Another Progressive showdown between ideology and reality

I was in San Francisco during the peak AIDS years.  I remember how death stalked the streets (many, many people I knew died) and I remember how deeply in denial the gay community was.  The most visible sign of that denial was the fight to keep open the gay bath houses, which were scenes of unbridled debauchery and major vectors in spreading AIDS.  There was nothing untoward in the city’s trying to shut the bathhouses down, since the city’s efforts to control an epidemic’s spread fell squarely within government’s traditional role.

At the New Yorker, Michael Specter has written an article that reports something that people familiar with the modern gay community tend to notice on an annual basis:  young gay men have forgotten the scourge, and are repeating the pattern of unbridled, unprotected, promiscuous sex (on a scale heterosexuals cannot imagine) coupled with drug use.  It’s how AIDS gained such a foothold in America last time, rather than living on only in dusty medical journals, and it’s a worrisome sign that AIDS could be resurgent or that something equally awful could take its place (especially today, when we’re reaching limits on our antibiotics).

Specter’s article heads today’s New Yorker’s “most read” list.  It therefore makes a nice matched set with today’s news, which is that men who are openly gay and bisexual are trying to end the ban on blood donations:

A push by activists to ease the 30-year-old blanket ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men faces a key test this week as a federal panel hears results of the latest research. The findings will be released amid growing pressure from politicians and advocates, including college students, to change the policy.

Critics say the ban is a hangover from the early, fear-filled days of AIDS, stigmatizing gay men and ignoring advances in treatment and detection in the decades since.

Yes, the blood-donation ban is a hangover from the early days of AIDS, and yes, we have better techniques for screening blood . . . for HIV and AIDS.  Given that gay men are engaging in the same behavior that led to AIDS’ rapid spread, though, it’s sensible to worry that they might be acting as the vector from some nasty new disease for which we don’t yet have either screening techniques or treatments.

(I’ve sometimes wondered if my resistance to gay marriage doesn’t stem from the fact that I remember vividly the 1970s and early 1980s in San Francisco. Gay activists over the past twenty-plus years have advanced the gay marriage agenda by painting gay couples as ordinary middle class couples. That’s not the way I remember them. People having drug-fueled orgies with up to a hundred partners, all of them strangers, is not the middle class norm. The San Francisco Gay Pride parade does not present the middle class norm. The public nudity and sex that is a strong feature of the San Francisco gay scene is not the middle class norm. While there are indeed stable middle class gay couples — I know several such couples — I also know that they’re not the norm.)

Swine flu and the new administration

Here are a few tweets from minutes and hours ago, almost all concerned with swine flu (culled from BNO news at 5:49 PST on 4/26):

  1. California school closed as officials investigate suspected swine flu case; second case being investigated in Ohio: http://adjix.com/axm7

  2. Kyodo: Government expects Japan’s economy to shrink postwar worst 3.3% in FY 2009.

  3. Authorities investigate eleven possible swine flu cases in Colombia and Minister Palacio says the government is on high alert – local media.

  4. JUST IN — Local authorities say that 6 more people have died from suspected swine flu in Mexico, which would raise the death toll to 92.

  5. Two people have been taken to an hospital in Queensland, Australia with swine flu symptoms, Sky News Australia reports.

  6. Medical staff has been dispatched to Auckland Airport and all passengers from the Americas are being screened before entry into the country.

  7. The New Zealand Ministry of Health says another student, suspected to have been infected with swine flu, has been hospitalized.

  8. Reuters: Exit poll says Ecuador’s president Correa re-elected with 54 percent of the vote.

  9. NEWS ALERT — NY Gov. David Paterson is holding a news conference regarding the swine flu epidemic. @mpoppel is covering it live.

  10. Texas officials say they have found a number of additional suspected swine flu cases. The 14 closures will take effect immediately.

  11. KSAT-TV: Texas closes 14 schools and district facilities in the Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City Independent School District due to swine flu.

Here’s the problem with that oh-so-efficient Obama administration:

The Obama administration declared a “public health emergency” Sunday to confront the swine flu — but is heading into its first medical outbreak without a secretary of Health and Human Services or appointees in any of the department’s 19 key posts.

And here’s Obama’s response to the whole thing:

President Obama went golfing and the Department of Health and Human Services is short a secretary, so other U.S. officials took the controls Sunday as the Obama administration ramps up efforts to find and isolate U.S. cases of swine flu.

As the Watcher of Weasels points out, Obama’s getting a pass on this cavalier attitude from precisely the same people who still, to this day, castigate George Bush for having the presence of mind not to run screaming from a room full of elementary school children when he first heard about the Twin Towers.  (The Watcher points out a whole lot more stuff that’s worth reading on this topic, too.)  There’s a difference between no panicking people (George Bush) and not caring (Obama).

Obama may be right up there with God, but I’m not feeling very good about having his administration in charge right now.

Drudge headlines that do not make me happy *UPDATED*

I just copied the following from Drudge:

Possible Swine Flu Outbreak At NYC Prep School…
Most fatal flu victims aged between 25-45…
Swine flu could infect trade and travel…
Schwarzenegger has ‘rigorous’ plan…
WHO ready with antivirals…
The mysterious respiratory illness…
CDC says too late to contain…
60 DEAD: Mexico City launches huge vaccination campaign…
CLOSE TO 1,000 SUSPECTED CASES…
Heighten Risk of Pandemic…
Concerns in California, Texas…
Mutated from pigs, transmitted to humans…
Mexico has not suffered serious flu epidemic before…

Considering the last headline, and considering that flu epidemics have always originated in the Far East, my conspiracy mind thinks only one thing:  Al Qaeda/biological warfare on our borders.

UPDATE:  And if you want more stress, Laer has more for you.