"It was a tough choice between horrible, incompetent security at our nation's ocean ports and avian flu," confessed Tony Snow at the White House press conference that annouced the change. "But in the end, the President thought that the upcoming, inevitable pandemic would really scare the pants off Joe and Jane Sixpack." Follow up questions were ignored or met with a bitter personal attack against the questioner.
The government's website -- www.randompanic.gov -- also lists port security, attacks on domestic nuclear power plants, and unstoppable computer threats among its top four "biggest things to worry about in 2006-7." The site also contains links and expert testimony designed to "show you why you need to be concerned" and "how to convince others" to be as "panicked as you are." Among the video segments is actual footage of Hiroshima attack victims "to let the American people know what's coming" and video survelliance footage from the New York Port Authority showing guards playing poker, falling dead asleep, or taking "large stacks of cash" from shadowy "underworld crime figures."
"If you're not concerned, that should make you even more concerned," the site proclaims, under its "mission statement" section. "Nobody panicked on the Titanic or Hindenburg either, until it was far too late."
"Once again, yes, we could choose to distinguish ourselves here," said Nancy Pelosi, speaking of the Democratic Party in general, "and draw attention to this shameless fear mongering by pointing to the facts, but we choose not to. Frankly, we don't believe in distinction all that much. Simply falling all over ourselves to get to dead-center, that's all we really want, and no number of election losses are going to change my or the Democratic Leadership Council's minds on the matter."
Wall Street's reaction to the bird flu crisis was negligable. In fact, it barely even bothered to acknowledge us at all when we walked by and asked how it was hanging.