Metal Sonic doing the ‘Spock eyebrow’ look
OH NOES! I HAVE BEEN UNFOLLOWED BY AN ANTI-VAXXER!
Sorry to dump the rains of reason down on your intellectual bonfire here, but if the shoe fits, by all means, wear it. If you want to deny facts and science, that’s your business, until you’re putting other people’s lives at risk. Which you are. Should any of your children get an illness preventable by a vaccine you blithely skipped, I hope you’re charged with child abuse. If they don’t survive, I hope you’re criminally charged with their deaths.
However, I don’t wish any of that on your family, because it happened to my grandparents. My Aunt Sharon died before her tenth birthday of polio, shortly before the vaccine was introduced. My grandparents saw their firstborn go from a vibrant young girl to a shell incapable of breathing without an iron lung. My grandmother never really talked about her much. Having lost your child in such a horrific way is nothing I’d want to wish on anyone, but you’ve apparently made peace with it. Good for you!
You should meet Kathryn Riffenburg. Her nine-week-old son died of whooping cough, an easily preventable disease that he was unable to be vaccinated for because he was too young. Previously, herd immunity protected wee ones like him. Instead, his mother chose a closed casket funeral because the suffering his little body endured made him unrecognizable.
But I suppose his death was just a scare tactic, yeah? And about Big Pharma supposedly making a profit off of vaccines — it’s much more profitable for you and yours to be UNVACCINATED, what with so many serious illnesses requiring long-term, chronic care having been virtually eliminated — until now. So maybe YOU’RE the tool of Big Pharma! DUN-DUN-DUN!
Or maybe you’re just a big tool. Hopefully, this whole going irresponsibly unvaccinated thing works out for your family and you’re never left sitting at a gravesite wondering why you thought it was a-OK to play Russian roulette with your child’s life. One in 1,000 who get measles will die. I suppose it’s more likely than not that you’ll be lucky, but I’d also venture that not everyone who would come into contact with your
walking disease vectorschildren would share the same luck.
In summary, if you ever accidentally follow me again, here’s a handy guide:
Oh sweet jeebus, I’m still getting messages from people like this. Y’all can take several seats, because none of you will change my mind on how irresponsible it is to leave your spawn unvaccinated.
Ummm… so this vaccination info-rant is WAY better than the mini one I posted this morning. <3 <3 <3 <3 <3
Minimum-wage jobs are physically demanding, have unpredictable schedules, and pay so meagerly that workers can’t save up enough to move on.
An important reminder of how “the criminalization of poverty has accelerated since the recession” by the author of Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America.
One of my kindergarten boys kept hugging another boy in class. The hugger was smiling big time, and just trying to show the other boy that he cared for him. The huggee was noticeably uncomfortable at times.
Me: John*, I don’t think Sam* wants you to keep hugging him.
Me: Well, he isn’t smiling while you hug him. *John looks at Sam and back to me, inquisitively* Do you like to blow bubbles, John?
John: I love to!
Me: So do I. As people, we have a type of bubble around us, but it’s not a bubble we can see. We let some people that we really love come into our bubble, but we keep some people out of it. When you just hug someone without them saying it’s ok, you’re popping their bubble, which isn’t a very nice thing to do.
Sam: I have a bubble?
Me: Yep! And, if someone gets too close to you, or touches you when you don’t want them to, you can just tell them “you’re in my bubble”, and they’ll know to back away. *turning to John* If someone tells you to stay out of their bubble, you have to listen.
John: Or I’ll pop it?
Me: You got it.
Later, I saw John hugging Sam again, and I went over to say something. John looked at me and said, “He said I could be in his bubble, now!” and Sam just nodded with a big smile.
I want to thank my friend JJ for giving me the courage to teach complex ideas to children. I don’t know if this lesson will last, but it’s one we can continue to talk about.
A series of IRS documents, provided to ThinkProgress under the Freedom of Information Act, appears to contradict the claims that only Tea Party organizations applying for tax-exempt status “received systematic scrutiny because of their political beliefs.”
A series of IRS documents, provided to ThinkProgress under the Freedom of Information Act, appears to contradict the claims by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and his House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that only Tea Party organizations applying for tax-exempt status “received systematic scrutiny because of their political beliefs.” The 22 “Be On the Look Out” keywords lists, distributed to staff reviewing applications between August 12, 2010 and April 19, 2013, included more explicit references to progressive groups, ACORN successors, and medical marijuana organizations than to Tea Party entities.
The IRS provided the heavily-redacted lists to ThinkProgress, after nearly a year-long search. From the earliest lists through 2012, the “historical” section of the lists encouraged reviewers to watch out for “progressive” groups with names like “blue,” as their requests for 501(c)(3) charitable status might be inappropriate. Their inclusion in this section suggests that the concern predates the initial 2010 list.
Explicit references to “Tea Party,” included in the “emerging issues” section of the lists, also began in August 2010 — but stopped appearing after the May 10, 2011 list. From that point on, the lists instructed agents to flag all political advocacy groups of any stripe. The documents instructed the agents to forward any “organization involved with political, lobbying, or advocacy” applying for 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) status be forwarded to “group 7822″ for additional review. Groups under both categories are limited in the amount of of lobbying and political activity each can undertake.[read more]
How about that.
It’s time for the right wing to stop lying about the minimum wage, taxes, global warming and more.
The great 20th-century economist John Maynard Keynes has been widely quoted as saying, “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” Sadly, in their quest to concentrate economic and political power in the hands of the wealthiest members of society, today’s Republicans have held the opposite position – as the evidence has piled up against them, they continue spreading the same myths. Here are six simple facts about the economy that Republicans just can’t seem to accept:
1. The Minimum Wage Doesn’t Kill Jobs.
The Republican story on the minimum wage takes the inordinately complex interactions of the market and makes them absurdly simple. Raise the price of labor through a minimum wage, they claim, and employers will hire fewer workers. But that’s not how it works. In the early Nineties, David Card and Alan Krueger found “no evidence that the rise in New Jersey’s minimum wage reduced employment at fast-food restaurants in the state.” Since then, international, national and state-level studies have replicated these findings – most recently in a study by three Berkeley economists. Catherine Ruetschlin, a policy analyst at Demos, has argued that a higher minimum wage would actually “boost the national economy” by giving workers more money to spend on goods and services. The most comprehensive meta-study of the minimum wage examined 64 studies and found “little or no evidence” that a higher minimum wage reduces employment. There is however, evidence that a higher minimum wage lifts people out of poverty. Raise away!
2. The Stimulus Created Millions of Jobs.
In the aftermath of the 2007 recession, President Obama invested in a massive stimulus. The Republican belief that markets are always good and government is always bad led them to argue that diverting resources to the public sector this way would have disastrous results. They were wrong: The stimulus worked, with the most reliable studies finding that it created millions of jobs. The fact that government stimulus works – long denied by Republicans (at least, when Democrats are in office) – is a consensus among economists, with only 4 percent arguing that unemployment would have been lower without the stimulus and only 12 percent arguing that the costs outweigh the benefits.
3. Taxing The Rich Doesn’t Hurt Economic Growth.
Republicans believe that the wealthy are the vehicles of economic growth. Starting with Ronald Reagan in the 1980s, they tried cutting taxes on the rich in order to unleash latent economic potential. But even the relatively conservative Martin Feldstein has acknowledged that investment is driven by demand, not supply; if there are viable investments to be made, they will be made regardless of tax rates, and if there are no investments to be made, cutting taxes is merely pushing on a string. Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez, two of the eminent economists of inequality, find no correlation between marginal tax rates and economic growth.
In fact, what hurts economic growth most isn’t high taxes – it’s inequality. Two recent IMF papers confirm what Keynesian economists like Joseph Stiglitz have long argued: Inequality reduces the incomes of the middle class, and therefore demand, which in turn stunts growth. To understand why, imagine running a car dealership. Would you prefer if 1 person in your time owned 99% of the wealth and the rest of the population had nothing, or if wealth was distributed more equally, so that more people could purchase your cars?
Every other country in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has far lower levels of inequality than the United States. Since there are no economic benefits of inequality, why hasn’t the right conceded the argument? Because it’s based on class interest, not empirical evidence.
4. Global Warming is Caused by Humans.
Even as global warming is linked to more and more extreme weather events, more than 56 percent of Republicans in the current congress deny man-made global warming. In fact, the infamous Lutz memo shows that Republicans have actually created a concerted campaign to undermine the science of global warming. In the leaked memo, Frank Lutz, a Republican consultant, argues that, “The scientific debate is closing [against us] but not yet closed. There is still a window of opportunity to challenge the science.”
In truth, the science of global warming is not up for debate. James Powell finds that over a one year period, 2,258 articles on global warming were published by 9,136 authors. Of those, only one, from the Herald of the Russian Academy of Sciences, rejected man-made global warming. That one article was likely motivated by the Russian government’s interest in exploiting arctic shale. Another, even more comprehensive study, examining 11,944 studies over a 10-year period, finds that 97 percent of scientists accepted the scientific consensus that man-made global warming is occurring.
This is not an abstract academic debate. The effects of climate change will be devastating, and poor countries will be hurt the worst. We’ve already seen the results. Studies have linked global warming to Hurricane Sandy, droughts and other extreme weather events. More importantly, doing nothing will end up being far more expensive than acting now. One study suggests it could wipe out 3.2% of global GDP annually.
5. The Affordable Care Act is Working
President Obama’s centrist healthcare bill was informed by federalism (delegating power to the states) and proven technocratic reforms (like a board to help doctors discern which treatments would be most cost-effective). Republicans, undeterred, decried it as Soviet-style communism based on “death panels” – never mind the fact that the old system, which rationed care based on income, is the one that left tens of thousands of uninsured people to die.
From the beginning, Republicans have predicted disastrous consequences or Obamacare, none of which came true. They predicted that the ACA would add to the deficit; in fact, it will reduce the deficit. They claimed the exchanges would fail to attract the uninsured; they met their targets. They said only old people would sign up; the young came out in the same rates as in Massachusetts. They predicted the ACA would drive up healthcare costs; in fact it is likely holding cost inflation down, although it’s still hard to discern how much of the slowdown was due to the recession. In total, the ACA will ensure that 26 million people have insurance in 2024 who would have been uninsured otherwise.
It’s worth noting that every time the CBO estimates how much Obamacare will cost, the number gets lower. Odd how we’ve never heard Republicans say that.
6. Rich people are no better than the rest of us.
Politicians on the right like to pretend that having money is a sign of hard work and morality – and that not having money is a sign of laziness. This story is contradicted by human experience and many religious traditions (Jesus tells a graphic story about a rich man who refused to help the poor burning in hell). But it’s also contradicted by the facts – more and more rich people are getting their money through inheritances, and science shows that they are no more benevolent than others.
More and more, the wealthy in America are second or third generation. For instance, the Walton family, heirs to the Walmart fortune, own more wealth than the poorest 40 million Americans. Thomas Philippon and Ariell Reshef have found that 30 to 50 percent of the wage difference between the ﬁnancial sector and the rest of the private sector was due to unearned “rent,” or money they gained through manipulating markets. Josh Bivens and Larry Mishel found the same thing for CEOs – their increased pay hasn’t been correlated to performance.
If rich people haven’t really earned their money, are they at least doing any good with it? Studies find that the wealthy actually give less to charity as a proportion of their income than middle-class Americans, even though they can afford more. Worse, they use their supposed philanthropy to avoid taxes and finance pet projects. Research by Paul Piff finds that the wealthy are far more likely to exhibit narcissistic tendencies. “The rich are way more likely to prioritize their own self-interests above the interests of other people,” Piff recently told New York magazine. “It makes them more likely to exhibit characteristics that we would stereotypically associate with, say, assholes.”
People like Clinton Gode are challenging state laws that deny Americans with disabilities the right to vote.
"…Arizona is one of 14 states that categorically bar people who are under guardianship or are judged to be mentally "incompetent" or "incapacitated" from voting, according to the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law. Although all but 11 states have disability-related voting restrictions, laws that impose uniform bans on people who are under guardianship or judged to be incompetent disproportionately target adults with disabilities or mental illness, including veterans with traumatic brain injury, seniors with dementia, and people with autism.”
And yet I never hear ableism being brought up in conversations about voter suppression. Funny how that works.
Apologists like William Lane Craig will argue that you can not derive and ought from an is. That is a catchy way to say that just because things are a certain way, that doesn’t mean you ought act in any particular way. They say that god can be the only objective judge of what we ought to or ought not to do. Otherwise, they say, it becomes purely a matter of arbitrary opinion. As if it’s not arbitrary if it’s God’s opinion.
There are a couple of fatal flaws in this reasoning:
First, since god doesn’t actually talk to us and since the holy books are entirely understood through subjective human interpretation, this idea does nothing but simply invoke an unseen authority to support those “arbitrary” opinions that the faithful are so worried about.
If you believe that God demands that you terrorize infidels or homosexuals (for instance) as a moral imperative, while another person believes that God’s law is to love your fellow man no matter what, which one represents the objective moral standard that the faithful are so sure of? The scriptures have effectively been used to reach both conclusions. Compassionate believers find scriptures to support compassion and love while hateful believers find scriptures to support judgment and hate. The scriptures are nothing but a post hoc explanation to support values that originate from humans.
Secondly, the only thing that can offer an objective moral directive is the consideration of consequences. The path from “is” to “ought” is defined by “if”. This is just as true for religious morality as it is for the secular version.
Moral standard: don’t murder..
Religious: if you want to go to heaven/don’t want to go to hell
Secular: if you don’t want to live in a world where you or your loved ones are subject to murder, or don’t want to be branded a murderer and ostracized from society.
For the faithful, the “if” simply comes down to consequences in the afterlife. For the secular, the “if” comes down to consequences hear and now. It’s just that the former is disconnected from the consequence of actual human and societal well being and the latter is based on it.
Some argue that their moral imperatives come down to societal consequences as well. For instance, they will argue that homosexuality is forbidden by their God because it is bad for society. Well, in that case there must be evidence for this harm, and if there is what need do we have for god? Since there is no evidence for harm done to society by equal rights for gay people, secular moral world views tend to not see any problem with it. But since some people find it plain icky for two men to have sex, they use god has a post hoc explanation as to why it’s immoral and why they’re justified in there bigotry.
U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to pardon “hundreds, perhaps thousands” of federal drug inmates before leaving office. That number might not seem so big. But it’s historic in executive terms. In fact, reports indicate that the potential number will be well above the norm for an outgoing president and may even approach levels not seen since President Gerald Ford gave mass clemency to draft dodgers after the Vietnam War.
Never underestimate the brutality of privilege and the constant need to be be advantaged by conservative white Americans.
But the Bundy situation carries with it a number of additional ironies. First of all, there is the fact that Bundy is refusing to acknowledge the existence (not even just the authority, but the very existence!) of the Federal government while grazing his cattle on Federal land. Then there is the fact that Bundy and his allies rallied scores of armed right wing extremists to their cause by publicizing the use of non-lethal tasers by the Bureau of Land Management agents seeking to enforce a court order requiring Bundy to pay the $1 million he owes the government in fees (it’s worth noting, by the way, that he refuses to acknowledge the existence of the very government whose money he refuses to pay them; it’s not the legal tender of Nevada that he refuses to part with, but American dollars, backed by the full faith and credit of, not Nevada, but the United States of America).
But the greatest irony of all has been the way in which Bundy and his allies, armed to the teeth as they are, have invoked the legacy of the Indian independence movement and the American Civil Rights movement in their confrontation. They have repeatedly made appeals to the traditions of civil disobedience pioneered by Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, despite the fact that these movements were always, self-consciously and explicitly, nonviolent. Yet the rhetoric of Bundy and his followers have made quite clear that they have no interest in remaining nonviolent in the face of the possibility of arrest, or other attempts by the BLM to enforce their court order.
(Image description: A partial screenshot of a blog post. The title reads “How I reduced screaming and verbal stimming in my child with autism”, and below that is a colour photograph of a hand holding a rectangular plastic “clicker” device.)
I think I may have mentioned this blog post, and the sadness and confusion I felt when I came across it, in one of my videos. This screenshot is from the blog of an “autism parent”. Yes, that is a clicker. Yes, she is encouraging the use of animal training methods on Autistic children. Yes, she considers any kind of vocal stimming, not just screaming, to be a “bad behaviour”. To top it all off, her blog banner reads, “Discovering SOLUTIONS to the Everyday Problems of Living with AUTISM”. Here is an excerpt from her tutorial on how to train your disabled child like a dog to have a “Quiet Mouth”:
Third, I sat back and watched my child. Since he was making bad noises, I decided to reinforce Quiet Mouth (i.e., lips together, no sound). Whenever he had a split second of Quiet Mouth, I immediately tagged (made a click-sound with the device) and handed over a treat. Every time his mouth was Quiet, I tagged (clicked) and treated. Soon there was much more Quiet Mouth behavior. When doing this it is important to ignore and pay no attention to vocal stims or screaming. Do not look at the child, do not speak to him/her or explain. Just say nothing, and immediately tag and treat as soon as there is even a split second of Quiet Mouth. You can also tag and treat a child for any appropriate vocalizations. If he/she says a nice word, or makes an appropriate comment, then tag and reinforce that. Your goal is to increase Quiet Mouth and appropriate vocalizations.
And sadly, as bad as this attitude and treatment of Autistic children is, this is a relatively tame example when compared to the other unethical treatments, therapies, and methods of discipline that Autistic children are being subjected to every day (all in the name of making them appear less obviously Autistic). This is why we need Autism Acceptance Month and not the fear-mongering, negative, misinformed “awareness” that Autism Speaks and its allies are pumping out this April.
We need acceptance because Autistic children should be loved and accepted wholly and completely for who they are, not hurt and mistreated in their parent’s frantic search for a “cure”. Because Autistic people deserve to be treated with respect and listened to, not silenced and forced or coerced to conform to an ableist, non-disabled ideal. Because Autistic children need accommodation and understanding to live healthy, happy lives, not sketchy “treatments” and intensive, soul-crushing “therapies” to try to make them appear more neurotypical and less Autistic.
For more information on ASAN’s Autism Acceptance Month, see the about page on the website here: http://www.autismacceptancemonth.com/about/
reblogging again because this shit MATTERS, and what that ‘parent’ did is not merely child abuse, it’s also a violent hate-crime against the disabled.
You find yourself in a group of people standing next to a cliff.
Suddenly, someone pushes another person, sending them over the edge. Thankfully, the victim is able to hold on to the edge rather than fall to their death, but nobody makes a move to help them or stop the perpetrator. Everyone, including yourself, simply stands there watching.
Angry that they’ve been pushed, angry that nobody is helping them as they struggle not to fall, the victim screams, ‘Is anybody going to fucking help me??’
That gets everyone’s attention. ‘Why are you mad at me?’ one person asks. ‘I didn’t push you.’
'Nobody is going to want to help you with an attitude like that.'
'You're just as bad as him.'
Nobody makes a move to help.
The victim screams in frustration, their fingers slipping. ‘You’ve got to be fucking joking!’ they shout as they lose their grip.
'You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.' You say as you walk away.
Welcome to the anti-sj/’real justice’ movement.
some of the anti sj will step on that person’s fingers too because they think they’re being “too harsh”