We have reached the stage of the "Japanese nuclear meltdown" emergency where the off-hand comments of obscure government officials are enough to set off panic. In this case, the Surgeon General of the United States (do you even know their name?) has suggested that people stock up on iodine as a "precaution" even as other parts of the government say don't bother. Well, it's one or the other.
Does anyone remember back in the early days of the post-9/11 color coded alert system when there was a Code Orange for a nerve gas alert, or some such? A reporter asked Tom Ridge what people could do to prepare for an emergency and he made some off-hand comment about buying duct tape? There was a run on hardware stores! One guy even covered his house with plastic sheeting and duct tape! That doesn't mean Ridge's information was bad, but it didn't take much for him to set off a round of panic buying.
For whatever reason, American media and politics are inordinately focused on Japan's damaged nuclear reactors, which have yet to kill anyone yet. Not saying the situation is dangerous and in flux, but is there any doubt the Japanese are going all out to prevent a catastrophic meltdown?Meanwhile the tens of thousands of dead and displaced are already fading to the background, at least in major American media.
I have no idea whether the Japanese reactors are going to kill us all, or not. The Free Will brother in law is a nuclear engineer, and he has so far been pretty sanguine. I'll take that over anti-nuke hysteria any day.