MAY 27, 2005

These are the Ramblings of a small town, (Holden, population 2,700), Missouri, country lawyer. They contain my random thoughts and observations on current events and my life and experiences in the Solo Practice of law.
Compiled here are the Ramblings for 2002 - 2005. 

Archived Prior Ramblings

In Memorium:
September 11, 2001

  02-22-02  03-30-02  04-05-02
  04-21-02  04-27-02  05-01-02
  05-03-02  05-10-02  05-17-02
  05-31-02  06-21-02  06-26-02
  06-29-02  07-04-02  07-05-02
  07-12-02  08-02-02  08-10-02
  08-21-02  08-23-02  08-30-02
  09-06-02  09-11-02  09-11-02F
  09-13-02  09-20-02  09-27-02
  10-04-02  10-11-02  10-18-02
  10-25-02  11-01-02  11-08-02
  11-15-02  11-22-02  11-29-02
  12-06-02  12-13-02  12-20-02

  01-03-03  01-10-03  01-10-03R
  01-17-03  01-24-03  01-31-03
  02-07-03  02-14-03  02-21-03
  02-28-03  03-07-03  03-14-03
  03-21-03  03-28-03  04-04-03
  04-11-03  04-18-03  04-25-03
  05-02-03  05-09-03  05-16-03
  05-23-03  05-30-03  06-06-03
  06-20-03  06-27-03  07-04-03
  07-11-03  07-18-03  07-25-03
  08-01-03  08-08-03  08-15-03
  08-22-03  08-29-03  09-05-03
  09-12-03  09-19-03  09-26-03
  10-03-03  10-10-03  10-17-03
  10-24-03  10-31-03  11-07-03
  11-14-03  11-21-03  11-28-03
  12-05-03  12-12-03  12-19-03

  01-02-04  01-09-04  01-16-04
  01-23-04  01-30-04  02-06-04
  02-13-04  02-20-04  02-27-04
  03-05-04  03-12-04  03-19-04
  03-29-04  04-02-04  04-09-04
  04-16-04  04-23-04  04-30-04
  05-07-04  05-14-04  05-21-04
  05-28-04  06-11-04  06-18-04
  06-25-04  07-09-04  07-16-04
  07-23-04  07-30-04  08-06-04
  08-13-04  08-20-04  08-27-04
  09-03-04  09-10-04  09-17-04
  09-24-04  10-01-04  10-08-04
  10-15-04  10-22-04  10-29-04
  11-05-04  10-12-04  11-19-04
  11-26-04  12-03-04  12-10-04
  12-17-04  12-24-04  12-30-04
  01-07-05  01-14-05  01-21-05
  01-28-05  02-04-05  02-11-05
  02-18-05  02-25-05  03-04-05
  03-11-05  03-18-05  03-25-05
  04-02-05  04-08-05  04-15-05
  04-22-05  04-29-05  05-06-05
  05-13-05  05-20-05  05-27-05
Greets and Huggers. Posted the evening of May 27, 2005. A walk down memory lane. In the February 6, 2004 Ramblings, I wrote ..... "Been monitoring the "Avian Flu" outbreaks in South East Asia. Type "A" Influenza virus, (the type that infects humans), can be hosted by several species, usually mammals like pigs, horses, seals and whales. "Influenza A viruses can be divided into subtypes on the basis of their surface proteins ­ hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA). There are 15 known H subtypes. While all subtypes can be found in birds, only 3 subtypes of HA (H1, H2 and H3) and two subtypes of NA (N1 and N2) are known to have circulated widely in humans." The varieties that are hosted primarily by wild birds are called "Avian Influenza"(H5N1). They do not seem to harm wild birds but ARE fatal to chickens. Historically, human infection by "Avian Influenza" is extremely rare, (requiring contact with an infected bird), with the most notable human infection occurring in Hong Kong in 1997, resulting in the destruction of 1.5 million chickens and the hospitalization of 18 persons, with 6 of those persons dying. The outbreak in Vietnam is particularly alarming because it may be the first reported human to human infection, (apparently a boy infected his two sisters, all three children died), of "Avian Flu". The World Health Organization, (WHO) and the Center for Disease Control, (CDC), both conduct extensive surveillance programs to monitor the occurrence of influenza activity worldwide, because of a "Pandemic Flu Risk". They report outbreaks in Cambodia, China, Hong Kong (in a single peregrine falcon), Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Pakistan, Thailand, and Vietnam, (with confirmed deaths in Vietnam, China and Cambodia). This strain of "Avian Flu" is particularly virulent and if this strain can human to human transmit, (the evidence now suggests that it can), as a species, we could be in trouble. Flu pandemics are a real threat "1918-19, "Spanish flu," [A (H1N1)], caused the highest number of known flu deaths more than 500,000 people died in the United States, and 20 million to 50 million people may have died worldwide." .... "1957-58, "Asian flu," [A (H2N2)], caused about 70,000 deaths in the United States. First identified in China in late February 1957, the Asian flu spread to the United States by June 1957." .... "1968-69, "Hong Kong flu," [A (H3N2)], caused approximately 34,000 deaths in the United States. This virus was first detected in Hong Kong in early 1968 and spread to the United States later that year. Type A (H3N2) viruses still circulate today." As a species and as individuals, we have encountered the flu bug many times as a result, we have primed immune systems that can fight off current flu bugs due to these prior contacts. On the other hand, the "Avian Flu" bug is totally different our immune systems are unarmed. If a person contacts H5N1 and is already infected with one of the "normal" bugs, the two could recombine, resulting in a "superbug". The 1918 Spanish Flu had a mortality rate of 1.1% and killed more folks in one year than 4 years of the Black Plague. In our first recorded encounter with "Avian Flu" in 1997, the kill rate was 33%. Think about it 33% and there is no "flu shot". There will be no "flu shot" until we develop new technology to produce it because this bug kills the fertilized chicken eggs that are used to produce the vaccine. Be worried, (on the news this evening, 18 persons have now been confirmed H5N1 infected ... 11 have died ... with this strain, the kill rate is 61%)."

In the February 13, 2004 Ramblings, I wrote ... "In the last Ramblings, I shared with you my concern over Avian Flu A[H5N1]. There are now 27 confirmed human infections, with 20 being fatal, (that's a 74% kill rate). Earlier this week, Delaware confirmed two cases of Avian Flu A [H7N2] and today, New Jersey confirmed 4 cases of A [H7N2]. In birds, "Infection causes a wide spectrum of symptoms in birds, ranging from mild illness to a highly contagious and rapidly fatal disease resulting in severe epidemics. The latter is known as 'highly pathogenic avian influenza". This form is characterized by sudden onset, severe illness, and rapid death, with a mortality that can approach 100%." A [H7N2] and A [H5N1] are classified by CDC as "highly pathogenic" because within 6 months to a year they mutate. The first reported case of A [H5N1] was reported on December 12, 2003 we are two months into this outbreak and it is still spreading. Be worried."

In the October 4, 2004 Ramblings, I wrote ... "as it turns out, 42 people were infected and 30 died as a result" ... This week a confirmation that Avian Flu has crossed over it can now be transmitted human to human. The question now is not if there will be a Pandemic the question now, is, when and do we, as a species, have enough time to prepare. You can stop being worried be REALLY SCARED!"

In the January 21, 2005 Ramblings, I wrote ... "Been watching the "Bird Flu" for the past year for those interested, click HERE for the Webpage I watch.  In the past 3 weeks, 7 persons have died from it, (the good news it does not appear to be human to human infection, YET, but instead, contact with infected birds.) It is only a matter of time before the bug mutates when it does, there will be hell to pay! Be worried."

In the February 4, 2005 Ramblings, I wrote .... "In other news "A New England Journal of Medicine report concludes the world should begin preparing now for the strong possibility that a recent bird flu outbreak in Asia could turn into a deadly global epidemic. Officials are alarmed at one particular sign of trouble the virus, which has been spreading from birds to humans for several months, now appears to be starting to spread among humans .... a Flu pandemic could kill one billion people around the world, say experts." The expected death rate in our America will exceed 700,000 persons a pandemic would wipe out whole populations in the developing world, (without adequate health care, Avian Flu has an 80% kill rate). It's coming. Be worried."

In the March 11, 2005 Ramblings, I wrote .... "In the February 6, 2004 Ramblings I wrote about the disaster we, as a species, are facing WHEN the Avian Flu mutates into an airborne form capable of infecting humans. Then I reported, it would take about a year. This week "A string of bird flu infections in northern Vietnam involving several families has raised troubling questions over whether the deadly virus that has killed 46 people in Asia may be changing ... " What is problematic with the report this week? Of the latest 7 people testing positive for Avian Flu, 2 showed no symptoms associated with infection, meaning that the H5N1 virus has mutated one step closer to becoming a pandemic pathogen. We have made no appreciable progress in developing a vaccine. There are NO vaccines available against Avian Flu (H5N1), although many governments, including our America are stockpiling "Tamiflu" , the only known anti-influenza drug currently available. Unfortunately, it is only effective if taken within 48 hours "... the antiviral medications that can stop the flu episode need to be prescribed and treatment begun within 48 hours of the first symptoms." Sort of like focusing on stockpiling band aids for a syphilitic chancre, rather than scrambling to develop an antibiotic to treat the underlying disease! I fail to understand, when EVERYONE is in agreement, that WHEN, NOT IF, the Avian Flu Pandemic hits ... that millions will die, (keep in mind, the Spanish Flu of 1918 had a kill rate of 1.2% and killed between 20 to 40 million people ... the Avian Flu has a KILL RATE OF 70%!!!) .... and we are not SCRAMBLING to develop an effective vaccine for it!!"

In the March 18, 2005 Ramblings, I wrote .... "In an "avian flu" update good news. "Using new methods to make influenza vaccines instead of the current egg-based approach could cut production time in half .... By building a separate cell culture facility and shipping the cell to the existing bio-manufacturing plants, the production cycle could be cut in half to two months .." In bad news "The World Health Organization is investigating a possible outbreak of avian influenza in North Korea ..." . So a nutcase, who possesses nuclear weapons, will have to kill a significant portion of his countries fowl population in order to save the non-infected birds but who does not have the technology to determine which ones are .... while a human population which is already starving and has an almost non-existent health care system, watches him do so? <whispering> .... if you have a Kia or a Hundai .... order your spare parts now!"

So ... here we are.

This week, "China rushed to shut down all its national parks, sealed off Lake Qinghai, and ordered the vaccination of millions of poultry across vast areas of western China? Reported on the "Recombinomics Website" [click on the "Home Founder" link ... this is not some crackpot] ... "The May 24 update of the bird flu situation in Qinghai has the number of H5N1 cases increasing from 51 to 121, and the number dead increasing from 6 to 11. These reports are not confirmed. The Xining News indicates a news blackout has now been imposed." ... and today ... "A web-based Chinese-language news service called Boxun (Abundant News), which allows correspondents to freely post information on its site, reported on 25 May that 121 people in 18 villages in the sparsely-settled western province of Qinghai have died of bird flu, and more are ill. Some 1300 people, have been isolated, it reports ..." China's official Xinhua news agency denied any human infections with H5N1 bird flu in the region. I pray, I'm wrong ... but it appears, the Flu Pandemic of 2005 - 2006 may have begun. Guess you and I will watch to see what happens. There is nothing else we can do ... is there?

While here, on the home front, the Greedy Mental Munchkins, (seems the Republican Party has more than most), at work, "Congress Examines Nonprofit Hospitals "  Congress should review tax exemptions for charity hospitals to determine whether the relief provides the community benefit that justifies the expense, the chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee said Thursday. "We really can't tell the difference, all that much, between a for-profit and a not-for-profit," said Rep. Bill Thomas, R-Calif. "What is the taxpayer getting in return for the tens of billions of dollars per year in tax subsidy?" "All that much"? How about a hospital that doesn't pay it's CEO, a 6 figure bonus or make 6 figure political contributions? How about a hospital that serves the community, it's patients ... instead of it's shareholders? No doubt, tough to see, when you have your medical needs/wants covered by America's tax payers. Those of us who fork out an ever increasing percentage of our monthly income for health insurance ... must have better eyes. We have NO trouble seeing it! Does the word "obscene" [repulsive by reason of crass disregard of moral or ethical principles], have meaning? So share with me ... would you rather see a Hospital paying it's staff more or would you rather see them using the money to pay dividends to the Hospital corporation's shareholders? Wasn't this the same issue faced by the health insurance industry, when they privatized, became "for profit"?

In other health related news, "Federal health officials are examining rare reports of blindness among some men using the impotence drugs Viagra and Cialis ... " I wonder if it works like masturbation? Can you keep taking it until you need glasses? I suppose the good news .... there IS hope for ugly women. Another study released this week found that, "Researchers have identified a link between exposure in the womb to widely used chemicals known as phthalates and adverse effects on genital development in male babies ..." The male babies are born with functioning but much smaller scrotums and penises. [The results are consistent with findings in animal studies.] "Phthalate" use increased in the 90's and they are now part of, used in plastic softeners, cosmetics, perfumes, additives to hairsprays, lubricants and wood finishes in our America. Their use is banned in Europe. I wonder why? Perhaps Europeans prefer to have their male babies born with "normal" sized genitalia? <whispering> ... in a couple of generations, will American male lawyers have "balls" large enough to compete with their European counterparts?

Read an interesting article this week, "What is torture? A primer on American Interrogation." "This series provides the facts and law to illuminate and add depth to the torture debate­not to persuade you to support or oppose it, but to help you formulate your own views on where the acceptable boundaries may lie. We've tried to separate facts from analysis, using principally the primary documents made available through government reports, leaks, or Freedom of Information Act requests. The aim is to inform the national conversation about the way America acts in the war against terror." Go figure ... this was a featured article in the German newspaper, Der Spiegel, (the English on-line version.) A fascinating, thought provoking read!

Sitting here editing these Ramblings, sipping on some Cream Sherry and thinking about the panic caused by last years flu vaccine shortage. Since migratory waterfowl are Avian Flu vectors, there is no way we could keep it out of America. How will folks react to a full blown pandemic? Would whole parts of the country be quarantined? I wonder how Susan and I could prepare? On the evening news, Viagra warnings ... and a statement ... "1 out of 5 drugs approved by the FDA, have serious unknown side affects discovered after being released to the general population." Better living through chemistry, heh? In Indonesia, Australian model Schapelle Corby was sentenced to 20 years in prison for smuggling 90 pounds of Marijuana, (she alleged the dope was planted by Australian baggage handlers). The ring leader of last years bomb attack, in Indonesia, that killed over 200 people, was sentenced to 2 1/2 years. Indonesia relies heavily on Australian tourists and Australia responded quickly and massively, with Tsunami relief earlier this year. I think the good folks in Indonesia will soon discover how a "boycott" affects tourism. Had my annual physical today. If you know of any way to maintain a sense of dignity, when your doctor says "cough" or "time to check your prostrate" ... would you share it with me? The "cough" part wasn't too bad, I just imagined Susan was saying it. As for the other, I just closed my eyes, clenched my teeth and tried to ignore the feeling that comes from someone poking the back, the very base of your tongue, (sure felt that way!)

Tonight, as I hold my Lady, looking forward to a quiet 3 day weekend at Ft Timmerman, I will whisper a prayer I have shared with you many times, (and asked if you would care to join me in saying it) ... <whispering ... Please, Please, Please, God, let our men and women in uniform come home safe and soon! Be and sleep well, knowing the best there is, is on watch so you can. As always ...

A Warm Brotherly Hug

Karl (the dumb ole country lawyer from Holden, Missouri)


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Karl H. Timmerman M.A.J.D. © 2005
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