Saturday, November 30, 2013

MERS-CoV: Are Officials Trying To Play Down This Deadly Disease?

MERS-CoV is a novel virus that first came to the attention of the medical community in 2012. A relative of the SARS virus, MERS- CoV attacks its victims lungs and kidneys with a ferocity that leaves SARS in the dust. Of the 168 people confirmed to have been infected with the virus 68 have, a mortality rate of an atrocious 42.5% compared with SARS relatively "benign" 10% mortality rate.
Now most will say "Come on! Why bust chops over something that has only infected 160 people! More people than that get f*cked up picking up pennies they find on the street each day!'. Well here's why I'm so concerned. For one the mortality rate of this thing is horrible. Out of every 100 people that become infected 42 die. There's also the problem of this disease not being on many practitioners radar so most likely the first indication that the disease has arrived in a community is when people start dropping like flies. I also have a great concern that the medical establishment, at the behest of the world's governments will try (are currently trying) to keep the extent of this disease under raps as not to cause "panic" ( I hate the damned word "panic". I studied disaster behavior for over a year while writing my thesis. I'm of the opinion that more people have died as the result of efforts at avoiding panic than panic itself has ever caused). Take for instance assertions by the medical community that the MERS virus is not easily communicable. Looking at the current number of "laboratory confirmed cases" their case seems convincing. But what I find troubling is that there have been persistent cases of medical personnel contracting the disease from patients in their care including a report of 4 doctors infected by a patient just in the last 24 hours in Abu Dhabi . Even more troubling for me is that many of these cases have occurred in facilities already on high alert for the MERS virus. In other words you have medical professionals on guard for the virus, using the latest technology in infection control getting sick. What does that say for poor slobs like me and you, oblivious and unaware of the dangers surrounding this ferocious killer?
My greatest concern regarding the MERS-CoV virus is that officials are deliberately downplaying the extent of the disease. That would really suck as the only way to truly combat such a threat is through the dissemination of timely and accurate information. The truth will eventually reveal itself,come what may. Better it come out in advance than in the midst of an already out of control pandemic.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Typhoon Yolanda And A Call For A New Focus In Disaster Planning

It is now a week since Typhoon Yolanda struck and decimated parts of the Philippines with a savagery unequaled in history. At this time over 3000 people have been confirmed dead, 12,000 injured and hundreds of thousands now in conditions so miserable that some have voiced envy for those that have died. Food and clean water are practically non-existent in many towns. There are no medical services. People have been forced to shelter in the open air amid piles of rubble and the decaying bodies of their loved ones scattered nearby.  Such are the images and stories we have received just from the city of Tacloban, one of the many areas that bore the brunt of Yolanda's savage winds and accompanying storm tide. One could imagine that if  the citizens of Tacloban  receiving worldwide, 24 hour attention  are in such dire straights what could be the situation in the the hundreds of towns and villages also devastated by the storm but unheard of up to now?
 It is in my opinion that this event should be awake up call for governments and officials when creating and implementing "disaster" plans, the operative word here being "disaster". You see, most countries do have disaster plans in place. They are rigid, thought out, incredibly intricate and complex attempting to cover every aspect of disaster response. A central part of these plans rely on something called Mutual Aid, where agreements are signed between local towns, cities, etc, where they all agree to come to the aid of each other in the event a locality is impacted by a disaster. It's a case of "I help you, you help me". Most of the time these agreements work pretty well, perhaps even in the Philippines. The thing is, what happened in the Philippines was not a disaster. It was a catastrophe. In a catastrophe there is destruction to such a wide extent that Mutual Aid becomes non-existent as contiguous towns and cities sustain damage and destruction that leaves them unable to help themselves, never mind sending resources to neighboring locations. Damage to critical infrastructure, such as roads and bridges over hundreds and hundreds of miles around serves to hamper response efforts to an incredible degree. Unaffected localities cannot assist even if they wanted to. Wide spread destruction to farms can wipe out an entire harvest leading to famine that in many cases could cause more deaths and misery than the inciting event. So what is the crux of the situation now facing governments worldwide? It is the reliance on disaster plans that become more or less useless during catastrophic events.
Many will say "you can't plan for everything" and to an extent that is true. Plans that are written trying to cover every aspect of disaster response often become unwieldy and terribly rigid allowing no room for flexibility in the event of unforeseen situations and circumstances. But  I believe that  Emergency and Disaster planners need to rethink the whole notion of Emergency and Disaster planning and begin to lend some focus to planning for catastrophic events such as Typhoon Yolanda. As it has been made terribly clear in the Philippines catastrophes are qualitatively different and much worse than disasters and it's time for officials to realize that and plan accordingly.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Low Intelligence Linked To Conservative Ideology

A researcher at Brock University in Ontario has found a correlation between low IQ's , conservative ideology and racism. Children with low intelligence were more likely to hold prejudiced views as adults. They were also more likely to be pro-gun, hoard food in expectation of the End Times, vote Republican and join groups such as the Tea Party. Oddly, many of them professed to having a best friend who was African American.

Alabama Police Officers Gather To Talk Safety

Police officers from across the state of Alabama will congregate in Bessemer for two days of lectures on the topic of police safety. Some of the topics slated for lecture include:

Mass shootings: Waiting Until The Shooter Is Absolutely Dead, In Rigor Mortis, Before Entering The Scene

How To Access Tons Of Military Grade Weapons Even If Your Town Hasn't Seen A Felony Since The Hoover Administration

"I've Tasered The Bastard 9 Times And He's Still Breathing: Now What?"

"Roadside Body Cavity Checks: Not Only For Pretty Women"

and the ever popular

"Giving A Suspect The Business When There Might Be Cameras Around"

First Recipient Of The Rock Award: This Guy's Got Balls!


 Pyotr Pavlensky is a Russian performance artist ticked off by what he feels is his country's decent into a police state. Seeking to make his grievances known to the world he decided to undertake a one-man protest that he believed would draw widespread attention to his cause. Lighting on the annual celebration of Russia's police known as Police Day, Mr. Pavlensky made his way to Red Square where he undressed to his bare skin, sat down and proceeded to nail his scrotum to the pavement! That's right! He nailed his most private of parts to the cold cobblestone of Red Square! Such a display of fortitude! Of sincerity! Imagine a man who would perform a sidewalk vasectomy on himself in the fight against tyranny! This man is now my hero. I will use him as a model of guts, determination and uprightness (uprightness?). 
Today I declare Pytor Pavlensky  the first winner of the Rock award, an award given to those who through their actions display an  incredible fortitude, bravery and, of course balls in standing up to tyranny.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Cops Probe Man's Anus For 14 Hours. And You Were Worried About Aliens?

A Deming, New Mexico was put through a 14 hour rectal exam by police after he was pulled over for going through a stop sign. Police on the scene became suspicious when a drug sniffing dog seemed to indicate that there was drug residue on the seat where the driver had shortly before been seated. Police at that time also seemed to notice that the driver was "holding his butt checks squeezed together". That was all the evidence  police needed. The driver was taken to a local hospital where they demanded of the medical staff that they perform a digital inspection of the driver's rectum. The doctor in charge, described by one of the officers as "a pinko, commie tree hugger, Obama lover" refused to go along with the officers on the absurd grounds that such an exam would be "unethical". Rather than shoot the doctor dead for his seemingly hostile answer to their request police than transported the man to another hospital where staff was more accommodating to the officers requests. How accommodating were they? Well they performed 3 digital rectal exams, inserted 3 enemas into his rectum, each time which the driver was forced to defecate in front of police. They took x-rays of his abdomen. All came up negative for drugs. Did this deter the police? Not yet! The driver was then forced to undergo a colonoscopy where a camera was inserted in his rectum and then pushed into his colon and intestines, again in a failed attempt to find drugs. To add insult to injury the driver was then billed by the hospital for the procedures they forced upon him! The man is now suing the police department for the violation of the driver's civil rights.
As hard as it is to believe this is a true story! This actually happened! A man's body and dignity were violated by a group of what could only be described as a group of sadomasochists with badges and guns! Again, like the roadside cavity searches undergone by females during car stops in Texas and the forced blood draws in Georgia, there is no public outrage surrounding this incident. People are not shocked by instances like these. Why? I feel it's because most American's think themselves as immune from such incidents, a sense of " nothing like that can ever happen to me". Well guess what?If you drive a car, walk down the street, sing in the shower it can happen to you. 
An incident like this goes much farther than your run  of the mill police brutality case. It appears that the police here were interested not in finding drugs but in totally degrading another human being, a fellow American citizen for none other than their own twisted enjoyment.