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Reposted from The Real McCoys by dopper0189 Editor's Note: US public health is at risk, because of a lack of understanding of statistics by the media and political leaders. s:wc -- dopper0189

Rand Paul has said a lot of crazy things in his short life, but we recently had one of the craziest highlighted when we were shown a clip from an interview conducted in 2009, by Alex Jones' Infowars crew. In the clip Randian spouts off about Martial Law and Vaccines, noting that "Back in the 70's, more people died from the flu vaccine than died from the flu".

Setting aside the total inanity of suggesting that our understanding of Influenza vaccination hasn't progressed significantly since the 1970s. Setting aside the total inanity of trying to say the 1970s H1N1 outbreak and the 2008 H1N1 were likely to be comparable (in the 1970s outbreak the CDC had 1 confirmed case when they went into "potential pandemic" mode and issued a call for 48 million Americans to be inoculated; by the time Rand was giving this interview to Jones, there had already been over 10,000 confirmed cases of H1N1 in the U.S. and several deaths). Setting all of that aside, I simply want to focus on one salient point.

Step under the orange squiggly virus at your own risk.

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Reposted from A Day In The Life by ItsJessMe Editor's Note: A first-hand account of why vaccinations are important. s:wc -- ItsJessMe

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I have read both sides of this ragging (hey guys, this is an intentional play on words, I had hoped you might pick up on that?) debate. Thanks to DarkSyde for pointing out the column by Kathleen Parker in the Chicago Tribune. She said something that really made me stop and think about this debate.

Most Americans under the age of 50, including doctors, have never seen measles. 
This means that not only do parents have no idea what they are risking, the doctors preaching non-vaccination don't either. Find me a doctor who has had measels, or who has treated measels, who still preaches non-vaccination, and I might at least listen. All others lack first hand knowledge.

While I am not a Doctor, I have seen measels, both the three day and the German variety, mumps, whooping cough, and polio up close and personal. I had them all as a child, except for polio. I did, however, know friends that lived through the horror of polio.

Whooping cough is a horrible disease for any baby to live through. I was very young when I caught it, about eighteen months old. I remember not being able to breath. I had to cough to expel air, before I could suck more air in. This caused me to be unable to rest or sleep. I remember becoming so weak and tired that I wanted to give up. I see that week in my memory like a series of snap shots. I see my mother sitting by my tented bed, crying. I hear the hiss of the vaporizer as it blew medicated steam into the tent around me. The pungent odor of vicks vapor is imprinted on my brain.

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When I was four, I had the three day measels. My mother was pregnant, so she could not be near me. This disease did not reach a life threatening level for me, but it was still awful to live through. I was lucky, the case I had broke out easily, and I fought it off quickly. The baby my mother was carrying was born with birth defects, which ended her life hours after she was born. I know my mother always suspected that her expposure to the measels virus may have caused that. It broke my heart, even at that young age.

When I was six, I caught the German measels. I remember almost every hour of this illness. The virus wouldn't break out, and my fever hovered near 105° for several days. Though my mother was told to avoid any contact with me, she was pregnant again, she couldn't stay away when it became clear that my life was in serious danger. I spent two days in repeated ice baths, as my fever soared, and the docors fought to protect my brain fom the fever. The virus began breaking out inside my mouth, up my nose, in my eyes, down my ears. I was in agony. They had to tie my hands down because I was clawing at myself. My mother was nearly hysterical, and I tried hard to be brave for her. She would stand in the door of my hospital room and sob. My father, always so calm, was scared too. It was at that point that I understood I was in a battle for my life. Children always know more than adults want to think they do.

Finally, the virus broke through my skin, and my fever went down. I was sick for over three weeks, and it took me several months to really recuperate. When I entered first grade, I was diagnosed with learning disorders. Of course, my mother believed that the prolonged fever had cooked my brain, and left me retarded. It didn't. I had undiagnosed dyslexia.

The point is, it could have, and it did leave thousands of children with varying levels of brain damage.

When I was twelve, I had the mumps. First on one side, then on the other. Mumps are painful for a female, and far worse for a male. I was out of school for a month. My brother, who was seven and a half years my junior, caught them from me. He truly suffered.

I remember standing in line to get my polio vaccine on a sugar cube. I think we did that twice. Several years later, I also had the multiple needle prick vacation to my arm. I had a friend in first grade who went through having polio. She spent months in an iron lung. I used to visit her. I couldn't read yet (I didn't read until the forth grade), so she would read to me. We moved away before she recovered, so I don't know what happened to her. Moving often, and leaving people and places behind, was the culture of the military family I was raised in.

To those of you who decide to withold vaccines from your children, this is what you are inviting into their lives. How can any parent, in good conscience, withold this preventative medication from their children based on antedotal evidence. The statical significance between vaccines and any type of neural disorder, has never been recorded at a level that proves any correlation.

On the other hand, these diseases kill children every day. That is a certanity.

I remember when young children died from these diseases on a daily basis, and raising a child to school age was not assured. I knew families who lost children, some more than one, as these illnesses burned through geographical areas. Vaccinations prevent that.

I lived the reality. It was horrible. Folks, you can be certain that your children don't have to suffer like I suffered. 


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Sun Feb 08, 2015 at 07:00 AM PST

Monkey Tails and Back Pain Fails

by funtony47

Reposted from funtony47 by ItsJessMe Editor's Note: An optimist's take on life. s:wc -- ItsJessMe

   I write a lot about chronic pain and back pain. For me it is a fact of life. I can't change it and unless medical science progresses much quicker than expected I will have it for the rest of my life. About 2 months ago I got some really horrible news. My latest CT scan showed my back had not stabilized but instead had accelerated its' degeneration. This sent me into a funk. Hell let's just call it what it was. I was depressed. For me it was a bad depression. I couldn't kick it. I couldn't get past it. I couldn't joke my way around it.

    Depression seems to go hand in hand with chronic pain. Everyone deals with it in different ways. Normally I am a pretty happy guy. Every once in a while I get down. The pain wins for a time, a short time usually and then I bounce back. I end up going to my one science fiction fantasy of getting a monkey spine complete with tail. It cures my pain and I go on to have some hilarious adventures with my new tail. All in my head. It works as a pretty quick cure for the blues at least for me.

   This time was different. My monkey tail dreams weren't working. Maybe it was a combination of things. My birthday was just a couple of months away when I got the news. I was fast approaching 50. My upcoming birthday put me just 2 years away from that milestone. We also have been experiencing some money troubles. So it could have many causes.

Let's jump down below the orange snow doodle and see what happens

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Reposted from Street Prophets by ybruti Editor's Note: The economics of standardized testing, and details re scoring of the tests. s:IJM -- ybruti
Standardized tests do not reflect a student's entire academic profile, but are more like snapshots of "performance" during a specified period of time. If the student experiences a rough morning, afternoon, or hunger while testing, the snapshot is then blurred. As a result of using blurred snapshots, students are often inaccurately placed in unsuitable classes, leaving the student's academic progress to stifle, and leaving standardized testing profit circles in positions to make more profit.

Standardized testing is like a cancer attacking students, teachers, parents, and taxpayers. I taught in the classroom, worked as a private one-on-one tutor, and as an advocate for parents and students bewildered and abused by the school system. I also worked as a scorer (grader) of standardized tests from schools across the country as an outsourced temporary employee for McGraw-Hill. McGraw-Hill outsourced the hiring and management of scorers through a nationwide temporary agency. A description of the hiring, training, and scoring process for standardized tests, as was my experience, is described below the fold.

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Sat Feb 07, 2015 at 07:00 PM PST

What does "States Rights" Really Mean?

by MarkFL

Reposted from MarkFL by terrypinder Editor's Note: A look at "States Rights." s:yb -- terrypinder

Whenever there is a Democratic president, Republicans like to oppose him by citing "states' rights." (Funny how that doesn't seem to apply when there is a Republican in the White House.) Some of them go so far as to promote the concept of nullification. We fought a Civil War over that notion, and apparently winning that war wasn't enough to settle that matter.

Well, I just happened to stumble upon a very interesting quote on that subject, and it suggests that, yes, the United States of American is, in fact, a sovereign nation and not a collection of fifty independent fiefdoms loosely joined together by a common currency, much like the Articles of Confederation or the EU.

But here is the remarkable part: The quote is from Southern governor in the 1950s, who initially condemned Brown v. Board of Education. Even better, it is a superlative example of a politician stating his beliefs, standing by them, and asking demanding that he be held accountable for them.

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Reposted from annetteboardman by BentLiberal Editor's Note: The author extolls the the lifelong benefits of teaching. s: BL - dopper0189 -- BentLiberal

We all have those teachers and professors who have made phenomenal impacts on our lives, for good and bad, for personal and/or academic reasons.  Teachers can introduce us to new and exciting ideas or convince us to abandon a previously-loved field of investigation, build or cut down self-confidence and self-worth, and lead us to develop ethics and attitudes, for good or ill, that will last for the rest of our lives.  You know the ones I am talking about.  The good ones I know by name; the bad ones only by year and subject.  There was the Native American History teacher in 11th grade who had us fill out pre-made worksheets for a full quarter.  I remember none of that.  In contrast, Mrs. Carttar in sixth grade was probably the best teacher I had.  She was a very classic 1960s educator, dealing with what at the time was really unusual material -- Africa (I still remember loving the peanut chicken stew we ate for lunch one day, and with that class I didn't mind worksheets!), about what it was like to experience prejudice and shunning ("Prejudice Day" was a valuable experience for those on both sides of the class -- the experience was repeated with a flipping of the two halves of the class), and the friends I made there are still my closest friends from high school (with Todd I went to the first Star Trek convention in Kansas City -- we rode in on the Greyhound and my Dad picked us up and brought us home, on a weekday, no less!).  Mrs. Fambrough introduced me to Shakespeare, although I had read and seen the plays before.  In college there were Mrs. Ridgway, Ms. Mellink, Mrs. Crawford, and Mrs. Pinney, and of course, Mr. Ellis, who was my advisor when I officially declared my major.  All were excellent teachers and more importantly, they were mentors.  

Mentoring is a lifelong thing, if you do it right. Teaching and modeling are never over.  I saw Mrs. Ridgway at my 30th college reunion this past summer.  I saw her eyes dip to my nametag, and then she knew exactly what I had done, both during my time there and after I graduated.  She remembered that I had written a humour column for my college newspaper, based on the commentary of my (imaginary) cat who was a predecessor in tone of Grumpy Cat.  I heard from a co-major from the men's college down the road how she had come to his graduation, held the day after ours, and she was one of the few faculty from ours to attend theirs.  It had meant a lot to him then, and still now.  Those are the things that stick, and she still is amazing to me.  I can only hope to mean as much to my students thirty years on.

That is what it means to me to be a good teacher, to not only manage to develop ideas and knowledge that will stick with someone in the immediate semester, but to engender attitudes and abilities that will still be around in thirty to forty years.  I have not been teaching that long, but I am in my 23rd year here, and I have seen my students grown into exciting professionals, in a variety of fields.  and I hope to mean to them in the future what my school and college teachers mean to me.  

Come below the whirly-gig of glory for more.

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Sat Feb 07, 2015 at 01:00 PM PST

A Tough Mudder in Winter

by Emmet

Reposted from Emmet by dopper0189 Editor's Note: Mild mannered bookworm by day, superwoman by night. (s:bl) -- dopper0189

It was almost exactly two years ago today:  Saturday, February 9, 2013.  According to the National Weather Service, Weather Underground, and Accuweather, it was 41.3 degrees F. in Temecula, California, 10 below normal.  

But they were wrong.  It was actually 0 degrees F.  I should know.  On that day I was there on the cruel peaks of this about-to-be wine country*, dripping mud, gazing at the pitiless iron grey sky with a wild surmise and freezing my ass off.

It all started the year before...

*Temecula is about 60 miles north of San Diego.  It's been avocado country and casino country and of course, we-don't-want-mosques-here country.  But it's morphing once again, into a Sunset magazine vision of goat cheese and bruschetta and pinot noir.

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Reposted from otto by dopper0189 Editor's Note: The parental nostalgia a simple blue room can trigger. (s:bl) -- dopper0189

In the bigger home, the downstairs bedroom is baby blue, still.

The walls are scarred and worn.  The holes and scratches reveal the life that has been taking place in here.  Some of the holes are from anger.  Others are from wear.  Still other marks are from the constant jostling and rubbing.  The baby blue is hidden by dirt or scuff marks from the increasingly larger and larger shoes banging against the walls before they land in the bin.  In some places, the holes are from the poor craftsmanship of an eager parent. The walls really do talk.

Before the bigger home with the bigger rooms, there was another place.  I remember looking at the old place for the last time.  The room was a little darker, brightened only by the incandescent light being diffused through the thin, white glass cover.  

It was in this room that the life was founded.  Inspired by hormones and wishful desire, aided by ignorance and poor planning.  

I see an image of this older home.  In this picture the walls are green.  I know of a paint color called “Robin Hood Green,” but that may not be the color that covers the walls.  I'd like to think that's what it is. “Robin Hood Green” seems like a very aspirational color for young, idealistic parents to choose for a young boy.  The carpet is a very intentional shade of beige.  The fabric is flecked with dark spots, and the curls are tight and close together.  It is stain proof and durable.  This home is not furnished for the adults who live here. We just borrow the furniture from him, and we are allowed to sleep in his living room.  The two exceptions being the gaudy retro turquoise paint in the main room, and the throwback silver wallpaper in the bathroom. There is one room, so we sleep in a wallbed.  The Seattle city skyline springs up in front of us, filling the entire pane of the plate glass windows.  

After we had finished all the final packing, the 600 sq ft seemed cavernous.  The sounds bounced off the walls.  We looked at the bedroom one last time. There were tiny compressed areas of carpet where the legs of the bed once stood.  I burst into tears. I still can see that picture of us laying on either side of him. I can see the shining apple cheeks, and the strawberry blond hair, stolen from my mother and my uncle.  

 We aren't in that room anymore, but it isn't empty.

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Sat Feb 07, 2015 at 09:00 AM PST

The hazards of abandoning reason

by danps

Reposted from danps by Regina in a Sears Kit House Editor's Note: Studying the 'Political Correctness' of the Iraq War opinions of Jonathan Chait. s: RSK - dopper0189 -- Regina in a Sears Kit House

Jonathan Chait thinks there's an unreasonable and illogical culture of political correctness on the left. He didn't exhibit much rational thought himself when cheerleading for the Iraq war, though.

Cross posted from Pruning Shears.

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Reposted from Gwennedd by Regina in a Sears Kit House Editor's Note: News on our neighbor to the north. s: rsk - dopper0189 -- Regina in a Sears Kit House

Sorry, folks if you were expecting one of my usual goofy diaries. This isn't one of those. I do occasionally write in a serious vein, and this is one of those times.

While there's been a lot of stuff happening in the States...nasty blizzards; Republicans still stamping their feet and pouting, trying (yet again) to get rid of the ACA, and still engaging in oneupmanship on who's the stoopidist; dissing of vets; those deluded anti-vacc twits with their chemically pure children (and yes, Canada has those ijits too); and other assorted zany, ...there's been a lot happening on the political front in Canada, almost none of it good.

Read on past the twisted cheeze puff to get the freshly updated list of the political shenanigans Canadians have been dealing with.

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Sat Feb 07, 2015 at 01:30 AM PST

On Pope Francis

by poligirl

Reposted from poli's pages by Kitsap River Editor's Note: Praise of some of Pope Francis' deeds and why, and hope for more. s:rh -- Kitsap River

I feel the need to write about the Pope tonight. I’ve been in a couple of debates lately about him and I want to expand on how I see him.

First, let me say I have big differences with Pope Francis. I don’t like that he is still against marriage, civil unions, and adoption for my LGBT friends. I don’t like the free speech quip he gave in the wake of Charlie Hebdo, though with that, I think he was meaning we should be careful of our speech, but that’s neither here nor there; he could’ve meant we shouldn't have it. I don’t like that he is still against any contraception save for the rhythm method. I don’t like that he didn't do an en masse opening of files to hold all priests accountable that were in the child molestation scandal. I don’t like that he is not quite warm to considering women for priesthood. And I don’t like that he is not fully on board with the Nuns on the Bus. There are other things too, I just can’t think of them off the top of my head.

I’m a liberal, a big leftie left leftist, to be honest, so really I didn't expect to like the Pope much, if at all. In my lifetime, we've never had a Pope that was even close to saying much of anything that in my opinion could help the people of the world. I was raised Catholic, and the Popes have always been hardline dogmatists, and what with my heretical beliefs, what they said never held much water with me. And like me, there are a ton of us liberals (at least post John XXIII) who've never really liked a Pope, and who aren't likely to like this one, save for a Pope who effects wholesale change of most or all of the faults of Church dogma.

To many of my fellow lefties’ chagrin, I look at this particular Pope a little differently. It’s definitely not that I forgive him for those things that I don’t like about him; forgiveness of that would require forgiveness of also the Church, and unless things change in the dogma, that isn't going to happen. And yes, I know we are supposed to strive to forgive, but I am not close to that point yet; I am only – and very – human. This brings me to the point about how I feel about this Pope.

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Reposted from Virally Suppressed by Louisiana 1976 Editor's Note: Alabaman leaders stand in the way of history. s:wc -- Louisiana 1976

To whom it may concern:

The truth may not always be popular, but it will always remain the truth. Alabamans, perhaps more than any of the 49 other sovereign lands that comprise these United States of America, have possessed a willingness to hold the truth high in the face of overwhelming opposition from the vast, ovine hordes that have always insisted upon bullying God-fearing country folk into relinquishing their morals and their way of life. Alabama's official state motto, Audemus jura nostre defendere—which translates from the Latin to We dare defend our rights—is but a superficial reminder of the dedication of this state's fine leaders and patriots to upholding the spirit and the values of causes that, though they be lost, are not forgotten. To be an Alabaman is to gulp down the heritage of your forefathers like a cool glass of sweet tea and, imbued with the sugar high that comes from such a consumption, to spread the gospel of those that came before you with feverish intensity. The rebel yell that leaped from the lips of our great-great grandfathers is not gone, but transferred—migrating from the battlefields of Shiloh and Chancellorsville to the courthouses of Mobile and Montgomery.

It is in such a tradition that Alabama's fine Attorney General Luther Strange is asking for the Supreme Court to grant a stay that would prevent that onerous affront to Christian society known as “same-sex marriage” from becoming the law of the land in the state. The Attorney General has been forced to involve the Federal government's highest court in what is—and always shall remain—a matter for each individual state to decide after a traitorous U.S. District Court judge, Callie Grande, stepped well out of her bounds to strike down the Alabama Marriage Protection Act and authorize “same-sex marriage” in direct opposition to the will of the people she ostensibly serves. Attorney General Strange promptly asked the Federal marionettes at the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals for a stay, quite rightly stating that Alabama would suffer “irreparable harm” if “same-sex marriage” was allowed in the state.

Judge Roy Moore (AL) speaking beside a representation of The Ten Commandments as is his wont and custom
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