Paris revolts over morbid artwork

“An incomprehensible screed of words carved by a grief-stricken schizophrenic French farmer into his bedroom floor has become Paris’s most controversial new art exhibit.

Since the Plancher de Jeannot (Jeannot’s Floorboards) went on display last week, it has created an unprecedented stir. ‘People are terribly disturbed by it. Some feel it should not be on public view,’ said Claudine Hermabessiere, spokeswoman for the Bibliotheque Francois Mitterrand. The carving – 80 lines of text, in capital letters with no punctuation – contains references to Hitler, to Popes and to an infernal machine that controls humans.

‘The work raises painful questions about whether madness can be artistic. The people who are most upset are those who know Jeannot’s story,’ said Hermabessiere.” (Guardian.UK via null device)

The Ghost of Influenza Season Future

Also pointed to by the null device: one of the best medical webloggers, Dr. Charles, writes a doctor’s fictitious journal entry about the avian flu pandemic to come. Scroll down for some advice from one of his readers on preparing for it:

“1) It has recently been determined that most pulmonary illnesses are spread by hand contamination, not coughing or sneezing as previously believed. If you are out in public or around those who are during an outbreak, using alcohol-based hand sanitizer six times a day will reduce your chance of catching flu by 80%. If there is obvious contamination, use soap and water. Antiseptic soap is not significantly more effective than ordinary soap in this regard. Consciously force yourself not to touch your face in public until you have sanitized your hands.

2) The worst public sources for air and surface contamination are public restrooms and restaurants. Avoid them. Sanitize telephone handsets and often touched surfaces in work areas, especially doorknobs. Parts of automobile interiors can also be cleaned.

3) There are several known effective OTC anti-virals, and several more that may help. Some non-toxic metals are powerful antiseptics and can be used for decontamination, such as the calcium found in grapefruit seed extract (available in health food stores). A few drops can disinfect a quart of water. A tablespoon can also be added to a humidifier for an air and room surface disinfectant. Larger amounts could be added to a swamp cooler to help sanitize an entire house.

4) Other metals are not directly anti-viral, but inhibit viral reproduction in some circumstances. Silver and zinc in the proper form and place can have this effect in the human body. Colloidal silver in a nasal spray, for one, and Cold-Eeze brand throat lozenges for zinc. Cold-Eeze is unique in this way, as its patented form of zinc is readily uptaken into the mucous membranes, unlike most zinc supplements. With FDA approval, it can state that it lessens severity and duration of colds and flu. Perhaps it can do more.

5) Most colds and flus reproduce in the sinuses and trachea, so it is important to keep them a less friendly environment for viruses. The use of ordinary saline nasal spray to reduce large build ups of mucous removes breeding medium. NOTE: avian flu is different, in that it can reproduce in several other organs, including the liver.

6) Another newly discovered trick that may work is ordinary store-bought cranberry juice, which has been determined to inhibit cellular adhesion by several viruses, in quantity. It is unknown if it would work for avian flu, but drinking copious amounts as a possible prophalaxis should not be too much an inconvenience, if that is all you’ve got to protect yourself with.

7) There will undoubtedly be shortages of several items once an outbreak has occurred. Surgical masks, protective glasses, latex gloves, sanitary wipes and rubbing alcohol may all become scarce, so it is not unreasonable to stock up now.

8) The vaccination priority that we are used to has been changed because of the severity of this illness. Instead of giving injections to the elderly, infirm and very young, the emphasis will be on school-aged children (the largest human vector of the disease), and in outbreak areas. It would be wise to familiarize yourself with traditional quarantine measures, as they can be unexpectedly harsh. In time of an epidemic, the Health Department can be authoritarian.

9) The avian flu also has a large number of animal vectors, and until these are determined for certain, it would be wise to avoid large assemblages of animals and birds, even dogs and cats. Already, some birds have been identified that can carry the disease for great distances without immediately dying.

10) Flu vaccine takes from several days to two weeks for optimum immunity. This immunity may last perhaps six months or more in a healthy, young adult, and as little as two to three months in the elderly. A severe flu epidemic usually appears in two waves, and can last from one to two years.

11) Symptomology of avian flu so far seems to indicate that death occurs very quickly, perhaps within 72 hours, and is often from blood and fluid build-up in the lungs. Though this sounds morbid, some people may die in public and it is important not to touch the body. An incapacitated person may spew large amounts of infectious fluids about.

12) Traditionally, government has been slow to react to epidemics, often waiting too long before instituting strong restrictions on the public. However, this can be deadly serious, even if ineffective. There may be circumstances where armed guards are used, and response to public panic may be severe.”

Related: Brainblog rounds up resources for pandemic awareness.

Miers Chosen in Preparation for Bush Impeachment?

A Lawyer and a Justice: “George W. Bush is getting heat from all sides for his second Supreme Court choice. The left cries cronyism; the right fears there is no litmus test on abortion and gay rights; one cynical columnist speaks of ‘office wives tucked away in the White House;’ cartoonists ask what kind of justice is it that puts Lynndie England in jail for three years because of Abu Ghraib while her boss Donald Rumsfeld remains at large.

All these views have merit. But there is an elephant in the room that even a psychoanalyst can see: Bush is reacting to what Truthout calls the ‘tightening noose’ around the White House’s neck — George Stephanopoulos revealed on Sunday October 2 that Bush himself may have been involved in the plotting to expose Valerie Plame to the press.

By appointing his personal lawyer after appointing a Chief Justice who helped him out in the 2000 Florida election, he is ‘stacking’ the court with justices who will protect him and his colleagues at all costs. After all, Miers kept Bush from one particular jury duty which, had he served it, would have exposed his DWI arrest record before he even had a chance to cover it up. ” — Justin Frank (Huffington Post)

"I don’t think Rove will be indicted"

Ed Fitzgerald writes at unfutz:

“Fitzgerald [no relation — FmH] knows that Rove is involved, and that he probably has enough to indict him, but he figures doing so will bring the full force of the White House down on him, potentially closing down his entire effort (i.e fire him, replace him with someone more amenable, a la Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre — and without a Congress controlled by the Democrats, Bush has even more freedom to act in that manner than Nixon did).

So, if Rove’s not going to be indicted, how to utilize Rove? Unindicted co-conspirator? Could be, that might slip by without massive retaliation (real retaliation — there will still be a propaganda fusillade from the right).

In the meantime, Fitzgerald knows Rove’s in the shit, and Rove does too, so Fitzgerald figures he can use Rove to get more information to firm up his prosecution of Libby and whoever else is going to be indicted. He sends Rove a letter, tells him that his testifying doesn’t mean he’s not going to be indicted, thereby keeping the pressure on. Rove’s lawyer, presumably, also knowing his client is hip-deep in it, tells him that the one chance he’s got not to be indicted is to testify again and give Fitzgerald what he wants.”

Bush claimed God told him to invade Iraq, Afghanistan

“‘I’m driven with a mission from God.

‘God would tell me, ‘George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan’.’

‘And I did, and then God would tell me, ‘George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq…’ And I did.

”And now, again, I feel God’s words coming to me, ‘Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East.’ And by God I’m gonna do it’…'” (Yahoo! News)

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Harriet the meek

“It’s disturbing that the administration is trumpeting Miers’ faith as a talking point. But it’s far worse that they’re trying to sell her to women as an O’Connor replacement, while also trying to reassure the right by peddling her unthreatening ’50s femininity. Where John Roberts was pitched, even to doubtful Democrats, on his intellect and legal competence, the administration is selling Miers on her loyalty and reliability. One of those tough fem-bots around Bush ought to slap him, and tell him to stop hiding behind Miers’ skirts and come out and defend her legal accomplishments and her intellect. And if he can’t, Democrats and Republicans should unite and reject the latest example of friendship trumping talent in this increasingly scandal-fouled administration.” — Joan Walsh (salon editor-in-chief)