Antivaccine nonsense Medicine Politics

Oregon Republicans: Refusing to work until a pro-vaccine bill is shelved

In Oregon, Republicans refused to come back to a work until a bill eliminating nonmedical exemptions to school vaccine mandates was tabled, and the Democrats caved. And you wonderments why I call the GOP the party of antivaxers?

Oregon, but has been used throughout history, sometimes creating comical scenes. Abraham Lincoln once leapt out of a window in an attempt to deny a quorum when he was a lawmaker in Illinois. In Washington three decades ago, U.S. Sen. Bob Packwood (R-Oregon) was carried feet first into the Senate chamber after Democrats ordered the arrest of Republican senators who were denying a quorum.

The Oregon standoff ended on its fifth day Monday. It had been caused by GOP senators’ anger at a bill that raises taxes on some businesses to fund education. To get the Republicans to return, Democrats agreed not to advance a measure requiring vaccinations for children to attend public schools, unless they have a doctor’s note. Democrats also reportedly agreed to drop gun-control legislation.

Opposing bills to increase vaccine uptake and decrease gun violence, to the point of pulling a seldom used maneuver of having legislators hide out and deny a legislative body a full quorum? Nice.

The vaccine bill that Democrats were apparently forced to trade away was House Bill 3063, which would have eliminated nonmedical exemptions to school vaccine mandates. Specifically, it would have removed the “ability of parent to decline required immunizations against restrictable diseases on behalf of child for reason other than child’s indicated medical diagnosis.” It would also have allowed a:

…child who is not immunized or exempt for reason of indicated medical diagnosis to attend school that provides education program through online courses. Prohibits child from attending [in-person] in person specified school-related [activities] events, meetings and opportunities.

It would also have allowed the Oregon Health Authority to recommend additional diseases against which children should be immunized. Given the large measles outbreaks just across the river in Clark County, WA, HB 3063 was a common sense measure to increase vaccine uptake. Sadly, Republicans have killed it in the Senate after a battle to get it passed in the House:

The proposal shocked HB 3063’s opponents, many of them parents of the roughly 31,000 Oregon children that aren’t fully vaccinated according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommended schedule. Opponents held two large rallies outside the Capitol in March and April, calling fears about illnesses like measles overblown and vowing to fight what they saw as the government encroaching on their freedom to make medical decisions for their children.

More than 100 opponents filled the House chamber last week when lawmakers passed HB 3063 in a 35-25 vote, sending it to the Senate, where it appeared likely to pass with most Democrats in support and Republicans opposed.

Instead, Gov. Kate Brown won’t get a chance to follow Inslee, despite saying she would have signed HB 3063. A Senate Democrat said Brown briefed lawmakers about the deal to kill the bill in an effort to salvage the school funding package Monday morning, and Rep. Cheri Helt, R-Bend, who co-sponsored the bill, confirmed its death in a social media post several minutes before Republicans returned to the Senate to vote on the school funding tax.

It’s worth noting here that the co-sponsor, Rep. Cheri Helt, is a Republican. Not all Republican legislators are antivax. Most, are not, and some are admirably pro-vaccine. Unfortunately, as I’ve noted many times before, while it is true that most GOP legislators and politicians are not, strictly speaking, antivaccine themselves, many of them are susceptible to antivaccine pseudoscience because antivaxers appealing to “freedom” and “parental rights” to urge them to oppose school vaccine mandates. It often works, too. Also of note, every “vaccine choice” (translation: antivaccine) political action committee I’ve examined is very much right wing and lobby and support GOP candidates; e.g., the PACS in Michigan and Texas.

Some GOP legislators have become particularly antivaccine. For instance, Texas Representative Jonathan Stickland recently got into a Twitter exchange with Prof. Peter Hotez, public health researcher and staunch vaccine advocate accusing him of being a pharma shill and then:

That’s right. Rep. Stickland referred to vaccines as sorcery. He also referred to a critic as a “brainwashed Commie”:

Obviously, Rep. Stickland is a particularly extreme example of GOP antivaxer, of course, but unfortunately even the less extreme antivax-sympathetic legislators in Oregon were extreme enough to refuse to come back to work until a bill to increase vaccination (and a gun control bill) had been tabled. Meanwhile, the Oregon Republican Party is retweeting Tweets from antivaxers like this:


Sadly, that about sums up the Republican Party these days, their shutting down government business until antivaxers and the NRA are appeased. Unfortunately, that the Democrats in the Oregon Senate let them about sums up the Democratic Party these days as well.

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]

87 replies on “Oregon Republicans: Refusing to work until a pro-vaccine bill is shelved”

Ahh.. US politicians, doing their best to ensure that our UK ones aren’t “winning” the race to who can be the most childish and absurd.

Rep. Stickland ticks all the “obnoxious redneck” boxes – AFAIK he’s up for removing anything even remotely resembling gun control, pro-life, pro-marital rape, homophobic, transphobic, throws “commie” around like he’s in a straight-to-video Cold War action flick, and probably believes in a vision of God as a dungaree-wearing, shotgun-toting yokel who drives a Ford F-150.

He’s a joke.. or he would be if he were just posting his childish crap on the front page of Reddit with the rest of the meme-obsessed trolls. Unfortunately due to some cosmic mistake somewhere he’s actually been elected to a real office. Twice. sheesh

I want to paraphrase a recent TV ad in reference to Strickland: “The Oregon legislature – so simple a caveman or even Rep. Strickland can do it.”

I presume that the Rep Strickland has no problem with the government coming between me and my doctor of choice when I want a pregnancy terminated? Hypocrite.

“I presume that the Rep Strickland has no problem with the government coming between me and my doctor of choice when I want a pregnancy terminated? Hypocrite.”

Very very good point.

“Plus SORCERY! Oh my giddy aunt: what’s next, trial by water to determine if a woman is a witch?”

The medieval practice I would most want to see reinstated in my lifetime would be animal trials. Judge Judy would do a fantastic job. That would be great moments on Youtube.

@doritmi: “Everyone should want less diseases.”

Not at any cost to individuals and society. (Vaccines are not the item I would dispute here.)

Childhood vaccinations are very important. It’s time to think differently about vaccinations and education. Long term positive-reinforcement may encourage all students to get their vaccinations. In public schools, I propose that fully vaccinated students be given at least 50% less homework, or no homework at all, compared to inadequately vaccinated students. I’m not sure, but, are kindergartners burdened with homework in the 21st Century?

That would backfire badly. People don’t learn by sitting in class staring vacantly at the ceiling; they learn by exercising the skills expected of them, such as by completing homework tasks. This would essentially penalize children for being vaccinated.

Also, from a child’s perspective, it is an arbitrary rule that they have no control over, which won’t convince them that it is a thing to do when they become adults and parents. At least with keeping unvaccinated kids out of in-person school, there’s a public health justification — you need to lower your kid’s odds of passing a disease on to their peers by either vaccinating or keeping the kid home.

Mr Hadley-Day,

MJD is an ‘vaccine safety’ proponent, his comments should considered in that light

I and I guess, many others, need to know why? Why exactly should he be considered as a vaccine safety proponent? And no, an assertion without any evidence is really far from sufficient.


MJD is an ‘vaccine safety’ proponent, his comments should considered in that light

I’ve long since passed to viewing them as I would a felty poster of a Negress and tiger with a blacklight.

@Alain, I’m not the best advocate for MJD and I tend to fall with Narad when viewing most of what he says, but I also must say that I’m not sure he’s explicitly antivaccine. He’s made a lot of statements that suggest that he’s CAM adjacent, but that doesn’t necessarily mean antivax.

While the implementation is poorly considered, his suggestion of using the carrot over the stick is not necessarily a bad one.

Arkady G “But HB3063 in Oregon proposed to kick children who miss a single shot out of schools. Do you support that?”


Which disease do you think it would be OK to spread?

Arkady G “But HB3063 in Oregon proposed to kick children who miss a single shot out of schools. Do you support that?”


Which disease do you think it would be OK to spread?

(with apologies for butchering my attempt to correct my ‘nym typo)

@Box of Salt

Which disease do you think it would be OK to spread?

Please, kindly explain to me the logic behind sending home healthy children who don’t have hepatitis B vaccine while allowing children who have hepatitis B virus to attend school. Is hepatitis B transmission really a concern for school children?

From :

How is hepatitis B spread?
The hepatitis B virus is spread when blood, semen, or other body fluid infected with the hepatitis B virus enters the body of a person who is not infected.


Who is at risk for hepatitis B?

Although anyone can get hepatitis B, some people are at greater risk:

Infants born to infected mothers
People who inject drugs or share needles, syringes, or other drug equipment
Sex partners of people with hepatitis B
Men who have sexual contact with men
People who live with a person who has hepatitis B
Health care and public safety workers exposed to blood on the job
Hemodialysis patients

Please, kindly give me a compelling reason why hepatitis B vaccine must be required for school attendance.

Here’s one.
1) Hepatitis B can survive outside the body for up to a week. Many people who were infected with it do not know how they developed it.
2) Hepatitis B can cause such severe liver damage that a transplant is required, among other sequelae.
One of the items I had to study for a Certification was Risk, defined as the likelihood of an undesirable event multiplied by its impact. The impact of having a transplant due to a Hepatitis B infection is so massive that it is worth vaccinating as many people as possible to reduce the likelihood.

What also says:

The hepatitis B virus is spread when blood, semen, or other body fluid infected with the hepatitis B virus enters the body of a person who is not infected. People can become infected with the virus from:
•Birth (spread from an infected mother to her baby during birth)
•Sex with an infected partner
•Sharing needles, syringes, or drug preparation equipment
•Sharing items such as toothbrushes, razors or medical equipment such as a glucose monitor with an infected person
•Direct contact with the blood or open sores of an infected person
•Exposure to blood from needlesticks or other sharp instruments of an infected person

Hepatitis B virus is not spread through food or water, sharing eating utensils, breastfeeding, hugging, kissing, hand holding, coughing, or sneezing.

Some of those things are things that students will do. By the way, did you read the words “greater risk” in your cut and paste.

Why do you think children who were infected by nothing they had control over, like birth, should be denied an education over those who are deliberately unvaccinated? If you are unhappy with the vaccine requirements, then just homeschool.

Some reading for you:

Especially these stories:

2.5 Parent Story: When a Child Has Hepatitis B. Facing the tough everyday choices as a child with hepatitis B reaches second grade. 2001

2.6 Parent Story: The Day My Child Recognized His Mortality. Her son was 8 when he realized he would die someday. 2001

2.7 Parent Story: The Complexity of Play Dates. Even a visit to McDonald’s requires a risk assessment and possible disclosure when a mishap occurs. 2001

Fortunately those stories are now less frequent than twenty years ago because of the Hepatitis B vaccine.

How wonderful for Oregon politicians who can claim they were pro HB-3063 but just had to give it up for other important legislative reasons.

How awful for the children of Oregon who now remain very at-risk for further VPD outbreaks.

This is why the medical community (aka the AAP, AMA, AAFP) cannot sit back and wait for VPD outbreaks and then hope that state pass laws ending non-medical vaccine exemptions. It’s a very flawed policy, given we’re having record outbreaks and only 3 of 50 states have banned non-medical vaccine exemptions. Physician groups need to directly take on anti-vax physicians and anti-vax groups head on. This is a battle for the health of children and public health in general.

That is a total load of horse manure! You obviously havent read the vaccine inserts, or maybe you don’t have children, because if you did, you might read them before risking harming them with vaccines. If vaccines are so wonderful and important, then why is my only unvaccinated child never sick like her vaccinated siblings? Why does she have perfect vision and no behavior or learning disabilities like her siblings who are vaccinated? Why is it that her vaccinated siblings have deafness, blindness, tourettes, autism, add, adhd, rare digestive disorders, asthma, diabeates, heart defects, anal prolapse, autoimmune diseases, seizure disorders, food allergies, neurological disorders, metal allergies, ptescription allergies, ect…ect…ect… She was born 2 months early. She is learning things all her older siblings are learning with ease while her siblings struggle and sometimes never get the hang of it. She reads better at age 7 than her 9 year old brother, who has seizures and tourettes. She has no behavior problems, can ride a bike, tie her shoes, has legible handwriting, amazing hand eye coordination, and I was 36 when I had her. She can do crafts, color in the lines, draw very well, do chores, engage in intelligent conversations, cook, dog sit, dance, sing, her siblings cant do any of these things. Her vaccinated cousins have learning disabilities, behavior problems, speach problems, coordination problems, she speaks well and started speaking in sentences at 9 months. Her unvaccinated siblings and cousins are just like her. My children’s generation is the 1st in our family to have all these problems, disabilities, and diseases. My cousin’s only daughter died from vaccine injury, and my second youngest son is schizophrenic, following his mmr booster. Don’t you know that chicken pox vaccine and mmr vaccine have MRC-5, which is dna from a 12 week aborted male whose mother was forced to have a therapeutic abortion and was hospitalized for schizophrenia? My son is the only kid in my family who is both autistic and schizophrenic and had 3 mmr vaccines. All my kids who had mmr vaccine are autistic, as are their cousins. Both my boys who were only given their vaccines up to 6 months old have seizure disorders. Only my kids who had the flu shot developed tourettes. Only my youngest 2 boys had the hep b vaccine and were diagnosed with failure to thrive at 2 weeks old. All my vaccinated kids learn very slowly and have reading and speach disabilities. My only child that had the rotavirus vaccine is autistic, deaf, and his body starves because of a rare digestive disorder that robs him of protein. He also didnt double his birth weight by age 1 year. He was supposed to triple his birth weight. My youngest son regressed with every vaccination. All kids but my youngest were vaccinated according to the cdc schedule. 1 healthy perfect child out of 7 with no prior family history of and disability or disease, and now most of the kids in their generation in my family have life threatening illness or perminant disability, and will need care givers their whole life. All but the unvaccinated ones. Read the vaccine inserts and stop spreading hate and misinformation. The diseases and infections that vaccines allegedly prevent are more deadly and life threatening than the diseases themselves, and thanks to indoor plumbing and proper nutrition these diseases and infections are mild with an extremely low death rate unlike with vaccines. People like you make me sick. You have no real research backing your opinions, and you don’t know what you are talking about. Look up Holly’s law and learn why medical choice and fully informed consent is vital, and learn how much has been paid out for vaccine injuries. Its nowhere close to what should be paid out. Most claims are denied, and less than 1% of adverse reactions are reported. If you don’t like crack heads pushing crack on our kids, then be just as diligent in not allowing drug pushers to push us around in the medical industry. Because its the same damned thing, only the billies are highly paid drug pushers with high paying over the table jobs!

Oh, argument by package insert is never a good way to open: I’ve read them, and my daughter is fully vaccinated. One might ask if you’ve ever read the ingredients of an apple: cyanide is among them. Do you not eat apples because of the packing insert?

As I don’t have time to wade through that tract (ever heard of a Gish Gallop?), I’ll tackle one tiny piece:

If vaccines are so wonderful and important, then why is my only unvaccinated child never sick like her vaccinated siblings?

First, I question the authenticity of your whole tirade. I don’t know whether you’re lying or stretching the truth to inflate the importance of your claims. The laundry list you’ve posted may be total or partial fabrication. Second, you appear to be working on a sample size of N=2. How do you know that your own confirmation bias isn’t making you forget the times this one child was sick over others? Third, there are other reasons potentially for the problems you’re listing –in a small sample, one is blind luck. How do you know that another reason isn’t a better fit? Fourth, you place a great deal of faith in your own ability to judge basically everything, how do you know that you’re not wrong? Is it because you found a group of people who are saying things you want to hear? How do you know they aren’t wrong? Testimonial is the weakest form of evidence.

You have my sympathies if you’re the parent of a child with real problems. Vaccines probably did not cause them. And no, I’m not going to justify that for you because I know nothing I can say will sway you. But, I do hope you don’t get unlucky and lose your unvaccinated gem to a disease that can genuinely kill. These disease are running through your communities first.

Yeah, Aj’s work here reads like fiction, a collection of fantastical “vaccine injury stories and tropes s/he read somewhere and banged together in a wall o’ text that s/he invariable copy and pastes in a drive-by fashion.

The diseases and infections that vaccines allegedly prevent are more deadly and life threatening than the diseases themselves, and thanks to indoor plumbing and proper nutrition these diseases and infections are mild with an extremely low death rate unlike with vaccines.

Speaking as an ESL, is that English?
Speaking as a microbiologist, I’m waiting for you to explain to me how indoor plumbing is protecting against airborne diseases like measles.
Speaking from an European country which is experiencing the expected 1/1000 death rate from measles, give or take, with the vast majority of sufferers being non-vaccinated, I would love for you to tell me more about this “extremely low death rate unlike with vaccines”. Beware, trick question.

Why should we believe you?

Also, I noticed this while sitting with my youngest just after they were discussing the next classes and clinic work required in the next before graduating with an ME in Speech, Language Pathology and Communication Disorders. Thank you. They now been warned about a fortunately small set of entitled parents with limited critical thinking skills. All that they noticed was a long screed with paragraph breaks.

(we were both scrolling through phones during the lulls why hubby made dinner)

Wow Aj you hit just about every anti vaccine troph there is! Well done, and all in one paragraph.
As I’ve said before on this blog I’ve seen two people die of subacute sclerosing panencephalitis.

I have attached a clip of what it does to a person below.
Warning it is heartbreaking, so you may want a stiff drink before you view it.

Paragraphs. They make you look less like a raving lunatic.

Having read the rest of your screed, I understand why you dispensed with paragraphs.

Don’t forget that the only unvaccinated/perfect child out of seven in the family somehow has unvaccinated siblings. I’m wondering about the complicated genetics revealed there.

Proving once again that Republicans don’t give a rat’s behind about their fellow human beings.

Another example of the power of organisation, unfortunately it’s from a group that holds dangerous beliefs and doesn’t have the best interest of children in mind. They are supported by another group (primarily GOPers now) who are arrogantly ignorant of the sciences and very adept at staying in power. Anti-vaxx and anti-gun control aren’t the only issues that imperil us so this is no time for apathy.

A similar procedural step stopped a moderate, minimal bill in Colorado, when it was not brought to a vote fast. I would point out that it’s not just Republican won’t, it is also not strong enough Democratic will. And as Sciencemom pointed out, intense of preferrence and organization also feeds in.

And it extremely disturbing to see disease prevention become a political issue. Everyone should want less diseases.

” it is also not strong enough Democratic will”
That pretty much sums up the Dem establishment’s politics on anything of import. They’re fearful, and easily bullied.

Yep. Read my closing paragraph:

Sadly, that about sums up the Republican Party these days, their shutting down government business until antivaxers and the NRA are appeased. Unfortunately, that the Democrats in the Oregon Senate let them about sums up the Democratic Party these days as well.

I could see having to make a very bad deal lest the GOP mess up education funding (depends on circumstances…). Of course, the GOP would happily destroy the public schools. Complete scum. My concern would be more about how much noise the D’s make in protest, how much they attempt to fight before caving, whether they’ll campaign vigorously on it, etc. I’m just so fed up with how wimpy and scared Pelosi and the rest of the House D.’s are of taking on Trump and Trumpism. We need more clear stands on principle, like what Liz Warren said about Fox News today.

I moved to the Portland, OR area a few years ago. The political climate in this state is quite the dichotomy. Portland folks pride themselves on being left-of-center, but once you get outside of Portland (and, okay, some parts of Eugene)… let’s just say that it’s easy to believe that the anti-vax mindset didn’t have any trouble establishing a foothold. Oof.

Let’s remember that it was not so long ago that black people were forbidden by law to reside in the state of Oregon – right around the time of the War of Southern Sedition (I just love using that term.). While Oregoners (Oregonians? Oreganos?) were generally opposed to slavery, they proposed to end it in the state by forcing slaveholders to take or send their slaves out of state, and if a slaveholder resisted, his slaves would be freed and chased out.
This from the oregonencycopedia,org:
“Although the exclusion laws were not generally enforced, they had their intended effect of discouraging black settlers. The 1860 census for Oregon, for example, reported 128 African Americans in a total population of 52,465. In 2013, only 2 percent of the Oregon population was black.”

Keep in mind that antivax sentiment knows no political compass; swinging to the right has been an act of convenience. I live in Boulder Colorado and I can tell you that the antivax stew is simmering pretty well here too and it is not a bit right wing. Our current governor (who originated in Boulder and drank quite strongly of the left-wing antivax garbage) helped kill the current bill by wondering if it would too strongly affect the ability of poor people to get exemptions. Talk about having his priorities screwed up!

Antivax does not mean Republican. The current iteration is very much parental rights and libertarian sounding, but that isn’t the only species. Is RFK jr a Republican? Nope, he’s a Democrat.

That’s sad that you can’t get a singular mindset throughout all of Oregon. Only then will your socialist utopia be able to take hold. Good luck.

Hello, Mr. Ball… you have yet to explain why it is better to let a baby get chicken pox, rather than protecting them by maintaining community immunity with a varicella vaccine. What is “good” about an infant suffering from dozens of itchy open wounds that are susceptible to bacterial infections, or the possibility of stroke:

Just support your answer with PMID authored by reputable qualified researchers.

I’m inclined to refer to him as “Mr. Hit and Run.” No idea where his usual swamp is.

Which is why I will ask him that question each and every time he posts his random idiotic droppings here.

Johanna’s comments had nothing to do with disease. She’s upset that there is no a singular mindset across the whole state so she can get close to the socialist utopia.

Johanna didn’t say anything about a socialist utopia either.

But isn’t a singular mindset what you desire? For no one to ever vaccinate anyone against any disease?

Perhaps you should my question. You have had several chances to tell us how a baby getting chicken pox is so much better than the vaccine.

Oh, David Ball, go back sucking rusted nails in the false hope of building immunity against tetanus.
Getting a bit of ferric oxide will do you good, actually, it seems to me you are low on irony.

calling fears about illnesses like measles overblown

What’s the death toll in the Philippines this year? Anyway, I had missed this story about measles on the Good Ship Original Thetan.

Pretty much. I had a plague proponent tell me (on a FB post about the current measles outbreak in NZ) that he wasn’t interested in deaths in the 3rd world countries as in NZ we have different priorites. I had to exercise considerable self-control in order to avoid thumping my keyboard.

I’ve only known one Filipino, a guy I worked with at a law firm (and was only the third biggest pain in the ass on the night shift), but it appears that skin color is a big deal, more so than what Big Bill Broonzy was getting at in “Black Brown and White.”

I know lots of Filipinos. I’ve been married to a Filipina for 30 years, have a large number of in-laws and family friends, and have worked alongside Filipino nurses, physicians, clerks, and pharmacists for a longer period.
On the whole they are generous, polite, helpful, gregarious, and kindhearted. Only one person among all those friends, relatives, and coworkers was color-conscious, one of my wife’s aunts. My wife was always disfavored by her until she married a white guy, and an American, no less.
Looking at their history, between Spain and the US (They say “300 years in a convent and 50 years in a brothel”) race/class consciousness was inculcated by both colonial states. There were four classes under the Spanish. In descending order they were peninsulares, who were born on the Iberian peninsula; insulares, who were Spaniards born in the Philippines.mestizos or mixed race; and last came the native Filipinos – “indios”, who the Spanish so disregarded that they called them by the same word as native Mexicans. Though the US colonial government was on the whole less prejudiced and did more for them in a few decades than Spain had done in centuries, the US Army brought common prejudices of the era, introducing the infamous N-word,(which they sometimes attached to the Filipinos), to the extent that many there still don’t know it’s a racial slur. The segregation of American forces helped to promote that.
Of course, it’s far more complicated than I have space here to go into, but it’ll do for a start.

Since my response to this latest news is a combination of profanity and implying that there’s no point in increasing school funding if the kids in the school are going to spend all their time sick until they are shot by a classmate, I will instead offer a lovely and related piece of media that will likely be of interest to everyone here.

This Podcast Will Kill You is a podcast about the biology, epidemiology and history of infectious diseases, covering one disease per episode. It’s very well researched, and there’s a cocktail recipe (quarantini) for every disease. It kept me very entertained and educated on a recent 7 hour road trip. The podcasters have promised an upcoming episode about vaccines.

“There’s no point in increasing school funding if the kids in the school are going to spend all their time sick until they are shot by a classmate,”

Now that’s a pithy political slogan! Maybe you should run for office!

Only if I belonged to the other party. (The dangers of snappy sarcastic statements.)

But seriously, one of my aunts keeps running for school board in her city and it just seems brutal. There’s no way in heck I would ever run for office. I very much lack the personality type.

Alain: I believe Kit was being sarcastic.

I bet Rep Stickland supports child marriage too. I wish time-travel was a thing so we could send Idaho and Stickland’s constituents back to the middle ages- preferably smack dab in the middle of the Bubonic Plague outbreak.I swear in Oregon and Washington there’s two different countries: the cities of Portland and Seattle, and John Birchistan.

Poor old John Birch. I have no doubt that if he had been alive to see it, he would have soundly repudiated the prostitution of his name.

Every once in a while people get talking about the state of Jefferson, which I think would be all of Washington and Oregon east of the Cascade mountains.

Then someone points out that all the tax money and water is west of the Cascades and the state of Jefferson goes back in its box for a bit.

Re. Politicalguineapig, “I wish time travel was a thing so we could send [them] …back to… the Bubonic Plague outbreak.”

It is, and we can: virtual reality.

Someone needs to create a video game about the Plague, with the option to play using VR goggles & gloves for immersive realism. Do likewise for smallpox and measles, and 1918 pandemic flu. Embody all the sound science we know today, in the mechanics of how the games work, but don’t get “preachy,” even the slightest bit.

Study the most popular video games today that involve group play, for hints on how to make these games interesting & exciting enough to go mad viral. For one thing, competition between teams of players always works, and also creates online communities.

That will get the age 15 – 35 cohort onboard bigtime. Guaranteed.

I’m quite serious about this. One of the biggest hurdles we face is that, while there are all manner of organized promoters of quack-med and anti-science, there’s no comparable organized group promoting vaccination and science-based medicine at the grassroots. However there are some very smart people with lots of money who are fully with us, such as Bill & Melinda Gates, and many of them come from the tech world before it became infested with surveillance-capitalism boy kings.

I would bet that some of them would be open to creating viral apps including games, that promoted vaccination & SBM. Someone with appropriate public reputation needs to get in touch with the Gates Foundation and similar potential funders, about this. With a good proposal and a solid team to do the project, there’s a decent chance it could get funded and produced.

If not a game – which might actually be a clever way to teach the basics- why not a realistic television series?
Right now there will be one about viral disease ( The Hot Zone) although I can’t vouch for its SBM status.

There have been a few films about this topic which might be scary but ( possibly) instructive. I think that Orac wrote about one wherein Jude Law played a Mike Adams-like woo-meister selling Forsythia extract. And Gwyneth Paltrow got to die awfully.

Someone who knows a great deal about woo and woo-meisters might be able to write a script that is both instructive and entertaining because their antics would be hilarious although true. But we have to remember the harm that they do- it can’t just be a comedy.

@Gray Squirrel:

Someone needs to create a video game about the Plague

Already done.
@Denice Walter & Alain:

I think that Orac wrote about one wherein Jude Law played a Mike Adams-like woo-meister selling Forsythia extract. And Gwyneth Paltrow got to die awfully.

Contagion, 2011, with Matt Damon, Kate Winslett & Jude Law

I actually saw Contagion.In fact, I went to a special screening hosted by film critic Barry Ronge, and won a prize pack. I own a cap with the logo “Nothing spreads like fear”.
I thought it was a good film.

I suppose with a game, or a movie, the antivaxxers will argue, it’s just a game, or a movie, which is not reality based.

@ Julian Frost:

I liked it too, saw it on television.
I saw Outbreakat a theatre and it was a more Hollywood-ified action movie/ romance; what I enjoyed seeing parts of it recently on tv was that it was filmed in Ferndale, CA ( a place worth looking up for the images) where I spent a very interesting day photographing old buildings.


In other depressing news, all of Alabama’s Republican Senators are now on record as supporting rape and incest. But considering their milieu and that Roy Moore’s mall prowling to pick up teenage girls is apparently normal down there, I shouldn’t be surprised.

Ray Moore has been married to one woman for four decades, and that was his first and only marriage.
Rather few of the people criticizing him can make either claim.

Cool! So I have your blessing to spell out exactly what I think of Ray Moore! Not that I needed it to begin with.

Ooops, Roy Moore. No matter, the guy who ran for senate is still a jerk.

Ray[sic] Moore has been married to one woman for four decades, and that was his first and only marriage.
Rather few of the people criticizing him can make either claim.

I fail to see how that somehow exonerates him from his predatory behaviours and sexual assaults prior to this long-standing marriage, not to mention his decades of assault on the Constitution and insufferable religious proselytising.

But unfair on Ray Moore isn’t it? Poor guy is happily married to a wife of forty odd years and keeps getting confused with Roy Moore the religious fundamentalist who’s been married to his wife for only thirty odd years.

I just had a thought. This action really fits in with the current Republican M.O. : It matters not how many people die, as long as our precious freedoms are perceived to be intact!

Make that “men’s precious freedoms” and you’re 100% on the money.


They are not really precious freedoms, they are mostly precious freedoms to oppress other people. I am to be frank, appalled by the actions of certain members of the Alabama legislature and Governor. This is not that different to the Sultan of Brunei declaring Sharia Law will apply.

Missouri too! What a bizarre hellscape. I predict a major run on red fabric as activists start sewing up Handmaid’s costumes like crazy.

In the NYT today: Lawrence Palevsky, some Scientology dude, and yes Andy Wakefield hisself appear at an (Anti-) “Vaccine Symposium” for Ultra-Orthodox Jews in Rockland County, NY. Although many if not most Orthodox rabbis are pro-vax, the outliers seem to have a real following.

Hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Jews packed a ballroom for a “vaccine symposium” with leaders of the anti-vaccination movement…. An ultra-Orthodox rabbi falsely described the measles outbreak among Jews as part of an elaborate plan concocted by Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York to deflect attention from “more serious” diseases brought by Central American migrants. A pediatrician [Palevsky] questioned whether Jews were being intentionally given “bad lots” of vaccines that ended up giving children a new strain of the virus. And Andrew Wakefield… appeared via Skype to offer an almost apocalyptic vision of a world in which vaccines were giving rise to deadlier immunization-resistant diseases. “We Hasidim have been chosen as the target,” said the rabbi. “The campaign against us has been successful…” The event was held in a large ballroom. As is customary at ultra-Orthodox gatherings, the men were separated by an improvised wall from the women. Speakers were introduced and applauded as if they were celebrities…

Spectator: Good for Ray, whoever that is. I was however, talking about Mr. Roy Moore. You know, this asshole.

I am sorry that his wife has misplaced her self-respect for so long, if she ever had any. If I found out a person I was married to was a pedo and a rapist (apparently one of his victims was 28), I wouldn’t bother with a divorce, though. I’d just make myself a widow. Being married for a long time is no indication of whether a person has any ethics.

Also the guy who succeeded him has had one spouse, didn’t kick his gay son to the curb, and brought the people behind the Birmingham bombing to justice. (Whereas Moore would probably have just let their sorry butts go.) And Senator Jones doesn’t trawl malls for teenagers.

And now I’m really wondering about you, dude. How many teenage girls have you picked up in malls? How many women have you raped?

Still, how do you expect my son with autism and a bunch of severe allergies succeed in an online school?

I’ve been trying to parse your comments.
Firstly, vaccines did not turn your son autistic. Autism is genetic. Nor can they worsen it. And leaving your autistic son unvaccinated puts him at risk of diseases which can kill, and leave lasting sequelae when they don’t.
Vaccines also didn’t cause your son’s allergies. If the allergies mean he can’t be vaccinated, that’s a medical exemption right there. In addition, herd immunity is how we protect those who are too young to be vaccinated, those who are immunosuppressed and those (like your son) who can’t be vaccinated.
My understanding is that online schooling can be very useful for some. I might have been one of them.

Chris Preston: They are not really precious freedoms, they are mostly precious freedoms to oppress other people.

The whole point of religion.

Julian: Seconded. During elementary school, I would have killed to be in online school. Socialization (read ‘throwing kids to the wolves”) can suck it.

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