Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Possible Pandemic? Let's Go Golfing


Much was made about how George Bush was reading books to a group of school children when the planes crashed into the World Trade Center. Conspiracy theorists proclaimed that this was part of the plan orchestrated by the evil right wing dictator, George Double-U Bush. Others felt he should have threw the book to the ground, rushed out of the roo, tearing off his jacket as he went, ducked into a phone booth and emerged as Superman.

When Bush was notified that the first plane hit he probably wanted to find out what happened. Was this a pilot error? What was going on? If it had been a pilot error and Bush had immediately grounded planes nationwide he would have been considered a dolt. Then again he was considered a dolt because it was after his people learned of the second plane a news conference was held and we learned about the possible third plane.

One thing I learned years ago was that one person, even the President of the United States does not make decisions in a vaccum. Presidents generally surround themselves with people that they hope will help them make decisions. A wise person takes them into consideration and makes a decision using the facts at hand. Yes sometimes the facts at hand change and sometimes they are not accurate because the immediacy of the situation does not allow us to garner all the facts.

Agree with the Bush or not, agree with him or not, I find it amazing that often on the Democratic Underground there are people who still bring up the fact that Bush was reading that book to a group of kids.

Ah but meanwhile, back at the ranch, a new crisis emerges for our hero, President Obama. It's not enough that he's throwing trillions of dollars at shovel ready projects, or giving money to an auto company that hasn't had a successful year since the late 70's. He's now faced with a possible, pandemic. One might argue that a pandemic does not have the immediacy that terrorists hitting a building but I might argue that it might be worth putting one's golf clubs up for a few minutes.

Nero may have fiddled while Rome burned, Bush may have read "My Pet Goat" when the planes hit the World Trade Center, but when Swine Flu has been confirmed here in the United States, Obama goes golfing. I find it interesting that there is little mention of him golfing during this time except to say that he's being updated on the situation. Flu pandemics have been occurring with some regularity since at least the 1500s, but the frame of reference for health officials is the catastrophe of 1918-19. That one killed an estimated 20 to 50 million people worldwide.

Pandemics killed millions around the world in 1918, 1957 and 1968. The epicenter of this outbreak is Mexico, where the virus is blamed for at least 100 deaths and an estimated 1,600 cases in the country since April 13. Schools were closed, church services canceled and Mexican President Felipe Calderon assumed new powers to isolate people infected with the swine flu virus.

A pandemic hitting in the midst of an economic downturn could turn a recession into something far worse -- with workers ordered to remain in their homes, workplaces shuttered to avoid the spread of disease, transportation systems grinding to a halt and demand for emergency services and public health interventions skyrocketing. Indeed, they suggested, pandemic preparation was essential to any responsible plan for renewing the U.S. economy.

Ah but don't worry, the press conference I saw was from New York's Govenor and not the President of the US. The other press conference I saw U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano not Obama. That's fine but I can't help but imagine that Bush, the most evil of all evil Tyrants in history (that is until the next Republican comes into office) had sent out his Homeland Security Secretary he would be accused of not taking things seriously.

Don't you worry though, Janet is right on top of things. "Right now we don't think the facts warrant more active testing or screening of passengers coming in from Mexico," she said at a White House briefing.

You're right Janet afer all:

1. Health Minister Tony Ryall (New Zeland) has this evening confirmed ten positive influenza results from testing carried out on 13 Rangitoto College students who returned from Mexico early yesterday morning.

Nova Scotia health officials said two of the four victims in that province, all students at the same private school, recently visited Mexico. Two case also were confirmed in British Columbia.

The US declared a public health emergency as 20 cases were confirmed in the country, including eight in New York City, one in Ohio, two in Kansas and seven in California. The acting director of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr Richard Besser, said he expected more cases over the coming days.

Spain's health ministry said three people who had just returned from Mexico were under observation in hospitals in the northern Basque region, in south-eastern Albacete and the Mediterranean port city of Valencia.

The homeland security secretary, Janet Napolitano, said the US government was releasing 12m doses of the anti-flu drug Tamiflu from a federal stockpile. Don't your worry about the fact that there is no proof that Tamiflu is effective against this straing of flu. If you listen to the people on the DU or MSNBC you can rest assured the annoited one has it all under control.

Here's the difference. I think that Obama shouldn't make a rash and quick decision. I don't expect him to become superman because like when Bush was reading about the Pet Goats, Obama doesn't have all the facts in yet.

Oh and as long as I'm on the subject of parallels and how the press looks at all things Bush differently than anything Obama can possibly do, did you hear about Air Force One today? Bush got hammered for his decision to land on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier with the banner Mission Accomplished.

Did you hear about the panic caused by a flight mission and photo op that looked like Air Force One and fighter jets heading toward the New York City skyline this morning? Well for people who work in the New York financial district, the event brought back nightmares of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Numerous buildings in lower Manhattan evacuated in a panic during this morning's false alarm.

The plane that flew in New York Monday was a version of the Boeing 747 that's called Air Force One when the president is aboard.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg blasted the photo opportunity for being insensitive and showing "poor judgment." I can't believe Mr. Bloomberg would say such a thing.

And now let's return to our show. Here are the blog contest I entered:

Prize: $50 Photofiddle gift certificate, Chicken Soup for the Soul books and The Body Shop Mother's Day gift package (ARV $200).

Prize: Animal Planet Emergency Vets video game for Nintendo DS (ARV $29.99).

Prize: Pepsi Throwback cap, lunch box, Clock Radio/CD Player, USB Lava Lamp, Pepsi Throwback & Mountain Dew Throwback.

Prize: Two complimentary meal passes to Sweet Tomatoes.

Prize: You Color My Day photo book and assortment of Philosophy products.

Prize: Creative Vado HD Pocket Video Cam (ARV $229).

Prize: Pepsi Throwback trucker cap, retro Pepsi tin lunch box, retro clock radio/CD player, USB lava lamp, Pepsi Throwback and Mountain Dew Throwback (ARV $150).

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