If you are a mother, or a young woman, or anyone that cares…please stay away from it. I will post some pertinent information on the subject…

Reports of adverse reactions to the new HPV vaccine are escalating. One particularly heart-wrenching example is the story of an active 12-year-old little girl named Brittany who recently lost all feeling in her leg and collapsed two weeks after receiving the Gardasil vaccine. Although she once had dreams of earning an athletic scholarship, she now struggles to hobble around each day with the aid of braces and a walker, First Coast News reports. According to the article, she has been diagnosed with Acute Demyelinating Encephalomyelitis (ADEM), a condition characterized by inflammation of the brain and associated with the vaccination ((…) .

Like many other parents, this girl’s mother had no idea that this kind of reaction to the vaccine was possible and never would’ve allowed her daughter to receive it had she been made aware of this. To add insult to injury, people who are injured by the vaccine cannot even sue Merck, the maker of the Gardasil vaccine, because the vaccine is part of the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Fund. Unfortunately, the only recourse for those injured by this vaccine is to file a claim with the government. Translation: compensation of the victims becomes the responsibility of taxpayers.

While the FDA may claim that adverse reactions to this vaccine are rare, a review of the U.S.’s Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) data shows that thousands and thousands of adverse reactions have been reported in the United States alone ((…) . Girls from other countries have been injured by this vaccine, as well. Hundreds of Australian girls have experienced side effects like paralysis, dizzy spells and seizures, but Australia’s Department of Health and Ageing won’t release any of the details ((,23599,22…) . According to LifeSiteNews, The European Medicines Agency reports that there were two more women who died not long after they received the vaccine, one in Austria and one in Germany ((…) . The Financial Times reports that there have been eleven deaths and a wide array of other adverse reactions, including Bells Palsy, Guillan-Barre syndrome, seizures, blood clotting, heart problems, and even miscarriages and fetal abnormalities amongst pregnant women who received the vaccine ((…) .

Many doctors are not recommending this vaccine, because in addition to the serious adverse reactions and deaths that have been reported, they have concerns about the vaccine’s long-term safety and efficacy. In her well-written book called The Parents’ Concise Guide to Childhood Vaccinations, Dr. Lauren Feder notes that the pain that many girls experience after the shot is probably due to the aluminum adjuvants in the vaccine. She also cautions that the vaccine contains polysorbate 80, a substance linked to infertility in mice. After some deliberation, it was her opinion that the vaccine had more risks than benefits.

One vaccine researcher, Diane M. Harper, a physician and someone who has spent twenty years on the development of the HPV vaccine, has publicly stated through a KPC News report that giving this vaccine to young girls is a “great big public health experiment,” as this vaccine’s safety and efficacy for young girls is unknown ((…) . She notes that HPV is a skin infection and can be spread in ways other than sex, and it’s quite possible that tiny girls have already been exposed to the strains of HPV covered by the vaccine which would render the vaccine ineffective. She thinks the vaccine should only be offered to women 18 and older, and only if they have first tested negative for the strains of HPV covered by the vaccine. Of course, testing tiny girls with a vaginal swab to see if they’ve already been exposed would be wholly inappropriate. Harper has many other concerns, as outlined in the news report, but she is having trouble getting her views heard through mainstream media. Another concern voiced by Harper and many other doctors is that even if someone gets the HPV vaccine, regular pap smears are still needed, as the vaccine doesn’t protect against all strains of HPV.

The reason many doctors like this vaccine is because HPV can cause cervical cancer. According to the CDC, certain types of HPV can cause genital warts, and certain types of HPV can cause cervical and other cancers ( . The types of HPV that can cause genital warts are considered low-risk and are not the same as the types that cause cancer. Again, genital warts will not turn into cancer. However, the CDC reports that in 90% of all cases of HPV, including both the wart-causing and the cancer-causing varieties, the body’s immune system will clear the infection naturally within two years. In fact, the CDC maintains that most people who contract HPV will not have any symptoms at all.

But just how common is cervical cancer in the United States? To answer this question, it is useful to look at some statistics that Kaiser has posted on its website concerning the incidence of cervical cancer in the United States ((…) . The statistics are available by state and by ethnicity. For example, in the state of Maryland, 9.3 out of every 100,000 women contracted cervical cancer in 2003. Without considering any of the personal risk factors (like cervical cancer in the family), the general risk for someone living in Maryland would be 9.3/100000 or .0093% chance of contracting this disease. It is important to note that many people have pre-cancerous lesions that are treated by their doctors and that data is not reflected here. However, generally speaking, assuming that a woman gets regular pap smears, the risk for developing cervical cancer seems relatively small. Using the state of Maryland as an example again, according to the statistics provided by Kaiser, only 2.5 out of every 100,000 women or .0025% actually died from cervical cancer in the state of Maryland in 2004.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that 80% of all cervical cancer deaths happen in developing countries ((…) . The remaining deaths from cervical cancer are divided amongst all of the other developed nations. However, there is currently a big push in the United States for girls to have this vaccine. According to, Merck even lobbied to make the vaccine mandatory ( . Given that each course of the vaccine would cost hundreds of dollars, Merck would stand to make billions if this vaccine were required for all young girls. After all of Merck’s problems with its Vioxx drug that was taken off the market, this vaccine would certainly allow Merck to recoup its losses.

For all of these reasons and many more, parents naturally have grave concerns about this vaccine. Even girls who receive the HPV vaccine still need regular pap smears, because 30% of cervical cancers won’t be prevented by this vaccine (and that’s assuming the vaccine works all the time for the other types). Numerous doctors have also pointed out that just because a vaccine may seem to prevent precursor lesions from developing doesn’t mean it will prevent cervical cancer –- this, along with many other long-term variables concerning the vaccine, won’t be known for many years.

Given all of the adverse reactions associated with this vaccine and even the possibility of death, one has to question if young girls should be given a vaccine whose long-term effects are unknown in a country where women have good access to medical care and are able to get regular pap smears. This whole vaccine mentality is eerily reminiscent of the story told in Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring,” which recounts the tale of a young maiden being sacrificed in pagan Russia as an offering to the gods in order to have abundant crops. Is the suffering and possible death of some girls for the purpose of “herd immunity” really worth it? Go ask Brittany.


Greyhound scraps ads after Canada bus beheading

Greyhound has scrapped an ad campaign that extolled the relaxing upside of bus travel after one of its passengers was accused of beheading and cannibalizing another traveler.

The ad’s tag line was “There’s a reason you’ve never heard of ‘bus rage.'”

Greyhound spokeswoman Abby Wambaugh said Wednesday a billboard and some tunnel posters near a bus terminal in Toronto are still up and would be removed later in the day.

“Greyhound knows how important it is to get these removed and we are doing everything possible,” Wambaugh said. “This is something that we immediately asked to be done last week, realizing that these could be offensive.”

Vince Weiguang Li, who immigrated to Canada from China in 2004, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of 22-year-old carnival worker Tim McLean. He has yet to enter a plea.

Thirty-seven passengers were aboard the Greyhound from Edmonton, Alberta, to Winnipeg, Manitoba, as it traveled at night along a desolate stretch of the TransCanada Highway about 12 miles from Portage La Prairie, Manitoba. Witnesses said Li attacked McLean unprovoked, stabbing him dozens of times.

As horrified passengers fled the bus, Li severed McLean’s head, displaying it to some of the passengers outside the bus, witnesses said.

A police officer at the scene reported seeing the attacker hacking off pieces of the victim’s body and eating them, according to a police report.

Wambaugh said the ads only appeared in Canada and that some in Ontario and western Canada have already been removed. About 20,000 inserts of the Greyhound ads were scheduled to be put into an Alberta Summer Games handbook but they stopped the presses.

26 cheerleaders rescued from jammed elevator

AUSTIN – Twenty-six teenage cheerleaders tried to cram themselves into an elevator at the University of Texas to see how many would fit, but then they got stuck and had to be rescued.

One girl was treated and released at a hospital and two others were treated at the scene after the Tuesday night prank, officials said.

The group of 14-to 17-year-olds were attending a cheerleading camp when they decided to stuff themselves into an elevator at Jester Residence Hall on the UT campus.

The elevator went down to the first floor but then the doors of the overloaded elevator wouldn’t open, officials said.

After a few panicked cellphone calls, police and firefighters were called to the scene and it took a repairman about 25 minutes to fix the door, police said.

UT officials didn’t find the prank funny.

“It’s dangerous, actually,” UT police spokeswoman Rhonda Weldon said. “They’re lucky that that’s all that happened.”

*AHHHH, Texas…cheerleaders…nuff said.*

America Out of Economic Ammunition

Faced with an increasingly uncertain economy, America has ever-fewer means to take action. At the exact moment when the two White House candidates are honing their programs and their teams, this weakness is becoming obvious. The great economic policy levers have already been totally activated, or nearly so, and without really succeeding in stimulating the machine.

That is the case for monetary policy first of all. The Federal Reserve should announce today that it will not move its interest rates. The United States’ central bank is stuck between two symmetrical risks. On the one hand, economic activity is not strong; consumers are depressed; unemployment is rising. So, the Fed should decrease its interest rates. However – on the other hand – interest rates are already low, barely two percent for the Fed’s reference rate. And prices are increasing ever-more rapidly. One of the measures of this inflation published yesterday, the Personal Consumption Index, increased 0.8 percent in June, the strongest rise since 1981. Another measure, the classic Consumer Price Index, grew five percent in a year. Such a gap between prices and interest rates has not been observed on the other side of the Atlantic since the first oil shock. It would be perilous to increase it.

Budget policy is in the same situation. The reductions in taxes the Bush administration granted this spring will have barely offset the erosion in income skyrocketing oil prices have exerted. The deficit will exceed $400 billion in 2008 and could approach $500 billion next year, if one believes the forecasts published last week by the White House. Of course, that’s barely more than three percent of the enormous American GNP. But it is difficult under these conditions to set a vast plan in motion to support the economy while preserving the trust of investors likely to buy the bonds necessary for its financing.

The United States is also not succeeding any better in using the trade weapon that would have allowed it to open new markets for its exporters. The recent injunctions directed at Beijing that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has just formulated look like a confession of impotence. America is left with barely any means to pressure China, Russia or the Emirates. All the more so as those countries’ capital is indispensable to America’s financial equilibrium.

The last time an American president took the reins of an economy as stalled as this one was in 1981. But Ronald Reagan changed the rules of the game and created what we in France would call a “break” with the past. For example, he increased military spending by 40 percent in five years. It’s difficult to imagine John McCain – and even less so Barack Obama – following that route. All the more so as problems of colossal budgetary impact loom on the horizon, such as financing health care and retirement costs. In reality, the next president of the United States will have no major economic weapon available. If growth resumes, that’s not very serious. In the opposite event, the whole world will suffer as a result of this American impotence.

‘Land that never melts’ is melting: Erosion probed in Nunavut park

The south end of the Baffin Island park has been closed to visitors since July 28, as a severely eroded moraine at Crater Lake has raised the risk of flash flooding into the Akshayuk Pass.

The partial closure means visitors cannot enter the park from Pangnirtung in the south. Park officials say they will decide in the next couple of days whether to reopen the south end.

Parks Canada officials say they have never seen anything like this before in Auyuittuq.

“Auyuittuq means ‘land that never melts,’ but of course now it’s melting,” Pauline Scott, a spokeswoman for Parks Canada’s Nunavut field unit, told CBC News on Tuesday.

Scott said glaciologists and geologists have taken a close look at the park by helicopter, identifying five different areas where erosion is most severe.

They have determined that much has happened in both the national park and Pangnirtung, which in June was hit by heavy rains causing flash flooding in the Duval River.

That flooding eroded the banks around the hamlet’s two bridges, shutting them down and cutting many residents off from basic municipal services for weeks. Large cracks and sinkholes also started appearing around the riverbank.

“At the time that it flooded in Pang, there was also rain on snow in Auyuittuq National Park, and that actually started to set the stage for what followed,” Scott said.

What followed, she added, was a two-week record heat wave and more rain that filled up the park’s Summit Lake. That sent a large burst of water travelling throughout the park, washing out the Windy Lake suspension bridge and eroding numerous areas.

Scott said 22 tourists have been flown out of the affected area by helicopter since the closure.

It has also changed travel plans for numerous tourist groups, which have had to reroute their trips to avoid the southern part of the park.

Kosher meats firm cited for child labor violations

*HA. These people are absolute SNAKES. Is there ANYTHING proper at Postville??*

DES MOINES, Iowa – Iowa labor officials said Tuesday that they had uncovered dozens of child labor violations at the nation’s biggest supplier of kosher meat.

Officials from the state’s Labor Commissioner’s Office said their investigation, which spanned several months, uncovered 57 cases of child labor law violations at the Agriprocessors kosher meatpacking plant in Postville, where nearly 400 workers were arrested this spring in the largest immigration enforcement operation in U.S. history.

The types of violations included minors working in prohibited occupations, exceeding allowable hours for youth to work, failure to obtain work permits, exposure to hazardous chemicals and working with prohibited tools.

“The investigation brings to light egregious violations of virtually every aspect of Iowa’s child labor laws,” Dave Neil, Iowa Labor Commissioner, said in a statement. “It is my recommendation that the attorney general’s office prosecute these violations to the fullest extent of the law.”

Juda Engelmayer, an Agriprocessors spokesman, declined to comment.

Federal immigration agents arrested 389 illegal-immigrant workers, mostly Guatemalans, in a May 12 raid at the Agriprocessors plant. Most of the arrested workers pleaded guilty within a week and are serving sentences in federal prisons outside Iowa before being deported.

Allegations of child labor violations were included in an initial affidavit and a search warrant that led to the raid at Agriprocessors, which also operates a plant near Gordon, Neb.

Kerry Koonce, a spokeswoman for Iowa Workforce Development, the agency that oversees the labor commission, said Iowa’s child labor investigation into Agriprocessors began before the federal immigration raid and was independent of the raid.

Under Iowa law, it is illegal for children under the age of 18 to work in meatpacking plants.

Koonce said the number of violations is much larger than what is typically found in the state of Iowa.

“Typically, when we have child labor issues it’s an issue of one or two individuals,” she said. “From our point of view, with this investigation, it’s a large-scale violation of the law.”

Koonce said the full report was not being made public because it is a part of a criminal investigation but she confirmed that 57 children were involved.

Labor officials say the child labor violations would normally be turned over to the county attorney’s office, but in this case will most likely be handed over the Iowa attorney general at the county’s request.

The attorney general’s office said it could not comment on what penalties are possible, but Koonce said any charges would be filed against the company and would generally include fines.

Several underage workers who said they were employed at the plant have spoken out since the raid about their experiences.

At a meeting with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus last month in Postville, 17-year-old Noel Castillo Ordonez said he had worked long hours at the plant to support his family in Guatemala.

“I needed money for my family, because I could not help them,” he said in Spanish.

At the same meeting, 17-year-old Gilda Yolanda Ordonez Lopez openly wept as she described being forced to work shifts as long as 12 hours with no overtime pay.

“They asked me how old I was, and I told them the truth,” Lopez said.

Sister Mary McCauley of St. Bridget’s Catholic Church in Postville has been working closely with the workers’ families. She said she was “heartsick” over the stories of child labor violations that she heard after the raid.

“My first response is it doesn’t surprise me because of all that I have heard,” she said Tuesday. “Therefore, I am grateful that this was brought to the attention of the proper authority and my hope would be that some sanctions would be taken because I do think that these young children were not treated with respect and they should not have been there in the first place.”

State labor officials say they are still investigating some wage violations at the plant.

Pollution over Beijing? Don’t worry, it’s only mist, say officials

*Oh COME ON!!!!*

As Beijing’s polluted air came close to exceeding levels even the Chinese consider dangerous yesterday, one of the International Olympic Committee’s most senior figures dismissed the yellow-grey haze that periodically hangs over the city as mist, and blamed the media for overstating pollution problems.

Air quality in Beijing remains a big cause for concern three days before the start of the games. Members of the US athletics team arrived in the city wearing face masks yesterday and organisers are preparing to postpone or relocate endurance events including the marathon and road cycling if smog levels reach dangerous limits.

But yesterday Arne Ljungqvist, chairman of the IOC’s medical commission, said he was confident that pollution would not harm athletes or visitors, and suggested media coverage had created a false impression of pollution levels.

“The mist in the air that we see in those places, including here, is not a feature of pollution primarily but a feature of evaporation and humidity,” he told the IOC’s annual session. “We do have a communication problem here. Once the misconception has become sort of established in the minds of people, it’s not that easy to get the right message through.

“I would not discourage athletes from wearing protection devices if they are concerned, but I do not think it is necessary. I would not wear one whether I was an athlete or not.” Two days of haze gave way to sunshine yesterday afternoon, but the official measure of air quality remained close to dangerous levels.

Official readings collated by Beijing’s municipal environmental protection bureau yesterday gave an air pollution index (API) of 91 for Beijing as a whole, and 87 at the Olympic stadium. The World Health Organisation regards an API of more than 50 as high, and a reading of 100 or more is considered unsafe. The authorities monitor air quality hourly, including levels of particulates, carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide, and take limited readings for ozone.

Ljungqvist said the readings were in line with the WHO’s interim targets for developing countries, and that the pollution did not pose a threat to the health of athletes visiting for the Olympics.

He met with the WHO’s local representative three days ago, and characterised his concerns as being primarily with the “exaggeration of the problem that has been seen in the media”.

“Those [WHO] standards are fairly tough to meet, but in many respects the Beijing area does so. I’m sure, I’m confident the air quality will not prove to pose major problems to the athletes and to the visitors in Beijing,” he said.

“We have had some readings that were above the interim target data, but since then they have gone down and been below that level. We will evaluate those [pollution levels] and, should problems arise, we may have to take some action.”

Ljungqvist said the WHO’s standards were relevant only to the long-term health of local residents rather than Olympic athletes and visitors. “To come to a city even though the air quality [might be] inferior, the long-term effects should no longer be feared by temporary visitors,” he said.

Beijing authorities have taken measures to control pollution including banning half of the city’s 3.3m cars from the roads on any given day.