An anti-vaccine protest in New York today

Blame Comcast, I say.

Blame Comcast for the fact that I don’t have a typical pearl of Orac-ian logorrheic majesty for your edification this morning. And there’s so much that requires such a pearl to be thrown at it, too, in particular a study claiming that cell phone radiation alters brain metabolism in the areas where the cell phones are typically held. Oh, well, maybe tomorrow; that is, if something else doesn’t catch my attention–and if my Internet service has decided to work long enough to let me do it. Yes, the reason there’s no Insolence, Respectful or not-so-Respectful, laid down this morning is because last night my Internet service decided that it didn’t have to work all the time. In fact, it decided that working five minutes out of an hour was just fine. A call to Comcast showed that, yes, there was a serious problem, and, no, it can’t be fixed over the phone. Oh, and the first time available for a service visit is Friday afternoon, requiring me to take time off work during a crazy busy time here at work. But I need my Internet. I can let the blog lay fallow for a couple of days or post old “Classic Insolence” sufficiently old that most of my current readers probably haven’t seen it before. Blogging isn’t a necessity. Unfortunately, I can’t work on my grants at home without PubMed and online access to journals.

One thing I wanted to point out is an e-mail I got yesterday from something called the Autism Action Network, which used to be ACHAMP:

Bill Gates: We are not Child Killers

Protests 2/24 in NYC, Omaha and Long Beach

Outraged Parents and Advocates Call for Multi-City Protests Against Microsoft Chairman and Billionaire Bill Gates After Being Called “Child Killers”

Press Conference to Take Place Tomorrow, Thursday, February 23rd at 12:00 Noon Across From Microsoft Executive Offices in Manhattan (New York, N.Y.)

Vaccine safety and autism advocates Louise Kuo Habakus and Mary Holland, Esq. will join other citizens, parents and organizations at a major press conference on Thursday, February 23, 2011 at 12:00 noon to announce the start of a multi-city protest involving tens of thousands of outraged parents of children who have vaccine injury, autism and other chronic disabilities. The protest and press conference against Microsoft founder and Chairman Bill Gates challenges his controversial remarks on national TV that those who question vaccine safety “kill children.” The attendees are demanding an immediate apology from Gates. The press conference will take place outside the Microsoft Executive Offices at 1290 Avenue of the Americas (corner of 52nd Street) in Manhattan. These groups will hold additional protests in Manhattan, Long Beach and Omaha where Gates will be speaking publically.

Please click on the Take Action Link above to send an email to Mr. gates expressing your objection to his characterization of people concerned about vaccine safety as “killing children.”

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged $10 billion over the next decade for global vaccine development, production, and distribution. Although vaccines have contributed to the reduction of some infectious disease, the recommended doses of vaccines for children have exploded. And the Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that vaccines are “unavoidably unsafe.”

Habakus and Holland are co-editors and authors of recent release Vaccine Epidemic and both are national leaders in the autism and vaccine safety movement. When: Thursday, February 23, 2011 12:00 noon Where: Microsoft Executive Offices 1290 Avenue of the Americas (corner of 52nd Street) New York, NY Organizations supporting the CVS: Age of Autism; Autism Action Network; Autism One; Center for Personal Rights; Elizabeth Birt Center for Autism Law and Advocacy (EBCALA); National Autism Association New York Metro Chapter.

Please forward this message to freinds and family and please post on Facebook and other social networks.

No, I didn’t change anything; I cut and paste this without alteration, other than adding HTML tags to make the title bold and applying “blockquote” tags. In any case, I found out more from AoA hanger-on and anti-vaccine activist Ginger Taylor, who’s trying to drum up support:

FEBRUARY 23, 2011

PRESS CONFERENCE AT MICROSOFT NYC HEADQUARTERS ON FEB 24

On Thursday, February 24 at 11:30 am, advocates, parents, and professionals will gather for a press conference at Microsoft’s NYC headquarters at 1290 Avenue of the Americas (52nd Street and Sixth Ave, southeast corner).
Join us for a public display of anger. It is time for a protest that sends a strong and unequivocal message.

We reject Bill Gates’s misguided rhetoric of intolerance against those who question vaccine safety. We demand an apology from Bill Gates for his irresponsible comments on national TV. All human beings, including parents whose children were injured and died from their vaccines, are entitled to speak out about vaccine safety and affirm that vaccination choice is a human right. No one, including our corporate leaders, should be permitted to publicly insult this right.

VACCINE EPIDEMIC AUTHORS CONDEMN SUPREME COURT RULING IN BRUESEWITZ V. WYETH

Coming on the heels of a successful book launch event in New York City on Feb 18, which gathered over 300 people at the NYU School of Law, we were deeply disappointed yesterday morning to learn of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Bruesewitz v Wyeth. The 6-2 decision forecloses civil lawsuits for vaccine design defects and further tilts the already unfair playing field of the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, which consistently decides against vaccine-injured famlies after years of venomous litigation.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote a blistering dissent, in which Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg joined, arguing that the majority appears more concerned about shielding industry than about the welfare of our children, and more concerned with a policy to prevent tort cases alleging vaccine-induced autism from reaching civil court than with the statute’s plain language.

Many safety and autism advocacy organizations have joined to express their condemnation, as reflected by the Coalition for Vaccine Safety’s press release issued yesterday.

MICROSOFT CHAIRMAN SAYS VACCINE SAFETY ADVOCATES ARE “KILLING CHILDREN”

Earlier this month, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates stated on a CNN interview with Dr. Sanjay Gupta that so-called “anti-vaccine efforts” — which are, in truth, efforts to raise science-based concerns about vaccine safety — “kill children.”
Gates’s expression of intolerance was directed at those who voice concern about the wisdom of current vaccination policy and defend their human right to vaccination choice. His statement went unchecked in the mainstream media. It is an undisputable fact that vaccines injure and cause death to some children. Those who fight for vaccine safety seek to lessen these injuries and deaths, not ignore them, as Bill Gates would have people do.

Please join the press conference to help break the silence of vaccine injury and to call attention to the human right to vaccination choice.

IF YOU CAN’T BE IN NYC ON THURSDAY, BUY A BOOK OR THREE

If you can’t join us in NYC tomorrow, buy a few copies of Vaccine Epidemic and commit to loaning them or giving them to people who will read them. You can always donate a couple to your local library.

There is no “standing still.” Either we move forward, or we fall behind.
It is a formidable act of advocacy to put copies of Vaccine Epidemic in people’s hands. Knowledge is powerful. To open your eyes is to find your voice. And at just $14 each, it won’t break the bank.

Please help us to spread the word. There are times when the very best way to be heard is to show up. See you in NYC on Thursday.

LOUISE KUO HABAKUS

MARY HOLLAND

p.s. For those who don’t live in or near NYC, stay tuned… your time is coming, too!

Imagine my excitement. In any case, I’ll give Habakus and Holland credit for shameless self-promotion, using this little non-event to sell books. The whole press release can be translated in three words: BUY OUR BOOK! (Please?)

One can’t help but note that the anti-vaccine movement is looking pretty pathetic here. The organizers apparently can’t make up their mind what they’re protesting. Moreover, Bill Gates’ statement (which I wrote about three weeks ago) has nothing at all to do with the SCOTUS ruling announced earlier this week. I realize it’s short notice, but if there are any skeptics and devotees of science-based medicine in New York City who could make it over to Microsoft’s New York headquarters, I’d love an account. Pictures would be even better. I realize that it’s too late to organize, for which I thank Comcast (although, less than a day is short notice in any case), but at least we can see what the opposition is up to. Also, at the very least, it ought to be entertaining.

I need all the entertainment I can get until Comcast finally gets my Internet service working reliably again.