Thursday, February 23, 2006

Other Items

A New York City man who makes drums has been hospitalized with a case of inhaled anthrax that officials say he may have contracted from raw animal hides that he imported from Africa.
Authorities said Wednesday the infection appeared to be accidental -- not terrorism -- and did not pose a serious public health risk.

Vado Diomande, 44, had traveled recently to the west coast of Africa and fell ill in Pennsylvania last week shortly after his return, authorities said.
It was not clear how he came into contact with the bacteria, or whether it happened in Africa or in this country. But aides to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (R) said it was related to his job as a drum maker who worked with raw animal hides.

A story whose backdrop is New York City, that features a quote by Bloomberg and involves anthrax? Surely the above must be from this morning's New York Times, right? Wrong. Again, today's paper is like a Monday paper where everyone's returning to work and writing about nothing new. The above is from the Associated Press' "Drum Skins Suspected in Anthrax Case."

Not that the paper of record ignores the story completely. They do cover it . . . on page A24. Sewell Chan's a bit wordier than the AP in "New York City Man Has Inhalation Anthrax, Officials Say" meaning that he has more "official statements" because the Times can't sneeze without a "bless you" from at least four elected officials and one in retirement. So they do have the anthrax story . . . and they bury it inside, deep inside, the paper.

So exactly what are they focused on today? (Hint, it's not news.) Official speak. Take Elisabeth Bumiller's "Bush Urges India to Split Civilian-Military Nuclear Plants" which, after dispensing with Bully Boy's main point (covered in the headline), goes into the pandering Bumiller's become infamous for. Read the following statements:

Losing a job is traumatic.
It's difficult.
It puts a strain on our families.
But rather than respond with protectionist policies, I believe it makes sense to respond with educational policies to make sure that our workers are skilled for the jobs of the 21st century.
Younger Indians are acquiring a taste for pizza from Domino's.

Not exactly Jeffersonian, not even good conversation for a daytime talk show. But they're in print because the Bully Boy uttered them. Caught in her heart belongs to Bully stenography tasks, Bumiller can barely look up from her steno pad long enough to do more than note that there may be difficulities for Bully Boy when he visits India next week. Really? You think?

As Gupta passed on Sunday (we noted it here), "Comrades vow street protests during Bush visit" (The Times of India):

NEW DELHI: Come what may, Communists who keep the Congress-led government alive are determined to make President George Bush's coming visit a memorable one -- through noisy anti-US street protests. Along with those opposed to the policies of globalisation, including some who may come from abroad, and other political parties, the Left says it is not going to let Bush go around India in peace.
Left leaders say they are not embarrassing the Indian government, which has invited Bush. "It is the people of India who will be embarrassed because of the presence of Bush," D. Raja, deputy leader of the Communist Party of India (CPI), said. Bush arrives here March 1 on his first visit to India and will also go to Hyderabad during the three-day trip before flying to Pakistan March 4. Bush's itinerary has not been made public yet.

That's hardly the only fury Bully Boy now faces next week. As Shankar Vedantam points out in "Scientist's Visa Denial Sparks Outrage in India" (Washington Post):

A decision two weeks ago by a U.S. consulate in India to refuse a visa to a prominent Indian scientist has triggered heated protests in that country and set off a major diplomatic flap on the eve of President Bush's first visit to India.
The incident has also caused embarrassment at the highest reaches of the American scientific establishment, which has worked to get the State Department to issue a visa to Goverdhan Mehta, who said the U.S. consulate in the south Indian city of Chennai told him that his expertise in chemistry was deemed a threat.

In the face of outrage in India, the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi issued a highly unusual statement of regret, and yesterday the State Department said officials are reaching out to the scientist to resolve his case.
"It is very strange logic," said Mehta, reached at his home in Bangalore early this morning India time. "Someone is insulted and hurt and you ask him to come back a second round."

And Bumiller wants to be "cute" and write about Domino's Pizza? When Americans are misinformed, disinformed and ill informed, you can thank the likes of Elisabeth Bumiller -- someone who has never grasped the difference between feature writing and hard news reporting. (Or, if she has grasped the difference, she long ago dispensed with it.)

Remember to listen to, watch or read Democracy Now! today.

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