So anyway, this week’s winners:
First place in the council section went to Right Wing Nuthouse for his treatment of the coming avian flu epidemic. Or as he so aptly puts it, The Coming Catastrophe.
|The reason Bird Flu has flared up in Asia is because of the close proximity of people and birds. This closeness has been seen throughout history as a prerequisite for viruses making the jump from animals to humans.|
|What has international health officials especially worried is that this particular flu’s mortality rate doesn’t moderate once it makes the jump to humans. Where the disease might have a mortality rate of 70% in birds, that number would be expected to fall precipitously once making the jump to humans, dropping to less than 10%. The reason is the simple evolutionary strategy of the bug. In order to survive it must keep infecting humans. To do that, it has to keep the host alive long enough to infect someone else. This gives our own body’s defenses time to marshall its immune forces to do battle with the invader.|
|However, this strain of Bird Flu has shown a 34% mortality rate. And while there’s a chance that figure will go down in any pandemic, compared to the 1-3% mortality of ordinary flu worldwide the numbers would still be catastrophic.|
|As for the economic effects, there would not be a parallel in American history. The reason goes to the heart of what globalization means to our economy and how economic activity in the United States is truly the engine that drives the economies of the world.|
|If the kinds of draconian quarantine measures contemplated by the government were initiated, the economy would deflate like a punctured balloon.|
On my to-do list this week? Tami-flu and bottled water plus several cases of white beans or similar C-rations. We have a well. I wonder if I ought to look into generators? It's a thought.
The Counterterrorism Blog was first in the non-council category with The American Islamic Leaders' "Fatwa" is Bogus:
|American Islamic leaders held a press conference to announce a fatwa, or Islamic religious ruling, against “terrorism and extremism.” ... (CAIR) organized the press conference, stating that several major U.S. Muslim groups endorsed the fatwa.|
|In fact, the fatwa is bogus. Nowhere does it condemn the Islamic extremism ideology that has spawned Islamic terrorism. It does not renounce nor even acknowledge the existence of an Islamic jihadist culture that has permeated mosques and young Muslims around the world. It does not renounce Jihad... it is a fake fatwa designed merely to deceive the American public into believing that these groups are moderate.|
For those who aren't familiar with the mind-set described here, there's an Arabic word you need to learn: "taqiyya." If you google it, you'll get thousands of hits and a painful education in Islamic treachery. It's disturbing.
So those were the winners. But that is not to say the contenders weren’t amazing. E-claire didn’t make it this week, but her post was — to me — fall-down hilarious. It’s her “tootise from the country” pose and prose that makes me laugh so hard. Simple, indeed. That woman has a steel-trap mind.
And The Glittering Eye has a stunning idea:
|So here’s what I propose: let’s see if we can come up with the critical success factors for a terrorist attack on the United States. The level of abstraction we’re seeking is something between the level that Vanderleun went after (quantities of explosives, maps of the subway, etc.) and the level that the root causes discussions have taken (poverty, human nature, the will of God). We’re only looking for real critical success factors—factors that are really necessary.|
Speaking of education, if you want to learn about enumerated rights, a la the Constitution, wander over to New World Man:
|Ed writes that "the entire purpose of the bill of rights was to protect liberty from democracy - to insure that no majority, no matter how large, could violate the rights of individuals." I think the purpose of the Bill of Rights was to protect democracy from democracy -- most every provision operates to guarantee access to the political process against hamfisted majorities. It's when "majority" and "democracy" become dirty words that we forget those are the things that are, at the root of the constitution (and Declaration of Independence and Federalist Papers and whathaveyou), supposed to be the way we govern ourselves. It's not easy and can be easily abused, but it's preferable to almost any alternative.|
Everything -- and much more -- is over at The Watcher’s Council.
Don’t forget to look at Michael Totten’s pictorial refutation of Juan Cole and the utterly amazing family story on Chez Goodman. You won’t soon forget it, nor will you want to.
Boy, I’m fortunate to be on this council. I get to read things I’d never see otherwise. Go you and do likewise.