A few nights ago, Oprah Winfrey, billionaire media personality, gave a speech during a Hollywood award show, where fellow millionaires and billionaires get dressed up in ten thousand dollar gowns and tuxes to pat each other on the back. Within nanoseconds of her admittedly powerful speech, desperate liberals and Democrats were suddenly chanting “Oprah for President.”
Of course, Ms. Winfrey has sent some mixed messages as to whether she will run for president, but as I’ve long ago observed in politics, denials have all the value of “a bucket of warm piss.” But if she did decide to run, I get the feeling, from reading posts across social media, she’d move to head of the class of Democratic candidates for President of the United States. She’d surpass more highly qualified progressive Democrats such as Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand, who both would get my unconditional support for president (as if anyone would care).
So, why am I commenting on potential presidential candidates two years before the election? I’m sure some of you readers are mumbling, “stick to science you dumb feathered dinosaur. That’s why I’m here.”
But kind madam, it is about science. And based on science, a push for “Oprah for President” will not get my support. Continue reading “Oprah for President – another billionaire pseudoscience pusher looking for a job”
Jenny McCarthy was once the MTV drunk college dating game hostess and former “journalist” on The View. I remember when she joined The View – there was widespread condemnation of her hiring from scientists, journalists, and yours truly because of her loud and annoying antivaccine rhetoric. Clearly, no one of any note supported her being hired on the View, except for websites like the Age of Pushing Nonsense To Harm Children. Continue reading “Jenny McCarthy, with help from Oprah Winfrey, lies about vaccines”
Note – this article has been updated with new research and information about electronic cigarette dangers. Please comment there, as the comment section for this article is closed.
Over the past few years, electronic cigarettes (often called a personal vaporizer, e-cigarette, or many other trendy descriptions–I’ll abbreviate them as EC, just to save space) have become a popular alternative to tobacco cigarettes. They originally were developed as a tool to quit cigarette smoking, which is factually linked to lung cancer and other respiratory diseases.
However, ECs have become much more than a tool to end smoking, but they have evolved into popular subculture phenomenon known as the “vaping community” that, in many respects, seem to mimic the marijuana advocates. The vaping community continues to push a belief that ECs are safer than traditional cigarettes, have little health risk to the vaper (electronic cigarette smoker), and is much more socially acceptable than smoking cigarettes or cigars.
Continue reading “Electronic cigarette dangers – new research”
One of the world’s leading sponsors of vaccine research and bringing healthcare (including vaccinations) to underdeveloped countries is the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), founded by Bill & Melinda Gates using their vast Microsoft wealth. I have always favored capitalism, and believe there is no particular moral code associated with accumulating wealth. It is, however, wonderful that they have decided to use their wealth to help humanity.
As strong supporters of vaccines, the Gates have become one of the leading targets of the vaccine denialists who use a bunch of outright lies to attack his good works. Bill Gates vaccines save lives. Now I know that Bill Gates did not invent these vaccines, but the attacks on him make it seem like he did.
These personal attacks remind me of Ernst’s Law, which states “If you are researching complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and you are not hated by the CAM world, you’re not doing it right.”
For vaccines, I guess we should we create a corollary of the law, “if you are supporting the safety and efficacy of vaccinations for children, and you are not hated by vaccine denialists, you’re not doing it right.” I think I want to call this corollary “Offit’s Law,” named for Paul Offit, a tireless supporter of vaccines who has been the target of lies and hatred, or even “Gate’s Law.” Continue reading “Bill Gates vaccines save lives – Part 2”
Updated with more good quotes.
Over this past weekend, a social media protest on Twitter, Facebook, reddit and various blogs created an atmosphere where Chili’s, who was planning to contribute 10% of each guest’s check to an organization whose mission is to support the needs of the autism community, was getting stuck in a tight corner. Although the National Autism Association (NAA) appeared to be a fine charity, helping autistic children in numerous ways, their explicit statement that “Vaccinations can trigger or exacerbate autism in some, if not many, children, especially those who are genetically predisposed to immune, autoimmune or inflammatory conditions,” contradicts the vast mountain of evidence that explicitly and clearly refutes any connection between vaccines, vaccine ingredients, and the number of vaccines with autism.
- ©2014, Wikipedia Commons
Continue reading “Chili’s makes the right choice–the wrap-up”
Last week, former Playboy Playmate, recently appointed co-host of the ABC-TV (USA) show, the View, and anti-science/antivaccination rabble rouser Jenny McCarthy, decided to head to Twitter to get relationship advice. Not sure what she expected, and maybe she’s much more clever than we think by making this a trending topic, but it started rather quietly:
A hurricane of replies flew across Twitter (much of the evening I was retweeting the best ones, or just laughing). As one Tweeter remarked, “this is why the internet was invented.” Yup. Maybe Jenny didn’t know what she was doing?
Here are my favorites, and ones I haven’t seen on other articles.
Hysterical. A nerdy reference:
There were so many more I could have used, but laughing that hard for so long can wear a person out. I did a rough estimate of pro-vaccine to anti-vaccine Tweets for #JennyAsks, and it was around 100-200:1. So, you can conclude that either most Twitter users who follow hashtags are pro-science/pro-vaccine, or anti-vaxxers have limited access to computers and Twitter, since they’re living off the grid avoiding the evil Jews trying to vaccinate them. Oh yeah, that’s a thing amongst the antivaccination crowd.
A few months ago, I got into a discussion with writer and brand new mother Tara Haelle, claiming that social media wasn’t very useful in changing the society’s views on topics. I was skeptical that massive “protests” on Twitter or Facebook would move the body politic on any issues. Apparently, I was wrong. Because Jenny’s hashtag was completely and utterly hijacked by the pro-science/pro-vaccine world.
By the way, I added my own tweet to #JennyAsks a few days ago:
Visit the Science-based Vaccine Search Engine.
This week, writer Aaron Carroll provided a graphic depiction of the toll of the antivaccination movement, which itself comes from a Council on Foreign Relations interactive map of “vaccine-preventable outbreaks” worldwide 2008-2014. I narrowed down the map to just include measles, mumps, and rubella, three diseases that can and are prevented by the MMR (or more commonly in the USA, MMRV, which includes chickenpox) vaccine.
Even though the vaccine deniers champion the trope that these diseases are “not serious,” real evidence from real infectious disease medical specialists say otherwise. Measles, mumps and rubella can be dangerous diseases with debilitating complications, including death, for both children and adults. And as you can see in the map (click on it for greater detail), outbreaks of measles (in red), mumps (in olive) and rubella (in blue) are larger than it should be in both the developed and the developing world than it should be, given the easy access to the MMR (or MMRV) vaccines. Continue reading “Measles, mumps, rubella outbreaks–the culpability of Andrew Wakefield”
Unless you’re a skeptic living under a rock on Mars (which would be pretty amazing), you’d know that the Playboy Playmate Jenny McCarthy was chosen by ABC TV (in the USA) to be a co-host on the daytime talk show, The View. Let’s just say that this has not been met positively by much of the skeptical, pro-science blogging and journalism community. In fact, from what I’ve read, hardly anyone but the vaccine denier lunatic fringe is happy about her choice a co-host.
But this isn’t just complaining about an actress getting a job on a TV show. On my personal list of things I care about, I care very little about who is or isn’t the host on The View, a show that I have honestly never watched. And given that Jenny is going to be on it, I have even less interest in watching it.
The real reason why so many of us were upset had nothing to do with her being a bad actress, but because her beliefs about vaccines are plainly untrue and unsupported by the vast wealth of science. And now she might have a platform to hawk her misguided conviction that vaccines are dangerous. Because Americans are so easily seduced by a celebrity endorsement (about 25% of Americans trust celebrities), her comments carry more weight than real physicians and scientific researchers. Continue reading “One lunatic is dangerous to children–The Jenny McCarthy Story”
“McCarthy’s view on vaccines stirs ‘View’ controversy” USA TODAY (July 16, 2013)
“Actress to Fill One Vacancy in the Cast of ‘The View’” The New York Times (July 15, 2013)
“Viruses Don’t Care About Your View: Why ABC Shouldn’t Have Hired Jenny McCarthy” TIME (July 15, 2013)
“Jenny McCarthy: The Danger of Medical Celebrity” Forbes (July 15, 2013)
“Jenny McCarthy on ‘View’: A new forum for discredited autism theories” Los Angeles Times (July 15, 2013)
“Jenny McCarthy on The View — not The Medically Correct View, Just The View” Washington Post (July 15, 2013)
“What Jenny McCarthy Should Do Before Her View Debut” Forbes (July 16, 2013)
“Jenny McCarthy joins ‘The View’” USA TODAY (July 15, 2013)
“Bill Nye: Jenny McCarthy’s Errant Views On Childhood Vaccines May Be Discredited On ‘The View’” Huffington Post (July 15, 2013)
OPINION: “She plays one on TV” New York Daily News (July 16, 2013)
“Science Community Is Furious Over Jenny McCarthy’s New Job On ‘The View’” Business Insider (July 15, 2013)
“The View Hires Notorious Anti-Vaxxer Jenny McCarthy” Slate’s Bad Astronomy (July 15, 2013)
“ABC’s hiring of Jenny McCarthy: a decision that could cost lives” Boston.com (July 15, 2013)
OPINION: “ABC shouldn’t give McCarthy platform: Column” USA TODAY (July 15, 2013)
“Jenny McCarthy joins ‘The View’ as co-host” TODAY (July 15, 2013)
“Anti-Vaccine Evangelist Jenny McCarthy Is the New Elisabeth Hasselbeck” New York Magazine (July 15, 2013)
“Jenny McCarthy’s ‘View’ Announcement Stirs Up Snark on Twitter” The Hollywood Reporter (July 15, 2013)
“ABC’s Jenny McCarthy Vs. ABC’s Actual Doctor on Vaccines” New Republic (July 15, 2013)
“Jenny McCarthy to Join ‘The View’” The Daily Beast (July 15, 2013)
“Anti-Vaccine Activist Jenny McCarthy to Join ‘The View’” Politix (July 16, 2013)
“Jenny McCarthy To Bring Her Anti-Vaccine Activism To ‘The View’ As New Co-Host” Think Progress (July 15, 2013)
“Jenny McCarthy: An antivaccine ‘View’ is hired” Respectful Insolence (July 16, 2013)
“Should Jenny McCarthy’s Vaccine Opinions Keep Her Off The View?” Pop Blend (July 15, 2013)
(A special thanks to fellow blogger, Karen Ernst, for creating and editing this list.)