Why We Fight Anti-Vaccinationism

Carissa:

This. This. This.

Originally posted on Mike the Mad Biologist:

Katie Couric recently had a scurrilous episode of her show Katie where a mother whose daughter tragically died, blamed the HPV vaccine for her death. As Seth Mnoonkin notes, there is no evidence to support this claim:

* More than 25,000 new cancers attributable to HPV occur in the United States each year. Almost 12,000 of these cases are cervical cancer in females; another 6,000 are oropharyngeal cancers in men.

* More than 100 million doses of the vaccine have been given since it was approved in 2006.

* A study published in the British Medical Journal in October evaluated 997,000 girls, 296,000 of whom had received at least one dose of the HPV vaccine. More than 150,000 of those girls received all three doses. The results? Absolutely no link to short- or long-term health problems. As Lisen Arnheim-Dahlström, the lead researcher on the study, told Reuters Health

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Eulogy

In a shoe box of my grandmother’s photographs, I found a photo my father had taken of himself. With his camera on tripod, and a shutter release in his hand, my dad took a photograph of himself in the bathroom mirror. His tie is askew, and his mouth open slightly, his gaze says, “Okay, let’s try it.” There is no mugging for the camera. No posing. For Dad, this was pure experimentation. And as an amateur photographer myself, I completely understand that compulsion. And that was Dad: Infinitely curious, always wanting to learn something new and expand his world.

My father was a whistler, and sitting on his lap while he watched the Friday night fights, he taught me to whistle too. My daughter, Alison, inherited the “whistle while you work” gene from Dad.

My dad taught me to ride a bike. And he also taught me to be brave. If something in life knocks you down, get back up. Try again. Keep going. And yet, he never exactly said that to us. He just lived it. And he expected us to do the same.

But when I think of my dad, I keep coming back to this word: Special.

As some of you know, and many of you don’t, I did not have the privilege of spending a lot of my childhood years in my father’s presence. So the moments I did have feel like precious jewels to me.

Special. My father always managed to make me feel special.

When he carried me around the hospital after I got my tonsils out, and he showed me the place where I was born, I felt special. And even though I demonstrated my life-long sensitivity to anesthesia by tossing my breakfast all over him, he did not get upset.

Special. Even when I’d done something to disappoint him.

When I was about five or so, Kurt and I got in trouble for doing something we’d specifically been told NOT to do. A neighbor’s yard had a fence that butted right up against a concrete drainage ditch. A tumble off the wrong side of that fence meant the difference between a broken arm and something far more serious. We had been told, in no uncertain terms, to stay off that fence. Needless to say, Kurt and I didn’t listen, and Dad caught Kurt and me red-handed. He blew his stack and marched us home. First up for the spanking was Kurt, and then came my turn. My first, and only, spanking from my father.

Afterward, he sat me on his lap, we talked . . . probably about the seriousness of the crime. I’m really not sure. But what I do remember is that, rather than releasing me to sniffle in my shame, my Dad taught me how to tell time. No really! He got a clock, and moved the hands around, and taught me. I don’t know how long it took. But I walked out of that room with the feeling that though I’d really messed up, all was forgiven, and in my little girl heart, I knew Dad thought I was smart.

When we’d take a picture together, and he’d wrap his arm around me, I felt special. When he called me “sister” when he spoke of me to my four brothers, I felt special. When he walked me down the aisle, and danced with me to Frank Sinatra’s “The Second Time Around,” I felt so very special. For us, second chances meant so much.

I loved the way his face would light up when I would see him again after a long absence, and the way he would look at me and blow me a kiss when we said good-bye. Oh man, did that make me feel special.

As a little girl, I wanted to believe, because I was his only daughter, that I held a special place in my father’s heart. I realize now that Dad’s heart was so big, that there was always room for all of us. And always room for one more, and another, and another.

As I tried to teach my daughter: Love is not a pie. When you give your love to one, it does not diminish your capacity to love another. Love is an ever-expanding force that grows as we give it away.

My father lived that every day of his life.

Social Security and the CPI Cuts: A Solution to a Bogus Non-Crisis

Originally posted on Mike the Mad Biologist:

ClassWarKitteh_GrandpaCat

Very few scientists or science writers are so wealthy that they can ignore what happens to Social Security, so you might want to read this. Once again, despite its immense unpopularity, our political betters including some Democrats and the Obama administration, are talking about long-term cuts in Social Security. Essentially, by switching to a new cost-of-living formula, the chained CPI, in real dollar terms, Social Security payments twenty years from now would be about twenty percent lower. Keep in mind that the average monthly benefit is $1,203.72, so have fun knocking twenty percent off of that. The maximum monthly benefit is $2,513. By the way, to receive the maximum benefit you have to retire at seventy, not sixty five.

So if we’re going to cut what are pretty meager benefits, we better have a damn good reason. If you follow this at all, you’ve probably read…

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Five Reasons Senator Heller’s Vote Is No Surprise

Carissa:

Dean Heller has GOT to go.

Originally posted on Desert Beacon:

Heller 2Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) was one of 18 members of the United States Senate to vote against a bill to end the government shutdown, and to avoid the “fiscal cliff” of default. [roll call 219] This comes as no surprise. Absolutely no surprise.

For all of Senator Heller’s posturing as Mr. Moderate, his voting record has been indicative of a banner representative of Tea Party America.

#1.NO on the bill to avoid default and end the government shutdown. (H.R. 2775)  Roll Call 219.  Why would anyone be  surprised? Senator Heller also voted against the bill to end the 2011 stalemate.  [RGJ 8/11] In the 2011 vote Senator Heller was one of 26 members voting to dive over the edge; in 2013 he was one of 18.

#2.  NO on the TARP bill.  Otherwise known as the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, and…

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My letter to Mark Amodei

Dear Representative Amodei,

I feel like I shouldn’t even bother writing this letter, because while you are technically my “representative” I don’t feel that you represent me, or most of the people in your district. You do represent the most extreme of your party, but the average Nevadan, who values their privacy and independence, you do not.  You call for smaller government, except where it concerns women’s most private and intimate and heartbreaking decisions. So I fear this appeal will fall on deaf ears.

But I’m going to try anyway. I am writing to ask that you vote NO on the Trent Franks bills banning abortion nationwide after 20-weeks.

These are not decisions that politicians should be making. These are decisions that should be done privately, not with the state sitting in the room.

That’s it. I’m not going to go into anything else. Please be the small-government conservative you claim to be. Keep your eyes and laws out of our doctor’s offices and out of our wombs.

No need to reply. I’ll see your vote. That will be all the answer I need.

We tried to tell you

Hey, anyone remember back in 2001, when a lot of us objected to the Patriot Act being ramrodded through Congress, and only ONE (1) senator (Russ Feingold) voted against it? And then again, when it came up for renewal (twice – 2006 and 2011) and “expanded” and AGAIN, a bunch of us screamed bloody murder? Y’all remember that?

You remember librarians refusing to turn over library borrowing records? You remember shrugging and saying, “I’ve got nothing to hide?”

NSA letters?

Warrant-less wiretaps?

Well, don’t be surprised by this. You let government step on “others” civil liberties, they’re gonna step on yours as well.

White House defends NSA phone records collection as ‘critical tool’

Some related posts from the archives:

Where were you? UPDATED

We do?

Transparency my ass

Of Straw Men and Human Rights

Honestly, I could link all day! I have 112 posts in the “Civil Liberties” category.

A Teacher’s Life | Diane Ravitch’s blog

The difference between accountability in private industry and the way teachers are evaluated in our public schools, from a teacher who has been in both places:

I was evaluated once per year in my previous job and had the option to join a union but was not required. I signed a contract each year which I had to negotiate with my immediate superior and the corporate lawyers. That was not easy and I got eaten alive on a few occasions by their New York lawyers. I was evaluated by my superior strictly on my performance in my job and how he as a professional in the same field thought I did.

If I had to base my pay and job security on one test given to a group of 7th and 8th graders who knew nothing about how I did my job, I would have left sooner. I watch my students take some of the state mandated tests and cringe when I see them drawing dot to dot puzzles on a scantron or sleeping during a timed portion of the test. That’s supposed to be a fair evaluation of my performance? No parent, no administrator  no other teacher will see that student’s indifference because I’m the one proctoring the test and I can’t influence them in my room while they are testing. They will only see the final numbers or the media spin on the scores.

via A Teacher’s Life | Diane Ravitch’s blog.