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When the next big outbreaks happen, they’ll probably happen in Texas

Back in the day, I used to write posts with titles like When the outbreaks occur, they’ll start in California. I even wrote a followup, When the outbreaks occur, they’ll start in California, 2014 edition. The reason, of course, was that California was one of the epicenters of vaccine hesitancy as well as the home to some high profile antivaccine-sympathetic physicians, such as Dr. Bob Sears (who’s known for making Holocaust analogies about bills tightening school vaccine mandate requirements) and Dr. Jay Gordon (who’s known for continuing to claim, against all evidence, that vaccines cause autism). Of course, it was true. The outbreaks did happen in California, culminating with a large outbreak after Christmas 2014 known as the Disneyland measles outbreak.

Then a funny thing happened in 2015. California passed a bill, SB 277, eliminating non-medical exemptions to school vaccine mandates. The law took effect this school year, and antivaccine activists are, of course, not pleased, assembling a motley crew to oppose the law. Time will tell whether SB 277 has its intended effect of increasing vaccine uptake and maintaining herd immunity, but early indications are that it will.

Now, apparently, we have to turn our attention to another big, populous state where public health is potentially being endangered. Now, most people would probably assume I’m referring to another coastal state with a lot of liberal politics and crunchy New Age-y types, like California, but I’m not. I’m referring to Texas. Yesterday, I saw an article in Science by Kai Kupferschmidt entitled Why Texas is becoming a major antivaccine battlefield:

Peter Hotez used to worry mostly about vaccines for children in far-away places. An infectious diseases researcher at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, Hotez is developing shots against diseases in poorer countries such as hookworm and schistosomiasis.

But now, Hotez is anxious about children much closer to home. The number of schoolchildren not vaccinated against childhood diseases in Texas is growing rapidly, which means that the state may see its first measles outbreaks in the winter or spring of 2018, Hotez predicted in a recent article in PLOS Medicine. Disgraced antivaccine physician Andrew Wakefield has set up shop in the Texan capital, Austin, and a political action committee (PAC) is putting pressure on legislators facing a slew of vaccine-related bills.

“Texas is now the center of the antivaxxer movement,” Hotez says. “There is a big fight coming,” adds Anna Dragsbaek of The Immunization Partnership, a nonprofit organization in Houston that advocates for vaccinations.

Now, in fairness, the article notes that currently Texas still has one of the highest rates of vaccine uptake overall, but as I try to pound home time and time again, it’s not just statewide uptake rates that matter. It’s local pockets of low vaccine uptake that lead to declining herd immunity or community immunity. Whatever you want to call the phenomenon of high vaccine uptake protecting even those who can’t be vaccinated or won’t vaccinate, we’re starting to see a situation in Texas that is worrisome and possibly outright alarming: skyrocketing rates of personal belief exemptions, from 2,300 in 2003 to nearly 45,000 so far this year, more than a 19-fold increase. A graph from the PLoStells the Medicine article tells the tale:

Looking at that graph, I see little sign that it’s starting to plateau, and public health officials agree. The trend looks as though it will continue. If I were a public health official in Texas, I’d be alarmed, and they are. Of course, at the risk of being repetitive—but when did that ever stop me?—I have to emphasize that it’s not just raw numbers. After all, Texas is a big state. If those numbers were spread out, the trend would still be of concern, but not quite so alarming as it is. From the PLoS article by Peter Hotez:

Measles vaccination coverage in certain Texas counties is dangerously close to dropping below the 95% coverage rate necessary to ensure herd immunity and prevent measles outbreaks. For instance, in Gaines County in West Texas, the percentage of exemptions is now 4.83%, while in Briscoe County in the Texas Panhandle, the percentage is 3.55% (Table 1) [5]. In the very large Austin Independent School District (Travis County), the exemption rate is at 2.02% [5]. Especially troubling are many of the private schools, mostly in Travis County—the Austin, Texas area—where exemption rates often exceed 20%, including more than 40% of the Austin Waldorf School [6]. The rising numbers of nonmedical immunization exemptions across the state in combination with pockets of very low coverage in vulnerable populations is extremely troubling.

Now, I know what antivaccine apologists will say here. They’ll say that those rates are still high. Yes, that is true, but the trend is in the wrong direction. As noted by Hotez, in some counties MMR uptake is falling close to the range where herd immunity will start to waver. It’s not there yet, but it’s trending that way, which is why Hotez is concerned that by next winter there could be outbreaks. Then, of course, there are the private schools, such as the Waldorf Schools (schools I like to refer to as disease vectors because of the Waldorf philosophy that discourages vaccination), much like the case in California. These schools almost always have very high personal belief exemption rates and low vaccine uptake rates.

It’s not as though Texas hasn’t had outbreaks yet, either. For instance, in 2013 there was a measles outbreak centered at a Texas megachurch. The outbreak started when a person who contracted measles overseas visited Eagle Mountain International Church in Newark, located about 20 miles north of Fort Worth, Texas. This particular church is part of Kenneth Copeland Ministries. (Terri Pearsons is Kenneth Copeland’s daughter.) Kenneth Copeland and Terri Pearson promote all sorts of “natural healing” woo that you could easily find at Joe Mercola’s website, and, as is so common with believers in “natural healing,” they are (or at least were) antivaccine. In the wake of the outbreak, Terri Pearsons actually encouraged those who haven’t been vaccinated to do so, adding that the Old Testament is “full of precautionary measures.” Sadly, this is a common theme. Antivaccine warriors remain stubbornly antivaccine until the consequences of not vaccinating hit home.

Of course, I have no idea whether this sermon represented a true change of heart. Googling “Terri Pearsons” and “vaccines” brought up scads and scads of hits about the Eagle Mountain measles outbreak, but I didn’t have time to keep searching for more recent statements by Pearsons on vaccines. I do know that, even at the time, Pearsons’ statements were contradictory in that she still expressed concerns for “very young children with a family history of autism.” In any case, fundamentalist religious communities have become a new center for vaccine resistance and disease outbreaks, and Texas has those in abundance, which is another reason for concern in the face of rising personal belief exemption rates. They represent a fertile ground for antivaccine pseudoscience to take root.

There’s another thing Texas has that contributes to measles outbreaks, unfortunately, and that’s Andrew Wakefield:

But Hotez believes the situation in the Lone Star State is more perilous. One factor is the arrival of Wakefield, widely seen as the father of the modern antivaccine movement. Wakefield published a paper in The Lancet in 1998 that alleged a link between the MMR vaccine (which combines shots against measles, mumps, and rubella) and autism. Several large studies have failed to find the link, Wakefield’s paper was retracted in 2010, and he was disbarred as a physician after the U.K. General Medical Council found him guilty of dishonesty and endangering children. Wakefield has appeared at screenings of his film Vaxxed, released in April, all over Texas and has testified at many city councils, Dragsbaek says. “He is definitely a major influencer.”

I’d be somewhat cautious about this assessment, though. Andrew Wakefield has lived in Texas for well over a decade, basically having fled his home in England after having sparked an antivaccine panic there. I have no doubt that Wakefield is a major influencer. Also, in 2016 he’s been more active than ever, having released an antivaccine propaganda film, VAXXED, that peddles the conspiracy theory that is the “CDC whistleblower” and promotes pretty much every common antivaccine lie known to the antivaccine fringe. His partners in woo, Del Bigtree and Polly Tommey, have been traveling the country to show up at screenings and promote the movie. Sometimes they’re even joined by Wakefield himself, who is a rock star among antivaccine activists. Sometimes they meet with federal legislators; sometimes they meet with state legislators; sometimes they meet with Donald Trump. (OK, Wakefield and his fellow travelers only met with Trump once, but once is bad enough.)

I just want to emphasize, though, that this goes way beyond just Wakefield:

Meanwhile, a PAC named Texans for Vaccine Choice has sprung up after state Representative Jason Villalba, a Republican lawyer from Dallas, proposed scrapping nonmedical exemptions last year. (The Texas House of Representatives voted down the bill.) “While they do not have a whole lot of money, they have a lot of people that they can deploy to interfere in primary campaigns,” Dragsbaek says. “They made Villalba’s primary campaign very, very difficult.” Rebecca Hardy, director of state policies at Texans for Vaccine Choice, says the group is not trying to convince parents that vaccines are dangerous, but fighting for their right not to immunize their children. (It’s also helping them apply for exemptions.)

We have our own version of this PAC in Michigan, but fortunately it seems not to have anywhere near the influence. The Texas PAC is more active, including its online presence. It peddles the usual antivaccine myths, with articles resenting being called out for pseudoscientific beliefs that endanger children and instead trying to peddle the risible narrative that these parents have made a “thoughtful decision to selectively, delay, or decline vaccines in the state of Texas.” I like to call such decisions pseudo-thoughtful. They appear thoughtful to parents because the parents actually do think a lot about their decisions, but they aren’t really thoughtful in that the parents’ thought is wasted because it’s based on misinformation, pseudoscience, and conspiracy theories. Particularly hilarious is an article that tries to make a virtue of being a crackpot—excuse me, a cracked pot. Of course, yet another of my irony meters exploded when I read a post on an antivaccine site complaining about trolls.

It’s a common misconception that antivaccine views and vaccine-hesitancy are primarily the provenance of crunchy coastal liberals. They’re not. As I point out frequently, antivaccine views are the pseudoscience that transcends political views. Unfortunately, we very well might be seeing evidence of that in Texas when the next measles outbreaks happen there.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

154 replies on “When the next big outbreaks happen, they’ll probably happen in Texas”

That’s the sad thing, antivaccidiots lean to both sides of the political spectrum. It is like the episode of south park with the time migrants: aging hippie liberal douche and intolerant redneck conservative both being so dumb on this matter. The former thinks anything involving a corporation is automatically evil and thinks we can live on a commune “naturally.” The latter is just mad whenever a new scientific breakthrough leaves one less thing attributable to an invisible man in the sky. Oh, and toss in the anarchist-caliber libertarians who just hate the FDA and any other government agency.

Over and over I say it, just like with that megachurch Orac mentions. This won’t end until an outbreak leaves a lot of people dead. It will literally take a 1930s-style flue epidemic taking a couple dozen lives to wake some of these people up. The annoying thing is modern medicine can save far more people who catch these diseases now than fifty years ago, which the antivaccidiots try to use as evidence that vaccines aren’t necessary.

Rebecca Hardy, director of state policies at Texans for Vaccine Choice, says the group is not trying to convince parents that vaccines are dangerous, but fighting for their right not to immunize their children.

I’m not about to take Ms. Hardy’s unsupported word that she isn’t anti-vaccine or that her organization isn’t trying to convince parents that vaccines are dangerous. Why would parents exercise their “right not to immunize their children” unless they thought that vaccines were dangerous? (In the case of children who qualify for legitimate medical exemptions they would be right, but that’s a minority of cases.)

Furthermore, there is the well-known principle that your right to swing your fist in the air ends at my face. Likewise, parents’ “right to not vaccinate their children” (for non-medical reasons) should not override other parents’ right to not have their children needlessly endangered by the children of non-vaccinating parents. That’s just basic ethics. Which the large subset of anti-vax parents who call themselves “fundamentalist Christians” ought to have learned in church if nowhere else, and most people learn from their parents.

I’ll make a motion to put Arizona 2nd in line behind Texas for outbreak likelihood given that: (1) Arizona had the nation’s worst MMR vaccination rate per the CDC for 2015 ( 84%, http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona/2015/09/02/cdc-arizona-mmr-vaccination-rate-lowest–country-cns/71574314/ ) and, (2) an analysis of kindergarten vaccination rates found that “About three out of every five kindergarten classes with 20 or fewer students had such low vaccination rates last year that measles could easily spread among the children” ( http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona-investigations/2016/08/29/small-arizona-schools-vulnerable-measles-pertussis-vaccination-rates/89020610/ ).

True, Arizona does not have Wakefield, but it does have the perhaps even more disgustingly stupidly ignorant, openly anti-vaccine moronic duo called “The Drs. Wolfson”, who recently sold out an event in Phoenix ironically called “Wide Awake”, which is soon to be a “documentary” in the same way Vaxxed is.

These groups are emboldened by the election of this next President. They are aggressively going after legislators at the federal and state levels. What I do not understand is why vaccine advocacy groups are sitting back and letting this happen so damn passively.

“Likewise, parents’ “right to not vaccinate their children” (for non-medical reasons) should not override” the rights of children not to have unpleasant, potentially very damaging, if not fatal, preventable diseases…

@Zach #1
” This won’t end until an outbreak leaves a lot of people dead. It will literally take a 1930s-style flue epidemic taking a couple dozen lives to wake some of these people up. ”

This would convince most anti-vaxxers, but the die-hards still wouldn’t be convinced. I think they only thing that would make the die-hards vaccinate is if most of the doctors and scientists suddenly decided that vaccines were bad and recommended that no one get them.

Most of the rabid anti-vaxxers also don’t believe in regular dental care, drink raw milk, believe in homeopathy, etc. It’s more about defying authority. If the authorities said not to vaccinate…

I think this is a good time to apologize on behalf of all my fellow Texians.

We’re sorry for being home to Burzynski, Thoughtful House, Andrew Wakefield, the Texas Board of Education, Mike Adams the Health Ranger, and a radical mixture of ultra-libertarian separatists (Republic of Texas nutters) and old hippies drying out in our western deserts; our redneck swamp people in the east, and the People’s Republic of Austin, which will support anything involving “ancient wisdom”, anti-corporatism, or involving cannabis as medicine.

We’re sorry for the Marfa Lights, mega-churches, people who protest outside mosques with AR-15s, open carry at Chili’s, guns in university classrooms and laboratories, and we’re especially sorry for Rick Perry (oops).

I’m sure I missed some, but just rest assured that there’s a Rational Underground here, too. We’ll continue to fight… and we will win.

In addition to thus active PAC, Texas is home to Dawn Richardson, who does advocacy for nvic, and however misguided, is highly competent.

On the other hand, Texas has a talented and devoted team in their immunization coalition that works hard to protect Texas’ children.

This is a very well timed post Orac. I live in Texas, and there are actually 2 small mumps outbreaks in Texas right now – in Dallas and in Johnson County, near Dallas.

Hopefully they are contained, but I am concerned that it does not bode well for my state. And the situation would probably be worse if it was cases of measles rather than mumps since measles is so much more contagious.

http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/health/Mumps-Cases-Identified-in-North-Texas-Health-Officials-403863156.html

Eric Lund:Likewise, parents’ “right to not vaccinate their children” (for non-medical reasons) should not override other parents’ right to not have their children needlessly endangered by the children of non-vaccinating parents. That’s just basic ethics. Which the large subset of anti-vax parents who call themselves “fundamentalist Christians” ought to have learned in church if nowhere else, and most people learn from their parents.

Ethics and morals aren’t the same thing and never have been. Fundamentalist Christians tend to do or encourage a lot of things that aren’t ethical, like forcing women to have kids they don’t want, forcing people into conversion therapy, covering up domestic abuse and rape cases in their community and defending child abuse that is disguised as training. They consider this moral because God is fine with them punishing people who are ‘sinful.’ God is, in general, a totally unethical being.

From the CDC: Who should not get vaccinated?

Any child who suffered a brain or nervous system disease within 7 days after a dose of DTaP should not get another dose.

http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/should-not-vacc.html

MJD says,

How can such statements reinforce vaccine confidence?

@ Orac and minions,

If a child suffers a brain or nervous system disease within 7 days after a dose of DTaP and thereafter the parents refuse to give their other children the DTap are they antivaccine quacks?

@10 Michael

That statement alone does not reinforce confidence, but the knowledge of how rare actual issues occur. So does the evidence of that statement that the cdc does, in fact, research vaccine safety. I don’t think anyone is arguing that there should be zero vaccine exemptions ever.

The problem is that parents who don’t know what they are talking about are trying to avoid vaccinating their children for non-medical reasons. These reasons include, but are not limited to a hatred of the US government and anything remotely related to a federal policy, religious beliefs that ignore scientific evidence, a deep distrust of modern medicine based mostly in conspiracy theory, and the narcissism that simply donating the genetic material to a child means you become the expert in all matters relating to that child.

The problem is that the quacks harm the children who have legitimate reasons, supported by research and evidence, to not receive a full vaccine schedule. Everyone who is able to should vaccinate so that we don’t infect those who can’t.

The existence of one medical reason does not create evidence supporting anti vaccine beliefs that have been proven false over and over and over and freakin’ over. That’s not even considering how much time and money is wasted re-testing and re-proving that Andrew Wakefield was wrong.

If a child suffers a brain or nervous system disease within 7 days after a dose of DTaP and thereafter the parents refuse to give their other children the DTap are they antivaccine quacks?

Not for that reason, no.

Zach says (#11),

That statement alone does not reinforce confidence, but the knowledge of how rare actual issues occur.

MJD says,

Then the CDC should place some statistics next to the warning so parents can better understand the incidence of such vaccine induced diseases.

In my opinion, this lack of effective communication only reinforces antivaccine tendencies.

If a child suffers a brain or nervous system disease within 7 days after a dose of DTaP and thereafter the parents refuse to give their other children the DTap are they antivaccine quacks [sic]?

Not for that reason, no.

Um, if you say so. It’s curious that susceptibility to “common vaccine injury” is accepted by the colander-wearing brigade as being mamesh genetic, but the subject is utterly taboo when it comes to autism per se. Everything must be once (or twice, or thrice) removed.

I hope Gilbert’s post @12 is snark, but I see no obvious signs that it is.

One more step, and the data reduction will be complete.

The CDC continues to use the phrase “Herd immunity” when describing vaccination rates.

The definition of the word “herd” when used as a noun is as follows:

a large group of animals, especially hoofed mammals, that live, feed, or migrate together or are kept together as livestock.

Again, this incorrect and inappropriate terminology used by the CDC continues to erode consumer confidence in vaccines.

In Orac’s posting yesterday (12/1/16), a video showed Dr. Humphries using the phrase “community immunity”.

It’s amazing how dissension can sometimes force a desirable change in how we think and communicate.

some 250 children held in Dilley this weekend were mistakenly given full adult doses of the Hepatitis A vaccine…

“Children have been forced to sleep with the lights on, are subject to intrusive checks regularly throughout the night, and have been dragged from their beds at 4:00 am to be given shots while their mothers must stand helplessly by without being told what is going on or being allowed a say in the matter,” …

… she visited Dilley over the past week and met with a mother who complained that her 4-year-old child was “feverish, not eating, having trouble walking, and complaining of the pain in his leg” after receiving the vaccine. “The latest incident again makes clear why children and their mothers should not be detained,” Hines said in a statement. “Private prisons cannot care for families and these facilities must be closed.”

http://www.houstonpress.com/news/hundreds-of-detained-immigrant-kids-in-texas-accidentally-given-overdose-of-hepatitis-a-vaccine-7570228

So, maybe vaccines aren’t so safe when mandated and administered by an inept bureaucracy.

Ironically, Mexico and a lot of central American countries have better vaccine uptakes than the US does.
Also, MJD, get out of MN. Shouldn’t you be with your fellow dimwits, not preying on the Somali community?

PGP says (#20),

Also, MJD, get out of MN. Shouldn’t you be with your fellow dimwits.

MJD says,

I’d like to work at the CDC in Atlanta, GA and help improve the vaccine-safety communication effort.

I think people should stop being so bloody precious. Stop whinging about the term ‘herd immunity’. Realise we are an unusually intelligent animal and nothing more.

Eric:
I consider the mocking ‘redneck spelling’ in Gilbert’s #12 an obvious sign of snark. I also take Gilbert’s #19 as an example of his typical response when minions take his ironies too straight. Which is never to clarify his intent, but to double-down on what you think he’s saying with a reference to some news item, which he just puts here without actually saying what credence or importance, if any, he may think it has. In short, he’s not taking a position; he’s just twitting your sensitivities,

@ NumberWang
How ’bout you stop being so bloody condescending, and realising that the connotations of ‘herd’ when applied to collective immunity increase the probability children with suffer needless threats from VPDs?

And how ’bout you stop being so bloody stoopid, since – especially in TEXAS (that would be the Longhorn state) – the connotations of ‘herd’ go way beyond ‘animal’, and are pretty much mutually exclusive with “unusually Intelligent”?

@ c0c0rdance:

You left out Jake Crosby @ University in Austin ( see his ‘Autism Investigated’ blog**)
and Gary Null’s The Texas Villa ( health resort/ retreat) in Mineola,
TMR’s ‘Tex’ a/k/a Thalia Michelle Seggelik ( sp) of MAMMA ( a MJ advocacy group)
and Alex Jones.

** I know you have a strong stomach I’ve seen your work.

“Crunchy coastal liberals” — A relatively minor point to be sure, but after a few decades of being stereotyped as LaLaland and worse, we of the coastal persuasion do get a bit weary of the whole thing. My county has approximately the population of the state of Michigan (give or take a couple hundred thousand) and voted about three-fourths for Clinton in the recent election. Somebody remind me of how those stalwarts of red blooded American values, Michigan and Wisconsin, voted. I merely point out that there is liberalism and there is crunchy, and the two are not necessarily the same thing. You might also remember that Bob Sears is holed up in a conservative corner of the state’s second most conservative county. I suspect that one reason for California’s reputation is that it was a wide open place where people of all persuasions settled, so they had to either learn to live among each other or start a new civil war. A spirit of tolerance on the broad scale is characteristic of California, with some fairly conservative places interspersed.

I might also point out that Sears and Gordon together make up about 0.2 percent of the pediatricians in the area. I would suspect that they get more publicity than they deserve, partly based on the fact that some national news comes out of this region.

@ Bob G:

Right.
Here in that other bastion of liberalism, crunchy doesn’t usually apply except possibly out in the ( so-called) Country where rich people, artists and hippies reside- some of them growing organic vegetables / dying fabrics naturally as a sideline.

Some of the liberal elites are actually elites- working in the markets, buying companies, running things in general etc.

Ironically, Mexico and a lot of central American countries have better vaccine uptakes than the US does.

Really, PgP? What does it matter? For part of ‘undocumented’ is not knowing the vaccine status — To shoot’em up with it all in a minimum time frame must be prudent, right?

I’m waiting for immigrants to be blamed for spreading leprosy when the reality is that, after coming here, they were introduced to the local cuisine; indigenous ‘possum-on-the-half-shell’ aka armadillos which harbor the disease.

http://www.livescience.com/52792-armadillos-leprosy-bacteria-spreading-southern-us.html

Actually, Gilbert – if vaccination status can be determined by available records (and yes, US authorities do check with their south of the border counterparts), then vaccines aren’t given when not necessary.

crunchy doesn’t usually apply except possibly out in the ( so-called) Country where rich people, artists and hippies reside

And even then, only a subset of these are anti-vax.

Having lived in northern New England for mumblety-mumble years, I’m familiar with crunchy liberals. Those are the people who elected Bernie Sanders Mayor of the People’s Republic of Burlington, and subsequently Representative and Senator from Vermont. The spillover of that crowd into western New Hampshire, plus their compatriots in places like Nashua, Concord, Portsmouth, and Dover, has been enough to turn this once thoroughly Republican state[1] purple despite the influx of self-selecting Republican voters moving from Massachusetts into the bedroom towns of Rockingham and Hillsborough Counties. But one can be a crunchy liberal and still be practical–being practical is a necessity in places with winters that last as long as ours do. Are some of them anti-vax? Probably. But so far (knock on whatever is handy), not enough to matter.

[1]When I first moved to New Hampshire I registered as “undeclared” (i.e., independent) because in many cases the Republican primary was the de facto election (we have semi-open primaries here). I finally dropped the pretense in February as (1) that is no longer the case and (2) I am not willing to wear a hazmat suit, as would be needed for me to take a Republican primary ballot these days, at the polls. Come January we will have an all-Democratic congressional delegation; as recently as ten years ago it was all-Republican.

Nifty, Lawrence. Many are escaping oppresion from south and central America —

I’m sure their real names of John Barnett, John Bigboote, John Camp, John Careful Walker, John Chief Crier, John Cooper, John Coyote, John Edwards, John Fish, John Fledgling, John Gomez, John Grim, John Guardian, John Icicle Boy, John Jones, John Joseph, John Kim Chi, John Lee, John Littlejohn, John Many Jars, John Milton, John Mud Head, John Nephew, John Nolan, John O’Connor, John Omar, John Parrot, John Rajeesh, John Ready to Fly, John Repeat Dance, John Roberts, John Scott,
John Smallberries, John Starbird, John Take Cover, John Thorny Stick, John Two Horns, John Whorfin, John Wood, John Wright, and John Ya Ya all have accurate medical histories. ICE’s google fu must be really powerful.

My bad; How could I forget the higher echelon of John Valuk, John Emdall, John Gant, and John Parker.

Despite the excellent BB reference, you are still a putz….

Guess you’ve never spoken to border patrol agents….

Gee, Gilbert @31, that list of names sure sounds like you’re saying nasty things about Native Americans.

Some here have been accused of tarring with a broad brush, but you choose to use a hose and an industrial fan.

MJD @18: Fun Fact! Herd immunity is also found in heard animals!

Besides, I *like* the image of herd immunity as a herd of bison (immune persons) circled up to protect the young against wolves (VPDs).

OK, Justa Tech;

Count upon the sun
As it will always watch you growing
Count upon the land
To sow the seeds in every young man.

Beating on the drum
Shouting at the moon
No matter what the promise is
I’ll never move from this old land of mine.

The promise is to pay
Just watch the people try to steal
The land beneath the clay
The land on which our blood has stained the grass.

Beating on the drum
Screaming at the moon
Promises, oh promises
I’ll never move from this old land of mine.

It’s a far far cry
>From all the words of exultation
A far far cry
How each child is supposed to be equal
I’m amazed
As you look the other way
To this day
We still don`t believe

Far far cry
Beating on the drum
Far far cry
Screaming at the moon
Beating on the drum
Far far cry

How long do we need to push our brother to the ocean
How long do we need to push our sister to the sea
How many broken promises until we get the message
That until we know the equal we will never feel the free?

It’s a far far cry
It’s a far far cry
It’s a far far cry
So until we know our equal
We commit our suicide.

Beating on the drum
Screaming at the moon

Count upon my heart
As you can feel the earth is beating
Count upon my love
And there is heaven for the taking
Count upon the rest
Count upon the last
Count upon the past
As it will wait until we’re coming home.

Far far cry
It’s a far far cry
It’s a far far cry
It’s a far far cry

How long do we need to push our brother to the ocean
How long do we need to push our sister to the sea
How many broken promises until we get the message
That until we know the equal we will never feel the free?

Oh snap, it’s another Jon
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gzRQuSC220g

@ JustaTech #33
The list of “Johns” Gilbert posted is from the film Buckaroo Banzaii.

In the movie, Buckaroo, a neurosurgeon/particle physicist/race car drive/rock star discovers the Earth was invaded by an alien race called the Red Lectroids in 1938. They were accidentally sucked here through an interdimensional warp and stranded due to the backwards state of Earth technology. In the present, the Lectroids have all become employed by defense contractor Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems, where they are building a space warship for themselves under the ruse of working on a new bomber for the U.S. Air Force.

Buckaroo’s team, the Hong Kong Cavaliers, finds out about Yoyodyne and hacks into their computer. They discover that everyone there has the first name John, with various odd last names such as Yaya and Smallberries. At first they believe it to be a joke, but then they notice all the Yoyodyne employees applied for Social Security cards on November 1, 1938 and all in the same town: Grover’s Mill, New Jersey.

The list Gilbert posted was created by fans scrutinizing stills of the Yoyodyne employee list shown on-screen in one of the Cavaliers hand’s and adding the names there to the ones spoken as dialogue by the characters looking at the list.

And, it’s not Bigboote, it’s Bigbooté,..

@ JustaTech #33
The list of “Johns” Gilbert posted is from the film Buckaroo Banzai.

In the movie, Buckaroo, a neurosurgeon/particle physicist/race car drive/rock star discovers the Earth was invaded by an alien race called the Red Lectroids in 1938. They were accidentally sucked here through an interdimensional warp and stranded due to the backwards state of Earth technology. In the present, the Lectroids have all become employed by defense contractor Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems, where they are building a space warship for themselves under the ruse of working on a new bomber for the U.S. Air Force.

Buckaroo’s team, the Hong Kong Cavaliers, finds out about Yoyodyne and hacks into their computer. They discover that everyone there has the first name John, with various odd last names such as Yaya and Smallberries. At first they believe it to be a joke, but then they notice all the Yoyodyne employees applied for Social Security cards on November 1, 1938 and all in the same town: Grover’s Mill, New Jersey.

The names in #31 compose the entirety of the list of Yoyodyne employees complied by fans from scrutinizing stills of a paper list shown on-screen in one of the Cavaliers’ hands and adding the names there to the ones spoken as dialogue by the characters reading from the paper.

And, it’s not Bigboote, it’s Bigbooté,..

sadmar @37: Ah, thanks! I’ve never seen Buckaroo Banzai (although I think I’ve seen some of their props in a museum).

Gilbert, I apologize.

Thx, sadmar. It seems to be a play on the effectiveness of knowing who/quantifying immigrants who may not wish to divulge their personal info — I know the feeling.

I suspect that one reason for California’s reputation is that it was a wide open place where people of all persuasions settled, so they had to either learn to live among each other or start a new civil war.

Something something Spahn ranch something.

MJD: I’d like to work at the CDC in Atlanta, GA
And sabotage vaccines. Fixed that for you.

Oh and what a surprise, Gilly’s going full white-sheet on us again. I’m sure the Klan has internet forums, why doesn’t he hang out there instead?

Ya know, I thought that list looked familiar. Gil, isn’t that movie a bit intellectually challenging for you? I’d think the Captain Underpants fandom would be a more suitable place for you.

I’m currently in Amarillo, which has it’s own Adams/Null wannabe in Roby Dean Mitchell.

He has a huge billboard on the west side near his office north of I-40. In October it said Amarillo’s best doctor, neglecting the fact that his license was suspended in 2012.

He has changed it to

Vaccines Can Cause Autism
Choose Intelligent Design

But he should have added

Carry a Glock

which is apparently part of his little black bag.

http://m.amarillo.com/news/local-news/2016-06-24/former-amarillo-doctor-dr-fitt-stand-trial-monday#gsc.tab=0

Incidentally, he was acquitted because he has.a concealed carry permit which had been temporarily suspended.

I looked up his eponymous web site and it had no articles on autism and only one search result for vaccines.

Vaccines Can Cause Autism
Choose Intelligent Design

Crank magnetism at its finest.

And what makes this idiot think packing heat will help him with his problems?

@Erix Lund

It beats me.

Not sure if it’s any safer than his cancer treatment!

Narad: “Something something Spahn ranch something”

Too soon.

But yeah, there was that. I suppose another example of our crunchy liberalism is that we’ve had two female United States Senators since 1992, and nobody even seems to notice it as an achievement or as unusual. On the other hand, I have it on good authority that until recent years, medical care in southern California was something of the wild west, with unqualified doctors operating their own private surgical hospitals and occasionally doing a lot of harm. Doctors transplanted from Philadelphia and Boston were a bit shocked at what they saw.

JustaTech @38

I’ve never even heard of Buckaroo Banzai…Is this ‘cos of my age or ‘cos I’m UK-ian?

Perhaps Rebecca Hardy will consider adding to her list parents’ right not to use car seats, Everyone knows that the safest place for an infant or small child is in mommy’s arms.

@Murmur: Here is the IMDB page. The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the 8th Dimension was made in 1984, and is something of a cult classic.

Roby Mitchell had his Texas medical license revoked back in 2005; the board issued a cease-and-desist order in 2012 to try to stop him from continuing to practice medicine (strange, since injecting a patient’s blood into a cow’s udder and then having him drink the milk sounds like a swell melanoma treatment to me).

Mitchell (or should I say, “Dr. Fitt”)’s Facebook page shows he is a disciple of a certain Friend Of The Blog:

https://www.facebook.com/DrFitt/posts/1085840198149491?comment_tracking=%7B%22tn%22%3A%22O%22%7D

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the 8th Dimension was made in 1984, and is something of a cult classic.

Cult classic? Cult classic? It”s absolute bedrock. Breaking Away could be called a “cult classic.” Real People and The Deer Hunter might as well be called “cult classics” for all the traction that references to them is likely to have by this standard.

Repo Man I’ll grant you. Wax, fer sure. But not Buckaroo Banzai.

Bullshit. The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension is about as stone cold cult classic as exists out there.

Thinking that prosecuting attorney in San Anton may actually be a character from the 8th dimension.

^ Ummm, Ordinary People, that is – haven’t had coffee yet. I propose the simple standard described here by The Handsome Family:*

Some folks are like umbrellas
They pass through your life with little meaning
And then there’s the ones who make you hang on to every word

* Although Flannery O’Connor is in sub-umbrella territory as far as I’m concerned. The song is also correct about the projective plane.

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension is about as stone cold cult classic as exists out there.

Strangely, nearly everyone here seems to be well aware of it.

Consider the readership of this blog. The reason everyone who reads this blog knows about it is because of the nature of people who tend to be attracted to this blog. Now try going outside of the sort of skeptic, science-oriented, science fiction-loving bubble. You’ll find that few will have heard of it.

Now try going outside of the sort of skeptic, science-oriented, science fiction-loving bubble. You’ll find that few will have heard of it.

Don’t make me start a GoFundMe campaign to support a NORC survey.

…injecting a patient’s blood into a cow’s udder and then having him drink the milk…

Eugh.

Going back to Buckaroo Banzai, there were plans to turn it into a TV show. I think it would have worked better in that medium.

Going back to Buckaroo Banzai, there were plans to turn it into a TV show. I think it would have worked better in that medium.

That notion is utterly horrifying to me – it’s too dense. I recall some talk of actually making the “promised” sequel,* but that’s just silly.

* For true obscurity, I think the same throwback device was employed at the end of the Doc Savage movie with Ron Ely.

There is still a plan to turn BB into a TV series for Amazon with Kevin Smith. The problem is that the intellectual property rights issue is very convoluted, which has tripped up previous attempts to make a sequel. This time, a lawsuit over IP rights has driven Kevin Smith to drop the project. Will someone else pick it up? Who knows?

http://www.ew.com/article/2016/05/16/kevin-smith-buckaroo-banzai-tv-series

http://deadline.com/2016/07/buckaroo-banzai-tv-series-deal-kevin-smith-amazon-mgm-peter-weller-1201790044

http://screenrant.com/buckaroo-banzai-tv-series-kevin-smith-rights-movie

http://www.ew.com/article/2016/11/28/kevin-smith-buckaroo-banzai-tv-series-lawsuit

Thanks, DB.

But if course the friend us not anti-vaccine and neither is the movie!

Pull the other one too while you’re at it.

At least I know where to find firewood if I figure how to use it in my electric only apartment.

There is still a plan to turn BB into a TV series for Amazon with Kevin Smith. The problem is that the intellectual property rights issue is very convoluted, which has tripped up previous attempts to make a sequel. This time, a lawsuit over IP rights has driven Kevin Smith to drop the project. Will someone else pick it up? Who knows?

Now, that’s geekery. I was just going to ask the fellow at the dollar store (Palestinian, but his family has relocated to Lebanon; his wife just earned an Ed.D. and found the job market to be awful) whether he knew it.

The imaginary survey instrument is poking into my moving-on-Monday freakout, though: Worcestershire sauce – relatively obscure, or cult classic? Spumoni (my grandmother used to get pint boxes from Walgreens)?

Will somebody turn off that gosh darn Sadmar klaxon?

At least I know where to find firewood if I figure how to use it in my electric only apartment.

Did Karen Black have an electric oven in the third part of Trilogy of Terror?

OK, I’ll knock it off.

The reason I thought that a TV series would have been better was due to sadmar’s comment that Buckaroo is a “neurosurgeon/particle physicist/race car driver/rock star”. That’s an extremely…wide reaching character, and that’s why I believed it would have worked better over a TV Series as opposed to a two-hour film. More room for the character to do stuff.

I’m not really in the Buckaroo cult, fwiw. Some of the riffs you can do it in everyday life are fun, especially ‘John Bigbooté’ but also other Lectroid ‘John’ bits and Dr. Lizardo impressions.

The main reason I know the film is that it came out when I was in grad school and a lot of younger media studies academics were into it, as… ready? …something that dovetailed with pomo culture theory. IIRC, well known cul-studs-and-pomo dude Larry Grossberg had a “No matter where you go, there you are.” t-shirt.

If you want obscure cult from that era: Liquid Sky.

Don’t make me start a GoFundMe campaign to support a NORC survey.

I’m not sure the minions could hit the GoFundMe goal, since you’d have to come up with $500,000 to get Anthony Mawson to put up a web-poll here:

1. Are you inside or outside the skeptic, science-oriented, science fiction-loving bubble?
( ) INSIDE
( ) OUTSIDE

2. .Have you heard of The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension?
( ) NO
( ) YES

Watch for the results to be published in Frontiers In Communication. Subscribe now!

“sadmar klaxon”?? huh??

Lord John Whorfin: Will somebody turn off that gosh darn klaxon?

def. klaxon: an electric horn or a similar loud warning device.
????
=======

(strange, since injecting a patient’s blood into a cow’s udder and then having him drink the milk…

Yum. Is that some kind of occult practice of the dark art, or something?

Dear Tony, I am so looking forward to the Spirit Cooking dinner at my place.

https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/15893

http://www.infowars.com/spirit-cooking-clinton-campaign-chairman-invited-to-bizarre-satanic-performance/

More room for the character to do stuff.

Yah, but “neurosurgeon/particle physicist/race car driver/rock star” is really just the first 20 or so minutes of the movie. Buckaroo is simply a hero. Let us* recall, for example, the character Scooter.

This is what called to my mind the Doc Savage angle. SRSLY. Tom Swift could fit into this mold, but not a part-and-parcel ensemble. G-d help us from Buckaroo MOTW episodes. Kolchak was much better suited.

* TINU.

Loved Buckaroo Banzai! Peter Weller, John Lithgow, Ellen Barkin, Jeff Goldblum, Christopher Lloyd… very fun movie!

I’m not sure the minions could hit the GoFundMe goal, since you’d have to come up with $500,000 to get Anthony Mawson to put up a web-poll here

That was my initial guess, but I think I could talk them down.

“sadmar klaxon”?? huh??

I’m packing for a move. If you haven’t seen the movie, do so immediately. If you have, don’t post lengthy cut-and-paste summaries.

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