Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Bill Goes to Beacon Hill

It recently came to my attention that there is a new bill being considered by the state legislature of Massachusetts. It was submitted by petition back in January and does not really have an actual sponsor, though Rep. John Keenan (Salem) is listed. This bill, amending an existing law, would add just one little sentence which would render said law essentially meaningless. Furthermore, the consequences of this one, seemingly innocuous, sentence would be far-reaching in their impact. What is this one little sentence? It is this:
Notwithstanding the provisions of this section a child shall, upon written request of a parent to the school, be admitted to school.
That doesn't sound too bad, right? I mean, parents should be able to write to a school and have their child admitted. After all, the education of children is not only a requirement, but is something that benefits everyone. Everyone should have the opportunity to obtain a good education, to learn valuable skills and expand their knowledge so that they can become useful, contributing members of society for the good of themselves and the community in which they live.

Why would anyone object to that? Certainly I wouldn't, in and of itself. However, as Tim Minchin shows, context is everything (some NSFW language, be sure to watch to the end):

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Friday, June 24, 2011

Mark "Castrate 'Em" Geier's License Suspended - Part 4

Another brief update for you regarding the status of Dr. Mark Geier's licenses to practice medicine in various states. As you know, his license was first suspended in Maryland. His license was then suspended in Washington and Virginia. Well, it is time to add Indiana to that list. Today, June 24, 2011, when I searched for his license in that state, I found this:

That's 4 out of 11 licenses that have been suspended. His appeal of the Maryland suspension is currently being heard, and the results of that inquiry should be out sometime next week. As it appears that the suspensions in Washington, Virginia and Indiana are based on the actions of the Maryland Board of Physicians, the outcome of the appeal could have a significant impact on the status of his licenses in those states. If his appeal succeeds, his licenses in those three states may be reinstated. If it fails, then there will only be 7 states left in which he can practice his scientifically unfounded protocol of administering the drug Lupron to autistic children.
Related Posts:

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mark "Castrate 'Em" Geier's License Suspended - Part 3

I just wanted to provide a brief update on Dr. Mark Geier. Today, I was taking a look at the states in which, last time I checked, Dr. Geier still had a license. If you will recall, his license had been suspended in Maryland and, shortly after that, Washington. He was still licensed to practice medicine in nine states: California, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, New Jersey and Virginia. For seven of those, I was able to find laws similar to Washington's, which state that if a licensed practitioner has his or her license suspended in any other state, then it will be suspended in that state as well.

Well, one of those other states has suspended Dr. Geier's license. This is what I found when I went to the licensing board for the state of Virginia:

Only eight states left to step up and take appropriate action. Only eight licenses left that should responsibly be suspended. Another domino has fallen.
Related Posts:

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Callous Face of Hubris

The video below has already been shared at Just the Vax and Respectful Insolence, but it is such a powerful and important message that I feel it should be shared as broadly as possible.

I don't think we have anyone quite as vile and despicable as Ms. Viera Scheibner in the U.S. At least, I hope not. This is someone who blames the parents if their child dies of a vaccine-preventable disease; someone who believes that all vaccines, without question, are bad and cause autism, and that diseases are, without exception, good. To anyone who is against vaccinations, watch this video and take a good hard look at your beliefs and the impact that they can have on those around you.

Friday, June 10, 2011

A Virus Poes an Anti-vaccine Band

This is too rich. As some of you may know, there is a group of viruses and bacteria on Twitter that are part of a group known as the #pathogenposse. One of those, @Rubeola, sent a tweet to a, for lack of a better term, rock band known as The Refusers. As Orac has pointed out over at Respectful Insolence, The Refusers are unapologetically anti-vaccine. They liken Big PharmaTM and anyone who supports vaccines to Nazis. They equate vaccines with toxic sludge. They make absolutely no bones about it that they hate, hate, hate vaccines and believe them to be part of a grand conspiracy to maim and kill the populace.

So what did @Rubeola have to say to them and how did they answer?

That's right. The Refusers, a group adored by anti-vaccine groups like Age of Autism, appear to be quite proud that they are helping a dangerous virus spread.


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Because Preventing Child Deaths is a Bad Thing?

Coming up on June 13, 2011 in London is a fundraising conference organized by the Global Alliance for Vaccines & Immunisation (GAVI). GAVI describes itself as:

Launched in 2000, the GAVI Alliance is a global health partnership representing stakeholders in immunisation from both private and public sectors: developing world and donor governments, private sector philanthropists such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the financial community, developed and developing country vaccine manufacturers, research and technical institutes, civil society organisations and multilateral organisations like the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Bank.

Their goal is to provide rapid and affordable access to vaccines for poorer nations. With the conference, they are trying to raise funds to be able to provide immunizations for approximately 243 million children in poor and developing countries. By immunizing against pneumococcal disease, Hib and rotavirus (all of which are prominent causes of child mortality in the target countries), among other diseases, GAVI hopes to reduce the number of deaths caused by these diseases.

But it appears there are some people who aren't too happy about that.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Possible Measles Exposure in Maryland

On June 8, 2011, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene put out a press release (PDF) about a person infected with measles who potentially exposed hundreds or thousands of others to the virus. This person was visiting for a high school graduation between May 31 and June 3. According to the press release, the individual may have exposed others at the following:
  • Tuesday, May 31:
    • Giant grocery store, 6223 Baltimore National Pike, Catonsville, MD between 5:00pm and 8:00pm
    • Montgomery Plaza Liquors, 6225 Baltimore National Pike, Catonsville, MD between 6:00pm and 8:00pm
  • Wednesday, June 1:
    • Catonsville High School Graduation, UMBC RAC Center between 6:00pm and 11:00pm
  • Thursday, June 2:
    • Applebee's Restaurant, 8999 Ocean Gateway Drive, Easton, MD between 6:30pm and 11:00pm
  • Friday, June3:
    • Oriole Park at Camden Yards beginning at 7:00pm
    • MTA Light Rail from 11:00pm until 1:30am Saturday, June4
Anyone who was at those locations should be vigilant about their health over the next couple weeks. Measles generally starts like a cold, with runny nose, watery eyes or conjunctivitis, cough and fever. Several days later, a rash begins to appear, starting around the hairline and gradually spreading down the face and neck and out, across the body to the arms and legs.

People who are particularly at risk are infants, pregnant women and those whose immune systems are weakened, as well as anyone who has never been immunized or infected before. If you begin to show symptoms, stay home and contact your health provider. Those who have been vaccinated or previously infected are most likely immune, though there is always a small chance that the vaccine or prior infection did not grant immunity.

For more information about measles, visit the CDC's web site on measles or view the CDC's Pink Book chapter on measles (PDF).

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Wanted: Sculptor/Artist for a Project

UPDATE Oct. 26, 2011: Although I am no longer seeking artists for the development of this project, I encourage you to take a look at the unveiling taking place from October 28-December 2. The final pieces are digital works, rather than physical models. If you have an interest in helping to bringing the virtual into reality, please drop me a line. Thanks to all those who have sent me e-mails. I really appreciate your eagerness and interest!

I have a slightly unusual request of my readers. I have a project in mind, but I need the help of someone who is good at sculpting or modeling human figures, either in clay/plastic or CGI. If you or someone you know has these skills and is interested in helping me out, please contact me. If you have samples of previous work, please include it in your e-mail. Please pass this along and thank you for your help!

Update: I've received several inquiries from people interested in helping out. So, I thought I'd share a little bit more info here, in case anyone else is interested in lending a hand. The figures I'm looking to have created are action figure style, similar to those historic action figures of Edgar Allan Poe, Blackbeard, etc. Similar scale, each with a few props. The figures do not need to be posable, as I will just be posting pictures of the figures (though if you can create a posable one, even better!) here, with full artist attributions. I will not be able to pay the artists, so this is something that is more for fun and a chance to get your name and work out there.

Please, only serious inquiries. If you are interested and have the skills to create something like I've described, please feel free to contact me at the link above for more information.