Saturday, October 24, 2009

Facing Pandemic - Definition

Following the progress of H1N1 swine flu

"President Obama declared the swine flu a national emergency", news reports,  "The goal is to remove bureaucratic roadblocks and make it easier for sick people to seek treatment and medical providers to provide it immediately. That could mean fewer hurdles involving Medicare, Medicaid or health privacy regulations."

Over 400 photos on published along with this report show people receiving or lined up to receive the flu vaccine, not people who are sick.

What is the definition of a pandemic?  A new virus that spreads around the world.  H1N1 swine flu has spread to many different countries but the large numbers of cases are estimated, not confirmed. 

LESSON:  Pandemics are inevitable.  Learn now the best practices to keep you and your family healthy.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Story Continues...

Another ark to build, PART TWO here...see excerpts below.  Thank you to Sharon Astyk.

"The ark was not politically feasible, it was merely necessary. Had Noah had something less than the voice of G-d to order him, or had he required the aid and consent of his neighbors, what are the odds that the ark would have been built? Even had Noah been the driving force alone, it is hard to imagine the completion of the ark – how does an agrarian farmer otherwise find the time to build so vast a creation, to begin, as we are told, from the planting of the cedar trees that would make the boat possible, and go forward. In the face of uncertainty, he must have faltered. The ark could only be possible because it is so very necessary."

"The reality is the same, and we are choosing, even if we choose to pretend there is no choice. No matter how little we like the choices we are given, they are our choices - ark or drowning. The rain falls whether we choose to believe it will fall or not. The consequences of our actions exist whether they are politically feasible or not. The deaths of human beings, alive, beloved of G-d are on our hands whether we choose to acknowledge them or not. We betray G-d in our rejection of his material realities, and in our rejection of G-d’s moral realities.

In a basic sense all of the first portion of the Torah can be said to say this – we are a creation of G-d. We are part and parcel of creation, bound by the same laws – physical and moral – as the rest of it. We owe a share and a responsibility to others – to other human beings, to the birds of the air and the fish of the sea and all of the creatures that G-d pronounced “tov.” Neither our moral responsibility – to save lives, rather than take them, to protect animals rather than destroy them, to love one another as G-d loves us, to preserve the land rather than rape it – nor the laws of physics are up for discussion.

The story of Noah and Isaiah 54 promise us that G-d will never again turn his face from us – no matter how angry at the destruction we wreak. No matter how sorrowful, at the harm we do to ourselves and our children. No matter how much pain we give G-d, G-d will watch, and his face will be turned towards us, like a father to angry teenagers, like a mother to children that no longer want her.

Now is our chance – perhaps our very last chance to live in a world that bears any resemblance at all to the one in which human beings learned their first and most profound lessons. We too have to choose – will we keep our faces turned to G-d, and live with our material realities, pay any price, do whatever is needed to preserve our future and fulfill our responsibilities? Or will we turn away finally, and entirely from G-d, leaving ourselves with an empty faith, divorced from the world into which we were created, and so far distant from G-d that we cannot see if G-d weeps, for the rain that is coming down."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

That's It Exactly

Eloquence of expression doesn't pour out of me as with some others so thankfully I can point to their expression and say "yes" that's it exactly!!

Another ark to word...

"– this weekend Jews all over the world will read Parshat Noah, the story of Noah, and International Jewish Groups have come together to focus this weekend on the impact of climate change through the lens of the Noah story. My shul, among thousands of others will be participating. I had two different rabbis email me, however, and ask if I’d give them my thoughts on Noah. I’ve found myself struggling with this topic in ways I’ve never struggled with more obscure texts, because it is NOAH – we all know the story so well that it is hard not to bang too firmly on the obvious parallels. So I thought I’d start by playing with the story, and writing a little fiction."  Find the story here.  PART ONE.

Another ark to music...

Monday, October 12, 2009

Facing Pandemic - Know the Symptoms

Want to know if you have the H1N1 flu?  Check out this website for a symptom check list.

FYI:  Today a co-worker whose off-spring has a position of responsibility in a very large, vaccine-producing pharmaceutical company, announced that her grandchildren, ages 7 and 5, will not be vaccinated.  This is the parents decision.

FYI:  Last week we mailed in our income tax check.  When we received the return postcard notification of receipt, it was signed "Bank of America, Windsor, CT, Agent for the Internal Revenue Service"!!!
See, I was right!  We do own our home now.

Even the Camels Are Dying

The New York Times oped blog, Dot Earth, by Andrew C. Revkin adds some current information in Even the Camels Are Dying by Jeffrey Gettleman about drought in Africa.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Facing Pandemic - The Possibility

Megan, writer and editor of Simple Kids, posted a blog article entitled, Five Things Parents Should Know About the H1N1 VaccinationIt is valuable information simply written.

Malcolm Gladwell, in his bestseller entitled The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, uses a flu outbreak to illustrate how a seasonal illness can become an epidemic.

"The best way to understand the Tipping Point is to imagine a hypothetical outbreak of the flu.  Suppose, for example, that one summer 1,000 tourists come to Manhattan from Canada carrying an untreatable strain of twenty-four-hour virus.  This strain of flu has a 2 percent infection rate, which is to say that one out of every 50 people who come into close contact with someone carrying it catches the bug himself.  Let's say that 50 is also exactly the number of people the average Manhattanite - in the course of riding the subways and mingling with colleagues at work - comes into contact with every day.  What we have, then, is a disease in equilibrium.  Those 1,000 Canadian tourists pass on the virus to 1,000 new people on the day they arrive.  And the next day those 1,000 newly infected people pass on the virus to another 1,000 people, just as the original 1,000 tourists who started the epidemic are returning to health.  With those getting sick and those getting well so perfectly in balance, the flu chugs along at a steady but unspectacular clip though the rest of the summer and the fall.

But then comes the Christmas season.  The subways and buses get more crowded with tourists and shoppers, and instead of running into an even 50 people a day, the average Manhattanite now has close contact with, say, 55 people a day.  All of a sudden, the equilibrium is disrupted.  The 1,000 flu carriers now run into 55,000 people a day, and at a 2 percent infection rate, that translates into 1,100 cases the following day.  Those 1,100, in turn, are now passing on their virus ... as well, so that by day three there are 1,210 Manhattanites with the flu and by day four 1,331 and by the end of the week there are nearly 2,000, and so on up, in an exponential spiral, until Manhattan has a full-blown flu epidemic on its hands by Christmas Day.  That moment when the average flu carrier went from running into 50 people a day to running into 55 people was the Tipping Point.  It was the point at which an ordinary and stable phenomenon - a low-level flu outbreak - turned into a public health crisis."

What can I do in the face of possible pandemic?  More to follow.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Worldwide Drought...

"Despite the rosy picture of an economy improving, the fact is that "famine and pestilence" so familiar in the writings of the classical prophets are again impending. "Pestilence" or disease, is the result of famine, of a lack of nutrition. It is going to take the form of pandemics, as Revelation 16 says, and the rapidly-developing world-state will act just as it is now, trying to play "savior" to the populace, assuring all that God's judgments can be safely withstood. Such an attitude will invite further, more severe judgments."    John McCall, spiritual advisor

See this article entitled, Food Collapse of 2009, by Eric deCarbonnel for a description of current conditions and data regarding worldwide food production.

LESSON:  Definitely time is now to chose LIFE with the Life Giver, eternal life in Him.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Feelin' Lucky

We were feelin' lucky and bought a Mega Millions lottery ticket yesterday for our twentieth wedding anniversary.  Yep, you're right.  Not a single number picked.  The jackpot is now 145 million.  And today that little entertainment is forgotten. 

Thankfulness remains.  Being married to someone who comes at issues from the opposite point of view and yet respectfully perseveres until both have expressed themselves and are understood is an amazing experience.  Not painless, but amazing.  The effort put into learning to live well together has a Big Payoff.

I love you, David.

LESSON:  Finding your self worth in God, not in your partner, can produce a life of amazement.