Measles then and now

You know those people who say measles is just a harmless little childhood disease? Epidemiologist Tara Smith has a few things to tell them.

Last year was the worst year for measles in two decades. While we’ve seen fewer than 100 cases of measles in most years since the turn of the century, that number spiked to 644 cases in 2014, from 23 separate outbreaks in 27 states.

Before the vaccine, the United States saw approximately 4 million cases of measles each year and 400 to 500 deaths. These are the stats that vaccine-deniers tend to emphasize—a relatively low number of deaths compared with the number of infections. However, those statistics alone leave out a big part of measles infections. Prevaccine, almost 48,000 people were also hospitalized each year because of measles and measles complications. One in 20 of those infected developed pneumonia. More rarely but more seriously, each year 1,000 became chronically disabled due to measles encephalitis. [Read more…]

Worldview Academy faculty speak and present

Uh huh. “Worldview Academy” appears to be mostly a website, along with a program of “camps” it offers around the country. Judging by the “camp” in my state, which lasts 5 days and charges $745, these camps are really just quick proselytizing jaunts.

We are drawn together by the conviction to live out a biblical worldview in heart, mind, and life. Each summer, we gather in camps across the country to pursue the Reason for living. Just as iron sharpens iron, our faculty and students dialogue and search the scriptures to deepen our knowledge of Christ and come together in following Him.

[Read more…]

Jack pulled out a piece of paper

Oh here we go – “they are persecuting me because of my faaaaaaaaith when I all I want to do is say God hates everyone I disapprove of.”

A Colorado bakery is under investigation for religious discrimination after a baker refused to write anti-gay words on a cake.

In March of 2014, a customer named Bill Jack requested several cakes in the shapes of Bibles from the Azucar Bakery in Denver, Colo., according to the bakery owner, Marjorie Silva.

Silva says Jack pulled out a piece of paper with phrases like “God hates gays” and requested her to write them on his cakes.

[Read more…]

Time for the UK to cut these ties

Sunny Hundal on the BBC blasts the UK government’s hugging of the Saudi regime.

Blogger Raif Badawi has been sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for criticising Saudi Arabian clerics on his internet blog.

British blogger Sunny Hundal said this case, and others like it, mean the UK should stop “hugging” the Saudi regime.

In a personal film, he said it was time for the UK to cut these ties and “treat the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with the contempt it deserves”.

We might as well be hugging IS.

Progressive Muslim voices are actually everywhere

Via Tehmina Kazi, a brilliant piece at Open Democracy by a friend of hers, Akmal Ahmed Safwat, an oncologist in Denmark.

Instead of verbally denouncing terror, many Muslims in the West are now challenging the radical, ultra conservative and violent Wahhabi/salafi version of Islam that gives religious justification for hideous crimes. They are doing so through a growing movement of progressive Muslims such as British Muslims for Secular Democracy, Muslims for Progressive Values (USA) and the Liberal Muslim Network (Norway).

We progressive Muslims do not distinguish between atrocities committed by radical movements like Al-Qaida or Boko Haram and those committed by despotic dictatorships that dare to call themselves “Islamic” governments; the ones that administer the death penalty for apostasy and homosexuality; that practice stoning and flagellation; that legitimize child marriage. Both justify their atrocious practices through selected, outdated interpretations of primary Islamic scripture and a so-called “irrefutable authority” of ancient scholars and books.

[Read more…]

A wink and a Sid James cackle

Padraig Reidy at Index on Censorship explains about the Sun’s page 3.

The Page 3 girl was a typical product of the British sexual revolution. What started, with the availability of contraception to women in the 1960s, as a liberation, quickly became another way to reduce them. Freed from the terror of unwanted pregnancy, women and girls were now expected to be in a permanent state of up-for-it-ness. The popular films of the late 60s and early 70s, the On The Buses, the Carry Ons, the Confessions…, portrayed British society as a parade of priapic middle-aged men, always attempting to escape their middle-aged, old-fashioned wives, in pursuit of seemingly countless, always available, young women.

It was fun, it was cheeky, it was vampiric — depending on how you wanted to look at it. [Read more…]

Why it’s so hard to believe women

Huh. I normally have zero interest in Jay Leno, but he said something good the other day. Emily Yahr at a Washington Post blog shares the details:

Just a couple of months ago, it seemed like some kind of taboo for high-profile entertainers to address the allegations that Bill Cosby raped dozens of women. But in the past two days, a couple of famous names in the tight-knit world of comedy have broken the silence — and spoken out in support of the women who have come forward.

The most surprising voice may be Jay Leno, the former “Tonight Show” host who essentially spent his entire career on NBC, home of “The Cosby Show.” Leno is also known for avoiding controversy to the point of blandness — but he bluntly discussed the situation and didn’t defend the comedian.

“I don’t know why it’s so hard to believe women,” Leno said in a Q&A during a television conference in Miami. “You go to Saudi Arabia and you need two women to testify against a man. Here you need 25.”

[Read more…]