Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Peppering You With Posts

You like it with your eggs, right?

"Fork-wielding man in Roxbury disarmed with pepper spray" by Andy Rosen Globe Staff  December 15, 2015

Boston police disarmed a man who was allegedly menacing bystanders in Roxbury with a two-pronged grilling fork Monday, an incident in which authorities say the suspect refused to be taken alive before officers disarmed him using pepper spray.

Police arrived on Washington Street around 1:45 p.m. to investigate a report of a man threatening people. Witnesses said he had been harassing people, and had also threatened to stab employees at the Boston Transitional Clubhouse.

Inside the establishment, officers saw the 35-year-old man carrying the grilling fork in a manner that police said “made officers believe he may use it as a weapon.”

Officers ordered him to drop the more than foot-long fork. He allegedly refused, but police eventually talked him outside of the facility. There, police said, the man allegedly continued to hold the weapon, asking officers to shoot him.

According to police, an officer was able to get close enough to use his department-issued pepper spray, which gave another officer an opening to apprehend him.

The man was accused of assault and battery, assault with a dangerous weapon, and being a disorderly person.


You see? The cops don't always kill you. 

You are going to need that fork though:

"State warning farmers about threat of avian flu" by David Abel Globe Staff  December 14, 2015

HOLLISTON — The new precautions at this and other poultry farms around the state stem from heightened concerns that the flocks could be at risk of an especially virulent strain of avian flu that led to the deaths of millions of birds earlier this year in the Midwest and on the West Coast.

State agricultural officials worry that geese and other waterfowl carrying the virus may have brought the highly contagious disease to Massachusetts while migrating in recent weeks from northern Canada along their East Coast flyways to the Caribbean.

Officials have been warning the owners of poultry farms to closely monitor their chickens, turkeys, and other birds to quickly identify any that appear sick.

Even the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency — which usually responds to hurricanes and blizzards — is focused on the threat.

“We’re building a plan to respond aggressively to eradicate the disease quickly, so we can minimize its spread and impact,” said Kurt Schwartz, director of the agency, which has been working with other state departments on plans to contain any outbreak. “This is a very serious concern, because of the potential impacts of the disease and because the response is going to require substantial resources.”

If even one bird is found with avian flu, a poultry farm would be required to destroy its entire flock — a financial blow to farmers.

Gives me the chills when I see state authorities talking like that; maybe it is necessary, but it's only one step towards viewing the herd of humanity that way.

Unlike with other strains of the disease, there have been no reports of this strain infecting people.

“It’s really scary,” said Adrian Collins, the owner of Out Post Farm, which raises thousands of turkeys a year. “You can’t relax. You don’t know what’s going to happen from one day to the next.”

Not in 21st-century America.

More than 48 million birds were killed between last December and this past June after the avian flu ravaged poultry farms in 15 states, according to the US Department of Agriculture. 

That Holocaust™was more or less ignored by the propaganda pre$$ for the obvious reasons. It would hurt the $tatu$ quo of con$umption. Prices did rise, though.

But state officials, noting that some $950 million worth of poultry died or was culled as a result of the disease, are doing what they can to avoid a similar outbreak in Massachusetts, which has an estimated 4,000 poultry farms and hundreds of other backyard coops.

Schwartz said he’s coordinating with state and federal agencies on a plan that involves surveillance and tests of thousands of poultry and wild birds.

If the state finds a bird carrying the virus, officials plan to impose a quarantine that would seal off a 6.2-mile perimeter around the farm. No products would be allowed to leave those farms without special permission.

The farms would also be required to take specific security precautions, euthanize all their birds within 24 hours, and employ hazardous-waste companies to dispose of their remains.

“This is a highly contagious, lethal virus,” Schwartz said. “Birds can go from healthy to dead in less than a day.”

There hasn’t been any avian flu reported in the United States since chickens in Wright County, Iowa, were found to be carrying the virus on June 17, according to the USDA. A massive program of culling the birds, and the arrival of warm weather — the higher temperature makes it harder for the disease to live — helped eradicate it. Avian flu is spread through feces, nasal discharge, and other bodily fluids.

That seems to be that state's answer to a lot of things. 

Number of death sentences, executions in US continued to decline in 2015

I stand corrected. 

Of course, the cops dole out about 2 a day that never get to trial either way.

However, the virus can survive for prolonged periods in colder temperatures. Federal and state officials are concerned that the virus may have survived as the carriers spent the summer months in northern Canada and the Arctic. 

I heard 'em flying overhead, Didn't think much of it. Happens every year. 

I'm sorry, guys, but I'm all feared out -- even to the point of it being the death of me.

To alert poultry farmers about the threat, officials from the state Department of Agricultural Resources this fall sent letters to about 5,000 residents and have held meetings around the state. Most of the birds have already migrated further south, but the consequences of their passage through the state could be felt for months afterward.

As part of its surveillance efforts, the department has sent inspectors to poultry farms across the state, where this year they have tested about 500 flocks for the virus.

“We’re hoping we don’t find it,” said Michael Cahill, director of the department’s division of animal health. “If this affects a large number of backyard flocks, we’re going to need help.”

His department is working with the state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, which this winter plans to test about 150 wild birds for the virus.

Officials at both departments said no one knows whether the virus has survived in any of the migrating birds, which do not become sick from the disease and show no symptoms.

“At this point, nobody knows if it’s going to come back,” said Andrew Vitz, an ornithologist at the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, who encouraged residents to report any die-offs of wild birds.

Farmers praised the state for trying to plan ahead.

“This is a real threat, and the state appears to be doing everything it can,” said Brad Mitchell, deputy executive director of the Massachusetts Farm Bureau, a Marlborough-based trade group for farmers, who estimated there are 145,000 birds on state farms.

At Bob’s Turkey Farm in Lancaster, the owners aren’t taking any chances.

They, too, have cut the number of visitors and require anyone walking on their 11 acres to disinfect their shoes in a foot bath. They have also raised their prices to pay for the new security measures.

“We’re as careful as we think we can be,” said Sue Miner, the farm’s treasurer.

But their birds usually have free range around the property, and she worries about things they can’t stop, such as geese droppings landing on the farm from flying birds.

“It’s totally frightening,” she said. “If we had a sick bird before Thanksgiving, it would have put us out of business. There would be no recovering from that.”

Yes, thankfully Thanksgiving has passed without incident.



"A dengue fever vaccine developed by the French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi has been approved for use by Mexico, the first approval in the world for any vaccine for the disease, which afflicts tens of millions of people around the world and is becoming an increasing threat. Sanofi said in a news release Wednesday that the vaccine, which it is calling Dengvaxia, was approved by Mexico’s Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risk for prevention of dengue in people 9 to 45 years old living in endemic areas. But it is still uncertain how widely the vaccine will be deployed, both in Mexico and other countries, because of limits to its effectiveness and national budgets."

Also seeHawaii’s dengue fever outbreak grows

Also related:

"The French pharmaceutical company Sanofi and German drug maker Boehringer Ingelheim said Tuesday that they were in “exclusive negotiations” on a potential asset swap that would make Sanofi one of the world’s largest manufacturers of nonprescription medicines. Sanofi would send its animal health business to Boehringer and Sanofi would get 4.7 billion euros (about $5.2 billion) in cash and Boehringer’s consumer health care business, excluding its operations in China."

Also see:

Liberia releases last two patients in latest outbreak of Ebola virus

Guinea declared Ebola-free by officials

It's almost time for brunch and I'm musing over the hundreds of foodborne illness outbreaks each year in deciding where to eat out:

"E. coli illnesses linked to Chipotle reported in three additional states" by Craig Giammona Bloomberg News  December 22, 2015

NEW YORK — Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., still reeling from recent outbreaks of E. coli and norovirus at its restaurants, is now being investigated for its link to a new spate of illnesses in three additional states.

Five people in Kansas, North Dakota, and Oklahoma have fallen ill from an E. coli strain with a rare DNA fingerprint, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday.


The new report may further damage Chipotle’s reputation, which has been battered in recent weeks by an outbreak of E. coli that afflicted at least 53 people in nine states. That was followed by a norovirus contagion at a Brighton location that sickened more than 140 Boston College students. The company has estimated that sales will fall as much as 11 percent in the fourth quarter as the illnesses highlight the company’s food-safety struggles.

The shares fell as much as 6.1 percent to $508.10 in New York after the CDC released its statement. Denver-based Chipotle already had tumbled 21 percent this year through last week in the wake of the earlier outbreaks.

Chipotle said the three most recently reported illnesses all stemmed from two restaurants: one in Oklahoma and one in Kansas.  Chris Arnold, a Chipotle spokesman, said in an e-mailed statement that the company thinks the illnesses are connected to the larger, previously reported outbreak.

“We believe they are related, and are working with the CDC and FDA while they investigate,” Arnold said.

The CDC released information about the new illnesses as part of an update on the wider outbreak....


Some after dinner mints:

"The Cleveland Circle opening will be a bright spot for Chipotle amid a seemingly ceaseless stream of bad news. “Generally, the place was run pretty well.”

May take a wee bit longer for things to brighten up.

Water leak delays Chipotle reopening in Cleveland Circle

"City officials cleared it on Wednesday to resume operations, but an unrelated water leak led the company to keep it shut for a few extra days. The incident is unrelated to the national outbreak of E. coli infections linked to food from the Chipotle chain, which affected 52 people across nine states."

While we are waiting for a table at Chipotle....

“… To make customers sure that things are under control, the head of Boston’s restaurant inspection program ate at Chipotle in Cleveland Circle. Commissioner William Christopher was also among those people who ate at the restaurant on Monday. He ordered a bowl with steak, chicken, peppers, onions, and lettuce. “The food was wonderful. There were no side effects or anything”, he said in a statement after the meal.” -- h/t

A CIA plot to cause disease and sow fear?

Mother sues Chipotle over son’s bout of norovirus

It's first in a likely string of lawsuits because “Chipotle needs to be held responsible for what happened.”


Do YOU know who is in the kitchen cooking your meal?

"E-mails detail effort to quell ‘Top Chef’ dispute" By Milton J. Valencia Globe Staff  December 30, 2015

The first e-mail from the film location scout arrived just after 10:30 on June 5, 2014, a Thursday night.

“As I predicted the Teamsters have found the film set and are really (upset),” the scout, Derek Cunningham, complained to a city official. “The phone calls to my cell have started. I know it’s only going to get worse.”

The e-mail landed in the inbox of Ken Brissette, the city’s director of tourism, sports, and entertainment. It was how Brissette learned the “Top Chef” television show had been filming in Boston with nonunion workers. “I was not aware of that ugh,” he wrote to Cunningham just before 8 a.m. the next day.

Later that evening, he added: “We are going to have to talk about this mess.”

The exchange was part of a series of e-mails released to reporters this week in response to a public records request, and the missives show the behind-the-scenes efforts of city officials, Teamsters, and “Top Chef” producers to resolve a nasty labor dispute — one that eventually led to a federal indictment of five Teamsters in September, entangling the administration of Mayor Martin J. Walsh, who was elected with union support.

Walsh had been in office less than six months when the Teamsters dispute with “Top Chef” erupted. He was previously a labor leader who had been paid to advocate on behalf of the Teamsters and other unions. While serving as a state representative, he proposed legislation to benefit unions.

The Teamsters were accused of harassing and intimidating “Top Chef” crew members during a protest outside the Steel & Rye restaurant in Milton, in an alleged effort to extort jobs from the television show....

Labor always leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth.


I only eat shop food, sorry.


Guinea declared free of Ebola virus

Massachusetts AFL-CIO comes to defense of five Teamsters charged in extortion case

Keep City Hall out of private labor disputes 

I hope you enjoy chewing on those for a while. Too $picy for me.

Many doctors don’t urge HPV shots for preteens, study says