Thursday, November 22, 2007

One more observation / rant...

You'll notice the Terror Alert bar to the right...right now we're at a Level Ernie. As anyone who has been traveling for the last few years knows, we have been at Level Ernie forever. The talking head reminds us that we are at Level Orange every fifteen minutes, like clockwork.

The reason I use the Muppet Terror Alert System is because it gives the Terror Alert System the attention and weight it deserves. I am more likely to be killed by a rabid Muppet than Osama bin Whatever.

This brings me to ask several questions, and answer them simultaneously.

1) Does anyone behave differently because of the threat level?

Nope. Not from my observations, anyway.

2) Does anyone even hear that announcement anymore due to its omnipresence?

It's background noise, along with the announcements that Passengers Smith and Callahan must report to Gate A6 for immediate departure.

3) Does our government think we're a bunch of imbeciles to actually take this garbage seriously?

Yep. Otherwise they might consider stopping it.

4) Do they really think we are a bunch of sheep who respond to this perpetual wolf-crying?

Pretty much.

4) Do they understand that more people die of cancer and COPD in a day than have died of all terrorist attacks in the past twenty five years?

Uh, no. These are politicians, not epidemiologists. If there were more epidemiologists in positions of leadership, we wouldn't have this problem, and we'd probably have a president who has an above-average IQ. And the rest of them, well, let's just say that wisdom and intelligence are very different things. Dick Cheney is intelligent. The Dalai Lama is wise (and probably very, very intelligent). How about we send Cheney to Dharasalam for a heavy dose of enlightenment? While we're at it, let's send anyone who runs a G-8 country or pretends to.

To put it in perspective, six 747s full of people die daily of cancer and COPD. It makes no headlines, it just happens. We don't have a department of homeland disease prevention. We do have the CDC, which will receive 8.8 billion for the entire fiscal year. To put that in perspective, Victoria's Secret will gross 16 billion next year, and we spend $195,000,000 a day on Iraq, which means that just Iraq (not the entire Pentagon budget, but just Iraq) will spend in 45 days what we spend on public health surveillance for a year.

But, as we all know, plane crashes and terrorist threats sell papers, CNN advertisement, and gives Fox News a raison d'etre. Cancer, well, not so much.

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