October 29th, 2011


Homophobia Repercussions?

Apparently gay slurs are welcome at my old forum now that I've left. ["homo samadhi" in relation to the death of Keith Ham/Kirtanananda Swami/Bhatkipada, the former ISKCON guru who went to prison.]

Maybe they think it's fine that he uses it in relation to K Swami but if you allow it some of the time you muddy the waters. Plus using it in connection with him is worse because that is not the most important thing about the man and it's homophobic to link gayness to his other behaviors in any way.

I should just stop visiting the site at this point.

Foodstamp Challenge

Some members of Congress are trying a week on a foodstamp budget. Want to play along? An average amount per recipient is $31.50 per week or $4.50 per day. Can you put together three nutritious meals for $4.50? Remember, the average recipient also starts the foodstamp month with a pretty much bare pantry (maybe a little flour or a bit of rice or something, not the pantry I have these days). Oh and fraud accounts for 1 penny on the dollar. (CNN video)

See my short story, Foodstamp Blues for a glimpse into the realities of the program. The amount reflected actual amounts I received in the late 80s as a single parent and student. At one point I fed 4 on 108.00 per month, 2 adults and 2 children. We ate a lot of beans and rice and vegetables were like a seasoning. We were vegetarians so didn't have to pay for meat as well.

Measles Cases at 15 Year High in U.S.

There have been 220 cases of measles so far this year in the United States, more than triple the usual 60 to 70 cases per year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Europe had more than 26,000 cases reported from January through July of this year, with nine deaths, according to the World Health Organization. So far, no deaths have been reported in the United States this year.

The CDC found of the 220 reported U.S. cases 87% of the people infected didn't get the vaccine, while the other 13% were too young to get it. Most of these cases were people who traveled overseas to Western Europe, Africa or Asia. Even though 91.5% of the U.S. population is immunized, those who are not, are putting themselves and others at risk, says Patsy Stinchfield Director of the Infection Disease Department at Children's Hospital and Clinics of Minnesota.

Two-doses of the measles vaccine is estimated to be 98-99% effective at preventing the disease and provide lifelong immunity. For those who are unvaccinated and exposed to measles, they can be expected to get measles at a rate on the order of 90% or higher, according to the CDC.

So frustrating and so preventable (other than the children too young to be vaccinated yet).

ETA: My reply to a dingbat who thinks that when children get measles it's not as bad as when adults get measles. (Is she thinking of chicken pox?)


Have you ever walked through a cemetery? One with plenty of older headstones, from the pre-vaccine era? Have you seen the little graves next to the parents, the ones with dates very close together? Compare the sheer numbers of those to modern graves. Lots more children were dying, and many of them died from illnesses we vaccinate against. Measles is deadly to children. It was one of the feared diseases. It's not like chicken pox. Measles, polio, whooping cough, smallpox, they killed and disabled children and that's why doctors worked hard to eradicate them. In areas of the world where fewer people receive vaccines, they still kill a lot of people. And they are making a comeback because an increasingly large number of citizens read junk science accounts and worry about things like micrograms of substances that are in our environment already or reactions that are statistically less likely than the disease, or the discredited theory about vaccines and autism.

I guess we have to learn the lesson of how deadly these diseases are all over again. Maybe when, once again, everyone knows a family who lost one or more children to these diseases we'll fear them enough to vaccinate every child.