Tuesday, October 27, 2009

H1N1 Vaccine May be the Greater Evil

Swine Flu is still non-lethal; meaning treatable and "not life-threatening in most cases." It's important to remember this when we look at past outbreaks, like the one I mentioned where the vaccine was more lethal than the actual disease.

Oh wait, did I say past events? I meant past and present:

Meet Desiree Jennings, a former Washington Redskins cheerleader who can NO LONGER WALK after receiving this year's flu shot:

Yes, Desiree's reaction only applies to 1/1,000,000 people. But with over 300 million people in the US, it's likely she won't be the only one who was better off getting the Flu. I'm very sorry to everyone who has suffered from illness, but if you have a healthy immune system, please think twice before getting vaccinated.

the Real Census Comes in 2010

Republicans: they care about their voters so much, they're willing to trick you to hear your opinion!

Yes, the image you see to your right is an actual (minus the red edits) mailing sent out by the Republican National Committee. Don't worry, they won't send you this "census" unless you are a registered and declared Republican voter...or a Democrat Party Chair in Virgina, whose wife recently found this in the mail and posted it online for all to see.

The Democrats are probably hoping that by spreading this around, they can make the RNC look bad. But, the same people who won't read the fine print on those "census" forms probably won't read this news article, either.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Maine: Put Your Money Where Your Marriage Is

Maine is currently battling Prop 1, which would overturn their new law permitting gay marriage. Two groups are up against each other in this fight;
Protect Maine Equality (Vote No on 1)
Stand for Marriage Maine (Vote Yes on 1)

The anti-gay-marriage Stand for Marriage Maine is very behind on $ raised, with only $2.5 million for their opponent's $4 million. So it's understandable, that they would criticize their opponents, saying that the pro-gay-marriage group has unfairly raised more than half their funds from out-of-state contributions.

EXCEPT that if we look at Stand for Marriage's stats, they've actually raised 70% of their funds from out of state! This means while out-of-state, the pro-gay-marriage group has just slightly more support, in-state they have over THREE TIMES the financial support of their "Stand for Marriage" opponents. This study goes on to mention that the average contribution of Protect Maine Equality is only about $400, while Stand for Marriage Maine's average supporter gives almost $4,000.

So what we have here is; a small number of wealthy donors attempting to take away the right to marry from Maine citizens, and mostof these donors are from outside the state! Something seems inherently broken about this equation..

Monday, October 19, 2009

PA Saves Education, Creates Casinos

Earlier this month, Pennsylvania almost closed its State libraries due to a broken state budget. The state had been running for months without a budget, and the legislators still couldn't agree on one that would balance for the next two years. There were too many expenses and not enough funding! No one wanted to accept cuts for schools or social services, but no one wanted to raise taxes either. :-/ Meanwhile, programs in PreK education, drug and alcohol counseling, domestic-violence shelters, and food pantries continued to suffer the immediate lack of funding-- laying off staff, reducing hours, cutting services, or simply closing altogether.

Luckily, Governor Ed Rendell had a great idea. Legalize gambling! If this bill goes through, it will create an extra $730 million in yearly funds, most of which will go to the state's universities.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Dark Side of the Tweet

Remember when Twitter was used to aid the Green Revolution in Iran? Most people thought helping those protectors assemble was a good thing.

Well, that time is past. Welcome to the flipside.

Elliot Madison, a self-proclaimed Anarchist, was using Twitter to broadcast police locations during the recent G-20 Summit. And while investigating the government and sharing information about it would seem to be protected in America, Elliot and his accomplice have been charged with criminal use of communication facility.

Apparently, the growing utility of Twitter has pushed the First Amendment up against a wall. Who would have thought there are some things it's illegal to tweet about?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Obama's Nobel Intentions

Nobel Peace judges surprised everyone when they awarded this year's prize to fledging President Barack Obama. The only two other US Presidents to receive the prize were Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt, and it took them more than one year of office to win the award.

The judges say their decision was unanimous, and that Obama clearly deserves the prize, as he has "contributed the most to peace in the world in the preceding year." They cited his accomplishments as closing down Guantanamo Bay, negotiating with Iran and North Korea, defending America at the G20 Summit, and dismantling nuclear arms in America and Russia.

Supposedly, other world leaders support Obama's award, and the critics mainly include the American media and rival politicians. This makes me wonder, who is running our media? If other countries are congratulating our President, why can't we do the same?

Maybe its more profitable to print critical news in place of celebratory news. Or maybe, America has a hard time congratulating their leader when so many of us are jobless, homeless and watching health care reform get further and further away. If our leader is so talented, maybe he should turn a little more of that talent towards domestic issues!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Swine Flu Kills [Sanity]

With the approach of cold weather, more businesses are posting signs about personal hygiene in the face of Swine Flu. You may have become accustomed to seeing signs telling you how to wash your hands and the proper way to sneeze. But if you don't appreciate being treated like a five-year old, this post is for Y O U. The sign at right is a perfect example of the useless propaganda that's spreading (like a virus, haha!) as flu season approaches. Schoolchildren washing their hands every hour, facemasks in public, classes being canceled and offices closing down; you can now mock each and every one of these events with the proper information.

1. Hand washing does NOT stop spread of the swine flu. You are much more likely to get it from someone sneezing; the virus actually becomes inactive once it hits your skin! (source)

2. Swine Flu is NOT deadly, the regular flu is actually SIXTY TIMES more likely to kill you. Being afraid of Swine Flu today is like climbing into an active volcano and worrying you'll die from a lightning strike. (source)

3. You probably ALREADY breathed in Swine Flu, and didn't even know it. Swine Flu has been in the United States since last spring, and has managed to spread around to most states since then. You can track weekly reports of flu prevalence at the CDC Website here.

4. If you are still scared, there are now vaccines available for the Swine Flu. However, the vaccines may actually be MORE dangerous than Swine Flu itself. The US already had a Swine Flu Panic in 1976, and while an unfortunate single soldier died from that flu outbreak, many times more people died after receiving the vaccine and contracting Guillain-Barré syndrome. Guillain-Barré syndrome is a paralyzing neuromuscular disorder, a rare side-effect of modern influenza vaccines. It only affects 1/1,000,000 vaccine receivers, but compared to the single US casualty of the Swine Flu in 1976, the vaccine killed more people than the disease itself.

So, what can you do in the face of Swine Flu? I'd recommend something like the green bio-mask at right. Sure, it's ridiculous to think that putting plants on your face will protect you from getting the flu. But at least you'll get noticed, and it's no more ridiculous than any of the other public responses to Swine Flu.