When Vice President Joe Biden said he would advise his own family not to travel during the swine-flu outbreak, the nation's tourism industry got in a huff.
Well, maybe Big Tourism will find some consolation in knowing that even Biden's own son didn't take his advice.
Beau Biden flew to Orlando for a family vacation at Walt Disney World last week during the height of the swine-flu panic. An Orlando police spokeswoman confirmed Biden's arrival at Orlando International Airport.
Delaware Army National Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Leonard Gratteri said the younger Biden, who is on leave from his job as Delaware's attorney general for a deployment to Iraq with the 261st Signal Brigade, was back in the States on leave last week.
At the same time, Joe Biden appeared on the Today show,telling Matt Lauer, "I would tell members of my family, and I have, that I wouldn't go anywhere in confined spaces right now. ... If you're in a confined aircraft and one person sneezes, it goes all through the aircraft."
That comment prompted swift outrage by tourism executives, who accused the vice president of inciting unnecessary fear of traveling, and a bit of backpedaling by the Obama administration, which insisted that all the vice president really meant to do was urge people who are feeling sick not to travel.
Earlier this week, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority used the vice president's photograph in a full-page ad in USA Today that spoofed the city's catchphrase "What happens here, stays here."
The ad said, "Mr. Vice President, if you had said it here, no one would have known."
No word on Beau Biden's daily agenda while in Orlando, but chances are he got a bigger scare out of the Tower of Terror than swine flu.
UCF economist a media starIt's hard to read much about the economy lately without coming across the name of University of Central Florida economist Sean Snaith.
The recession has prompted a media clamor for academics who can make sense of bank stress tests and credit-default swaps — thus Snaith's elevation from occasional talking head to full-fledged pundit.
"Now we're slightly more popular than accountants," Snaith quipped. "What a meteoric rise."
By the university's count, Snaith was referenced or quoted in print or online 1,237 times across the country in 2008. He made two appearances in USA Today just last week.
The director of the Institute for Economic Competitiveness came to UCF in 2006 at the height of the housing boom from the University of the Pacific in California. Like a lot of economists, in December 2007 he predicted there wouldn't be a recession.
"Ouch, did I say that?" asked the Pittsburgh native.
He now thinks we have emerged from the darkest period of the recession, with a few more quarters of contraction to go before the recovery begins.
"The news isn't getting worse," he said. "For a while there, we were falling into a seemingly bottomless pit."
Beth Kassab can be reached at bkassab@ orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5448. Read her blog at OrlandoSentinel.com /thebottomline.