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February 28th, 2006
That Ol’ Bird Flu

I found this Reuters article interesting reading: Encourage Sick Leave in Flu Pandemic.

The main thrust of the article is that if/when a flu pandemic strikes, up to 40% of the workforce could be out, for weeks. In preparation for such a pandemic, employers should start encouraging workers to stay home when they are sick, instead of the current corporate culture that discourages calling in sick. The article also mentions that with half of America’s workers without paid sick leave, many workers will simply show up sick, thus spreading the flu.

I found this interesting, because it is absolutely true about corporate culture and what happens when people don’t have paid sick time. I’ve gone to work hideously sick with the flu before, because no work = no pay. I coughed on a lot of people too, probably exposing them. But I couldn’t afford to miss more than a day of work, so I came sick.

The article doesn’t mention this, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about too, with relation to bird flu. The pandemic is going to hit hardest those without health insurance. The ERs will be overwhelmed, and even if you have insurance, good luck getting treatment. It’s going to be ugly.

Posted by Claire at 08:44 PM | Current Events | Comments (1) | Tweet This Post

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October 14th, 2005
Legislators Gone Wild

Very shortly after she was elected, I had the opportunity to meet Kelley Wirth at an OSU women’s leadership event. I attended a session she led, and I was very impressed with her. She talked about being elected, about the challenges of serving in the legislature while being a mom to two young children. She listened to our concerns, as students and women living in her district. I liked her.

I am having trouble picturing that self-assured woman as the same woman being portrayed in the news reports. The incident with her being hit by a car driven by a jealous girlfriend just sounds like a bad novel.

It all seems sad, to me. I feel like Ms. Wirth lost her way somewhere, that her life fell apart at some point. It’s a sad fate for a woman who was so upbeat and enthusiastic about serving in the legislature, the one I met a few years ago.

Posted by Claire at 11:25 AM | Current Events | Comments (0) | Tweet This Post

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September 6th, 2005
Words Fail Me

Honestly, I can’t even begin to enunciate just how shocked and appalled I am by the government response to the hurricane and subsequent flooding in New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf Coast.

I found this on MSNBC (here, a transcript for September 4 Meet the Press).

Aaron Broussard is the president of Jefferson Parish in New Orleans.

MR. RUSSERT: Hold on. Hold on, sir. Shouldn’t the mayor of New Orleans and the governor of New Orleans bear some responsibility? Couldn’t they have been much more forceful, much more effective and much more organized in evacuating the area?

MR. BROUSSARD: Sir, they were told like me, every single day, “The cavalry’s coming,” on a federal level, “The cavalry’s coming, the cavalry’s coming, the cavalry’s coming.” I have just begun to hear the hoofs of the cavalry. The cavalry’s still not here yet, but I’ve begun to hear the hoofs, and we’re almost a week out.

Let me give you just three quick examples. We had Wal-Mart deliver three trucks of water, trailer trucks of water. FEMA turned them back. They said we didn’t need them. This was a week ago. FEMA–we had 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel on a Coast Guard vessel docked in my parish. The Coast Guard said, “Come get the fuel right away.” When we got there with our trucks, they got a word. “FEMA says don’t give you the fuel.” Yesterday–yesterday–FEMA comes in and cuts all of our emergency communication lines. They cut them without notice. Our sheriff, Harry Lee, goes back in, he reconnects the line. He posts armed guards on our line and says, “No one is getting near these lines.” Sheriff Harry Lee said that if America–American government would have responded like Wal-Mart has responded, we wouldn’t be in this crisis.

But I want to thank Governor Blanco for all she’s done and all her leadership. She sent in the National Guard. I just repaired a breach on my side of the 17th Street canal that the secretary didn’t foresee, a 300-foot breach. I just completed it yesterday with convoys of National Guard and local parish workers and levee board people. It took us two and a half days working 24/7. I just closed it.

MR. RUSSERT: All right.

MR. BROUSSARD: I’m telling you most importantly I want to thank my public employees…

MR. RUSSERT: All right.

MR. BROUSSARD: …that have worked 24/7. They’re burned out, the doctors, the nurses. And I want to give you one last story and I’ll shut up and let you tell me whatever you want to tell me. The guy who runs this building I’m in, emergency management, he’s responsible for everything. His mother was trapped in St. Bernard nursing home and every day she called him and said, “Are you coming, son? Is somebody coming?” And he said, “Yeah, Mama, somebody’s coming to get you. Somebody’s coming to get you on Tuesday. Somebody’s coming to get you on Wednesday. Somebody’s coming to get you on Thursday. Somebody’s coming to get you on Friday.” And she drowned Friday night. She drowned Friday night.

MR. RUSSERT: Mr. President…

MR. BROUSSARD: Nobody’s coming to get us. Nobody’s coming to get us. The secretary has promised. Everybody’s promised. They’ve had press conferences. I’m sick of the press conferences. For God sakes, shut up and send us somebody.

Can this really be America?

Posted by Claire at 08:35 PM | Current Events | Comments (0) | Tweet This Post

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August 30th, 2005
Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps is accepting donations to assist families who are displaced and who may have lost their homes to Hurricane Katrina.

Posted by Claire at 02:33 PM | Current Events | Comments (0) | Tweet This Post

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August 17th, 2005
For Cindy Sheehan

There was a candlelight vigil tonight on NW 23rd, which just happens to be the street I live on. It was really amazing.

Posted by Claire at 09:50 PM | Current Events | Comments (0) | Tweet This Post

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