aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Monday, October 24, 2005
A flu pandemic is the most dangerous threat the United States faces today,” says Richard Falkenrath, who until recently served in the Bush administration as deputy Homeland Security adviser. “It’s a bigger threat than terrorism. In fact it’s bigger than anything I dealt with when I was in government.” One makes a threat assessment on the basis of two factors: the probability of the event, and the loss of life if it happened. On both counts, a pandemic ranks higher than a major terror attack, even one involving weapons of mass destruction. A crude nuclear device would probably kill hundreds of thousands. A flu pandemic could easily kill millions.
The best response would be a general vaccine that would work against all strains of the flu. That’s a tall order, but it could be achieved. The model of the Manhattan Project is often bandied about loosely, but this is a case in which it makes sense. We need a massive biomedical project aimed at tackling these kinds of diseases, whether they’re natural or engineered by terrorists.
The total funding request for influenza-related research this year is about $119 million. To put this in perspective, we are spending well over $10 billion to research and develop ballistic-missile defenses, which protect us against an unlikely threat (even if they worked). We are spending $4.5 billion a year on R&D-drawings!-for the Pentagon’s new joint strike fighter. Do we have our priorities right?
Is this, today, what MTV was for me in the early 80s? Or what Current should be? Make the cable channel a big ad for the website.
I’m guessing this one is a hit.
Via Andrew Sullivan.
Update… The Chinese duo’s video is on Good Morning America right now… I’m sooo yesterday…
Ralph Reed: corporate shill
A major AJC article finds the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor of Georgia is a political operative “whose stands have sometimes shifted to conform to the desires of his paying clients.”
Reed --- a professed opponent of gambling --- used a group called the Committee Against Gambling Expansion to mobilize conservative Christians to oppose casinos owned by Indian tribes. The group, however, was secretly funded by another tribe trying to squelch competition for its casinos. Reed’s fees for that work totaled $4 million.
He has a long history of “[capitalizing on his] connections in the evangelical Christian community even as they contradict positions he advocated as one of the nation’s most prominent spokesmen for the religious right.” Isn’t there a commandment against this?
Ralph Reed’s clients wanted to promote a relaxed U.S. trade policy toward China. So, as he has often done since leaving the Christian Coalition to become a corporate and political consultant, Reed tapped into his vast network of conservative religious activists.
Soon the Alliance of Christian Ministries in China was telling Congress that free trade would open doors for missionaries in a nation that is officially atheist.
The alliance, however, was a facade. Reed arranged for its formation and used its evangelical goals to serve the interests of his paying clients, a coalition of businesses including Boeing Co., which had a more secular objective: to sell the Chinese government $120 billion worth of airplanes.
Frist a liar
Say what you will about the man, records show the guy lied:
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) was given considerable information about his stake in his family’s hospital company, according to records that are at odds with his past statements that he did not know what was in his stock holdings.
Managers of the trusts that Frist once described as “totally blind,” regularly informed him when they added new shares of HCA Inc. or other assets to his holdings, according to the documents.
Frist had “an arrangement similar to those of several other senators.”