Flu, Fair, Favre and… Healthcare

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Good Wednesday Morning…
I’ll start by relaying a message I got from a blogger on my phone this morning. She said she was interested in Trisha’s visit to the fair and thanked me for telling everyone about her. Just for the record. Trisha didn’t join a convent. She’s still on TV. In fact she still has a blog I think. You can even be a fan of Trisha’s if you’re on Facebook.
One more thing, the woman sounded a bit annoyed at the blogger system. She said she was going to leave me a message on the phone because she couldn’t get Blogger to work. My mother can’t either. I’m just wondering…is it that hard? I’m signed up so I don’t really know. So I’ll put it to you all…should we take the sign in restrictions off the blog again?

Flu
OK…now I’m paying attention. After a rather unimpressive Winter into Spring flu season that didn’t reach the H1N1 outbreak predicted, they’re talking about a bad Fall. I may be paying more attention because I’m a new parent and my family now falls into the high risk category. So I will wash my hands and sing Happy Birthday, I’ll get my shot and get my kids a shot. I just can’t see ignoring something that’s so simple to prevent. How many of you are laughing at me right now?
Another one from the mailbag here. A woman wrote to admonish WHO for calling the H1N1 flu the Swine Flu.

Your constant misuse of this flu has contributed to the panic and driven down the market price of pork as well the consumption of pork.

First, we don’t, we call it H1N1. NBC News does use the term Swine Flu.
Second, I take issue with the idea that there is any panic out there.
Are consumers really turning away from pork because of the name Swine Flu? I don’t notice anyone passing the pork case. We certainly haven’t.
The Media did a good job of educating the public after the flu virus started spreading into a larger, global problem. It was called the Swine Flu. To suggest the more common name was H1N1 is simply wrong. I haven’t heard one person asking me if it’s safe to eat pork.
I did, however, read a couple of articles this morning that shed some light on the drop in hog prices. One was an article that said US Pork producers have been losing money on hogs since 2007. As I recall the “swine flu” really got started in 2009.
The second factor the articles point out is demand falling overseas, not here in the U.S.
In fact, one Ag economist called demand for pork domestically “strong” this summer. To find the cause of a drop in demand, look overseas…China is a big culprit here. The world’s most populous country is producing more of it’s own pork and demand for US imports is down year to year…China is expecting fewer visitors post-Olympics.
This is a long defense of local and national Media, and of consumers here in the US. We get it. Blaming the Media, or the name “swine flu” for lower prices is convenient, but it’s not the whole story.
There may be people staying away from Pork overseas because someone is calling this virus Swine Flu. That has nothing to do with the local Media, and suggesting that there is some sort of “panic” is wrong.
Demand is down, and production has been way too high for a while now. Surely, the Flu season is effecting futures. The markets are prone to swings based on emotion not fact. But, before Hog farmers blame “the Media”…they should acknowledge other, more significant factors contributing to Hog prices.

Fair
How about the woman trying to eat her way through all of the food on a stick? Something like 14,000 calories and more than 600 gram of fat? Brooke says she wants to do it next year. Who can we get to sponsor her?

Favre
I know Minnesota fans are excited. You should be. This is probably a better signal caller than you already had. I just think you’re going to find, long about week 10, Favre will either slow down, wear out or decide he’s not interested anymore. As usual…Viking fans are going to be left wonder what could have been. They’re the most talented team in the NFC North. They should win the division running away now. Who wants to bet me they won’t?

Healthcare
I like John Carlson’s article in the Des Moines Register today. Why is it people from big cities think people who live in the rest of the country can’t make decisions for themselves or string coherent thoughts together. We can’t possibly know what’s best for the country…we live in Iowa. Right?
I have one thing to say to these people…Shut up! The world through the eyes of a New Yorker or Chicagoan is no better or more complete than the perspective of someone living in Paris, Missouri or Nevada, Iowa.
OK that’s enough for me today. Gotta go.
PWD

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