Liberty vs. Safety: The vaccine debate heats up in a fledgling campaign year

Rand Paul vaccine

The last few years have seen an acceleration of medical vaccines as a hot button political issue. As formerly dormant diseases have resurfaced along with communities that shun science and common sense, the backlash has been fierce. A USA Today columnist is even calling for criminal prosecution and jail time for those who don’t vaccinate their children. But in the land of the free is that really appropriate, no matter the public health risk? And do we really want our politicians weighing in?

Jon Stewart’s Daily Show lampoons anti-science “liberal idiocy” on vaccines

The Daily Show's Samantha Bee

The Daily Show went after latte-sipping, well-educated wealthy white liberals in a sharp critique of the anti-vaccination movement Monday night. Jon Stewart kicked off the segment by trumpeting the return of measles, mumps, and rubella, handing the story off to Samantha Bee, who initially made viewers think the “anti-science” fervor was coming from conservatives before turning the tables.

Bee said outbreaks of these diseases were “happening in the red states of California, New York, and Oregon” before realizing it was well-educated liberals who were rejecting decades of advances in preventable medicine.

“The number of people who are choosing not to vaccinate their children is increasing. We’ve gone over the tipping point where you’re starting to see vaccine-preventable diseases coming back,” said Dr. Paul Offit, Director of the Vaccine Education Center.

“It’s happening in my community? People who juice?” asks Bee, surprised.

These are the same types of liberals who recently banned farmers from planting GMO crops on their own land just a few weeks ago.

The horror.

Check out the segment:

Let Me Show You Why Capitalism Is AWESOME

Diced Meat

Look at that. That is meat. Juicy, delectable, delicious, wonderful meat. It is the cornerstone of our existence, the very foundation of our diets (no matter what that silly treehugger food pyramid says. I mean, it’s a pyramid. Clearly it wasn’t intended for Americans.) You get it from animals. It is animals. That tends to make folks like PETA mad (the other PETA, I mean, not the People for the Eating of Tasty Animals.) This is something we just can’t see eye to eye on.

Until now.

See, a great guy named Peter Thiel—he got the very first Alumnus of the Year award from Students for Liberty this year—has decided to invest a ton of money in a new project that will create meat from a 3-D printer:

Billionaire Peter Thiel would like to introduce you to the other, other white meat. The investor’s philanthropic Thiel Foundation’s Breakout Labs is offering up a six-figure grant (between $250,00 and $350,000, though representatives wouldn’t say exactly) to a Missouri-based startup called Modern Meadow that is flipping 3-D bio-printing technology originally aimed at the regenerative medicine market into a means to produce 3-D printed meat.

EU Criminalizes Stating The Bloody Obvious

If you ever think that we have too much of a nanny state here in the US, and are looking for something, anything, to make you feel good about it, then I have good news for you: the European Union is worse.

I mean, these are the guys who have banned claims that drinking water can prevent dehydration:

EU officials concluded that, following a three-year investigation, there was no evidence to prove the previously undisputed fact.

Producers of bottled water are now forbidden by law from making the claim and will face a two-year jail sentence if they defy the edict, which comes into force in the UK next month.

Last night, critics claimed the EU was at odds with both science and common sense. Conservative MEP Roger Helmer said: “This is stupidity writ large.

“The euro is burning, the EU is falling apart and yet here they are: highly-paid, highly-pensioned officials worrying about the obvious qualities of water and trying to deny us the right to say what is patently true.

“If ever there were an episode which demonstrates the folly of the great European project then this is it.”

NHS health guidelines state clearly that drinking water helps avoid dehydration, and that Britons should drink at least 1.2 litres per day.

The Department for Health disputed the wisdom of the new law. A spokesman said: “Of course water hydrates. While we support the EU in preventing false claims about products, we need to exercise common sense as far as possible.”

A meeting of 21 scientists in Parma, Italy, concluded that reduced water content in the body was a symptom of dehydration and not something that drinking water could subsequently control.

Global Warming models fall short

For years, we’ve been told that scientific models show an increase in the Earth’s temperature due to greenhouse gases.  The incredible heat we’ve been experiencing in Southwest Georgia makes it kind of hard to argue with folks who can’t help but believe that the heat we’re experiencing is climate change made real.  Unfortunately, science seems to disagree:

Study co-author Dr. Roy Spencer, a principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and U.S. Science Team Leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer flying on NASA’s Aqua satellite, reports that real-world data from NASA’s Terra satellite contradict multiple assumptions fed into alarmist computer models.

“The satellite observations suggest there is much more energy lost to space during and after warming than the climate models show,” Spencer said in a July 26 University of Alabama press release. “There is a huge discrepancy between the data and the forecasts that is especially big over the oceans.”

In addition to finding that far less heat is being trapped than alarmist computer models have predicted, the NASA satellite data show the atmosphere begins shedding heat into space long before United Nations computer models predicted.

The new findings are extremely important and should dramatically alter the global warming debate.

Indeed, it should.

The Politics of Climate Change

Over at the Powerline blog, Steven Hayward has an interesting post about some of his experiences with the climate change movement.  You see, he was invited to a climate change meeting in Denver some time back held by former Senator Tim Wirth.  Wirth took off after the first day due to other concerns (I like Hayward’s quip about how the meeting was now “Wirthless” myself), but there was still plenty of fodder that later became this post.

What was particularly alarming to me was this quote Hayward attributes to Wirth today:

The mirthless Wirth comes back to mind with this news story about how Wirth thinks the climate campaign needs to “undertake an aggressive program to go after those who are among the deniers, who are putting out these mistruths, and really call them for what they’re doing and make a battle out of it. They’ve had pretty much of a free ride so far, and that time has got to stop.”

Ending the Monopoly of Ideas: Compulsory Licensing in Intellectual Property

The following written and sumbitted by Joshua Fulton. You can check out his blog here.

The term ‘intellectual property’ seems innocuous. If property just is ‘intellectual,’ how important could it be? The truth is that intellectual property law is easily one of the most destructive forces in our economy. Nearly one-fourth of scientists responding to a survey by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the largest general scientific body in the world, reported that patents were hampering their research.[1] In the European Union, over €60 billion are wasted every year on research and development of products that are already protected by patent law.[2] An experiment using a virtual world to simulate the effects of the US patent system found that the “participants were more likely to innovate when there was no intellectual property system at all, or when they could open-source their innovations and share them with people.”[3]

Virtually every business that holds a dominant position in its field has gotten there not simply through good business practices, but also through the advantages afforded to them by intellectual property law. In 1998, Google filed patent number 6,285,999 on the “PageRank” system, laying the foundation for them to become the dominant force in internet search.[4] Monsanto has used its patents to control 95% of the soy and 80% of the corn markets, respectively. It used this power to increase the price of each by 28% and 25%, respectively, from 2008 to 2009.[5] “Patent pools” led to monopolies that had to be broken up using antitrust laws in the airplane [6], computer, and motion picture industries.[7]

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