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Anti-Vaxxers Ruined Disneyland: Why this Public Health Nightmare Needs to be Stopped

January 25, 2015 in Blogs

By Lindsay Abrams, Salon

At least 51 measles cases have been linked to the California theme park.

For children too young or sick to have received the MMR vaccine — or whose parents decided for them that they didn’t “need” to be vaccinated — the “happiest place on Earth” has been transformed into something far more sinister.

With at least 51 measles cases linked to initial exposure at Disneyland, the deputy director of California’s Center for Infectious Diseases announced that the theme park is no longer safe for the unvaccinated — the status of over 80 percent of those infected. The outbreak has spread to five states and Mexico, and includes six infants who were too young to have received the vaccine. A full quarter of the patients so far had to be hospitalized. And for 24 unvaccinated children in Orange County, where the theme park is located, school is no longer safe, either: They were told to stay home for three weeks after it emerged that an infected student had shown up on campus earlier this month.

Does that last part sound familiar? Over at the Daily Beast, pseudonym pediatrician Russell Saunders calls out our attention to this past autumn’s Ebola panic. Think of what’s now happening as the bizarro version of that: Instead of people overestimating their risk of contracting a disease, we’re now dealing with a real threat from what, while less deadly than Ebola, is “essentially the most contagious disease on the planet,” as one infectious disease specialist called it – all because some people underestimated the risk. As Dr. James Cherry, a specialist in pediatric infectious diseases at UCLA, confirmed to the New York Times, the outbreak is “100 percent connected” to Orange County’s low immunization rates.

For more on why we desperately need to readjust our expectations, it’s worth reading Tara C. Smith on how, contrary to what some anti-vaxxers argue, measles is definitely a big deal. The gist:

What many forget is that we had a massive outbreak of measles in the United States from 1989–1991. While our 644 cases in 2014 seems high compared with recent …read more


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Bill Maher Takes a Shot at ‘American Sniper’ for Glorifying ‘Psychopath Patriot’ Chris Kyle

January 25, 2015 in Blogs

By Arturo Garcia, Raw Story

Maher wants to know why America is glorifying Chris Kyle.

Bill Maher blasted Clint Eastwood’s film American Sniper during the Real Time panel discussion on Friday, comparing it unfavorably to Kathryn Bigelow’s Oscar-winning The Hurt Locker.

Hurt Locker made $17 million, because it was a little ambiguous. And thoughtful,” Maher said. “And this one is just ‘American hero, he’s a psychopath patriot and we love him.’”

Maher also criticized the subject of Eastwood’s movie, Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, and his statements in his autobiography regarding killing Iraqi “savages.”

“I dunno, [President Dwight] Eisenhower once said, ‘I hate wars as only a soldier who has lived it can.’ I just don’t see this guy in the same league as Eisenhower, I’m sorry,” Maher said. “And if you’re a Christian — I know this is a Christian country — ‘I hate the damn savages, I don’t give a f*ck what happens to them’ doesn’t seem like a Christian thing to say.”

Wall Street Journal foreign affairs columnist Bret Stephens pushed back against Maher, saying he could not believe that was the host’s impression of the film.

“What I saw was a movie that treats what veterans and soldiers go through in a way that was subtle,” Stephens said. “It was not just about war — it was about PTSD, it was about what the wives of soldiers go through.”

Maher’s fellow comedian, Bill Burr, also took issue with his viewpoint on Kyle.

“You can’t sum up a man by one quote taken out of context,” Burr said. “You don’t know how he said that. I think if you’re fighting a war, you say a lot of f*cked up sh*t in the middle of it.”

“That was after the war,” Maher countered, adding, “I’m just saying, the idea that Americans can not see any ambiguity, that somebody has to be either ‘pure hero’ or ‘pure traitor,’ is ridiculous.”

Washington Post political reporter Nia-Malika Henderson said that one reason American Sniper has grossed more than $90 million at the box office was that it fell in line with a tradition of Americans searching for the next “totemic war hero,” with Kyle …read more