NOTE: The opinions expressed by our individual bloggers are their own, and not necessarily those of Young Democrats of Atlanta.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Perdona, no se habla bird flu aquí
Today's bloggerNot to take a running jump into the giant bucket of "xenophobia" paint that's being broadly brushed about in this season of shady Arab port deals and crackdowns on illegal immigrants, but growing up in Miami, I became indoctrinated in the general whitey resentment of the de facto (and later legal) requirement that damn near everything be written in Spanish as well as English. What can I say, I was raised by Republicans and when you hear the party line so many times, you, too, start to lament the increased burden on the state to print everything twice for people who are probably just going to fill out that form to ask you for something. Don't worry, I'm working on shaking that.

However, when it comes to important information that can be used to keep us all safe from a deadly catastrophe, I'm all for multilingualism. Take the back panel off of any major electronic device, and you'll probably see it for yourself: Danger! Cuidado! Avertissement! Achtüng! Whoever you are, don't go stickin' that screwdriver in here, capisce? It's even more important that everyone be informed when the consequences of ignoring instructions could mean them hurting me, you know, like, say, iff'n they caught the bird flu!

To make sure the public knows what to do in the event of a bird flu pandemic, The Department of Health and Human Services has put up a website at birdflu.gov or avianflu.gov. (Caution: make sure you type .gov; birdflu.com looks a little tinfoil hat, and birdflu.xxx is downright nasty.) You can go to this HHS website and learn all about what to do in the event of the killer birds; the information is broken into sections targeting specific audiences, e.g., for Individuals and Families, for Businesses, for Schools, and yes, for Faith-Based Organizations.
On January 12, 2006, Secretary Leavitt released a planning checklist for faith-based and community organizations at Pandemic Planning Summits in Vermont and West Virginia with state officials and community leaders.

The new checklist identifies specific steps faith-based and community organizations can take now to prepare for a pandemic. Developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the checklist suggests these actions:

Please note that documents in PDF format require Adobe's Acrobat Reader

The checklist suggests downloading Adobe Acrobat? Huh? Oh, right, got it. Download first, then read, then take action.

Anyway, I first found out about this yesterday in class, hearing a presentation on the bird flu and what can be done. Upon mention of the website, one of the professors sardonically asked, "How many languages do you think those recommendations are available in?" Sitting in a wireless classroom, I quickly found out: one and a half, or less. That is, on the bulk of the website, you are greeted with the following excuse: Pronto pondremos a su disposición esta información en español. So if you're a recently emigrated Hispanic head of household trying to protect your family, you'd better Babelfish it (conoces el Babelfish?) While the bulk of the website is en construcción, two of the seven particular interest groups, at least, can download their information in Spanish.

You already got the first one for free; wanna guess the second one?

Yep, the two of seven interest groups whose pages were completed first: Businesses and Faith-Based Organizations.


For the record, the Georgia Dept of Public Health's website is even more devoid of el español; the only fact sheet offered in two languages there is on the dangers of eating our coastal seafood. YAY MERCURY!

The fact that "Faith-Based" comes before "Community" is a topic for another blogger. I'm just talkin' national security here, folks.
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posted by Aerodad at 3/29/2006 12:37:00 PM


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