On My Radar 5/1/09: H1N1 Not Seen As Super Dangerous

* H1N1 Not Seen As Super Dangerous
* S.D. Cops Texting Drivers On Checkpoints
* Souter To Retire


Here are the stories that interest me this morning, along with my take on why they may be of interest to nonprofit and philanthropy leaders:

  • H1N1 (“swine”) flu is not seen as dangerous as previous ones. Researchers are concluding that the H1N1 flu now declared a pandemic is not as dangerous as flu strains that have caused earlier pandemics (for instance, that of 1918). The mortality rate for ordinary seasonal flus is between .06% and .24% — about 36,000 deaths annually in U.S. H1N1 is expected to be on that level. For context, the 1918 influenza outbreak killed 50 million people worldwide. Scientists caution, though, that the virus could mutate into something more aggressive.
    • My take: Needed perspective. In today’s anti-science climate, it is easy for panic to spread and facts ignored. Scientific ignorance, in my view, is a deep public problem.
  • Police Car Lighs by flickr user davidsonscott15
    Police Car Lighs by flickr user davidsonscott15
  • South Dakota police have a program that texts drivers before sobriety checkpoints go up. Thought to be the only one of its kind in the nation, the program allows South Dakota drivers to sign up to receive text messages that tell them when, and in what general location, sobriety checkpoints will be set up. Exact locations aren’t specified.
    • My take: A great example of thinking outside of the box your role puts you in. SD police decided it was smarter to keep people off the road in the first place, than catch them in the act. It’s law enforcement TQM!
  • Justice David Souter to retire.With oral arguments for the court term now over, Justice Souter plans to retire at the end of this term.
    • My take: Obama’s first Supreme Court pick. He is very likely to get at least one more. Though it is hard to imagine this one changing the character of the Court too much (Souter by and large is aligned with the liberal wing of his colleagues), ever since Bork no nomination has been smooth. This will be a firestorm as conservatives pressure their Senators to dig in and fight.

Thanks for reading.


Published by

Brad Rourke

Executive editor of issue guides and program officer at the Kettering Foundation.

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