First of all, a Happy Fourth to my American friends.
Going through the papers today, I find a few things worth remarking upon.
1) Tim Hudak, the new Conservative leader in Ontario, is supposedly the second coming of Mike Harris. The Star is, predictably, full of vitriolic letters to this effect. Mike Harris. Remember him? Architect of the "Common Sense Revolution?" A politician hated so much that he...won back-to-back majorities? Whose party only lost its grip on power when he left politics in the middle of his second term and was replaced by the much more moderate Ernie Eves?
How convenient it would be to forget a lot of people liked Mike Harris, and before him, Brian Mulroney. The two are held in such low regard by the punditocracy, after all.
I'll give Hudak some advice, gratis, unlikely as he is to ever see it: maintain the integrity of Harris--say what you'll do, and then do what you say--and try to be a shade less confrontational than Mike was...and you'll win the hearts and minds of most of the province. Oh, and promising to repeal the HST wouldn't hurt, either.
2) Afghanistan: "IEDs (improvised explosive devices) are the tools of cowards", says Brig-Gen. Vance of the Canadian Armed Forces.
Uh, not really. They're the tools of a fighting force that's outnumbered and vastly inferior to what we're throwing at them. The jihadis know that in any face-to-face encounter, they're likely to be slaughtered. So they don't do face-to-face. That's not cowardice, it's sensible self-preservation.
3) H1N1: Okay, this is getting ridiculous. When this virus first appeared on the scene, you could glimpse the end of civilization lurking just between the headlines. The mediots went absolutely nuts with it. And comparatively little happened. Then, aside from a few doomer-type articles saying just you wait, the real outbreak hasn't happened yet, the papers subsided into a somnolent buzzing, lulling the readership to sleep.
This site details the spread of H1N1. It's not pretty. There are four columns of data for each country, territory or area: a cumulative total of cases reported and deaths, also the number of new cases, and deaths, confirmed "since the last reporting period".
"The last reporting period" was two days ago.
May I draw your attention to the bottom of the graph, after you've checked out the stats for whatever country you're in, of course...
Total number of global cases: 89921
Cases newly confirmed in the past two days: 12720
Deaths in the past two days: 50
Now, the mortality rate is nothing to be terrified of...a measly 0.0042%. For now: I caution you, we're not in flu season and the virulence could well intensify. What has me worried isn't the prospect of imminent death...it's the prospect of approximately one third of the North American population getting sick. Better minds than mine have crunched the numbers and come to that conclusion, which is curiously being underplayed in the media. In short: if you don't get this flu, you will know people--multiple people, and probably a goodly number--that do. For those of us who work with the public, the chances of contracting H1N1 are very high.
This sucker is spreading and spreading fast...a titch over 14% of the total number of cases have been confirmed since the first of July. Even a mild illness that affects that many people would utterly wreck our economy, the same economy we're trying like hell to resuscitate. And that's just for starters. I think we'll see schools shut down for long periods; businesses forced to run with skeleton crews if they can run at all; hospitals in lockdown...let your mind run wild. And that's, again, assuming H1N1 stays mild. If it gets more deadly, all bets are off.