The next flu pandemic?

Maybe.

Usually, when there’s a bird flu outbreak, scientists see sick birds before sick humans. This strain of flu doesn’t appear to cause symptoms in poultry, which makes it hard to trace and difficult to predict. When the 1997 bird flu hit, on the other hand, it killed nearly 100 percent of flu-infected chickens.

Another thing worth noting is that the H7 strain of flu hasn’t been identified in humans before, according to Osterholm. That means that we have no residual protection or immunity to the disease, which matters for two reasons: It means this flu could make us sicker, and that the vaccine will probably need more antigen in each dose to be effective. If we need more antigen—Osterholm guesses we’ll need 3 or 4 times as much—for each vaccine, that’s fewer vaccines to go around.

Is the US prepared for a bird flu pandemic?

As of Friday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had issued an advisory to doctors asking them to help identify any bird flu-like cases. The CDC has also started working on making a “seed strain,” which is essentially a prototype vaccine that can be copied by pharmaceutical companies to produce a vaccine.

Still, vaccines aren’t perfect. Osterholm emphasizes that avian flu vaccines aren’t 100 percent effective: “It would take months to do it,” he said, and there wouldn’t be enough of the vaccine to be distributed worldwide, at least not at first. So far there haven’t been any reports of people hoarding Tamiflu, the antiviral medicine people whose demand soared as fears rose around the avian flu outbreak in 2005.

This can’t be true

I’m sure Glenn Beck would have mentioned it!

While Republicans are quick to pounce on any proposals to raise taxes as a means of stimulating the economy, a new study finds that the U.S. collects a smaller share in taxes than most developed countries.

A look at 2010 data reveals that the U.S. is one of the least taxed countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), according to a study released Monday by Citizens For Tax Justice.

6.3

In Iran, epicenter near nuclear power station. USGS says deaths may be in the thousands.

NRA! NRA!

So a 4-year-old shoots a 6-year-old. If only the 6-year-old had been armed!

TOMS RIVER, N.J. – April 9, 2013 (WPVI) — A 6-year-old is in a New Jersey hospital with a gunshot wound, and police say the shooter was a 4-year-old neighbor.

It appears the shooting happened just after 7:00 p.m. Monday in the yard of a home on McCormick Drive in Toms River, Ocean County.

According to police, a 4-year-old child shot his 6-year-old neighbor with a .22 caliber rifle.

There are reports the younger child’s mother is the one who called police.

Another one dead

This seems to happen a lot with cop’s weapons:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Authorities say a 4-year-old boy grabbed a loaded gun at a family cookout and accidentally shot and killed the wife of a Tennessee sheriff’s deputy.

Investigators say Wilson County Deputy Daniel Fanning on Saturday was showing his weapons to a relative in a bedroom of his Lebanon home when the toddler came in and picked up a gun off the bed. Sheriff Robert Bryan says the weapon discharged, hitting 48-year-old Josephine Fanning.

She was pronounced dead at the scene. The child is not related to her or her husband.

Bryan says the shooting was a terrible accident and that within seconds of Fanning placing the gun on the bed, the toddler picked it up.

The gun was not Fanning’s service weapon and the sheriff says the deputy’s weapons are normally stored in a safe.

Privatize it

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Great idea:

Film director Ken Loach gives his assessment of Margaret Thatcher, and offers a suggestion for her funeral.

“Margaret Thatcher was the most divisive and destructive Prime Minister of modern times.

Mass Unemployment, factory closures, communities destroyed – this is her legacy. She was a fighter and her enemy was the British working class. Her victories were aided by the politically corrupt leaders of the Labour Party and of many Trades Unions. It is because of policies begun by her that we are in this mess today.

Other prime ministers have followed her path, notably Tony Blair. She was the organ grinder, he was the monkey.

Remember she called Mandela a terrorist and took tea with the torturer and murderer Pinochet.

How should we honor her? Let’s privatize her funeral. Put it out to competitive tender and accept the cheapest bid. It’s what she would have wanted.”

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