Saturday, August 23, 2008

The unlearning...

Vaccine-wary parents spark public health worry - Kids and parenting- msnbc.com
In Ashland, nearly 30 percent of kindergartners have been issued exemptions for some or all of the vaccines required by state law, a rate seven times the rest of the state and about 12 times the rest of the nation.

Why does it seem that people who should know better put their faith in anecdotal evidence and superstition when hard data and science is available.
Skeptical of government mandates and leery of feared links to disorders
from asthma to autism, parents say they’re exercising their rights to
protect their kids from risk. But health officials say there’s no
question that the risk of vaccination is far outweighed by the benefits
of inoculation, and that those who don’t immunize endanger not only
their own kids, but also the collective resistance that keeps everyone
else safe, too.

“When more than 10 percent of a community opts out of vaccinations, it
leaves the entire community at risk because germs have a greater chance
of causing an epidemic,” said Dr. Ari Brown, an Austin, Texas,
pediatrician who represents the American Academy of Pediatrics.
While there is an acknowledged risk with almost any vaccine, the statistics show that it is far less than that of contracting these diseases. This generation of parents simply doesn't know what it is like to have a toddler contract whooping cough... one of the leading causes of vaccine preventable deaths world-wide.

With lower vaccination levels some of these nearly eradicated diseases seem to be making a comeback...

In South Whidbey Island, Wash., this summer,
Little League teams were eliminated from the regional All-Star
Tournament after an outbreak of pertussis. Overall, 88 people were
sickened in the Northwest community where one to two cases a year is
the norm. Health officer Dr. Roger Case demanded that the teams be
pulled, fearing they'd spark an epidemic among players across a wide
region. Low community vaccination levels likely were to blame for the outbreak, Case said.
Some people must simply learn hard lessons by seeing for themselves... Given all the progress mankind has made on the medical front, it would seem obvious to trust the science. But because science hasn't given us all of the answers (e.g. - why is my child autistic??) people grasp at the anecdotal (e.g. - it must be that vaccine...). Its a trait we all share as humans: we need reasons... we look for patterns even where the correlation is weak. We need some reason -- even a bad one. (Hence religion!)

Most of the time it's harmless, but in this case we could be subjecting a new generation of children to scourges that we figured out how to lick more than 50 years ago...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The government we deserve...

We're getting it... In spades.

While the headlines scream about where various republicans and democrats are putting their penises THIS kind of shit continues to go on:

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2008-08-12-mukasey-justice-department_N.htm

U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey on Tuesday said former Justice Department officials will not face prosecution for letting improper political considerations drive hirings of prosecutors, immigration judges and other career government lawyers. ...

But, Mukasey told delegates to the American Bar Association annual meeting, "not every wrong, or even every violation of the law, is a crime. In this instance, the two joint reports found only violations of the civil service laws."

For nearly two years, top advisers to Gonzales discriminated against applicants for career jobs who weren't Republican or conservative loyalists, an internal investigation concluded last month.

The federal government makes a distinction between "career" and "political" appointees, and it's a violation of civil service laws and Justice Department policy to hire career employees on the basis of political affiliation or allegiance.

Funny -- I thought breaking the law WAS a crime ... I'm so happy to know that our government resembles a third world crony dictatorship more and more each day... Can you hear it?? "Quick!!! We need another headline about sex to distract the proletariate while we continue to f@#ck the rule of law and representative government..."

This is the Justice dept... Not some gov agency where you stash political allies and lackeys... The whole thing smells. It's like the old soviet union where you had to be a card-carrying-commie to get a job in the government.

This is exactly what happens when you have arrogant, unprincipled leadership: Leaders that base their decision making on their internalized sense of right and wrong instead of respect for the constitution and the rule of law.

The sooner the entire mess of them are replaced with ANYONE the better we'll all be.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Beers says it all...

The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan
"It took seven years for the Bush administration's military commissions system to get its first conviction for a crime that is regularly prosecuted in federal court. And when it did, it was a driver who even the administration acknowledges did not participate in the planning or execution of any terrorist attacks. Surely there is a better way to protect America and bring terrorists to justice while adhering to the constitutional values that have kept us safe and strong for 200 years," - Rand Beers, President of the National Security Network and retired counterterrorism official.