Posts tagged “The Atlantic”

Does the swine flu vaccine matter?

Democracy Now: Shannon Brownlee - Does the Vaccine Matter?

If you are looking for a reality check on the media frenzy surrounding the swine flu, here you go. Shannon Brownlee’s latest article in the The Atlantic gives a less-frantic look at H1N1 (swine) flu than you will get most places, though it doesn’t really get into issues of additives in vaccines (immunologic adjuvants, etc.) and other, broader worries about vaccination. For more on the swine flu “emergency”, this is essential. While you are at it, you should check out CBS’ coverage of the overestimation of the number of swine flu cases by the government.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t get vaccinated. I am saying you should have all the information before you do so.

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Airline security is a myth, says The Atlantic

Anyone that has flown since September 11, 2001 knows that the “security” measures implemented in response to the events of that day are at best a major hassle and at worst “security theater,” designed to give you the feeling of security since real security is unattainable. The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg partnered with TSA critic and security expert Bruce Schneier, putting their freedom on the line to test the security (and stupidity) of our air travel security measures. What he found is at once shocking, obvious and disgusting. Here is an excerpt:

…because I have a fair amount of experience reporting on terrorists, and because terrorist groups produce large quantities of branded knickknacks, I’ve amassed an inspiring collection of al-Qaeda T-shirts, Islamic Jihad flags, Hezbollah videotapes, and inflatable Yasir Arafat dolls (really). All these things I’ve carried with me through airports across the country. I’ve also carried, at various times: pocketknives, matches from hotels in Beirut and Peshawar, dust masks, lengths of rope, cigarette lighters, nail clippers, eight-ounce tubes of toothpaste (in my front pocket), bottles of Fiji Water (which is foreign), and, of course, box cutters. I was selected for secondary screening four times—out of dozens of passages through security checkpoints—during this extended experiment. At one screening, I was relieved of a pair of nail clippers; during another, a can of shaving cream.Jeffrey Goldberg
The Atlantic

This hardly scratches the surface of this brilliant, brief (3 pages) article that should be required reading for all Americans. This is the kind of issue we need to seize upon, not Joe the Plumber. This is the kind of governmental waste that impacts each and every one of us that ever travels by air. Hell, the last time I flew the pilot didn’t even keep the cockpit door closed the entire time and that is one of the few measures that actually does make flying safer, according to Schneier.

I know the economy is king right now, but this is the kind of issue that the presidential contenders should be discussing. This is brass tacks. Join me in demanding answers.

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