Frontier Former Editor

July 6, 2008

Club Lecter

Those wacky cost-savers in the Bush Administration are at it again . . . .

Club Lecter
Club Lecter

 

You’ve heard of Plum Island. Just think back to when you last saw “Silence of the Lambs.”

Yep, it’s where Jodie Foster floated a false offer to Anthony Hopkins to be imprisoned there and walk the white sand beaches and enjoy the wildlife – near the Plum Island Animal Disease Center.

Now, in a feat of mental legerdemain every bit as awe-inspiring as the Federal Government’s rapid response to hurricane Katrina, the Department of Homeland Security (I snicker my ass off more each day at that title . . .) is evaluating six possible sites for a new National Bio and Agro-defense Facility. Five of them are on the mainland U.S.

According to our good friends at UPI:

“The department wants to build the new lab, dubbed the National Bio and Agro-defense Facility, at one of five potential mainland sites, but is also evaluating the existing site of the lab it would replace, the aging Plum Island Animal Disease Center, in New York state’s Long Island Sound.

The draft Environmental Impact Statement, published Friday, is a 1,005-page federally required assessment of a range of effects the planning, construction and operation of the lab would have at each of the proposed sites.

It says the health and safety impact — including the possibility of an accidental or deliberate release of pathogens from the lab — was “negligible” at all six possible sites, because of its assessment that the risk of such a release “was none to low for all accident scenarios except an over-pressure fire,” which can cause an explosion if flammable gases build up in an enclosed space.

The risk for this kind of accident was “moderate” for all six sites.

The department also assessed the possibility of a terrorist attack releasing pathogens from the lab — which will work on the most infectious animal diseases, like Foot and Mouth; and on those most deadly to humans, like the Hendra and Nipah viruses.

The overall risk assessment for a release at the five mainland sites was “moderate” because of “the potential easy spread of a disease through livestock or wildlife” nearby, the statement said. The Plum Island site overall risk rank was “low or none” because of “the low likelihood of any disease getting off of the island,” the statement concluded.”

It seems to me – pardon my attempt at logical and rational thought here – that one would want to keep a lab dealing in major threats to livestock and humans as remote as possible. Sigourney Weaver grasped the concept quite nicely in the “Alien” movies.

And, according to the Associated Press in a story that ran about two weeks ago, federal officials ran a simulated exercise called ‘Crimson Sky’ to consider the effects of a mass foot-and-mouth disease outbreak . The ‘results’?

  • “Fictional riots in the streets after the simulation’s National Guardsmen were ordered to kill tens of millions of farm animals, so many that troops ran out of bullets.”
  • “In the exercise, the government said it would have been forced to dig a ditch in Kansas 25 miles long to bury carcasses.”

Following that general theme, wouldn’t it be somewhat questionable to consider just how safe putting an animal disease research laboratory in the middle of one of several major livestock centers is when the original laboratory was put out on an island away from such centers?

The only way this could get any funnier is if Halliburton were involved. They aren’t, right?

 

 

May 29, 2008

More on healthcare aviation in Southwest Virginia

Just before this spring, I made a few observations on corporate healthcare and air superiority in southwest Virginia.

I’d like to give a gentleman identifying himself as a pilot with one of the helicopter services mentioned in the aforementioned post a forum today:

HEY DOUCHE BAG, I am a pilot on Wings X. We have six aircraft total and Wellmont just bought one which makes a total of seven, someone needs to get some facts straight before you puke out the mouth like this…. and just to wonder how stupid shit like this gets started…Thanks for nothing assbag!
*your daddy*

Comment by Lt. Matt Hughes — May 29, 2008 @ 12:12 am

And thanks for leaving a way to respond, Lt. Matt. I think the issue is MSHA vs. Wellmont in their never-ending quest to create a monopoly and that quest spilling over into Wise County. I don’t think I’ve questioned Wings Air Rescue’s motives, commitment to patient care, or quality of service. If you want to raise such questions, please feel free.
Personally, I’m glad that Wings has six helos, although that tidbit seems not to have made it in the local papers that I’ve seen. Whether those helos would all be available for a major Wise County medevac crisis is another issue of logisitics, however. I’m glad that Wellmont has a helo too. What it comes down to is that MSHA is trying to deny Wellmont the same internal fast-transport capability for its SWVA facilities that MSHA now enjoys.
And if I’m a douchebag for pointing out that issue, then thank you for your humanitarian spirit. And, if I have to go to a Wellmont facility over here and get transferred to a critical care facility, pass on my thanks to MSHA for making possible either the ambulance ride or the wait for a Virginia State Police helo.

Recommendation: If I were you, I’d do my level best to stay from between MSHA and Wellmont in their quest for market superiority. It hasn’t been pretty in Tennessee and it doesn’t look that great in southwest Virginia.

Comment by Former Frontier Editor — May 29, 2008

 

 

 

As I recall, the departing Wise County Administrator recently was quoted in a newspaper that he had concerns that Wellmont was either pushed or persuaded to back out of its request to operate a helo service at its southwest Virginia facilities. Would you like to take the opportunity to call him a douchebag as well?

No wonder healthcare issues leave a bad taste in the mouths of some local residents.

Incidentally, I can state with authority that Matt Hughes is, in fact, not ‘my daddy’ and that, genetically speaking, I am not a colostomy or enema bag nor am I compatible for use with Summer’s Eve or similar products.

  

You have a good day, Lt. Matt.

September 23, 2007

I agree wholeheartedly . . . .

with Stiletto on this one:

By JENNIFER LOVEN, Associated Press Writer Sat Sep 22, 1:59 PM ET

WASHINGTON – President Bush again called Democrats “irresponsible” on Saturday for pushing an expansion he opposes to a children’s health insurance program.

“Democrats in Congress have decided to pass a bill they know will be vetoed,” Bush said of the measure that draws significant bipartisan support, repeating in his weekly radio address an accusation he made earlier in the week. “Members of Congress are risking health coverage for poor children purely to make a political point.”

In the Democrat’s response, also broadcast Saturday, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell turned the tables on the president, saying that if Bush doesn’t sign the bill, 15 states will have no funding left for the program by the end of the month . . . . more

(more…)

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