Monthly Archives: April 2009

Swine Flu II

(Community Matters) Well, have decided I should learn more if starting to worry – previous post here.

What I’m learning:

CDC site here

What is swine flu? Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses that causes regular outbreaks in pigs. People do not normally get swine flu, but human infections can and do happen. Swine flu viruses have been reported to spread from person-to-person, but in the past, this transmission was limited and not sustained beyond three people.

What are the signs and symptoms of swine flu in people?
The symptoms of swine flu in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with swine flu. In the past, severe illness (pneumonia and respiratory failure) and deaths have been reported with swine flu infection in people. Like seasonal flu, swine flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions.

Infectious period for a confirmed case of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection is defined as 1 day prior to the case’s illness onset to 7 days after onset.

Close contact is defined as: within about 6 feet of an ill person who is a confirmed or suspected case of swine-origin influenza A (H1N1) virus infection during the case’s infectious period.

Acute respiratory illness is defined as recent onset of at least two of the following: rhinorrhea or nasal congestion, sore throat, cough (with or without fever or feverishness)

Special Considerations for Children
Aspirin or aspirin-containing products (e.g. bismuth subsalicylate – Pepto Bismol) should not be administered to any confirmed or suspected ill case of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection aged 18 years old and younger due to the risk of Reye syndrome. For relief of fever, other anti-pyretic medications are recommended such as acetaminophen or non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Evidence for benefits from treatment in studies of seasonal influenza is strongest when treatment is started within 48 hours of illness onset.

I mentioned in an earlier blog posting that a friend had recommended NAC (which I’ve ordered from Whole Foods since they’ve run out but are obtaining more of tomorrow). Below information from a survivalist message boardso I have no perspective of accuracy.

According to studies, the following supplements and herbs have shown some effectiveness with preventing and minimizing influenza:
· Vitamin D 2000 IU/day
· NAC (N-acetyl cysteine) 600mg bid with 1200mg Vitamin C (NAC can cause stomach aches and diarrhea in a small percentage of people and must be used with twice as much Vitamin C)
· Extracts of Olive leaf, Elderberry (Sambucus and Sambucol are good brands-try Whole Foods or organic/health food markets) and Astragalus

I haven’t resolved about air travel – though suppose I have for the interim since ST currently in Chicago, comes back Saturday night and we fly to Washington DC on Sunday. Steven feels we just need to be safe and wear masks on the plane, wash hands diligently and wipe off airplane surfaces with sterile wipes. We’re flying up for a party. Not at all inconceivable that our hosts may decide to postpone because of the public health alert.

Email message just received from Austin Independent School District Superintendent Pat Forgoine here

New Web Tool

(Community Matters) Steven sent this nugget

A web tool that “could be as important as Google”, according to some experts, has been shown off to the public. . . . The free program aims to answer questions directly, rather than display web pages in response to a query like a search engine.

FuseBox: The Neal Medlyn Experience Live!

(Community Matters) The Neal Medlyn Experience Live was sold out and entertaining. I didn’t even know it was a parody of the Beyonce concert until after the show – not that I’d know her music. Evidently the 20 and 30-somethings in the crowd got it more than the rest of us :)

starting second from left: Quincy Lee, Lora Reynolds, Jason Nichols, Cameron Larson & David Cleaves (someone send name of first guy)

Ellie & Amy Rudy

Don Mullins & Deborah Green

Julie & John Thornton

Ron Berry is the founder and artistic director of FuseBox, and Julie Thornton is a major supporter, collaborator and presenter who’s contributed greatly to this year’s success. Her presenting company TestPerformanceTest responsible for Geisha, Erection and Maxi Geil & Playcolt. Though I don’t think she’s officially on the board of directors, Julie has been right in there with Ron, Steven, Amy Rudy, Amy Bryant & Brent Hasty in making this year’s festival happen.

Good gosh, not to mention the EXTRAORDINARY volunteers & underpaid staff including: Sam Webber (associate producer), Natalie George, Dani Pruitt, K. Eliot Haynes, Austin Sheffield, Jeniffer Rogers, Patti Neff, Kevin Farr, Kathleen Cobb, Shawn Sides, Shannon Richey, Thao Vo, Shobie Partos & Elle Mahoney.

Robert Torian, Emily Bryant, Amanda Chiampi & Michael Mitchell

all my friends know Robert & Michael, two of my very best friends for many years. Emily Bryant a new friend and the sister of Thinkwell founder, Amy Bryant. Amanda Chiampi is also a very dear friend and my partner at the Entrepreneurs Foundation.

TCDP – 100 Days

(Community Matters) The Travis County Democratic Party celebrated Obama’s first 100 days, last night at Speakeasy’s. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay long because of my FuseBox commitment; however, long enough to make another contribution and thank party chair, Andy Brown for his hard work.

TCDP Chair, Andy Brown & Rick Cofer

First, Andy is methodically plugging away at all tasks. He’s raising money and raising candidates. I don’t know how much of what he does obtains visibility, but he periodically flatters me by keeping me up to speed. He’s doing a good job. Steven and I are proud to support his work and consider him an important friend.

National Democratic National Party committee member, Rick Cofer also a long time friend and important Austin activist. He tells me they are interested in finding young, enthusiastic Texas party activists for consideration as an at large committee member. Rick’s also been spending time at the capitol on environmental issues.

Mayor Wynn’s chief of staff, Rich Bailey and KT Muscleman, Editor Burnt Orange

Hmm, big surprise Mr. Bailey talking up a cute & young attendee. I’m just jealous; I always had the biggest crush on Rich when we were in our 30s. :)

Regrettably, I had to leave the event quite early to make my FuseBox commitment. Well, it’s actually more complicated. I thought I had to be a Salvage Vanguard at 6:45. Arrived, realizing I really had to be at Blue Theatre. Arrived there at 7 thinking I was late and realized the show wasn’t until 8. At this point I posted a FaceBook entry that I exhaust myself – I really do sometimes. Not sure why I’ve been so scattered lately. I need to slow down and reorient.

Anyhow, extra time allowed for a solo dinner at El Azteca – Steven’s in Chicago on businesses. I haven’t eaten out alone in a long time. Kinda liked it. And, I loved connecting with Juan Guerra, grandson of the restaurant’s founder, Jorge Guerra. Jorge opened El Azteca after retiring from the Air Force, which he joined after a four year stint in the Army – which he joined in order to gain citizenship when he moved from Monterrey in the 50s.

Swine Flu

(Community Matters) I’m completely out of the loop on this. All of a sudden wondering if it should impact our May 3 Lemonade Day, our May 15 Spring Service Day, my flight to DC on Sunday, or Steven’s 7 or 8 trips (4 international) in the next 60 days?

update: a young friend in medical school mentioned on FB that folks should read about the disease online at CDC website. it’s http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/. What an excellent idea.

further update: another friend who is a biology major tells me the swine flu works in a way especially threatening to people with hyper-immune systems, rather than weakened. I’m still a little freaked about Steven’s travel. Should I be?

Another friend recommending n-astyl-15 as a prophylactic.

FuseBox for the rest of this Week

(Community Matters) Lots and lots of great FuseBox Festival performances tonight through Sundaysee sechedule here. You should especially try to see:

Forced Entertainment in Spectacular -
‘One of the most influential new British theatre companies of the last 20 years.’ — The Guardian
more info
April 29 – May 2

Reggie Watts – one of six Americans in possession of full
vocal range (ten octaves of tone plus 300 distinct vocal styles).
more info
April 30 – May 2

Rude Mechs’ Method Gun – an extraordinarily beautiful production
by a local Austin theatre company, an Austin treasure

more info

thru May 2

Geisha – an Israeli trio with a sexy, raw edge. This show sponsored
by Julie Thornton’s TestPerformanceTest

info here

April 30 – May 2

Grub – an important Seattle dance group
info here

April 30 – May 2



Vice President Biden in Austin

(Community Matters) Vice President Biden was in Austin today. During a luncheon he thanked Organizing for America (OFA) donors.

Vice President Biden

Mickey & Jeanne Klein

Mickey & Jeanne Klein hosted today’s luncheon

B & Audre Rapoport

VP Biden mentioned how B & Audre have been supporters his entire career .

Kirk & Amy Rudy – behind, Andy Brown & TX OFA Director, Luke Hayes

John Sharp & Mayor Will Wynn

John Wotowick, Zachary Lee, Quincy Lee (Zachary & Quincy, Jeanne’s sons), Rep. Mark Strama & Jeanne
Marc & Suzanne Winkelman

Nav Sooch, Whitney Casey, Isabel & Dave Welland

Andy & Luke looking very secret service. Anne Elizabeth Wynn in foreground

Ian Davis & Amy Evarhart


The Vice President was succinct, articulate and encouraging.

Big Day Today

(Community Matters) and yesterday turned out to be too.  sorry not able to blog about most of it but will try for some after today.

Michael Mitchell is off to Houston today to receive results from 6 month scans, blood, etc at MD Anderson.  He looks terrific and I hope that’s a good omen that still in remission.  Certainly expect so after his excellent response to treatment.



New Tony Kushner Play

(Community Matters) The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures - who knew? here

Lemonade Day Tasting Contest

(Community Matters) Lemonade Tasting Contest – in celebration of next Sunday’s Lemonade Day, the way cool program which teaches kids about entrepreneurship and philanthropy.

For more information or to register for the May 3 Lemonade Day, go here

The Acton School and Foundation sponsored yesterday’s tasting at the Austin Children’s Museum.

emcee Mike Barnes (KVUE) with winners: Sarita Lonzano-Sanchez, Kaitlyn McWilliams and Max Messian

all the participating kids – there were 8 booths, 13 kids

first place winner, Kaitlyn McWilliams with her sponsor, Don Craven

second place winner, Max Messina with mom, Laura and sponsor, Dennis Fagan

special mention: Rohit Srinivasan (second from right)
with his brother, Sidharth, mom: Raka & sponsor: Sandra Aragona
(dad: Austin Ventures partner Krishna not shown)

Lemonhead (aka Thom Singer) with organizer, Marion Cimbala

Andra Liemandt – she & Joe and Trilogy are Lemonade Day underwriters

Michael Barnes was one of our judges

Council member Randi Shade and Acton CEO, Georgia Thomsen also judges


Frank Rich – The Banality of Bush White House Evil

(Community Matters) I don’t enjoy disagreeing with President Obama, but I do disagree that we shouldn’t pursue criminal charges against those who authorized torture against domestic and international laws. This cannot deteriorate into a political witch hunt.

An independent counsel should be appointed to pursue the case. If he finds a reason to indict, then those persons should be taken to court in front of a jury of 12 Americans.

From Frank Rich’s column in the New York Times:

We’ve learned much, much more about America and torture in the past five years. But as Mark Danner recently wrote in The New York Review of Books, for all the revelations, one essential fact remains unchanged: “By no later than the summer of 2004, the American people had before them the basic narrative of how the elected and appointed officials of their government decided to torture prisoners and how they went about it.” When the Obama administration said it declassified four new torture memos 10 days ago in part because their contents were already largely public, it was right.

By the time Bybee wrote his memo, Zubaydah had been questioned by the F.B.I. and C.I.A. for months and had given what limited information he had. His most valuable contribution was to finger Khalid Shaikh Mohammed as the 9/11 mastermind. But, as Jane Mayer wrote in her book “The Dark Side,” even that contribution may have been old news: according to the 9/11 commission, the C.I.A. had already learned about Mohammed during the summer of 2001. In any event, as one of Zubaydah’s own F.B.I. questioners, Ali Soufan, wrote in a Times Op-Ed article last Thursday, traditional interrogation methods had worked. Yet Bybee’s memo purported that an “increased pressure phase” was required to force Zubaydah to talk.

As soon as Bybee gave the green light, torture followed: Zubaydah was waterboarded at least 83 times in August 2002, according to another of the newly released memos. Unsurprisingly, it appears that no significant intelligence was gained by torturing this mentally ill Qaeda functionary.

Anna Deavere Smith’s – Let Me Down Easy

(Community Matters) Anna Deavere Smith interviews folks who think deeply about death from personal experience or a philosophical perspective and shared them with us last night at Zach Scott Theatre.

She brings the people she’s interviewed into the room to have a conversation with each other and the audience, embodying their energy without a literal impersonation. It was a journey that took us through challenge and consolation.

Steven and I loved her show and recommend it.

photo by Mary Ellen Mark.