THE BLOG
11/02/2005 11:18 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Pre-Pandemic-Intelligence

Has anyone done the science? Has anyone checked the "pre-pandemic intelligence"? Are we certain that the blueprint works -- that the avian flu can, in fact, mutate and be passed from person to person?

Yes, a number of people in Asia have been stricken with the avian flu but (correct me if I'm wrong) they all, so far, have been infected from contact with a bird -- have any of their relatives caught it, has it actually passed from person to person? I have had a couple of medical doctors tell me, in the last few weeks, that they're not sure the science works, that they're not sure that it is possible for the virus to mutate in the way that has been suggested. Yes, if it's true, we should all be alarmed.

But, in this age when reporters are no longer supposed to be stenographers (when were they supposed to be stenographers), is there a team of scientists at CNN, at Newsweek, at The New York Times, sitting in a backroom doing the math, (is there an Editor), checking the blueprint, verifying that the imagined scientific theory checks out?

And while I'm at it, why is Donald Rumsfeld a major stockholder in the company that owns the patent to one of the drugs for avian flu? (A company called Gilead. The drug is Tamiflu. A majority stockholder. He was made Chairman in 1997.) Yes, he's recused himself from any government decisions about the handling of the possible "avian flu pandemic". But even if he's not responsible for the panic (which some consider a hoax) when he had "insider information" about its upside, ought he to have divested himself of it, rather than recusing himself from a situation where he stood to personally make millions of dollars, rather than do his job, which I thought had something to do with protecting us? Just asking.