Monday, May 4, 2009

More Errors, Revealed and Reviled

There has been a positive outbreak of damaging errors lately, but I'll simply select some of the important ones:

(1) A premature, world-wide panic about the current, relatively mild strain of influenza caused it to be renamed H1N1, as the U.S. pork industry objected strenuously and effectively to "Swine Flu". Among the media and political overdramatizations, Mexico was clocked at 150 deaths from this virus, until a few days ago, when the figure was lowered to 22, far less alarming. (A more recent tally bumped it up to 42.) The chief blame belongs to the media, for seldom distinguishing between suspected vs. confirmed cases and fatalities.

Then we heard V.P. Joe Biden, a supposedly brilliant politician, talk about family, airplanes and subways, in a panicky message to hole up away from confined spaces/places. (Some of us still recall his enormous campaign gaffe regarding "FDR's Fireside Chats on TV ", which in fact were radio broadcasts, hence the word "chat".)

Indeed, H1N1 could return in a yet again mutated form a few months from now, frighteningly virulent, reminiscent of the 1918 Pandemic. But as we're not there yet, let's just get the necessary meds together and deployment ready, with the usual reminders about hand washing, crowd avoidance, etc. Too many businesses and schools were shut for too long a period during this recession, just what we didn't need.

(2) Politicians who pontificate erroneously about facts to oppose legislation really should lose their jobs, i.e., Congresswomen Ms. V. Foxx and Ms. Michelle Bachmann-- again, a fast and loose treatment of FDR's era: It was the Smoot-Hawley Tariff, passed in the waning days of Hoover, not FDR, which contributed to the Great Depression. And the murder of Matthew Shepard WAS a hate crime, too bad if any anti-gay sentiment blinds one to that reality.

It is a daunting, yet necessary responsibility to stay informed; when we aren't,
everybody pays.