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Sebelius In As Secretary of Health & Human Services

Kathleen Sebelius approved as Health Secretary 65-31.

Red banner headline at Huffington Post

Sebelius was sworn in tonight at the Oval Office, shortly after the confirmation. “I expect her to hit the ground running,” Obama said after Sebelius took the oath of office. “We had to swear her in right away” because the outbreak of swine flu will need her “immediate attention.”

The Cabinet is full.

Smithfield’s Pigs

Sooo – we got instructions emailed out from Infection Control at work – outbreak guidelines and precautions.  I wondered if they had seen this report prior to sending that out.  Of course our little hospital isn’t on that list.  We’re not a trauma center although we do have a surgical suite.

A public health emergency has been declared in the United States and the Centers for Disease Control have activated the Emergency Operations Center to coordinate the agency’s response to the Swine Flu outbreak. The Idaho Division of Health and Public Health Districts have issued recommendations for surveillance for possible swine influenza cases and for infection control precautions. There are no confirmed cases of swine flu in Idaho at this time.

Now – in the meantime, those wonderful folks at 43rd State Blues found some stuff to pass along.  One is a Google map tracking swine flu cases or H1N1.   They also linked to this story at Rolling Stone magazine regarding Smithfield Farms in Virginia and conditions, etc., at the slaughterhouse factory.  the story is from 2006.

Also got an email from Grist with this story as part of that e-mail with questions regarding Smithfield Foods.

Is Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork packer and hog producer, linked to the outbreak? Smithfield operates massive hog-raising operations Perote, Mexico, in the state of Vera Cruz, where the outbreak originated. The operations, grouped under a Smithfield subsidiary called Granjas Carroll, raise 950,000 hogs per year, according to the company Web site.

I’m going to drag out my copy of ‘Fast Food Nation’ again and remind myself why I quit eating meat for almost a year after first reading a couple of years ago.  Just about the time I read that story in The Rolling Stone about Smithfield if I recall accurately.

It was just last year in December that workers at Smithfield approved unionization after a 16-year battle.

Workers at Smithfield Packing Co. voted in favor of unionizing, a stunning victory for labor organizers who have waited 16 years to gain a presence in the world’s largest hog processing plant.

Switching Spectre of Arlen Specter

I’m not real hip on Arlen Specter and am waiting to see where this leads.  He’s a swindler, I meant someone who bargains – some word that begins with an ‘s’ that means bargaining.   It’ll come to me, I’m sure.

The Hill is reporting Specter was adamant about remaining a ReThug back in March of this year, sooo……

I am more ambivalent about Specter as, say, compared to Joe Lieberman…. that fucker – he’d do well to avoid my area of the world.

[Democrats] are trying very hard for the 60th vote. Got to give them credit for trying. But the answer is no.

I’m not going to discuss private talks I had with other people who may or may not be considered influential. But since those three people are in the public domain, I think it is appropriative to respond to those questions.

I am staying a Republican because I think I have an important role, a more important role, to play there.