Poor Us: The Great Depression 2.0

April 29, 2009

Fun in Acapulco? Really? Poor Us correspondent reports from Mexico’s travel trade show Tianguis Turistico

Influenza by Cyphermx via Deviantart.com With the global economy tanking and a nasty Narco War raging, the Mexican Ministry of Tourism was really looking to book a win at their 34th annual tourism trade show Tiagnguis Turistico in Acapulco.

I’m sure they imagined the odds were in their favor. What else could possibly go wrong? As it turns out, the bad stuff was just getting started (don’t you hate when that happens?).

The travel industry pros—the people that organize conventions, package tours, weddings, and the people who write about it—arrived in Acapulco on Sunday, the day before a traveler’s advisory went into effect and a pandemic of panic headlines circled the globe faster than the Swine Flu outbreak they were freaking out about.

Luckily, there had been no reported cases of the flu in Acapulco, so they decided to go on with the show, holding meetings outside and nixing discos and other venues where too much mixing with the locals might turn out to be, well, fatal.

So far so good?  Not so fast, the god of screw you wasn’t done with Acapulco yet,  as Poor Us correspondent Traveljones reported: “ We had an earthquake, a 5.6, while I was blogging in the press room. People were sprinting for the exits.”

How fun is that? Despite earthquake, epidemic and the Bullet Flu, (as Jon Stewart nicknamed the drug war),  Traveljones reports that Tiagnguis Turistico stuck as close as possible to business as usual. “Es la economía, estúpido,” is the bottom line on both sides of the border:Fun in Acapulco or is Elvis examining Ursula Andress for Swine Flu symptoms?

Flu news came after the conference started, so it didn’t keep people away, though  some people have left early, partly because of the flu and partly because business is slow this year in general.

I mean the flu isn’t really as huge a topic as you’d think. People are more concerned about the lack of business to Mexico, with US travelers freaked out by yet another story about big bad Mexico and canceling their trips left and right. Some people are wearing masks, but from what’s been said the outbreak has been in the southern section of Mexico City, the huge teeming barrio of bottom rungers.

The narco war isn’t really a topic, since everyone here (travel agents, travel writers) knows that the places with all the violence (Tijuana, Juarez) have never been travel destinations, and those places aren’t represented here anyway.

As far as the recession, most people in this country have been living in permanent recession/depression anyway, farther down the ladder than ours even goes. But yeah, this’ll take them one step lower since tourism is a major industry here. I guess one way they’re dealing with it is the tons of deals they have here now, more than ever. I mean, in general, things are subdued but people are still out, life goes on and they gotta make a buck.  TJ

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April 28, 2009

Who Puts the Swine in Swine Flu? Republicans Do.

Filed under: Reduced Circumstances — Tags: , , , , , — debacled @ 2:05 am

Varken_Van_Hebzucht_by_amymai

Well, I suppose it’s kind of a cheap shot to point out that Republicans stripped $900 million for pandemic preparedness out of the Obama Stimulus Bill on the grounds that it was pork.

Indeed, we probably should be worried about this sinister-sounding story that appeared in The Independent :

“…alarming reports from Mexico City, Felipe Solis, a distinguished archaeologist who showed Mr. .Obama around the city’s anthropology museum during his visit to Mexico earlier this month, died the next day from "flu-like symptoms." via The Copycat Effect

However, Obama doesn’t seem to have the flu (at least not that they’re telling us) and the Republicans do have it coming.  After all, they’ve spent decades trying to convince Americans that government is useless and spendthrift by recklessly undermining public services and safety from Katrina to climate change to credit card regulations while hogging all the tax cuts and government contracts for their porcine pals.  Somehow, Swine Flu seems a fitting end for them, but the rest of us deserve the best pandemic preparedness government “pork” can buy.

Republicans Strip Stimulus Money for Pandemic via The Guardian

According to John Nichols of The Nation, back during the January-February stimulus fight, Republicans in Congress stripped about $900 million from the package that was intended to…drumroll…fight pandemics. Yep.
One could plausibly argue, I suppose, that pandemic-prevention spending did not exactly count as stimulus in the same way that rail construction did. But Democratic members of Congress like David Obey of Wisconsin countered that argument this way, writes Nichols:

Obey and other advocates for the spending argued, correctly, that a pandemic hitting

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