Flu Scan for Oct 25, 2013

first_imgCDC: Flu vaccine uptake increased in recent yearsThe US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today published a broad look at flu vaccine coverage patterns over five recent seasons—based on an analysis of eight different surveillance tools—that showed significant gains in both kids and adults. Coverage levels for all age and risk groups, however, are well below the Healthy People (HP) 2020 goal of 70% for children and adults and 90% for healthcare providers.According to the report, the tools the CDC uses to gauge flu vaccine uptake range from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), which is designed to track progress on HP 2020 goals, to Internet panel surveys. The analysis, in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), includes data from the 2007-08 to 2011-12 seasons.For children, coverage rose significantly over the five seasons, from 31.1% in 2007-08 to 56.7% in 2011-12 as measured by NHISFor adults, flu vaccine coverage remained low but increased slightly, from 33.0% in 2007-08 to 38.3% in 2011-12 as measured by NHIS. Among adults, seniors had the highest vaccination levels—69.4% in 2011-12 according to NHIS data.Coverage declined by age in kids but rose by age in adults. Coverage varied by state for both adults and children.The investigators found that uptake in health providers is increasing but, at 62% in 2011-12, is still well below targets. Likewise, vaccination in pregnant women is on the rise, but only about half receive the flu shot.The authors say that the results point to a need for more strategies to improve flu vaccine coverage, such as expanding the use of standing orders and increasing awareness in public health officials of the strengths and limitations of various methods used to gauge uptake.Oct 25 MMWR report Study: Uncommon H5N1 mutations may transmit in mammalsA study assessing H5N1 avian flu mutations as the virus spreads in ferrets found that mutations that were present in as few as 5.9% of the viruses infecting one ferret could be transmitted to another, according to data published this week in Nature Communications.US and Japanese researchers, including Yoshihiro Kawaoka, DVM, PhD, of the University of Wisconsin, used data from transmission studies already conducted by Kawaoka in 2011 on engineered H5N1 strains. Publication of that controversial work was originally halted but later allowed by US biosecurity experts.The team used deep sequencing to identify genetic mutations that happened as the virus replicated in and transmitted between ferrets. They found that during transmission natural selection acts strongly on hemagglutinin (HA), the protein the virus uses to attach to host cells.They found that within-host genetic diversity in HA increases during replication but is dramatically reduced upon transmission via respiratory droplets—to only one or two distinct HA segments, a small portion of the viral genome.However, the discovery that mutations present in only 5.9% of the viruses infecting one ferret could be transmitted to another suggests that even rare mutations could be transmitted if they have an evolutionary advantage, according to a Science Daily story on the study.”Fully avian viruses may act differently in nature,” said lead author Thomas Friedrich, PhD, from the University of Wisconsin. “But the data suggest to us that it wouldn’t take many viruses from a chicken to infect a person, if the right mutations were there—even if they were a tiny minority of the overall virus population.”Oct 23 Nature Comm abstract Oct 23 Science Daily story H7N2 strikes another farm in New South WalesAn H7N2 strain of avian flu has killed 620 chickens on a farm in New South Wales, Australia, that houses 55,000 layer hens near where an outbreak occurred last week, according to a report today from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).The farm listed in today’s report was under surveillance because of the previous H7N2 outbreak, which the OIE confirmed on Oct 16. It houses caged layer hens 45 to 84 weeks old. Authorities will cull the remainder of the flock and disinfect the property to prevent further disease spread, the report said.Last week’s outbreak killed 18,000 of 435,000 chickens on a separate farm, and the remaining birds were subsequently culled, the OIE said.Oct 25 OIE report Oct 16 CIDRAP News Scan on previous outbreaklast_img read more

Ebola studies reveal new findings on survivors, vaccine

first_imgAs the Ebola outbreak winds down in West Africa, with no cases reported again last week, researchers today reported new findings about complications in survivors and about clinical trial findings for one of the candidate vaccines, ChAd3.Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) said today in its weekly update that no new cases have been reported from the outbreak region, keeping Guinea on track for being declared free of the disease on Dec 28 and Liberia on course for its anticipated Ebola-free date of Jan 14. Sierra Leone reached the end of Ebola transmission on Nov 7.In its overview, the WHO said outbreak totals are at 28,601 confirmed, probable, and suspected cases, along with 11,300 deaths.Large survivor study included detailed work-upsIn the largest study of survivors so far, a Canadian-led research team reported on 227 individuals who were treated at a specialized clinic in Sierra Leone’s Port Loko district, which was one of the hot spots during the outbreak. The group published its findings yesterday in Lancet Infectious Diseases.The clinic has provided care for 603 of Port Loko’s 661 Ebola survivors. The investigators looked at clinical and lab records from consecutive patients assessed at the clinic between Mar 7 and Apr 24. The team noted that their study is the largest so far to examine the after-effects of the disease.Each patient received a clinical evaluation that included visual acuity and slit-lamp examination. Those who had eye problems also underwent dilated fundoscopic assessment.They found that the most common conditions were joint pain (76%), new vision problems (60%), eye inflammation (18%), and hearing problems (24%). The median time between discharge from an Ebola treatment center to seeking care at the survivor clinic was 122 days.Higher Ebola viral load during acute illness was independently associated with uveitis. The researchers said the findings were similar to those of other studies but provide a more detailed look at the eye problems, which clinicians suspect are related to persistent virus in immune-protected areas or perhaps some other immune-mediated mechanism.They also said urgent eye-care services are needed for survivors and should be part of efforts to strengthen the healthcare system in West Africa in the wake of the Ebola outbreak. Researchers observed that there are only two ophthalmologists and eight mid-level ophthalmological providers in Sierra Leone’s National Eye Health Program.In a related commentary in the same issue, Luke Hunt, MBChB, and Victoria Knott, PhD, both with the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine in the United Kingdom, wrote that the findings yield useful information for clinicians and service providers and support early specialized treatment for survivors.They said the findings focus attention on uncertainties about the etiology of post-Ebola uveitis, which is seen in almost a fifth of patients. More research on the mechanisms is needed to guide clinical care, the two wrote.Vaccine trial showed antibody response 6 months outThe vaccine study describes findings from a phase 1/2a clinical trial conducted in Switzerland between October 2014 and June 2015. Volunteers were divided into two groups: those who might be deployed to outbreak areas (18 subjects) and those not deployed (102 volunteers).The potentially deployed group received a single intramuscular dose of either high-dose (5 x 1010 viral particles) or low-dose (2.5 x 1010 viral particles) vaccine, whereas the other group received one of the vaccine doses or a placebo.ChAd3, which uses a modified chimpanzee adenovirus vector to deliver the Ebola virus glycoprotein, was developed by the National Institutes of Health and Glaxo Smith Kline. It is one of two Ebola candidate vaccines furthest along in clinical trials in West Africa’s outbreak region. The other, VSV-EBOV, has already shown high effectiveness and is being used in ring-vaccination strategies in all three of the outbreak countries.The trial is similar to an earlier study on the vaccine but looked at outcomes further out—at 6 months.The researchers found antibody response rates of 96% in both dosage groups, with antibodies still significantly present at 6 months. However, cell-mediated immunity was lower, ranging between 57% to 69% depending on cell type. The vaccine was safe and well tolerated, though mild to moderate systemic events were reported.The authors concluded that safety and immunity profiles for the two dose levels weren’t much different, which they said should pave the way for phase 2 and phase 3 efficacy trials in West Africa.In a related commentary, Darryl Falzarano, PhD, with the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization–International Vaccine Centre, based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, wrote that a range of vaccine options are useful for managing the Ebola threat. He said ring vaccination plays an important role but may not be as efficient as vaccinating specific populations, such as healthcare workers, before an outbreak.Falzarono said the ChAd3 adds another tool for controlling future outbreaks, but he questioned whether decisions on strategies and interventions will be made only after another outbreak starts.”The next time we face an Ebola outbreak (at least of the Zaire species) there should be something more to offer than isolation, contact tracing, and safe burials, which nevertheless will remain crucial components of outbreak response,” he wrote.See also:Dec 22 Lancet Infect Dis Ebola survivors study abstractDec 22 Lancet Infect Dis commentary extractDec 22 Lancet Infect Dis Ebola vaccine study abstractDec 22 Lancet Infect Dis commentary extractDec 23 WHO Ebola situation updatelast_img read more

CARDONE Industries Names Michael Cardone III As Executive Chairman, Adds Additional Board Members

first_imgCARDONE Industries has named Michael Cardone III as the executive chairman of its board of directors. The company also announced the addition of two new board members: Dena Moore and Bill Strahan.AdvertisementClick Here to Read MoreAdvertisementCardone III is an owner of CARDONE Industries and serves on the company’s board. He also has served in executive leadership roles with CARDONE, including as president, since 1998. As executive chairman, he will focus on CARDONE’s long-term growth strategies, including acquisition activity and the company’s footprint and real estate holdings. He also will be responsible for managing the board of directors and its processes.Michael Cardone Jr., CARDONE founding owner and board member,r said, “I am so proud to see my son take the role of executive chairman. As a third-generation family owner, Michael is well-attuned to our rapidly changing industry and understands what our company needs to do to be successful. I am confident in his leadership of our board of directors.”“Our company is positioning itself well for growth in the years ahead,” said Michael Cardone III. “I couldn’t be more excited to take on this role right now. I look forward to leading our board and tapping into the vast amounts of experience and wisdom they have to offer. I am also very happy to welcome Dena Moore and Bill Strahan as new members of our board, and I look forward to their new perspectives and guidance.”AdvertisementMoore spent 20 years as a senior merger and acquisition investment banker and as chief operating officer for Harris Williams & Co., now a subsidiary of PNC Financial Services Group. Today, as the founder of DFM Advisory LLC, she works primarily with entrepreneurs to provide strategic and operational consulting services.Strahan is executive vice president of human resources for Comcast Cable.Cardone III also serves on the board of MERA – The Remanufacturing Association, and he will continue to be a key participant and advocate in issues and initiatives critical to the industry.Outgoing Executive Chairman and former CARDONE CEO Terry McCormack, who will remain as a board member and adviser, noted, “This is an exciting time for CARDONE. The family leadership is committed to this company’s long-term success, and our board has added a wealth of independent knowledge that will help forge the path ahead.”last_img read more

Long Island Could Begin To Open Next Week

first_imgLong Island is on track to reopen next week, as long as the number of COVID-19 deaths continue to drop and the number of contact tracers come online as expected, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced at his daily briefing on Friday morning.Contact tracing is underway in seven regions around the state, but Long Island and the mid-Hudson area remain closed, in part because the regions do not have enough tracers to track down those who have been exposed to the novel coronavirus.Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said earlier this week the county had 230 tracers, and needed about 400. Both Suffolk and Nassau counties have been working with the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health to hire and train people as contact tracers.• RELATED: Suffolk County Exec Says ‘We Are Ready’ If enough tracers are online by next week, Long Island can begin the first phase in reopening the economy, which means construction, manufacturing, and wholesale trade can resume, along with limited curbside retail. Agriculture, forestry, and fishing is also part of the first phase of reopening.In anticipation of the start of Phase 1, Cuomo also announced construction staging — setting up of equipment and materials at work sites — is now permitted on Long Island and in the mid-Hudson region.State Loans AvailableNew York is beginning its own program to help small businesses, nonprofits, and small landlords struggling as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. New York Forward Loan Fund, a new economic recovery program, has over $100 million to offer. It will target businesses with 20 or fewer employees — 90 percent of all small businesses — and less than $3 million in gross revenues.Economists are projecting that more than 100,000 small businesses have shut permanently since the pandemic began. Minority-owned businesses are especially at risk, the governor said.Landlords who have lost rental income are also eligible. Nonprofits must provide direct services and have an annual operating budget of less than $3 million annually.The U.S. Small Business Administration loans are part of the $2 trillion federal stimulus bill, known as the CARES — Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security — Act, passed in late March, as well as an additional $484 billion aid package passed late last month.Only those who did not receive a loan from the SBA Paycheck Protection Program or SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan are eligible for the state program.More information can be found at esd.ny.gov/nyforwardloans. Pre-applications will be available starting May 26 at noon. Businesses in industries that have already reopened by then will be given priority.More Testing Sites The governor also announced that the state is launching a new pilot program with 52 independent pharmacies to conduct COVID-19 testing, bringing the total number of testing sites up to 750. Pharmacies can conduct 7000 tests per week.Cuomo urged anyone with even the slightest of symptoms, or those who have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, to get a test.“We have state-run sites where we have more capacity than we are performing tests,” he said.taylor@indyeastend.com Sharelast_img read more

BOC grows LNG-powered delivery fleet

first_imgGet instant access to must-read content today!To access hundreds of features, subscribe today! At a time when the world is forced to go digital more than ever before just to stay connected, discover the in-depth content our subscribers receive every month by subscribing to gasworld.Don’t just stay connected, stay at the forefront – join gasworld and become a subscriber to access all of our must-read content online from just $270. Subscribelast_img

Building the cities of 2050

first_imgStay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters To continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our community Subscribe now for unlimited access Get your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAYlast_img read more

Police find body, ‘most likely’ missing Texas toddler

first_img Published: October 22, 2017 5:33 PM EDT Do you see a typo or an error? Let us know. SHARE Immokalee man arrested, faces second-degree murder for shooting death RICHARDSON (CBSDFW.COM) Police have found the body of a small child in Richardson. Police have not confirmed the identity of the child, however, they believe it most likely belongs to missing 3-year-old Sherin Mathews.Photo via Richardson Police DepartmentIn a press conference, Richardson police say the body was found during search efforts for the missing girl.The body was found near Spring Valley Road and Bowser Road in a culvert at around 11 a.m. Sunday morning.Sherin has been missing since Oct. 7 after, according to her father, she was sent outside at around 3 a.m. as punishment for not drinking her milk.Police and an outpouring community have been searching for the missing girl since that Saturday.Through the investigation, her father, Wesley, was arrested for child endangerment, but has since bonded out. Police also seized various items in the family’s home and vehicles during the investigation.Sherin’s parents are also expected in court Monday to regain custody of their four-year-old daughter who was removed from the home by Child Protective Services.Police are awaiting confirmation from the medical examiner on the identity of the body that was found.People have also gathered at a memorial that was set up for Sherin at the site of where, according to her father, she was last seen.center_img Deputies respond to Murphy USA gas station in Lehigh Acres Recommended Police find body, ‘most likely’ missing Texas toddler last_img read more

Haitian diaspora groups call for election common ground

first_imgAs political infighting and claims of voter fraud continue to plague Haiti’s presidential elections, several Haitian-American groups have joined in a united call to resolve “continuing impasse and its impact on the economy and the legitimacy of any government that might be elected.”“Leaders in the Diaspora stand ready to come to Haiti to assist in reaching out a political solution out of this crisis,” said the coalition in a public statement. “As Haitians, what unites us is the love for our country and the idea that Haiti can again become the pearl of the Caribbean.”The coalition of Diaspora organizations includes the locally-based Haitian American Chamber of Commerce (HACCOF), as well as Haiti Renewal Alliance (HRA), the National Alliance for the Advancement of Haitian Professionals (NAAHP), Konbit for Haiti, Congress to Fortify Haiti and the National Organization for the Advancement of Haitians.Of primary concern for the group is confirming the legitimacy – as quickly and thoroughly as possible – of the recent presidential elections, as claims of ballot tampering, procedural fails, and clashes between parties have let to recent violence protests and fights between citizens and police forces. General mistrust and accusation of political biased directed towards the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) has also added to the atmosphere of uncertainty regarding the elections.“In light of the doubts that have been expressed by a number of organizations, civic and political leaders regarding possible fraud, [a] counting of all the ballots (in the presence of independent observers) should be done, even if the date of the second round has to be postponed, as long as the elected president can take power by February 7.”The group also called for all parties “to work together with the aim of respecting the current constitution in place and avoid a transition government.” They also urged the candidate who will be voted into office “to work toward healing any rift by setting up a commission or assembly across party lines to reform the election process so that this type of crisis can be avoided in the future.”Ultimately, according to HACCOF Vice President Djenane St. Fleur, the coalition is also calling for a deeper, fundamental change in Haiti’s political culture, from greater electoral participation among voters, to a more streamlined election process.“I would say that we hope the next elections, we do not have as many candidates,” says St. Fleuer, speaking to the National Weekly. “And that Haitian voters realize that voting is a right. The voter turn-out should have been much hire. Out of over 10 million people, only 1 million voted. And voters should not only focus on the presidential elections, but also on the parliament process as well. Voting for parliament members is important, as they are the individuals who are both shaping new laws and implementing them.”So far, all requests to investigate the election results have been denied by both local election authorities and many international watchdogs, including U.S. Haiti Special Coordinator Kenneth Merten, who is directing the U.S.’s policy towards the election results. The presidential election run-off is still scheduled for December 27.last_img read more

EU announces $50bn investment proposal in Africa, Mediterranean to combat migration

first_imgThe European Union (EU) has announced a €44 billion ($50 billion) investment proposal for Africa and the Mediterranean as part of the European investment plan aimed at helping fight migration.The plan according to the EU foreign affairs chief, Frederica Mogherini, is ‘‘an innovative new youth investment plan for Africa and the Mediterranean, mobilizing EU funds and we plan to mobilize up to 44 billion euros to have investments in Africa.‘’(It) is the biggest investment plan ever proposed for Africa and the Mediterranean, something that only the European Union, with all economic and diplomatic power can put in place,’‘ she added.Speaking to journalists in New York, Ms Mogherini said the EU sees a great potential of growth and stabilization in Africa but there was the need to bring the private sector on board.She said the plan would help the EU fight migration and radicalization whiles empowering young people in the two targeted areas.‘‘That would help us manage migration better, that would help us preventing radicalization and offering a perspective for youth. So it is investing in Africa, the Mediterranean and the youth, and the EU is doing that today (Monday) in a very concrete manner,’‘ she said.According to her, the fund was partly to help private sector players to invest in fragile states. The fund is aimed at encouraging European and African businesses to invest in places that are seen as risky.With that, these private sector players contribute to the fight against poverty and also create opportunities for young people especially on the African continent.‘‘With this proposal, the European Union is turning principles, visions, words into action. Our money from the EU budget is there and we are going to work now with the private sector to make sure that these investments reach the places that they are more needed,’‘ she added. – africanews.comlast_img read more

Letters to the Editor for July 6, 2017

first_img RelatedLetter to the Editor for April 6, 2017Special to the PRESS Dear Editor, Laguna Vista residents should be aware that the existing LV Recreational Association (LVRA) lease — for the town-owned marina — is a self-serving sham that does a complete disservice to Laguna Vista’s tax-paying citizens. According to the PI PRESS, a workshop is scheduled for…April 7, 2017In “News”Letter to the Editor for Aug. 3, 2017Special to the PRESS To the Editor, I would to make the following points clear, in regards to the Town of Laguna Vista / LVRA Marina lease dispute. All of the Bayfront property, next to Roloff Park, is owned by the town. The LVRA is indirectly subsidized by Laguna Vista…August 4, 2017In “News”Letter to the Editor from Laguna Vista Councilman Richard HinojosaSpecial to the PRESS To The Editor, I wish to clarify an issue that should be important to all the residents of Laguna Vista. I am referring to the marina that the Laguna Vista taxpayers own. A few weeks ago, a story appeared in the Port Isabel PRESS about the marina. From the comments I heard from citizens,…April 17, 2015In “News” Share Special to the PRESSTo the Editor,When I was first elected eight years ago by the citizens of Laguna Vista, I made a pledge, and just recently reaffirmed that pledge at my last swearing-in, to represent to the best of my abilities ALL citizens of Laguna Vista. During my tenure Laguna Vista has seen many improvements such as numerous parks, street and drainage upgrades. All these improvements have been made with no bias on my part, as to whom they might benefit. I feel that during these years, the Town Council has done its best to treat all residents of the town fairly. However, fairness towards all is soon to be tested. The town will soonenter into an agreement with the Laguna Vista Recreational Association for a new lease on what is the Town’s most valuable piece of real estate. I favor a lease that would allow the LVRA to continue to operate the marina, but I believe the south grassy end of the property should be incorporated into the current Roloff Park for the enjoyment of ALL residents. Now, even most members of the LVRA, withwhom I have talked believe the sharing of the property is fair to ALL residents. However, the leadership of the LVRA want all the property. Now keep in mind, the Bayfront property is owned by the Town and since the LVRA pays no taxes on the property, it has been up to the rest of Laguna Vista taxpayers to make up the difference in those lost tax dollars to the Town. So in turn, for being given exclusive use of the bayfront property and not having to pay any taxes, the LVRA is offering to pay to the Town $1 per year. If a resident of the Town wishes to have access to the Town’s bayfront property the LVRA is more than willing to accommodate that resident if they pay the $140 yearly membership fee.I believe all residents of the town should have free access to the bayfront, by way of a Roloff park extension. You can be sure that I will vote for a lease that benefits ALL residents. I would suggest all residents of Laguna Vista ask the other Town Council members who they intend to represent. It is a clearchoice! A councilmember will vote for a lease that shares the Bayfront property if they truly represent all Laguna Vista citizens. However, I am afraid there are some council members that will vote for the benefit of the LVRA leadership, and forsake the oath they took when they were sworn in: TO REPRESENT ALL LAGUNA VISTA RESIDENTS.Susie HoustonLaguna Vista, MayorEditor,In talking about the thousands of construction jobs that the proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry would bring to the Rio Grande Valley, some may question the benefits of what they call “temporary jobs.”By their nature, construction jobs are not long-lasting, but that does not diminish their importance or economic impact.In my experience as provost of Texas State Technical College, I can tell you that while construction jobs may last for months or a few years, the men and women in the building trade are career professionals.Many of our graduates have lucrative, longtime construction careers in engineering, pipefitting, welding, occupational safety, and instrumentation and electrical technologies, to name a few.Many building trade professionals live in the Valley and work here as much as possible when the jobs are available. These are well-paying jobs that enable these men and women to buy homes, raise families and send their children to college.Even when they travel for work, they still spend their paychecks and pay property taxes in the Valley.Bringing the LNG industry to the Rio Grande Valley will benefit our local building trade professionals and our region’s overall economy in a number of ways. I’ll use the proposed Rio Grande LNG as an example.First, this LNG export project on the Brownsville Ship Channel is expected to create approximately 6,000 jobs over roughly seven years during the construction phase and more than 200 jobs when in full operation. Over the decades that this facility will be in operation, it would be expected to generate additional temporary jobs for scheduled maintenance.Second, Rio Grande LNG recognizes the importance of hiring and contracting locally as much as possible. Rio Grande LNG has maintained ongoing relationships with TSTC and other local training and educational organizations to make that happen.Third, the RGV is already benefiting from local building trade training. Thanks to established skills training programs, Rio Grande LNG’s engineering, procurement and construction contractor, CB&I, has already employed over 2,000 RGV citizens on similar projects along the Gulf Coast since 2010.Bringing Rio Grande LNG to the Valley could allow these hardworking men and women, as well as countless other local skilled workers, to work close to home near their families rather than working far away for months at a time.This leads to my fourth point. In addition to hiring and buying locally as much as possible during construction, Rio Grande LNG has set a goal to fill as much as 80 percent of the full-time operations jobs locally.For those interested in working on the Rio Grande LNG project, it’s not too early to begin preparing for these opportunities. Visit the Rio Grande LNG website at www.riograndelng.com to learn about vendor and job opportunities, as well as the vendor registration and job requirements.At Texas State Technical College, we work to build career opportunities for our students, and the proposed Rio Grande LNG project would be a great source for jobs for our graduates.Dr. Stella GarciaEditor’s Note: Dr. Stella Garcia serves as Provost for Texas State Technical College in Harlingen and is a member of the college’s Executive Management Council.Dear Editor;I sometimes wonder why you let the Birdwells and I continue our verbal battle.  I am certain we will never obtain victory over the other as we continually hash over what has been discussed and tried a thousand times all to no avail for the liberal side.There was a time when the liberals of the Democratic Party made some sense in the argument of just how far should government, as a representative of the people, go to ease the suffering of those less fortunate than the majority.  The days of Hubert Horatio Humphrey, a Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party member in Minnesota, are long gone. Even then, I did battle with the “Happy Warrior” in the editorial pages of a couple of newspapers.  But he was always happy to debate his point of view with malice toward none.I have a considerable knowledge of socialism, communism and other isms, even though I have been fortunate to never live under their influence, except as it is growing here.  I have two minors in political science and history.  I studied socialism and communism in the Army’s counter intelligence school.I travelled with a group of newspaper people to Cuba for 10 days and to Eastern Europe for three weeks to study their systems with the aid of a number of major party bigwigs.  My wife and I were with the largest group of business people to ever travel to China as it began its acceptance of the kind of controlled capitalism that the Birdwells seem to advocate.In as few words as I can use here, I’ve seen socialism and communism, and it ain’t for us.This 242nd observance of our Declaration of Independence should remind us once again how the signers stated, “We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, our sacred Honor.”  They knew their act would be seen as an act of treason, that could lead not only to their own death or ruin, but that of their loved ones, as well. And yet, they committed this tremendous act of bravery for the sake of future generations.In order for this “new” form of government based on the rights of man to govern him(her) self, with governments only instituted to take direction from the people, to work, John Adams said that a morality had to exist.  That morality was evident in the four times that God’s name was directly or indirectly mentioned in the Declaration.A second requirement is that the participants in the eternal discussions be educated as to the facts of any issue as they present them fairly in any discussion. Real education, not propaganda, is the requirement.Now, again, Birdwell uses the ill-conceived word “progressive” to label his side of the issues.  And, again, I challenge that term.  It is “regressive” talk that seeks to always bring us backward to forms of government that have been tried a thousand times and failed.  Even our first colony tried a form of collectivism that failed as nearly all of the colonists died off the first winter.Birdwell, apparently, does not realize that communism and fascism and socialism use government control to establish their forms of government.  The people have no real say.“Wealth” is a funny animal.  It has long been known that if you divided  $100,000 equally among 100 people, over not too distance of time, the majority of the money would have gravitated toward but a few of the recipients.  That’s just a fact of life, or should we write, human nature.If the Birdwells have read their books, have they included Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, Sidney and others who were enlightened enough to see the bent of mankind?  Jefferson wrote the Declaration so as to “place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent.”  Why do we these many years later see other conditions?Let’s see, Birdwell has hit me over the head about 13 times (the number of times my name was mentioned in his letter of 29 June) with his ignorant and polluted thoughts. How much longer does he think he has anything intelligent to write on the subject?Duane A. RasmussenLaguna Vistacenter_img Want the whole story? Pick up a copy of the Port Isabel-South Padre Press, or subscribe to our E-Edition by clicking here.last_img read more