Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Limbaugh, Sotomayor & the Planets

Taken all in all, we live on an amazing planet. Besides all the natural vistas of oceans, and mountains and weather--there's also the life, in its wild diversity. The same single-celled original life forms evolved into caterpillars, birds, and people. That observance alone should be enough to give pause to all the petty bickering and name-calling between various groups of the same species--humans.

Then again, if you're lucky enough to live in the United States of America and be a citizen with all the rights and privileges etc--then you need to respect the freedom of your fellow citizen to air his or her opinion, even when you disagree with it--that's part of our laws under the Constitution.

Like when a person says that the President of the United States is ..."the greatest living example of a reverse racist, and now he's appointed one,..." that is permissable because of our freedoms.

I've heard speeches by Nazis and white supremecist groups right in the middle of our United States. They are allowed to express vitriol and hatred because in this country, freedom of speech is a paramount right under which we all live.

Sometimes, this is hard to stomach--like the above quote from Rush Limbaugh, a repugnant ignorant PR specialist who panders to the underbelly of Americans' discontent to stimulate a response similar to ultra-sugarfied chocolate-chip cookie dough. Doesn't mean it's good for you, but it's a money-maker for the cookie-guy who's got you on the hook.

Today Limbaugh is trying to educate us about racists and minorities who express racism, by criticizing our President's choice for Supreme Court Justice to replace Souter:

She's not the brain that they're portraying her to be. She's not a constitutional jurist," Limbaugh also said, referencing a New Republic article last month in which Jeffrey Rosen, the magazines legal affairs editor, wrote that "her opinions, although competent, are viewed by former prosecutors as not especially clean or tight, and sometimes miss the forest for the trees."

"She is an affirmative action case extraordinaire, and she has put down white men in favor of Latina women," Limbaugh said.

All this gets really boring if you're not a moron. And most of "we the people" aren't morons. Limbaugh hit a sore spot about racism with me, as if he knows about it--don't think so--pretty much going to be no more posts about him.

Then there is the question of how you get a platform for vacant tripe--I should't be so surprised: after all, Mein Kampf is still on shelves in bookstores around this amazing planet.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Letter to L. A. Times Like Playing Telephone

In my entry of May 3, 2009, I referred to an op-ed piece in the Los Angeles Times which stated as fact any number of issues regarding the controversy over vaccine safety. One such "fact" was "...The anti-vaccination movement has its roots in a 1998 study in the journal Lancet suggesting a possible link between autism and the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine, and recommending that the MMR components be given individually."

This is a pure assumption on the part of the writer, Ryan Coller, whose by line indicates he is "chief resident in pediatrics at UCLA's School of Medicine." In fact, a groundbreaking tome on the subject of vaccine injury, Dpt: A Shot in the Dark by Harris L. Coulter and Barbara Fisher (Paperback - Mar 1986) preceded the Lancet study by over a decade.

But Coller has more than just his facts mixed up. As I pointed out in the above-mentioned blog post on this, all doctors don't all study everything -- specialists delve deeply into...specialties, with special knowledge and insight that other physicians may or may not have in their medical back ground.

In a letter to the editor of the Times about the Coller op-ed piece, I said that the Times should invite an "...objective mouthpiece who has honest, scientifically-backed-up arguments that vaccines are not proved safe..." I went on to mention Barbara Loe Fisher as a good candidate.

I concluded by saying, "...how can a pediatrician's back ground on the human immune system compare to say, a researcher who specializes in immunology? So many of them have expressed skepticism about vaccines' effectiveness and safety..."

In the Times actual printed version, this was how the above sentence was altered: "...So many pediatricians have expressed skepticism about vaccines' effectiveness and safety..." I was referring to immunologists, but perhaps I didn't make that clear--however wholesale alteration of what I wrote definitely changed my meaning.

In the explanation of submitting a letter to the editor at Los Angeles Times, this statement is included: "They typically run 150 words or less and may be edited." From that I did not conclude that edited meant anything more than space constraints. I didn't know they would alter sentences that might change the meaning of what I wrote. I have submitted and had printed several letters to the editor of the Los Angeles Times through the years, and this one is the first that had such a major alteration a reiteration of what I originally wrote.

Now--so you may judge for yourself--here is my original letter that I emailed to then Times, and second is the letter as printed in today's (May 7, 2009) edition:

Original email to Times:
1. You've run two recent op-ed pieces extolling the wonders of childhood vaccinations and vilifying the mindless ignorant parents who listen to the "wind" and get a bad feeling about shots causing autism. Why don't you invite an objective mouthpiece who has honest, scientifically-backed-up arguments that vaccines are not proven safe, and in fact the jury is still out on vaccines causing autism or any of a number of other auto-immune dysfunctions?

Barbara Loe Fisher, founder and head of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC.org) in Washington, DC, who has more credentials and expertise regarding this issue than some chief resident in pediatrics at a local hospital would be a perfect choice--if the Times is interested in a balanced view on this subject.

Also--how can a pediatrician's back ground on the human immune system compare to say, a researcher who specializes in immunology? So many of them have expressed skepticism about vaccines' effectiveness and safety--but then they might not fill whatever agenda the Times and the drug companies are following.

As Printed in today's edition of the Times:
2. The Times has run two recent Op-Ed articles extolling the wonders of childhood vaccinations and vilifying parents who listen to the "wind" and object to childhood shots for fear that they cause autism.

Why don't you invite an objective mouthpiece who has honest, scientifically backed-up arguments that vaccines are not proved safe, that the jury is still out on vaccines causing autism or any of a number of other autoimmune dysfunctions?

So many pediatricians have expressed skepticism about vaccines' effectiveness and safety--but then they might not fill whatever agenda the Times and the drug companies are following.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The Greater Scourge: Swine Flu or Idiots?

CNN: Federal officials now recommend that schools stop closing when a case of swine flu is confirmed at a school, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Tuesday.

Scientists believe that the H1N1 virus epidemic is no more dangerous than seasonal flu, and schools should act accordingly, Sebelius said.

That's good advice -- because there obviously are more cases of idiots than swine flu around.

Haikus by Kirsten


Squirrel in the tree
Wanting the juicy berries
Each joyful morning

Water from the lake
Trickling down from the hard rocks
Peaceful to be near

Cold windy winter
Snowflakes fall from the grey sky
Making snow angels

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Don't SHOOT Doctor, I'm OK

It is mind boggling, and frustrating, to explain the reasons that any conclusions about vaccine safety are presumptuous at least, and without merit at most.

The physicians and researchers who test vaccines for safety, in the R &D stage or for ultimate FDA approval, are employees of the vaccine manufacturers, and the tests and studies are done by same. There is no "third-party" objective control testing, by law there doesn't need to be.

There is concern about conflict of interest between congresspeople getting campaign contributions from banking interests, and then having to vote on issues that may affect the bottom line of those banks regarding housing foreclosures and credit lines. This possible conflict of interest is NOTHING compared to how your children's shots make it to your pediatrician's office, no less into the bloodstream of your kid's arm.

All drugs reach the market place through the same channels. Vioxx, which killed people as it was relieving muscle and nerve inflammation, was OK'd the same way--in fact drug maker Merck also squashed publicity about the side affects so that those who died could have been forewarned--but weren't. Merck makes vaccines too.

For some reason, The Los Angeles Times has published two op-ed pieces recently regarding the annoying ignorance of parents who are afraid to vaccinate their children because of a possible connection with vaccines to the growing cases of childhood autism. Today's editorial, written by a "physician and incoming chief resident in pediatrics at UCLA's school of medicine," hammers home the stupidity of a nanny who listened to her employers in Malibu about the possible adverse reactions to vaccines, especially contracting Autism.

Now I've had my discussions with pediatricians, physicians, researchers, and immunologists--even Andrew Wakefield, who authored the studies that the referred op-ed piece totally condemns. And I've never gotten a hard consensus that shots kids get are either safe, that they work at all, or that they don't possibly do more harm than we read about, from any of these giant minds of science.

Let me tell you about one of these immunologists--a man who studies how the human immune system works, not how to cure a baby's colic--Dr. Sudhir Gupta of the University of California at Irvine (UCI):

Dr. Gupta was a pioneer in the early 1990's to discover that there was an immune deficiency in the autistic child. The details are quite esoteric and frankly boring--but Dr. Gupta's solution was unique, and had never been tried. In order to repair the absence of immune cells in the child's system, Dr. Gupta prescribed Immuno Gamma Globulin infusions--intravenously. Once a month the child received the immune factors of 16,000 healthy individuals distilled down to a single hour-long infusion. This repaired the immune system, and allowed the other damage caused by the high Rubella titer to be back to normal.

Now--what causes a high Rubella (German Measles) titer? Well, if the kid didn't contract the German Measles from a friend or otherwise naturally, the high titer (measurable level of antibodies) had to come from the MMR (Mumps, Measles & Rubella) vaccine. In fact, the very mechanism that the rubella virus follows to wreck the development of a fetus whose mother has caught the disease, is exactly how the activity of the immune system acted in the child who received the MMR shot.

Gupta knew this. He knew a lot of stuff. He told me there would never be a vaccine for AIDS because the nature of AIDS was the ABSENCE of immunity--so how can you vaccinate for that? He predicted remission techniques which are in use today. But in the case of MMR causeing autism--there was no question that vaccines are dangerous, don't work like the PR says, and can damage little immune systems beyond recognition.

So my question to the Los Angeles Times, and Ryan Coller, is what's your gig? Do you really think polio was wiped out from vaccines? Anyone can google up statistics showing that the polio epidemic was waning before Jonas Salk ever injected a kid with his polio dead virus. How many people are debilitated today from Sabin's live virus. How come Salk never got the Nobel Prize? What to they know in Norway that we the people don't care about here?

How many parents are so certain that their little darlings went south after a vaccine? Who ever heard of asthma and autism and dyslexia back in the 1950's and 1960's when I was in school? Does Ryan Coller know about the connection between Autism, Dyslexia, Asthma, Childhood Diabetes, and on and on? Why doesn't he write about that?

Who is Ryan Coller anyway?

[UPDATE MAY 5, 2009]:
L.A. Times called to confirm they will print my letter concerning above issue either tomorrow (5/6/09) or later this week.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Bankers, Bacon and Flu

When it's about money, and it usually is, money talks. So when the Senate voted down help for homeowners faced with foreclosure yesterday the only real truth was the clout the banks have over congress, and ultimately over we, the people.

"The vote was 51 to 45, with 12 Democrats joining Republicans in opposing the proposal, under which bankruptcy judges could order lenders to reduce the principal on home mortgages. The proposal, which sailed through the House in March, was a key part of Obama's plan to reduce the tide of home foreclosures.

Its defeat in the Senate marked a turnaround for the Democratic supporters of the bill, who had hoped that the party's new majority would boost its chances for passage.

Instead, Democratic leaders were furious to see bankers lobbying against consumer protection measures after Congress had approved enormous sums to shore up the financial services industry."

If you ask me, Obama's balls seem to be in the ringer. Where's help when you need it?

But wait--he has Timothy F. Geithner as Treasury Secretary taking care of business--big business. In case you weren't sure, and I even know people who are not as "involved" in the daily news/political go 'round as me express skepticism--Tim's not entirely removed from conflicts of interest between we, the people, and them the bankers, according to a new report on the New York Times:

"Even as banks complain that the government has attached too many intrusive strings to its financial assistance, a range of critics — lawmakers, economists and even former Federal Reserve colleagues — say that the bailout Mr. Geithner has played such a central role in fashioning is overly generous to the financial industry at taxpayer expense...

An examination of Mr. Geithner’s five years as president of the New York Fed, an era of unbridled and ultimately disastrous risk-taking by the financial industry, shows that he forged unusually close relationships with executives of Wall Street’s giant financial institutions.

His actions, as a regulator and later a bailout king, often aligned with the industry’s interests and desires, according to interviews with financiers, regulators and analysts and a review of Federal Reserve records."

Is there no shame, Mr. Obama? Have you at last no objectivity anymore? Is everyone totally interconnected so even you, our deliverer, our promised hero, the one who was gonna kick out the old and bring in the new--Have you crossed over to...being inside the beltway? If so, we're indeed lost.

And since you are so smart and aware, you must be doing this knowingly--letting the chips fall outside of campaign promises and declarations. You--more than the last guy, who we assumed was a lost puppy in tow by sinister powers that be--actually have a clue about the direction these votes and advisers are taking us. So again, one must inquire, what happened to your...chutzpah? Even your press conference ratings are tanking.

"Nielsen said the president’s Wednesday prime-time press conference drew an audience of 28.8 million people. The event marked his 100th day in office and pulled in an 18.8 household rating on 10 TV networks at 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

Viewership was 29 percent less than the president’s March 24 press conference, which was seen on 11 networks. That telecast brought in 40.4 million viewers for a 25.9 household rating. President Obama’s first prime-time press conference on Feb. 9 was watched by 49.5 million U.S. viewers on eight networks, generating a 30.8 household rating. Around 37.8 million people watched him get sworn in Jan. 20, for a 25.5 household rating."

Time you started taking charge again. Stir it up, like the campaign. Or get rid of Larry Summers and some of the other old guard who are so far in bed with the big bad bankers they don't know what a real American looks like.

There's a lot more to this influence-peddling business with Obama and his inner sanctum--but I have to go to check on my bacon on the front burner. I'm frying some up to make bacon bits for my salad--I want to eat healthy but lettuce without bacon bits is not something I can look forward to. But this swine-flu scare is making me nervous. Because if they start killing all the pigs, what will happen to my bacon? How will it affect the price, no less the supply?

As for the flu--let me know if you know anyone who gets it this year. Probably not.