Tag Archives: vaccines


14 Mar

Two things for your Friday reading: 

The South Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up To Be

1. 8 interesting factoids about the American South and Southwest, which reveal how stubbornly poor it is, and how people continuously vote against their own self-interests. Are taxes lower there? Probably. But as with most things in life, you get what you pay for.  If you like poverty, crappy schools, and bad healthcare, the South might be for you!


2. There is a dangerous trend among some parents to withhold from their children disease-preventing, life-saving vaccinations. It’s a weird intersection of pseudoscientific holistic natural gobbledygook with the completely discredited mythology that vaccines are more dangerous than the diseases they’re designed to prevent. (For instance, a lie was spread for years linking the MMR vaccine with autism. It wasn’t true.)

The anti-vaccine crowd may think they’re only making a decision for their own family. In fact, they’re threatening to make the rest of us sick. Refusing to vaccinate your children means you are contributing to a worsening public health crisis. There is no denying it, and there is no point in sugar-coating it.

I hope the anti-vaccine movement somehow loses steam. Perhaps America will take note of the return of long-gone illnesses and will stop treating vaccine denialism as a viewpoint worth considering. Perhaps vaccine-refusing parents will consider whether it’s worth the anxiety of knowing that a person who coughed in their grocery store two hours earlier could infect their kids as they do the week’s shopping together, and will reconsider their choices.

The point of vaccines isn’t just to protect your kid from unnecessary disease – it’s a public health matter designed to rid society of these diseases altogether. Some of these vaccines lose their potency over time, but it didn’t matter so long as the diseases themselves weren’t reintroduced into society thanks to 100% vaccination. 

If you think your kid isn’t strong enough to overcome the non-existent effects of a vaccine, what makes you think your kid is strong enough to overcome mumps, measles, or some other 19th century disease? 

Maybe I was Wrong About the Crazies

30 Sep

I have previously posted a lot on healthcare. As the healthcare debate ended up stuck in the mud during the post-Obama speech period, I decided I’d wait to post again until Something Happened. Well, Something now did Happen, as liberals once again failed at the act of governance with Baucus’ knife in the heart of the Public Option. I was writing the post on that subject in my head when I made a mistake this morning. I turned on Tom Bauerle, and after listening for five minutes, had a revelation.


Maybe I’ve been wrong about the Birfers, Freeners, Screamers, and Teabaggers the whole time. Maybe, just maybe, its the duty of every sentient human being in this country to denounce this crap daily until rationality (not unanimity) is present once again in our country.

My God, what are these people smoking? The only thing more terrifying than the rhetoric was the knowledge that the people on this show live in my city, and may someday interact with my children.

Today’s topic on Bauerle was ostensibly about the evils of vaccinations, and how terrible it is that New York would force state healthcare workers to receive the H1N1 Flu Vaccine, or face disciplinary action. Bauerle and every single one of his callers, (as Pundit has discovered, no dissention in the echo chamber) see this an invasion of their personal liberty because 1) no one can tell me what to do with my body, 2) all vaccines are unsafe and untested, and 3) Obama is a dictator.

Obviously a sense of irony is not a prerequisite for this group. I assume most are Pro-Lifers, but the fact that Argument #1 is the main Pro-Choice defense is lost on them. As well, lets for a second ignore Argument #2 – I only have time for one crazy conspiracy at a time. Instead, lets look at #3.

Somehow the topic of vaccines in NY was a perfect segue into a discussion of Obama the Foreign Dictator. Forced vaccines would lead to, among other things, the institution of martial law, forced birth control, the canceling of the 2012 election (Obama would declare himself President-for-Life), Communism and Hitlerism. Proof that this would happen? That Obama received student aid as a foreign student and is spending $1M to fight the release of his birth certificate. Also, his trip to Copenhagen to fight for Chicago to get the Summer Olympics is about Union kickbacks to his funders, and national healthcare is bad.

Of course, most of these things are mild compared to calling Obama the Anti-Christ based upon some numerology. To me, its easy to dismiss a couple websites that I think Alan spends too much time perusing. But somehow hearing it on the radio today, on a “news program,” made it a lot worse.  WBEN may not be CNN, but its audience is much larger than Birfer conspiracy groups. Judging by the content, no wonder most the commercials were for hypnotic weight loss and “miracle” anti-aging cream.

 I’ve previously thought that this fringe too will pass – ignore them and they go away. But their influence and size is growing, not shrinking. And as Tom Friedman points out:

The American political system was, as the saying goes, “designed by geniuses so it could be run by idiots.” But a cocktail of political and technological trends have converged in the last decade that are making it possible for the idiots of all political stripes to overwhelm and paralyze the genius of our system.

We need to tamp down the idiots. Republicans, Conservatives and those on the Right have a special obligation to do this, because these people claim to be on our side (though many claim the Republican party has let them down too). What John McCain did with the crazy woman at one of his town halls, we need to do every day. Correct. Refute. Inform. Advocate.

This doesn’t mean Obama has the right policies. I don’t care for many of them. But call me old fashioned – we should respond with ideas, not fear mongering lunacy. Silence is becoming acquiescence.