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Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit Area, MI
Home country: USA
Current location: San Francisco, CA
Member since: Wed Oct 29, 2008, 02:53 PM
Number of posts: 7,237

About Me

Husband, father and liberal Democrat. I am a native Michigander living in San Francisco who is a citizen of the world.

Journal Archives

With a Growing Measles Outbreak, Is the Anti-Vaxxer Movement Finally Finished?

If there’s a silver lining here, or if you’re into dark humor, there’s a wonderful irony to the fact that Santa Monica was named specifically in a recent Hollywood Reporter investigation into wealthy Southern California cities that have shockingly low vaccination rates. The piece declared that some wealthy areas have vaccination rates lower than those in Sudan. In other words, affluent Southern Californians, who have access to the best health care in the world, are allowing themselves to be as susceptible to disease as those living in the Third World. In Sudan, it’s poverty that can kill you. Here, it’s just stupidity.

John Swartzburg, an emeritus professor at the Berkeley School of Public Health, calls the growing California outbreak a huge “red flag” for the country and noted that every measles patient has the potential to infect 12 to 18 unvaccinated people. Now before anyone dismisses this as just being a problem for the idiots who chose not to vaccinate their children or themselves, as Swartzburg says, measles can be devastating to those too young to be vaccinated (like, for example, the infants brought to Disneyland every single day). There are also a small percentage of people in which the vaccine — one of the most effective in the world — doesn’t take or who haven’t had the necessary booster to be fully protected. These are people who can then go on to infect others.

With the spread of not only the measles but news about the measles outbreak, doctors in California are reportedly being overwhelmed with requests for the MMR vaccine. For those who haven’t been paying attention all this time, that’s the vaccine the anti-vaxxers believe can cause autism in children — an alleged link which was initially based on fraudulent research and which has been disproved more than once. Even the doctor most often associated with former Playboy bunny and game show host Jenny McCarthy — who more than any other single person may be most to blame for the anti-vaxxer lunacy — says he’s been inundated with patients seeking the vaccine. Dr. Jay Gordon of, surprise, Santa Monica claims that he’s not necessarily against vaccines, he just believes parents should have the ability to decide for themselves. The problem is, many of the parents he sees are more than willing to put whatever holistic, pseudoscientific nonsense they see on Oprah before proven medicine and their decisions impact other children who aren’t their own. Which is exactly what we’re seeing now.

This is what’s leading people like Swartzburg to stop playing nice and it’s what’s led the media to finally listen and get on board. “A small but very vocal minority is perpetuating this myth (the danger from vaccines), and we have to stop accommodating them,” he says. “As with climate change, there is no legitimate debate. Both climate change and the efficacy and safety of vaccinations are as real as the sun rising.” In 2012, a bill came before Governor Jerry Brown that required anyone who wanted a “philosophical exemption” to school-mandated vaccines to provide proof he or she had been counseled by a reputable physician. Brown defanged the bill by simply allowing for a “religious exemption,” and as you know, particularly in California, anything can pass for a religion.


California Father Asks School To Bar Unvaccinated Children

Rhett cannot be vaccinated, because his immune system is still rebuilding. It may be months more before his body is healthy enough to get all his immunizations. Until then, he depends on everyone around him for protection — what's known as herd immunity.

But Rhett lives in Marin County, Calif., a county with the dubious honor of having the highest rate of "personal belief exemptions" in the Bay Area and among the highest in the state. This school year, 6.45 percent of children in Marin have a personal belief exemption, which allows parents to lawfully send their children to school unvaccinated against communicable diseases like measles, polio, whooping cough and more.

Krawitt is taking action of his own. His son attends Reed Elementary in Tiburon, a school with a 7 percent personal belief exemption rate. (The statewide average is 2.5 percent). Krawitt had previously worked with the school nurse to make sure that all the children in his son's class were fully vaccinated. He said the school was very helpful and accommodating.

Now Krawitt and his wife, Jodi, have emailed the district's superintendent, requesting that the district "require immunization as a condition of attendance, with the only exception being those who cannot medically be vaccinated."


I've changed my opinion about school sports.

I used to think it was a waste of time. But since my son started playing basketball, we immadieatly saw changes in his focus and attitude about school work. In our case, sports worked!

Man Spends $40,000 to Transform His Home Into A Playground For His Cats

Since the 1990s, home builder Peter Cohen has spent tens of thousands of dollars transforming his Goleta, Calif., house into a kitty paradise for his many rescue cats.

The result? One awesomely purr-fect pad.

Home design website Houzz details just how Cohen turned his home into a cat playground. He’s spent years building a colorful and intricate network of perches, tunnels, ramps and walkways (called “catwalks,” natch) for the enjoyment of his and his roommates’ many cats. They currently have 15 of them -- all of them rescues.

“We try to take the kittens that other people don’t want, especially kittens that have been traumatized,” Cohen told Catster in an interview last year.


Measles Outbreak: Babies in Alameda County Placed in Home Isolation

More than 30 babies in Alameda County have been placed in home isolation after possible exposure to measles.

“I'm terribly upset that someone has made a choice that not only affects their child but other people's children,'' said Jennifer Simon, whose 6-month-old daughter, Livia, was isolated after it was learned she may have been exposed to measles during a visit to the doctor's office.

The measles outbreak linked to Disneyland has Bay Area parents and school officials nervous. At least 70 measles cases of the measles have been confirmed nationwide, with nearly 60 of them in California. That's why the Santa Clara County Office of Education is distributing notices and information about the highly contagious disease to all of its 31 school districts.

School officials say this is typical when a public health concern gets a lot of media coverage. Administrators followed the same protocol months ago when the Ebola virus was in the news.


Measles case in Michigan likely related to Disneyland outbreak

OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. (WZZM/USA TODAY) -- The measles are here in Michigan. An adult in Oakland County has been diagnosed with the state's first case of 2015, possibly stemming from an outbreak that began at Disneyland before Christmas.

The outbreak is now affecting at least 70 people in seven states and hundreds more may have been exposed at schools, doctor's offices, hospitals, shopping malls and other places visited by infected patients.

Michigan is the latest state to report a case of measles likely related to Disneyland but an exact connection has not yet been determined. Aside from California, the outbreak has spread to Arizona, Utah, Washington, Colorado, Oregon and across the border to Mexico.

As in earlier measles outbreaks, schools and hospitals prove to be hot spots for exposing large numbers of people to the virus, one of the most contagious diseases.


This Californian to the anti-vaxxers: F.U.

With the Disneyland measles outbreak expected to grow in the coming weeks, Bay Area hospitals and doctors’ offices are preparing for new cases and a flood of questions from patients worried about getting sick.

Health care providers who have never seen a case of measles also are being trained on how to recognize the illness and what to do with patients who show up in clinics or emergency rooms with suspicious symptoms.

“We don’t typically see measles cases, and that’s required a fair amount of education of our physicians, nurses, emergency departments, so they’re prepared and know what to look for,” said Dr. Stephen Parodi, director of hospital operations for Kaiser Northern California.....

“Unfortunately, we are off to a bad start in 2015,” said Dr. Gil Chavez, deputy director of the Center for Infectious Diseases with the California Department of Public Health, in a teleconference with reporters earlier this week. “Clearly from this particular outbreak we can anticipate additional cases. If we can get people who are not vaccinated to get vaccinated, that would be super helpful.”


Chris Pratt (Guardians), Chris Evans (Captain America) make Super Bowl bet to benefit children’s charities

While the two actors both play superheroes in blockbuster Marvel franchises, the pair are rivals when it comes to their favorite sports teams, who will play each other in the 2015 Super Bowl on Feb. 1.

Pratt, who plays “Guardians of the Galaxy’s” Star-Lord, roots for the Seattle Seahawks, while Evans, who plays Captain America, is a fan of the New England Patriots.

In a Twitter exchange earlier this week, the stars good-naturedly bantered about their favorite teams before agreeing to a bet that would benefit two local children’s charities: Seattle Children’s Hospital and Christopher’s Haven in Boston.

Specifically, if the Patriots win, Pratt would visit Christopher’s Haven dressed as his Star-Lord character, and if the Seahawks win, Evans would don Captain America’s costume while visiting Seattle Children’s Hospital.


Tom Steyer will not run for Boxer Senate seat

Billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer said Thursday he will not be a candidate to succeed U.S. Senate Barbara Boxer and instead will continue his focus on helping fellow Democrats and working to reverse the effects of global climate change.

“Given the imperative of electing a Democratic president – along with my passion for our state, I believe my work right now should not be in our nation’s capital but here — at home in California, and in states around the country where change is on the move,” Steyer, a 57-year-old Democrat from San Francisco, wrote in an entry on The Huffington Post.

Steyer came to his decision after watching President Barack Obama and California Gov. Jerry Brown give recent speeches in which they made protecting the environment a top priority. Steyer’s exit from the field shifts attention to a possible run for governor in 2018, and more immediately to other potential Boxer successors such as former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who has indicated he is looking closely at the Senate seat.

“Tom Steyer has shown himself to be a real champion for change in his passionate campaign for a cleaner and healthier world,” Villaraigosa said Thursday. “I am proud to be an ally in that fight and wish him all the best.”


Female veteran shamed for parking in veterans-only spot

WILMINGTON, N.C. - An Air Force veteran who served in Kuwait found a note on her car Friday criticizing her for parking in a veterans-only parking spot in Wilmington.

Mary Claire Caine told WECT-TV that she returned to her car from shopping at Harris Teeter to find a note plastered to her front window from a person identifying themselves as a "Wounded Vet."

It read, "Maybe can't read the sign you parked in front of ... This space is reserved for those who fought for America ... not you. Thanks, Wounded Vet."

Caine, who served in Kuwait and on the flight line of the F-117 Nighthawk, said her heart sank.

"The first thing I felt was confusion that there was a mistake, and that I had to talk to this person and ask them why they were so quick to assume I wasn't a veteran and that I was taking privileges that didn't belong to me," Caine said.

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