WHO raises swine flu alert to 'pandemic level 5'

The World Health Organization has raised its pandemic alert for swine flu to the second highest level, meaning that it believes a global outbreak of the disease is imminent.

WHO says the phase 5 alert means there is sustained human-to-human spread in at least two countries. It also signals that efforts to produce a vaccine will be ramped up.

WHO has confirmed human cases of swine flu in Mexico, the United States, Canada, Britain, Israel, New Zealand and Spain. Mexico and the U.S. have reported deaths.

WHO Director-General Margaret Chan made the decision Wednesday to raise the alert level from phase 4 — signifying transmission in only one country — after reviewing the latest scientific evidence on the outbreak.

"It is important to take this very seriously," Chan told a press conference watched around the globe on Wednesday.

As fear and uncertainty about the disease ricocheted around the globe, nations took all sorts of precautions, some more useful than others.

Britain closed a school after a 12-year-old girl was found to have the disease. Egypt slaughtered all its pigs and the central African nation of Gabon became the latest nation to ban pork imports, despite assurances that swine flu was not related to eating pork.

Cuba eased its flight ban, deciding just to block flights coming in from Mexico. And Asian nations greeted returning airport travelers with teams of medical workers and carts of disinfectants, eager to keep swine flu from infecting their continent.

In Mexico City, the epicenter of the epidemic, the mayor said Wednesday the outbreak seemed to be stabilizing and he was considering easing the citywide shutdown that closed schools, restaurants, concert halls and sports arenas.

Swine flu is suspected of killing more than 150 people in Mexico and sickening over 2,400 there.

Nearly 100 cases have now been confirmed in the U.S. across 11 states, and health officials reported Wednesday that a 23-month-old Mexican boy had died in Texas.

Across Europe, Germany confirmed three swine flu cases and Austria one, while the number of confirmed cases rose to five in Britain and ten in Spain.

WHO conducted a scientific review Wednesday to determine exactly what is known about how the disease spreads, how it affects human health and how it can be treated.

The U.S., the European Union and other countries have discouraged nonessential travel to Mexico. Cuba suspended all regular and charter flights from Mexico to the island but was still allowing airlines to return travelers to Mexico.

Egypt’s government ordered the slaughter of all pigs in the country as a precaution, though no swine flu cases have been reported there. Egypt’s overwhelmingly Muslim population does not eat pork, but farmers raise up to 350,000 pigs for its Christian minority.

In Australia, officials were testing more than 100 people with flu symptoms for the virus and the government gave health authorities wide powers to contain contagious diseases.

“(We can make) sure that people are isolated and perhaps detained if they don’t cooperate and are showing symptoms,” said Health Minister Nicola Roxon.


A Mistake? That's an Understatement!!!

A photo-op over the Manhattan skyline that sent thousands of New Yorkers running for their lives has officials in Washington, D.C., running for cover.

Many New Yorkers on Tuesday were asking what the Obama administration could have been thinking when it authorized an Air Force One backup plane to fly over the city for photos capturing the presidential plane with the Statue of Liberty in the background.

The 747 plane, with an F-16 escort following close behind, circled the Statue of Liberty and the skyline near the World Trade Center site for about a half-hour. Offices were evacuated. Emergency call centers were inundated. Witnesses reported that the planes were flying dangerously low

The site evoked memories of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and left White House Military Office Director Louis Caldera accepting responsibility and apologizing late Monday for permitting the exercise that infuriated New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who had not been alerted to the flyover.

President Obama, who was meeting with FBI Director Robert Mueller and other senior officials at the FBI on Tuesday, called the photo-op "a mistake."

Just leave it to the sophomoric amateurs running the White House to pull an idiotic stunt like this one. Since they got a pass on all the blunders they have made overseas I guess they figured they would try making some huge ones here and see how they would play to the kool-aid drunk masses. And by the way, this little stunt cost you and me (the taxpayers) $328,000.


Are We on the Verge of a Pandemic?

Published Date: 26 April 2009
By Kate Foster
THE World Health Organisation was last night trying to find a way to halt the spread of a deadly new strain of flu across the world.
After a crisis meeting following the deaths of up to 68 people in Mexico, WHO declared swine flu could turn into a pandemic.

More than 1,000 others are reported to have been infected by the virus in Mexico. Health officials believe at least eight schoolchildren in New York have the virus. In addition residents of Kansas, Texas and California have developed symptoms, raising fears the outbreak could hit thousands more.

In London, a British Airways cabin crew member was admitted to hospital yesterday after arriving on a flight from Mexico City.

The flu combines genetic material from pigs, birds and humans in a way scientists have not seen before. The fact that many deaths are among young adults is a hallmark of pandemic flu. WHO says 12 of the Mexican cases have been laboratory confirmed as genetically identical to the swine flu virus detected in the US.

The global health body has said that so far there is no evidence of similar outbreaks elsewhere in the world. But it has advised other countries to look out following the discovery of related strains on both sides of the Mexico-US border. Further measures, such as travel restrictions, may be put in place if the virus spreads.

The virus appears to cause flu-like symptoms that can develop into severe pneumonia. Swine flu is endemic in pigs, but unlike bird flu is able to pass from human to human. There have been three major outbreaks around the world in the past century, including the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, in which the virus mutated into a human form in months, killing 50 million people worldwide.

A WHO spokesman said: "We are very, very concerned. We have what appears to be a novel virus and it has spread from human to human. It's all hands on deck at the moment.

"We do seem to have found incidents of the same illness on both sides of the border in various locations. We're not sure exactly of the transmission routes, where the initial infection came from, how efficient it is in transmitting."

WHO is also questioning why no one has died in the US so far, while there have been confirmed deaths in Mexico. Some parts of the Mexican capital, population 20 million, have ground to a standstill over the crisis. Most of the fatalities have occurred in the city. Mexican authorities have urged people to avoid hospitals unless they have a medical emergency. They also say the public should avoid customary greetings such as shaking hands or kissing.

At Mexico City's international airport, passengers were questioned to try to prevent anyone with flu symptoms from boarding aircraft and spreading the disease.

Mexico City officials said yesterday they are suspending all public events for another 10 days to try to contain the epidemic. A hotline set up the previous day fielded 2,366 calls from frightened city residents who suspected they might have the disease. The Mexican government has given the health department powers to isolate patients and inspect homes, incoming travellers and baggage.

The United Nations health agency has warned for several years that a new virus strain could spark an influenza pandemic that could sweep the globe, killing millions.

This outbreak is particularly alarming as deaths have occurred in at least four regions of Mexico and because the victims have not been vulnerable infants and elderly. The 1918 outbreak also first struck the young and healthy.

Scientists say the current seasonal flu vaccine is not believed to offer protection against this swine flu. But anti-viral drug Tamiflu appears to be fully effective against the H1N1 virus. However, WHO says it is too soon to advise drug firms to switch to producing a new vaccine.

What is a pandemic?

A pandemic is an epidemic of an infectious disease that spreads through populations across a region or across the globe. The criteria for a pandemic are that the disease is new, infects humans, like the swine flu virus, left, and causes serious illness and spreads easily. One major fear is that a virus will spread from birds or animals to humans, creating a new highly lethal strain.

Welcome Tyson Jackson to the Kansas City Chiefs

Tyson Jackson (born June 6, 1986 in New Orleans, Louisiana) is an American football defensive end for the Kansas City Chiefs of the National Football League. He was drafted by the Chiefs with the third overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. He played college football at LSU.


Tony Gonzalez Traded to the Falcons

The Kansas City Chiefs have just traded the greatest Tight End of all time to the Atlanta Falcons for nothing but a 2nd round pick in next year's draft. This is a sad day indeed. Thank you #88 for all you have given to the fans here in Kansas City!!! You will ALWAYS be remembered as a Chief and I hope you choose to go into the Hall of Fame as a Chief. Farewell Tony G. You are the very best of the Chiefs and you will be greatly missed.


What Are Burnt Ends?

As many people asked me what a burnt end was I figured I should enlighten everyone as to the goodness that is the burnt end. I had never thought that they were primarily found here in Kansas City. A word of caution to all you health nuts out there -- give it a rest for just one day. FAT IS FLAVOR!!! So here we go. What is a burnt end?

Burnt ends are flavorful pieces of meat cut from the ends of a smoked brisket. A traditional part of Kansas City Barbecue, burnt ends are considered a delicacy in barbecue cooking. They are traditionally a leftover result of smoked beef or pork brisket, but can also be made by returning pieces of the brisket to the smoker for further cooking. Burnt ends can be served alone (usually smothered in barbecue sauce) or in sandwiches, as well as in a variety of other dishes, including baked beans and gumbo.

That is a pretty good description of burnt ends but it does not go anywhere near close enough to describe the yummy, meaty goodness that is burnt ends. Think of burnt ends as the little bits of meat you stole from the roast that your mom just brought out of the oven. Or the tiny bits of the Thanksgiving turkey that never made it to the table. My sympathy goes out to anyone that has not had an opportunity to try a burnt end sandwich. If anyone comes to visit me here in Missouri I will certainly take you out for one!!!


Papa is One Year Older!!!

The cake which my beautiful wife and girls made for me.

One of my gifts - a new flag for our flag pole.

Today is my birthday! I had the pleasure of spending the day with my family which is my favorite pastime. We went to a local BBQ joint here and had a wonderful feast of ribs, smoked pork, sausage, ham, burnt ends, brisket, baked beans, cole slaw, texas toast, and potato wedge french fries. After that we went to my sister's house for chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting and ice cream. I am a very lucky and extremely loved man/servant/son/husband/Papa. For that I am eternally grateful to God my Heavenly Father.


John Madden Retires

NEW YORK - John Madden’s last game as a football announcer was a thrilling Super Bowl decided in the final seconds.

The perfect ending to a run as one of sports’ most popular broadcasters, now that Madden called it a career Thursday. Yet it didn’t fit Madden’s style to think about his retirement that way.

“I’m a grinder,” he said on his Bay Area radio show. “You just grind and get through it and when it’s all over, you think about it. You don’t rush into any decisions.”

Madden’s exuberance for football and blue-collar persona endeared him to TV viewers for three decades. Boom! As sudden as his signature call, he’s leaving midway through a six-year contract with NBC’s “Sunday Night Football.”

“I think his work ethic and passion and love for the game made him apart from everybody else,” said longtime broadcast partner Pat Summerall.

Madden said his health is fine, but at the age of 73, he wanted to spend more time with his family. His 50th wedding anniversary is this fall, and his five grandchildren are old enough to notice when he’s gone.

“The thing that made it hard is not because I’m second guessing: ‘Is it the right decision?’ But I enjoyed it so damn much,” Madden said. “I enjoyed the game and the players and the coaches and the film and the travel and everything.”

Cris Collinsworth will replace Madden, moving over from the network’s studio show, NBC Sports chief Dick Ebersol said. Collinsworth filled in when Madden took a game off last October.

Ebersol called Madden “the absolute best sports broadcaster who ever lived.”

Madden traveled by bus because of a fear of flying, and with the two Bay Area teams struggling and not hosting any Sunday night games, he would be on the road and away from his family the entire season.

Not that Madden expects to sit at home all the time. He’ll keep using the bus and stay busy with his many endorsements. His “Madden NFL Football” is the top-selling sports video game of all time.

Still, he noted this will be his first season away from the sport since he was a freshman in high school.

Madden was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006. He began his pro career as a linebacker coach at Oakland in 1967 and was made head coach two years later, at 33 the youngest coach in what was then the American Football League.


Party On!!!

I could not make it to a TEA Party today. I got a call at work from my daughter's school saying that she was in the nurse's office and needed picked up from school. I got permission to leave work and went and picked her up and spent the day caring for her. My spirit was certainly with those who were attending one of the hundreds of parties around the nation though. But as always, family first.


Practical and Powerful Bravery

Thank you very much to the good men who are fortunate enough to be called Navy Seals. We are glad that you are protecting the American people and we thank you for your bravery and expertise. Somali pirates - you are now put on notice. The MEN have arrived. America does not pay ransom in gold -- we pay it in lead!!!


The Old Rugged Cross

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
the emblem of suffering and shame;
and I love that old cross where the dearest and best
for a world of lost sinners was slain.
So I'll cherish the old rugged cross,
till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
and exchange it some day for a crown.

2. O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
has a wondrous attraction for me;
for the dear Lamb of God left his glory above
to bear it to dark Calvary.

3. In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
a wondrous beauty I see,
for 'twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
to pardon and sanctify me.

4. To that old rugged cross I will ever be true,
its shame and reproach gladly bear;
then he'll call me some day to my home far away,
where his glory forever I'll share.


A Little Good Among the Dismal

Jack Windolf, the CEO of Bollinger Insurance, recently gave his 434 employees a surprise gift: out of his own pocket, he paid each of them $1000. The bonuses, which Windolf called "a mini economic stimulus package," came from $500,000 in deferred compensation that he received when he sold 51 percent of the company last year. Rather than spend the money on himself, he chose to share it with his workers.



Is this our America?

Or is THIS our America?

I know which of these is the land that I LOVE. And I know which of these is the land of the free and the home of the brave. America bows to nobody. Especially not a Saudi king.


White House Endorses Phone Sex?

This is going to be 4 years of comedy and sophomoric stunts. The amateur idiot administration now inhabiting the White House has done it again. As if nominating half a dozen people who haven't paid their taxes wasn't bad enough now we have this:

(CNN) – Journalists who dialed in to a White House conference call Thursday hoping for a media-friendly reception got a far friendlier response than they were counting on.

Instead of hearing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and National Security Advisor Jim Jones on the other end laying out foreign policy and security threats, reporters were greeted by a recording on a phone sex line.

"Do you have any hidden desires? If you feel like getting nasty, then you came to the right place," said a suggestive-sounding woman.

The White House says an aide merely mistyped the 800-dial in number — a mistake not likely to happen again.


A Gift for the Queen

What would be the best gift for the American President to give the Queen of England upon meeting her for the first time and knowing the bond our countries have shared? You guessed it: