poisonwood's Diaryland Diary

Date: Apr. 28, 2009 . Time: 8:23 a.m.

doomsday scenario Entry:

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doomsday scenario

As mentioned, I'm trying to tune out from the news a little. However, I haven't gotten around to changing my alarm from NPR, so I was treated to a daily dose of "we're all going to die of the flu" this morning. I recently read Blindness; if you've read that, you're probably feeling 10% more anxious, like me. Scary book. It's sort of the worst case scenario.

Anyway, I guess what bothers me is that it seems like there is only one treatment for this type of flu, and it's not really widely available. If there were ever a truly major outbreak, there would definitely not be enough to go around. Why not just stock up enough? The way to do this would be to allow the general public to buy it. That way, the government wouldn't have to. Some people would; some wouldn't. The gov't would stock enough for those who didn't.

Has there ever really been a successful quarantine? Certainly not in literature. Just read Blindness and The last Town on Ea rth for some doomsday scenarios.

8:23 a.m. - Apr. 28, 2009

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GB

From Time, a nice reminder of why we should be cautious with vaccines. My grandfather had Guillain-Barré; it's no joke. He very nearly died of it.

In February 1976, an outbreak of swine flu struck Fort Dix Army base in New Jersey, killing a 19-year-old private and infecting hundreds of soldiers. Concerned that the U.S. was on the verge of a devastating epidemic, President Gerald Ford ordered a nationwide vaccination program at a cost of $135 million (some $500 million in today's money). Within weeks, reports surfaced of people developing Guillain-Barré syndrome, a paralyzing nerve disease that can be caused by the vaccine. By April, more than 30 people had died of the condition.

5:48 p.m. - Apr. 27, 2009

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news anxiety

Last night, I was talking to B about how I've just been feeling anxious lately. I think it's because of the upcoming wed*ding, all the change in my life, job changes, and so on. However, I really think it's compounded by hearing doom and gloom every time I turn on the radio. My alarm plays NPR every morning, and I woke up hear them talking about how Ob*ama has handled "the worst economic crisis since the Gr*eat Depr*ression." A quick look at unemployment tables will you this is not true - yet, of course. The last time unemployment was this bad was . . . . 1983! Remember 1983? That's a year before my parents packed up and moved from Ire*land from the US because my Dad couldn't find work in Ire*land. He then had to take a job he hated for several months because he couldn't find a good one. I did find it interesting that before 1947, anyone over *14* was included in the employment stats. How things have changed.

Anyway, I've decided to try and read the news a bit less. I think it's making me anxious and paranoid.


8:34 a.m. - Apr. 27, 2009

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foreclosure

Should I feel sorry for people "losing their homes"? The Sea ttle Times published another story about rising rates of foreclosures. Here's the first story they picked to share:

That's what Mar*ina and And*rey Samo*ylenko thought. They emigrated from Russia in 1999 and had lived in public housing with their three children while learning English and working toward degrees at High*line Community College.

In 2005, the couple purchased a $575,000 five-bedroom home on Montevista, with a no-money-down mortgage from Countrywide Home Loans. The mortgage payments were about $3,000 a month, the couple said. Andrey worked for Countrywide as a loan officer and the couple said they could afford the mortgage.

In 2006, they refinanced with his employer and dropped their monthly payment to about $1,500. Under the financing terms, the couple was paying a small fraction of the interest owed. The unpaid portion was added to their principal balance.

"He certainly understood this mortgage and the implications of making minimum payments," said Rick Sim*on, spokesman for Bank of America, which has since acquired Countrywide.

Andrey, increasingly unhappy at Countrywide, left for two new jobs — one at a security firm, the other at a local supermarket. Marina worked with him. Last year, both the security firm and the grocery store cut the Samoylenkos' hours.

By January of this year, their monthly payment had jumped and they said they owed $640,000 on a home now worth about $400,000. The Legislature last year banned state-regulated lenders from offering these subprime "negatively amortizing" loans, and Countrywide also agreed to end the practice.

To prevent foreclosure on the Samoylenkos' home, a real-estate agent negotiated a "short sale" — a bank-approved sale for less than the amount owed. Despite paying tens of thousands of dollars toward their mortgage over the past four years, the couple will walk away with nothing.

8:03 p.m. - Apr. 26, 2009

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