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 Political

Published

 June, 2009

Synopsis

 Rightwingers Backtrack about Calling Sonia Sotomayor a Racist

Whatever Happened to Swine Flu?

Allow me to conjure up for you the following image. Marilyn Monroe would’ve been 83 years-old last week.

Since the most recent political cat fight (Sonia Sotomayor) has reached its critical mass - that’s news.

In recent days I’ve allowed myself the luxury of pondering what Monroe would look like as an octogenarian pin-up.

Plus, I’ve had a fair amount of time to wonder what that guy up in Portsmouth, N.H. was thinking when he got himself arrested for the 153rd time.
49 year-old Paul Baldwin had been free but a few days from his most recent time in jail, when he punched somebody in the face – and he found himself in police custody again. For me, the knowledge there’s no political quotient that can be injected into Baldwin’s criminal past, is like having my own mini-vacation.

Then there’s the recent death of 94 year-old Kenneth E. Stager. He’d been the world-renowned emeritus senior curator of ornithology and mammalogy at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. His death did not ignite any wild-eyed cable news firestorm between liberals and conservatives.
What truly piqued my interest was the fact that Stager, who’d won a Bronze Star during WWII, was born in Uniontown, on January 28th, 1915.

Those are the kinds of news stories that prevent pundits from seeping in.

Not like the nomination of Judge Sotomayor that within a week sent conservative wingnuts into fits of hysteria. Sotomayor had been called a “racist” by just about every non-elected rightwinger in the country.

Some, like Newt Gingrich, have even retracted their extreme rhetoric. Gingrich later claimed, "My initial reaction was strong and direct -- perhaps too strong and too direct," for using the word racist because she’d made a single statement years ago.

Perhaps Gingrich had been told that the late Supreme Court justice Hugo Black admitted he’d been a member of the Ku Klux Klan before he joined the court. That despite his previous Klan affiliation, during his tenure (the fourth longest of all Supreme Court justices) he voted in favor of a number of key civil rights cases – including Brown vs. the Board of Education.

So, with the adolescent political belly-flopping subsiding over Sotomayor, I’ve had more time to digest more serious news. Like, what would Marilyn Monroe look like in a swimming suit today?

I’ve also wondered whatever happened to swine flu. By mid-April people were even abandoning their ham sandwiches. Recently, any new swine flu developments haven’t gained more than mere mentions.

There were a few good reasons for the heightened interest in swine flu two months ago. First, not many people knew what it was. Many people believed that bacon could send you to the morgue, until health officials changed it from swine flu to something less frightful sounding - the H1N1 virus.

Second, it was clear after a few weeks that swine, er, the H1N1 virus infected a lot more people than it killed. Even news reports of the most recent deaths associated with it were accompanied by the conclusion that it may be widespread (the CDC says 11,052 Americans have contracted it), but only a few (less than 50 Americans) have died from it.

Third, and perhaps most importantly, conservative wingnuts are no longer slipping their hate speech into a health matter that really had nothing to do with politics.

Wingnut Michael Savage’s response to the earliest reports about the H1N1 virus? “Illegal aliens are bringing it into the country.”

When that nonsense didn’t work, he asked, “Is this a terrorist attack?”

Savage, like many of his conservative talk-show conspiracy theorists, had stopped just short of claiming Pres. Obama had invented the virus as part of his stimulus package.

It’s too bad for them that the death toll from this virus isn’t more devastating than that of the usual strains of flu. The H1N1 virus is still nothing to sneeze at. But it certainly wasn’t a terrorist plot, or the result of out-of-control illegal immigration.

Ultra-conservatives have to wait this one out. Maybe they’ll discover Marilyn Monroe was a liberal.

Edward A. Owens of Uniontown is Webmaster of “Red Raider Nation: Where Champions Live.” E-mail him at freedoms@bellatlantic.net