We’re #2524

It would appear Death By 1000 Papercuts’s Alexa-based metric has Vox Popoli listed as the 24th most popular libertarian site on the Internet. Perhaps this will suffice to convince people that I am really not a social conservative, given that my staunch support for legal drugs, prostitution, and nuclear weapons, (to say nothing of my opposition to military imperialism, financial interventionism, government-sanctioned marriage, and the pledge of allegiance), doesn’t appear to have done the trick.

Now, I’m not into chest-thumping over hits and lists and awards. Except, of course, the one award given by Bane, which I will cherish always. (Note to those who bought into the whole Bane is Dead charade… just look at the Middle East. Now you know what he’s been up to.) First, there are too many horrible sites that are highly ranked and too many very good sites that virtually no one reads to take the numbers game very seriously. Second, let’s be honest, I am a little too arrogant to be inclined to put much credence in a metric that depends upon what most people like, most people being idiots and all.

But I do find it a little mystifying when those with readerships that are but a fraction of the Dread Ilk – let alone the WND readership – attempt to dismiss what I’m writing because they think no one reads it. How, precisely, does that compute?

Killer vaccines

The Supreme Court renders vaccine makers unaccountable:

The Supreme Court today gave vaccine manufacturers greater protection from lawsuits by parents who say vaccinations harmed their children, ruling that Congress had blocked those types of claims against drug makers. In a 6-2 decision, the justices said Congress had effectively shut the courthouse door to these lawsuits in 1986, when it created a special vaccine court designed to compensate victims of vaccine injuries.

Contrary to the common assumption, I am not uniformly anti-vaccine. I think some vaccines make sense and represent a reasonable risk. On the other hand, I simply do not understand those people, especially left-wing scientists, who insist that all vaccines are intrinsically good. The following questions spring to mind:

1. Why does profiting from vaccines rather than anything else magically make a corporation intrinsically good rather than presumably greedy and evil?

2. How can one justify vaccines for non-lethal and non-communicable diseases on the basis of historically lethal and highly communicable diseases?

3. If vaccines are not capable of causing serious harm to children, why is it necessary to set up a system to compensate children who have been harmed and immunize vaccine makers from financial responsibility for those their products have injured?

4. How can anyone rationally claim that science uniformly supports vaccine use when no empirical studies that actually utilize the scientific method of experimentation and observation are utilized in testing vaccine safety?

5. Why do pro-vaccine advocates attack those who don’t vaccinate their children according to the vaccine schedule when doctors specifically tell parents not to vaccinate their children according to the schedule if an older sibling has had a negative reaction to a vaccine?

6. Why do pro-vaccine advocates assume that vaccines which are proven to be safe for adults are also safe for infants and toddlers who weigh a fraction of what an adult weighs?

Now, based on the principle of “follow the money”, I am confident that the current vaccine schedule is significantly more dangerous than most anti-vaccine people believe. If they were anywhere nearly as safe as advertised, it wouldn’t be necessary to provide special protection to the manufacturers. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t make sense to get vaccinized for tetanus and polio, but why on Earth would it make sense to take any risk, however slight, in order to avoid getting a cold or the chicken pox?

The null spiral

Wall Street isn’t even pretending to be connected to the actual economy anymore:

Fresh from Wall Street’s alchemy labs: Credit derivatives tied to General Motors Co. debt. The rub is, no such debt exists. Banks and hedge funds are trading credit-default swaps, which make payments to holders of General Motors bonds in the event of a default. But GM canceled $40 billion of debt in bankruptcy and has pledged to cut its remaining $4.6 billion bank loan to the bone this year.

In other words, Wall Street investing doesn’t even rise to the level of gambling anymore. It’s as if the bookies of Las Vegas decided to start taking bets on imaginary football teams instead of NFL teams during the upcoming lockout.

“Hey, I know you bet the farm on the Minneapolis Norsemen to cover the spread against the Wisconsin Puckers, but wouldn’t you know it, the Puckers won, 111-85… oh, wait, football. That is to say, 27-10.”

This can’t help but bring to mind the obvious question of what percentage of GDP happens to be imaginary.