Bird flu isn't the same as pandemic flu, for one thing

I'm flummoxed by the bird flu hysteria that seems to have taken over the mainstream media. According to the April 12, 2006 issue of JAMA, "The White House strategic plan and congressional appropriation both devote more than 90% of pandemic influenza spending to vaccines and antiviral medications."* Elsewhere in the article it notes that the total approprations are $3.8 billion. Assuming that policy-makers are all in bed with big pharma (such as Rummy's association with Gilead Sciences, the biotech that owns the rights to the antiviral medication Tamiflu), this spending plan makes sense. The more they spend, the more they get to pocket. I feel jaded enough that this doesn't surprise me.
*Gostin, "Public Health Strategies for Pandemic Influenza," JAMA 295: 1700)

But I am surprised by the media's participation. Why does the public need to be stirred up so much that morning-show deejays are offering to shoot down wild birds to save us all? What is the point of creating panic among the common man? Is it to terrorize us? To take our minds off the screwed up war(s) where tons of the rest of "our" money is going? Because if you read closely, you'll note that pandemic flu doesn't even exist yet. Bird flu ain't it. It's a sickness that occurs in BIRDS. And who are we supposed to believe about its possible impact on humans? Do we believe top NIH scientist Anthony Fauci, who says bird flu is really not that big a deal? Or do we get with something like ABC News, which has a HUGE web component that seems designed to make us cower in our basements? Or maybe it's supposed to be entertainment? Or maybe people are just trying to use up funding and give themselves busy work? A loved one recently pointed out to me that even the Weather Channel is into terrorism--right now they have a show called "It Could Happen Tomorrow" about awful things happening all over the country... from weather. Check out their site at for "Today's Top Threat."

It just all seems frickin' ridiculous. I am not entertained. Nor am I terrorized. I'm mainly wondering why I'm supposed to care about this stuff. My sweetie told me gas will be going up to $4 a gallon this summer. Maybe we should freak out about that instead?

I need a unicorn chaser now, like they thoughtfully provide on boingboing. Or a movie with Chris Kattan in it would do quite nicely.

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