27 October, 2005

Beyond "Untitled Michael O'Leary Project"

You may or may not have noticed the small link in my blog profile or in the right-hand column of this blog, but a second blog of Michael O'Leary's has spawned and exists as an outlet for me to put up things that I was going to put on this blog but either thought they were dumb, never finished them or they just didn't really belong here. So, that other blog, "Outtakes and Unfinished Thoughts" (http://olearyblog2.blogspot.com) will be there also, but will only have things I never finished and won't take away from my main focus, this blog. Yeah, so you can check that out if you want or just check out the beautiful content here. Many of the posts on "Outtakes and Unfinished Thoughts" are from a few months ago, but whatever. I'll be back with some new posts here real soon, probably regarding the incredible film, Good Night, and Good Luck or developments in the Plamegate scandal (hopefully I'll be able to comment on indictments against those in Bush's cabinet...).

14 October, 2005

It's the End of the World As We Know It!

Well, I'd like to begin by saying that I am very happy about the recent attempts by "michaelalexander34897323" to post two spam comments on my last post. Needless to say, they were automatically deleted as a result of my recently instated commenting program, and to michaelalexander34897323, I say suck it.

With that aside, something in recent news has come to my attention. From the title of the post, you might have some idea as to what it is. Over the last two weeks, the international community seems to have entered into panic mode over the spread of avian flu. This issue has existed as a topic on the international agenda for a couple of years now, but very few deaths have occurred, and their occurrences have all been isolated to Asia, so the western world hasn't taken the proper measures to prevent a full scale pandemic. Now, the international community is bracing for a crisis as bird flu has spread from Asia and infected birds in Turkey and possibly Rumania, on the outskirts of Europe.

The virus, scientifically known as H5N1, is fairly benign at this point as human-to-human exchange of the virus has not occurred and does not seem possible in the virus' present form. Additionally, those people who have become infected with the virus were in almost constant close contact to the birds from which they contracted it or had consumed raw poultry products (in one case, a victim contracted it from indulging in the Asian delicacy of raw duck's blood).

The United States media has recently begun a crusade to pressure politicians into preparing for it. The president has been drilled with avian flu related questions recently, mostly in regard to the idea of whether the nation is ready or not for a pandemic (we're not at this point) in the wake of the botched response to Hurricane Katrina. At this point, experts have declared that 7 million people would die were a global pandemic of avian flu to break out. The United States can, if it begins acting now, drastically reduce the number of Americans that would fall victim to an avian flu pandemic. At this point, it is well known and undeniable that we do not have enough vaccine to prevent the seemingly inevitable outbreak of this disease that is looming. However, producing the necessary amount of vaccine is a huge undertaking and could potentially yield huge losses for American pharmaceutical companies. An outbreak of the disease would also cripple the world's poultry industry, which I imagine is huge as every place in the world seems to eat chicken.

In conclusion, taking into consideration the avian flu issue, the endless rains we're currently experiencing and the incompetence of George W. Bush leading us into the future, the end of the world seems like it could certainly be right around the corner. I say that lightly, but I wonder if, subconsciously, I really believe that as I've recently downloaded the wordily titled R.E.M. song "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)." This could be just a coincidence but I've never found myself listening to and enjoying R.E.M. quite as much as I am currently when listening to this song. If this is the case, I'd like to think that the optimistic undertones conveyed in this song about the Apocalypse are keeping me happy, as I subconsciously believe in the reality of the looming end of the world. My plan for now is to keep cool, maintain an optimistic outlook, and devour as much chicken as I can before the entire world's poultry supply becomes infected.

06 October, 2005

UPDATE: Drug Testing at the High School

Last June, I wrote fairly extensively on my opinion regarding the then-in-question and now-in-place random drug testing at Pequannock Township High School. The Star Ledger ran an article on October 6, 2005 about the drug testing, in which a certain individual who contributes to this blog (that would be myself) was quoted. I don't know how long this link is going to work for, but check it out for now. Yes, I know I'm only partially quoted once in it, but I'm proud of myself.
  • Pequannock institutes drug tests in schools