Dispatches from the end of the empire

Apparently our ancestors crossed the harsh Great American Desert in search of a better life so their descendents a century and a half later could go to a children’s amusement park in Orange County and still contract the same damn diseases because somebody’s parents in the year Two Thousand Fifteen of Our Lord have the same understanding of infection transmission as any given covered wagon driver.

“People Not Vaccinated for Measles Urged to Avoid Disneyland”

People who haven’t been vaccinated against measles, including children too young to be immunized, should avoid Disneyland after new infections were linked to the theme park, California public health officials said Wednesday.

So far, 70 people in five U.S. states and Mexico have contracted measles in an outbreak that was traced to Disney parks in December and has since spread into the community. The vast majority of infections — 62 — occurred in California, and the tally is expected to rise.

Health officials uncovered new measles cases linked to visits to Disney parks in January after the incubation period of the original outbreak.

Since measles is highly contagious, people who have not received the measles-mumps-rubella, or MMR, vaccine are susceptible and should avoid visiting Disney “for the time being,” said state epidemiologist Gil Chavez.

We’re now reaching a particularly decadent phase of our decline where people are reintroducing eradicated disease outbreaks to America solely by voluntarily refusing to make use of widely available, decades-old, very basic medical science solutions.

It’s one thing if your civilization is wiped out by a disease you had no way to resist. It’s another if you’re too arrogant to vaccinate your children against easily preventable 19th century diseases and thus endangered everyone else.

America, F@#$ Yeah. We’re number one.


Cherokee Nation to get $1 million grant for health research

According to Grand Lake News, the Cherokee Nation recently received a $1 million health research grant from the National Institute of Health and Indian Health Service to fund four years of research into chronic health conditions in the Cherokee population, as well as to recruit (and mentor) more Native American undergraduates into the health profession and health research. Here’s how it’s going to help:

This award is good news for the Cherokee Nation in a myriad of ways. First, we will offer better relief to our citizens with these debilitating afflictions,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “Just as importantly, we have an opportunity to cultivate our brightest young Cherokees who have a passion for biological research. It has been shown time and time again that Native people respond better when their health care is provided by another Native. That is why it is so critical to cultivate our health care providers and researchers. It will improve the health of our people for generations.”


Flag of the Cherokee Nation. (Credit: Hosmich - Wikimedia)

Flag of the Cherokee Nation. (Credit: Hosmich – Wikimedia)

You have no excuse not to vaccinate

…when even the Amish are doing it.

Amish communities in six counties are taking drastic actions to control a rapidly spreading outbreak of measles, including vaccinations, quarantines, cancelation of church services, and postponements of weddings and other events where people would gather in large numbers from multiple locations.

They aren’t religiously opposed to vaccines, contrary to popular belief, but just have a low rate of vaccination due in part to nobody requiring them to get shots.

Meanwhile, on that note, a Federal judge in New York — where the crunchy anti-science-left private school parents have made measles all the rage again — just expanded the power of schools to strongly encourage vaccination, by compelling kids who aren’t immunized (by parental choice) to effectively drop out of school for days or weeks at a time every time someone else at the school became sick. The various parents in the suit tried to claim a religious exemption — again, remember that even the Amish don’t mess around with such BS — to this school exclusion, but the judge said that public health concerns trumped that under the famous Supreme Court ruling from the first decade of the 20th century:

In turning down all three families, Judge Kuntz cited a 1905 Supreme Court ruling that upheld a $5 fine for a Massachusetts man who disobeyed an order to be vaccinated during a smallpox outbreak, a case that helped establish the government’s right to require immunizations as a matter of public health.

So, you don’t have to vaccinate your kid, but the public school doesn’t have to let your kid be there either. The lawyers for the families tried to claim the vaccines of are somehow differenter and dangerouser now than in 1905 because reasons.

Past Arsenal For Democracy Radio Segments on This Topic

Guest expert Dr. Sydnee McElroy of the “Sawbones” podcast explains the science of vaccines.

Part 1 – Sydnee McElroy – AFD 78

Nate and Greg join Bill to talk about rising vaccine hysteria, the importance of public vaccinations, and how the “debate” fits into the broader arc of American politics and ideology.

Part 1: Vaccines – AFD 76

More on the New York ruling this month:

Ms. Check said she rejected vaccination after her daughter was “intoxicated” by a few shots during infancy, which she said caused an onslaught of food and milk allergies, rashes and infections. Combined with a religious revelation she had during the difficult pregnancy, she said, the experience turned her away from medicine. Now she uses holistic treatments.

“Disease is pestilence,” Ms. Check said, “and pestilence is from the devil. The devil is germs and disease, which is cancer and any of those things that can take you down. But if you trust in the Lord, these things cannot come near you.”

Seems legit.

March 10, 2014 – Arsenal For Democracy 76

AFD-logo-big-new Description:
Nate and Greg join Bill to talk about rising vaccine hysteria, the importance of public vaccinations, and how the “debate” fits into the broader arc of American politics and ideology. European correspondent Persephone looks at the debate over Spanish time zones and siesta culture. Finally Nate, Greg, and Bill look at Crimea in the context of other separatist/independence movements, such as Scotland and Catalonia.

Part 1: AFD 76

Note: This week, the online/podcast version contains an additional segment not aired on WVUD for time purposes. The whole episode with all 3 segments this week is an hour long.

Related Links

Mother Jones: Study: You Can’t Change an Anti-Vaxxer’s Mind
BBC: Analysis: Why Russia’s Crimea move fails legal test
Slate: Crimea referendum: Is the U.S. hypocritical about which independence movements it supports?
The Globalist: A History of Spanish Autonomy
The Globalist: Spain Urgently Needs Consolidation
The Globalist: To Secede or Not to Secede: The Case of Europe


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iTunes Store Link: “Arsenal for Democracy by Bill Humphrey”

Global Warming, Snow, and Arctic Chills

Whenever there’s a severe winter whether event, the conservative cranks start crowing about how this means there’s no such thing as global warming. This view starts from a pretty silly baseline — obviously there will always continue to be outlier events in either direction because that’s what outliers are and weather is not exactly the same as climate — and ignores the other obvious point that winter is typically associated with cooler temperatures than the rest of the year in higher latitudes (nearer the poles than the equator), even if the annual average is rising.

But then there’s just the relatively simple science that explains not only why global warming can exist simultaneously with severe winter weather but how it can cause it to be even more frequent and more severe. This post will explain the basics of two types of events, in the context of global warming.

1. Heavier snow storms
During the course of a year, global warming is evaporating moisture from drier climates. (Right now, for example, we’re seeing record droughts in California instead of winter rainfall to replenish water tables.) During the summer months at each pole, the warming trends are also evaporating meltwater from the ice sheets. This means that, overall, there’s more moisture going into the atmosphere — and it’s going into an atmosphere which is warmer than in the past. The warmer the air (relative to normal temperatures at that time), the more capacity it has to hold moisture.

When the capacity is reached or if the temperature of the air drops suddenly (which reduces capacity), precipitation occurs. In warmer regions or during the non-winter months, this occurs in the form of rainfall. This is why severe rainstorms and flooding have occurred all over the world, even as water shortages are happening right nearby. The moisture is sucked up into the atmosphere on one side of a geographic zone (or not dropped in the first place due to higher carrying capacity) and then dumped out very quickly on the other (usually colder) side, often on opposite sides of a mountain range.

During the winter, in high latitude places, we’re seeing warmer winter months interrupted periodically by very severe snowstorms. During the warm weeks, the atmosphere is collecting a higher than usual amount of moisture. When the temperature finally does dip suddenly, this moisture is released in the form of heavy snowfall (i.e. the much colder version of the heavy rainstorms in the rest of the year). And that’s how we can get an increase of severe snowstorms in some regions during winter, because of (not despite) global warming.

2. Deep freezes
arcticThis past week, the continental United States experienced a very deep and widespread freezing, even stretching sub-freezing temperatures as far down the latitudes as the deep American South. The more northern, higher latitudes had (depending on one’s location) windchills ranging from 15-50 degrees (Fahrenheit) below zero. In some places, exposed skin froze within a minute. Very dangerous, very cold weather.

The American media didn’t do a great job explaining how this was happening, in terms of meteorological process, let alone why it was happening (i.e. that it can be linked to global warming). This left the conservatives to snark once again that this was somehow proof that global warming is a myth. But there’s a concise explanation from the blogs of Scientific American.

Essentially, melting Arctic ice in summer, due to global warming, evaporates meltwater into the (warmer than usual) atmosphere. This weakens and disrupts polar wind patterns — known as the polar vortex — that normally “lock” the cold air into the Arctic Circle (or close to it) during winter. Once released, this cold air then pushes southward, way past where it usually is found during these months.

Unfortunately, both of these types events will become more frequent in the near-term due to global warming, as long as there’s still ice to melt up there during the rest of the year and as long as the temperatures are still sometimes getting cold anywhere during the winter.

Individual episodes of these weather events can’t always be tied specifically to global warming. But as a whole, in terms of trendlines, we can correlate them statistically to rising average global temperatures. And by understanding weather science, we can see how there’s also a plausible causal link. So the parallelism of the trends isn’t coincidental. And the near-universal view of the professional climatology community is that global warming is increasing and results directly from human activities such as industrialization of production and agriculture.

Note: This analysis is intended to help lay readers understand the general concepts involved. It is not intended to be a 100% technically rigorous article. Some shortcuts and elisions in the science have been made for ease of mass communication.