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In the era of Donald Trump, will the states save us from antivaxers?

There might be an antivaxer in the White House right now, but it’s at the state level where vaccine policy and school vaccine mandates are decided.

It seems hard to believe that the Disneyland measles outbreak occurred more than two years ago. It was during the Christmas holiday of 2014 that an measles outbreak occurred centered at—of course—Disneyland, thanks primarily to unvaccinated children facilitating the spread of the highly contagious disease at the “Happiest Place on Earth.” What made this particular outbreak so important, though, was that it provided the impetus Senator Dr. Richard Pan and Senator Ben Allen to introduce a bill (SB 277) into the California legislature for consideration. What made SB 277 unique and its introduction surprising is that it eliminated all personal belief exemptions to school vaccine mandates, leaving only medical exemptions. The long and winding road towards passage consumed a fair amount of my blogging throughout 2015. To my surprise, SB 277 actually passed. Yes, it’s true that antivaxers are protesting and doing their damnedest to game the system by selling medical exemptions, but in general SB 277 appears to be working.

After the election of Donald Trump, I expressed concern about what might happen to federal vaccine policy based, of course, on Trump’s long, sordid history of spewing antivaccine nonsense in interviews and on Twitter. Basically, he is antivaccine, and it’s hard not to worry about how Trump could undermine trust in vaccines and change federal vaccine policy for the worse, to the point where it’s hard not to be concerned that 2017 will be the antivaccine year.

As pessimistic as I’ve been sounding, I’ve recently realized that all is not lost. Remember, the vast majority of vaccine policy is made at the state level, not the federal level. It is the states that determine school vaccine requirements, not the federal government. The CDC publishes a recommended vaccine schedule, and the states use it to guide decision-making when constructing their school vaccine mandates. Aside from that, pediatricians also vaccinate based on the recommended schedule. That’s why, as depressed as I’ve been at the election of an antivaccine loon as our President, I was heartened to see an article published on GreenMedInfo. GreenMedInfo, as you might recall, is a website run by Sayer Ji, whom we’ve encountered before on multiple occasions mangling and misinterpreting science in the service of quackery. Indeed, his whole website is dedicated to doing just that, all in order to make pseudoscience seem scientific.

There, Jeffrey Jaxen has published an article entitled NVIC Tracking 134 Vaccine Bills Introduced in 35 States. Since it’s been a while since I wrote about the NVIC, I’ll just remind readers right here that the NVIC is the Orwellian-named National Vaccine Information Center, one of the oldest existing antivaccine groups out there, founded by the grande dame of the antivaccine movement, Barbara Loe Fisher. Although I realize that the idea behind Jaxen’s article is to stir up fear among antivaccinationists that the government is coming to forcibly vaccinate their children, much as the NRA routinely stirs up fears among its members that the government is coming to take their guns, the fact that the NVIC is worried about the number and scope bills being introduced in state legislatures around the country makes me feel perhaps a bit less worried about the future of vaccine policy in the era of Trump. I especially like that Jaxen starts the article out thusly:

A tidal wave of new bills has flooded 35 states in the U.S., threatening to either limit or completely eradicate vaccine exemptions. Clearly health freedom and informed consent is undergoing full frontal assualt right now. Please read, share, and take action accordingly.

Gee, Mr. Jaxen, you say that as though it were a bad thing. Rant on, dude. Rant on:

Yet, despite multiple whistleblowers within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) spotlighting research corruption and pharmaceutical industry collusion, over $3 billion dollars paid out in vaccine damages by the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, widespread vaccine contamination, and overall ineffectiveness and dangers of the current vaccine schedule there has now been 134 vaccine bills introduced in 35 states in the first seven weeks of the US legislative session.

According to the National Vaccine Information Center’s (NVIC) Advocacy Team who track vaccine-related bills, 31 new bills have been added since the team’s last update two weeks prior. Eight of these new bills are in five states appearing for the first time. The coordinated legislative push represents nothing short of a full frontal onslaught by pharmaceutical companies, working through their lobbied politicians, to force dangerous vaccine products upon the backs of the entire US population.

So what are the kinds of bills that get the NVIC all hot and bothered—and not in a good way? It’s not too hard to figure out. The types of bills generally fall into the following categories:

  • Bills that eliminate or restrict nonmedical exemptions to school vaccine mandates.
  • Bills that expand vaccine tracking or eliminate “opt-in” Consent for vaccine tracking.
  • Bills that mandate that parents or guardians claiming a personal belief exemption to vaccines undergo state-mandated education about vaccines prior to being granted one. (We have this policy in Michigan, and it’s worked well to decrease rates of personal belief exemptions. No wonder antivaxers hate it and have been trying to pass a law to reverse it.)
  • Bills that require the public disclosure of vaccination and exemption rates for individual school districts and schools. Tellingly, the NVIC refers to these bills as “school shaming bills.” Funny how antivaxers are all for “full disclosure” about vaccines, except for when they aren’t.

However, the bills that really get Jaxen worked up are these, which the NVIC views as “persecution” (of course):

Perhaps the most disturbing trend and telling takeaway from this new surge of vaccine-related bills within the US is the clear move to legally persecute those choosing to not vaccinate. The new structure to implement vaccine persecution is appearing in two different forms. First, Connecticut, Idaho, Kansas, Massachusetts, Montana, New York, Texas, and Utah have filed bills to expand vaccine tracking or eliminate opt-in consent for vaccine tracking. Second, Arizona, Connecticut, Nevada, New York, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah have filed bills that would allow ‘school shaming’ by requiring and normalizing the public disclosure of vaccination and exemption rates. Nevada has gone one step further than the rest by introducing AB 200 allowing parents to find out from the school if any children who are not vaccinated are attending.

See what I mean? From my perspective, it would be a very good thing if all states published the percentage of children whose parents claimed personal belief exemptions. Yes, in a small number of cases there could be potential conflicts with HIPAA, the federal health privacy law, in that in small schools knowing the percentage of personal belief exemptions might in some circumstances allow some to surmise the identities of children whose parents claimed nonmedical exemptions, but in the vast majority of cases that will not be an issue. Moreover, it is certainly possible to craft policies that allow disclosure of vaccine uptake rates, both overall and for individual vaccines without violating HIPAA. Such information would be very useful to parents of children who for medical reasons can’t be vaccinated. Heck, it would be useful for all parents concerned about protecting their children from potentially deadly diseases.

Similarly, vaccine tracking is very important as well. Our state, for example, has MICR, the Michigan Care Improvement Registry, which tracks vaccine delivery. It’s basically a statewide database that makes it easy for providers to tell which vaccines a child has has had. It eliminates the need for vaccine cards and allows doctors and other providers to know which vaccines a child still needs and when. Overall, it’s a huge help, both for providers and children. No wonder antivaxers like the NVIC are opposed to making it easier for states to use such systems to track vaccines administration.

Not suprisingly, the NVIC doesn’t like laws requiring that parents seeking personal belief exemptions undergo education. For example, before it passed SB 277, California first tried a law like this requiring parents seeking personal belief exemptions to meet with a pediatrician or other listed health care provider for counseling. As I pointed out above, Michigan is another example. Our state has a policy requiring that parents seeking nonmedical exemptions not only undergo counseling and education, but that they go to a local state or county health department office for the educational offering, ensuring uniformity. Get a load of how the NVIC characterizes such laws:

Connecticut, Texas, and Utah have introduced new bills that require families that utilize vaccine exemptions to participate in a state-sponsored vaccine (re)eduction program. The discriminatory and presumptuous bills assume that those who exert their medical and parental choice are uneducated and ignorant. For the increasing populations of people that believe in health freedom and understand that vaccines are not necessarily safe or effective, attempted bills to force “education” are a sign that pharmaceutical companies and their paid/lobbied mouthpieces have lost control of the narrative and messaging.

No, such laws are an effort to reach parents who claim personal belief exemptions because it’s easier than getting their children vaccinated. Indeed, that was a large part of the rational behind California’s law, AB 2109, which mandated education but was unfortunately undermined by a signing statement by Governor Jerry Brown. Basically, such laws provide real informed consent instead of misinformed consent based on antivaccine pseudoscience that minimizes the benefits of vaccines while vastly exaggerating the dangers; that is, when it isn’t frightening parents with nonexistent risks due to vaccines, such as the long-debunked claim that vaccines cause autism. As for Jaxen’s claim that these bills are a sign that states assume “those who exert there medical and parental choice are uneducated and ignorant,” well, such parents are usually not uneducated, but they are generally ignorant of good science. No education session is going to deter hard core antivaxers, but it might give those on the fence the nudge they need to vaccinate their children.

Not surprisingly, antivaxers are also against quality metrics with respect to vaccinations:

Individual physicians will face a new angle of pressure to meet the “standard of care” as new bills are introduced to track, share, and publish vaccination data as well as restrict or eliminate vaccine exemptions. The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) collects data and issues “report cards” on health plans which meet “important standards of care.” Put simply, The NCQA ratings for health plans are partly dependent upon their ability to deliver pharmaceutical products. If the new bills chronicled by NVIC are signed into law, doctors wishing to allow vaccine choice or using their medical judgement in cases involving vaccine waivers may face a medical board investigation from their respective state. In addition, health plans being rated by the NCQA will likely put pressure on participating doctors who are not fully vaccinating all their patients.

Again, Jaxen says this as though it, too, were a bad thing.

Of course, it’s not all good news on the state front. There are also quite a few bills out there that would actually add or expand vaccine exemptions, and the NVIC is all for these, making them a “priority support alert. Apparently these bills have been introduced in Hawaii, Iowa, Idaho, Mississippi (where it didn’t go anywhere and died), New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and West Virginia. Not surprisingly two of these states, West Virginia and Mississippi, are two of the three states (California is not the third) that allow only nonmedical exemptions. They’re particularly all-in for bills that would state that failure to vaccinated or the decision to delay vaccines does not constitute child abuse, such as Oregon SB 687. Then there are bills that would forbid physicians from refusing to treat patients who refuse vaccination, as Texas HB 1070 would, in addition to penalizing doctors who violate it by making them ineligible to receive funds from the state for services provided to patients.

If you want the non-antivaccine version of this, Jann Bellamy summarized some of the bills being considered by the states. My point is that things are not as bleak as having an antivaxer as President who, if he decides to focus on vaccine policy, could really screw up the CDC and federal vaccine policy. At the state level, however, things are not nearly so bleak. Sure, it’s a mixed picture, but my perception is that there’s probably more good than bad happening in state legislatures. In the age of Trump, that gives me hope.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

61 replies on “In the era of Donald Trump, will the states save us from antivaxers?”

I’ve been told that the two Arizona bills are very unlikely to get out of committee. One bill makes it easier for parents to know a school’s vaccination rate by requiring schools to post it on their web site (something only the most mean-hearted of anti-vaccine people would oppose, but that is the NVIC for you) and the other would revoke the law (passed a few years ago) that allowed non-vaccinating families to be foster families (because, that’s just what every in-utero-drug-exposed severely premature infant placed in foster care needs is a foster family where s/he can catch pertussis or measles or varicella). The school bill failed to get out of committee last year and the foster family bill will be lobbied against claiming that AZ is so severely short of foster families that it’s wrong to turn away any/all who want to foster. To this I would argue (having been licensed to foster and having fostered children in AZ) that there are many other rules and requirements to get a foster license in AZ and a lot of those rules aren’t nearly as important as making sure medically fragile children are kept in a family with full vaccination status.

Meanwhile if this rise in national anti-vaccinationism at all drops vaccine rates in AZ, we are at high risk for vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks. When I have a clinic day where I see multiple families refusing vaccines, I do sometimes wish I lived where herd immunity has not already been compromised.

Yet, despite multiple whistleblowers within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) spotlighting research corruption and pharmaceutical industry collusion…


multiple whistleblowers within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

I’ll rephrase Science Mom’s question a bit more specifically. We know about William Thompson. Who else is Mr. Jaxen referring to?

To be honest, I don’t know. I thought about trying to figure it out, but it was late and I just needed to get the damned post done. 🙂

William Thompson isn’t even a whistleblower, just a hot-headed malcontent who pissed all over his colleagues. NVIC wouldn’t be exaggerating would they? Nah.

They tend to also throw in the two Merck guys who are suing over the Mumps component’s efficacy.

@ James Lind (#8),

I met Andrew Wakefield at a conference several years ago and we accidentally, briefly, talked about latex in vaccine.

Unfortunately, Andrew Wakefield gave me the British version of respectful insolence.

Orac and Andrew Wakefield are two peas-in-a-pod in this respect. Although I admire both of them!

There is a rumor with possible substantiation that Donald Trump’s anti-vax stand comes from one particular place. That his youngest son may be autistic.

There have been several studies that point to the age of the father being associated with the risk of autism in the offspring. It is much easier for Donald Trump to blame vaccines rather than think he himself contributed to the problem.

They tend to also throw in the two Merck guys who are suing over the Mumps component’s efficacy.

Right, there’s Krahling & Wlochowski, and then there’s also the “Utah whistleblower,” a straight employment case that I thought wrapped up a while ago.

My state’s not listed? Eh, I suppose we have too many suburbs for a vaccine bill to even be considered. I have been considering bending the ear of my reps for a sundown bill (no one in the big cities after dark unless they have a ticket to an event or working in the evening) and an anti-spice bill (no seasonings except salt and pepper to be sold outside the metro-core) but I have some concerns about implementation. But it’s not like anyone who lives in the suburbs needs stuff like art, music, museums or spicy food, right?

#2 Science Mom, “Huh?”, in response to Jeffrey Jaxen’s quoted statement – “Yet, despite multiple whistleblowers within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)…”

The anti-vaccinationists seem to be all worked up over these anonymous “whistleblowers”:

In their tiny little minds they seem to think that it somehow impugns the integrity of vaccine science.
I guess “any port in a storm” “anything to paint the CDC in a bad light” is not unexpected from these loons.

#10 Former Technician

That isn’t unique to Donald Trump. There are still enough question marks around autism and other health issues physical and mental that parents want to find something to blame. An evil corporation putting profits before people is more tangible than the chaotic nature of the universe itself. Quackery in general likes to take advantage of the probabilities related to health, sickness and injury to promote their junk science. A surgeon can tell a parent a surgery has a 50% success rate because literally out of all recorded attempts, half went well. A naturopath will say that means modern medicine isn’t effective…

@ Reality, interesting and disturbing but yes, don’t see what that has to do with vaccine research.

NVIC wouldn’t be exaggerating would they?

I’m afraid so. And I hate to break the news to you, Capt. Renault, but there’s a roulette wheel at Rick’s Café Americain.

Thompson’s alleged claims are a staple of that crowd, and it wouldn’t surprise me if there were others they consider whistleblowers even if the facts don’t support it.

Most vaccine policy is made by the state. But the federal government could hurt disease prevention indirectly. And this isn’t necessarily about vaccine. Repealing the ACA may lead to cutting funding that helps public health departments fight outbreaks, and money used to provide access to vaccines to those who can’t afford them but want them.

So even without direct impact on vaccine policy, the Republican administration and Congress can still bring back diseases, if they’re not careful.

I met Andrew Wakefield at a conference several years ago and we accidentally, briefly, talked about latex in vaccine.

Unfortunately, Andrew Wakefield gave me the British version of respectful insolence.

I can just imagine how that went – “I say, chap, that is a rather silly idea, and you are a rather silly person”.

Every time the state legislature here in Virginia tries to do anything vaccine-related (toughen up exemptions, add vaccines to the school required list, make statistics more accessible to parents – these examples from the last 14 months or so), the lawmakers get flooded by NVIC emails, phone calls, and protests. Unfortunately it’s going to take a major outbreak here to be able to mobilize any pro-vax support to neutralize the very vocal minority, especially since NVIC is headquartered here apparently.

@Heather The outbreak scenario is what happened in California. After multiple major outbreaks of pertussis, it took the measles outbreak at Disneyland for California to remove the personal belief exemption.

Before that point the only states that didn’t have personal belief exemptions were West Virginia and Mississippi.

#9 MJD –
Try again.
Wakefraud has lowered his standards and now hangs with the UFO, Bigfoot, Chemtrailz, Spirit Channeling, Crystals, Sovrun Citizen, conspiracy crowd.
… Just expanding his market base, doncha’ see?

Another way the idiot can effect vaccination programs is to make the CDC increase the cost for subsidized vaccines used in many states for lower income children.

In most states the inability to pay for child vaccinations does not prevent the child from being vaccinated. The state eats the cost and with higher vaccine costs some states may change how they provide vaccinations.

PGP @12: Um, just to check, you do know the origin of “sundown” towns, right?
(My sarcasm detector is on the fritz.)

# 2 Science Mom

Of course. It’s a massive cover-up involving the NSA, the Illumati, and the KGB (never mind that they no longer exit—well actually, they went underground)

When you are deep in the world of conspiracy theories all this makes sense.

#19 HeatherVee

Unfortunately it’s going to take a major outbreak here

It may have been mentioned here before and I missed it but Romania is in the midst of a major outbreak of measles. So far, the ECDC reports 3,071 cases from September 2016 to February 2017 with a number of deaths —forgot to record it but IIRC it was over 100. Disneyland was a piker

Great example of what letting the vaccination rate drop, though my guess is this is due to poverty and lack of medical infrastrture and not antivax nuts. Somewhere in the report, again IIRC only 2 or three vacinated people have reported measles. The ECDC report makes look like Romania is frantically vaccinating.

Justatech: Yes, I am aware. Most suburbs up here, except for a handful of inner-ring suburbs are whiter than white. Karma. And I already said, workers get exemptions.

Shay: Well, here’s the thing- a lot of suburbanites are wailing and gnashing their teeth about the city’s light-rail, the minimum wage ordinance,safety (read, too many dark-skinned people walking around downtown/uptown, cue freakout) and attempting to interfere with the Met council. I say we screw with them right back, and since no one’s going to actually die from a lack of oregano or cinnamon, or not getting to that one thing because they forgot to buy the ticket in advance, it’s actually a fairly harmless way to mess with them. And it’d save wear and tear on our streets and highways.

I’m just really sick of the whining. If we could also steer vaccines, library money, and science ed toward the cities and leave the towns and burbs to muddle along, that’d be great too.

g. If we could also steer vaccines, library money, and science ed toward the cities and leave the towns and burbs to muddle along, that’d be great too.

Oh FFS. Thanks for wishing ignorance and possible death on my nephews, to begin with, since we happen not to live anywhere near a city.

Before that point the only states that didn’t have personal belief exemptions were West Virginia and Mississippi.

I think there should be a science belief exemption! There is so much rock-hard science incriminating the aluminum hydroxide in vaccines to subclinical encephalopathy.

And as Vinu points out, there is evidence that injected milk and egg proteins can actually create allergies the proteins involved. The immune system will rally against any injected protein whether it be the antigen or a food protein. Many vaccines declare ‘casein’ or ‘casamino acids’ on the label and many more have casein or casein polypeptides from Mueller-Miller Medium or Latham Medium. There are also a few notable vaccines which use an egg-culture.

And thimerosal is still present in some vaccines.

JP: Well, I’m sorry about that. Look, I wish your nephews all the st, and I sympathize, since my prospective neiph is going to be born in a state full of dumbfucks, but majority rules, you know? If the majority in an area wants to be dumbfucks, then why waste money and resources trying to change their minds? Even broadband can’t help.
Just concentrate the limited brain power and resources in areas where there are smart people who want progress and green areas for themselves and their kids. Maybe some day, the US will want to be smart again, but I just don’t see that happening. Heck, most people these days would cheerfully run over a bald eagle and not be bothered by it.

JP: Well, here’s the thing: majority rules. I’m not really happy about it either, since my prospective neiph is going to be surrounded by a sea of stupid, since bro and sister-in-law are in a little college town of blue surrounded by the quintessence of red states. Bigotry and corn as far as the eye can see.

But, you know, internet didn’t help, in fact it made the problem worse, and what can you do with a population that just doesn’t want anything to do with the modern world? Stop throwing money down the hole is what we can do.

Let’em burn all the books they want. If they want to be stupid, let them. We aren’t responsible for fixing their cranial-rectal insertions, and I have no sympathy for nazis.

We aren’t responsible for fixing their cranial-rectal insertions, and I have no sympathy for nazis.

WTF? Now people who live outside of cities are Nazis?

@Corinne Titus:

There is so much rock-hard science incriminating the aluminum hydroxide in vaccines to subclinical encephalopathy.

Citation needed. List the PubMed Numbers of the studies that show that.

And as Vinu points out, there is evidence that injected milk and egg proteins can actually create allergies the proteins involved.

Please. vinu has a wooden-headed fixation on this hobbyhorse of his, and has repeatedly ignored both requests for supporting evidence and evidence that refutes him. Citing him is a fail.

Okay Corinne (or more correctly Travis),
1) I asked for PubMed. What you posted is ResearchGate.
2) Argument by assertion (“It’s well-known that aluminum displaces iron in the brain”) is not evidence.

Firstly, Travis, pick a name and stick with it.
Secondly, I had a look at the Experimental Design.

Postnatal day 3 (PND 3) SD rats were randomly divided into 3 experimental groups, which received intraperitoneal injection of different AlCl3 (Merck 801081) loads for 14 d

In other words, they took 46 3-day old rats and injected them with varying concentrations of aluminium salts each day for 14 days. Small sample size and loading the deck.
Unconvincing, to say the least.

Hey, PGP, I live in a town of about 35K, can I still buy spices? True, I only use kosher salt and cracked black pepper on my brisket (it’s known as ‘Dalmatian rub’), but for ribs and pork shoulder I use a cornucopia spices, including oregano and cinnamon.

…safety (read, too many dark-skinned people walking around downtown/uptown, cue freakout)…

Well, of course, people are worried about safety in the big city. You said yourself that you face death every day riding the bus.

Since PGP has been ignoring the First Rule of Holes, I’m going to join the pile-on.

I live in a US town of about 15K people that has an Asian grocery store. OK, it’s a small (three-aisle) store, but it gets enough patronage to stay in business.

Twenty minutes away, in a slightly bigger town (between 20K and 25K), is another Asian grocery store. Again, not a very big one, but they do enough business to stay open.

My state’s Congressional delegation is 100% Democratic, and 100% female. Can your state make either claim?

Try searching YouTube for Trae Crowder, a.k.a. the Liberal Redneck (best to do so from home, as his salty language may be NSFW depending on your employer’s policies). He’s proud of being from a small town in Tennessee, and proud to be a liberal. Lots of us out here in the boonies share most of his opinions, even if we are not so overt about it (because we have to admit that some of our less enlightened neighbors have guns). And you will find plenty of Trumpanzees living within city limits.

Got it? Now start following the aforementioned First Rule of Holes: if you’re in one, stop digging.

Can you explain why you are pushing for 100% vaccination compliance, that’s not much faith in your religion. I stick with science and vaccines are not based on science
(Wade 1972 PMID 4333172) ” Saks Polio vaccine caused paralysis in monkeys”

If we could also steer vaccines, library money, and science ed toward the cities and leave the towns and burbs to muddle along, that’d be great too.


Just concentrate the limited brain power and resources in areas where there are smart people who want progress and green areas for themselves and their kids.

Ahh, I see. Let not your heart be troubled, PgP. For all we suburbanites and rurals are to be rounded up and herded into compact cities (indigeounous city-folk are gonna have to downsize to accommodate the influx of agenda 21-induced hords.) You’ll make lots of new friends when everyone is forced to live in stackable 200 sq foot pods. And we’ll all be eating nothing but crickets.

I forget I’m eating the arms, legs, heads, and wings of 40 bugs that have been pulverized into cricket flour

Meat’s meat and a man’s gotta eat; It takes all kinds of critters to make Farmer Vincent fritters — Motel Hell, 1980.

Twenty minutes away, in a slightly bigger town (between 20K and 25K), is another Asian grocery store. Again, not a very big one, but they do enough business to stay open.

We live literally in the middle of nowhere, and the two non-rafting businesses (a tavern where you can get sushi and spicy Korean chicken, and a gas station/grocery store) are both run by Korean families.

The closest town is 2 or 3 thousand people, and it has a taqueria. The town just across the river has at least one taqueria (my cousin and his wife run it), multiple authentic restaurants (where you hear mostly Spanish spoken) and a Mexican grocery.

So yeah.

Bigotry … as far as the eye can see.

Have you looked in the mirror lately?

@Julian #36: I can’t believe I’m doing this but . . .

Travis can’t pick a name and stick with it. He’s banned. He’s been sneaking in (often by impersonating other users here if he can figure out their email address).

He just needs to stay banned.

PGP @31: When you say “prospective neiph” I think the word you’re looking for is nibling (like sibling) and is the collective noun for nieces and nephews.

Well most Americans now are if not nazis, Klanners, it’s just that racists get significantly less encouragement in cities. I find it by turns sad and hilarious that Americans today are actually more prejudiced than Americans in the 1950s.

Johnny: I’m assuming that you’re not a midwesterner, so you’re fine.

Johnny: I actually am significantly less scared of any random African American or Mexican than I am of any random white dude.

PGP @46: You can apply it to an individual (“you’re going to have a sibling!”) or a group. Mostly it’s a fun word to say.

I think the word you’re looking for is nibling
I encountered that word for the first time yesterday but it seems that everyone else knows it already.

Well most Americans now are if not nazis, Klanners

You’re still digging, PGP. Let me remind you which Presidential candidate won the popular vote. Hint: it’s not the one in the White House.

And that’s the benign interpretation of your comment. The more malignant interpretation is that you are implicitly agreeing with Trump et al. that only white people can be Americans. Tell that to my co-worker’s daughter who just was accepted at MIT this week: she and her parents are naturalized citizens who immigrated from China (she has a younger sister who was born in the USA). Tell that to the many people whose ancestors lived in Mexico, but the border crossed them in the 1840s. Tell that to the people who invented jazz, blues, rock, and hip-hop, all musical genres that originated in the American black community.

@PGP re nazis, “Klanners.”

Uhm. Excuse me. DO NOT paint me with that brush, bucko. Nor most of the people I know.

Just because these guys are loud does not mean they are in the majority. Far from it.

Eric Lund: The more malignant interpretation is that you are implicitly agreeing with Trump et al. that only white people can be Americans

No, I don’t agree with that at all. The problem is most Americans seem to have come around to Trump’s view.

Panacea: How do you measure power? The group with all the volume has all the power, regardless of numbers. Let’s look at anti-vaxxers for instance- they always win, regardless of numbers.

PGpig writes,

Let’s look at anti-vaxxers for instance- they always win, regardless of numbers.

MJD writes,

As Orac would say….quit whining.

If you “always” trust medical science you’ve been brainwashed in that inequality is the instrument of evolution.

In simplification, something has to change.

MJD: Do any of those words mean anything? For a guy who claims to be a writer, your skills are seriously lacking. No wonder you keep trying to give your books away. No one would buy them.
And what do you suggest people use instead of medicine? Voodoo? Orgone? Positive thinking? Acupuncture?

Also, you might want to consider reading up on what evolution is before defaulting to using it as a snarl word.

I’m not sure where this belongs, but there’s a classic line in one of today’s letters to the editor of the New York Times..

The writer (Judith Bell of Berkeley, California) is upset over a new rule allowing for 24-hour shifts by first year medical residents. While I am personally not enthusiastic about the prospect of being treated by such a trainee nearing the end of a 24-hour shift, I took note of the following comment by Bell:

“Why do we need studies to look at what we all know is true?”

Words that could be carved on the tomb of evidence-based medicine. 🙁

@ PGpig and Dangerous Bacon (aka. pig bacon),

Acupuncture is harmless until the over-worked first year resident pushes the needle in to far.

Are such 24-hour shifts inhumane and does it intentionally violate the first rule of medicine – do no harm?

I think it can manifest into “accident waiting to happen”.

Go away Travis….I thought you were supposed to be out looking for a job?

MJD: So, in other words, you don’t know what your previous post meant either. Got it. Learn to edit and write, buster.

And what’s your thing with mangling my name? If you have ex-wife issues, take it up with a therapist or bartender, don’t drag me into it.

Sure, acupuncture and TCM are harmless. Mostly. They don’t do anything to address actual medical issues and TCM is why rhinos are going extinct.


What nonsense. No, the antivaxxers do NOT “always win.” Far from it. If they always won, we’d be hip deep in a measles pandemic right now.

Volume can give you a temporary boost but eventually cooler heads always prevail, and the loud voice becomes shrill and impotent.

“The group with all the volume has all the power”

Tell that to Derrick Watson.

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