The name game

May 1, 2009 1:39:28 PM PDT
The other white meat has been taking it on the chin, in case you haven't noticed. And now the folks whose livelihood depends on peddling pork are fighting back.

The National Pork Board - and, no, that's not Congress - and the National Pork Producers Council tonight are trying to get us, and by "us" I mean the media, to stop calling this influenza outbreak "swine flu."

Isn't H1N1 a better name? they ask. Isn't the medical designation a more accurate way to describe this?

The proverbial cat, it seems to me, is already out of the bag. It's a bit late to ask people to call this H1N1, or The Mexican Flu, or the North American flu, and abandon calling it swine flu. Or it seems that way to me at least.

Oh, and by the way, where were these politically correct lobbyists during the election, when "pork" was a four-letter word?

Speaking of swine flu, no new cases in New York City today - and that is certainly good news. Is the outbreak behind us? Experts have mixed opinions about it. But it seems to be waning.

The flu mentality, however, remains. I was at an event today - judging a music memory competition between scores of New York City school students - and the winners come up in groups and I have, over the years, shaken their hands. This year it was decided to forego the handshaking. Frankly, I missed all the high-fiving, and I think the kids did too. But such is the reality of life-under-flu-time.

And just go try to get some of that hand sanitizer; many stores have run out.

One more example of just how on edge people are: a United Airlines flight from Germany to Washington was diverted to Boston today after a woman on board complained she had flu-like symptoms. How much longer it would have taken to get to Washington than Boston, I'm not sure, but the plane was indeed sent to Boston and the woman got off.

Maybe she shouldn't have gotten on?

We'll have the latest on the N1H1/swine/Mexican/North American flu, tonight at 11.

We'll also have reaction to Supreme Court Justice David Souter's announcement that he's retiring when the current term ends this June. The retirement gives Pres. Obama an earlier-than-expected opportunity to nominate a Justice. Women and minorities are said to have the leading line on the job. And already conservatives are trying to gather support to push for a conservative or at best a moderate.

The truth is that Presidents typically appoint Supreme Court Justices who mirror at least a little their own political bent. And this President will likely be no different from his predecessors.

That this is such a highly charged issue shows just how important the Court is.

Also at 11, another sign of people trying to save money. Tappy Phillips and 7 On Your Side give us the 4-1-1 on those retail savings cards. They're all over the place - jamming our wallets. But it turns out, there are some tips so you don't bust your pocketbook with all those cards. Tappy's story is a must-see for anyone who has signed up for retailer discounts.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Scott Clark with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11, right after 20/20.

BILL RITTER


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