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Posts for December, 2007

Huckabee’s “Isolation” vs. Quarantine: What’s The Difference?

Jim Burroway

December 9th, 2007

Former Arkansas governor and GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee appeared on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace to deny that he said we should quarantine all AIDS patients. But he stood by his statements calling for isolating “the carriers” of AIDS.

Here is my quick transcript:

Chris, I didn’t say that we should quarantine. I said it was the first time in public health protocols that when we had an infectious disease and we didn’t really know just how extensive and how dramatic it could be and the impact of it, that we didn’t isolate the carrier. Now the headlines yesterday started saying that that I called for quarantines, which, if you go back and read my comments, I did not.

I simply made the point, and I still believe this today, that in the late eighties and early nineties when we didn’t know as much that we do now about AIDS, we were acting more out of political correctness than we were out of the normal public health protocols that we would have acted as we have recently, for example, with Avian Flu…

Chris Wallace called him on that, noting that as far back as in 1985, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had already established that AIDS could not be spread by casual contact. This was seven years before Huckabee’s statement. Huckabee didn’t back down:

Would I say things a little differently in 2007? Probably so, but I’m not going to recant or retract from the statement that I did make, because, again, the point was not saying we ought to lock people up who have HIV/AIDS. I knew people who had AIDS. I had a close friend who had died of it in the 1980′s. He was a hemophiliac; he had contracted it through a blood transfusion. I had other friends of mine, one of whom passed away, he was in fact homosexual.

But my point is, I was trying to talk about different public health protocols we were dealing with. I think what it really does show though is that when people are digging back into everything I have ever said and done — and I understand that, it’s part of the political process. But what I’m not going to do is to go back and now try to change every story that I’ve ever had. I’m going to simply say that is exactly what I said, I don’t run from it, don’t recant from it. Would I say it a little differently today? Sure, in light of fifteen years of additional knowledge and understanding I would.

Huckabee opened his statement saying “Chris, I didn’t say that we should quarantine.” Here is what he wrote to the Associated Press in 1992. What do you think?

If the federal government is truly serious about doing something with the AIDS virus, we need to take steps that would isolate the carriers of this plague.

It is difficult to understand the public policy towards AIDS. It is the first time in the history of civilization in which the carriers of a genuine plague have not been isolated from the general population, and in which this deadly disease for which there is no cure is being treated as a civil rights issue instead of the true health crisis it represents.

The CDC’s 1992 AIDS Surveillance Report (PDF: 1.2MB/23 pages) counted 253,448 people with AIDS, with unknown numbers more infected with HIV at the time. With those figures documented as of 1992, I’m hard-pressed to understand what the distinction is supposed to be between calling for a quarantine and “isolating the carriers” from the general population. Princeton University’s Wordnet can’t seem to find a distinction either:

Noun

  • S: (n) quarantine (enforced isolation of patients suffering from a contagious disease in order to prevent the spread of disease)
  • S: (n) quarantine (isolation to prevent the spread of infectious disease)

Verb

  • S: (v) quarantine (place into enforced isolation, as for medical reasons) “My dog was quarantined before he could live in England”

And neither can the folks at Merk:

quarantine (quar·an·tine) (kwor´ən-tēn, kwahr´ən-tēn) [Ital. quarantina, from L. quadraginta forty] 1. restriction of freedom of movement of apparently well individuals who have been exposed to infectious disease, which is imposed for the usual maximal incubation period of the disease (quarantine period). Cf. surveillance (def. 2). 2. a period (originally of 40 days’ duration) of detention of vessels, vehicles, or travelers coming from infected or suspected ports or places. 3. the place where persons are detained for inspection. 4. to detain or isolate on account of suspected contagion.

HIV has an incubation period of six to twelve years before the onset of AIDS. AIDS is treatable but not curable. Given those facts which were also known in 1992, how long would Huckabee’s proposed “isolation” have been enforced? A lifetime?

Huckabee: 1992 AIDS Quarantine Story “Just Politics”

Jim Burroway

December 8th, 2007

The Associated Press has reported that GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee once advocated quarantining everyone with AIDS during a run for the U.S. Senate in 1992:

“If the federal government is truly serious about doing something with the AIDS virus, we need to take steps that would isolate the carriers of this plague,” Huckabee wrote.

“It is difficult to understand the public policy towards AIDS. It is the first time in the history of civilization in which the carriers of a genuine plague have not been isolated from the general population, and in which this deadly disease for which there is no cure is being treated as a civil rights issue instead of the true health crisis it represents.”

He also wrote that Hollywood celebrities should fund AIDS research from their own pockets rather than federal health agencies. And he said this about homosexuality in 1992:

“I feel homosexuality is an aberrant, unnatural, and sinful lifestyle, and we now know it can pose a dangerous public health risk.”

When asked about his 1992 statements, refused to address the question directly, but he did respond this way:

Many of you know that I’m a human being that’s going to make a whole lot of mistakes, in fact you’re going to hear that I am a human being that’s made a lot of mistakes. In fact, if you don’t know that yet, just keep reading all the press releases from my opponents. And when they can’t find enough, they’ll make some up.”

“And that’s politics,” he added.

Huckabee is being touted as a gentleman’s social conservative. But he sees his campaign in somewhat grander terms. Here’s the explanation he gave before Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University for why his poll numbers have been rising lately:

There’s only one explanation for it, and it’s not a human one. It’s the same power that helped a little boy with two fish and five loaves feed a crowd of five thousand people. (Applause and cheers)

And that’s the only way that our campaign could be doing what it’s doing. And I’m not being facetious, nor am I trying to be trite. There literally are thousands of people across this country who are praying that a little will become much, and it has. And it defies all explanation. It has confounded the pundants, and I’m enjoying every minute of their trying to figure it out. And until they look at it from a… just experience beyond human, they’ll never figure it out. And that’s probably just as well. That’s honestly why it’s happening.

See also:

Huckabee Denies Advocating Quarantine

“We Want Sodomites Quarantined”

Jim Burroway

October 31st, 2007

Star Parker

That gem came from Star Parker, one of the featured speakers at the Values Voter Summit held on October 20 and 21. Max Blumenthal was there and caught it all on video. And what he caught was pretty scary. Here’s a knee-slapper from the Traditional Values Coalition’s Lou Sheldon:

Lou SheldonLou Sheldon: But remember, homosexuality could strike you! It could strike this man here taking pictures…

Max Blumenthal: How could it strike me?

Sheldon: Because you could go into a gender identity confusion because it is a psychological imbalance. Something happens in a person’s life. It’s not only… It becomes a spirit…

But the real icing on the cake comes from Brandon Vallorini of Rick Scarborough’s Vision America:

Brandon ValloriniMax Blumenthal: But under a Biblical order, I mean, … would the death penalty be imposed for blaspheming, homosexuality…

Brandon Vallorini: I guess in that time it was.

MB: But what about…

BV: What about it today? That’s a great question. Again, and I, I would want to be careful to say that we want to do what God says we should do.