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“Leaving Walter Reed Hosp; met America’s finest; seeing these young soldiers who sacrifice so much changes your life/puts things in perspective.”

‘BLANK CHECK’

Americans want to eliminate the threat of terrorism, and they want their troops safe, effectively equipped and reasonably comfortable as the Afghanistan surge gets under way. But the public is also plenty skittish that Afghanistan could turn into a proverbial “money pit” for the U.S. - a legitimate concerns when the term “millions” is bandied about with abandon by some of the major players.

“We never had a blank check in Afghanistan,” Afghan President Hamid Karzai told CNN.“I remember occasions in the past seven years where I’ve asked for only $25 million to provide for the security of the Afghan community leaders, religious leaders, and after negotiating for months, we didn’t get it. So we are not used to a blank check, and we are not expecting one.”

YET ANOTHER PHOBIA

Of interest to talk-radio host Michael Savage, included on a list of terrorists banned from Britain as “undesirables.” The same office that bars Mr. Savage from jolly old England is also banning certain words from their lexicon.

The British Home Office has issued an eight-page guide to officials that recommends they not use such words as “Islamist,” “jihadi” and “fundamentalist,” and avoid making “explicit” links between Muslims and terrorism. Generic terms like “criminals” or “thugs” are encouraged. The guide bans “Islamophobia,” lest it be interpreted as “a slur that singles out Muslims.”

The office explained: “This is about using appropriate language to have counterterrorism impact. It would be foolish to do anything else.”

GOING VIRAL

A healthy round of applause for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for their efforts to ramp down public hysteria over H1N1. The federal agency now offers a weekly “Flu View” report that gauges key indicators, mostly by hard, fast numbers.

The latest: Visits to doctors for influenzalike illness nationally decreased for the fifth consecutive week. Influenza hospitalization rates have decreased across all age groups. The proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza declined over the previous week, though it continues to be higher than expected for this time of year. Twenty-five states report widespread influenza activity; a decline of seven states from last week.

Almost all of the influenza viruses identified so far continue to be 2009 H1N1 influenza A viruses - and “remain susceptible to the antiviral drugs oseltamivir and zanamivir with rare exception.”

POLL DU JOUR

• 22 percent of Americans say the United Nations is a “reliable source” of information on global warming.

• 59 percent say it’s likely some scientists falsified research data on global warming.

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