Thursday, April 06, 2006

My, my

All sorts of things happening today. We've got our first case of avian flu in Great Britain, with a lovely swan swooning from it in Scotland. Not particularly surprising, given that it's been found in fourteen European countries (Italy, France, Denmark, to name a few). It should be encouraging to those of us who are obsessed with the possible spread of bird flu to humans that, thus far, Europe has contained these outbreaks, with no passing onto domestic fowl, let alone humans.

Oops, spoke too soon. Germany confirmed its first outbreak in domestic fowl yesterday.

Speaking of fowl, did you know that there's arsenic in that Chicken McNugget you're so steathily eating at your PC? Apparently, it's been a "government-approved additive in poultry feed for decades. It is used to kill parasites and to promote growth." Guess that makes sense. After all, it makes sense to the federal government to allow small town inhabitants to drink three times the amount of arsenic deemed safe, due to financial difficulties in removing the arsenic. Why not add arsenic to your chicken if it kills parasites? And so what if it might kill you?

Read the NYTimes article on the topic to find out which brands may be arsenic free. Or, better yet, buy organic to avoid the problem altogether.

While a miracle won't remove the arsenic from our fowl supply immediately, miracles may have been in shorter supply back in Jesus' time than previously thought. In a fine example of how people waste time for a living, scientist have apparently spent money and thought considering how, exactly, Jesus could have walked on water. The answer? He didn't. He walked on ice.

Hey. If you're interested in miracles, cook one up for me instead of wasting time debunking them. Grow grass that will be impervious to dog pee. Make leak-proof diapers. Develop microwave pizza that actually tastes good. Don't waste my time with an ice-skating Jesus.

Bet the Bush White House is hoping for a miracle at this point. Things just don't seem to be going Dubya's way these day. I absolutely love the latest Libby disclosure that Bush approved of Libby's leaking classified information to Judith Miller about the Iraq war. What a catch-22 for your commander in chief. The White House has totally denounced the leaking of information in the past. So, apparently it's ok for Cheney and Bush to leak, but not fine for anyone else? Apparently, it's ok to leak classified material for a good cause, if Bush and Cheney say it's good?

There appears to be a technicality that if the President authorizes a leak of classified information, it is therefore no longer classified. Whether that is true or not, this puts Cheney and Bush directly in a relationship with Judith Miller. Doesn't mean that Cheney or Bush leaked Plame's name. But it doesn't look squeaky clean either.

Squeaky clean has never been a look the Bush administration has achieved, though. It's good enough for them to proclaim there's no oral sex going on, then screw the public.

Until sometime soon (what a lame little tag, eh?),


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Liz, nice blog. Good writing and I'm glad you got your blogging energy back.

You said: It should be encouraging to those of us who are obsessed with the possible spread of bird flu to humans that, thus far, Europe has contained these outbreaks, with no passing onto domestic fowl, let alone humans.

I'm not sure where your optimism is coming from — and far be it from me to be an alarmist — but from my reading the question is not if, but when, the bird flu spreads to most other countries, including the Americas, through migratory species. And it will also most likely transmit from fowl to friend, eventually, in every locale.

The less certain question seems to be whether the bird flu will mutate to a strain that transmits easily between humans. That's when we start using the P-word.

Oh, and in contrast to a recent comment you received from someone else, I suspect you are not as liberal as me. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Paul in Rochester
— posting anonymously because I can't remember my password

10:09 AM  
Blogger Liz T-G said...

Well, I've been being an alarmist about bird flu for months, so I'm attempting to find some optimism in the story. I guess my guarded optimism comes from the fact that it doesn't seem to be spreading in epidemic fashion from domestic fowl to domestic fowl, which is where the big danger to people lies.

True, it IS coming to the US through migration. But if countries learn to contain it to migratory species, or if countries learn to contain domestic outbreaks, my Chicken McNuggets look a little safer.

Pandemic in humans? If I get all the science correctly (and THAT would be surprising, given my general scientific bent), the more it spreads, the more likely it is to mutate to the more humanly transmitable strain. So the more we are able to contain the spread domestically, (if not migratorily--is that a word?), the better are chances are of no pandemic.

And, ha. I am at least as liberal as you, notwithstanding my odd immigration post.

Liz :-)

10:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NSU - 4efer, 5210 - rulez

6:55 AM  

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