A study of 1.3 million kids revealed no link between vaccines and autism

You can read more at this link but here are the most relevant parts:

 

Five cohort studies involving 1,256,407 children and five case-control studies involving 9920 children were included in this analysis

 

Findings of this meta-analysis suggest that vaccinations are not associated with the development of autism or autism spectrum disorder.

 

There is no reason to be anti-vaccine other than being pro-disinformation.

 

An excerpt from The Revivers, by Adam Dennis

From Zombies?! Zombies!!

 


 

 

A new member to the group occupied the seat closest to the exit. He looked to be in his thirties dressed in an orange track suit and running shoes. A workout bag sat on the floor at his feet. His spare tire revealed a man that once had been in shape but had let other things get in the way as he got older. He occupied himself with a sugary glazed crueller eying the pastry obsessively while washing it down with a cup of Folgers. Debbie gave him a moment to finish before addressing him.

“And you sir, what’s your name?” She asked. The man snapped awake suddenly realizing his participation was expected.

“Me?” He said. “Oh yeah, I’m Phil.”

“Nice to meet you, Phil.” She said. “And how did you hear about our little group?”

“Um…a guy at work told me about it. I thought I’d check it out.” He said as he gulped down some more coffee.

“Of course, thanks for coming.” She said. “And feel free to participate as much as you like. No pressure.”

“Sure, thanks.” He responded as he headed back to the table for seconds.

“So now that we all know each other, why don’t we get started? Who wants to be first tonight?” Debbie glanced around the room for a volunteer. “Okay, as usual I’m just going to have to pick someone.” She turned to Mark. “Mark, would you like to get the conversation going?” He looked at her like she had a vendetta against him.

“Not really.” He replied.

“Please Mark. You should give it a chance. It might help.” She said biting her tongue. “Why don’t you tell us what you remember about what happened.”

The over-confident, dismissive adolescent attitude disappeared as he responded.

“I don’t really remember much.”

Mark had spent the summer before his senior year doing what most prospective seniors do before they start their final year, packing in as many parties as possible. Unfortunately, he chose to end the summer at the one party he should have skipped. The chosen site for the parents-out-of-town-raid-the-liquor-cabinet bash had been packed with a hundred or so drunken, horny teenagers each doing their fair share of damage to the unsuspecting home.

To avoid the long lines to the bathroom, Mark decided to take the easy way out and water the lawn instead. He was alone, drunk and stumbling around in the back yard as mom and dad’s new Panasonic blasted the neighbors. He found a suitable spot near the tool shed to handle his affairs. The far end of the yard stayed dark beyond the reach of the lights of the back deck. Mark had just relieved himself of the last five beers when someone emerged from behind the shed. A woman, if you could call her that, staggered completely naked into the back yard with one utterly primal instinct driving her…hunger, a hunger that drove her to kill. The medical community called her diseased; everyone else called her a zombie.

The living zombie stumbled towards him muffled by the blaring beats from the house and masked by Mark’s lack of sobriety. She slammed clumsily into Mark and grabbed hold of his arm. The two toppled over to the ground as she tore off a massive hunk of muscle with her teeth. Mark screamed frantically not feeling the pain, only the utter fear and surprise. His sobriety quickly returned as the adrenaline shot to his brain like a bullet. The smell of the woman sickened him, like piss and rotting meat brewing in a trash can for days in an August heat. His arm spouted a geyser of blood raining down on the leaves around the scuffle. He managed to yank his arm from her mouth but nothing more. Once he denied her, she fought harder.

“Holy shit! It’s a Reviver! She’s got Mark!” Mark could hear someone yelling but couldn’t recognize the voice. Seconds later, he heard screams as half of the party spilled out into the back yard.

“What do we do?!” He heard.

“Get her off him!” A female partygoer screamed in response.

Mark was losing the strength in his arms. She was small, but relentless. Suddenly, someone grabbed the woman and flung her off him. He barely looked up to see who had saved him and lay dazed and drunk in the grass staring up at a starry sky. The screams quieted as he managed to lift himself out of the dirt. No one offered to help.

“Oh shit, he’s bit!” A fellow reveler stood five feet from him breathing heavily and clutching a rake like a broadsword. A drunken gang of teenagers pelted the zombie with rocks as she shuffled back into the woods. Mark looked down at his arm. It was soaking wet with blood and dripping down his leg. His pants were drenched where he had wet himself unable to finish his business before the attack. The entire party stood in the yard gawking like they were waiting on orders to turn the rocks on him. Mark clutched his wound and walked to the street not saying a word. Still, no one attempted to help. In their eyes, he was already dead.

That summer marked the end of the epidemic, or so the authorities claimed. Rumors of random attacks circulated nonetheless. As time went on, the media coverage lessened. Theorists say that the government had something to do with the drop-off, but in reality, the public was simply tired of death. People wanted the disease to go away and just forget about what had happened. Denial can sometimes be an effective coping mechanism.

Mark stared at his forearm and shook his head. “As soon as everyone saw that I was bitten they looked at me like I was some kind of freak.” An air of sympathy fell over the group that had not been there before.

“After about a week I came back as one of them. It’s weird how there’s still a part of you that is aware of who you were. I went after a girl that I had had a huge crush on for forever. I ended up at her house…why would I go to her house?” He pondered aloud.

Scientists never had an explanation for what caused the memory overlap. There had been scattered reports of infected hosts wandering to their workplaces, schools, or locations that they frequented in their normal life. It was not uncommon for friends or family members in neighboring towns to be attacked.

“So, who was she?” Beth asked. Mark looked at her a moment before responding.

“Her name was Jennifer Lane…and I killed her.”


 

Read the rest of the story and more in Zombies!? Zombies!?

 

Crime rates have fallen 45% since 1990 but the incarceration rate has jumped 220%

That and some other disturbing statistics from the Harvard Gazette:

 

While crime rates have fallen 45 percent since 1990, the memo said that the incarceration rate is now at a “historically unprecedented level,” jumping 222 percent between 1980 and 2012.  An African-American man who never graduated from high school has a 70 percent likelihood of being imprisoned by his mid-30s; for similarly educated white men, the rate is about 15 percent. And the United States imprisons at a rate six times greater than most peer nations, including those of the European Union, Japan, Israel, and Mexico.

 

The for-profit prison industry has done irreparable damage to this country and shutting that down is the only way.  You can contact your local congressman or woman via this link.  It’s not much but it’s something and only takes a couple minutes.  If not this issue, then send an e-mail about your issue.

 

 

 

 

The Daily Ditty 4.8.13

The year 2005 is one of my personal favorites.  I started the year by traveling to Ormskirk, a small market town about a thirty-minute train ride east of Liverpool, England.  Liverpool, where the Beatles were formed!  I spent four months living there, going to school and traveling often to Mathew Street to visit the Cavern Club and its neighbor the Cavern Pub.

cavernpub

About a month after getting home I found myself working at Books-a-Million for the summer, and it was from there that I discovered the band featured in today’s Ditty.  Thanks to a mutual love of alcohol and live music, a small group of us meshed together that summer and became more than co-workers who were acquaintances.

One of those co-workers was the drummer for a local cover band called Two Way Radio, and the bassist in the band was married to another co-worker.  Over the course of the summer they would play weekly or bi-weekly shows around town and the B-A-M crew would always show up in force.  It was a very fun summer, full of what I grew to call three-day “drinkends” where my fiance and I would go out drinking with our friends every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night.

We drank a lot of alcohol, spent a lot of money and had a ton of fun.  And we got the majority of our youthful exuberance out in one final blast, as that September we would discover my future wife was pregnant with our first child.

But oh, what a summer.  Because many of those nights were spent at a Two Way Radio show, the songs they played now remind me of that summer.  They played a superb, eclectic mix of covers – from David Bowie and The Talking Heads to Ryan Adams and Modest Mouse.  This week the Ditty will be a miniature Two Way Radio playlist and it starts with Uncle Tupelo.

There were three Uncle Tupelo songs that made appearances throughout the concert and I’ve included them all here.  “Gun” is a fun song that reminds me of Mentos for some reason while “I Wanna Be Your Dog” is surprisingly good to dance to… but then again when you’ve had too much to drink almost anything is surprisingly good to dance to.  “I Got Drunk” could certainly serve as our anthem that summer, but regardless it, too, was surprisingly fun on the dance floor as well.

The Daily Ditty 4.4.13

I’ve been to a lot of concerts, seen a lot of bands both good and bad.  Between the ages of 16 and 22 I went to as many as I could with my friends, with my brothers, with anyone that wanted to go with me.  I loved, and still love, seeing live music.  Live music from a band I greatly enjoy?  It’s superb.

My first concert was a festival called Rockstock 96, thrown by Chicago rock station Rock 103.5.  Rockstock 96 was kind of a downer concert; one-hit wonder Candlebox and old terrible band Cheap Trick were the two headlining acts.  The station got it right the next two years as Rockstocks 97 and 98 were great experiences that I remember fondly, though Rock 103.5 would be dissolved in November 1998.

June1997 to August 1998 was probably the best extended year of concerts for me, personally.  It started with Ozzfest.  I’m not a huge metal fan, or really a fan at all, but that was a great show.  Black Sabbath and Pantera were amazing, and even Marilyn Manson – whose pathetic gimmick I despise – put on a fun show.

Rockstock 97 was two months later.  There were no huge bands at that show – I believe Megadeath and Faith No More were the headliners – but there were enough good bands and good friends with me to make it highly enjoyable.

Two months after that I went with one of my best friend’s boyfriends to another Pantera show that was one of the most insane experiences of my life.

In February of ’98 half of my high school turned out at the Aragon Ballroom for the Black Crowes.  We waited outside in line for about 8 hours in the cold Chicago winter and it was worth it, because we all got front row… most of us also got ridiculously sick, but it was so worth it.

Rockstock 98 was the cherry on the cake.  Another concert where there weren’t any huge major bands – Black Crowes, Creed and Rammstein were the headliners – but still so much fun.

The highlight of the year, however, was seeing the Rolling Stones in September of 1997 at Soldier Field.  Despite crappy nosebleed seats and the weather progressively getting chilly as the evening went on, it was amazing.  The music was amazing, the band was great, even the crowd was awesome.  And eclectic.  There were the college frat boys sitting to the right of us, in front of us a couple of old bikers in leather jackets and beards passed joints with a couple of businessmen in suits.  Behind us an elderly couple would get up and slow-dance every so often.  All around was a motley collection of humanity, and all of us were entranced for a couple hours by one of the best bands the world has ever seen.

Today’s Ditty is a clip of that very same concert at Soldier Field in 1997.  The music doesn’t start until the 4:30 mark and watching a concert via youtube video is nothing like being there in concert, but looking at it brings back memories of how absolutely amazing that night was.

The Daily Ditty 4.3.13

As a young teenager I had what I now consider to be piss poor taste in music.  I listened to pop station B-96 out of Chicago and pretty much whatever my older brother listened to, which was usually gangster rap.  Not that there’s anything wrong with pop music or gangster rap… but who am I kidding?  Pop music is an abomination unto man and gangster rap is mostly made up of guys trying to prove how tough they are through poetry.  But I ate it all up.

I’ll never regret owning Dr. Dre’s The Chronic as it’s a classic but there are some real stinkers in there that I am embarrassed to say I proudly owned as a 13-year-old.  All-4-One, Bryan Adams, Boyz 2 Men, Kriss Kross, Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer (not their one hit wonders, but their follow ups).  I cringe to think of some of my voluntary musical selections back then, but hey, I was a kid.  I dare almost anyone to look back on their middle school music selections and not cringe.

What saved me was a new town away from the ghettos where I’d grown up, and new friends.  One in particular seemed to take it as his personal duty to educate me in the ways of classic rock.  It started with The Beatles.

I was resistant at first, because I felt pretty set in my ways.  But then I listened to the music and something amazing happened:  I liked it.  These guys weren’t just good, they were amazing, and I quickly devoured everything of theirs that I could.  I bought as many of their CDs as I could afford and for a while in my house it was all-Beatles all the time.

It was through the Beatles that I re-educated myself and my taste in music.  Without them, who knows, I might still be listening to I Swear for the hundred thousandth time and sighing over long lost girlfriends.

In honor of the Beatles saving and refining my musical tastes, today’s ditty is my favorite “song” of theirs which really isn’t a song.  Technically its 9 songs put together in one awesomely glorious medley, the Abbey Road medley.  You Never Give Me Your Money, Sun King, Mean Mister Mustard, Polythene Pam, She Came in Through the Bathroom Window, Golden Slumbers, Carry That Weight, The End, and Her Majesty.  All decent to great songs alone but together they are simply amazing.

For the ultimate listening experience, set the video to 720 resolution.  And Enjoy:

The Daily Ditty 4.2.13

I’ve been in love with the music of Arcade Fire since I first heard their debut, Funeral, back in 2005.  A friend handed me a burned CD of theirs and raved at me about needing to listen to them.  I declined at first, because the name of the band sounded really stupid.

A few days later I popped the CD into my old 95 Le Sabre’s CD player and they were okay.  The first song, Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels), was unlike anything I’d ever heard before.  It was different and just really really good.  I quickly found myself listening to the album over and over again, and to this day Funeral is one of the few albums I can listen to over and over again.

I’ve been a huge fan ever since, eagerly looking forward to anything they produce.  My wife and I finally saw them in concert back in 2011 and it was like a religious experience.  Just superb.  Enjoy: