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Flu Watch Oct. 31 - What swine flu ISN'T doing this week

By Michael Fumento

It's Halloween, and the monster at the door is swine flu. Or so we're told. Yet again. And people respond accordingly.

chart of flu cases"I've never seen it like this," an administrator at Dunwoody Pediatrics in suburban Atlanta told USA Today. "That name, H1N1, sends parents into a panic. We've had a lot of verbal abuse." And yet there's evidence the epidemic may have peaked!

The CDC reports that hospitalizations for the week ending October 24 barely increased while deaths are actually down from the week before.

So when the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology August report said its "plausible scenario" showed 30,000 - 90,000 swine flu deaths peaking in "mid-October" it may have been part right - though not the part everybody was worried about.

The Flu Count Website shows 1,200 U.S. deaths since the early April outbreak according to media reports. Worldwide it shows only 7,000. (Unfortunately, the site also says it provides official CDC numbers, though I verified that it does not.) That's about the number the CDC estimates who die of seasonal flu every five days during season and worldwide the number who die of seasonal flu every seven days.

On campuses cases rose last week by a third according to the American College Health Association, but the number of cases per student isn't dramatically higher than it was in the second week of September.

The percentage of positive tests picked up by the CDC's surveillance laboratories is also the highest it's been this fall at 42 percent. Yet the panic factor, as measured by the percentage of visits to emergency rooms and outpatient clinics by people worried they have the flu - and worried enough to seek medical attention - is astounding at over 8 percent. That's the highest it's been this century.

With the Obama Administration declaring a national emergency and New York's governor declaring a state emergency, panic begat panic. The perpetual motion machine of fear drives on.

October 31, 2009 05:00 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Swine Flu

New York declares swine flu state of emergency!

By Michael Fumento

Emulating the Obama Administration, New York Gov. David Paterson has "declared a state of emergency, saying a recent rise in swine flu cases has created a 'disaster,'" according to the Associated Press.

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The Guv shows his stuff.

The executive order suspends state law and allows more health care professionals to administer vaccines.

The emergency? AP says at least 75 residents have died of swine flu in the last seven months. By comparison, given its population size we'd expect over 2,200 New York residents to die annually of seasonal flu.

Total reported New York cases are 2,738 cases according to Flucount; whereas again going by its population and CDC estimates New York probably has over 12,000 seasonal flu hospitalizations each year.

So where's the fire, governor?

Yet the underlying reality is that, as I noted in my IBD article "Obama Administration's Flu Fearmongering," emergency rooms are being swamped with the worried well and the slightly ill. But it's precisely because of such things as emergency proclamations.

As it happens, there are plenty of people who can administer vaccines, just very little vaccine to distribute. What the governor should do is to tell his constituents the truth about swine flu, that data from New York City show that at worst swine flu kills only a tenth the percentage of people as seasonal flu.

But the truth just makes government look bad, as opposed to being the peoples' savior. So instead, the governor injects another dose of hysteria.

October 29, 2009 06:27 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Swine Flu

Here's the House health care reform bill, catering to the public's right to know

By Michael Fumento

Everything you need to know, right here.

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Big and scary!
And the best part is, it's only 1,990 pages long! Print it out and read it during a coffee break.

Seriously, with a document this long do you think anyone really knows what's in it? Doesn't that thought spook you?

October 29, 2009 11:35 AM  ·  Permalink  · 

Why did Obama declare a health emergency with no emergency

By Michael Fumento

As I note in my Investor's Business Daily article, swine flu cases in the last seven months, according to the CDC, equal about four days' worth of seasonal flu deaths during the season.

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This is no ordinary flu, it's Hogzilla! After all, if you're going to save the populace from a monster you want it to be as big as possible.

There's no medical emergency except that emergency facilities are swamped with the worried well and the mildly ill. Why? Because of the Obama administration's first swine flu emergency declaration and the report from the President's Council of Science and Technology Advisors predicting up to 90,000 deaths.

And guess what reaction this latest proclamation is provoking?

So why did they do it?

You might ask H.L. Mencken, who observed that government, ever seeks "to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."

October 28, 2009 10:09 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Barack Obama ~ Swine Flu

Volunteer very part-time help wanted on website.

By Michael Fumento

No, you won't get GI Bill benefits but then again you don't have to get shot at, either. It's for my website Fumento.com. But I will also soon be looking to build the Independent Journalism Project website, so help would be appreciated there too.

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Other than what will be a short learning curve, it could be just a few hours a week. That said, I've got a webmaster (also volunteer) who is rather amazing. He and I are both packed with ideas and have implemented many recently. So somebody with initiative could have all sorts of fun.

I don't feel bad about asking for volunteers in that so much of my own work is pro bono, including the site itself. But the site does have about 19,000 outside links and is important to a lot of people.

Please direct responses to fumento@pobox.com.


October 28, 2009 11:04 AM  ·  Permalink  ·  Fumento

Yes, I am writing on Obama's swine flu "emergency"

By Michael Fumento

And yes, the "emergency" is a bunch of hog droppings.

October 25, 2009 11:45 AM  ·  Permalink  ·  Swine Flu

Poll shows belief in man-made warming down, but why?

By Michael Fumento

A new poll shows a sharp decline over the last year in the percentage of Americans who see solid evidence that global temperatures are rising. According to the survey by the highly-reputable Pew Research Center, while 44% of respondents saw global warming as a very serious problem in April 2008, that's down to just 35% now.


Of course, all things are relative. With the economy and unemployment such as it is, despite that miraculous stimulus bill, you can see how a problem that's not supposed to truly impact us for a while to come might slide down the pecking order.

BUT, the survey also shows that now just 36% of Americans say global temperatures are rising as a result of human activity, down from 47% last year. That's a scientific belief, independent of the economy right?

I'd argue otherwise. Wild speculation about man-made impact on the environment is a rich man's game. It's true that the warming we've seen until about a decade ago when it stopped - though exactly why and for how long is debated - either is or isn't partly man-made, regardless of the economy or regardless of what the public thinks. But when you don't feel so rich, somehow scientific evidence that seemed so compelling before simply isn't now.

October 23, 2009 02:48 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Environment ~ Global Warming

Widening a highway is both an environmental AND civil rights issue?

By Michael Fumento

Was a time when "civil rights" meant things like equal opportunities in employment and schooling for racial and ethnic minorities. And "environmental" meant something affecting the environment. But government twists everything that's good.

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"We shall overcome three-lane tollways!"

Now leaders in Arlington County, Virginia where I live say plans for three high-occupancy toll lanes on the nearby highways will make traffic worse on nearby roads. But it's not just a transportation problem, they say in a federal lawsuit; it's also a civil rights issue.

Yes, invoking the Civil Rights Act, they're requesting a more stringent environmental study of the toll-lane project, citing among the chief concerns the potential effect of air pollution on the health of low-income and minority residents near the highways.

Arlington County Attorney Stephen MacIsaac said the suit was not intended to "create some kind of wedge issue on race or income," according to the Washington Post. "We're not just throwing this out there to throw in the race element," MacIsaac said. "We believe this is an environmental justice issue."

Right. So cleaning up Lake Erie so that it no longer burns and singing "We shall overcome" with the firehoses turned on you and the dogs biting your heels has come down to this.


October 23, 2009 02:33 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Environment ~ Racial Discrimination

I yell "Sooo-eeeeee!" on G. Gordon Liddy Show Today

By Michael Fumento

I bent G. Gordon Liddy's ears back today on his radio show (easy to find them, given his lack of hair) on my current crusade to get people to understand that it's not just that the risk of swine flu has been exaggerated but that it's being exaggerated for political reasons. Even battle-hardened veterans like Liddy are surprised to hear that the World Health Organization didn't create a pre-fab pandemic just to gather more power and increase its budget but rather is using it to promote social engineering and redistribution of wealth between nations, as I noted in Forbes Online.

Yes, it really is that bad.

October 21, 2009 04:33 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Swine Flu

"Swine flu Piglet 'pandemic'," my WashTimes article

By Michael Fumento

Just eight weeks ago headlines screamed: "Swine Flu May Cause 90,000 U.S. Deaths." They came from a so-called "plausible scenario" in a report from the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, which was actually a range of 30,000 to 90,000. And they expected it to peak . . . right now.

The President's Council is led by Obama's controversial "science czar" John Holdren, - who co-authored one book with Population Bomb guru Paul Ehrlich advocating U.S. "de-development" and another suggesting compulsory measures to reduce the population. The Council's conclusion this time was as bogus as Holdren-Ehrlich conclusions back then. Read why.

College campus cases are the lowest in a month.

October 21, 2009 12:18 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Swine Flu

Flu Watch IV - What swine flu ISN'T doing this week

By Michael Fumento

Total deaths since Aug. 30 from "Influenza and Pneumonia-Associated" illness are 2,029 reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Web site FluView. But only 292 of those have been laboratory-confirmed as flu of any type. (And yes, people die of pneumonia from many causes other than flu.) By comparison, the CDC estimates about 260 Americans die each day from "regular" flu during each season.

And the Swine Flu Count Website shows about as many swine flu deaths worldwide in the last six months as the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates die every six days from seasonal flu. The FluTracker Web site provides a running tally of new worldwide cases and deaths, telling us they are no more frequent than a month ago.

The massive outbreak on college campuses you've been heard about? The American College Health Association's latest weekly survey at this writing shows a steady decline in cases over the last four weeks. The "explosion" has been imploding.

What we're seeing is "pandemic panic." FluView reports that only 29 percent of samples from surveillance laboratories are testing positive for swine flu. That means that fewer than a third of the samples that even doctors (much less scared patients) suspect may show swine flu actually show influenza of any type.

Another indicator of hysteria is that the percentage of visits to emergency rooms and outpatient clinics by people worried they have the flu - and worried enough to seek medical attention - is incredibly high: almost 7 percent of all US emergency visits now.

That's the most it's been since 2004 and it's skyrocketing.

I predicted the Council's projections regarding swamped emergency rooms would be the only accurate part of the report. Don't call me Nostradamus. Just a guy with a few IQ points and a modicum of honesty.

October 18, 2009 06:09 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Swine Flu

"The Pandemic Is Political," my article in Forbes Online

By Michael Fumento

As evidence continues to mount that swine flu is more of a piglet than a raging razorback, why isn't curiosity mounting as to why the World Health Organization declared it a pandemic? And definitions aside, why does the agency continue to insist we're going to get hammered?

As I write in my new article, it just might be related to a speech the WHO chief gave last months in which she said "ministers of health" should take advantage of the "devastating impact" swine flu will have on poorer nations to tell "heads of state and ministers of finance, tourism and trade" that:

  • The belief that "living conditions and health status of the poor would somehow automatically improve as countries modernized, liberalized their trade and improved their economies" is false. Wealth doesn't equal health.

  • "Changes in the functioning of the global economy" are needed to "distribute wealth on the basis of" values "like community, solidarity, equity and social justice."

  • "The international policies and systems that govern financial markets, economies, commerce, trade and foreign affairs have not operated with fairness as an explicit policy objective."
There's a lot of WHO dirty underwear revealed in this piece. Wear a clothespin while you read it.

October 18, 2009 12:10 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Swine Flu

Swine flu shows again the answer to big government problems is bigger government

By Michael Fumento

Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank, granting that swine flu "has proven to be relatively mild so far," nevertheless says it shows how poor many aspects of our public health care system are. The answer: Support Obamacare legislation and throw money at the problem.

"The good news," writes Milbank

is that there's a provision in the House version of the health-care reform bill, written by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), that would fix much of the problem. Now, state and local public health departments get federal grants only for specific diseases and conditions, which makes it difficult to maintain a core public health infrastructure. Waxman would solve this by spending $1.3 billion a year on overall public health -- and in exchange for the cash, state and local health departments would have to meet minimum standards for such basic things as laboratories, disease surveillance and vaccine delivery. A national accreditation board would enforce the standards.

In other words, reward an inefficient government bureaucracy by giving it more money and - presto, chango! - it becomes efficient.

When pigs fly.

October 11, 2009 07:05 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Swine Flu

Windmills for spite

By Michael Fumento

"Clean Energy Splits France: It's Carbon vs. Countryside in Environmental Battle Over Plan for Windmills Near Coastal Shrine." So reads the Washington Post headline.

But is it?

The article concerns three windmills that some fear will obstruct the view of the awesome Mont St. Michelle Abby on the French coast, which becomes an island at high tides. Yet the article also points out that France is very accepting of nuclear power, which provides about 80% of the nation's energy needs. Another 10% comes from hydro. And the number of windmills in question, three, provide less energy than the smallest nuclear plant made - which is to say those on naval warships.

No, this isn't really about energy. It's about politics. It's making a statement. And quite literally, an ugly one.

October 11, 2009 08:57 AM  ·  Permalink  ·  Energy ~ Environment

No "Weekly Flu Watch" this week

By Michael Fumento

See instead my article "Swine Flu: the Real Threat Is Panic," from the New York Post.

October 11, 2009 08:45 AM  ·  Permalink  ·  Media ~ Swine Flu

How did the President's Council swine flu scenario measure up?

By Michael Fumento

Sorta depends on who you ask.

The read about the flu in the mainstream media, you would think men are going through the streets with carts calling "Bring out your dead." But to look at the statistics, there's not even an epidemic yet. Read my article in the New York Post. "Swine Flu: the Real Threat Is Panic."

October 11, 2009 08:28 AM  ·  Permalink  ·  Media ~ Swine Flu

World's largest country reports first swine flu death

By Michael Fumento

Six months into the swine flu outbreak China, with a population of over 1.3 billion or a fifth of the word's population, has just reported its first swine flu death?

According to the WHO, 250,000 - 500,000 people worldwide die of seasonal flu each year.

Do the math for yourself on this one.

October 6, 2009 08:35 AM  ·  Permalink  ·  Swine Flu

"Anti-Atkins" low protein diet extends lifespan in flies

By Michael Fumento

Flies fed an "anti-Atkins" low protein diet live longer because their mitochondria function better, according to a new study at the Buck Institute for Age Research.The work calls into question the health benefits of high-protein diets such as Atkins and others that people often use to lose weight the lead scientist said.

Maybe, but guess what? Those flies are going to go right on buying those books.

October 3, 2009 07:23 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Obesity

Weekly Flu Watch - What swine flu ISN'T doing this week

By Michael Fumento

Welcome to the second edition of "Weekly Flu Watch," which relies on data, rather than the apparent media dictum that "One anecdote is worth a thousand statistics."

As I've noted previously, every Friday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publishes a new edition of FluView, which tracks all types of flu but currently only swine flu since that's all that's out there now. Most figures are from the previous week, though some are newer.

And every week the hysteria-minded media ignore it. But for those who do care about how our alleged pandemic is progressing, herewith the latest from the CDC with supplemental information from elsewhere.

As you probably know, the media proclaimed that THIS WEEK the epidemic finally took off. Of course, that's what they said last week. Now they're wrong again.

Total deaths since August 30 from "Influenza and Pneumonia-Associated" illness according to the CDC website are 1,397. But only 192 of those have been laboratory-confirmed as being flu of any type. And yes, people do die of pneumonia from many causes other than flu.

The CDC no longer publishes data on swine flu cases or deaths. However, the FluTracker website does, and as of today lists 149,359 total confirmed U.S. cases with 680 deaths, compared to last week with 136,268 cases and 644 deaths.

For the mathematically-challenged, that's just 36 deaths in the past week. By comparison, the CDC estimates 36,000 Americans die annually of seasonal flu, or about 1,800 each week during the season of approximately 140 days.

FluTracker also provides a graph that shows new worldwide cases and deaths and that graph shows, rather graphically, that they are currently far below where they were two or three weeks ago.

And the massive outbreak on college campuses you've been hearing about? The American College Health Association's latest weekly survey at this writing shows new cases have DROPPED by 19 percent compared to the previous week.

FluView reports that the percentage of samples testing positive for swine flu from the sentinel system of laboratories is down slightly from last week, at 22.8 percent, with the data here. (Though as I write this the last week's figures haven't been entered yet.) Another way of looking at it is that only about a fifth of the samples that even doctors (much less scared patients) suspect may show swine flu do not show influenza of any type.

That's one indicator of hysteria.

Another is that despite all the indications that there were fewer new flu cases, the percentage of visits to emergency rooms and outpatient clinics by people worried they have the flu - and worried enough to seek medical attention - is incredibly high. It's about five percent of all emergency visits now.

Finally, deaths from influenza and pneumonia are well within the normal bounds for this time of year, or as the CDC puts it, "below the epidemic threshold."

Repeat, there is no flu epidemic. There will be because now flu season has officially started. But all the pap in the papers? False.

October 3, 2009 02:22 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Media ~ Swine Flu

Why does recycled paper make such crappy toilet paper?

By Michael Fumento

"I remember the importance of toilet paper while being shelled a few times, a couple of times while on the throne. I don't understand why they can't do re-cycled AND fluffy. Why are they exclusive?"

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One 122 mm mortar round can ruin that beautiful experience on the throne

That's from an officer I befriended at Camp Corregidor in Ramadi, Iraq, where it rained shells so often we had to wear body armor at all times outside of fortified buildings. He saw my blog "Enviros want to wipe out soft toilet paper!" concerning the greens wanting us to use recycled toilet paper instead of the softer kind from older - but not "old growth" - trees. Older trees are better carbon sinks, meaning better at soaking up CO2.

It's all about fiber length. Longer fibers mean fewer knots and it's those knots you feel, whether in TP or in your bedsheets or in clothes - albeit not in Army uniforms, which are part polyester anyway.

That's why Egyptian cotton is the best, because it has the longest fibers. Recycled paper products inherently have fiber of short length, hence lots of knots. Not so important when you're writing on it, but rather more so when wiping with it and - although I personally haven't had the experience - doing so with 122 mm rounds dropping around your throne.

October 1, 2009 09:53 AM  ·  Permalink  ·  Environment ~ Global Warming ~ Recycling