-in-law at the zoo this morning, and had a great time. Her daughter is my oldest grandchild and only granddaughter, then she has two boys with her present husband and is raising her sister’s son, as well. I’m very fond of those lil’ boys, too. She (former daughter in law) was laughing at me, telling me everybody could tell I was a grandmother, because I was chasing all the children around to make sure they didn’t get hurt, while the mothers were sitting in the shade and relaxing.

But, now, all is quiet. The toys will probably stay right where they are for a few days, as will the block towers that were built, and the pictures that were colored, because it reminds me of the days when I had my own little ones and thought at the time that I would trade anything for just a moment of silence and not having somebody standing outside the bathroom door pounding and crying. Now that I have the silence, I realize that the joyous squeals and chattering, fighting and crying were what was priceless.

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