Will the Disneyland measles outbreak lead to the end of non-medical exemptions to school vaccine mandates? (It should)


Well, the ongoing multistate measles outbreak that's been in the news for the last few weeks continues apace, which means I can't seem to stay away from the issue for more than a couple of days. For instance, yesterday I learned that five babies at a Chicago-area day care have been diagnosed with the measles. All the babies are under a year old and therefore too young to have received the MMR vaccine yet. At this point, I'm betting that most likely the baby who brought the measles to the KinderCare Day Care with this measles outbreak got it from an older unvaccinated sibling, but time will tell if that's true. In any case, after all the time advocates of science-based medicine and opponents of the antivaccine movement have been worrying and warning that vaccination rates have fallen perilously low in certain pockets that outbreaks have become possible, it finally seems to be happening, and it's profoundly disturbing.

On the other hand, if there is a silver lining in this dark stormy cloud it's that regular people (as opposed to skeptics) are finally starting to pay attention and believe that there's a problem, so much so that people are starting to show signs of actually wanting to do something about it. More on that in a moment, but first let's look at the magnitude of the problem, as described yesterday in USA TODAY:

Nearly one in seven public and private schools have measles vaccination rates below 90% — a rate considered inadequate to provide immunity, according to a USA TODAY analysis of immunization data in 13 states.

Hundreds of thousands of students attend schools — ranging from small, private academies in New York City to large public elementary schools outside Boston to Native American reservation schools in Idaho — where vaccination rates have dropped precipitously low, sometimes under 50%. California, Vermont, Rhode Island, Arizona, Minnesota, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia also were included in the analysis.

A frequent claim made by antivaccinationists is that there's no cause for concern because, overall, vaccine uptake is high. However, that's vaccine uptake averaged out over entire states. As the USA TODAY analysis shows, there are lots of schools in just a 13 state sample with dangerously low MMR uptake, and that's all that's needed for outbreaks to begin and be sustained: Populations with MMR uptake too low to maintain herd immunity. Also:

The 13-state sample shows what many experts have long feared: People opposed to vaccinations tend to live near each other, leaving some schools dangerously vulnerable, while other schools are fully protected.

The clusters create hot spots that state immunization rates can mask. In the 32 public elementary schools in Boise, Idaho, for example, vaccination rates for measles in 2013-14 ranged from 84.5% at William Howard Taft Elementary to 100% at Adams Elementary, just 4 miles away.

Some clusters are among people who have philosophical objections to vaccines; other clusters are in poorer neighborhoods, where parents do not stay up to date with their children's vaccinations.

What was disturbing about this survey went beyond just the finding of low MMR uptake in so many schools and that people opposed to vaccines tend to cluster. USA TODAY reports that a lot of states wouldn't provide their reporters with school-level data, citing health privacy laws. Of course, one wonders how simply providing school-level vaccine uptake rates would violate health privacy if no student-level information is provided. More disturbing is that several states don't even keep track of school-level vaccine uptake rates, states such as Maine, Arkansas, Alaska and Colorado. What we also know is that, although the CDC sets a federal goal of 95% of kindergarteners being vaccinated with MMR, in the 2013-2014 school year, 28 states and thousands of schools did not meet that standard.

The finding that vaccine refusers tend to cluster geographically is not a new finding. It's a finding that has been noted in several studies over the last several years, such as a study from 2008 noting an association between the geographic clustering of nonmedical exemptions and pertussis and a 2013 study with similar findings. Just last month, a study examining children with membership in Kaiser Permanente Northern California involving 154,424 children in 13 counties with continuous membership from birth to 36 months of age also found that underimmunization and vaccine refusal cluster. Wonkblog tried to extend this analysis to all of California and showed a disturbing increase in personal belief exemptions from 2000 to 2013 leading to clusters of undervaccinated children throughout the state.

Although low socioeconomic status is associated with low vaccine uptake due to being medically underserved, by far the largest contributor to pockets of low vaccine uptake appears to be the rise of nonmedical exemptions, exemptions to school vaccine mandates that are based on either religion or "personal belief," the latter of which, despite being portrayed as some sort of moral or philosophical opposition, basically boils down to parents saying, "I dont' want to." Of all the states in the US, only two, Mississippi and West Virginia, do not permit nonmedical exemptions. Twenty states allow philosophical/personal belief exemptions, as I just discussed the other day.

This is a problem that the ongoing measles outbreak might be finally prodding lawmakers to address. For example:

Gov. Jerry Brown, who preserved religious exemptions to state vaccination requirements in 2012, on Wednesday appeared open to legislation that would eliminate all but medical waivers.

The governor's new flexibility highlighted a growing momentum toward limiting vaccination exemptions partly blamed for the state's worst outbreak of measles since 2000 and flare-ups of whooping cough and other preventable illnesses.

California Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer urged state officials to reconsider California's vaccination policies Wednesday in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Diana Dooley.

Brown's spokesman, Evan Westrup, said the governor "believes that vaccinations are profoundly important and a major public health benefit, and any bill that reaches his desk will be closely considered."

Earlier, five lawmakers had said they would introduce legislation that would abolish all religious and other personal-beliefs exemptions for parents who do not want their children vaccinated before starting school.

Gov. Brown, unfortunately, betrayed California children a couple of years ago after the California legislature, in an attempt to make personal belief exemptions a little more difficult to obtain, passed a bill that required parents to have a health care professional (doctors, advanced practice nurses, and, unfortunately, naturopaths) provide them with informed consent about the risks of not vaccinating before signing the exemption form every year. What did Gov. Brown do? Basically, when he signed the bill, he added a signing statement instructing the California Department of Public Health to "allow for a separate religious exemption on the form" so that "people whose religious beliefs preclude vaccinations will not be required to seek a health care practitioner’s signature." Never mind that Brown's signing statement did not have the force of law and should have had no power to compel the Department of Public Health to add a religious exemption line to the form. Basically, in one fell swoop, Gov. Brown completely neutered the bill, an action he is still defending in the light of measles outbreaks:

The governor's office says that since the bill took effect, those exemptions have decreased by nearly 20%, from 3.15% of children in the 2013-14 school year to 2.54% in 2014-15.

Brown was criticized by some health experts, however, for exempting parents with religious objections from meeting with a medical professional.

On Wednesday, Brown's representatives would not directly address whether the religious exemption should be repealed or maintained, but they noted that those are claimed by only about 0.5% of kindergarten students.

Well, two can play the relative decrease game. That 0.5% of kindergarteners would be nearly one-fifth, or 20% of the remaining exemptions. So basically, Gov. Brown facilitated roughly 20% of exemptions by making it unnecessary for those parents to go through even the minimal hurdle of the law to exempt their children from school vaccine mandates. That's hardly anything to be proud of. In any case, Gov. Brown could potentially single-handedly drive the nonmedical exemption rate 20% lower by repealing his signing statement and instructing the Department of Public Health to do what it should have been doing all along, namely his job as Governor: Enforcing the law as written and passed by the legislature.

It's interesting that the same Governor who betrayed California children so egregiously by subverting the intent of a law passed by the legislature is now apparently signaling readiness to sign a bill that would eliminate all nonmedical exemptions in the most populous state in the nation. Meanwhile, the legislature through which this bill had to be pushed, with proponents fighting tooth and nail to keep the antivaccine-sympathetic and libertarian-leaning contingent from blocking it or watering it down is actually considering introducing such a bill.

I hope the legislature, if it considers a bill to ban nonmedical exemptions, starts out strong, because, consistent with recent bleatings from some Republicans, there are libertarian groups lining up to fight it:

Matthew B. McReynolds of the Pacific Justice Institute, a conservative Sacramento-based organization that advocates for parental rights and religious freedoms, said removing the exemptions would be an overreaction and a dismissal of legitimate concerns about vaccines by some parents.

"It's concerning to me that the measles outbreak seems to have prompted some hysteria," he said, "and this seems like a pretty sweeping approach to what really is a very limited problem that could be addressed in other ways."

Really? What "other" ways?

Interestingly, Mississippi, which is one of the two states that don't allow nonmedical exemptions, recently witnessed an attempt to permit nonmedical exemptions via a bill (HB 130) promoted by a local antivaccine group, Mississippi Parents for Vaccine Rights. It failed, the measure having been stripped from a bill designed to codify vaccine exemption policy, but it still has a pernicious component left, specifically a provision that would prevent the Health Department from denying requests for medical exemptions it doesn't consider valid. Instead, the law stipulates that the opinion of a child's pediatrician that certain vaccines are medically contraindicated will be final and that the school must take it. You can see why antivaccine activists want this. They can then find their very own Mississippi Dr. Jay Gordons and Dr. Bob Sears to churn out letters stating that vaccines are medically contraindicated for their children. It also allows doctors in bordering states to provide parents with such letters.

I'm guessing that the Disneyland measles outbreak couldn't have come at a worse time for antivaccinationists in Mississippi. Here they were, having finally gotten a bill to allow personal belief exemptions seriously considered in the state legislature, and its momentum was stopped dead by a major measles outbreak. Good. Mississippi is an example of a state doing it right, and the measles outbreak elsewhere in the country, as bad as it is, at least has the salutary effect of reminding Mississippi legislators of what they are doing right. For example, in the 2013-2014 school year 99.7% of kindergarteners in Mississippi were vaccinated for measles, and only 17 medical exemptions were approved in the whole state.

It's become increasingly clear that the time has come for the elimination of nonmedical exemptions altogether. Just getting rid of personal belief exemptions isn't enough, and it would be unfair because the persistence of religious exemptions would privilege religious belief over nonbelief. Since no compelling interest is served by either personal belief or religious exemptions, it's time to eliminate them. Failing that, at the very least states should track vaccine uptake and personal belief exemptions at the school level and publicly publish these data, the better to allow pro-vaccine parents to avoid schools where vaccine uptake is too low to maintain herd immunity.

Who'd have imagined that in anything I'd be urging the rest of the US to become more like Mississippi?


More like this

Orac, did you miss this one case of measles in a daycare center in Santa Monica, California which caused 14 children to be placed in 21 days quarantine. The daycare center is now closed until further notice and school officials are proactive to prevent another major outbreak.

I think I may have covered all the bases about closure and quarantining of attendees...and added a few other comments which you and your readership might find interesting. :-)


Need a hand in refuting an MMR point. I have a person claiming that the MMR is only effective on measles genotype A and not the B3 strain currently identified in the Disney outbreak. I suspect this is incorrect/ misleading but can not find a source to refute. Any ideas?

I'm very bothered that where I live (Arizona) clearly isn't able to enforce it's existing laws to track vaccination rates in schools (http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/arizona/investigations/2015/02/03/h…), but this was already reported for AZ as early as 2012 (http://tucson.com/news/science/health-med-fit/kids-skipping-shots-incre…) where it was also noted that:

"Dozens more schools have rates below safe levels, but the state is keeping their names secret. The Arizona Department of Health Services refused to release complete data for schools with fewer than 20 kindergarten students because it said parents could figure out how to identify unvaccinated children."

Now I would really like a statistician or an epidemiologist to explain to me how--for any school with even as few as 5 kindergarten students--let alone 19--that I can easily figure out who is unvaccinated, unless they all are in which case I think some publish shaming is in order.

I strongly agree--it is time to end these non-medical vaccine exemptions before the US becomes a country riddles with outbreaks of measles, mumps, whooping cough and diphtheria.

By Chris Hickie (not verified) on 06 Feb 2015 #permalink

#2 Guest

This is a classic win-win gambit deployed by anti-vaccine activists:

- if the Disneyland measles virus was genotype A, it would have been a vaccine strain virus and they could claim it was caused by vaccines.

- if the Disneyland measles virus was not genotype A, they could make the claim that it is only effective against genotype A.

In reality, while there are differences between measles genotypes, there is only one measles serotype. Lab experiments and the global measles vaccine efficacy show that the vaccine is effective against all genotypes

"All vaccine strains and their wild-type progenitors are assigned to genotype A. Experiments with monoclonal antibodies have defined antigenic differences between the H proteins of genotype A vaccines and the H proteins of wild-type viruses grouped in other genotypes. However, there is only 1 serotype for measles, and serum samples from vaccinees neutralize viruses from a wide range of genotypes, albeit with different neutralization titers. More importantly, despite the presence of different endemic genotypes, vaccination programs with standard measles vaccines have been successful in every country where they were performed adequately. Suboptimal seroconversion after vaccination is likely the result of inadequate coverage; improper administration, transport, or storage of vaccine; or age of the vaccine recipients"

Rota, P. A., Brown, K., Mankertz, A., Santibanez, S., Shulga, S., Muller, C. P., . . . Featherstone, D. (2011). Global Distribution of Measles Genotypes and Measles Molecular Epidemiology. Journal of Infectious Diseases, 204(suppl 1), S514-S523. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jir118

By Emil Karlsson (not verified) on 06 Feb 2015 #permalink

Sorry, that reference should be

Bankamp, B., Takeda, M., Zhang, Y., Xu, W., & Rota, P. A. (2011). Genetic Characterization of Measles Vaccine Strains. Journal of Infectious Diseases, 204(suppl 1), S533-S548. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jir097

(had two papers up and exported citation from the wrong one)

By Emil Karlsson (not verified) on 06 Feb 2015 #permalink

On Wednesday, Brown’s representatives would not directly address whether the religious exemption should be repealed or maintained, but they noted that those are claimed by only about 0.5% of kindergarten students.

What a stupid defence of an indefensible position. If philosophical exemptions are eliminated, what do you think the speshul snowflake parents are going to get instead? It's not as though CA will implement a sincere belief clause as NY did. Meanwhile, lawmakers will pat themselves on the back.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 06 Feb 2015 #permalink

Thanks much, Emil Karlsson!

Why Brown is saying what he's saying now: So he can sound sympathetic to vax-dodgers now, before signing the no-belief-exemptions bill when it gets to his desk. Brown is a fiscal conservative who has just seen $60 - $80 million vanish from the state treasury due to this outbreak. He's also plenty more than smart enough to recognize his own errors and the steps needed to correct them.

BTW, the night the new bill was announced, I immediately wrote to the two authors of it and to my state Senator and to Gov. Brown, with appropriate messages to each.

Orac, correction, important:

You've got this part backward: "Since no compelling interest is served by either personal belief or religious exemptions, it’s time to eliminate them."

The term "compelling interest" denotes "compelling state interest" in legal doctrine, and refers to the level of scrutiny needed to justify any incursion by government into individual liberty.

The lowest level of scrutiny is "rational basis," which means "does the state have a rational basis (good-enough reasons) to regulate individual behavior in this way?" That would be used for items where the incursion into liberty is small, such as a state-wide ban on smoking in elevators. The state has an obvious rational basis, in preventing fires such as may occur with a smouldering cigarette butt dropped on the floor and going down the elevator shaft; no further explanation than that is needed.

The highest level of scrutiny is "compelling state interest," which means, "this regulation is a strong incursion into individual liberty, does the state have a compelling (overwhelming) interest with which to justify it?" For example any law that seeks to regulate speech would have to meet that test, before it even got to the level of being tested for constitutionality in court.

Our side's arguement is that the threat of measles, pertussis, etc., is so severe, that a mandatory vaccination law meets the "compelling state interest" level of scrutiny. It's the state that has to argue that a law or regulation meets the "compelling state interest" test.

The individual who seeks an exemption does _not_ have to make the case that _they_ have a "compelling interest" in _not_ getting (themselves or their kids) vaccinated. They already have a presumed general liberty interest in doing whatever they darn well please including sneezing germs all over the place: the state's arguement has to overcome that, by demonstrating that the state has a compelling interest (such as preventing outbreaks of dangerous diseases) in mandatory vaccination.

Not to play Mr. Editor, but your sentence should read something like this: "California has a compelling state interest in preventing dangerous disease outbreaks, that overcomes personal belief or religious exemptions, so it’s time to eliminate them."

BTW, last I heard, the nationwide case count is up to 152.

By Gray Squirrel (not verified) on 06 Feb 2015 #permalink

Chris @3: If a school has fewer than 20 kindergarteners, it's probably in a small town. Most small towns have busybodies and gossip mongers who can keep track of such things. It may be as simple as the nurse at the local doctor's office mentioning, over coffee at the local diner on various dates, that Johnny, Mike, Katy, and Sally have had their shots, so if the school has five kindergarteners and an 80% vaccination rate, then it must be Mary who didn't get her shots. Or more likely, everybody knows that Mary's mom and dad are "skeptical" about vaccines, so of course they know that when the school reports an 80% vaccination rate that Mary didn't get her shots and everybody else did.

Maybe the Arizona Department of Health is being overcautious in setting the threshold at 20, but there is a valid concern here.

FWIW, I live in a small town, but not that small--the two elementary schools in this three-town school district typically have 80-100 kindergarteners each. It's still small enough that news of this kind travels fast around town.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 06 Feb 2015 #permalink

Instead, the law stipulates that the opinion of a child’s pediatrician that certain vaccines are medically contraindicated will be final and that the school must take it. You can see why antivaccine activists want this.

Ah, but you're not as insightful as the happily departed Gerg, who "explains" at AoA that this was simply a misstep by "the elites," who of course don't actually vaccinate, in their effort to tailor their privilege.

It’s still small enough that news of this kind travels fast around town.

You say that as if it is a bad thing. If legislation isn't effective, try the court of public opinion.

By machintelligence (not verified) on 06 Feb 2015 #permalink

What's showing up locally about the Chicago outbreak is "they got it from a recently vaccinated child who is viral shedding!" and pointing to the baby who became sick after her MMR in Baltimore as proof.

That and the old "108 deaths from MMR" canard.

New AV nonsense:

MMR is only effective on measles genotype A and not the B3 strain

I think I'm kind of au courant with antiv-accine nonsense and myths, but this is a new one on me. I started seeing it on..oh, Monday? and now it is all over. I am curious as who started this one.

In any case:

"There is only one antigenic type of measles virus. Although studies have documented changes in the H glycoprotein, these changes do not appear to be epidemiologically important (i.e., no change in vaccine efficacy has been observed)."


Science Mom also has a good explanation -- next slide pleae.

Orac, don't sit on the fence like that. Tell us how you really feel about pedantry.

/not serious

Topically, my Google-fu is failing me, and I couldn't track it down on Facebook, but I recall someone sharing an article suggesting that the answer to anti-vaccine parents was not to eliminate exemptions or otherwise cut down on un-/under-vaccination (because FREEEEEDOMMMMM!!!), but instead to deny publicly-funded health services to delinquent families. (Or something to that effect; my memory's a little hazy and as I noted above I haven't been able to track down the article to confirm.)

Suffice to say, this strikes me as a rather bad idea. Affluent anti-vaccine parents aren't likely to feel the pinch. You know who will? People in poverty who aren't necessarily anti-vaccine but have a hard time finding the money or time to get their children to doctors' appointments for immunizations.

Punishing the poor for the sins of the wealthy. Really classy stuff.

By Composer99 (not verified) on 06 Feb 2015 #permalink

Science Mom, responding to the "why the measles vaccine is protective against all measles genotypes question:

....'s complicated. The vaccine strain is A but is cross protective for all the other strains. What is most important is that the epitopes of the different strains are relatively conserved. What that means is the areas of the virus which actually attach to our cell surfaces are similar enough so that a vaccine for one strain will protect us from others.

Since the advent of molecular techniques and molecular epidemiology, we are able to get entire gene sequences for these organisms. This has allowed us to see where the strain differences occur and where they are circulating. It's also a good idea to watch for significant mutations which could lead to lowered vaccine protection. But that is not the case here. It's as it has been and that is the majority of cases are unvaccinated.

In that comment stream she also links to several papers.

Where does this "108 deaths from MMR" nonsense come from? Are they pulling that from VAERS?

By Rebecca Fisher (not verified) on 06 Feb 2015 #permalink


By MICHAEL SCALLY (not verified) on 06 Feb 2015 #permalink

There are already a couple of petitions on White House (dot) gov asking for no religious or personal belief exemptions, so I won't reinvent the wheel and create another one. However, I'd like to petition POTUS and the Congress to pass legislation (or sign an Executive Order) mandating immunizations for all federal employees, all children attending daycare that is paid for with federal dollars, and all college students receiving federal financial aid. Only medical exemptions will be allowed through an affidavit by a licensed healthcare provider.
Enough is enough with this stupidity. Thousands of dollars are being wasted on these outbreaks (measles, mumps, whooping cough, influenza) when they could be used for other things. If anti-vaccine people don't want to vaccinate, fine. But they are not allowed to smooch off the rest of us anymore. No public schools. No college financial aid. No good-paying federal jobs.
Who's with me?

I'm getting tired of this canard that recently vaccinated children are "shedding" measles. I've been unable to find a reference to even one case where an asymptomatic recently vaccinated child infected another child with vaccine-strain measles.

By NH Primary Car… (not verified) on 06 Feb 2015 #permalink

Rebecca: of course that's where it's coming from. Don't you know that every report in VAERS is conclusive evidence of causation?

No good-paying federal jobs.
Who’s with me?

Sounds fair. I'd love to watch some GS-14 line up in front of the corpsmen for shots.

Yes, the "108 deaths from MMR" is drawn from VAERS. I have also seen people quoting one or more reports from the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program Statistical Report (the most recent is February 2); since the start of the program in 1988, there have been:

19 death claims filed for the measles vaccine alone;
57 death claims filed for the MMR
1 death claims filed for the MMRV

One reading-comprehension-impaired meme I saw said that the death claims were for just one month.

108 dead, but what about all the little Hulks and Wonder Women running around since they got their vaccines? Won't somebody please think of the children?

Back in 2012, then Representative Richard Pan MD sponsored legislation in California, AB2109, which strengthened California's ridiculously lax vaccine exemption laws. Our host covered it in detail, which you can read by clicking on the link above.

Pan moved on to the California Senate; he is now sponsoring a bill that would remove the Personal Belief Exemption entirely. The bill isn't yet available electronically; I will keep you up to date.

@Eric #10--there's a bigger issue of public health and safety for the child who needs to be in a school with high vaccination rates here. You mention and I agree that most electively non vaccinating parents seemed rather proud of their brilliance and like to tell everybody how they've chosen not to vaccinate. I disagree with health departments worrying about parents figuring this out. If health departments are not deliberately trying to identify the non vaccinating students, then they shouldn't be liable for any breach of confidentiality if people figure it out from the data. what I have noticed in Arizona with a notification from the health department about whooping cough in schools is that the official notice will say that a child in your child's school has whooping cough. They refuse to further delineate what grade or classroom that child is in. I find this inexcusable as if you are in the same classroom with that child for 8 hours and they've been coughing the whole time you're at least is exposed as immediate family members are at their home. But for other infections such as a strep throat, the school will send home a note only for the children in the classroom of the child with strap and then it will specifically say that a child in your child's classroom has strep. I'm really tired of public health departments bending over backwards to try and accommodate the confidentiality of electively non vaccinating parents when there is no law anywhere that says they have to be this accommodating.

By chris hickie (not verified) on 06 Feb 2015 #permalink

Predictably, Bob Sears went ballistic.


I never thought I'd see the day. Maybe I was naive. Maybe I was too optimistic. But California Senators Pan and Allen are introducing legislation that will further restrict a parent's choice. We can thank Pan for last year's Personal Belief Exemption form requiring a doctor's signature, but at least that still put the choice in the hands of parents.

These Senators are taking advantage of the measles hysteria to push an agenda which violates the long-established and sacred value of informed consent and a parent's right to make all health care decisions for their child. The measles "epidemic" is already on the decline, and will soon die out as they all do. AND THEY KNOW IT. Yet, many in the media and the government continue to stir up panic and hysteria and falsely make it looks as if measles is continuing to escalate and the ONLY solution is forced vaccination. Talk about misinformation.

What puts Californians at risk is that we have a Democratic majority in our state senate. Last year's PBE law was voted very clearly along party lines - Republicans tried to fight it. Now, our rights will be taken away by the Democratic majority, and any Republican who tries to fight it will be labeled as anti-vaccine. So, we are screwed.

In the months to come, I will post ways you can contact your California senators and representatives. I won't clog the "Daily" with too much of it. But this is important. Never thought I'd see the day. If this law passes, it will, of course, only apply to public school education. Yet, many private schools will follow suit. Perhaps some private schools will remain a haven for some families who want a choice. And home-schooling rates will probably fly through the roof.

More to come. For now, make some calls to your senators.
Dr. Bob

I sincerely hope advocates for public health learned effective strategies and tactics from the AB 2109 fight, and this bill will go through.

Liz -- what guarantee is there that the governor won't castrate this bill?

Sear's isn't uspet about parents losing their right to make all health care decisions for their child--they won't--he's upset that choosing to exercise that right will no longer consequence free.

If Pan's bill passes parents will still be able to decline having their kids vaccinated: those kids simply will no longer be eligible for enrollment in public schools. No one's going to break down the door and 'forcibly' innoculate them.

Sear's isn't uspet about parents losing their right to make all health care decisions for their child--they won't--he's upset that choosing to exercise that right will no longer consequence free.

Pan moved on to the California Senate; he is now sponsoring a bill that would remove the Personal Belief Exemption entirely.

And he has signaled that he's willing to consider retaining a religious exemption.

I'm wondering how much of the upset is over how this effects his business model.

How can someone support a "religious exemption" when no major religion (and the vast majority of minor ones) have no issue with vaccines?


If you're a politician, coming off as anti-religious-freedom (even if you definitely are not) doesn't do wonders for your PR machine. Sadly, most politicians are more interested in their poll numbers than in actually making good policy.

(You're right - I can't think of a religion off the top of my head which categorically refuses vaccines. Jehovah's Witnesses haven't been anti-vaccine since the 1960s, though you'll still find some anti-vaxxers among them. Heck, even Christian Scientists aren't anti-vaccine anymore. I wonder about Scientology?)

Right from donkey's mouth:
(from Bob Sears, via Liz Ditz #28)

What puts Californians at risk is that we have a Democratic majority in our state senate. Last year’s PBE law was voted very clearly along party lines – Republicans tried to fight it.

So much for antivax beliefs being the apanage of leftish hippies...

By Helianthus (not verified) on 06 Feb 2015 #permalink

How can someone support a “religious exemption” when no major religion (and the vast majority of minor ones) have no issue with vaccines?

As has been discussed ad nauseam, the state doesn't rule on orthodoxy. It's quite straightforward for a Catholic to obtain a religious exemption in New York State to vaccines propagated on MRC-5 and WI-38, for example.

If I were a politician, I would preface pro-vaccine statements with "As my friend the Archbishop remarked the other day..."

Orac: "On the other hand, if there is a silver lining in this dark stormy cloud it’s that regular people (as opposed to skeptics) are finally starting to pay attention and believe that there’s a problem, so much so that people are starting to show signs of actually wanting to do something about it."

Unusually for Orac, this is optimistic. And wrong. Americans like the measles now, and don't care if other kids get sick or die. Heck, most of the anti-vaxxers will cheerfully sacrifice their own kids. Although, as I said, I wonder how many of those kids would end up in the CPS system if they became disabled from measles. Imperfection is one thing those families can't tolerate. And most of the public is just too stupid to think that disease is a bad thing.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 06 Feb 2015 #permalink

@ KayMarie:

My thoughts exactly:
if his more middle-class clients have to pay for non-governmentally sponsored schools, they may not have enough to pay him out-of-pocket.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 06 Feb 2015 #permalink

AoA is linking to Democracy Now's presentation which features Paul Offit, Dorit Reiss and Mary Holland.

PRN will post Holland's response to Offit ( Gary Null Show today) later; with Tenpenny. ( Non-existent) lord almighty! I think desperation is not attractive,even over the internet air


By Denice Walter (not verified) on 06 Feb 2015 #permalink

Eric @10 -- Chris Hickie followed up on this aspect already, but the medical confidentiality law (HIPAA) is very strict; it's unlikely that a school nurse would even say casually that Johnny and Mikey had their shots already. I have a close associate who's a health care professional, and I never hear a word about any of her patients except with all identifying details removed.

So there's even less reason why states should withhold aggregate data. If the system works, this kind of inference should be impossible.

By palindrom (not verified) on 06 Feb 2015 #permalink

Melanie' Marvelous Measles, according to an article at Salon is getting a well-deserved pounding in reviews at Amazon. The comments I read at Salon are uniformly hammering anti-vaxers.

Apologies if someone has commented on this previously.

The measles “epidemic” is already on the decline, and will soon die out as they all do. AND THEY KNOW IT. Yet, many in the media and the government continue to stir up panic and hysteria and falsely make it looks as if measles is continuing to escalate and the ONLY solution is forced vaccination. Talk about misinformation.

The only misinformation is from Bobo himself. The number of cases is over 150 which has increased from the 100 cases earlier this week. Furthermore, a passel of babies too young for vaccination have been infected. If only Bobo wasn't so innumerate. And there is no forced vaccination being discussed, only in Bobo's fevered, drama-queen head. It's mandatory vaccination for public school but even as he suggested, there should be plenty of private schools to accommodate all the speshul snowflakes and their super above-average, privileged parental units.

By Science Mom (not verified) on 06 Feb 2015 #permalink

Chris @27: I understand your reluctance to protect anti-vaxers to an extent beyond what the law appears to require. But keep in mind that some kids have medical contraindications to vaccines. Consider this variation in the small-town kindergarden class: Everybody in town knows that Mary has some kind of medical issue (though, because of HIPAA, only her parents, doctors, nurses, and possibly her siblings know exactly what it is). They don't necessarily know that as a consequence, Mary can't get the MMR vaccine. Until, that is, the school reports an 80% vaccination rate, and it's obvious that Mary didn't get the vaccine.

The point is that because of how HIPAA is worded, the health department has to take the small town rumor mill into account. If anybody can figure out from publicly available information that Mary (or any other specific child) is not vaccinated, than some piece of that information should not have been public. If somebody can figure it out without directly asking Mary or her parents and getting an answer from them, HIPAA does not allow it, no matter how they figured it out. A similar issue has arisen with state legislation that would require abortion providers to identify (among other info) the county of residence of their patients: it conflicts with HIPAA because somebody back in Overshoe County can correlate Jane Smith's trip to Big City with the fact that a clinic in Big City performed an abortion on somebody from Overshoe County that day.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 06 Feb 2015 #permalink


"I’m getting tired of this canard that recently vaccinated children are “shedding” measles."

Not only do they shed, the shedding children can now give autism to unvaccinated children! From Mothering today (one of these days I need to stop lurking and actually comment there) :

"My concern is my own children being exposed to the shedding from their live-virus vaccinations. I've known people firsthand whose unvaxed, typical children regressed into autism after being exposed to another child's shedding of live virus vaccinations."

She later expands:

"Older brother got the vax, took a bath with young toddler sister, sister got sick, regressed and is fairly severely on the spectrum - and it was hard to deny it was the vax - it happened so quickly. This family (the mom) works at the office of a local DAN doctor."

And there are actually people agreeing with her on the rational that illnesses can trigger autism and vaccinated children can shed the vaccine causing illness!


The new link being spread around by those who are anti-vaccine is this one http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11858860

"Detection of measles vaccine in the throat of a vaccinated child."

Apparently this is sufficient evidence to show that vaccinated children are constantly shedding measles germs to other children.


Federal legislation that requires vaccinations for students or kids at day care receiving Federal dollars might run into challenges under states' rights arguments. I'd agree that requiring them for Federal employees, however, could work.

Re: Dr. Bob

I would wager that forced disarmament of children attending schools is not something he would argue against, even though the right to bear arms is written into the Constitution. So why isn't Dr. Bob arguing against laws and regulations that prohibit kids from bringing guns and knives to schools?

But the absurdity of his free-dumb argument aside, remember: school is a privilege, not a right. Privileges come with responsibilities. If you do not want to uphold those responsibilities, then you do not get the privilege.

It comes down to Rights & Responsibilities.....

If a parent has an exemption for their child, they also agree that they will abide by the terms of that exemption - which means that they agree to keep their child out of school in the case of an outbreak.

They really don't have recourse - since they signed the form.

I cannot imagine any exemption (including a genuine medical exemption) which does not explain to the parent(s) that their child(ren) will be barred from attending school, in the event of a measles outbreak.

Let's face it, these selfish parents who opt for a personal belief exemption or a religious exemption, and who are quite willing to expose other children, lack a moral compass and lack empathy.

One other good thing about this measles outbreak is that many people are taking serious steps to counter the anti-vaccine message. For example, see this article:


Three years ago, a doctor reported an adjunct professor of kinesiology who was promoting anti-vaccine messages in her course, Nothing was done. But now, when students at Queens reported this instructor, the university has sat up and taken notice.

You can tell for sure she's a hard-core antivaxer - one of her slides links to the infamous Wakefield-CDC Whistleblower-Tuskegee experiment video, and states that it will be on the test!

By Broken Link (not verified) on 06 Feb 2015 #permalink

I should have also stated that the youngsters with real medical exemptions, are punished because they are being punished because of their medical conditions.

There is no nurse and no school nurse who would ever identify an unvaccinated child, because they, like doctors, are devoted to the principles of patient confidentiality.

For any policy wonks out there willing to opine, I have a couple questions about a subject about which I know little…
Could private insurance companies stipulate in their insurance plans that they will not cover hospitalizations related to vaccine-preventable illnesses in unvaccinated patients lacking medical exemption? Is there a legal barrier here - religious discrimination, etc.? There have been several suggestions on the boards here regarding how to motivate vaccination apart from tightening school exemptions, screening Disneyland admissions, and of course, general public shaming…er, I mean educating. The valid concern of course is always that any financial penalties would disproportionately affect low income patients. If it were solely private insurers stipulating this and not, say, Medicaid, this would partially alleviate concerns about low income family impact perhaps?
Anyway, if insurers dump Snowflake’s parents with the constant risk of the $30K hospital bill, they may be inclined to vaccinate purely as a financial decision, or at least, keep their kids out of school by choice during outbreaks. On one hand, it seems like private insurers would have a financial incentive to do something like this. But I suppose such a policy would risk driving away the affluent SoCal populations that are otherwise statistically healthy, as well as reliable high premium payers.

By CTGeneGuy (not verified) on 06 Feb 2015 #permalink

Hmmm that was an awkward statement:

^ "I should have also stated that the youngsters with real medical exemptions, are punished because they are being denied access to their school programs.

What are the prospects for containing the measles outbreak?
Yes, it's good to see so much pro-vaccination sentiment. The people who do get their children have been pretty quiet compared to anti-vaxxers - but now they're speaking up.

@Ren #20:

mandating immunizations for all federal employees, all children attending daycare that is paid for with federal dollars, and all college students receiving federal financial aid. Only medical exemptions will be allowed through an affidavit by a licensed healthcare provider.

But...but...but that's the same as dragging them off to the FEMA camps!

By Rich Woods (not verified) on 06 Feb 2015 #permalink

@Liz Ditz #29:

We can thank Pan for last year’s Personal Belief Exemption form requiring a doctor’s signature

Pan?! Oh, wait, the senator. not the Greek god of fear and terror. OK. That's alright then. No irrational fear involved.

By Rich Woods (not verified) on 06 Feb 2015 #permalink


It's tough. Schools and day cares would have to proactively keep out unvaccinated kids, really, rather than waiting for one to show symptoms. Vaccination right now will help, but people need to remember that there is a lag time between vaccination and when immunity is developed. For MMR, I think that's somewhere around a few days. Also, if kids are completely unvaccinated, there's that minimum window of 4 weeks between shots to ensure maximum efficacy from the second dose.

Found it in the wild; have screenshot:

From a fact-challenged anti-vaccination activist who has been featured in this blog

There are 24 different measles genotypes or strains. The CDC finally did molecular characterization to determine the genotype implicated in the Disney outbreak, labeled "B3."
MMR only targets "A."
MMR is utterly USELESS and does absolutely NOTHING for the 23 other strains.
This REFUTES the following:
1. Unvaccinated children are spreading measles
2. Everyone needs to be vaccinated
3. The measles vaccine protects against measles
4. They will make more to sell

We need a vaccine against stupidity.

Why yes, lady, we do. The kind of stupidity you are exhibiting.

I've had acquaintances and friends make comments about how vaccinated people can get and spread measles, too - m essence trying to suggest it's not necessarily the fault of the unvaxed. While it is correct, I believe, that the MMR is not quite 100% effective for measles, but pretty dang close, it's still the unvaccinated that fuel the flame of an outbreak, right? In a perfect world, if the only people that were NOT vaccinated were those who couldn't for valid medical reasons, then the occurrence of measles infections would be small - am I understanding that correctly?

This is a really common defense I'm seeing from those who downplay the outbreak and I want to make sure I can refute it plainly and accurately!

Laura, you are fortunate to have a New York residence, which aside from the two States (Mississippi and West Virginia), which only have valid medical contraindications, has a restrictive "sincerely held religious belief exemption". There are relatively few parents who are able to meet the courts' burden of proof that they have "sincerely held religious beliefs".

Here's Dr. Jay Gordon's first comment on a recent Science Based Medicine blog:


Scroll down to see the additional comments from Dr. Jay, where he is on record stating:

- His "opinions about vaccines" are NOT evidence-based.

- He bases his ignorant "opinions" on the anecdotal stories he hears from his vaccine-phobic parents.

- He brags that he "administered 35 MMR vaccines in one day, which is more than the total number of MMR vaccines which (he) administered during all of 2014".

See the many comments from other posters which inform the reader that Dr. Jay is listed on Dr. Bob Sears' "Vaccine Friendly Doctors" list...code for pediatricians who do not adhere to the American Academy of Pediatrics "Standards of Care" for timely and complete vaccinations, according to the CDC/AAP Recommended Childhood Vaccine Schedule.

Dr. Gordon likes to think his comments are "civil"; they are not when he devolved into insulting comments, directed at me.

Dr. Gordon will never, ever admit he was mistaken about the availability of the varicella vaccine under a "compassionate use protocol" for children who were undergoing cancer treatment, circa late 1970s...while the vaccine was still undergoing clinical trials in Japan where the vaccine was developed. Not only was he mistaken with that statement, Dr. Jay refuses to acknowledge that children who are undergoing cancer treatment are still not eligible for the live attenuated varicella or live attenuated measles vaccine. (See page 2, Section 8):


KeithB @62 -- What an utterly heartbreaking letter.

By palindrom (not verified) on 06 Feb 2015 #permalink


As far as I can see you are understanding it correctly.

A single case of measles in an unprotected population is expected to cause 12-18 other cases (the measles basic reproduction number, IIRC).

But, again IIRC, 2 doses of measles vaccine provides 99% immunity in a population. So in a fully vaccinated population, a single case of measles will spread to only 1 out of every hundred people.

So yes, in a perfect world, measles transmission would occur at a very low rate. (So low, that in fact if a sustained global campaign to vaccinate occurred, we would eventually wipe out measles, as we managed with smallpox.)

You can see that from the CDC's graph of reported measles cases from 2001. The CDC remarks on each year in which the number of cases exceeds 100. Most of them appear to be fuelled by unvaccinated populations, whether in the US or elsewhere in the world (and then brought to the US courtesy of modern travel).

By Composer99 (not verified) on 06 Feb 2015 #permalink

To elaborate a bit on my above post, it's clear, then, that even the slowly-faltering rate of MMR uptake in the US is sufficiently high that special circumstances were required (e.g. measles hitting a large pocket of unvaccinated Amish in 2014) for measles to even breach 100 cases in any given year this century!

Quite the contrast with years past.

All the more reason, then, to prevent further decline in MMR vaccination.

By Composer99 (not verified) on 06 Feb 2015 #permalink

Incidentally, while trying to look up the nature of the Disneyland cases (i.e. proportion of vaccinated vs. unvaccinated people infected), I did this Google search.

While, unfortunately, vaxtruth and the National Vaccine MisInformation Center came up on the first page, so did this very post - ahead of them, no less!

Not sure if that's meaningful or not, but it might be a good sign.

By Composer99 (not verified) on 06 Feb 2015 #permalink

Composer99: The measles outbreak (384 confirmed measles cases), in Ohio which was caused by some unvaccinated Amish people traveling to the Philippines where they contracted measles and returned home to infect other unvaccinated people in their rather closed society, was (relatively) easy to contain.

The Amish people who were exposed to the "index cases" were quite amenable to receiving MMR vaccine to contain, then stop the outbreak:


This current measles outbreak is far more difficult to contain/stop because it has resulted in confirmed measles cases in multiple States...and because we are dealing with some hardcore anti-vaccine parents.

In other words, what is the risk of measles becoming endemic again in the USA?
From http://abcnews.go.com/Health/measles-return-permanently-us/story?id=286…
"Measles was declared “eliminated” from the U.S. 15 years ago by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention but recent outbreaks have health experts concerned that the disease could make a more permanent return to the U.S. if vaccination rates fall.
Dr. Stephen Morse, an infectious disease expert at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, said for measles to become permanent -- that is, become "endemic" -- again to the U.S., measles immunizations would have to drop below 90 percent.
“It is highly contagious,” Morse said of measles, noting that every infected person could infect another 10 to 20 non-immune people. “You could have sporadic cases anytime [immunization levels] fall below something that approaches 90 to 95 percent.”
Also in this story: someone with measles got onto an Amtrak train from NYC to Albany.
Ithaca has lots of anti-vaxxers.

re #34

How can someone support a “religious exemption” when no major religion (and the vast majority of minor ones) have no issue with vaccines?

If it's a “sincerely held religious belief exemption”., you support it BECAUSE no major religions have issues with vaccines. Thus, you can pass a nicely restrictive exemption policy while seeming 'moderate' 'reasonable', and not pissing off powerful lobbies.

If it's an easy-to-get, undocumented religious belief exemption. you support it so you can appear pro-vax enough to fool enough people and still dogwhistle the "sacred value of ia parent’s right to make all health care decisions for their child." crowd. Dr. Bob's not stupid, here. His words are very carefully chosen to appeal to both the Christian Conservatives AND the Tea Baggers. As Rachel Maddow pointed out last night, these constituencies often don't see eye to eye, and 'vaccine freedom' is a symbolic issue that can unite them. By "symbolic", I mean it's symbolic to these groups as they don't care about vaccine policy or public health, don't really believe vaccines cause harm, etc. Of course it's a very real issue if you're immunocompromised, but these folks could care less about you.

Here is a link to an article from the San Jose Mercury News on religion and vaccines:http://www.mercurynews.com/science/ci_27437392/why-religions-dont-oppos…
Note that it points out that even christian science does not forbid vaccines "Christian Science: There are some faith-healing groups -- of which the Church of Christ, Scientist (Christian Science) is the most prominent -- that believe prayer can heal, making vaccines unnecessary. But the church does not oppose vaccinations."
the article goes thru a long list of major religions. It notes again that the Amish religion does not prohibt vaccines, its only the opinion of some members, so it appears in both cases the organized bodies are more open than many members.
It seems that only fringe groups take a position as an organized religious body against religion. Interestingly articles have pointed out that the elites tend to be more against vaccines than the masses.


"Federal legislation that requires vaccinations for students or kids at day care receiving Federal dollars might run into challenges under states’ rights arguments. I’d agree that requiring them for Federal employees, however, could work."

The federal government has been quite successful at getting states to go along with things like blood alcohol levels and speed limits if highway improvement money is withheld. I see a similar situation with medicaid money: require universal vaccination (with exemptions for medical reasons, of course) or lose medicaid cash.

I’ve had acquaintances and friends make comments about how vaccinated people can get and spread measles, too – m essence trying to suggest it’s not necessarily the fault of the unvaxed.

This tends to hinge on one of three items:

1. The frankly absurd notion of contagious vaccine "shedding." This will typically be accompanied by frantic waving at PMID 20822734.

2. Transmissible measles disease due to vaccination, which has but a single, inadequately documented exemplar in known history (PMIDs 2563426, 2563820). Measles disease itself due to vaccination in the immunocompetent barely has a leg to stand on (see, e.g., here and following).

Trying to rely upon the immunocompromised doesn't hold water, either (e.g., PMID 23531102).

3. Transmission due to secondary vaccine failure, of which the use of the phrase "Measles Mary" is pathognomic. This is a reference to PMID 24585562 and is usually conflated with other NYC outbreaks because the dimwits trotting it out can't be bothered to so much as read the title. There were zero tertiary cases. In fact, the reason it made scientific news is because there were four secondary cases (one immunocompromised, IIRC) out of over 100 contacts.

It's desperate failure writ large.

Thanks, Composer! I'm glad I had it mostly right, it means it's becoming ingrained!

@ Ren #72
Excellent example. I don't know if Federal agencies can just impose such regulations, or if legislation is required. If the later, I hope someone puts it forward, if only so we could see where the opposition would come from, and get the anti-public-health crowd out in the open and expose the folly of their extremist "personal freedom" politics.

I see a similar situation with medicaid money: require universal vaccination (with exemptions for medical reasons, of course) or lose medicaid cash.

The PPACA kind of puts a crimp in that extraordinarily bad idea.

Note that it points out that even christian science does not forbid vaccines

It doesn't matter. State endorsement of sects is off-limits.

Mandatory conscription of every man jack of you, once drafted, you will be ordered to take your vaccination. Plus, in many circumstances the person performing surgery on you does not need to have a medical degree.

By Colonel Tom (not verified) on 06 Feb 2015 #permalink

Dr. Hickie - I would suggest contacting the state health department and urge publishing of more data. I know that often we land on the side of caution with small n data, but I think the cut off should be lower as well. If you can bring additional support to bear (several requests has more weight than one) perhaps you can see some movement. Best of luck. I am happy to see that pro-vaccine sentiment is rising. My parents were frankly appalled when I began explaining the anti-vaccination movement to them as it made no sense at all to them that people would willingly allow their children to get diseases like this on purpose by withholding vaccination. My mom had several of these infections as a child and I can guarantee she marched us in for shots at every opportunity. She tends to be a bit credulous towards some forms of woo (she had a magnetic bracelet for a while for arthritis) but she and my dad are pretty skeptical to truly outrageous claims. And absolutely no nonsense on medical care and vaccinations for the beloved grandchildren.

@ Lyle #71

'Religious exemptions' depending on the legal wording can be shields for ant-vaxers. The ant-vax web forums have info on churches to which their people can successfully pretend membership in order obtain exemptions in some states. With the kind of wording they have in NY State, though, as lilady cited above that won't play.

Sorry for quibbling, but there are no organized bodies of Amish. Each congregation is an entity unto itself, and from one to another the specific implementations of widely held general principles will differ. That said, in general, while some Amish communities have had low vax rates, the vast majority don't have any religious objection to vaccination. But your central point — that AV is a fringe thing by virtue of any religious breakdown, is certainly on target.

More on the Amish: "the opinion of some members" is not really an Amish thing. When 'outliers' exist in Amish communities – like the Hershberger family who denied their daughter chemo and took her off to some alt-med clinic in Central America – that tolerance would typically be the product of the rest of the family having a certain status in the community. E.g. IIRC a couple previous generations of Hershbergers had been Bishops (i.e. the leaders of the local groups — they don't get together for stuff like Catholic bishops). So there might be an outlier congregation – especially on the geographic periphery of Amish territory, where one of the core principles could be interpreted as 'not-vaccinating', though I doubt this would be dogmatic or based in any kind of anti-vax conspiracy theory.

Random question: Does anyone know if people who are fully vaccinated for measles who end up getting it anyway are just as likely to spread it as an unvaccinated person who gets measles is?

I know there has only been one documented case but is that just because of how relatively rare it is for a fully vaccinated person to get measles or is there some kind of scientific evidence demonstrating they are less likely to?

Random question: Does anyone know if people who are fully vaccinated for measles that end up getting it anyway are just as likely to spread it as an unvaccinated person who gets measles is?

I know there has only been one documented case but is that just because of how relatively rare it is for a fully vaccinated person to get measles or is there some kind of scientific evidence demonstrating they are less likely to?

Does anyone know if people who are fully vaccinated for measles that end up getting it anyway are just as likely to spread it as an unvaccinated person who gets measles is?

It's necessary to distinguish primary vaccine failure – in which protective immunity wasn't obtained – from secondary, where it wanes. The "Measles Mary" paper cites PMIDs 2278542 and 21666212 on the subject of the latter.

The more recent one is open access. It's hard to even detect measles RNA in cases of secondary failure.

As of this Sunday it will have been a week since thousands of people gathered in Arizona in one crowded stadium for the Super Bowl. There were a lot of well heeled parents with their un-vaccinated kids there, I suspect. Think we might see new outbreaks of the measles in the Seattle area and in New England over the coming weeks?

@Gray Squirrel (or others), do you have a link for over 150 cases? I have a friend who has been keeping track and she's only managed to locate 145 confirmed (counting the Chicago babies) (and a cluster of not-yet-confirmed). I know the CDC plans to update on Monday, but if there is another good reliable source she'd love to know (she has been gleaning news articles for her count).

By Emma Crew (not verified) on 06 Feb 2015 #permalink

Plus, in many circumstances the person performing surgery on you does not need to have a medical degree.

I wouldn't call it surgery, but I still know how to treat a sucking chest wound. Pity there's so little call for it in my current line of work.

sadmar: "The ant-vax web forums have info on churches to which their people can successfully pretend membership in order obtain exemptions in some states. With the kind of wording they have in NY State, though, ... that won’t play"

NY State has areas with low vaccination rates, jut like other states. Parents claim religious exemptions, but it's actually because of personal belief.
One school in Ithaca has only a 72% vaccination rate. It's a private school that's willing to grant exemptions to a lot of parents.
See http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/2015/02/04/immunization-…
So religious exemptions are a loophole that can result in a lot of unvaccinated children.

We have a 13 percent personal/religious exemption rate here which is unacceptable.
I read Dr Bob Sear's facebook daily post rallying the antivax troops and mumbling about informed consent posted above. He is hardly one to mention informed consent , since he doesn't present accurate information from which people can make informed decisions. Unfortunately, I don't seem to be able to post comments to his facebook page and the ones I did post with links evaluating the risks associated with MMR vaccination in comparison to measles complications along with CDC information on measles complications were deleted. I thought he was known for letting contrary opinions and information to be posted on his facebook page.. He must have felt too challenged. lol

I maintain the Bob Sears and Jay Gordon operate under a business model, by pumping up the anti-vaxxers and the vaccine fence sitters, with their books, DVDs and their statements, to market their "brand". It may be a good business model, but it has no place in pediatrics practices.

lilady, you may be correct. I need to research both of them more. I am undecided on whether they are merely motivated by money or whether they have fixed delusions and grandiosity, like I believe Wolfson exhibits. Either way, none should be given the privilege of their existing licenses to appeal to authority in scientifically misleading others.

@lilady#91--ding ding ding. In mixed company, good Drs Sears and Gordon will say they are building goodwill with the families in their practices and can convince them to vaccinate gradually as their comfort level grows (also known as needlessly exposing children and the public at large to communicable disease). That tune sure does change when the audience is directed at his core audience, as we saw in that FB post. You're totally right; it's all about carving out a niche market. And that "parental choice" codeswitch just sooo chaps my ass.

@politicalguineapig #39: "Americans like the measles now, and don’t care if other kids get sick or die."

Citation needed.

That's unusually idiotic even for you, politicalguineapig.

@ LW:

I hope she'd work on her language because I don't think that she really means what she says- it's hyperbole...
She may mean that a great number/ many/ a majority/ lots/ most (choose one) are awful- not an entire class of people..
At least I hope that's what she means.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 06 Feb 2015 #permalink

LW: How is it stupid? It's a logical deduction. Science and math have been extensively downsized over the years, and any woman who wants to parent ends up being pressured to use feelings rather than facts. Most parents shame other parents out of vaccinating, and mothers get the worst of the pressure.
Then we get an entire cohort in love with the measles. I think it'll take at least two generations before Americans figure out that community, facts, and science are good things- if the country doesn't fall apart before then.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 06 Feb 2015 #permalink


I've seen you denigrate "feelings" before - I find it a bit odd. Sure, we shouldn't be ruled blindly by our emotions, but there's no point trying to deny they exist or that they influence us. In fact, if and when our emotions become mature and refined, they can be of great assistance in making ethical decisions. Compassion, empathy - these things come from being in touch with one's own feelings. I'd argue learning those "emotional" skills is one of the things a liberal education is good for.

Speaking of which, if you think math and science are denigrated in our society, hoo boy, go take a stroll through the halls of the humanities. Hell, take a walk through the Modern Language Building, wherein one can find the Slavic Department, and compare it to literally any other building on campus, including science buildings for undergrads. I'm certainly all for math and science, but they're actually quite a bit more valued by our society than other disciplines - monetarily, anyway.

"Then we get an entire cohort in love with the measles."

Oh, I see. Americans don't just *like* measles. Americans *love* measles. That's different.

Also, even more idiotic than your previous statement.

One school in Ithaca has only a 72% vaccination rate. It’s a private school that’s willing to grant exemptions to a lot of parents.

To elaborate upon the NYS process, exemption requests have to be flagged at the local-school level, so if the principal is game, there's no hurdle.* The system is described in vague terms here (the PDFs don't help much), but to get the full flavor, there's no substitute for reading some of these. They go pretty quickly once the boilerplate is internalized.

* Whether they ever have their feet held to the fire is another question, which might be appropriately directed toward one's representatives.

"Most parents shame other parents out of vaccinating"

Which is of course why vaccination rates are over 90% in many areas. Though if *most* parents are doing this shaming I'd expect the rates to average less than 50% nationwide. But then I don't have your extra-special ability to read the minds of millions of people.

Thanks, Narad @74. Great resources, as always!

By Jessica Sager (not verified) on 06 Feb 2015 #permalink

Semi OT but Bill Maher was in special anti-vaxxer mode this evening. What is that I smell??? Some no- so-respectful insolence?

@Jessica: I hope it proves helpful. CID has a quite reasonable one-year embargo, so the "Measles Mary" paper* should be open-access in May.

* Which seems to have become popular again within the last few days among the Totally Not Sherson crowd.

Lori, I've have never posted a comment...or received a reply from Dr. Bob Sears... except for one memorable rant on the Ho-Po when I reminded him that his deliberately non vaccinated patient was identified as the "Index Case", responsible for the large 2008 San Diego measles outbreak. I "don't do twitter or Facebook" where he posts his insensitive ignorant rants.

I've had plenty of contact with Dr. Jay Gordon here on RI and on the SBM blogs. He craves the approval of the bloggers and the regular posters on those blogs. He'll ally himself with the occasional troll or crank poster, but he will never get approval from others, because he's a proven liar and who is on record as stating he forms his "opinions" about vaccines on parents' anecdotal stories which are not evidence-based.

He's also a sexist who thinks he can cajole women who posts comments on the internet and , who, when those tactics fail, becomes nasty and abusive toward those same women.

"by far the largest contributor to pockets of low vaccine uptake appears to be the rise of non-medical exemptions"

That's not really what the data in the Kaiser Study linked above (Lieu, et al) shows. It depends on how small or large you define the pockets. The most dangerous specific spots will have high exemption rates (crazy high in some cases). But for Marin County — THE (somewhat inaccurately designated) paradigmatic home of 'granola cruchy' low vax rates: the undervaccinated rate is 18.1% and the exemption rate 6.6%. In general the 'badness' of exemption rates and the 'badness' of vax rates do not correlate well for any geographic areas across which the data can be compared.

So there are areas (including different parts of the vast Bay Area) where there are few pockets of highly concentrated exemption-holding CT anti-vaxers – and neither the infected or the vulnerable are that likely to wander into the pockets – but there are still plenty of un-vaxed kids, and they're NOT in tight pockets, but wandering around town generally. In Santa Clara County, the quarantine causing exposures occurred at a WalMart, a Costco, and a Dave & Busters in a discount mall.

All the data show that exemptions account for much less than half of the un-vaxed. We cant just assume the un-vaxed are 'fence-sitters', but there's no warrant to assume every un-vaxed kid has a CT anti-vaxer parent either. We might consider the anti-vax loonies ultimately responsible for the low vax rates and the outbreak for being the primary agents that start the spread of vaccine fear through the broader public, but that doesn't mean there are anywhere enough hard core CTAVers to enable the outbreak to spread as it has.

Basically, these folks ARE nut-jobs, and as un-science minded as J.Q. Public may be, not that many people are THAT crazy.

On one hand, this offers a measure of hope, as it suggests many parents with as yet unvaxed kids aren't committed partisans and ca be turned around. There seems to anecdotal evidence that's happening. There's also been anecdotal evidence in the press that the die-hard hold-outs are indeed pretty 'out there'. I noted that one news story covered a few 'regular' folk non-vaxers who were unmoved to change by the outbreak — over an apparent lifestyle range from NoCal 'granola' to SoCal 'country club'. But on closer inspection all the moms were married to chiropractors.

On the other hand there's cause for worry, as each day it becomes more clear that the peg "Politicians pander to anti-vaxers!' is just flat out wrong in terms of any sort of national stage. They're pandering to people and money who actually believe vaccination is harmless and a good thing, but for whom a certain dip to non-vaxing sentiment is a symbol of a broader ideological orientation. I.e. it's a branding strategy.

In retrospect, this partly explains HRC's now-abandoned commitment to "find the causes of autism, including possible environmental causes like vaccines.” In 2008, that position was acceptable for a liberal as it could be interpreted as a kind of 'anti-corporate / power to the people / question authority' trope — handy for Hil since she isn't really any of those things. But it seems she was also actually pandering to two specific anti-vaxers who have a long-standing personal relationship with the Clintons and have been big-time fund-raisers for Democratic candidates. http://tinyurl.com/pchupub

That Hillary has just torched these close associates is a sign where the Dems are going, just as sure as Dr. Bobs pro-GOP FB post is a sign that anti-vaxers understand that in the wake of the outbreak their survival chances as anything but a fringe CT cult with the relative popularity as Moon Hoaxers depends exactly on their symbolic value to Tea Baggers and the Christian right.

The problem is that those groups are so strong, their collective grip on the House and ability to prevent any meaningful legislation from passing, that the symbolic value of 'vaccine choice' as a metonymy for 'individual freedom / parents rights' may carry enough political capital to keep the anti-vax afloat, and/or get in the way of efforts to help push the waffling non-vaxers off the fence.

Bill Maher just went full r****d tonight. What an absolute fucker. His ass needs to be kicked off the air, again.

It looks to me that only a valid medical contraindication will be acceptable for students to avoid any of those vaccines. IMO, it's about time. Let's hope that Dr. Richard Pan and his supporters in the California Senate are able to get meaningful legislation in place...without the Governor writing in his own "religious exemption.

@ lilady #107
I've been observing Jerry Brown for years. He actually acts on principle, though his principles evolve, and whatever his larger principles are, he doesn't treat them dogmatically when it comes to policy. If Dr. Pan and his supporters can get anything to Brown's desk, I would put the odds of him messing with it as zero to the nearest integer.

I'd say the question for Brown, as well as most other Dems at statewide or national levels is whether they're going to take some leadership here, or just wait for somebody else to do the work.

Dr. Richard and a slew of pro vaccine parents/advocates did all the work on AB 2109, which would have required parents to undergo a counseling/education session with their child's doctor before claim a "personal belief exemption"; it passed in the Assembly and the Senate...until Brown caved to strip the bill by signing it into law with his new "religious exemption"...which doesn't require that counseling/education session.

Had Brown not added the "religious exemption", the overall vaccination rate including the MMR vaccination rate would have gone up...the theory being that busy or lazy parents are not really anti-vaccine, but they use the "personal belief exemption" to avoid taking the time to take their children to their doctor in order to be current on all vaccines.

Dr. Sears and Dr. Gordon were the public (publicity seeking) faces of those who wanted to defeat AB 2109...and so they did because the principled Governor Brown lost his principles somewhere and got bad advice.

Will the law in California require vaccination only for public school students? Rates are published by school in Calif. and private school rates are pretty poor.
And what about home schooled kids? Can they avoid getting their shots and contribute to outbreaks? After all, even if they don't go to school, they no doubt participate in some group activities, and maybe even go to Disneyland.
If failure to vaccinate were considered neglect, all kids would need their shots, regardless of their parents school selection.

By cloudskimmer (not verified) on 06 Feb 2015 #permalink

Orac: "They can then find their very own Mississippi Dr. Jay Gordons and Dr. Bob Sears to churn out letters stating that vaccines are medically contraindicated for their children."
Perhaps a better answer is to prevent doctors from doing this - revoking their license to practice medicine if necessary.
In other words, if statistically a doctor is granting too many medical vaccine exemptions, something is wrong - but with an individual child, a doctor might be right when the health board is wrong - they are more familiar with the child's case, after all.

@ Laura

if statistically a doctor is granting too many medical vaccine exemptions, something is wrong

I could agree with the idea - fighting corruption and fraud is a normal and necessary part of any society abiding by the rule of the law - but I would advice great caution in how it is implemented.

Hunting cheaters of social welfare is a regular populist topic in French politics, but, to paraphrase that a compatriot of mine wrote, because 5 people are cheating, we shouldn't end up harassing 100 people and expelling 50 of them. To which I added, even more so if the 5 cheaters are not among the 50 being punished.

To repeat, I fully support the idea that physicians convinced of fraud should be suspended, if not revoked. But I'm afraid exposing the fraudsters is going to be more difficult than looking at how many exemptions they gave. Because of some local demographic reason, a physician may end up with more than his/her share of immunocompromised patients. And I doubt the physician's customers will come forward and accuse themselves of corruption.

At the minimum, another physician (or better, three of them) will have to look at the cases until enough clear-cut undue exemptions are found to make an accusation of known fraud sticks. That's going to take resources in time and manpower (well, physician-power). Are we willing to spare these resources? Do we even have them?
Not to mention the big can of worm of such an investigation starting by what amounts to a revocation of the physician-patient confidentiality.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 07 Feb 2015 #permalink

LW @98. C'mon. Some people do love measles! I understand that Melanie's measles were Marvelous!

/sarcasm, or something

By palindrom (not verified) on 07 Feb 2015 #permalink

Sure, any determination that a physician is unreasonably granting medical vaccine exemptions, needs to be based on a clearcut pattern of conduct long-term, reviewed by other doctors. Not just their rate of vaccine exemptions. Maybe they have a practice with a lot of HIV+ children (if such children need medical vaccine exemptions).
An article about this issue: http://www.forbes.com/sites/peterlipson/2015/01/30/anti-vaccine-doctors…

One scary thing is that in some states a naturopath can grant a medical vaccine exemption.

Laura @116 -- Pediatric oncologists would probably sign quite a few exemptions -- but with good reason!

Incidentally, I'd think that kind of work would take quite a toll -- I'd probably turn to drink.

By palindrom (not verified) on 07 Feb 2015 #permalink

Since Thursday, AoA has been posting recent appearances and interviews on American and Canadian television, Vox.com and 'Democracy Now' involving their cohorts in response to the current measles outbreak. Dan Olmsted alone had three whilst Redwood and Holland, had one apiece.

I think that they're worth a listen/ watch or read, The Canadian, a Mr Agar, didn't give Dan an easy time. Heh.

As the general public learns more about anti-vaccine activist groups in a time when measles outbreaks are occurring, they may seek out realistic information about vaccines on the internet. I don't think that any of the appearances I viewed ( including discussions by other- mostly liberal- broadcasters) presented them in an amenable light that would be inviting to most worried young parents.

In short, they made a botch of it.

It's interesting that they link to their poor showings, including Holland's post- appearance desperation on PRN.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 07 Feb 2015 #permalink

View from the United Kingdom (1 min audio)


By Science Mom (not verified) on 07 Feb 2015 #permalink

@ lilady #111
Yes, Brown undermined AB 2109. But he did not cave or abandon principle. He made a very bad mistake. When I speak of 'principle' I mean fairly abstract, big-idea kinds of stuff, that can spin out differently depending on circumstances and reference points. And Brown is a complicated enough guy to have more than one big-think principle that might apply to any given policy. Those principles also evolve.

So, more than any politician I can think of off the top of my head, he's a that was then, this is now fellow in a fairly genuine way, much less worried about CYA and face saving than most. He's a kind of anti-Cuomo. If only for the economic aspect mentioned above, Disneyland will change everything for him. But in his own idiosyncratic way, he's also a very moral guy. He spent three years in a Jesuit seminary, studying to be a priest before dropping out. Later, he studied Buddhism. Jesuits are infamous for inscrutability: toss in the Buddhism, and Brown was long-ago labeled 'Governor Moonbeam' for his abstract intellectualism, and more significantly, his unpredictability.

I don't see any way he can process the measles outbreak in his own odd head that would lead to a repeat of the AB 2109 signing statement. The fact that anti-vaxers have now been outed for their mutual back-scratching with Tea Baggers and the Religious Right will not be lost on Brown either.

Pan's newest initiative will face many obstacles, because it's stronger than AB 2109. Jerry Brown is highly unlikely be one of them. If I was being unrealistically optimistic about Brown, I'd be suggesting he'll roll up his sleeves and help Pan get the new bill over those obstacles. But, no, I don't think he'll do that in any major way. We never know exactly what kind of politicking goes on behind closed doors, but my take du jour is Pan and other state legislators will have to do all the heavy lifting.

It may seem counter-intuitive, but the stronger the measure, the less likely Brown is to mess with it. That is, if he sees something as cautious to begin with, his thought is likely to be 'is this cautious enough?' But if he sees something as bold, he's likely to think 'is this bold enough?'

Again, he's a strange enough cat, this could spin out differently. But it would be very un-Brown-like for him to repeat the AB 2109 move. He might have reservations about something that comes to his desk for different reasons altogether.

I'm not saying Pan's new proposal will be a slam dunk. I'm sure it will face stronger opposition from conservative legislators, and also some members from woo-ey 'counter-culture' districts in the Sierras. Those mountain folks almost make the Berkeley Whole Foods shoppers look like Paul Offit on vaccines. But it the SoCal conservatives that have the political muscle. Worry about them way before you worry about Jerry.

Something in Dan's interview ( on Sun with Agar) reminded me:
he's asked if he has children and- after a pause- says he doesn't.

He's probably an anomaly BECAUSE most of them DO.They are fuelled by their reactions upon learning that their child has autism: the movement itself being an emotional coping mechanism not based in reality.

Thus the faithful can ( like Gaul) be divided into three parts:
distraught parents, those who profit from them and Jake .The first two categories may occasionally overlap: I doubt Jake will ever make money.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 07 Feb 2015 #permalink


Oh, I see. Americans don’t just *like* measles. Americans *love* measles. That’s different.

Indeed, and this love relationship explains much about our reaction to measles. The fever - we obviously believe measles is hot! And who hasn't broken out in a rash in the presence of his/her/its true love?

It even explains vaccination laws because, as the song says, you always hurt the one you love.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 07 Feb 2015 #permalink

@cloudskimmer: the current law in CA does not formally distinguish between private and public schools. If all they do is abolish the PBE, both types of institutions will be subject to a school immunization requirement with only a medical exemption.

By Dorit Reiss (not verified) on 07 Feb 2015 #permalink

JP: Empathy and compassion are rational quantities, not emotions. Emotions are irrational, annoying, and in women, weaponized. Men can have feelings in public, women shouldn't. Unfortunately, due to conditioning, women tend to squish reason in favor of intuition and a lot of times are susceptible to persuasion and flattery. Look at how many women support Jay Gordon because they think he's handsome and he's mastered flattery.

As for the other statement, science and math are only valued when they can be monetized and when the field is mainly occupied by people who society says should be respected. Look at how far medicine's star has fallen since women started going to medical school. It's no coincidence that people despise pediatricians when most pediatricians are women.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 07 Feb 2015 #permalink

In Ithaca, being anti-vaccination is part of the cultural of being "natural", "going with your feelings", trusting the people around them more than the Establishment sources of information. People use this ideology to come to their conclusions, it makes life simpler.
You can probably tell this bugs me :)

Rates are published by school in Calif. and private school rates are pretty poor.

I happened to have the 2013-2014 data for Orange county schools open. There are a total of 541 schools having a kindergarten enrollment of at least 10 (the criteria to be included in the California dataset).

Of those, 154 are private schools. 92 of those schools have 0 or 1 child missing the 2 required MMR vaccine.

So I think the argument that "private schools are hotbeds of vaccine-refusers" is not made.

I will say that of the vaccine-refusing schools, Waldorf private schools and publicly-funded "Waldorf influenced" charter schools have high rates of vaccine refusal, as do some (but not all) of the schools having "Christian" in the school's name.

In Ithaca, being anti-vaccination is part of the culture of being "natural", getting their views from the people around them rather than trusting the Establishment sources of information.
People use this ideology to come to their conclusions, it makes life simpler.
A lot of anti-vaxxers are probably having problems with cognitive dissonance right now, because being "natural" brought measles back.

I am amazed (but not really surprised) that you "pro-vaxxers" have ignored the obvious explanation for the measles outbreak - the government has caused it to ramp up demand for toxic vaccines!

"Evidence emerges that measles outbreaks are deliberately encouraged by Big Pharma to ignite vaccine hysteria"

: http://www.naturalnews.com/048522_measles_outbreak_vaccine_hysteria_sci…

(for those too timid to undertake the full journalistic adventure: Mike Adams reveals how the lawsuit against Merck over allegedly falsifying evidence of the effectiveness of the mumps component of MMR demonstrates that Big Pharma has caused the measles outbreak for nefarious purposes).

This may puzzle some of you, who'll make the excuse that mumps and measles are different diseases, but since they're both caused by viruses there's really no difference and besides, Fukushima.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 07 Feb 2015 #permalink

Looking at California Departmpment of Health figures, PBEs are higher and vaccination rates lower in private schools. This data from 2013-2014:


Perhaps the private schools have fewer students, so in terms of numbers, there may be less kids unvaccinated in the community from private schools, but it would appear they May cluster more in private schools. It would take more analysis to determine. Looking at lists by school, Waldorf schools in particular do seem to be far lower in vaccination rates than other schools.

By cloudskimmer (not verified) on 07 Feb 2015 #permalink

Don't laugh... I have already seen one post on yahoo speculating that big pharma caused the outbreak to increase the number of vaccinations.

DB @131 --

.. . and besides, Fukushima.


I hope you're aware that California is a radioactive wasteland.

By palindrom (not verified) on 07 Feb 2015 #permalink

@ Liz #129
The Minneapolis Strib just published the exemption rates of the kindergarden classes in all the schools tracked by the MN Dept of Health:
The list is by school name, and doesn't distinquish between public and private, so in many cases unless you're familiar with the schools, you can't always tell which is which. But based on the few I do know, and indicators in the names, it looks like the exemptions are overwhelmingly in private schools devoted to some 'philosophy': some sort of conservative Christian mostly; the Waldorf schools are mostly well down the list. The worst exemption rate, 50%, is at a Christian "Charlotte Mason" school, whatever that is...

The statewide average percent of kindergartners with a medical exemption for vaccinations is less than half of one percent. This means that the vast majority are opting out of vaccinations based on philosophical belief

@ Eric #46 --I want to give an example of when health departments followed privacy rules, but didn't get all freaked out over the fact that it could easily be determined whom infected whom (did I get that right?).

As a medical resident, I rotated for a week at the county health department and did STD screenings. A few times I would see a couple come in where one person wanted testing. I remember one time, the person I tested was positive for an STD. I had to tell the other person (their partner) that they had been exposed to an STD and needed at least testing for that disease. I was not allowed to tell them who had exposed them to the STD, but for this one couple I remember the person I was telling this to breaking down in tears and asking me repeatedly "was it my partner" to which I had to say (the infected partner was not in the room)--"I am not allowed by law to tell you this information".

After telling this tearful person this -"I am not allowed by law to tell you this information" phrase 3 times, they had figured it out. There was some yelling in the parking lot as they left, but the duty toward treating the patient, the exposed contact of the patient and to public health (in terms of controlling STDs) had been done. And this scenario for STDs is routine--for instance here is the Partner Services FAQ page for the New York State Dept of Health: https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/std/partner_services/fa…

So, again, what I'm trying to say is that public health depts need to stop worry about some anti-vaccine parent getting offended that someone figure out statistically that they are the non-vaxxer and get on with controlling these outbreaks--in part by making sure vaccination rates for schools (one of our worst incubators for infections) are public and know for all schools, be they public, private or charter. I also, for the record, feel it is critical to track vaccinations for home-schooled children which may be up to 4% of the population.

By Chris Hickie (not verified) on 07 Feb 2015 #permalink

I also, for the record, feel it is critical to track vaccinations for home-schooled children which may be up to 4% of the population.

I suppose this is as good a time as any to once again observe that Va. Code Ann. § 22.1-271.4 mandates immunization of homeschooled children as well,* which throws a complication into the no-more-exemptions works. Nebraska is another, and I seem to recall finding a third the last time I went looking.

* SnuffPo royally f*cked this up recently, conflating it with record-keeping requirements.

"Homeschooled", around here they meet several times a week to assist in the witnessed tests, to go to enlightening activities like museums, history centers and the like. "Homeschooled" does not mean isolated.

By Colonel Tom (not verified) on 07 Feb 2015 #permalink

@ sadasd #88
Great link! Thanks! Very revealing!

It lists 3 major sources for anti-vax funding, from bigger to less big:
• The Dwoskin Family Foundation (NVIC)
• The Segal Family Foundation (NVIC, Generation Rescue)
• J. B. Handley (Generation Rescue)

The Dowskins give a token amount to Generation Rescue, but by far the biggest chunk of their money goes to the University of British Columbia to fund research on 'aluminum toxicity'.

According to CNN, Wakefield's funding come mainly from Generation Rescue.

So, forgive me, Denice, but do I have it right that Generation Rescue is the more hardcore organization and NVIC the more "pragmatic"? It seems NVIC generally steers clear of Wakefield, is that right? (Not always, just generally.) Also, the CNN story doesn't provide any numbers on Handley's contributions to Generation Rescue. Is he in the same money league with the Dwoskins and Segal, or way down the ladder?

Anyway, this adds a LOT to the picture. Apart from supporting clearly anti-vax R's like Burton and Posey, Handley seems to lean to Dems donation-wise. Segal seems center-right, and not particularly partisan on other issues besides being very pro-Israeli. The Dwoskins are big friends of Bill and Hill and have raised a lot of cash for other mainstream Dems.

The events of the last week would seem to put the Dwoskin/Clinton connection in the nut. Either Hillary is going to have cut ties with the Dwoskins, or the Dwoskins are going to have to cut ties with NVIC. I'd guess the latter is more likely, and they just give more to the University of British Columbia.

That would leave NVIC with a big cash hole, which could get even worse if Segal cares more about MidEast policy than vaccines, and pulls/reduces his anti-vax funding for fear it would cause problems on that front. (Not that I have a clue whether that would happen, but it could.)

The fact NVIC gets 'real' money from different parts of the political spectrum goes a long way to explain Barbara Loe Fisher's protestations that anti-vax is a 'bi-partisan' issue, and her pains to re-assert that this week in the wake of the flaps with Christie and Paul, and the ringing endorsements of the GOP from Bob Sears and other anti-vax luminaries. Basically, Fisher is screaming at the Dwoskins, "Don't leave me!"

Given the dollar amounts in play, I'd guess there 0% chance Christie's people aren't aware of this. They knew if he uttered the word 'vaccine' post-Disneyland, the old all-smiles photo with Louise Habakus would allover the Web and Hillary Clinton's hand would be forced. Even if their hope was that this would separate Clinton from a major financial backer, they couldn't know that, so they had to be aware they could be cutting Barbara Loe Fisher off at the knees.

Which, speculative though it may be, still adds support to the thesis that Christie doesn't give a poop about anti-vax at this point as anything other than a purely symbolic dog-whistle to the Tea Baggers and Christian Conservatives.

Though the GOP vax-wobble undoubtedly bolsters the anti-vax groups to some degree at this point, it's not good for them in the long run. For someone like Christie or Paul to use 'vaccine choice' as a shout out to 'personal freedom' and 'parents rights' anti-vax organizations like NVIC and Generation Rescue don't need to exist any longer at all. It's all abstract, an idea that does not require the funding of conspiracy-slinging propagandists, and in fact, is much better off without them.

So the $264,000 question is, if the Dwoskins bail on NVIC, who picks up the tab? Is there some as yet un-tapped right-wing whales out there who would think vax exemptions are so central to to 'personal freedom' or 'parents rights' they'd consider funding NVIC as opposed to any other group pushing a 'freedom and rights!' agenda with more clout and less downside? (I kinda think not.)

Empathy and compassion are rational quantities, not emotions.

They certainly aren't purely rational qualities, though they require a certain amount of rational though. They have to be informed by emotion, though, as humans are emotional beings. Basically, you come by compassion and empathy by being able to place yourself in another's shoes, emotions and all. That's why reading literary fiction helps, for example - because as you're reading a literary novel, you're constantly being placed in another's shoes, and you "read" a character by imagining what their drives and emotions are in a certain situation.

Emotions are irrational, annoying, and in women, weaponized.

Emotions are arational, not irrational. None of us makes every single decision based on rationality. "Do I feel like having Mexican food or Chinese food tonight?" is not a question that can be answered with a risk/benefit analysis - it's based on what you feel like having. A lot of what makes up human experience is arational, or even irrational, but that doesn't make it any less real or valuable. Falling in love is hardly a rational decision, but I highly recommend it.

As regards women, you're making a huge generalization. Sure, some women use emotion as a weapon, but so do a lot of men. (Anger is an emotion, after all, and one that's generally sanctioned for those of the male persuasion, and one that's often used to shut down discussion.) There are plenty of women out there who are pretty awesome people, though, as you should well know. I know from experience that "mannish" women often get picked on in school, and some of the cruelest taunting can come from our own sex, but hell, people grow after high school. Most of my friends growing up were guys, but I'd say the gender ratio is about 50/50 at this point.

Unfortunately, due to conditioning, women tend to squish reason in favor of intuition and a lot of times are susceptible to persuasion and flattery. Look at how many women support Jay Gordon because they think he’s handsome and he’s mastered flattery.

This is anecdotal, but I'd say that men, as a group, are actually rather more vulnerable to flattery than women. They're equally as vulnerable as women to attractive members of the opposite (or same) sex.

Men can have feelings in public, women shouldn’t.

Wait a second, are you just stating public opinion, or are you saying this is how things should be? Men and women are both emotional beings. We're all human, and none of us are robots. I agree with you that women take more flak for showing emotion in public - it makes a man "more human," it makes a woman "emotional" or "unstable." I think this is a problematic situation, though, to say the least.

Look at how far medicine’s star has fallen since women started going to medical school. It’s no coincidence that people despise pediatricians when most pediatricians are women.

Dude, that's just straight up misogyny. I'm not even sure what to say to that.

Comment #142 was @PGP, btw.

Incidentally, a lot of "femmy" guys have the same problems in school - just ask my buddy Vlad. Sadly, gender policing often happens within genders even more than it does across gender lines.

So. . . I'm 53. had vaccinations as a child. do I need to get a new MMR vaccine now, or am I covered ? opinions ?

2nd) can someone please tell Bill Maher to put a sock in it?
The guy actually thinks that the immune system is a muscle. Seriously. . .

DLC, I'm not much older than you are, and I only had the illnesses and no vaccinations. I tried for days to figure out my childhood diseases and discovered facebook is good for something after all. I never had nor got vaccinated for Rubella, and have had little luck finding anyone that has the appropriate shot.

The CDC has there information list here

By Colonel Tom (not verified) on 07 Feb 2015 #permalink

@ sadmar:

I don't know if I'd characterise either as you have. Both are, however, quite awful.
-Segal has his own org now - Focus Autism ( see website/ BFF Hooker)
-Habakus worked for him briefly as PR, IIRC
-BLF and Segal ( amongst others) showed up at the Health Freedom Congress ( see Bolen Report)
-Interesting research done with that money @ UBC ( Lucija T)

As is often said:
"Oh what a tangled web we weave" etc

@ JP:
PGP is not a dude.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 07 Feb 2015 #permalink


@ JP:
PGP is not a dude.

I am aware of that. It's a figure of speech I use with both sexes, in a friendly way.

This is anecdotal, but I’d say that men, as a group, are actually rather more vulnerable to flattery than women.

How do you reckon?

Like I said, it's anecdotal - the men I have known have been at least as much, if not more, vulnerable to flattery than the women I have known. I interact with a lot of academics, though, so the sample is biased.

Like I said, it’s anecdotal

No, I got that. What does it mean?

^ "Vulnerable" might be a start.


Well, I'd say that academic men, at least, are more apt to be swayed or influenced by flattery. "Dr. So-and-so, I read your book on such-and-such, and it was such a huge infleunce," is more likely to be a succesful conversation starter with a male professor than a female professor, again, only in my experience. (I'm also a female, which might have some bearing on the experience.) They're thrilled that you've read their book, and they want to hear more about themselves. (It's something I've mostly observed rather than participated in, at conferences and such. I'm very poor at kissing a$$. It can also be a strategy, and probably a smart one, that students use to score brownie points.)

A female professor is more likely to brush it off, and maybe even be sort of shy of the subject. That's likely due to socialization, I suppose - women aren't "supposed" to be "egotistical." More often, they'll turn the conversation around and ask you about your ideas or research. I've heard from other female students, as well, that women tend to be better mentors, in that they're more likely to actually pay attention to your work and give you career advice. Most of my mentors have always been men, but I find the argument interesting and somewhat persuasive, and wonder if I shouldn't consider applying it to my own grad student career.

DLC, my husband is your age and he got a second measles shot in the early 1980s I'm seven years younger and got one around the same time, on the opposite side of the country, so I assumed it was a general program at the time, is it possible you got one then? Otherwise, I'd suggest asking your doctor about it, especially if you live in a low-uptake area.

By Emma Crew (not verified) on 07 Feb 2015 #permalink


I'd also say, anecdotally again, that my colleagues who are women are much better at taking criticism and using it to strengthen their work - or at least to question a statement like, "Oh, it's great." "Really? Can't you say a little more?

God, I'm terrible at conference-talk, though. Here's a typical interaction:

"I loved your paper! Etc., etc. Oh, and I love your tattoos! My son has some, but I do worry that someday he might wish he hadn't gotten them."

"Well, he might decide he wished he had a foreskin someday, but that's just water under the bridge, ain't it?"

If you want the lowdown on the wining and dining of Congressmen Issa, Buchanan and Posey and their wives and the contributions to their reelection campaigns by wealthy anti-vaxxers, I suggest you go to the Left Brain/Right Brain blog.

Babs receives a lot of her support for her NVIC organization from snake oil salesman Joe Mercola:


Colonel Tom & Emma Crew: thanks. I"ll probably speak to my doctor about it. I'm sure I had all the usual immunizations, including smallpox. (that's the one where the jab leaves a divot in your arm, right ? )

I have lurked and posted some silly comments. However it is important to me that how I respond to antivaccine folk in my community is relevant. Could my sample be judged by you lot.
I meet these people daily and they sort of scare me.

Joe Citizen Myself and 3 of my kids have all had Measels and we were All vaccinated Work that one out
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

Bert Burless.
You know how you referred to the logical fallacy abut reference to authority recently. There is another one. It is called the Nirvana Fallacy. It means that if a system [in this case medical] is not 100% effective it is mostly dodgy.
Like · Reply · 22 mins

Medical interventions have a scale of effectiveness. None are 100% effective. When I was ill recently I chose surgery even though the chance of me dying was about 10%. No surgery meant about a week of horror and a 30% chance of dying. To me, no issue. Vaccinations are effective for most people, mostly. I do not know when you were vaccinated or if you have had boosters. Vaccinations are mostly about 90% effective, that means that some vaccinated people can get diseases they are vaccinated against. When they do it is mostly milder and shorter. I get the sense your kids had mild doses. I hope this will help you to" work that one out."If you you want references to independent science resources I will happily provide them.

By Bert Burless (not verified) on 07 Feb 2015 #permalink

I tried to post that as it appeared on FB. Did not work, Bugger.
Any way is this how we talk to them? This chum has 8 kids and some influence. He offered Tenpenney venues and tech support, when we killed her "tour". He actually got it when I said they wanted a profit tour, not a campaign. They did not cancel cause they weren't allowed to speak but because they couldn't make $200.00 a seat. No profit, No campaign. Wedge attitude.

By Bert Burless (not verified) on 07 Feb 2015 #permalink


It’s no coincidence that people despise pediatricians when most pediatricians are women.

First, [citation needed] about people, on average, despising pediatricians. I will let you choose the country where this happens.

Now, if you mean that there are douchemen despising working women, there is nothing new here, but your generalization is not helping much.
I would actually assume that many patriarchy-bent people would be more annoyed with, heaven's forbid, a woman doing a man's job, like surgeon, pilot, university professor, military officer or company CEO, than with a woman following her maternal instinct and working with children *, so really, your opinion seems to me at odd with reality.
Seriously, PGP, if you see yourself as a promoter of feminism, you are doing an horrible job at it.

Second, how do you reconcile your opinion with the following fact:
The two most reviled pediatricians on this blog, the two we talk most about, are men.
Make it four if the Geiers count as pediatricians.
And we talk about them because they are at the front of the antivax sentiment, not because, AFAIK, we decided to overlook the women.

* I'm talking like Ridley Scott talks about Ripley, here. Not my opinion.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 08 Feb 2015 #permalink

@JP I've seen this attitude of "going with your feelings" in anti-vaxxers where I live. They adopt an ideology of being "natural" because of its emotional appeal; then they make decisions, including refusing to get their children vaccinated, based on that ideology.
They see people around them as a source of wisdom, more than the "Establishment" sources like health agencies, doctors and science.
It's a matter of epistemology, of one's personal theory about the source of knowledge, not a feelings/rationality divide. Not paying attention to science is rationalized by anti-vaxxers as "going with their feelings", but they're using a faulty epistemology.
So one could question anti-vaxxers about their sources of knowledge. Are the people around them really more knowledgeable about vaccination than health agencies and doctors? Can you really make good decisions, using broad principles like being natural to conclude "vaccinations are bad because they're unnatural"? Are there times when they do things that might be unpleasant to their feelings (like being vaccinated) because of longterm benefit?
I love being "natural" in many ways myself - I ride my bike around, don't use makeup, etc.. Anti-vaxxers certainly don't own "being natural".

@Bert Burless
Socratic questioning is useful when people aren't being rational, because asking questions of people induces them to think.
It's different from arguing, which is telling them what you think.
Also, there's a lot of research on persuasion (what works).
Don't insult people, that's Persuasion 101. Personal insults actually tend to cause negative persuasion - they harden people in their beliefs.
An article on advertisers' suggestions about promoting vaccination: http://time.com/3693767/ad-campaigns-promoting-vaccines/

I have to agree with sadmar. Jerry Brown made a mistake. Jerry Brown, having realized that he made a mistake, will make it right. A desire to save face will not enter into this at all.

I called my assemblywoman and state senator and expressed my support for this bill. I would encourage other Californians to do the same thing because not many people do it and they do actually pay attention to these opinions.

@DLC. While it has not been discussed, smallpox is likely the shot you don't need to take. The last case of smallpox was in 1977, and the vaccination uses a live virus called vaccinia. While the vaccine saved untold millions, there is no point taking a "non-zero" risk for a "zero risk" event. I recently posted a curious case where there was a transmission of the vaccinia virus to the girlfriend of a soldier shortly to be deployed. Apparently there are several of these cases. As far as risk, the problems of vaccinia are mild compared to smallpox, but smallpox only exists in a few rogue nation's stockpiles of terrorist weapons.

There could come a point where the measles vaccination is no longer needed. If there had been no reported cases for years and if it wasn't such a damn fast moving disease. I don't know if we'll ever get, but we aint there yet.

By Colonel Tom (not verified) on 08 Feb 2015 #permalink

Before I depart for my appointed rounds...

because Orac's minions often discuss their personal impressions about diverse issues concerning:
sex roles, gender, person perception, prejudice, racism, misogyny, political leanings ,cults, groups, attitude change, social cognition, conformity vs individualism, attribution, unrealistic beliefs etc etc etc.
- which are extremely important as well as interesting-
I'd like to note that these topics are areas of research by psychologists for many long years.
AND you can read all about them in various journals and wiki____. Sceptics address them daily.

SBM isn't just about physical subject matter.
Especially when we describe woo, anti-vax and other non-realistic ideologies...

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 08 Feb 2015 #permalink

@Bert Burless
For example, in a more Socratic sort of way:
JC says "Myself and 3 of my kids have all had Measels and we were All vaccinated Work that one out"
Q: What makes you think you had measles?
If their diagnosis seems valid, then
Q: How soon after the vaccine did you come down sick with measles?
Maybe they got vaccinated in a hurry because there was measles around.
If soon after, tell them it takes awhile to build up immunity.
Q: Perhaps one of you didn't get both MMR vaccines (two are required) on the suggested schedule?
If they did,
Q: So do you conclude from this that the measles vaccine doesn't work?
If yes, then you tell them there is research about the effectiveness of the vaccine, and it's (whatever percent) effective. Very high for measles. Then
Q: Does your personal experience trump the research on this vaccine's effectiveness, in your mind?
And why?
So we can step through this person's reasoning, examining it for flaws.
There probably is a problem with JC's original statement, since it does seem quite unlikely that 4 properly vaccinated people in one family would get measles anyway.
One advantage of Socratic questioning is that it's easier than arguing. If someone is being irrational, they are the ones who need to think, not you.
Also, accusing someone of logical fallacies is likely to put them on the defensive. Instead, with the Socratic questioning process you can get them to see why their reasoning isn't valid.

Fans of quality reporting and commentary would've enjoyed the Fox News panel this morning which examined Brian Williams' credibility problems. It featured none other than Sharyl Attkisson, who knows a thing or two about the subject of credibility.

Attkisson apparently also weighed in on the naughty media tendency to blame Republicans for enabling antivax behavior, but I had to turn off the TV so that I wouldn't start groaning and upset the dog.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 08 Feb 2015 #permalink

JP: I meant that evidence of emotions are weaponized against women. As for the misogyny, I was talking about how other people see female pediatricians, not my personal opinion of them.

Helianthus: How about this country? Every person at AOA and TMR has a horrible 'pediatrician' story to tell, and 80% of the time, the pediatrician their bile is directed at is a woman. On a related note, these women seem to have no female friends outside those movements, and tend to venerate the few men who post on the forums, even if the dudes in question are total creeps.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 08 Feb 2015 #permalink

Colonel Tom: The only countries which have smallpox virus are the United States and Russia. There have been heated debates about destroying the United States and Russia supply of the virus, but to date that has not occurred.


DLC if you were born before 1971 in the United States you can assume the scar on your upper arm is probably a result of the smallpox vaccine and not BCG vaccine...which was never given to babies in the United States.


I'm not quite sure what in my comment you're responding to; I wasn't advocating living life solely by "going by your feelings." I was merely stating the fact that humans do, in fact, have emotions, that they're not going anywhere, and that it doesn't really make any sense to wish they would go away, because they can, in fact, be useful. If, that is, one processes information in a way that jibes with a reality-based worldview.

For instance, going back to compassion and empathy - as a kid, I was very sad when people I loved died. As a young teenager, when we began our ill-advised war in Iraq, I recall a certain politician referring to Iraqi civilian casualities as "collateral damage." Now, as somebody who was to some extent familiar with my own emotions, and also somebody who, by reading a lot of literary fiction, was accustomed to putting myself in somebody else's shoes, was able to make the leap, requiring some imaginiation, to the conclusion that gee, those people over there in Iraq are probably devastated in much the same way I was, and in the same way the families of those in the twin tower were at the death of family members. My anti-war stance, which I came by independently at a young age, was not based solely on rationality, though it did take the facts into account. A lot of the decisions we make and the positions we take are informed by emotion.

When it comes to the "natural" types, I have plenty of experience. I'd say that probably the biggest personality flaw involved in things like the anti-vaccination movement is a lack of humility - wanting to believe that one has special knowledge, better knowledge than all those sheeple out there who listen to "authorities" like, y'know, broad scientific consensus. They often have to spin all kinds of interesting and bizarre conspiracy theories in order to explain why their special knowledge doesn't line up with what appears to be scientific fact, or, more broadly, reality.

@JP I was commenting on "going by your feelings" in the context of anti-vaccination attitudes. That's different from being in touch with one's feelings, which is important for anyone and isn't inherently anti-science.
The anti-vaxxers I've come across in person haven't seemed arrogant in the usual sense. The culture here is lefty / "alternative" / "natural", and their attitudes are part of that culture.
It's great for people to think for themselves. But part of thinking for oneself is learning critical thinking and having a sense of one's fallibility and limitations. Learning not to jump to conclusions. People often jump to conclusions, whether they're arrogant or not.

JP is talking about exactly what developmental ( and other) psychologists study:
how kids learn empathy and why some don't.
It involves more cognitively advanced skills like 'taking the role of the other' and recursive thought ( thinking about what others are possibly thinking) which sometimes develop in synch with the development of more abstract advanced cognitive skills ( formal operations)
and sometimes doesn't.
They're interested in what causes differences across subjects too.

Social cognition also involves learning about how others are motivated and how they behave in various situations and how they attribute causality habitually, even as personality features. How people develop stereotypes for others. The material is virtually endless.

I often wonder if many of the alties we discuss- especially the anti-vax conspiracy mongers- have difficulty with person skills. As you know, ASDs are defined in relation to deficiencies in social and communicative abilities.

Food for thought, n'est-ce pas?

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 08 Feb 2015 #permalink


As for the misogyny, I was talking about how other people see female pediatricians, not my personal opinion of them.

Evidence needed that the average parent holds female paediatricians in disdain.
PGP, you need to get a life. Not everyone is as narrow minded or as bigoted as you seem to think they are. In fact, I think the average person is a good deal less bigoted than you believe them to be.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 08 Feb 2015 #permalink


They (the anti-vaxxers you've met) might not seem arrogant in the usual sense, but it takes a certain kind of intellectual arrogance to actually believe that you and the small coterie of those who agree with you are right, while "mainstream" science - read "science - is wrong.

I agree that there is a cultural element with a lot of more mild support of woo. I, for instance, used to be sort of vaguely anti-GMO at one point, until I actually started looking into the science around GMO, and critically examining the claims of the "antis," which turned out to be really dishonest and often silly. Same with organic foods - I used to just assume that organic foods were better, without having really checked that belief out. Anti-GMO and pro-organic are positions that sort of go along with the "package" of beliefs of your typical lefty, and I, like many people, accepted that package more or less whole when I was younger. Actually "thinking for yourself" requires questioning all of your beliefs and positions to see if they're based on fact, which is why I find it funny when alties go on and on about "thinking for yourself."

Dangerous Bacon: The irony is that Brian Williams was hired by NBC in 1993 during the Roger Ailes era, three years before former RNC chair Ailes was scooped up by Murdoch to create and run FOX News. As you might surmise, Ailes was and is not in the habit of hiring people like Molly Ivins, much less Amy Goodman, to work for his news orgs.

By the way, a new (to me, anyway) alt-med trope is getting revived -- the "fluoridation is a major cause of sclerotic arteries" trope: http://wakeup-world.com/2014/10/06/fluoridated-water-can-calcify-arteri…

By Phoenix Woman (not verified) on 08 Feb 2015 #permalink

DLC: "So. . . I’m 53. had vaccinations as a child. do I need to get a new MMR vaccine now, or am I covered ?"

I was born in 1957. I have no indication on my very extensive "Dept. of Defense" dependent shot record of getting a measles vaccine, though it would have been before 1968 when there was a good chance of getting a less effective measles vaccine. I also have no memory of getting measles.

So I was either very young, or got missed due to moving around so much.

So, coming this week I will mosey on down to the local pharmacy to get an MMR. Even if our health insurance does not pay for it.

To: @JP and @Laura:

Re: antivaxxers among the liberals --

I think what we're seeing here is a classic case of "English Major Syndrome", "Liberal Arts Major Syndrome", or (even better) "Non-Medical-Major Syndrome".

The college-educated antivaxxers tend to be either Liberal Arts types (English/Journalism/etc. majors) whose math skills aren't good enough to let them pursue careers in the sciences, or (much more rarely in my experience) Engineering/"Super-Hard" Science types who groove on the idea of God the Watchmaker (because all that complexity just *had* to be the result of a Creator, see) and think physicians and biologists are too squishy-soft-science for their own good.

By Phoenix Woman (not verified) on 08 Feb 2015 #permalink

I think what we’re seeing here is a classic case of “English Major Syndrome”, “Liberal Arts Major Syndrome”, or (even better) “Non-Medical-Major Syndrome”.

I am, incidentally, a Liberal Arts Major, and am currently a PhD student in a Slavic Languages and Literatures Department. I understand basic science quite well, thanks, and was a deft hand at math once upon a time, though it's not what ultimately caught my interest.

Believe it or not, there are a lot of people out there who don't specialize in the hard or even "soft" science who aren't inclined to be anti-science. A majority, I'd say.

Yes, AND Andrew Wakefield should be jailed for manslaughter or something because this is all his fault.

I think that there's truth in the Liberal Arts Major Syndrome - although it doesn't hold across the board-, Science Mom.

Many of the AoA/ TMR ( Olmsted, Stagliano) contingent have that type of degree as well as degrees in business
( LKH, Blaxill, Larson), a few have psychology/ social work degrees ( Ginger Taylor, Katie Wright, MacNeil, TMR's Saint) -altho' I doubt that it's in the more SB Psych ( Physio, Cognition, Perception) - and some studied education ( Dachel, others)

(-btw- my undergrad is in arts but I also studied bio ,chem, physio and lots of mathematics prior to grad schools).

HOWEVER- a science degree is not a vaccine against woo, as we've learned from Hooker, Lucija T, Jake and many others. Neither is a medical degree.( Oh guess) Or law ( Holland, Heckenlively, RFK, Andy's friends)

Interestingly I think that being good at maths might be somewhat protective because these folk are not as flustered around numbers or frightened by statistical analysis. No guarantees however.

People with a LS type of background might feel intelligent and wrongly believe that they can automatically understand science because of their high basic literacy skills. Simlarly business people feel confidence and knowledgeable about their own areas of expertise ( Segal) and imagine that it translates easily to research-based material as well.

Interestingly enough, two woo-meisters who style themselves as scientists probably have little basic grounding in the scientific method from my surveyance:
Adams claims much but has a degree in writing and Null has a 2 year business degree, an alternative degree in nutrition/ dietary and a mail ordered doctorate.

Being a Liberal Science Major is not an automatic trip to woo city as we've learned from Orac's minions and other realists.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 08 Feb 2015 #permalink

Attkisson apparently also weighed in on the naughty media tendency to blame Republicans for enabling antivax behavior

Given Attkisson's own anti-vax and pro-Republican proclivities I would have expected her to support the media for linking the two. It is almost as if she knows that the association is a bad look for the party, and she is willing to rein in her principles on its behalf.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 08 Feb 2015 #permalink

Ahem, the only two countries on record of having the small pox virus are the U.S. and whatever the Russian Federation is called now. Who actually has the virus is a matter of some speculation. Practically, I would doubt that either the US or Russia would use smallpox as a weapon, given the other tools at their disposal. I would propose it only has use as a terror weapon.

By Colonel Tom (not verified) on 08 Feb 2015 #permalink

I'm not sure else how to get into contact with a group of people who don't believe in alternative medicine so this will be an attempt. A little of my background: I used to just like most people here, a skeptic, but I've become more open-minded because of psychiatric treatment I am receiving.

I'm just wondering what you guys think of therapy, that is, the kind practiced by a psychiatrist, the most famous being psychodynamic therapy. How do you treat people who were abused as children? I ask because I was and there is nothing out there that is fool-proof. Medication doesn't work and isn't used to treat child abuse patients, except for anti-anxiety and/or sleeping medication. There are A LOT of people out there who need psychiatric help that don't benefit from medication. How do you help them (including myself?)

My team of psychiatric experts, including psychiatrists and a social worker, recommend different therapies, one of which is DBT. DBT utilizes the concept of "mindfulness" found in Buddhism to help patients. According to studies DBT is more effective in treating borderline personality disorder (a personality disorder who's suffers typically have a background of child abuse) than the control therapy and studies conducted continue to find this result. To quote from a DBT paper, "Mindfulness is one of the core concepts behind all elements of DBT." One of the reasons I become more open to spiritual topics is because DBT keeps proving to be helpful.

No one recommended meditation to me but I took it up on my own in an attempt to deal with stress. Later I read this article about meditation (http://www.elephantjournal.com/2014/11/nobel-prize-winner-shows-that-me…) that tells me that it just doesn't deal with stress.

As far as balancing chakras and reiki and crystal healing and things of that nature, no, I'm not into it. Meditation and yoga seems obvious that they would help now that I do them; exercise is always recommended in my treatment program so I decided to pick up yoga because it seemed easy (which it isn't). I started doing yoga and have found physical, mental and emotional benefits.

Since doing DBT I have noticed great benefits, including less impulsiveness, less depression, able to focus on and choose my career, happiness in general, no self-mutilation, no eating disorders, able to care for my pet. Things just make more sense now and I'm just happier. I have a four-year degree in Fine Art but I'm thinking I might now become a yoga teacher and massage therapist; I'd like to start my own business because I think I'd be able to cope much better on my own than working for someone else 9-5.

Placebo effect or DBT? And how do you treat the LARGE population of people with psychiatric problems that can't be helped with medication?

By Alexandra (not verified) on 08 Feb 2015 #permalink

@Colonel Tom:

It's called the Russian Federation. Or Russia for short. :)

Just because some people are horrible journalists (e.g. Attkisson) doesn't mean all Liberal Arts majors can't handle science.

Some of us professionally communicate accurate science, with proper context, on a daily basis. *koffkofffightingoffFukushimawookoffkoff*


By Scottynuke (not verified) on 08 Feb 2015 #permalink


Dunning-Kruger seems to be a fairly equal opportunity effect. I know several people with MS degrees in various sciences who presume that their knowledge within their own discipline qualifies them to opine (incorrectly) on GMOs, water fluoridation, etc. If anything protects against DK, it seems to be humility. "Self-doubt is the beginning of wisdom," one might say.

Interestingly I think that being good at maths might be somewhat protective because these folk are not as flustered around numbers or frightened by statistical analysis.

Oddly enough, several of the faculty and several of the grad students in my very small department were originally math majors. One of our professors even got the Soviet equivalent of a PhD in math and taught for a while before switching to literature. Not sure what the connection is, though I've heard through word of mouth that a mathematical background is not uncommon among Slavists.

People with a LS type of background might feel intelligent and wrongly believe that they can automatically understand science because of their high basic literacy skills.

Well, they probably are intelligent, just ignorant of many subjects, as we all are. Intelligence can often lead to arrogance if it isn't tempered with a certain amount of humility. Even somebody like Mikey Adams probably has a certain amount of raw intelligence; his success at peddling his idiocy testifies to that. He's arrogant as all get out, though. Christ, he practically has a messiah complex.

It seems that when anything that questions vaccines or paints them as even remotely possibly negative, everyone scrambles to negate all possible questions regarding them. Everyone goes out of their way to "debunk" whatever concerns people have with vaccines, with I might add, no less real proof or information than the people's views they're opposing.

The vaccine sheeding idea, for one, is a very legitimate concern, especially because the CDC have observed it themselves. It's not a myth. It's something that indeed has happened. Is it happening now? Perhaps not. But what I find most disturbing is that the truth is, if it were happening, no on will ever know since no vaccine makers, no CDC, no FDA are ever going to attempt to find out. Therefore it's very easy for you to tout your "There is no proof of this," if the only proof you're looking for are the official agencies whose agenda is to have everyone vaccinated.

On the CDC website, if you look, you can find the very real information that every polio case in the United States since 1979 was caused by the polio vaccine. They state it plain as day.

THEREFORE: tell me why in the known world people do not have the right to question other vaccines? There are some valid questions being asked, yet no one will answer them and the only real attempt anyone is making is to deflect them.

If you want to shut up the "anti vaxers", parroted rhetoric that shows up to be increasingly less valid over time is not the way.

By Michael M (not verified) on 08 Feb 2015 #permalink

@ JP:

A science education/ doctorate will not provide immunity to woo either-
see Kary Mullis Peter Duesberg, Boyd Haley, Linus Pauling, Luc Montagnier....
Ooooh.... That last one really hurt!

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 08 Feb 2015 #permalink


The only countries which have smallpox virus are the United States and Russia.

In other words, rogue states. The USA refuses to recognize the International Criminal Court, refuses to ban landmines, makes up bogus concepts like "Enemy Combatants" so they don't have to follow the Geneva convention with regard to prisoners of war and generally takes that attitude that international law is for other countries. And Russia also operates by the same might makes right philosophy.

By Militant Agnostic (not verified) on 08 Feb 2015 #permalink

Sorry, Denise, but you've got a logical fallacy there. The educational backgrounds of a small population of loonies says nothing about the broader populations with those backgrounds. Besides the people who write on anti-vax blogs are not necessarily representative of people who read them and support the position, and the authors and spokespeople will naturally be more likely to have some more 'liberal arts' 'people oriented' background.

All woo adherences do not come from the same set of psychological conditions, and anti-vax partisanship especially seems to have a certain specificity. In terms of outbreaks, we must also keep in mind that the hard-core conspiracy theorists are the minority among non-vaxing parents, many of whom have not rejected the science because they haven't confronted the science.

For the hard core anti-vaxers, the reasons for their stances seem to be largely certain conceptions about 'what my life is supposed to be' interrupted by trauma – their child or the child of someone with whom they identify is diagnosed as ASD – triggering a certain kind of psychological reaction that is atypical in the population in general, and have the power to over-ride 'normal' processing of information.

That is, 'denial' is a very common human trait, directed at many kinds of facts, not limited to science by any means. I suspect persistent and unusual denial – 'denialism' – is only somewhat less broad in the range of things denied – and the majority of things denied could be categorized as 'common sense' rather than science.

Thus, it may be definitional of 'denial' that it over-rides any kind of educational background, as education is question of cognitive function, and the psychology of denial may be both figuratively and literally more primal — located in mid-brain functions.

Just from my point of observation, one common factor in anti-vax seems to be privilege, and more importantly a certain set of life expectations (X) that depend on privilege (P) but are not automatically generated by it.
(All X are members of class P. But all class P are not X.) Anyway, these expectations strike me as having very little to do with formal education in the vast majority of cases. Mostly matters of family, social grouping, subculture...

Now, granted that educational background is a minor factor here at best, we could identify a few specific fields more conducive than others in building a mental framework hospitable to anti-vax. But I'd argue one stands well above all others: business school. Part of that's the privilege thing, part of it's that business curricula are usually narrow with minimal exposure to other fields, part of it is that 'critical thinking' of any kind gets you in trouble in the corporate world, and part of it is the overwhelming emphasis on practical measures for short term profit that is antithetical to both science and philosophy.

Perhaps a simpler way of putting it: most anti-vaxers strike me as strivers who dread the reality or the prospect of a special needs child who would get in the way of their goal to be a highly successful (or perfect) whatever: the awesome career, the awesome family life, the awesome social status among peers. Thus, the oft-observed high incidence of some degree of narcissistic traits.

That's not something you typically pick up reading Thomas Hardy or Flannery O'Conner. And, on the other sid of the scale, I might venture that more skepticism has been fostered by folks reading Mark Twain than by folks taking Intro to Calc.

The vaccine sheeding idea, for one, is a very legitimate concern, especially because the CDC have observed it themselves.

Could you be more specific, Michael?

@ sadmar:

I am speaking about the leadership who are the only people about whom we know a great deal.
And we should factor in the fact that they are performing and presenting themselves to an audience.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 08 Feb 2015 #permalink

@Militant Agnostic While I occupy a strange position, having served a country that I don't particularly feel part of, as father before me and his grandfather even though he was born upon this shore he was not a citizen. However, you speak overly unfairly by comparing the actions of the U.S. to other nation states. As the Geneva Convention is between nation state, it hardly applies to individuals fighting as an ideological combatant. While the behavior of the Bush Administration might have been criminal, do not judge upon the Geneva Convention. To act like the U.S. is the only country that strains the limits of international law is insincere.

By Colonel Tom (not verified) on 08 Feb 2015 #permalink

Militant Agnostic @ 189: What in my statement and my link do you find fault with?

I don't recall defending the fact that small stashes of smallpox virus are in U.S. and Russian high security labs.

@Michael M

First, all of the cases of polio in the U.S. since 1979 (with a few exceptions) have been caused by a polio vaccine - a live virus vaccine no longer used on a regular basis in the U.S. And those 154 cases of polio since 1979? Thirty years earlier, it was common to see 35,000 cases of polio per year.

As to your claim that MMR is shed - in any way that might actually infect other humans in a meaningful way - please provide a source.

If you're going to levy complaints about vaccine policy, at least levy complaints that aren't easily debunked by the very organizations you try to direct us to or a quick google search just brings up the typical anti-vax wingnuts. Try harder next time.

@Michael M

CDC states that "no reports of transmission of measles or mumps vaccine virus exist from vaccine recipients to susceptible

That should have read:

CDC states that there have been “no reports of transmission of measles or mumps vaccine virus exist from vaccine recipients to susceptible contacts."

People with a LS type of background might feel intelligent and wrongly believe that they can automatically understand science because of their high basic literacy skills.

Based on my extensive qualitative participant/observer research •• :-) •• I would say the opposite is true. The more literate/literary one's outlook, the more alien actual scientific research tends to appear.

For one thing, science has it's own special language that is
a) extremely arcane and impenetrable to non-specialists
b) purposefully artless and dehumanized
c) often just ugly as prose

Somewhere along the line, your typical English majors are going to have a Gen Ed class where the science goes beyond the written-for-lay-people intro-text to the point where they get an idea of what the real thing looks like. And what they typically learn from this is that hard science is something they do not get and do not want to get. They are, that is smart enough to know what they are ignorant about. (Again, I'm talking about a typical student in these fields, and the anti-vaxers are atypical of whatever they are.)

It's not that majors in high-literacy-skill fields are necessarily weak in innate math and/or science ability (though, of course, many may be). It's primarily that they don't like that stuff past a certain elementary level. I offer my own case — only as i have reason to believe it's not a total outlier. I was all about Math and Science in Jr. High, my favorite class ever was HS Sophomore Geometry, I was in AP all the way — but when we got to functions in 11th grade advanced algebra, my math gear just totally broke. Not only did I not get it, I didn't care. It was 1969, and there was this war...

And yet 9 years later, having had no math at all I understood past that 10th grade Geometry, my GRE was 700 Verbal and 710 Math. Then, in Grad School, with only HS Chem, Descriptive Astronomy and Physics-for-Non-Majors as science classes past 8th grade, I aced Social Science Methods, scoring higher than the students who actually went on to careers in social science research.

Yet beyond basic logic principles, and the gist of the scientific method, I have no illusions of scientific literacy, advanced scientific knowledge, or that I possess the ability to do or understand something like medical science research. Most of the PubMed papers linked here on RI might as well be written in Klingon to me. And anything involving stats with an 'n'-something leaves me with either 'Huh!' or, 'OK, if you say so..'

In grad school, my hanging-out cohort were almost all from Arts/Humanities disciplines, but gang included some Math PhD candidates, too. They were at home with wiggy thoughts, could grapple poetic sensibilities, and were generally left-wing. (As my department had no jocks, I played staff-league softball with the Math Department for several years, and we all got along swell).

On the other hand, my cohort didn't mix with the hard sciences at all — especially the Chemists, who might as well have been an alien race. They also leaned to the right, but as far as their actual research went, none of us imagined we had any kind of clue what they were doing. ( IIRC, the Math students didn't get the Chemists either.)

That is, we were in some sense the language masters of the farm, yet we didn't think we knew stuff about science.

So I'm going to argue a good humanities education tops the intellectual humility chart, and does NOT encourage Google U certitude and Dunning-Kruger at all. Of course, in every fields, there are poor educators and students who don't learn their lessons. Part of 'getting' the humanities is exactly reaching the understanding that the humanities doesn't know much at all in the sense natural science knows stuff. We're always making educated guesses that are going to be argued in the present, may be totally discarded in the future, and will never attain definitive proof. What exactly is Citizen Kane about, and how does whatever it says about its subject(s) help us think about our own lives? What are the lessons of Viet Nam, and how do they apply to ISIS or the Ukraine, if at all? What is 'knowledge' anyway?

We know some answers proposed to these questions can be demonstrated to be false, but that none can be verified as 'fact'. We believe some unverifiable answers hold up better than others, so we run them through the ringer, sift and winnow, and do the best we can to come up with smart ideas about human issues science can't address.

If we 'get it,' we know we're still only guessing on our own turf even after a lifetime of rigorous study, so we're sure as hell not going to think we know f-all about medical science based on a few hours on Google. If all anti-vax discourse flunks science, over 99%of it flunks Humanities, too. [We do grade a little easier.. :-) ]

Colonel Tom--

Yes, the Geneva Convention is between nation-states. It is a treaty and is supposed to be binding on the countries that signed it. It doesn't say "you must respect the rights of people who are citizens of another country that signed the Geneva Convention" (though many of the so-called "unlawful combatants" are citizens of such countries). It doesn't say "you must respect the rights of people who respect your rights" (though, again, most of those so-called "unlawful" combatants have not done anything in violation of the Geneva Convention).

As for "ideological" combatants, you probably know people who could be described that way, veterans who enlisted because they wanted to fight the Nazis or, later, the Communists.

Julian: I can't believe you're defending anti-vaxxers. You of all people should know that they lack any sort of redeeming characteristics.

Sadmar: "In terms of outbreaks, we must also keep in mind that the hard-core conspiracy theorists are the minority among non-vaxing parents, many of whom have not rejected the science because they haven’t confronted the science."

I'd quibble with this. A willingness to accept one conspiracy quickly becomes a willingness to accept all conspiracies. Otherwise, you're on point as usual.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 08 Feb 2015 #permalink

@ Alexandra #183
As a long-time psych patient (depression/anxiety) my take on therapy:

First, if you find anything that works for you, shout Hallelujah! and don't try to peer behind your own mental curtain, especially in terms of any degree of woo-ity, and especially if the provider is covered by insurance, and especially if the provider generally considered legit — e.g. a DBT program offered through a hospital. The only caution I'd recommend is to try to contain therapy in the frame of therapy, not as some general principle for guiding things other than taking care of your own head.

Specifically the "meditation-significantly-slows-aging" web-page has all the marks of a con. Note how the circle of claims moves from a more plausible general hypothesis — stress makes you age faster, therefore stress reduction is good for you — to the specific 'modality' of meditation – then onto the wider very woo-ey philosophy of Ayurveda with it's vegan-cure claims. The results described appear to make unscientific claims due to the lack of proper controls. Meditation vs. no-meditation doesn't say anything about what aspect or mechanism of the meditating is responsible for any results shown. The Ayuerveda one is worse. Even the 'TM' vs. 'Mindfulness' vs. 'simple relaxation' has more holes than a ton of baby swiss, with a lot depending on how the practices are being defined and delivered.

I.e. basically the website, and possibly the paper authors (though I'm probably not sciency enough to decode the papers) are trying to bend this telomeres stuff into faith healing — suggesting it's the spirituality that aides the physical health of the body. Oh, but there seems to be a little switcheroo in there as the study population for the meditation research were individuals suffering from mild depression.

In short, all we have here science-wise is the suggestion that doing TM correlates with something that aids people's health. That hardly proves it's the spiritual component that causes it. There are a lot of differently shaded definitions of "mindfulness' out there, with variously shaded prescriptions for practice, and a lot of those in DBT land are very Eastern, as you know. So I'd want to test, say and Eastern spirituality vs. a Non Eastern spirituality, or two things similar in physical mental behavior but rooted in different theologies and concepts of "why this works" along with 'sham' religions as a control. And the subject population's predisposition to any of this stuff is going to matter. Does TM work for charismatics?

Again, all I'm saying is keep the broader philosophy reined in.

Second, realize that therapy techniques are anything but standardized, and what is labeled as either DBT, or CBT, or CBT/DBT can be very different from institution to institution or from one individual therapist to another. Under my health plan I have exactly one talking therapy option — one form of therapy, delivered one specific way, by one team of psychologists. They call it CBT/DBT Mindfullness Classes, and they do not work for me. But most people with any kind of mental health coverage are going to luckier than I am and have some choice between different clinics, or different providers within a given clinic... So here are sadmar's first principals of talking therapy (the nym btw, comes from an algorithm, so s-a-d doesn't mean 'sad'):
1) If you have it available at a reasonable co-pay, go.
2) As long as it passes the 'do no harm test' keep going.
3) If you imagine you might be doing better with a different provider available under your plan, try changing
4) Never make any big change without consulting a medical doctor, preferably an experienced MD psychiatrist with a good reputation. Even if you have a condition for which meds aren't particularly useful, you need the psychiatrist's supervision and diagnostic skills.

It sounds like you're doing quite well with your current treatment, so I'll speak not to you specifically, but to the general issue. Nothing in psych — not the therapy, and not the meds — is precise science. The best practitioners are still just making guesses, throwing stuff at the wall, hoping it sticks, because every patient is different, and everything is YMMV. Consider two SSRI anti-depressants: Celexa and Lexapro. The chemical formulas are quite similar. If they were meds for a physical problem, you'd guess might substitute for the other. But C might work great for Tom but not for Harry, with L the reverse, and both have the same anti-depressant effect for Betty but C's side-effects are horrible and L's manageable. If the meds have that much variation, and are that much of a crap shoot, imagine the therapy.

More to say about abuse, and the possible career questions, but I need a break... check back...

Nice strawman there PGP. I'm not defending antivaxxers, I'm calling you out for your frankly absurd generalisations.

By Julian Frost (not verified) on 08 Feb 2015 #permalink

Here's a study where online comments (when the commenters had some identifying info) had more influence on people's attitudes than public service announcements: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/289092.php
The full text of the study is available free.
It seems like "word of mouth", including online "word of mouth" has a great influence on people's opinions. Not just for people in a "natural" / "alternative" culture, but people in general.
The anti-vaxxers I've met, seem to have a liking for the "natural" ideology and for the "natural" people around them, so they adopt those attitudes.
Putting a lot more weight on scientific results than the attitudes of one's neighbors, is actually the result of being trained somehow to value science.
I was trained to value science, since my father did, and made us read Scientific American etc. and various science sources as children.

@Sadmar - I have a lot of sympathy for parents who are scammed by the conmen leading the antivax movement. And I wouldn't classify them as hard core conspiracy theorists. But they all believe in a conspiracy.

The only way vaccine schedules could be dangerous is if thousands of clinicians, researchers and health departments from all around the world, crossing ideological and economic boundaries, are either wrong or covering it up. That's the definition of a conspiracy.

@Vicki, I don't think we have an argument. I make the distinction only in that the Geneva Convention has some very specific conditions dealing with soldiers. It is illsuited with ideological combatants fighting a non-uniformed, non-battlefield campaign. This does not mean that I approve of what went on with "enemy combatants", my honour would not allow torture anyone. It is one thing to kill a man during a mission, another to torture a prisoner.

By Colonel Tom (not verified) on 09 Feb 2015 #permalink

@Michael M
About the idea that people who've been vaccinated for measles might infect others by "shedding virus" -
That is a concern about the efficacy of the measles vaccine for the purpose for which it was designed - lowering the rate of measles.
The vaccine has been extremely effective at eliminating measles, when enough of the population is vaccinated.
How can that possibly be reconciled with an idea that someone might transmit measles as a result of having received the measles vaccine?

JF: They aren't absurd generalizations. They are taken directly from the sources. If every anti-vax person has a raging hatred of nurses and peds (except for those few who go along with the movement, either because they're dim or like money) and those two professions are female-dominated, odds are that sooner or later the gendered insults will start flying. To be fair, most anti-vax women are exactly the sort of people who don't have time for other women; they only make friends so they have people around they can stab in the back.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 09 Feb 2015 #permalink

@ Laura:

That study illustrates what a UK focus group ( mentioned by Jon Brock/ Cracking the Enigma) found a few years ago:
parents were more accepting of information presented as being from other parents than from authorities.

Thus it make sense that vaccine supporters make use of testimony ( that fit SB advice) from other parents as spokespersons. And we do see blogs and public service announcements that follow along that line.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 09 Feb 2015 #permalink

Yes, wanting to get information from peers seems to be an evolved trait of human beings.
We evolved in small groups where people taught their survival strategies to others.
People can be taught to trust science, but trusting other individuals comes more naturally.
People are profoundly social, and many of our thoughts aren't our own - they are just thoughts we've picked up from the culture around us, that we like.
I've hardly ever heard an original "alternative" type thought. Almost always, it's been people repeating something they picked up from someone else.

@ sadmar:

We don't know a great deal about run-of-the-mill anti-vaxxers but we do know ( and AoA/ TMR constantly remind us) that they tend to be more affluent and more 'educated' than is the norm. Education may be defined by amount not type.

As I mentioned previously, we know precious little about these websites' audiences whilst we do know more about the leaders, contributors and frequent commenters because they constantly regale us with stories. Websites like the aforementioned boast between 10K and 30+K on facebook ( and we know how reliable that is) : I assume that there is overlap between these groups ( imagine the Venn diagrammes resultant). Often the principals hold important positions in several advocacy groups ( AoA, Canary Party, Health Choice or AoA/ TMR).

Other research has shown that conspiracy theories appeal to certain people- IIRC two factors are less cognitive complexity and more paranoia. Psychologists like Seth Kalichman, who infiltrated a coven of hiv/aids denialists, remarked that leaders- who frequently set themselves up alone against the weight of international medical authorities and research- appear to have traits of a narcissitic personality. He includes well-known woo-meisters in his analysis also.

As you may notice, under the laws of crank magnetism, we can expect that those who swallow one type of woo may choose other woo as well. Right now, there seems to be some cross-pollination between anti-vaxxers and hiv/aids denialists - Farber and Montagnier step into the fray as well as true woo artists ( Adams, Null) who of course do so ( Adams seems to recently deny AGW whilst the other idiot doesn't).

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 09 Feb 2015 #permalink

PGP @207

JF: They aren’t absurd generalizations.

Most of your comments are absurd generalizations, and many of them are very offensive.

Psychologists like Seth Kalichman, who infiltrated a coven of hiv/aids denialists, remarked that leaders- who frequently set themselves up alone against the weight of international medical authorities and research- appear to have traits of a narcissitic personality.

A bit like a secular cult, perhaps. Cult leaders tend to be narcissistic.

@ Laura:

Sure. There are other similarities like leaders controlling followers' access to outside information and denigration of the outside world/ society in general- portraying them as corrupt and beyond redemption.

OBVIOUSLY they preach that followers' only choice is the cult because devastation, decadence and ruin are the other options available to them, ( see our woo-meisters' alt media tropes)

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 09 Feb 2015 #permalink

Chemommo: Considering I'm making generalizations about awful people, I don't see a problem. I mean, so what if an anti-vax person gets their precious feelings hurt? That's like valuing the input of someone from the Westboro Baptist Church- they chose to join terrible organizations, they have no right to complain if everyone then decides that they are garbage and so are their opinions. Age of Autism and TMR people denigrate medical professionals, trash-talk their kids and any autistic person who dares to speak up (except for people who hate themselves like Jake Crosby does), send death threats to parents who have lost their kids, and generally behave in a manner that wild animals would consider appalling. So why do they need defenders?

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 09 Feb 2015 #permalink

Considering I’m making generalizations about awful people, I don’t see a problem.

Circular logic at it's finest.

PGP: A syllogism is no better than its premises. If one of the things you have as "if" is false, you can't get anything useful

You could equally well argue that if all Americans own dogs, and dogs encourage people to go for long walks, all Americans take long walks every day.

Misogyny is not some unique flaw of anti-vaxxers/

While in grad school in the late 90's, I was required to get titers to provide proof of vaccination/immunity (some diseases didn't have vaccines when I was a kid, I actually had mumps and chickenpox), FWIW. I live in Illinois and I'm ashamed about the Kinder Care situation.

Vicki: Misogyny is not some unique flaw of anti-vaxxers

I'm aware of that. However, anti-vaccination groups tend to be composed of women who should know better, who then proceed to tear down anyone who has the temerity to be exposed to the facts.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 09 Feb 2015 #permalink

PGP @ 214 my emphasis

I’m making generalizations about awful people, I don’t see a problem.

In this case, you wrote:

Look at how far medicine’s star has fallen since women started going to medical school. It’s no coincidence that people despise pediatricians when most pediatricians are women.

You did not write “Age of Autism and TMR people,” as you write now defending your ridiculous statement.

If you cannot figure out why it’s offensive when you extrapolate from a self-selected group of women who share on websites about how hard it is to be the parent of children with difficult medical diagnoses to all people in general, you have less of grasp on reality than those other writers do.

PGP@ 218

Vicki: Misogyny is not some unique flaw of anti-vaxxers

You’re quite right about that. It’s in the first sentence of yours I quoted in my previous comment.

Chemmomo: I meant anti-vax people when I wrote that comment. My computer was buggy all day yesterday, so I had to type fast before the browser crashed again.

Chemommo: If you cannot figure out why it’s offensive when you extrapolate from a self-selected group of women who share on websites about how hard it is to be the parent of children with difficult medical diagnoses to all people in general, you have less of grasp on reality than those other writers do."

1) Those are the main sources that ant-vax sentiment flow from, so why shouldn't I extrapolate?

2. As you pointed out, they spend all day on websites TALKING about the kids rather than taking care of them. Even when they do notice the kids, it's as impediments, rather then 'these are people.' I fail to understand why sympathy is warranted when dealing with anti-vaxxers. They hardly even care about their own kids.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 09 Feb 2015 #permalink


Anti-vax sentiment flows from women such as Bill Maher, Chris Christie, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Andrew Wakefield, Bob Sears, and Jay Gordon?

When a man makes anti-vax statements, you don't generalize about men. Why, when a woman does, do you generalize about women?

Vicki: When a man makes anti-vax statements, you don’t generalize about men. Why, when a woman does, do you generalize about women?

Men tend to have background grimble-grumble about women, misogyny isn't something they have to work at. Women have to work at hating other women. And, frankly, the male anti-vaxxers fall into three categories: they're grifters, dim, or Jake Crosby. (For the record, I don't think Christie is really anti-vax, he's just an opportunist.)

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 09 Feb 2015 #permalink

Newcasle Upon Tyne

I'll go another 2 quatloos.

@Bryan R Queen
Vaccines work by "herd immunity". That means that even though the vaccine isn't 100% effective, if enough of the population is vaccinated, the disease can't spread.
The flu vaccine is much less effective than the measles vaccine. But even so, if everyone got flu shots, it would save a lot of lives - because the flu virus wouldn't spread as well. Thousands of people are killed by the flu in the USA, every year.

@Bryan R Queen
I read the article. Nowhere does it say that "vaccines don't work". How does that conclusion follow from the article?

Young Master Crosby has a new post up - his belief in his own self-importance is quite stunning.....

@ Lawrence:

I saw that!
Jake is probably angry because she is working for a relatively well-known magazine and may actually even earn real money.

OBVIOUSLY this is evidence of a plot hatched by the embedded powers-that-be to keep him away from his rightful place in the sun as a crime-busting scientist/ journalist or suchlike.

All media journalism is totally corrupt anyway -except for Sharyl Attkisson. See Anne Dachel today AoA.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 10 Feb 2015 #permalink

Men tend to have background grimble-grumble about women, misogyny isn’t something they have to work at

You owe an apology to every man on this board, even the jackasses.

Shay: I'm not blaming anyone, I'm just pointing out a facet that's found in most cultures. A lot of men do work to overcome that conditioning, but some will still resort to gendered insults or take flagrant advantage of the women they work for. It's just the way the world is.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 10 Feb 2015 #permalink

Once again my observation that EuroAmerican culture has no clue when it comes to respect and harmony towards the maternal, has been completely validated.

By Colonel Tom (not verified) on 10 Feb 2015 #permalink

No, you are once again slapping a blanket condemnation on an entire demographic because you're morally and intellectually lazy.

No. After puberty, men and women rarely associate outside of romantic pairings and work assignments. Most men subsequently develop very skewed ideas of women. Some overcome those skewed ideas, most don't.

Colonel Tom: Could you explain that, please?

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 10 Feb 2015 #permalink

@ PGP:

Really, so you're telling me that the straight ones with whom I socialise just want to scht#p me and the gay ones merely want to nick my fashion savvy?**

And I thought that they liked the repartee.
**( Actually I don't mind either )

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 10 Feb 2015 #permalink


Right, my male friends don't exist. Shall I tell them and see if they evaporate in a puff of logic? (I have had romantic involvements with exactly two of them since 1983. I did work with one, but we were friends first, and I told him about the job opening.)

More to the point, it's not just men who are raised in a sea of background misogyny, just as even people who aren't white hear and absorb racist assumptions. You're doing the equivalent of sending the first-time offender to prison, while excusing the recidivist because he's a recidivist.

PGP, just my observation that EuroAmerican men have no sense of balance towards women at all. While not everything I learned at the knee of my elders have stood the test of time, this one bit of education continues to be validated in every conceivable way at every conceivable opportunity. No wonder I make my own beloved one so happy, considering the poor specimens she'd have to deal with if she'd kept to her own ethnic cultural shallow pool.

By Colonel Tom (not verified) on 10 Feb 2015 #permalink

@Vicki, you can call it "background misogyny" I tend to describe it as not willing to believe that women are full human beings. I observe this, I don't really understand the mindset.

It is strange, I am going through the tears again as the daughter of my beloved one is learning to deal with "boys". All I can tell her, is that hopefully the boys will grown into human beings, but at this stage they do not seem to want to act like them. My observation is that most will never learn the basic truth, that women are human beings.

By Colonel Tom (not verified) on 10 Feb 2015 #permalink

Young Master Crosby has a new post up – his belief in his own self-importance is quite stunning…..

I have never before seen anyone call for a Congressional investigation over a case of asshurt about a site's (viz., RW's) comment policy. The nearest thing I can think of is Eileen Simon's tedious whining about having received a form letter from POTUS.

After puberty, men and women rarely associate outside of romantic pairings and work assignments.

Boy, if my social life was that stunted, I don't think I'd be advertising it on a public forum like RI.

PGP, just my observation that EuroAmerican men have no sense of balance towards women at all.

WTF? This is practically an Iron Eyes Cody doppelgänger of PGP.

By background I mean things like people who believe they are being fair, but give better evaluations to identical papers or resumes if they are labeled as being by men. Those raters would say, honestly, that they think women and men are equal.

@Narad Well, the whole discussion was going no where.
So I tried to kill it. Unfortunately, such things often refuse to die.

Iron Eyes Cody did not become an NDN until his marriage to a woman of the Heron Clan. Yet he sure looked like one.

By Colonel Tom (not verified) on 10 Feb 2015 #permalink

Well, I'm pleased to note both of my state reps are among the 20+ co-sponsors of the Washington state bill to remove personal exemptions. I see they plan to keep religious exemptions, and continue to allow naturopaths to provide medical exemptions, but it's a start.

By Emma Crew (not verified) on 10 Feb 2015 #permalink

PGP wrote: " After puberty, men and women rarely associate outside of romantic pairings and work assignments. Most men subsequently develop very skewed ideas of women. "

Hey, PGP used a "rarely" and a "most". That's progress! Some of the stuff PGP says have a grain of truth if you divide by five or so. I understand what she's saying here. Given that "most" means >50% and if yu file down the very, yeah I'd say most men have skewed ideas of women and the difficulty of forming platonic straight-guy / straight-women friendships has a lot to do with that. I'm certainly not talking raging misogyny or anything – just basic stuff like the virgin/whore dichotomy and what not.


Men tend to have background grimble-grumble about women, misogyny isn’t something they have to work at. Women have to work at hating other women.

Would be nice if it was true.
By serendipity, a colleague was just talking about this woman living next door to him, who happens to be a warden in a prison for women.
Granted, it's a special population. But the warden reported that woman hate seems to come quite naturally to the female inmates.
Seems to me hate is something which comes quite naturally to anybody in the right circumstances.

I will also say it's a good thing I'm trying to be a decent human being because it's the right thing to do, not (or not too much) because I'm looking for a cookie. Because right now, if you needed my help for anything, I would just tell you to take a hike.
Trust and respect is a two-way street, PGP. Take five and think on this.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 11 Feb 2015 #permalink

Well, for whatever it's worth, I agree with sadmar:
I feel that PGP is SLOWLY making progress by speaking a bit more cautiously altho' she still makes sweeping statements. Time is on our side. I hope.

In truth, subjects like misogyny and racism stir up emotional responses and this further lends toward hyperbole and a lack of careful speech by certain speakers. This can change.

Psychologists and pollsters DO study these questions but the problem involves how jawdroppingly vast and meticulously detailed this area of research is- it seems endless and ridden with controversy - and thus, people fear even wading into its oceanic presence. Most people aren't aware of this sea of statistics. So there IS science for whomsoever wishs to study it. God luck.

The reason we get so many differing personal reactions here is because people ARE diverse in what they believe and how they behave as well as what they witness and how they interpret it. There are racists, non-racists, reformed racists, unintentional racists and situational racists- similarly for misogynists. AND there are regional factors as well as personality and educational factors and an age cohort effect.

Things have changed ( sang Bob Dylan):

I remember my mother predicting that someday there would be an elected female PM/ president of a major western country ( not India or Israel)..
and she was right ( too bad it had to be Thatcher) and she lived to see it. Now there are/ were quite a few. Not an issue.
Although some may carp about, it can happen. It's history.

On to the next:
I have to comment on how much I am entertained by Colonel Tom's comments- he's clever, writes in an interesting manner and can contribute on SB material
AND in adition, he allows RI to become slightly less a haven of incredibly true, blue whiteys from North America and Western Europe.

Which it entirely is. If you doubt me, look at our esteemed and venerable host, Orac, and commenters who include photo avatars or who are pictured elsewhere on the 'net. I give you Dr G, Dr Jay, Brian Deer, Liz Ditz etc. A few people have *Scandinavian* names ( Lund, Johansson) or admit their Norwegianess ( Calli, lilady, Chris, JP- yes, part counts!).
Then we have the English and Anglos who are often whiteness personified. And the Irish.You inow who you are.
Including me.

( and before anyone gets riled up - those last two paragraphs were partially tongue-in-cheek - an exercise in over-compensation- but it is STILL true, oh denizens of - mostly- Whitey Haven in cyberspace)


By Denice Walter (not verified) on 11 Feb 2015 #permalink

Denice Walter, in my case you might be mistaking cleverness for a slightly scrambled brain.

By Colonel Tom (not verified) on 11 Feb 2015 #permalink

Well, for whatever it’s worth, I agree with sadmar:

Me too. And I agree with Denice, too.
And funny enough, now that I had read Sadmar analysis, I agree with PGP, too.

No sarcasm - indeed, "most men have skewed ideas of women" and "basic stuff like the virgin/whore dichotomy" would unfortunately perfectly apply to me. And many men I know.

I will do one better and propose the following aphorism:

"most people have skewed ideas of other people"
A bit broad and nondescript, but completely true.

I found out traveling abroad and meeting people did a lot to improve my provincialism.
Still have issues to resolve, though. Hence the topic being a bit of a berzerk button for me. Part guilt - I could do better, and part "I'm trying, damnit".

By Helianthus (not verified) on 11 Feb 2015 #permalink

When I did my student teaching in an integrated urban High School one of the first things my supervising teacher told me was, "Never, ever, try to break up a fight between women students." The remark was based on two ideas:

1) As a guy, I'd be able to gauge the seriousness of a fight between two male students, be able to tell what was serious sh!t and what was just woofing with a little physicality, and if I was properly discrete there might be male/male scuffles in which I could intervene without getting hurt.

2) As a guy from the 'burbs coming out of the University, I might be prone to think, 'oh, they're just girls,' and would not understand that the women did not engage in macho-posturing woofing. When the female/female fights broke out the parties were really trying to hurt one another.

As my main teaching brief was Theater, and my supervisor being the Theater teacher was a pretty colorful guy, I resolved to follow the advice (wuss that I am, I was not the fight-intervention type regardless), but I thought he might have been overstating it a bit. Within a week, after i walked sleepily and obliviously up a stairway, a fight between two women erupted in full tilt mode in the hallway in front of me.

It was one of the most frightening things I had ever seen in my life.


How about “most people have skewed ideas of other people who are different from them to any significant degree”?

[In Minnesota at least, all the Northern Europeans got along pretty well, doncha know, and we could even deal with the Irish when they were sober, or on St. Patty's day when, you betcha, everybody went over to St. Paul to get plowed. :-) :-) ]

CT: The sad part is that's the best we can do. Ever. At least women can vote, run for office, drive and be outdoors in Europe and America.

Liz Ditz: The thing is being friends with guys is very very difficult if you're single. I have a few male friends, but I see them maybe once a year and mostly talk with them online. There are far too many landmines for any other sort of interaction to be possible, and there's always the lurking threat of being that woman who accidentally puts someone in the "friend zone" and then taints all women for them forever. Not a responsibility I want. Women are a bit easier, but I'd be a fool to talk with any friend about anything that matters.

By Politicalguineapig (not verified) on 11 Feb 2015 #permalink

Women are a bit easier, but I’d be a fool to talk with any friend about anything that matters.

Wait, why? That is incredibly sad. I mean, who do you talk to about things that matter?

I suppose guy/girl friendships can be a little fraught, but I think they're possible with a little faith in other people. (Same goes for friendships in general, I guess.) I am a woman of primarily Sapphic tendencies, so I guess it might be a little easier for to be friends with men. I mean, with a couple of my closest male friends, there were even a couple ill-advised episodes of fooling around, and we were able to laugh it off the next day as drunken shenanigans and carry on without thing even being awkward.

Wait, okay, I'm definitely just a freak.

But why wouldn't you trust, say, a woman friend enough to confide in them? "Things by you" sound awfully lonely.

PGP, if you'd born into the right culture, you would have owned all of the property of your household, had final say on all issues of children, and under certain circumstances been allowed to use the wedding knife on a bad husband. My observation of EuroAmerican society is a whoooooole lot of husbands need to have the wedding knives used upon them.

You'd also be the only gender allowed to call for war. Imagine how much better the world would be if the Bushes couldn't have gone to war without Barbara's permission.

By Colonel Tom (not verified) on 11 Feb 2015 #permalink

The thing is being friends with guys is very very difficult if you’re single.

For some people.

A few people have *Scandinavian* names

[Attempting to suppress Mads Mikkelsen accent]

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 11 Feb 2015 #permalink

PGP, if you’d born into the right culture, you would have owned all of the property of your household, had final say on all issues of children, and under certain circumstances been allowed to use the wedding knife on a bad husband.

So you're bragging on a society in which members of one sex have no rights to the marital property, have no rights to their own children, and can be killed by their spouse acting as judge, jury, and executioner.

So how're things in Saudi? Great for members of the favored sex, right?

Oh wait, you said the favored sex is female. That's entirely different, then.

@LW There is no favored gender. There is the simple observation that a mother's children should be cared for.

I wouldn't say there is no jury when a wedding knife is used, although I wouldn't necessarily have access to all details. Obviously, such an act would likely only be done with the consent of the other women.

I much prefer the old systems as compared to the EuroAmerican mess, stressful custody battles, children used as emotional pawn in proxy battles, young souls ripped apart by spouses that fight over who get the wedding china. Women treated like property and not like the unique and special souls that they are, entrusted by the Creator with the fire of creation, entrusted with the promise of all generations that shall be.

Nope, compared to that the old system is all gravy and no gristle.

On the plus side of things, I didn't have to go through labor. I find that a pretty fair bargain.

By Colonel Tom (not verified) on 11 Feb 2015 #permalink

I much prefer the old systems as compared to the EuroAmerican mess, stressful custody battles, children used as emotional pawn in proxy battles, young souls ripped apart by spouses that fight over who get the wedding china.

Well sure, I'm agreeing with you. There's no fighting over the wedding china when the favored sex owns everything, and no quarrels over custody when the favored sex makes all decisions about children, regardless of ability, emotional stability, or intelligence.

And certainly when a member of the disfavored sex is killed, other members of the favored sex get to comment. No need for niceties like burden of proof or representation by counsel, no worries about cruel and unusual punshment. The Saudis brag on the virtues of their system all the time. It works great, for members of the favored sex.

You're right, it's all good.

Yes, it is. A workable balance between disparaging interests. If you don't want to provide for your children, then don't have children. Commit with the length and depth of your spirit, or don't bother. You ask me to be concerned about any man that does not give his all for his children, I chuckle.

My first beloved one, all she had to give for her daughter was her life, and for her last few days upon this Earth to be spent in agony I'd not wish upon the worst of humanity. Compared to that, I should be concerned about a few material possessions?

Oh, are you worried about the a woman not having the ability, stability or intelligence to make proper decisions?

By Colonel Tom (not verified) on 11 Feb 2015 #permalink

Colonel Tom:

Political systems tend to select for leaders who like to be in charge, and regardless of gender, few of them are pacifists. Consider Margaret Thatcher.

Also, it's possible that more than half of violent psychopaths are male, but you're not going to convince me that it's 100%. Not all abusive parents are male, either: for the sake of the children, someone should be able to say "this person is not a fit parent and should not be in charge of, or even alone with, these children," and have that statement considered seriously. Maybe the people who look into it will find an aunt, grandfather, older sibling, or even nonrelative to foster the children indefinitely, maybe for a short period while dealing with immediate stress, maybe the report was mistaken and the parent is fit. But there should be a way to say something before it's "how could they kill their own child?!"

@Vicki, Pacifism was never a problem historically. In fact, the historical example that was set is an example that not all wars are men's fault. It apparently was a complicated process which really has only be invoked in recent history at Oka, in which case battle was not started without approval of the Women and war end when the Women called it off.

As far as the problem of unfit parents, obviously, there are times when children become the responsibility of their aunts or cousins. There are civil procedures to move custody away from a distressed (nice word for alcoholic) mother.

By Colonel Tom (not verified) on 11 Feb 2015 #permalink

My guess is that the measles outbreak is slowly petering out. Apparently we had enough herd immunity, this time.

By Colonel Tom (not verified) on 11 Feb 2015 #permalink

Colonel Tom:

I hope you're right, but we have another report of someone who was diagnosed with measles after commuting round-trip on the BART trains for three days. This isn't something contact tracing can handle: Caltrans is getting the word out about which trains he took, hoping the estimated 25,000 people who were have been on one of them will remember the announcement if they get sick:


There are also ten new cases in Quebec, all in one family:

(What worries me is that I wasn't particularly looking for stuff about the outbreak: those were both on news sites I look at regularly.)


There is the sociopathic tendencys in me that the USAF valued so much, that ponders that it will take a large enough measles outbreak to change vaccination policy. A small outbreak will just give the anti-vax crazies ammunition to claim that, well, the crazy stuff they claim. Apparently the anti-vax crazies have been effectively decreased the immunity to the point where we run the risk of an "endless" epidemic, as opposed to the events in the past where the measles have eventually died out. The moral (aka religious) side of me is greatly concerned at the prospect of a major measles event.

P.S. Tomorrow is #ShutDownCanada, don't forget.

By Colonel Tom (not verified) on 12 Feb 2015 #permalink

Are there any states in which vaccination really is forced - not just to enter public school, but even for homeschooled children?
Many states do not require vaccination for homeschooled children.
But some do. Four states (MN, ND, PA, TN) require homeschooling parents to provide proof of immunization.
According to http://www.responsiblehomeschooling.org/policy-issues/current-policy/ho…

12 states require homeschooled students to be immunized but do not require homeschool parents to submit proof of immunization (CA, CO, IL, IN, KS, KY, MT, NM, NC, TX, VA, WY)

What happens if parents don't immunize their children? Will someone come and get the child and stick a needle into them?
I know at least in some states, the law isn't enforced as written. In New York State, the vaccination laws look quite strict on paper. Yet there are schools with low vaccination rates anyway. One school in Ithaca has only a 72% vaccination rate for measles. It's not a religious school or a religious area, so it's very unlikely that the parents of unvaccinated children really have a religious belief against vaccination (which is an extreme religious position).
In North Carolina homeschooled children are required to be vaccinated. But, according to http://www.sog.unc.edu/sites/www.sog.unc.edu/files/ImmunizationPPT0907…

In theory, could enforce immunization requirements same as any other public health law (charge with misdemeanor, obtain court order)
In practice, issue of compliance with immunization requirements usually addressed when child enters day care or school

So it looks like in NC, parents who are so passionate about not vaccinating their children that they're willing to homeschool them, can avoid vaccinating their children.
If a state requires immunization for all children and the law really is enforced, then there really is forced vaccination. But what's the reality?

PGP, if you’d born into the right culture, you would have owned all of the property of your household, had final say on all issues of children, and under certain circumstances been allowed to use the wedding knife on a bad husband.

As I've mentioned in a different thread, I don't know a lot about native American histories and cultures prior to European contact. I'd like to read a bit more about native American societies in general and this one in particular .I've done a bit of looking around, and while I've had some luck, I'm drawing a blank on this one.

Which native American culture lived under these 'rules'? If you could point me to a site or a book, I'd appreciate it, but the name of the tribe/nation would help a lot.

Colonel Tom says at

Generally, if anyone talks at great length about their culture/religion to the internet, they are fake injuns. There are lots of fakes on the internet, they steal that which is sacred, they profane that which is cherished. They are about as bad as people that make medical diagnosis based upon news media reports.

I don't disagree with any of this, but that wasn't my question. My question is…

What is the name of the culture where women own all of the property of the household, have final say on all issues of children, and under certain circumstances are allowed to use the wedding knife on a bad husband.

I can sort a reasonable source from some BS artist, and, as the brother of a librarian, I have sources other than the Internet to draw upon. But based on the information you've posted, I can't identify the culture, so I can't read up on them.


The Iroquois Confederacy, also known as the Haudenosaunee (longhouse) or The Five Nations was formed before European contact. It has been called "the oldest participatory democracy on Earth," and "one of the main influences on the framers of the Constitution"

The Iroquois are a matriarchal Mother Clan system. The Clan Mothers appoint leaders. The chief of a clan can be removed at any time by a council of the women elders. The first European settlers learned Iroquois had matrilineal family structure. Children belong to their mother's clan and gain their social status through hers. Women held property — including dwellings and horses. The work of a woman's hands was hers to do with as she saw fit. A woman choosing to divorce an unsatisfactory husband was able to ask him to leave the dwelling and take his possessions with him.— her property before marriage stayed with her without being mixed with her husband's. If a couple separated, the woman traditionally kept the children. [adapted from Wikipedia http://tinyurl.com/2vl88f]

As leaders, the women closely monitor the actions of the men and retain the right to veto any law they deem inappropriate....Our women not only hold the reigns of political and economic power, they also have the right to determine all issues involving the taking of human life. Declarations of war had to be approved by the women, while treaties of peace were subject to their deliberations [http://tinyurl.com/o9t5lff]

Thus, one of the key distinctions between Makayla Sault and J.J.. The Saults are more cult-ish Evangelical Christians than native traditionalists, but their heritage is Ojibwe, a totally different society and culture from the Iroquois, one that is primarily patrilineal and patriarchal:

Women in general, are submissive and inferior compared to the men. Living not for herself but to find a mate, women focus on their craftsmanship in hope of impressing a man and forming a relationship. A woman’s passive nature can be concluded because they not only eat the leftovers of the men, but also always keep a distance from their husband. [http://tinyurl.com/ml2pwoo]

That could not describe Sonya Sault LESS. Formally, Makayla's father Ken is the head of the household, and the church congregation. But in the news stories, Sonya does all the talking, and it's pretty evident she's running the show.

The Statesman Herald reports on the fast-tracked hearing over SB 442.

this is an open border problem

Denice and JP, et al:

Re: Liberal Arts Major Syndrome -- I happen to be a liberal-arts major who fits the profile, which made me quite woo-prone. That's why I'm so hard on woo-ists who fit the profile: I know many of their motivations all too well.

The LAMS hypothesis explains how one can be highly educated, yet prone to woo. See also: the stories of these three women, one a registered nurse (sigh): http://www.aol.com/article/2015/02/22/anti-vaccine-mothers-discuss-thei…

By Phoenix Woman (not verified) on 22 Feb 2015 #permalink