Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas Eve Eve, or, The TBS "A Christmas Story" Marathon Eve

Over the years I got to be quite a connoisseur of soap. Though my personal preference was for Lux, I found that Palmolive had a nice, piquant after-dinner flavor - heavy, but with a touch of mellow smoothness. Lifebuoy, on the other hand... (Yechh!)

TBS' marathon of A Christmas Story begins Thursday, December 24 2015 7:00pm CT.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Sunday, November 29, 2015

With reverberations still echoing from the November 13 2015 attacks in Paris and officialdom's conclusion it was ISIS, I would like to say the following:

Be alert to the frame job, the setup, the fix.  Anyone can yell "Allahu akbar!"  But those who manufacture propaganda and guide public opinion have the masses trained to think "Allahu akbar" = "Evil Muslim."

When you find yourself reacting viscerally to something, check that you haven't merely swapped one discredited belief system (e.g. religion) for another (e.g. government).

Edward Bernays saw the writing on the wall at the beginning of the 20th century.  People were believing in religion and government less, so he steered them to "experts."

In short, he got us to replace the priest robes with lab coats.  And government apparatchiks loaded up government machinery with lab coats to back up their policies.

Some of Bernay's thoughts from his watershed book Propaganda [1928]:

Men (people) are rarely aware of the real reasons which motivate their actions.
In place of thoughts it has impulses, habits, and emotions. 
Like its wartime prototype, the post-war propaganda drive was an immense success, as it persuaded not just businessmen but journalists and politicians that "the manufacture of consent" in Walter Lippmann's famous phrase, was a necessity throughout the public sphere. 
It is the purpose of this book to explain the structure of the mechanism which controls the public mind, and to tell how it is manipulated by the special pleader who seeks to create public acceptance for a particular idea of commodity.  It will attempt at the same time to find the due place in the modern democratic scheme for this new propaganda and to suggest its gradually evolving code of ethics and practice. 
Universal literacy was supposed to educate the common man to control his environment.  Once he could read and write he would have a mind fit to rule.  So ran the democratic doctrine.  But instead of a mind, universal literacy has given him rubber stamps, rubber stamps inked with advertising slogans, with editorials, with published scientific data, with the trivialities of the tabloids and the platitudes of history, but quite innocent of original thought.  Each man's rubber stamps are duplicates of millions of others, so that when those millions are exposed to the same stimuli, all receive identical imprints.  It may seem an exaggeration to say that the American public gets most of its ideas in this wholesale fashion.  The mechanism by which ideas are disseminated on a large scale is propaganda, in the broad sense of an organized effort to spread a particular belief or doctrine.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Presented in no coherent order and no attempt to do so.

The doctrinal line many Christian churches espouse that you can't be saved without declaring JC to be your god and savior.
Except, JC only showed in Judea, a province of the Roman Empire, and was active for 1-3 years tops.  He preached in Aramaic.  And obscured his message.

Sounds like a god who felt obligated to get the word out, but Jesuitically realized it could be a small sample size, and even then the focus group didn't have to understand the message.

Maybe the original (?) message of Paul, the Gnostics had a better story framework: god sends a heavenly messenger to battle the archons - in heaven - and beats them by dying.  Figuratively.  Metaphorically.  Not reality.  Not actuality.

The only beneficiaries in the Gnostic version are the ones who know the secret story.  So that cuts out all of us.  And anyone born out of time, i.e. before or after this, doesn't benefit.  Anyone not living in the Roman Empire, knowing Greek, knowing Gnostics willing to hep you to the secret message - you're out too.

The dominant strain of Christianity was not Gnostic, and had some rewrites to get Paul's letters in line with the orthodoxy.  And even with the forgeries and interpolations they still couldn't bring themselves to have Paul talk about a physical Jesus.  And left mentions of archons in there.

But Luke's Acts of the Apostles did yeoman's work bridging the gap between Paul and Peter.

And now for the lighter side of evangelicalism.
1 Corinthians 1:14-16
I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name.  And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.
Paul lost count of his baptisms.  Upon reflection, I can understand that.
1 Corinthians 3:5
Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed[,]
Serious question - what happened to poor old Apollos?  He seemed kind of a big deal in the days of Paul and rampaging baptizing.

And one of my favorites - 1 Corinthians 7:9
But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.
1 Corinthians 9:6
Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working?
The original welfare kings!

Read the whole damn epistle only to find out it's not the one that covers archons.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Don't get something wrong in an effort to make big point

Picking up at the Charleston SC church shooting, there was been a weird chain of events.  First, a recap of that event:
June 23 2015 CNN: Charleston church shooting: Who is Dylann Roof?
On June 17 2015 Dylan Storm Roof (21 years old) allegedly killed 9 black people in Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Charleston SC.
Roof allegedly confessed to the murders to both the Charleston SC police and the FBI.
Roof's friends said he took drugs, and there is a record of an arrest for possessing Suboxone without a prescription (it's used to treat heroin addiction).
And from that the confederate flag was targeted.  Something the NAACP and other groups have been agitating for decades to remove from southern government buildings and incorporated in some southern state flags.

June 22 2015, ABC: Walmart Decides to Stop Selling Confederate Flag Merchandise Amid Uproar Over Rebel Banner
June 24 2015, USA Today: Amazon, eBay join other retailers to pull Confederate flag

Tuesday, July 7 2015, The Hill: The US Congress votes to prohibit the display of Confederate flags at federal cemeteries.

Thursday, July 9 2015, NBC: South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley Signs Bill Removing Confederate Flag.

Does it seem like the confederate flag was chosen as the next exercise in statist control?  That retailers like Amazon and Wal-Mart responded within a week of the killings is suspicious because people were not blaming the confederate flag in the wake of Emanuel AME killings.

And now libertarian-minded headliners in the independent media have rode the pendulum to the other extreme:  the Civil War was not about slavery but states' rights.

Tsk, tsk.  They should know better.  Wars are never fought for 1 reason, even when so nebulous as states' rights.

The confederate states were no more champions of states' rights than the northern states.
Exhibit A: they were furious the free states did not enforce the Federal Fugitive Slave Act.
Exhibit B: States are smaller versions of an aggrandizing federal government, and just as hostile to libertarian thought as Washington DC.
Exhibit C: South Carolina's statement of succession adopted 24 December 1860:  Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union, identifies itself as a slaveholding state and further:
The Constitution of the United States, in its fourth Article, provides as follows: "No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up, on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due."
This stipulation was so material to the compact, that without it that compact would not have been made. The greater number of the contracting parties held slaves, and they had previously evinced their estimate of the value of such a stipulation by making it a condition in the Ordinance for the government of the territory ceded by Virginia, which now composes the States north of the Ohio River.
The same article of the Constitution stipulates also for rendition by the several States of fugitives from justice from the other States.
So, er, South Carolina is asserting its Right As A State to capture Fugitive Slaves.
Slavery and South Carolina's State Rights - not mutually exclusive. In case you weren't getting the point, South Carolina calls out the offenders (emphasis mine):
For many years these laws were executed. But an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the institution of slavery, has led to a disregard of their obligations, and the laws of the General Government have ceased to effect the objects of the Constitution. The States of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa, have enacted laws which either nullify the Acts of Congress or render useless any attempt to execute them.
 South Carolina saves for the last the explanation on the timing of this resolution:
For twenty-five years this agitation has been steadily increasing, until it has now secured to its aid the power of the common Government. Observing the forms of the Constitution, a sectional party has found within that Article establishing the Executive Department, the means of subverting the Constitution itself. A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. He is to be entrusted with the administration of the common Government, because he has declared that that "Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free," and that the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction.
On the 4th day of March next, this party will take possession of the Government. It has announced that the South shall be excluded from the common territory, that the judicial tribunals shall be made sectional, and that a war must be waged against slavery until it shall cease throughout the United States.
The guaranties of the Constitution will then no longer exist; the equal rights of the States will be lost. The slaveholding States will no longer have the power of self-government, or self-protection, and the Federal Government will have become their enemy. 
 A quick recap on the election of 1860:
The Republican convention in Chicago nominated Lincoln as their candidate.
The Democratic convention in Charleston SC split over Stephen Douglas (pro-slavery but also pro-self determination, allowing territories to determine if they would be free or slave).
Northern Democrats nominated Stephen Douglas.
Southern Democrats nominated (then current) Vice President John Breckenridge.
The Constitutional Union Party nominated John Bell (slaveholder from Tennessee).

Also, the fighting started prior to hostilities at Ft. Sumter, in "Bleeding" Kansas.  Which was a battle over which power factions would control the territory:  the southern slaveholding group or the northern mercantilists?

This is the problem when April 12 1861 is chosen as the start date (when Confederate General PGT Beauregard fired on Ft. Sumter).

That means you ignore the factional battles throughout the United States, real battles being waged and large numbers of people being killed.

Small Statists (as opposed to the Consolidationists, aka Federal Government supporters) strangely overlook a fact that would strengthen their position that they were fighting for states' rights:  after the Republican Party's candidate Lincoln won the election in November 1860 and it was clear certain slaveholding states would secede, the Northern states didn't care - at first.

As early as November 9 1860, Horace Greeley - editor of the NY Daily Tribune, most widely read newspaper of the day - wrote an editorial that states unhappy with the election results should go in peace. This is from his response to The Albany Evening Journal, December 17 1860:
But if ever "seven or eight States" send agents to Washington to say "We want to get out of the Union," we shall feel constrained by our devotion to Human Liberty to say, Let them go! And we do not see how we could take the other side without coming in direct conflict with those Rights of Man which we hold paramount to all political arrangements, however convenient and advantageous.
But the Northern moneyed interests were in favor of appeasement with the South over slavery to preserve the Union, and by extention their tariffs which disproportionately benefited the North at the expense of the South.

The Chicago Daily Times warned in December 1860 what a tariff-free zone the Confederate states would mean for the United Sates:
In one single blow our foreign commerce must be reduced to less than one-half what it now is. Our coastwise trade would pass into other hands. One-half of our shipping would lie idle at our wharves. We should lose our trade with the South, with all of its immense profits. Our manufactories would be in utter ruins. Let the South adopt the free-trade system, or that of a tariff for revenue, and these results would likely follow.
Back to slavery.  Slavery was the core of the South's power base, bumping up their representation in the federal government due to this from the Constitution, Article 1, Section 2:
Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxes, three fifths of all other Persons.
Except that the free North was growing faster than the slave South, and by 1820 Southern representation had fallen to 42% in the House of Representatives.  Southern power needed more slave states to maintain control of the Senate and White House.

Every significant struggle in the post-Revolutionary War United States included slavery.

13 July 1787 - The Northwest Ordinance.
Enacted by Congress under the Articles of Confederation.  Outlined steps on how to proceed from being a territory to becoming a state.  And it forbade slavery.

Summer 1787 - the Constitutional Convention regarding the slave trade
That is, they agreed no law banning the slave trade could even be considered until 1808.  Kicking the can down the road, encapsulated in the Constitution.

Missouri Compromise of 1820 - banned slavery in the Louisiana Territory north of 36° 30’ parallel, excluding Missouri.  Maine added at same time as free state.

May 1836 - Congress enacts the "Gag Rule"
In response to growing petitions to abolish slavery in Washington DC, the House passed a resolution that automatically tabled all petitions concerning slavery without hearing them.
So much for the 1st Amendment (emphasis mine);  Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Compromise of 1850 - again deciding the free/slave demarcation from territory taken from Mexico in the Mexican-American War.  Admitted California as free, New Mexico territory to permit slavery.  Also banned the slave trade (but not slavery) in Washington DC, counter-balanced with a stronger Federal Fugitive Slave Act.

Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 - Created the Kansas and Nebraska Territories, and provided the residents vote if the territories be free or slave.  This led to warfare between the pro-slavery and anti-slavery groups.

Slavery was intertwined with economics and power politics and that's why it is one of the driving factors in the Civil War.

Friday, May 01, 2015

Time to go back to the original name: Department of War

And while we're at it, revisit the Articles of Confederation and why the remembered Founders were so anxious to overthrow it with the Constitution.  And the forgotten Founders (Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry to name 2) were so opposed to it.  And only because of the anti-Federalists do we have the Bill of Rights.

So add the Federalist and anti-Federalist papers to the reading list, along with Thomas Paine's Common Sense.

A good jumping off point:  Legalman's The PEOPLES' [sic] case for what happened at the constitutional convention.

Some reading material

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Waiting on that 4th for the Final Four

Damn those Kansas Jayhawks.  That's what made me get 7 instead of 8 in the Elite 8.
And then Arizona - Arizona! - lost to Wisconsin again for a Final 4 slot.  At the time of this writing the best I can do is go 3 out of 4.

Do I despair of winning the pool?  Yes, I did begin despairing.  And then I spied Yahoo's Results Generator.

And here's what I found:  If the final 2 are Kentucky-MSU, and Kentucky wins - I win.  Doesn't matter who wins the Duke-Gonzaga game is if my final 2 are correct.

If the final two are anything other than Kentucky-MSU, I lose.
However, if the final 2 are Calipari v Izzo, it doesn't matter who wins - I win.

2:26 left Gonzaga 51 Duke 60.
1:30 left Gonzaga 52, Duke 60
0:56.4 Gonzaga fouled Duke - Duke gets both free throws.  Gonzaga 52 Duke 64
0:45 left Gonzaga 52, Duke 66
FINAL Gonzaga 52, Duke 66

And now I can state I have 3 of the Final 4.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

2015 NCAA Elite Eight

I shocked myself - out of the 8 games for the Elite 8 round in the 2015 NCAA Tourney, I had 7 chances to get the winner.

And I swept the stage - 7 out of 7.  And jumped from 10th to tied for 2nd.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

2015 NCAA East Sweet Sixteen

That East Bracket is holding up like a champ.  South, West, and Midwest - not so much.  (2 of 4 in each of those.)

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The EAST bracket is not busted. Yet.

Another typical March Madness bracket performance by me - I only got 6 of 8 right in the 1st round BUT I'm 2 for 2 (with 2 to be played).  And the 2 I got right?  I picked against #1 Villanova and #2 Virginia (picking NC State and Michigan St respectively).

Hopefully Rick Pitino and #4 Louisville don't let me down.  As for #3 Oklahoma v #11 Dayton - I have no idea how that game will play out.

My Final Four is Kentucky, Michigan St, Arizona, and Duke.
I have Kentucky beating Michigan St for the championship.

So now you know how it's NOT going to happen.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

1976 Swine Flu to 1986 legal protection for vaccines to 2006 PAHPA to 2015 measles

So there was a measles outbreak at Disney World in 2014/2015.  The US media is blaming Americans who have elected not to vaccinate themselves or their children.

They are not mentioning that a side effect of the MMR vaccine is that it can cause M(easles), M(umps), or R(ubella).

They're not mentioning that immunity from MMR is short-lived.

They are not mentioning the tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of illegal immigrants in the past 2 years - none of whom were medically screened.  Judicial Watch reported in July 2014 that illegal alien minors were spreading TB, Dengue, and Swine Flu.  Measles could be a likely component as well.

A few voices in the political sphere said vaccination should be a matter of choice: NJ Gov. Christie and Sen. Rand Paul.  They have been vilified.

And even Newsweek reported in the midst of a anti-vaxxer story that the CDC reported 69 deaths associated with the MMR vaccine since 2000.  They shrug that off with "died sometime after having been vaccinated against some cases their deaths were totally unrelated, or the patient had some undiagnosed congenital illness that meant he or she should never have been vaccinated in the first place."
Ed. note:  If the all-knowing Newsweek and CDC knows that, then they should know how many of the 69 did die from the vaccination.

And then there's this test called the RT-PCR.  It can be used to determine the source of the infection, such as with measles.  Did the measles come from a vaccine strain, or from a in-the-wild strain?
The Reverse Transcripterase-Polymerase Chain Reaction is an accepted protocol in use since 1995 to determine the source of infection.

Were the Disney World measles patients tested with RT-PCR?  If not, why not?  If yes, what strain was it?

So let's back up and look at how we got to this situation and a good starting point is that Swine Flu vaccination of 1976, which killed more people than the flu itself.  Even President Ford took the vaccination and got sick from it.
By the way, FLU VACCINES do contain thimerosal which is a mercury compound.  MERCURY.
And other vaccines have minute amounts of thimerosal.  Still a heavy metal toxin for humans, though.

1976 Swine Flu Debacle
The LA Times recapped the story in 2009:  In February 1976 when an Army recruit at Ft. Dix NJ fell ill and died from a swine flu virus believed to be a descendant of the 1918 strain.
Ed. note:  There had been flu epidemics since 1918 - 1957-58 Asian and 1968-69 Hong Kong - so why the jump to the 1918 epidemics?  Because it erupted at an Army base?

Dr. David J Sencer was the CDC Director who led the inoculation effort, and called on President Ford and Congress to begin a mass inoculation.  The program begin in October 1976, but within days there were reports the vaccine was causing Guillain-Barre syndrome.  25% of the American population received the vaccination before the program was halted.  The pandemic never materialized.

The flu infected 200 people, 1 death.  The vaccine is thought to be responsible for 500 cases of Guillain-Barre and 25 deaths.

The public widely regarded the entire affair as a farce, and Sencer was fired.

Ed. note:  But the LA Times story doesn't provide figures on those afflicted with Guillain-Barre or killed by the vaccinations.

An article at the CDC on Reflections on the 1976 Swine Flu vaccination by then CDC Director David Sencer and Director of NIIP* J. Donald Millar, goes into detail on the difficulty of manufacturing the vaccine:
NIIP received the first of 2 crippling blows to "immunize every man, woman, and child:"
1) Vaccine makers demanded an ultimatum - the federal govt would indemnify them against claims of adverse reactions.  The govt quickly agreed to this.  The CDC notes here the unintended message was "there's something wrong with this vaccine" and "this public misperception, warranted or not..."
*NIIP:  National Influenza Immunization Program
Ed. note:  Nice bit of writing there, CDC.  This public misperception - well, we know how the CDC feels about indemnifying vaccines.

August 2, 1976 deaths were reported from Philadelphia at the American Legion convention.  These were determined not to be the flu.  But this was regarded by the media and others as an attempt to stimulate NIIP.
Ed. note:  Interestingly, CDC fails to identify this non-flu, which history has recorded as  Legionnaires Disease.

The CDC does go on to report on finding cases of Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) among persons receiving the flu vaccination.  The CDC maintains it remains unclear if the vaccine had a causal relationship.

A moratorium on the flu vaccination program was announced December 16 1976.

But the CDC, Department of Health and Welfare, and other government agencies didn't stop researching how to get and implement vaccines to an entire population.

1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986
From the Department of Health and Human Services, Human Resources and Services Administration:
On October 1, 1988 the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 (Public Law 99-660) created the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP).
The VICP ensures adequate supply of vaccines, stabilize vaccine costs, and establish and maintain an accessible and efficient forum for individuals injured by certain vaccines.
The VICP is a no-fault alternative to the traditional tort system for resolving vaccine injury claims.
The U.S. Court of Federal Claims decides who will be paid.

Mercola reports on the Vaccine Court,that through 2008 two out of three individuals applying for federal vaccine injury compensation have been turned away empty-handed even though to date $1.8 billion has been awarded to more than 2,200 plaintiffs out of some 12,000 who have applied.

MMR gets combined into 1 vaccination shot
Also during the 1980s Merck combined the separate Measles, Mumps, and Rubella vaccines into a single shot.  NOT because parents were lax about getting all 3 shots for their children, but rather to make it difficult to track an adverse reaction to a specific vaccination.

It was also well known then that the MMR vaccine does not convey permanent immunization but rather a short-lived one.  The only permanent immunization is from recovering from the disease.

1998 Dr. Wakefield Finds a Link Between MMR and Autism
Interestingly, Dr. Wakefield advocated disaggregating the MMR back into 3 separate shots to reduce adverse effects such as autism.  Merck wouldn't even agree to that.

And in September 2014 an Italian court found there was a link between vaccines and autism.

The Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA) of 2006
This law, among other things, codifies the need for the U.S. to stockpile vaccines for usage, including flu vaccines.

Merck's published side effects from the MMR-II vaccine
On pages 6-8:
The following adverse reactions are listed in decreasing order of severity, without regard to causality, within each body system category and have been reported during clinical trials, with use of the marketed vaccine, or with use of monovalent or bivalent vaccine containing measles, mumps, or rubella: Body as a Whole Panniculitis; atypical measles; fever; syncope; headache; dizziness; malaise; irritability. Cardiovascular System Vasculitis. Digestive System Pancreatitis; diarrhea; vomiting; parotitis; nausea.
Endocrine System Diabetes mellitus. Hemic and Lymphatic System Thrombocytopenia (see WARNINGS, Thrombocytopenia); purpura; regional lymphadenopathy; leukocytosis. Immune System Anaphylaxis and anaphylactoid reactions have been reported as well as related phenomena such as angioneurotic edema (including peripheral or facial edema) and bronchial spasm in individuals with or without an allergic history. Musculoskeletal System Arthritis; arthralgia; myalgia. Arthralgia and/or arthritis (usually transient and rarely chronic), and polyneuritis are features of infection with wild-type rubella and vary in frequency and severity with age and sex, being greatest in adult females and least in prepubertal children. This type of involvement as well as myalgia and paresthesia, have also been reported following administration of MERUVAX II. Chronic arthritis has been associated with wild-type rubella infection and has been related to persistent virus and/or viral antigen isolated from body tissues. Only rarely have vaccine recipients developed chronic joint symptoms. Following vaccination in children, reactions in joints are uncommon and generally of brief duration. In women, incidence rates for arthritis and arthralgia are generally higher than those seen in children (children: 0-3%; women: 12-26%),{17,56,57} and the reactions tend to be more marked and of longer duration. Symptoms may persist for a matter of months or on rare occasions for years. In adolescent girls, the reactions appear to be intermediate in incidence between those seen in children and in adult women. Even in women older than 35 years, these reactions are generally well tolerated and rarely interfere with normal activities. Nervous System Encephalitis; encephalopathy; measles inclusion body encephalitis (MIBE) (see CONTRAINDICATIONS); subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE); Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS); acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM); transverse myelitis; febrile convulsions; afebrile convulsions or seizures; ataxia; polyneuritis; polyneuropathy; ocular palsies; paresthesia. Experience from more than 80 million doses of all live measles vaccines given in the U.S. through 1975 indicates that significant central nervous system reactions such as encephalitis and encephalopathy, occurring within 30 days after vaccination, have been temporally associated with measles vaccine very rarely.{58} In no case has it been shown that reactions were actually caused by vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has pointed out that "a certain number of cases of encephalitis may be expected to occur in a large childhood population in a defined period of time even when no vaccines are administered". However, the data suggest the possibility that some of these cases may have been caused by measles vaccines. The risk of such serious neurological disorders following live measles virus vaccine administration remains far less than that for encephalitis and encephalopathy with wild-type measles (one per two thousand reported cases). Post-marketing surveillance of the more than 200 million doses of M-M-R and M-M-R II that have been distributed worldwide over 25 years (1971 to 1996) indicates that serious adverse events such as encephalitis and encephalopathy continue to be rarely reported.{17}
There have been reports of subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE) in children who did not have a history of infection with wild-type measles but did receive measles vaccine. Some of these cases may have resulted from unrecognized measles in the first year of life or possibly from the measles vaccination. Based on estimated nationwide measles vaccine distribution, the association of SSPE cases to measles vaccination is about one case per million vaccine doses distributed. This is far less than the association with infection with wild-type measles, 6-22 cases of SSPE per million cases of measles. The results of a retrospective case-controlled study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that the overall effect of measles vaccine has been to protect against SSPE by preventing measles with its inherent higher risk of SSPE.{59} Cases of aseptic meningitis have been reported to VAERS following measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination. Although a causal relationship between the Urabe strain of mumps vaccine and aseptic meningitis has been shown, there is no evidence to link Jeryl Lynn™ mumps vaccine to aseptic meningitis.
 Respiratory System Pneumonia; pneumonitis (see CONTRAINDICATIONS); sore throat; cough; rhinitis. Skin Stevens-Johnson syndrome; erythema multiforme; urticaria; rash; measles-like rash; pruritis. Local reactions including burning/stinging at injection site; wheal and flare; redness (erythema); swelling; induration; tenderness; vesiculation at injection site. Special Senses — Ear Nerve deafness; otitis media. Special Senses — Eye Retinitis; optic neuritis; papillitis; retrobulbar neuritis; conjunctivitis. Urogenital System Epididymitis; orchitis. Other Death from various, and in some cases unknown, causes has been reported rarely following vaccination with measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines; however, a causal relationship has not been established in healthy individuals (see CONTRAINDICATIONS). No deaths or permanent sequelae were reported in a published post-marketing surveillance study in Finland involving 1.5 million children and adults who were vaccinated with M-M-R II during 1982 to 1993.{60} Under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, health-care providers and manufacturers are required to record and report certain suspected adverse events occurring within specific time periods after vaccination. However, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has established a Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) which will accept all reports of suspected events.{49} A VAERS report form as well as information regarding reporting requirements can be obtained by calling VAERS 1-800-822-7967.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

NPR buried the lead: beware of published scientific papers without ANY opposing data

Monday, January 26 NPR's Morning Edition ran a story on "Bilingual Studies Reveal Flaw In How Info Reaches Mainstream."

Sure, the key point was in the headline but if you weren't careful you'd think the focus is on Bilingual Studies.  They increase cognitive function, right?  Something like what?  Whatever - moving on.

It's the 2nd part of the headline that's the real story - Flaw in how info reaches mainstream.

That is, some scientific studies never get published or promoted at conferences at all.  And some of the ones that disappear are because they contradict the glamorous, the new, the feel-good studies.

And NPR's example was the Bilingual studies.  The theory is that the more languages you know, the stronger your brain is.
NPR's scientific guy, Shankar Vedantam:  "Speaking multiple languages actually has benefits to your brain.  And it's based on the fact there have been dozens of studies that show when you learn multiple languages, you have better executive control."

After some back and forth explaining executive control, Shankar continues:
"Here's the problem with that construction.  In 2009, researchers at the University of Edinburgh published a study showing that bilingual speakers could resist distraction better than monolingual speakers.  That totally fits with the theory.

But I recently spoke with Angela de Bruin.  She's recently revisited the subject based on her personal knowledge of what actually happened.  It turns out the researcheres in that 2009 paper actually conducted FOUR EXPERIMENTS.  THREE of the FOUR did NOT show that bilinguals were less distractible than monolingual speakers."

Angela de Bruin:  "One of the tasks (aka experiments) showed an effect of bilingualism.  And that's the study that was published.  Now, the three other tasks did not show any effect of bilingualism at all.  And those tasks never made it into a publication.  They were just put into a file drawer.  So we had 4 studies, but only 1 was published.  And that was the successful one, show an effect bilingualism."

Shankar:  "In fact, one of the authors of the 2009 paper tried to replicate the successful experiment. And that replication failed to work.  So in other words, there were 4 experiments.  3 did not show benefits, and weren't published.  1 showed a benefit and was published.  But it couldn't be reproduced.  And then the reproduction was not published."

de Bruin:  "We found 63% of abstracts supporting a bilingual advantage were published compared to only 36% of the challenging studies."

NPR's David Greene:  "You know, Shankar, just listening to that, it makes me less likely to trust a scientific study."

Shankar:  "I think that's exactly right, David.  There's been a lot of concern in science about this kind of of publication bias affecting the integrity of science."

NPR never alludes to any other studies that we may want to rethink, such as Global Warming-Climate Change-back to Global Warming.  See also:  AGW (anthropogenic global warming).

Back in 2010 the American Thinker reported on Climategate, the hacking and release of materials from IPCC.  IPCC rejected the claims their theory was wrong because it wasn't peer reviewed.  Well, 3 peer-reviewed journal articles contradict the AGW hypothesis.

And there's that gem from 2000:  the UK Independent reported that snow would be a thing of the past.

Then the UK Telegraph reported 24 January 2015 Climategate, the Sequel: How we are STILL being  tricked with flawed data on global warming.  It's a great read.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Swiss franc week that was

The Swiss National Bank (SNB) abruptly stopped the EUR-CHF peg on Thursday, January 15 2015.

And then all hell broke loose.

Christine Lagard of the IMF forgot herself and complained on record that SNB should have coordinated with the IMF.

Draghi at the ECB was no less miffed.  His staff is furiously at work determining what this does or does not do to ECB's planned quantitative easing.

And then there's the Eastern Europe countries whose citizens have mortgages not in the home currency but the Swiss Franc.  Why?  Because the interest rates were so much lower.  And now it's 2007/2008 again.

Reuters picked up a story first reported by Bloomberg on other ramifications:
(Reuters) - Hedge fund manager Marko Dimitrijevic is closing his largest hedge fund, Everest Capital's Global Fund, having lost almost all its money after the Swiss National Bank (SNB) scrapped its three-year-old cap on the franc against the euro, Bloomberg news reported on Saturday.

As for the trite "there's a winner for every loser" - that's not true in highly leveraged trades.  Like FOREX.  The losers will very likely be unable to meet their margin calls (cue jumping bankers on Wall Street in 1929), so the winners will not collect.

Meanwhile, some of those Eastern European nations have already announced they'll be stepping in to help their beleaguered citizens, such as Croatia: PM Zoran Milanovic announced the government will help 60,000 citizens with CHF-denominated mortgages.