A couple weeks ago on a drive out of New York City, knowing that the fast-moving but densely packed traffic could well be leading soon into a stopped up jam, I flipped on the AM radio for a status on road conditions. Tuned to WABC 770, the radio at this time of day began to spew forth the annoying voice of Michael Wiener aka. “Savage,” the right-wing personality who replaced the nearly-as-vile Sean Hannity in the 3-6:00 PM slot. The topic of Savage’s contempt this day? That a couple American health workers serving in West Africa were being transported back to the U.S. to receive treatment for Ebola.
Relying on his credentials in the field of nutritional ethnomedicine, Dr. Savage railed against the madness of importing the dangerous and often fatal Ebola disease into the United States. Savage argued that the preferred approach would have been to treat the two patients, Kent Brantley and Nancy Writebol, in Africa – he mentioned Nigeria as a place of advanced medical capability – where facilities to manage the disease were more than adequate to handle it. I understand the visceral fear of allowing the virus entry into the U.S., even though the precautions taken in transporting the victims involved complete isolation of their infected bodies in protective gear out of “Gravity,” but the notion that African options for treatment were satisfactory seemed ill-conceived. Health workers in West Africa have been abandoning hospitals in droves leaving behind leaking corpses on the floors. That’s a far cry from the state of facilities at the Center for Disease Control (CDC) where Brantly and Writebol were sent. And even though Nigeria is not inundated (yet) by Ebola and the accompanying angst, might not the intrusion of Ebola patients there be met with fierce obstruction as well?
Also, since when did conservatives like Savage start getting bent out of shape over an exercise that demonstrates American “exceptionalism”? Or start seeking to interfere in an individual’s taking “personal responsibility” for his or her health? And don’t you think that if the U.S. government blocked the return of citizens – even (or especially) sick ones – that ranters like Savage would have a conniption fit over an “imperial” presidency?
Anyway, I listened to Savage’s arguments (and his constant reference to an article he wrote a day earlier titled “America’s Ebola response is ‘madness’” that appeared on the website WND Commentary) until he seamlessly connected the situation to a conspiracy fostered by Obama, the man who personally invited terrorists to cross into the American Southwest and who caused safety failures at the CDC. By the time Savage conflated the Ebola outbreak to Obamacare – regardless the merits of his argument that bringing the illness to America was madness – he lost my interest. I flipped to WCBS 880 just in time to catch “Traffic and Weather on the Eights.”
I waited to blog about the Savage Wiener to see what came of the two Ebola sufferers who had been likened to a more virulent Typhoid Mary. Did the disease jump the hospital walls? Did any doctors, nurses or other hospital personnel succumb? Did Al Qaeda breach the perimeter, lick the sick, and abscond with the killer virus? Well, now that the results are in we can say without fear of contradiction that Michael Savage is an asshole.
Both patients have recovered from the insidious disease, which was far from guaranteed had they stayed on the African continent as called for by Savage. And the opportunity to study Ebola up close in one of the world’s best hospital facilities – Emory University Hospital – no doubt provided researchers valuable insight that may lead to a vaccine or cure.
Dr. Bruce S. Ribner, the Emory infectious diseases specialist who coordinated the treatment of Brantly and Writebol said it was “the right decision” to bring the patients back to the U.S. to receive the superior care offered here, and because the lessons learned might lead to guidance in assisting doctors treating Ebola patients in the field – thereby one day obviating the need to bring sick people to the U.S. (and satisfying Savage in a roundabout way.)
Ribner added, “We cannot let our fears dictate our actions. We must all care.”
At that moment, trying to conceive the inconceivable notion of caring, the savage head of Michael Wiener exploded.
Thank the Lord they didn’t go with Travel + Leisure
A couple blogs ago I poked fun at a bunch of prudish mothers who were appalled to find an unwanted copy of “GQ” magazine in their mail – the gift of retailer Lands End. The noise from the mothers excoriating Lands End for exposing their tender adolescent sons to the sight of a scantily clad girl on the cover was strident, if not kind of funny.
Under pressure, Lands End CEO Edgar Huber admitted “a mistake” and announced the delivery of a replacement magazine – “Conde Nast Traveler.” I joked at the time about the possibility that “Conde Nast Traveler” might further expose the boys to sinful images should they do a feature on Bali.
Literally the next day I picked up September’s issue of “Travel + Leisure” in which the magazine did a spread on Africa, accompanied by a couple photos of topless young native girls ala old-time “National Geographic.”
Oh how I wish Lands End would have gone with “T+L” instead of “Conde Nast Traveler.” Just too delicious.