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Archive for February 3rd, 2007

Don’t Call It “Bird” Flu

Posted by MEC on February 3, 2007

The headlines proclaim

Deadly bird flu virus found in Britain

But the story is:

Officials confirmed Saturday that the H5N1 strain of bird flu had been found in turkeys on a commercial farm — Britain’s first mass outbreak of the disease that has ravaged Asia’s poultry stocks and killed more than 160 people worldwide.

As ornithologist Laura Erickson frequently reminds us in BirderBlog,

The disease has not been found in wild birds in North America, and seems to spread to the wild birds it has infected ONLY via unsanitary practices on poultry farms. Mallards have transmitted the disease from bird to bird, but only in crowded unnatural farming situations.

Laura says, and I agree, that we should call the disease poultry flu. There have been occurrences of the disease in wild birds; but the epidemics occur on poultry farms. As Laura points out on her information page about the disease,

So far all the humans who have become ill were infected by poultry … not one person has become infected by a wild bird.

The politicians and news media consistently ignore the connection between “bird” flu and poultry farms. They seem to think it’s better to scare people into thinking they’ll get a deadly disease from the pigeons in the park, indeed to spend billions of dollars in government funds to prepare for a possible virus mutation, than to actually attack the disease by requiring industry reforms.

Posted in big money, bird flu, government malfeasance, paranoia, poultry flu, Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Methinks Fowler Doth Protest Too Much

Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 3, 2007

Over at Tapped, Tom Schaller of Whistling Past Dixie fame had a little run-in with DLC royalty the other day:

 At the lobby at the Washington Hilton at the DNC winter meetings, I headed over to a conversation between political columnist Roger Simon and former DNC Chairman Don Fowler of South Carolina. (Not to be confused with Donnie Fowler, his son, who ran for DNC chair in 2004.) I had come over to say hello to Fowler, whom I interviewed a year ago December in Columbia at a South Carolina Democratic Party Dinner.

By pure chance, Fowler was explaining how the Deep South states are fundamentally different from the Outer South states and, consequently, that a Democrat could win the latter in 2008. He started to say, “There’s some book out there saying we can’t do this…” at which point I interjected, “You mean Whistling Past Dixie?” Yes, he said, so I politely introduced myself as the author. Then Big Don lost it.

Looming over me with his long finger pointing at my chest, he called me an “asshole” several times, including “f—ing asshole” at least once. I could hardly get a word in edgewise, especially after my bete noire, Mudcat Saunders, joined in to let Fowler know that he (Saunders) had told me to kiss his rebel ass once. (Apparently, that’s now Mudcat’s claim to fame.)

Fowler’s sole point — he repeated it again and again — is that Democrats have no majorities without the South and no Democrat has ever won the White House without carrying a southern state. I didn’t deny that, because it’s true — if barely so. I tried to point out that Al Gore (New Hampshire) and John Kerry (Ohio) came one state away from doing so. He then claimed that Jim Webb was the decisive victory to give Democrats their Senate majority, as if the other six seats they won in 2006 contributed nothing to that majority.

Methinks Fowler doth protest too much.  This reminds me of Joe Klein’s fit of staged Technicolor public outrage when Jacob Weisberg dared mention the reams of evidence showing Klein wrote Primary Colors.

Things to note:

1) Who was Fowler (and apparently Mudcat as well) chatting with and sucking up to when Tom introduced himself? 

Roger Simon. 

The Republican media cheerleader Roger Simon

The guy who writes for Pajamas Media.  (Yeah, so does David Corn — but Corn’s their token “lie-beral”, picked by them specifically to be used as a weapon against other liberals.)

And then these guys wonder why we don’t trust them?

2) Commenter Nemo said pretty much everything else I wanted to say, but I note that the Schaller-haters are ignoring the points made by Nemo and others — it seems that the two key strategies of Schaller’s most vicious attackers (cough*DavidMizner*cough) are defective reading comprehension and putting words into people’s mouths — so I’ll mention them again:

But what Schaller said is not that Southern Democrats in general are holding the party hostage, just “people like Fowler and Saunders.” People who say the Democrats need to become Republicans Lite in order to appeal to the worst aspects of Southern culture (and rural and suburban culture everywhere).

They’re not just saying that the Democrats can’t win without the South.  They’re saying the Democrats can’t win without talking and acting like Republicans.  That is definitely holding the party hostage.

As Schaller points out, the South contributes very little when the Democrats do win. And as the previous commenter points out, the Republicans controlled the White House almost all the time for 70 years without the South: from the Civil War to the Great Depression.

Guys like Fowler and Saunders are indeed trying to hold the Democratic Party hostage — it’s their bread and butter. They are more powerful in a weak Democratic Party than in a strong party.

3)  The Fifty-State Strategy is not incompatible with honoring core Democratic values.

Schaller’s not saying “Don’t spend any money in the South” (though that’s what Fowler and his fellow travelers want you to think).  He was all in favor of Dr. Dean’s reviving the party structures in places like Mississippi and Georgia and Alabama. 

Schaller’s saying is that Democrats need to stop aping Republicans and Southern/DLC/BlueDog Democratic candidates need to stop hurting the Democratic Party for short-term personal gain by running against the Party’s core values and strongest members.  (How do we win as a party when Southern Democrats use the GOP’s bash-Pelosi/Kennedy/gays/etc. playbook?)

By the way, while the Don and Donnie Fowlers of the world have made their peace with Howard Dean, the Paul Begalas and the James Carvilles, the same guys who claim to be The South’s Bestest Friends Evah, attacked Dean and (in Carville’s and Begala’s cases, anyway) still openly attack him for doing this — even though it paid off dividends by getting more Democrats elected at the local and state levels.  “Being nice to the South” for them apparently means aping Republicans, not beefing up Southern state party organizations. 

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

Buying the bull

Posted by Charles II on February 3, 2007

Via  As’ad, the AP reports

A few years ago, American aid to Lebanon was measured in the number of dairy cows a U.S. program gave to needy farmers. Now it is in the hundreds of millions of dollars, plus military help, as Washington tries to prop up a government seen as threatened by Iran and Syria….

Last week, the United States pledged US$770 million dollars in aid for Lebanon at a Paris donors’ conference that raised a total of US$7.6 billion. The money is on top of US$230 million Washington pledged at a meeting on reconstruction after the Hezbollah-Israel summer war.That’s a massive increase over the annual US$35 million that the United States was giving Lebanon up until 2005 ….

Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, things are working out equally brilliantly:

British strategy in Afghanistan suffered a blow when the Taliban overran a town in northern Helmand where a controversial peace deal had been signed.

Hundreds of insurgents stormed into Musa Qala on Thursday night, disarming the local police, burning government buildings and threatening elders, officials and residents said.

The Taliban offensive appeared to catch troops off guard just two days before Britain hands control of Nato forces in Afghanistan to an American, General Dan McNeill….

 After a summer of fighting that claimed several British fatalities, British forces and the Taliban agreed to withdraw from the town centre. In return, elders said they would guarantee security through a locally recruited tribal police force.

Posted in Afghanistan, Lebanon | Comments Off on Buying the bull

Happy Birthday, Norman Rockwell

Posted by MEC on February 3, 2007

Norman Rockwell was born 113 years ago today. May the American values he celebrated in his paintings endure.

The Four Freedoms

Posted in Real Americans | 1 Comment »

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