Parents as Protectors

February 29, 2008

America is obsessed with medical autonomy. Everyone feels entitled to make decisions about their own health. While I agree everyone should have control over their own bodies, there is a gray area. Children. The current standard gives parents great range in what they can have done or what they can decide to withhold in terms of health care. Vaccines always come up as a hot topic. While the majority of parents adhere to the accepted standards of immunization there is a small, but vocal minority who objects to vaccination.

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An advisory panel on Wednesday recommended all kids up to age 18 get the flu vaccine. Though the vaccine is already recommended for those 6 months to 5 years old, this new proposal is a huge expansion, affecting nearly 60 million kids. The expanded recommendation is an initiative by the CDC to protect the entire population. Children are one of the major sources of flu in the community. School aged children pick it up, pass it around, and then bring it home. Everyone has had the flu, and while it may have been terrible it was transient, so it is hard for people to take it seriously. But in reality, people die from the flu every year, children and the elderly are particularly susceptible. Vaccines, like all things, have risks. But they are very minimal and less severe than the flu. Obviously people with reactions to a previous flu vaccine, those with contraindicated disease state (GB syndrome), or certain allergies (for example eggs since the vaccine is grown in eggs) should not get the vaccine but in general it is a harmless vaccine.

With all the fear mongering of pseudo scientific studies (like the joke of a paper that tainted MMR by suggesting a correlation with autism), old world views of medicine, and popular misconceptions it can be tough for a parent to find the truth about a particular vaccine. So who really is better qualified to determine if your child needs a certain vaccine? The doctors that have years of training to understand the risks/benefits and wade through the abundance of misinformation or parents who may or may not be fully informed on the topic or who may be prejudiced by misinformation? To me the choice is obvious. I don’t want your 9 year old little Johnny vaccinated because I care if he gets sick, I want him vaccinated to protect the newborn he saw, the grandparent he hugged, the kid who’s toy he shared, and community he lives in.

When you decide to not vaccinate your child, you put everyone’s children at risk.

 

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Obama’s Stolen Strength.

February 20, 2008

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What comes to mind when I think of Barrack Obama? A candidate of nothing. An interesting man, a talented orator, a devoted father/husband, and a political novice. A shell of a president. A man with a brilliant future, several years from now, when he has the experience to command anything more than an audience. His own supporters have been stumbling in interviews when simply asked to state one legislative accomplishment. Why then is he winning? Two words: incandescent speech. When the man talks, he glows. He beams of confidence, optimism, and truth. In reality those beams consist of arrogance, naivety, and rhetoric. I appreciate a good public speaker and do value words. I would never lobby his lofty speech against him like some people have. Now his lack of experience is another issue that I have no problem holding against him.

So what is my point? You already know I support Clinton, but respect Obama (that does not mean I have to respect people who vote for him). Words are really all he has and now the news is reporting some of his words are not his own. Yes, I speak of plagiarism, a borderline curse word in the academic setting. Apparently plagiarism is completely acceptable in the campaign for the White House. Because he continued his surge of victories after the story broke. A man running solely on his words shouldn’t be simply quoting others. Many of you will jump to his defense, that is was his speech writers who plagiarized, but therein lies the problem. If words are all he has and we don’t hold him responsible for his words then there is nothing left of his candidacy.

In defense of being “just words”

Obama responded nearly word for word and without attribution, a quote from Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick. “Don’t tell me words don’t matter. ‘I have a dream’ — just words. ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal’ — just words. ‘We have nothing to fear but fear itself’ — just words.”

On another occasion

Deval Patrick: “I am not asking anyone to take a chance on me; I am asking you to take a chance on your own aspirations”.

Obama: “I am not asking anybody to take a chance on me; I am asking you to take a chance on your own aspirations”

On Pharmaceutical Ads

Edwards’s 2004 stump speech: “I love the ads. Buy their medicine, take it, and the next day you and your spouse will be skipping through the fields.”

Obama: “You know those ads where people are running around the fields, you know, they’re smiling, you don’t know what the drug is for?”

During Announcement Speeches

Edwards (2003) : “I haven’t spent most of my life in politics, but I’ve spent enough time in Washington to know how much we need to change Washington.”

Obama (2007): “I know I haven’t spent a lot of time learning the ways of Washington. But I’ve been there long enough to know that the ways of Washington must change.”

Unionized Labor

Edwards: “We need a president not afraid to use the word ‘union,’

Obama: “We need a president . . . who is not afraid to mention unions,”

Working Class

Edwards: “Hard work should be valued in this country, so we’re going to reward work, not just wealth.”
Obama: “We shouldn’t just be respecting wealth in this country, we should be respecting work.”

 


Backstabbing isn’t just for friends

January 31, 2008

Here is a story straight from the streets of my school.  A guy walks down the street (the street is Broad Street), feels a punch to the back, figures ‘damn that hurt, whatever’ and keeps walking.  The man continues down the street until someone informs him he has a knife in his back.  He goes to the hospital, he will be fine.  I think this story is a perfect summary of the area I go to school in.  First off, a stranger might just stab you for no reason, you could get punched in the back and know it is not worth reporting, another stranger wouldn’t hesitate to get up in your business about the knife, and Temple hospital still wouldn’t be shocked when you came in.  It also says something about the students in the area, an article about the event has been the biggest e-mailed story through campus all week.  Read Article Here. Here is a quote from the article.

Here’s something you’d hear only on the hardscrabble streets of Philadelphia:

“Dude, you got a knife in your back.”

That’s what a passer-by yelled to a Philadelphia man after a bizarre incident as he was walking along Broad Street in North Philadelphia on Tuesday night.

After receiving what he thought was a punch to the back from a stranger, the victim told police that the passer-by pointed to his back and yelled about the knife.



Enlarge your Brain/Save the World

November 27, 2007

Free Rice Game

Everyone should check this game out!  It is a vocabulary quiz and for each word you get right 10 grains of rice are donated to or by the UN (I think).  They started easier and got harder.   I love learning new words!

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Here is some more info:

A new U.N. campaign donates 10 grains of rice for each question you answer correctly at http://www.freerice.com. It’s already generated enough rice to feed 50,000 people.

FreeRice offers players multiple-choice definitions of a word, and each correct answer generates 10 grains of rice for the United Nations Worldl Food Program. The game relies on advertising revenue to underwrite its rice campaign.

On October 7, the day it was launched, just 830 grains of rice were donated. But by November 8, more than 77 million grains were donated, the equivalent to more than 7 million correct answers!


Quote of the Day

November 3, 2007

“I don’t think they’re piling on because I’m a woman, I think they’re piling on because I’m winning.

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When Pedophillic Amoebas Attack

October 5, 2007

 This is gross.  You all laugh when I hold my nose while swimming.

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(CNN) — Ray Herrera does not mince words about what his 12-year-old son, Jack, went through.  “It’s beyond description to watch your most precious, beautiful, wonderful, loved one become a vegetable essentially and then die,” Herrera said.  In August, Jack returned from summer camp that included swims in Texas’ Lake LBJ. Five days after coming home he was dead, killed by a microscopic amoeba.

Jack is one of six people to die this summer in the United States from the naegleria fowleri amoeba.  The amoeba enters the human body through the nose. It then travels to the brain, where it begins to feed.  Symptoms of the amoeba’s rampage begin 1 to 14 days after infection and resemble the flu. At the onset of those symptoms the amoeba victim’s health swiftly declines.  “Folks lapse into a coma, there are abnormal movements of the eyes and a terrible cascade of events leading to the actual death of parts of the brain.”

Although exposure to the amoeba is usually fatal, Sherin says a cocktail of drugs can fight the amoeba if administered in time. The key, he says, is identifying the amoeba early.

Until this summer there were only 24 known cases of the virus in the U.S. since 1989, according to the CDC.  Health officials cannot explain the spike in cases this summer, except that weather plays a factor.

Another question health officials have is why the amoeba seems to appear more often in young males. All six victims this summer were male, ages 10 to 22 years old.  But other than wearing nose plugs while swimming or staying out of freshwater above 80 degrees Fahrenheit, there is little people can do to prevent exposure to the amoeba.

Health officials say federal or local governments have few tools to combat the amoeba.  The health department has posted signs at 15 swimming and boating areas where people may face exposure to the amoeba.  The effectiveness of the signs appears mixed.  As he sunbathed near a sign warning of amoebas, John Walters seemed unconcerned about danger possibly lurking beneath the clear, inviting waters. “Its no worse I suppose than the gator signs over there and somebody did get attacked here once.”


Bad Start for the Phillies

October 3, 2007

I put off pharmaceutics for watching the Phillies game with my dad, big mistake. The boys lost 2 to 4. Utley and Howard were incredibly disappointing; out of 8 at bats they racked up 7 strikeouts. After an early Colorado lead of 3 runs, the game seemed already decided. But in the 5th inning they came back and the score was 2-3. There were several times where they seemed set up to at least tie up the game, but in the 8th Colorado solidified their lead with another home run. Its not just that they lose, it is that they get you excited. I didn’t expect them to win today (how could I after going to a game earlier this season and watching them get crushed by Colorado 12 to nothing), but then as they seemed to be coming back you just get into it.

They could still come back in this best of 5 series. The upside is that Utley and Howard played so poorly that they could only be better in the rest of the series. The downside is Colorado beat them with their premier pitcher, Hamels, starting.

No one in Philly do anything stupid tonight.