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Amid measles outbreak, anti-vaccine doctor revels in his notoriety

It’s 6:30 p.m. in eastern Arizona, and an energetic doctor who has gained notice due to his disdain for vaccinations has just gotten home. It’s been a busy day. He’s already spoken to USA Today. He just did a segment on CNN. And he’s closely monitored his Facebook page, which has collected 4,000 “likes” in the span of 48 hours. But Jack Wolfson always has time to discuss vaccinations — his hatred of them and his abhorrence of the parents who defend them.

“Don’t be mad at me for speaking the truth about vaccines,” Wolfson said in a telephone interview with The Washington Post. “Be mad at yourself, because you’re, frankly, a bad mother. You didn’t ask once about those vaccines. You didn’t ask about the chemicals in them. You didn’t ask about all the harmful things in those vaccines…. People need to learn the facts.”

But whose facts is he talking about? Every respectable expert totally disagrees with him and his anti-vaccine movement and, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, urges parents to get their kids vaccinated. And Wolfson himself, who has quickly become something of a spokesman for the anti-vaxxers, is in no way an expert on vaccines or infectious diseases. He’s cardiologist who now does holistic medicine.

What the experts say: “The measles vaccine is one of the most highly effective vaccines that we have against any virus or any microbe, and it is safe, number one,” Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CBS. “Number two, measles is one of the top two most contagious infectious viruses that we know of…. So you have a highly infectious virus and you have an extraordinarily effective vaccine.”


Planet Earth In Infrared, At 4k Resolution

James Tyrwhitt-Drake is perhaps best known for his stunning microscopy work (this matryoshka-like GIF of a scanning electron microscope zooming in on an amphipod, a diatom, and, finally, a microscopic bacterium is a favorite of mine), but the University of Victoria student has been known to turn his attention on larger subjects. Last year, he created a beautiful ultra-HD view of Earth as imaged by Elektro-L, the first Russian weather satellite to operate in geostationary orbit; and, before that, a transfixing 4k time-lapse of the sun.



Two cases of child pornography possession in Vatican in 2014

The Vatican, which is still struggling with the effects of a worldwide paedophilia scandal in the Catholic Church, discovered two cases of possession of child pornography within its own walls last year, its chief prosecutor said on Saturday.

Gian Piero Milano, whose official title is Promoter of Justice, reported the cases in a 50-page report read to Vatican officials at a ceremony marking the start of the city-state's judicial year.

The prosecutor gave no details but a Vatican spokesman said one of them involved Jozef Wesolowski, a former archbishop who was arrested last September in the Vatican on charges of having paid for sex with children while he was a papal ambassador in the Dominican Republic..

Francis approved the arrest - the first inside the Vatican related to allegations of sexual abuse - in order to send a strong signal that even high-ranking Church officials would be held accountable if they committed abuse, the Vatican said at the time.

Italian media reported at the time of his arrest that child pornography was found on his computer. He is currently under arrest in the Vatican awaiting trial.



Fargo Zamboni driver arrested on suspicion of DUI when game spectators report erratic ice-cleaning

FARGO – The man who was arrested here Friday night on suspicion of driving a Zamboni while drunk during a high school hockey game was also arrested a month ago for drunk driving.

Steven James Anderson, 27, was arrested during the Davies and Williston girls game Friday night at South Arena after spectators and school officials noticed him driving erratically while resurfacing the ice. A school official called police to the arena, where he was arrested.

“I’ve been here for 22 years … and we have not had an incident like this before,” said Jim Larson, director of finance and human resources for the Fargo Park District, which operates the arena.

Anderson of Fargo was booked into the Cass County Jail on suspicion of DUI and bailed out Saturday morning.



TSA to Require Secured Identification to Board Flights in 2016

Security for flying in this country is tightening up. And your driver's license just may be your ticket to boarding airplanes in the future. Sometime in 2016, the TSA will require you to show a security enhanced driver's license called a Real ID card or a passport to board flights.

"It is a choice," said David Fierro, Public Information Officer for the Department of Motor Vehicles. "It's not mandatory. It's a choice for secured identification. If you use a passport when you're traveling you don't have any problems. If you use your driver's license as identification, you'll need to either apply for the Real ID card or get a passport."

The Real ID has a white star with a gold circle around it in the right top corner of the ID; the regular driver's licenses will be stamped with "Not for Federal Official Use."

"That has caught some people by surprise when they get their licenses in the mail," Fierro said.


Joseph Stiglitz- Don't Trade Away Our Health

A secretive group met behind closed doors in New York this week. What they decided may lead to higher drug prices for you and hundreds of millions around the world.

Representatives from the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim countries convened to decide the future of their trade relations in the so-called Trans-Pacific Partnership (T.P.P.). Powerful companies appear to have been given influence over the proceedings, even as full access is withheld from many government officials from the partnership countries.

Among the topics negotiators have considered are some of the most contentious T.P.P. provisions — those relating to intellectual property rights. And we’re not talking just about music downloads and pirated DVDs. These rules could help big pharmaceutical companies maintain or increase their monopoly profits on brand-name drugs.

The secrecy of the T.P.P. negotiations makes them maddeningly opaque and hard to discuss. But we can get a pretty good idea of what’s happening, based on documents obtained by WikiLeaks from past meetings (they began in 2010), what we know of American influence in other trade agreements, and what others and myself have gleaned from talking to negotiators.


Kansas taxes $47M less than expected in January, complicating already strained budget picture

TOPEKA, KAN. – Kansas collected $47 million less than anticipated this month, signaling that Gov. Sam Brownback and legislators may have to be more aggressive with spending cuts or other measures to balance the budget.

But the Department of Revenue said Friday that a key factor was greater-than-expected income tax refunds during the month, with the federal government processing returns more quickly than it did last year. Department spokeswoman Jeannine Koranda said the state waits on the federal government to process each set of returns first, so faster federal processing means more state refunds earlier in the tax season — and the possibility that refunds could "even out" later.

The Republican-dominated Legislature is working on proposals to eliminate a projected $279 million shortfall in the current budget, which ends June 30. Brownback's budget director has said if lawmakers don't pass a budget-balancing bill by Feb. 13, the state may not be able to pay its bills on time.

House Speaker Ray Merrick, a Stilwell Republican, said his chamber's Appropriations Committee would build unspecified "additional contingencies" into its budget plan. Brownback has proposed selected cuts, but his plan relies heavily on diverting funds from highway projects and special funds into the state's main bank account, where the projected deficit occurs.


Weekend Toon Roundup 2- The rest



CONgress and Bibi





Weekend Toon roundup 1- Aww, Mittens isn't going to run!

Phoenix weatherman remains professional while his weather map goes completely bonkers.

Cory McCloskey bravely delivers the weather while parts of the Phoenix-metro area boil with the fury of a thousand suns.
"I'm not authorized to evacuate Ahwatukee, but this temperature seems pretty high," McClosky warns of Fox 10's "Acuweather" reading of 1270F, and you have to trust the weather prediction when it is "Acu-."
Good thing De Blasio isn't a mayor in Arizona, or Phoenix would have been shut down for at least a week.
Cory moves on to discuss Cave Creek, where the temperature is reading at 2690F.


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