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SOME UPDATES ON THE NEWS OF THE WEIRD
“As lawmakers in about 20 states press for bans on mercury in children’s vaccines, they are meeting stiff resistance from influential health and medical organizations, including groups that get substantial funding from drug makers and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” reported Times staff writer Myron Levin.
Seven states have now adopted the anti-mercury bills -- California being one of the first -- the Times reported. California’s law, passed in 2004 and due to take effect July 1, will prohibit shots with more than a trace of thimerosal for pregnant women and children younger than 3.
But in recent months, similar bills have been defeated in at least five states.
Wait a minute. If the mercury is all gone, why do we have all these ongoing battles over whether or not it should be banned?
“The push for legislation comes long after the uproar over continued use of thimerosal, a mercury-based antibacterial agent, appeared to subside in 1999, when manufacturers began phasing it out of routine pediatric vaccines,” Mr. Levin replies.
“But the controversy flared anew when flu shots containing thimerosal were added to the childhood immunization schedule in 2004 and the Centers for Disease Control refused to recommend thimerosal-free shots for infants and pregnant women.
“Angered by the CDC’s refusal -- and fearing a backslide into more thimerosal use -- state lawmakers and anti-mercury advocates began pushing for outright thimerosal bans.”
The legislation faces opposition from groups such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Immunization Action Coalition -- a stance that anti-mercury advocates say defies logic.
“ ‘We’re trying to get [mercury] out of the environment,’ said Marilyn Rasmussen, a Washington state senator and sponsor of a thimerosal bill that was signed into law last month. ‘Why would we be injecting it into babies? We’ve got to be smarter than that.’
“Mercury can damage the nervous system, and infants and toddlers are thought to be particularly at risk because of their low body weight and rapidly developing brains,” the Times reports. But “The American Academy of Pediatrics and its allies, including some state health departments, say there is no proof that the small amount of mercury in vaccines is harmful. They argue that legal restrictions could undermine confidence in vaccines -- causing people to skip their shots. ...”
Wait a minute: Guaranteeing that the most toxic ingredient is REMOVED from the shots ... will reduce people’s CONFIDENCE in the shots?
The baby doctors’ stand here seems weird, the Times reported, since “The academy, an organization of 60,000 pediatricians, has generally taken a zero tolerance stance on mercury. ...”
The apparent contradiction couldn’t have anything to do, I’m sure, with the fact that “Last year, pharmaceutical companies contributed about $1.54 million to the academy out of a budget of $68.2 million. Among the donors were vaccine giants Merck & Co., GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi Pasteur Inc., according to tax filings and academy officials. The group also got about $1.55 million from the CDC for several health programs. ...
“Exposure to thimerosal rose sharply in the early 1990s when the CDC added five new shots for infants in their first six months. Many of these shots, as well as some already prescribed, contained thimerosal. The chemical is nearly 50 percent ethyl mercury. ...
“The thimerosal issue erupted in 1999 when it became known that U.S. health authorities for the first time had totaled the cumulative dose of mercury from multiple shots. The calculation showed that infants who got their shots on time could be exposed to mercury in excess of an Environmental Protection Agency guideline. ...
“Some say the resistance by medical groups to bans on thimerosal reflects a profession in denial.”
Meantime, the Alliance Defense Fund is a consortium of 35 Christian ministries -- including that of James Dobson -- that came together in 1994 in response to “the dramatic loss of religious freedom in America’s courts and the resulting challenges to people of faith to live and proclaim the Gospel.”
I could probably find a lot over which to disagree with the Rev. Dobson. But it’s also true that the courts and our government schools often seem more interested, these days, in protecting the sensibilities of those who’d rather not be reminded that religions exist, than they are in actually protecting “the free exercise” of same.
Even so, I wasn’t prepared for the April 13 story found at http://www.alliancedefensefund.org/news/story.aspx?cid=3724, headlined “OSU librarian slapped with ‘sexual harassment’ charge for recommending conservative books for freshmen ...
“COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Officials at the Ohio State University are investigating an OSU Mansfield librarian for ‘sexual harassment’ after he recommended four conservative books for a freshman reading program. ...
“ ‘Universities are one of the most hostile places for Christians and conservatives in America,’ said ADF Senior Legal Counsel David French. ... ‘It is shameful that OSU would investigate a Christian librarian for simply recommending books that are at odds with the prevailing politics of the university.’ ”
It seems Scott Savage, who serves as a reference librarian for the university, suggested four best-selling conservative books for freshman reading in his role as a member of OSU Mansfield’s First Year Reading Experience Committee. The four books he suggested were “The Marketing of Evil,” by David Kupelian, “The Professors,” by David Horowitz, “Eurabia:The Euro-Arab Axis,” by Bat Ye’or, and “It Takes a Family” by Senator Rick Santorum.
Savage made his recommendations “after other committee members had suggested a series of books with a left-wing perspective, by authors such as Jimmy Carter and Maria Shriver.
“Savage was put under ‘investigation’ by OSU’s Office of Human Resources after three professors filed a complaint of discrimination and harassment against him, saying that the book suggestions made them feel ‘unsafe,’ ” the ADF reports.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I keep re-reading that list of titles, looking for “The KKK Guide to Home Lynchings” or “How to Be A Cannibal Rapist in Your Spare Time” (though a true adherent of academic freedom would defend the right to publish even those.)
Would you feel “unsafe” around some librarian who suggested college freshmen might want to read “It Takes a Family,” by U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum? You might call the guy a dork. But suggesting that kids leaven their first year of state-subsidized leftist indoctrination with a few mainstream conservative books is “sexual harassment”?
“The complaint came after the OSU Mansfield faculty voted without dissent to file charges against Savage. ... The university so far has declined to stop the investigation, saying in its response that it takes ‘any allegation of sexual harassment seriously.’ ”
“It is astonishing that an entire faculty would vote to launch a sexual harassment investigation because a librarian offered book suggestions in a committee whose purpose was to solicit such suggestions,” commented attorney French.
Offering some further detail -- though little new evidence of adult supervision -- a later, April 25 report in The Lantern (“the student voice of Ohio State University,” on whose Web site the 4th most popular article is currently “Hempfest 2006: good times and good vibes”) informs us, “French said an Amazon.com description of ‘The Marketing of Evil,’ which mentions homosexuality, caused a professor to forward the link around faculty-wide, saying he felt harassed. This led to a faculty meeting at Mansfield, where they decided to file a sexual harassment complaint against Savage for his recommendation.”
At that point, was the entire faculty standing on their chairs, pulling up their petticoats and shouting “Eeek”?
“On April 20, Savage received a letter stating that there was no finding of harassment,” the student newspaper reported. “Savage is filing an anti-harassment complaint against those who filed the harassment complaint against him.”
Here’s further evidence -- if more was needed -- that the Political Correctness movement has driven some considerable portion of America’s academic community stark raving nuts. Save that college tuition money, dad: Just take the kids for a tour of the state loony bin from time to time. At least they won’t be under the impression they’re supposed to emulate what they see there.