In Which I Likely Garner the Hatred of Many Anti-Vaxxers (sigh)

I have a few anti-vax friends.  A few.  It’s one of those “differences of opinion” I try to be tolerant of because it doesn’t really affect either my friendship with these people, or the goodness in their hearts.

That said, the anti-vax stance does annoy the piss out of me.  Especially when proponents of the movement assert that we who do vaccinate our kids are “harming them.”  The beautiful thing about science is you don’t actually have to agree with a given scientific fact or body of data for it to be true.  And the science behind vaccines and how the immune system works to build immunity is sound.

In addition to the host of groups on Facebook that have cropped up “against vaccination,” there is now a group specifically for refuting their claims.  Today, a post that’s probably at least two to four years old is once again circulating Facebook, the main claim being that the Supreme Court has held that vaccines are “unavoidably unsafe.”

This may sound damning at first glance, but used in a legal context, it does not mean what many people think it does.

In legal beagle:

“An unavoidably unsafe product isn’t necessarily by its nature dangerous. Rather, it’s a product that is incapable of being made safe for its intended and ordinary use. Courts generally look at 4 criteria to determine if a product is unavoidably unsafe: how the product was prepared, how it was marketed, the utility of the product compared to its risk, and whether there are any alternatives available. ” (source)

One of the four main criteria for determining whether or not a given substance is “unavoidably unsafe” involve whether or not the benefits outweigh the risks (which has been deemed so in the case of vaccines.)

Another big one, likely where the term “unavoidably” comes from, is the absense of other options to achieve the same ends.

“There must not be any other way to fully achieve the intended purpose of the product. If there’s an alternative product that would be as effective in accomplishing the purpose of the product then the product may not be unavoidably unsafe. In determining if there’s an alternative, courts have considered the risk avoided by the alternative and the cost, benefits, and relative safety of the alternative.” (source)

Now, as I mentioned, the majority of the scientific community have already refuted, based on intensive studies, the idea that vaccines cause autism.  The supreme court has ruled vaccines “unavoidably unsafe,” barring incidences where there were there was actual evidence that the manufacturer of a given vaccine had a “reasonable” expectation of maleffects versus the benefits.  (source)

A commenter on one of the FB page articles mentioned that there is no refuting the science behind vaccines (although many anti-vaxxers do just that), it’s just specific stablizing ingredients for the vaccines that might be called into question. That said, I am still for vaccinating.  When people talk about “vax injured kids,” I can’t help but ask myself a bunch of questions.

Namely, what evidence do they have that it was the vaccine that injured their kid and not something else?   Only their own belief based solely on personal anecdotal “evidence?” (In other words, they “saw” a change in their kid right after a vaccine was administered.)  Was this the same type of potential reaction that any drug cold have for any person, or was this specific to some questionable ingredient in the vaccine? Why do vaccines that millions safely receive allegedly “injure” a relatively small percentage of the population?  And like any other drugs, which carries risk of side effects, why do people choose to ignore the real risk that comes from non-vaccination in favor of the idea, now debunked, (whether they believe it or not is irrelevant in this case because the scientific community has largely debunked this idea) that vaccines could cause injury? Would they rather have a child with polio than autism? If their child got a routine illness, would they also be reticent to give them “unavoidably unsafe” medicine that could help cure them?  Are vaccines only under attack because they prevent horrible diseases instead of curing a disease that the parent can see with their own eyes?

My experience with some of these anti-vaxxers leads me to the opinion that they live in a society that has greatly benefitted from vaccines in terms of how many people no longer get common diseases, but they refuse to credit vaccines with any of that. Their denial is a luxury they have I guess since they don’t live a poor, disease ravaged area.

These people like to cite the increase in autism in recent years. To me it seems that facts indicate more the changing definition of autism and autism spectrum than they do an “increase” in autism.   I have no doubt that in years past, many children and adults were on the spectrum before there was a spectrum, or before the word “autism” became known.

I have argued with many an aggressive anti-vaxxer (those people not content to simply forego vaccination for their own kids, they want everyone to know about it) and when presented with the scientific sources I furnish, they inevitable fall to criticizing the sources, claiming them corrupt and part of some big pharma and government conspiracy to obfuscate the truth.  They don’t trust the CDC.  My question to them is why should I trust their “crunchy mom” statistics and sources more than my own scientific sources? (source)

They believe it is their right to not vaccinate their own children, but believe their children should not be denied access to public resources due to their non-vaccinated status.  They do not “believe” in herd immunity   and have their own “sources” to refute it, sources that usually lead directly back to anti-vax groups and relying on the idea that diseases have cycles which naturally result in the eventual strengthening of the population.   Gee, that sounds nice…unless you are one of the many generations that must suffer catastrophic complications or death while the population “strengthens over time.” (Click here for a study on what happens in a country when the confidence in vaccines breaks down.)  Parents of children too young to be fully vaccinated or whose children have contracted diseases from voluntarily unvaccinated people disagree with your assertion that herd immunity is not a fact. (source)  (source 2)

Again, I ask, what makes the anti-vaxxer sources any more reliable than the myriad of governmental and scientific community sources.

For the purposes of answering the claim that the push for vaccination is more about money and government “conspiracy” than public health and safety, I leave you links to a list of non-government affiliated science related resources on vaccination information.

1) http://www.immunize.org/resources/part_us.asp

2) http://www.immunize.org/resources/intorg.asp

Finally, I’d like to state that as a mother, I feel for the parents of injured children whether or not a vaccine was the cause, and I totally understand the desire to find a reason and make sense your child’s injury or affliction.  I also recognize the fact that many conditions that either do not make themselves apparent or are not diagnosed until early childhood correspond with the timing of many childhood vaccines.  Neither am I negating the idea that some children are sensitive to vaccines.  But being sensitive to a drug is not the same as being “injured” by its alleged inherent dangerousness.

Also, as always, feel free to comment, but owing to the often sensitive nature of the discussion involving the health of our children, our most precious and treasured blessings, I will reiterate my comment policy.  If you are rude or flame either myself or other commenters, your comment will not make it past moderation.  Call it censorship or whatever you want, but I prefer my blog to be a safe haven for discussion.

Some more resources:

UNICEF

US Dept Health and Human Services

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Discrimination, by any other name…is still against the Constitution

I find it distressing that in the current social climate of America, it is now “politically incorrect” to deny someone the right to be a dick to others…

If you have any doubts, in Arizona, the argument now is not about gay people’s rights to be served and treated like everyone else.  It is about restaurant owner’s rights to use their religion as an excuse to discriminate.  I’m pretty sure even if the bible was interpreted to be against homosexuality, that still would not give followers of the bible the right to treat gay people poorly.

But living in a pluralistic society that also grants freedom and civil rights protection to those with whom one disagrees is not the same as religious persecution. And crying persecution every time one doesn’t get one’s way is an insult to the very real religious persecution happening in the world today.

The above is a quote from an excellent article.  Whether Christian or not, I suggest everyone read it.  This principal can be applied to anyone using their beliefs as platform from which to actively discriminate against others.

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All A@@holed Out

At least once a week now, I ask myself the same question, usually prompted by some ignorant, separatist redneck post or some anti-abortion self-righteous meme…posted by my “friends.”  Some of these are people I haven’t actually “seen” since high school, and even then, they were more like acquaintances.  Many are people to whom I used to be closer, and time and/or distance has come between us, but with whom I would like to keep in some sort of contact.  And then I’m realizing I just never knew some of these people to begin with.  And I actually like some of these people…I mean, except for the unfortunate fact of their intolerance…

Um...yeah, okay.

Um…yeah, okay.

Shall I attempt to point out the many ways this meme is ridiculous?  Firstly, the only people who have a problem with secularism are people who feel everyone should be their religion.  Secondly, pretty sure many of the “lazy, unproductive” people were that way before Obama got into office.  I can only assume this is a jab at people who are on some type of public assistance.  (These are also likely the same people who post memes like “before we help the poor in other countries, we need to help our own” and then go around bitching when any laws that actually attempt to do so get proposed.)

Thirdly–  Ow! I stubbed my fuckin’ toe!  Thanks, Obama!

But anyway, the question I have been asking myself is this:

At which point do I draw the line between respecting my friends’ views and differences of opinions to You’re just an asshole and I don’t think I wanna be your friend?”

Generally I would say, the difference would be whether or not their “views” encourage hate or discrimination of any kind.  But seriously…have you seen  some of the memes going around now?  The line between expressing opinion and attempting to insult/control the opposition seems to be becoming increasingly blurred.

And especially in lieu of the George Zimmerman verdict and all the “moral outrage” and barely concealed racism going around, I am SO sick of seeing hateful, ignorant posts about “reverse racism” and white victims of black killers.  How about we direct some of that moral outrage and righteous indignation towards the things that really matter, and maybe realize that all these posts are just widening the racial divide?

But, back to my original question, how do you personally decide when to accept differences, and who to cut loose because they are just too different (aka, an asshole)?  Frankly, I’m all “assholed” out.

“Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.”
― Isaac Asimov

Just Sayin’

Came across this on Facebook this morning.  In the interest of brevity, I edited some of it out, but you can see the whole thing here.  Also, it should be noted that the validity of some of the facts contained in the following have been called into question. You can check out one guy’s rebuttal here.

Wal-Mart vs. The Morons
1. Americans spend $36,000,000 at Wal-Mart Every hour of every day. 2. This works out to $20,928 profit every minute!
4. Wal-Mart is bigger than Home Depot + Kroger + Target +Sears + CostcoK-Mart combined.
5. Wal-Mart employs 1.6 million people, is the world’s largest private employer, and most speak English.
6. Wal-Mart is the largest company in the history of the world.
7. Wal-Mart now sells more food than Kroger and Safeway combined…
8. During this same period, 31 big supermarket chains sought
bankruptcy…
11. This year 7.2 billion different purchasing experiences will occur at Wal-Mart stores. (Earth’s population is approximately 6.5 Billion.)
You may think that I am complaining, but I am really laying the ground work for suggesting that MAYBE we should hire the guys who run Wal-Mart to fix the economy.
To President Obama and all 535 voting members of the Legislature…
a. The U.S. Postal Service was established in 1775. You have had 234 years to get it right and it is broke.
b. Social Security was established in 1935. You have had 74 years to get it right and it is broke.
c. Fannie Mae was established in 1938. You have had 71 years to get it right and it is broke.
d. War on Poverty started in 1964. You have had 45 years to get it right; $1 trillion of our money is confiscated each year and transferred to”the poor” and they only want more.
e. Medicare and Medicaid were established in 1965. You have had 44 years to get it right and they are broke.
You have FAILED in every “government service” you have shoved down our throats while overspending our tax dollars.
AND YOU WANT AMERICANS TO BELIEVE YOU CAN BE TRUSTED WITH A GOVERNMENT-RUN HEALTH CARE SYSTEM??
AND I know what’s wrong. We have lost our minds to “Political Correctness”
Someone please tell me what is wrong with all the people that
run this country!!!!!!
We’re “broke” and can’t help our own Seniors, Veterans, Orphans, Homeless, etc. and the last months we have provided aid to Haiti, Chile, and Turkey and now Pakistan ( the previous home of bin Laden). literally, BILLIONS of DOLLARS!!!
Our retired seniors living on a ‘fixed income’ receive no aid nor do they get any breaks.
AMERICA: a country where we have homeless without shelter, children going to bed hungry, elderly going without needed medicines, and mentally ill without treatment, etc.

What I want to point out really has more to do with the attitude of the piece than with any specific “facts” represented within.  One passage in particular really rubbed me the wrong way.
Let’s look specifically at this passage:
We’re “broke” and can’t help our own Seniors, Veterans, Orphans, Homeless, etc. and the last months we have provided aid to Haiti, Chile, and Turkey and now Pakistan ( the previous home of bin Laden). literally, BILLIONS of DOLLARS!!!
Our retired seniors living on a ‘fixed income’ receive no aid nor do they get any breaks.
AMERICA: a country where we have homeless without shelter, children going to bed hungry, elderly going without needed medicines, and mentally ill without treatment, etc.
This would mean so much more if the people purporting this supposed injustice actually gave a shit. I don’t think it’s that we “can’t” help our own people… I think the problem is that many people in this country (specifically the “haves,” as opposed to the “have nots”) have just as much disdain for and issues with helping “our own” people as they do those of other countries.  There’s this perception that if you’re poor in American, it’s because you are lazy.  It’s evident in all the snide remarks about people on “welfare” and food stamps I see all over social media.  Don’t believe me?  The writer of this piece expressed some of that disdain with his claim:
$1 trillion of our money is confiscated each year and transferred to”the poor” and they only want more.
I’d like to take his little air quotes and shove them up his ass.  Sure, there are many people that milk the system.  But there are just as many people who try to do things to improve their situation and are rewarded with a reduction in help from the government.  If you’re pissed that people are being lazy, maybe you should re-examine the way the government rewards the laziness more than it does people who are trying to get out of the hole.   You can go to work, make a pittance, and lose your food stamps, yet if you stay home and sit on your ass, you will keep receiving the full amount.   So why would someone who is poor and needs all the help they can get want to be penalized for trying to do the right thing?
That aside, let’s take a minute to examine the self-important attitude and complete lack of compassion directed towards the poor in this country, as shown in just that single statement.  Apparently the writer has a better idea of how to decide who is worthy of help in this country and who is not.  The very “poor” people he decries for sucking up all the “confiscated” money may well be the parents of the “children going to bed hungry,” or the “elderly without needed medicine.”
Anyway, that said, I believe the article has some valid points.  The amount of money congress makes (and they can approve their own “automatic raises”) is obscene, and yet this country’s budget is in the toilet.   Maybe we should focus on changing that before passing judgment on and withholding aid from “the poor,” less fortunate people of our country.  Just sayin’.

“Uck”…Uggghhh

And the Parent of the Year award goes to…

While I won’t be winning any awards this week (or singing “We Saw Your Boobs,”) I’m also sure I’m not the only parent that still has a potty-mouth.  I know a lot of people feel that they won’t change when they have kids.  Well, for obvious reasons, if you don’t change at all– even if in just a few very fundamental ways– you’re probably a dick who shouldn’t have had kids in the first place.  You put your children first, you love them unconditionally, you are more fiercely protective of your child then you have ever been of anything or anyone else…ever.

Some people maybe do a 180–  they fall headfirst into the mommy or daddy role (perhaps much to the chagrin of their single or childless friends.)

Aside from that, some people change very little.  They generally enjoy most of the same past-times (even if they don’t get to enjoy them as often,) they probably still dres,s the same, act the same… speak the same.

Yep… I have always fervently defended my right to curse.  I usually temper it slightly depending on company, but for the most part, I iz me, and me cuss a lot!   You can deny it all you want, but in my opinion, saying “schizzle-nitz!” or whatever, when you crack your little toe on the coffee table at night just does not help you feel better comparable to an explosive “Fuck!”  I also maintain that you’d have to say “shit” three times to get the relief of one good “fuck.”

But anyway… so my daughter J* is picking up words pretty rapidly now…new words every other day.  And a still lot of that toddler jabber that only she understands.  On occasions, hubs and I have heard things that sound suspiciously like curses, but as they are often apropos of nothing in particular, we really just can’t be sure…

Is she saying “shit,” or “sit?”  in toddler-lisp?

I guess you all know where this going…

Last night, I was playing Resident Evil.  Hubs and J* were each doing their thing.

Something annoying happens in the game; I probably got grabbed or knocked down but some gooey, deformed something-or-other.  And I hissed, “Fuck!”

And like an echo, I hear off to my right, “Uck!”

Hubby and I look at one another– we’ve probably been in denial until now– and he says gently to J*, “Don’t say that word,baby.”

I add, “That’s a big girl word.”

And hubby amends “That’s a bad mommy word.”

*glare*

Well…we have no one to blame but ourselves…  we curse a lot.  I’d almost say we like to curse.  Some people will get all snooty and say cursing is a sign of someone with a weak vocabulary.  I assure you, that’s not the case here.  My vocabulary is fine…better than fine, I’d wager (but to you Pious Pollys, thanks for your concern over my alleged impoverished vocabulary and its implicit reflection on my morality.)

But anyway…  it got me thinking about the concept of curbing my tongue again.  I’m rather fond of something my step-grandfather used to say– “Do as I say, not as I do.”

Are you going to go to bed at 7:30, just because your kid has to? No, because you’re the adult.  Does setting a good example mean you can’t have a candy bar before dinner because your child can’t? No, because you are the adult, and you know you’ll still eat your dinner.  Kids can’t drink, adults can.  If you have friends over for a game of cards or Sunday football, are you not going to have a beer because your kid can’t and you “want to set a good example?”  Not likely.  And as long as you’re not raging drunk, there should be no issue with that.  Well, you get the point.

However, I’ll not deny the merit of setting good behavioral examples.  And I plan to set a good example for my child—  kindness, compassion, fairness, (kindness to animals,) respect for elders, manners (holding doors, offering seats, tolerance, etc.) are all things I hope she learns by my and my husband’s examples.

Some might argue that language (particularly foul language) is a behavior.  And maybe I’m a hypocrite because I yelled at my neighbor for saying the N-word in front of my kid.  I guess I do draw the line somewhere.  She is two and while it may be embarrassing to hear her repeat the F-word, the N-word is not something I want her repeating.  No one should say it.  And I’d rather have people thinking I am uncouth by cursing around my child, than a racist twat.  After all, where would they assume she learned that word, if not from being around others who say it?

So I suppose, like anything else in parenting, your decisions regarding “cussing” in front of your kids is fairly relative or subjective.  All parenting decisions are personal so long as the child is not in physical or emotional danger.

I’m curious though–  to my fellow potty-mouth parents (or those with similar vises that we might not want our toddlers mimicking) …what are your tactic for dealing with the dreaded “Uck!”

Low Blow…and Not in the Good Way

I really hate to admit when someone gets under my skin…especially if it’s someone who is unimportant to me in the grand scheme of things.  But after a Facebook “conversation” that devolved rapidly into mud slinging, I got to thinking about it, and discussing it with friends, I decided to write a little bit about it.

Aside from being irritated and disappointed by the fact that it seems many people are no longer capable of having a conversation with anyone who does not agree with or validate their own point of view, I am so fucking tired of people judging me based on my life choices.

Tyler Durden said it best: “You are not your job.”

DrlJP.jpg

I guess some people do identify with their jobs, especially if their line of work is a career, rather than just a “job…”   And especially if their career is one that corresponds with their hobbies or pleasures.  For instance, writers likely internalize their career as a part of their personality; cashiers likely do not.

At this time in my life I have found myself in role I hadn’t necessarily foreseen when I was growing up.  I am a stay at home mom.  That’s right.  I said it.  I have a double degree from a University college and I stay home and watch my kid.  And I think it’s awesome!  Sure, I have put off my own career for a bit (however, I am considering going back to school soon.)

What really galls me though is the ever-widening gulf between “women like me” and the opposite extreme of career women.  Aside from the backhanded “advice” I have received from a few of my friends and family about how I “have a degree but haven’t done anything with it,” there often seems to be a sort of implicit judgment that because I do not work outside the home right now, I can’t possibly find my life fulfilling, let alone be a productive member of society.  Today, I regret to say someone I once considered a friend (in high school) attacked me personally when I dared to weigh in on the subject of women in the work place.  Flat out told me to come back to the conversation when I got out in the real world.

What I want to know is…what makes her world more real than mine?

What about the fact that I have a family (and a child with whom I am lucky enough to be able to stay home, during the precious and  formative years of her life) makes me less qualified to have an opinion?

What about the fact that she is single and has a career makes her superior to me, or more informed than me?  I have worked.  I don’t live in a hole in the ground.  I even happen to be a woman.  (Imagine that.)

This world takes all sorts to go around.  Not everyone can be a high-powered business executive.  Not everyone wants to.  Furthermore, projecting your own bitterness or insecurity about your life onto someone innocent is not cool.

Basically, my message for today is two-fold:

1) Think before you type speak.  Even if you think your words are benign or you “mean well,” that does not give you license to judge someone else for their life’s choices, especially when they don’t impact you.  If you really care about and respect the person to which you are speaking, you don’t want to hurt their feelings or insult them.   Even if you don’t know them (ie: random people or mutual friends on social media,) how about remembering some basic fucking manners???

2) If you are one of those people who does believe you are somehow superior to someone else because of your life choices (or theirs,) please do them a favor and take their name out of your phone.  Take them off your Facebook “friends” list.  Don’t mail them any Christmas cards.  They don’t need you in their life, and, since you clearly have your life “together” enough to judge your friend’s, you don’t need them in yours either.  

I think these two principals could conceivably have very wide applications.  Religion, sexuality, appearance, parenting styles. Just about anything you can think of… I might even go so far as to say they’re genius. 😉

And if all else fails…

27396812

On My Little Pony and “Being Fat”

Random thoughts, questions, and ideas for the day, punctuated with applicable pix of cats.

On My Little Pony…

Its-dangerous-to-go-alone-my-little-pony-friendship-is-magic-30730621-955-836

Could someone please explain to me why I am tearing up at an episode of My Little Pony this afternoon?

...is it because Neeners thought Pony "Friendship is Magic?"

…is it because Neeners thought pony “Friendship is Magic?”

Or…

...because I haven't yet realized my dreams of building a pony army to achieve world domination?

…because I haven’t yet realized my dreams of building a pony army to achieve world domination?

On “being fat…”

KY Walmart cat dares you to steal his 'lectric cart...

KY Walmart cat dares you to steal his ‘lectric cart…

I’m still struggling with that ten or so stubborn pounds that I gained back after last Christmas.  I’ve been watching re-runs of The Biggest Loser.  Despite my general distaste for most reality shows, I find this show fascinating.  It’s also eye-opening.  Give me a second to explain myself.  I try not to judge people…but I also think it’s natural to an extent.  Part of the reason I am so disgusted with the state of the population when I walk through my local Walmart is the impression I get that many of these people just don’t care enough to make the choices they need to be healthy.  It’s easier, and let’s face it, more enjoyable, to eat whatever, whenever, and sit on your ass and watch TV, than it is to get up and exercise, and also to exercise portion control and selective eating.  I know it is!  I feel that way too.  I miss being sixteen, and not giving a shit what I ate or how much.  But I also give myself enough credit to say, “hey, this is getting out of hand,” before it gets too out of hand.

That said, watching this show has not only inspired me to work harder for my own goals (if these people can muster the strength and courage to do it, I certainly can,) it has reconnected me to the feelings of despair and guilt and shame a lot of overweight people feel.   I think these feelings get buried, and people who are not overweight do not always realize those feelings exist.

I mean, I wasn’t intending to blog about weight loss or fitness today, but I stumbled upon one of today’s Freshly Pressed and it sort of cinched some ideas in my head.

I totally understand and respect this guy’s point of view.  Regardless of my feelings about weight and health, I do not offer my opinions on someone else’s body unless they ask me.  I love to share the things I’ve done that make me feel good and have been successful for me.  But I only talk about them in terms of myself, and usually only after the other person broaches the subject.  Still, this post reminded me that I would do well to try to remain empathetic and open minded to the feelings of others.

I liken it to when people offer me their unsolicited opinions and “medical” advice about how smoking is bad for me and I should quit.  Basically, whether it’s weight or smoking, a choice in music, clothing, sexual orientation…whatever…if it doesn’t affect you directly, and the person in question does not ask for your opinion, you offering your opinion and advice like you’re giving them the keys to the universe is just arrogant and makes you look like an ass.  Keep it to yourself!

On using Facebook to find your birth mom or child…

In just a few short weeks I’ve seen more and more of this.  Maybe I just can’t understand because I have always had my parents… two sets actually.  But I wonder why all of a sudden this boom in people looking for their birth mothers.   If you are raised your whole life by one set of parents and then you find out you’re adopted, I’m sure most of you would agree that your adoptive parents are still your parents.  So what causes the drive to meet what amounts to a perfect stranger?  So many things would go through my mind.  If I found out my parents were not biologically my parents, how would I feel?  I’m really not even sure.  It’s hard to imagine (especially given that I look so much like my mother.) Would I need or want to search for my birth parents?  What if they didn’t want to meet me?  What if they were in jail, or junkies, or dead?  Would finding that out be even worse than not knowing?

Well, this post certainly went from short and light, to long-winded and heavy.  To lighten the mood back up, I give you… Methos with his face jammed into a pillow while he sleeps.

"Oh, da hoomanity!"   I think I'll go back to thinking about ponies.

“Oh, da hoomanity!” I think I’ll go back to thinking about ponies.