Hurricane lessons for flu: Common-sense measures can minimize risk

November 5, 2005

On Tuesday, President Bush outlined a $7 billion national pandemic influenza preparedness plan. On Wednesday, the Department of Health and Human Services published backup documentation: It contemplates the costs of a moderate pandemic influenza. Read the rest of this entry »

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Bird flu on the horizon

September 22, 2005

As the latest Atlantic hurricane spilled into the Gulf of Mexico, 90 miles to the north, roadways were empty. A little rain fell on a city closed tighter than a drum.

The lucky people of Miami retreated behind walls from fitful gusts of wind, but if the next disaster is pandemic flu there will be no lucky people and nowhere to hide. Read the rest of this entry »


History’s actors catch a cold

September 13, 2005

Areas hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina look like a bomb went off. And so does the aura of invincibility described in 2004 by a senior Bush White House aide to the New York Times: “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. . . . We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

Well. We’ve been studying, and the levee just burst on the school term. Read the rest of this entry »


Look who is shuddering now

September 4, 2005

Horrific. An American city descends into chaos and humanitarian tragedy. Let the finger pointing begin.

Special condemnation is reserved for every elected official or spokesperson—trained by media professionals—who stands before a television camera and fails to answer direct questions from reporters.

Next in line: every reporter who allows an elected official or spokesperson or agency official to get away with evasion, coached by media professionals. The relentless redirecting of questions by interviewers back to talking points, unchallenged in many cases by television personalities, is unacceptable.

And shouldn’t there be a law to ban television “news” channels that collaborate with interviewees—lines of questioning, talking points, and leading questions that default to pre-arranged answers? Read the rest of this entry »