New Scientist is reporting this hour that a man died in Beijing of H5N1 bird flu fully two years before China admitted any human cases:
The case suggests that, as has long been suspected, many more people have caught H5N1 flu in China than have been reported, and for a longer time. The more human cases there are, the more chances the virus has to evolve into a human pandemic strain of flu.
"It's a very important issue that needs to be clarified urgently," Roy Wadia, a spokesman for the World Health Organization, said on Thursday in Beijing. "It raises questions as to how many other cases may not have been found at the time or may have been found retrospectively in testing."
Remember what I wrote about an hour ago that governments suppressing the press is bad for democracy? Well, I forgot to mention that it's bad for our health as well.
More on this later, but just keep in mind that oppressive regimes always attack the press before attacking the people. Keeping a free and open press is an absolute requirement of democracy.
On that theme, three stories:
As I describe these things, I can't help but to compare what the Republican officials are doing in this country to what another party's officials have done throughout the last century in places like China and the U.S.S.R. I can't understand why this doesn't bother them more. After all, our party has the reputation for collectivism; they've always argued for "small government." Paraphrasing Ralph Kiner: "If Eisenhower were alive today, he'd be spinning in his grave."
I refer here to President Roosevelt's approval rating after the Battle of the Bulge. Josh Marshall's people found a beautiful document prepared in the 1940s; Marshall himself explains why this is not simply a poke-in-the-eye for Fox News—er, Press Secretary Tony Snow:
There's a serious underlying point here about the administration's basic frivolousness in its conduct of the war.
No one thinks you can fight a war or conduct any project of great consequence by following minor oscillations in polls. But long term and imbedded trends in public opinion mean something. In this case, the public can see President Bush doesn't know what he's doing.
Having his flacks go out and compare him to great wartime leaders of the past and insult the American people in the process doesn't change that.
One of my readers just sent this in:
A small town had three shuls: Orthodox, Conservative and Reform. All three had a serious problem with squirrels in their buildings. Each congregation, in its own fashion, had a meeting to deal with the problem.
The Orthodox decided that it was predestined that squirrels be in the Shul and that they would just have to live with them.
The Conservatives decided they should deal with the squirrels in the movement's style of Community Responsibility & Social Action. They humanely trapped them and released them in a park at the edge of town. Within three days, they were all back in the synagogue.
The Reform Synagogue had several lengthy meetings, including those in which all members voiced opinions. Finally they decided to vote the squirrels in as members of the Temple. Now they only see them on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
According to Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) 61.56:
(c) ...[N]o person may act as pilot in command of an aircraft unless, since the beginning of the 24th calendar month before the month in which that pilot acts as pilot in command, that person has (1) Accomplished a flight review given in an aircraft for which that pilot is rated by an authorized instructor; and (2) A logbook endorsed from an authorized instructor who gave the review certifying that the person has satisfactorily completed the review.
My last flight review took place in June 2004. This means that if I don't have a flight review by July 1st, I will not act as pilot in command of my next flight—which will be my BFR. So my logbook will show a flight in which I'm not PIC, for the first time since I got my certificate. It's no big deal, but it is a point of personal pride.
Thunderstorms are moving through the area so I won't have my BFR today. The next available time is in a week. That leaves three days. Fooey.
This is part of the fun of flying: rescheduling because of weather.
Summer has just begun in the Northern Hemisphere. It started at 12:26 UTC (8:26 EDT, 5:26 PDT), and goes until September 23rd at 04:03 UTC (11:03 pm Sept. 22nd, CDT).
But, then again, maybe not:
Jack Abramoff's right-hand man, David Safavian, was convicted today of lying and obstructing justice:
Safavian was charged with lying about his relationship with Abramoff and his knowledge of the lobbyist's interest in acquiring properties from [General Services Administration], the property managing agency for the federal government. He was also charged with obstructing investigators looking into a golf trip he took with Abramoff in 2002.
TPM Muckraker has a thorough dossier on this clown.
My dad has more tea tins for sale. A second lot. This time, 91 tins, weighing more than 10 kilos (22 pounds), which is amazing since they contain nothing but air at this point. And I can claim photo credit—along with counting credit. Ninety-one tea tins, how can you resist?
Yes, in a short time, ten years of tea tins my father has carted with him up and down the Pacific coast will depart the family forever. Heirlooms lost. It's almost sad.
Not that it's going to drive a lot of bids, but I need to point out that at least one of the tins in this batch, I brought back for him from London. Bought it on Regent Street, I did.
In February 2001.
So, OK, maybe it's time.
Wait until he sees what Anne and I sent him last week...
Krugman (sub.req.) hits it on the nose today:
[I]f the real source of today's bitter partisanship is a Republican move to the right on economic issues, why have the last three elections been dominated by talk of terrorism, with a bit of religion on the side? Because a party whose economic policies favor a narrow elite needs to focus the public's attention elsewhere. And there's no better way to do that than accusing the other party of being unpatriotic and godless.
Thus in 2004, President Bush basically ran as America's defender against gay married terrorists. He waited until after the election to reveal that what he really wanted to do was privatize Social Security.