Saturday, January 8, 2011

Study Linking Vaccine to Autism Was 'Elaborate Fraud,' Journal Says

The first study to link a childhood vaccine to autism was based on doctored information about the children involved, according to a new report on the widely discredited research.

The conclusions of the 1998 paper by Andrew Wakefield and colleagues was renounced by 10 of its 13 authors and later retracted by the medical journal Lancet, where it was published. Still, the suggestion the MMR shot was connected to autism spooked parents worldwide and immunization rates for measles, mumps and rubella have never fully recovered.

You can find many, many articles regarding autism and some recent changes being considered by the people who produce the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the DSM.
Asperger's syndrome is really just a form of autism and does not merit a separate diagnosis, according to a panel of researchers assembled by the American Psychiatric Association.
According to the FAQ on the DSM-V Web site, the proposal has to do with the criteria to diagnose Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). It states that the symptoms that separated Asperger's Syndrome from Autism in the DSM-IV, the language impairment and/or delay, "is not a necessary criterion for diagnosis of ASD..."
I listened to a news report just last week on All Things Considered (that for some reason I can't find) that the gentleman responsible for getting Asperger's into the DSM said he had "made a mistake". He said the mistake was in the definition that was placed in the DSM. It was too broad. It led to a rise in diagnosis of the condition.

As the doctors began diagnosing the condition a steep rise in incidence alarmed the psychiatric community. This rise also led to increased funding and research as to the causes of Asperger's and increased funding of resources at schools across the country. If a child was diagnosed, a 50,000$ increase in funding occurred for each student. You can just imagine what began to happen.

I am not passing any judgment about these conditions. They are real and plague a good number of children and adults. I have been skeptical from the beginning that vaccines caused autism. They may or may not be responsible for individual cases of autism.

It seems perhaps, that the increase of Autism was not related to the vaccines and possibly related to the increased diagnosis of the disorder.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Sanitized Edition Of 'Huckleberry Finn' Causes Uproar

A former Seattle librarian just named Librarian of the Year says she finds an upcoming revised edition of Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn "distressing."

In NewSouth Book's new edition, they will replace the "n-word" and "injun" with the word slave.

"I think it's a mistake, because books are written at a particular time in history, and we need to read them with the knowledge that they're written at those times," says Nancy Pearl, a former Seattle librarian, just named Librarian of the Year by Library Journal. "This is the way the world was then, and this is the way the world is now, when that kind of language isn't acceptable."

"...and we need to read them with the knowledge that they're written at those times," says Nancy Pearl
Nancy, you know this, and I know this. But are the children taught this? It surprised me everyday what my kids came home from school spouting. They don't seem to be taught about literature. It doesn't keep their attention. So they are busting their asses to get the kids "plugged in" to these books. But somewhere they are missing the point of teaching them in the first place.

I'm sure we can put some of this on the move toward POLITICAL CORRECTNESS and the fear of being sued by parents. It's cheaper to ban the book than to fight a lawsuit from a parent who doesn't want their kid to read a word they hear every day at school.

I'm torn on this issue. First and foremost, I want the book to stay in its original form. I can't believe a book that is universally recognized as one of the greatest pieces of literature written by an American could be banned by a library over a word. Libraries are filled with books that are filled with words. Words are what you make them to be.

I am an Okie. I am proud to be called an Okie. But in the 1930s if you called someone an Okie it was an insult. Okies were the poor people of Oklahoma that moved west after falling on hard times during the depression. The famous orator Will Rogers wrote tirelessly to change the term in to one Oklahomans could be proud of. Merle Haggard wrote a song that proclaimed he was "proud to be an Okie from Muskogee", it was number one on the Country Charts in 1970 and made it to number 46 on the pop charts.

I hear people today say to me and others, "So your an Okie." And I always answer, "and proud of it too."

So when Mark Twain wrote "injun" and "nigga" in his novel, those were the terms people used in that day. Its important to the story to understand the terms were meant to deride those people and tell you what their station was in the story.

No one I know uses "injun" any longer in modern speech. I have heard it many times at historical reenactments, but it is a learning environment. The only people I ever hear use the word "nigga" are black kids in my home town. They are using it to describe one another and not always in a negative way.

Mike Birbiglia, puts it best...

So when I heard the publisher wanted to produce a version of the book to get into libraries, I was thinking, can that be all bad? At least this book would in some form or another be in the hands of anyone who might want to read it. Would the book notes tell the reader of the change?

After careful thought, I believe everyone should let it go and stop banning a book because of 19th century language that was perfectly acceptable in the day. Stop the political correctness silliness and get one with enjoying fine literature and understanding its context in our modern society.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

This could explain a few things about Florida

JACKSONVILLE, Florida — Florida teenagers learning to drive won't be able to get their learner's permits online anymore.

Since 2004, the state had allowed people to take the learner's permit test online. The permit is needed before getting a driver's license.

But state officials say the online test is unreliable, and that's why it's being canceled. In 2009, the DMV retested about 600 people who passed the test online. Only 41 percent of those people passed the test in person.

Maybe they should let people take their driving test with their uncles too? I can't believe you could take the test online in the first place.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I WANT to be Deported, He Tells Police. Then Makes it Happen

File this one under bizarre: a 38-year-old man demanded to be arrested and deported to Mexico.

Guadalupe Cruz-Vásquez asked on Monday that Idaho police take him into custody, the Idado Mountain Express reported. When they didn't oblige, he stole one of their squad cars.

Bill him for the plane ticket, the window, and the gas too.

A thought provoking piece from NPR

Media critic Jay Rosen says mainstream news reporters don't tell you what they believe enough of the time, but there would be a real benefit to such disclosure.

Back in the day my readers got a fair amount of opinion from this blog. In recent years it has fallen off to basically none. The hate you can generate from taking a side on an issue is amazing. Some times I can just ignore the comments. Other times I feel they are just plain rude.

Most people don't have the balls to say the things they type on a computer to another person's face. If you have met me, IN PERSON, I know you wouldn't say some of the things that are said in the comments. Firstly because of the utter rudeness, you would likely get punched in the face. But secondly because I don't warrant such attacks.I'm a mild, but passionate person and for the most part people like me!

Knowing your news reporter and reading what is typed is essential to understanding the point of view. 
Most of you know these things about me...
I love this country.
I hate communism, socialism, and especially FASCISM.
I am a United States Marine.
I do not believe in gun control of any kind.
I believe a lot of our societal ills can be solved with a return to traditional values of family, religion, manners and hard work.

Those are probably the big five.

Those few of you that know me probably guess that politically I am a conservative Republican. Fact: I am a registered Republican. Fact: I am conservative. But in my state I could easily be a conservative democrat. A blue dog represents one of our congressional districts here in Oklahoma and I'd guess he votes 80% of the time with the other conservative Republican representatives of my state.

You might even say I have strong Libertarian beliefs, but I'm not "married" to any specific ideology. I think in another time and place a Libertarian government would work.

I believe on the whole that I am a moderate. I believe deep down most people are moderate. When shown the importance of any issue and ALL the facts, most people will agree to some extent on its importance. I believe that makes a person a moderate. If you adhere to a set of ideologies no matter what, I believe that makes you an extremist.

Religion is the last plank that has not been discussed. Let's get that out of the way. I was raised a Catholic and now practice a non-denominational Christian faith. I believe there is something more to faith and religion than we are being taught today. I don't know what that is...but its out there to find. I admire the deeply religious people of all religions. The greatest religious teacher I have ever met is a former former DEA agent, housewife to an Air Force officer, and mother of 3 daughters. You never know where you'll find something if you start looking for it. I once said, "I would follow you on a combat tour of Hell armed only with a toothpick." She is an amazingly religiously faithful woman.

All of this is for my readers that have not known me for the nearly 9+ years (October 2002) I have been blogging the news. This is not to say I will be bringing back any commentary on political news stories, either. You will have to enjoy the fluff pieces and hopefully we can have a laugh together at the expense of others. But if I sneak one in here and there, remember its only because I believe it affects all of us deeply.

Have a good day...Hey look, It's National Whipped Cream Day. Hallelujah!

Even Herb Alpert knows the secret of Whipped Cream.

Why don't the aliens want to abduct the Kiwi's?

Right now, in a galaxy far, far away, an alien in the latter stages of holiday planning is peering at a map of our planet. His eyes hover over the image of New Zealand, and come to rest on two words. They are "toilet stop".

The truth is out there, and it's humiliating. There's a unifying theme emerging from the 2000-plus pages of top-secret reports into UFO sightings released by the Defence Force last week, and it is this: as far as extra- terrestrial life is concerned, we are a pit-stop on the road to nowhere.

Look at the evidence. Other countries get alien abductions by the truckload. But in the more than half a century of contact recorded in the Defence Force X-files, not a single alien has bothered to have any meaningful interaction with us.

Most gallingly of all, aliens don't want to have sex with us. They show no interest in ravishing us with their giant tentacles, and keep their probes firmly in the pockets of their metallic space suits when we're around. Face the facts, New Zealanders: aliens are just not that into us.

Does the whole country seriously spell "defence" with a C?

I can just see the aliens posting on New Zealand's Facebook page, "I like you, I just don't like you in 'that' way. Can we still be friends?"

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

You Talk Funny

This guy has spent a lot of time studying the dialects of American English. This is pretty interesting stuff and I hope you get a kick out of it as much as I did. 

He even reviews the historical cases for some of the differences...
Inland and Lowland Southern and their relationship to the extent of slavery before the Civil War
Inland South has full monophthongization of long /ī/ [aɪ] to [a]. This means that all long /ī/ [aɪ] vowels are not diphthongs, but essentially pure vowels, usually [a] (which is clearly distinguished from [ɑ]). Thus, the “i”s in “ride”, “buy”, and “right” are all the same, and all sound quite Southern! Adj. 30-Dec.-2010

Yeah, and you thought I was a nerd. Anyway, look for your particular area. You may find something interesting. Enjoy.

Monday, January 3, 2011

He won't be back...The Governator steps down

LOS ANGELES: Arnold Schwarzenegger steps down as California "Governator" Monday, defending his record to the last -- and keeping fans and others guessing about his next move.

After seven years at the helm of the Golden State, the former champion body builder turned "Terminator" movie megastar and businessman is leaving his adopted home mired in huge financial woes.

But in a newspaper interview to mark his handover of power to Democrat Jerry Brown -- two months after November 2 polls -- Arnie stood by all his decisions.

"The important thing with my job that I've had for the last seven years is, you have to have passion... You can't be afraid," he told the Los Angeles Times newspaper.

It is the end of an era in California. They are in debt passed their eyeballs. When the economy is humming things get paid for. And they spend everything they bring in. But now that the economy is in the crapper there are a lot of things the state can't afford, like schools and pensions. The problems California are having are exactly like the problems the United States Government will be having in the coming years. I don't like the way it looks.

I think I could confidently say that California would be in this mess no matter WHO was the Governator this past term. States across the US are coming to grips with something we should have seen a long time ago, an aging population and few taxpayers. The model to pay for promised benefits will have to change and people aren't going to like it. Asta la vista baby.