Sunday, April 01, 2007

Calling Fielding Mellish

You might remember this:

From this day on, the official language of San Marcos will be Swedish.

Silence! In addition to that, all citizens will be required to change their underwear every half-hour. Underwear will be worn on the outside so we can check. Furthermore, all children under 16 years old are now... 16 years old!

The film from which these words came, Bananas (1971), sets forth the tale of how Mr.Allen came to be the president (Fielding Mellish) of the fictional banana republic of San Marcos, replacing the power-drunk leader who uttered the above orders.

At the time, the film seemed very funny but it becomes somewhat less so as we continue to descend into the nightmare that is Bushworld.


CHICAGO: The names of people infected with HIV will be tracked in all 50 states by the end of 2007, marking a victory for federal health officials and a quiet defeat for AIDS advocates who wanted to keep patients' names out of state

Vermont, Maryland and Hawaii, the last states not tracking the names of HIV-positive people, are quickly moving toward adopting names-based surveillance. Eight other states and Washington, D.C., began collecting the names of HIV patients last year, and Massachusetts switched in January.

And why would the states just fall into line and provide support for this big brother scenario? As usual, follow the money.

The states are bowing to federal pressure so they will not lose money for medications and health services for patients.

The data is allegedly being collected for the preparation of allocations of treatment funds. But names are not necessarily needed to accomplish this task. One is left with the distinct impression that there is more here than meets the eye. And HIPPA legislation would seem to bar such a practice.

It's time for Fielding Mellish to make his return.


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