Leading Off (8/14/12)

Aerial Mosquito Spraying Could Begin Thursday. The way things are looking (paywall), we will begin Thursday night using airplanes to spray poison on everything. Approximately 2.4 million people live in Dallas County. Ten have died from West Nile. Just two numbers to bear in mind before we begin using airplanes to spray poison on everything.

The Worst Flight Attendant Ever. Deadspin makes an NSFW request of all flight attendants: please quit with the schtick. The reason? This amazing pre-flight announcement made by an American Airlines attendant.

Boy Too Big To Play Football. A 12-year-old Mesquite boy has been told he’s too big to play football. When you read the boy’s age, what size popped into your head? Did you think he’d be 6 feet tall and weigh 300 pounds?


  • B

    Exactly. The numbers. Mosquitos will start dying out naturally in another six weeks. Perhaps the chemicals wont cause any serious health problems for humans. However, as stated yesterday, it is already killing off bees. Bees are essential to human survival. A panic worthy, hand wringing health crisis will absolutely occur with insufficient pollination. There is one upside At least Channel 8s go to medical reporter, Janet St James, will have job security til the bitter end.

  • JJones

    And you also forgot to mention that the people who have died are mostly old and had other conditions. It was funny how one tv station interviewed a really old guy who had West Nile and said he’s happy they’ll do aerial spraying. He’s “healthy” now. But he already looks like he’s about to die from natural causes.

  • JS

    Spraying = idiotic
    AA flight attendant = moronic
    Football ruling = exactly right. The boy can play football, just not in the Mesquite Pee Wee league — it’s hard to believe that anyone could think a 6 foot, 300 pound boy should be playing Pee Wee football in the first place.

  • J bennett

    What the hell was that flight attendant thinking?I’d have her fired in a minute acting that unprofessionally and condescending?Are there now absolutely NO standards for those F/A messages on AA anymore?

  • Wes Mantooth

    I can’t wait for mosquito spraying to be linked to increased rates of autism in Dallas County. Can’t St. Jenny McCarthy do anything about this?

  • dallasboiler

    I can understand the concerns over mass use of pesticides. However, it’s inaccurate to propose the the cost-benefit ratio here is 2.4 million to 10. While there have been 10 deaths, there are many more people who have been hospitalized, and there are even more who are afraid to be outside and expose themselves (and their children) to the potential of contracting West Nile. It’s dismissive for those whose families have not been affected by West Nile to assume that our public health officials haven’t carefully weighed out the pros and cons here (otherwise, wouldn’t we just spray all of the time to keep West Nile cases to 0).

    This Duet chemical to be used in the aerial campaign is already in use for ground-spraying locally and has been used safely for many years (here and elsewhere).

    It’s interesting to me that the City of Dallas (and other municipalities) have been ground spraying with the same chemical fog which will be distributed by this aerial spraying program. There’s been little public uproar over that program, even though “ground spraying” is a bit of a misnomer (since the spray is still sprayed upwards and has the ability to travel several hundred feet from the spraying location).

    I’m not an entymologist, but are the effects to bees really a major concern during this part of the season? From what I’ve read, the concern about impacts to bees is really only present during pollenation season (e.g., spring and early-summer) when large numbers of bees are active in the area.

  • Yeah, I think all the people with the exception of an immuno-suppressed kidney recipient have all been over 70. Let’s face it, when you get that old, you can die from farting too hard. We can’t try to rid the world of everything that is dangerous when you’re on death’s door anyways.

    As for the kidney lady, sorry. My dad is a liver recipient, so I know how it is. You go outside, you put on some Deep Woods Off, or you might die. Beats living with what was killing you before.

  • GMOM

    There is a story in today’s DMN, a 14 year old in Arlington has WNV. It’s pretty dibilatating!! And in some cases it can go to the brain. You are right older people do die because they can’t fight off the virus, but the other 400+ may not die, however the virus will have affected them probably for life. And the BEEs are so very important, now if it would kill roaches, I’d be so in favor of spraying from the air. So, last night I woke up about 1:30 am to see a truck hauling a** down my alley spraying for mosquitos. There was poison coming out of the sprayer, however the truck was going so fast that the spray was not going into the yard, it was streaming behind the truck. I’m wondering how effective the planes will be. Cooler weather the mosquitoes will go away. I can’t
    pick a side.

  • sjthornton

    @dallasboiler Which chemical company employs you? You haven’t done a stitch of homework on bees if you think that they’re not active now. They are extremely active preparing stores of honey for the winter. In fact, since we don’t usually have extremely cold winters, they are active year round. Educate yourself… you might start here: http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/cityofate/2012/02/the_texas_honeybee_guild_and_t.php

  • Excellent “Leading Off” today Tim.

  • critic

    Could the large amount of the mosquito population in the Park Cities be due to daily irrigation at many residences ? Most of these green lawns are overwatered. In another month most of these green lawns will be plaqued with brown patch from overwatering. One is not hearing much about the mosquito problem in the water restricted, parched suburbs. Possiblly the wealthiest just overwater their landscapes.

  • DM

    @critic: are you Jim Shutze in disguise? He also likes to blame the rich for all that is wrong with society. His motto is “let’s all be poor and miserable together. It’s much more fun that way”

  • WD

    To DallasBoiler, not an entomologist? Really? Perhaps I misunderstand your point. It seems you’re suggesting that spraying bees with neurotoxins outside crop pollination season isn’t a big deal, or, that there wouldn’t be too many out to be killed this time of year…I suppose you’re not aware that we have some issues with the broader bee population these days? Were you right about the seasonal activities of bees (which you are not, unfortunately), we could still scarce afford to lose any more bees in this country…that is, if we like to eat.

  • Don’t spray me bro!

  • Former Texan

    My former boss has a 12 year old that is 6′ 4″. Doctors expect him to hit 6’9″ or 6’11”. A few years ago one of the pee we leagues tried to stop him because he was too tall. They wanted him to play with kids 3 years older. That’s great for everybody else, but for the kid it means he has to play with boys that are more coordinated and have adapted to their height, while he’s still getting used to his.

    His father fought for his right to play with his age group, since the leagues are divided by age, not size. I think the Mesquite kid should get to play with kids his own age as well.

  • Former Texan

    Just re-read the entire article and see that they have a rule based on size (so this kid isn’t being singled out) and there is an alternate league. Hope he does well there.

  • critic

    @DM: I am not Jim Scultze in disguise. My yard is very very lush and green in the Park Cities. In fact, my just received water bill is 20% higher than my current electric bill. I just have to believe some poor watering practices are contributing to the mosquito number explosion. In the parched fields in the suburbs its the grasshoppers eating everything else because it is so dry. It’s always something in Texas !

  • Donatella

    The high mosquito population in the park cities has more to do with the number of mature trees in the area. Mosquitos do breed in very small amounts of water that collect where the branches meet the trunks.

  • dallasboiler

    Damn, my devious scheme to go onto Frontburner and turn the tide of the existing public sentiment against mosquito spraying to boost revenues at my multi-national chemical conglomerate empire failed. Guess I’ll have to go to Plan B and just pay off politicians to spray the public against their will instead.

    I’m generally against chemical spraying as well, but I’ve found it amusing the past few days to see gotcha! journalism at work on the West Nile subject (but I do believe its a well-reasoned response in light of what’s being observed in Dallas county). For the better part of a month, the lead story on every news station (at least 1 day per week) in the local area has been announcement of another West Nile death. There have been interviews with citizens and families imploring public officials to ramp up spraying efforts and do something to contol these infected mosquitos.

    Then, the city ups the ante and announces an aerial spraying campaign; and the coverage completely changes. Now, we see interviews with citizens and activists for organizations I’ve never heard of (e.g., “Concerned Citizens for Safer Mosquito Control”) trying to scare the public about the ‘chemical rain’ set to fall upon them.

    It’s easy for folks to hit a blog and blast public officials for any decision they make. There’s no sinister plot here. Like any public decision, there is a trade-off … the potential of lives saved and hospitalizations prevented by spraying or doing nothing at letting nature take its course (and potentially driving up the county’s death toll and health care costs). It’s easy to say that the people who died were old or in poor health anyway; but that’s easy to saw if they’re not people you knew or loved. And, I find it particularly interesting that the same liberal elements who feel that it’s the public job to do everything possible to nurture lives of others (via socialized medicine, welfare, etc.) are the same people who are going crazy over the county’s decision to spray for mosquitos by airplane (even though they’ve been spraying the same chemicals from trucks for months now).

    I just don’t get the hyperbole over this issue.