This image from March of the Penguins is all I could think of while I was packed into the gym to watch my kid sing in the annual Holiday Sing. The school doesn't want parents to show up but some of us always do. Anyway, blogging must be brief because going to the assembly was only one of a bout two dozen things I have to get done today.
These are the stories I wish I had more time to research and write about:
1. The Brierney, who isn't read by much of anyone anymore (thank you NYT pay wall) today defends BushCo's NSA domestic spying program by explaining that Dear Leader has lost his mind.
Let's play "You're the President." Let's put you in the Oval Office and see what kind of decisions you make in real-world circumstances.
Because you are president, you are briefed each day on terrorist threats to this country. These briefings are as psychologically intense as an episode of "24," with descriptions of specific bad guys and their activities.
This has had a cumulative effect on your psychology. While many of your fellow citizens have relaxed as 9/11 has faded into history, you don't have that luxury. Your briefings, and some terrifying false alarms that haven't been made public, keep you in a perpetual state of high alert.
It's the insanity defense with a twist. BushCo's unhinged state of perpetual alarm makes him a better leader. He's now almost cat-like, ready to spring at anything that moves. It's all the biggest load of bullshit I think Brierney has ever written but there we are. Fear is good.
I really hope Doghouse gets on this because it's the kind of hanging curve he always smacks out of the park, giving me a reason to live. Let me just point out that it looks like the RNC is tired of waiting for us to internalize 24-World thinking and is now instructing their drones to put it out there with a ham fist.
2. Don't stockpile Tamiflu. I'm the last person you should take that kind of advice from but this story made me feel like I made the right decision not to invest in the stuff:
Two Vietnamese patients have died after developing strains of bird flu that were resistant to Tamiflu, the antiviral drug that nations around the world are stockpiling in the hope of saving lives if a global pandemic occurs.
Their deaths, which took place in January, were reported Thursday in The New England Journal of Medicine. A third patient, a 14-year-old Vietnamese girl whose case was reported in Nature in October, also developed resistance but survived.
Health officials had predicted that the bird flu virus, H5N1, would evolve into resistant forms, which happens often with virus-fighting medications. But experts also say the deaths are a warning that countries are not yet prepared to deal with a pandemic.
I'm waiting to see if my favorite flu-blog, Effect Measure, picks up on the story. Their advice I would trust. But I'm still not sinking a few hundred bucks into a drug that isn't recommended for kids, needs a doctor to figure out how to administer most effectively and may not work anyway.
3. Speaking of Effect Measure, they have a great story up right now about China finally cooperating with the WHO:
The praise comes in the context of a new agreement whereby China will share virus samples from H5N1 cases, something they had not done previously. A draft agreement between WHO and the Chinese Ministry of Health fulfilled a pledge made two months ago at a bird flu summit in Ottawa. Now comes word the first samples from recent human cases have been handed over to WHO by China's CDC. This is good news. Let's hope the cooperative attitude continues.
See that? Good news linked to both China AND bird flu. It truly is a season of miracles.
Ten days ago, the sleepy fishing village of Dongzhou was the scene of a deadly face-off, with protesters hurling homemade bombs and the police gunning them down in the streets.
Now, a stilted calm prevails, a cover-up so carefully planned that the small town looks like a relic from the Cultural Revolution, as if the government had decided to re-educate the entire population. Banners hang everywhere, with slogans in big red characters proclaiming things like, "Stability is paramount" and "Don't trust instigators."
And with that we are back to the Brierney. We live in interesting times.