Empathy is lost on some: Australian mum forced to explain how her baby dies after anti-vaxxers attack her heartbreaking post

Freedom of speech is fundamental to western values.

Freedom of speech does not include idiocracy, and must be protected.

Nina Young writes that just a few days ago, Jordan DeRosier and her husband Justin found themselves in a living nightmare when their seven-month-old baby boy, Sloan, died suddenly in his cot.

Jordan announced Sloan’s death on her Facebook in a heartbreaking post, writing: “Our sweet rainbow warrior, your short time on this earth blessed so many. You were a gift to all who knew you, and an inspiration to all who didn’t. Your death has impacted this world, it has left an emptiness felt by so many.”

“Proof that you held with you so much light and grace. You were not able to live out our dreams for you, yet our dreams are where we will find you forever. We will forever be caught in this space between worlds, the space you now exist for us. Our longing for you is eternal, if only your life had been.”

Incredibly, although Jordan did not initially share the circumstances of her young son’s death, a number of anti-vaxxers were quick to comment online suggesting that vaccines had played a part in the tragedy. Some even went so far as to message Jordan directly to make the unfounded accusations.

The grieving mother was forced to go online and defend herself and her son’s memory writing on Facebook about the day the tragedy occurred.

“To those who keep commenting and messaging trying to blame vaccines for our sons death — stop,” she begged.

“Initially I had not wanted to explain the detailed circumstances of his death because of my guilt and the fear of condemnation from others. But I will not allow anyone to try and place blame where it does not belong.”

Jordan went on to explain that she had put her baby down to sleep with a blanket.

“He had pulled it through the crib rails somehow and gotten himself stuck in it,” she explained.

“You never think it will happen to you. You never think it will be your baby. Please do not put your babies to bed with a blanket. Please. He was seven months old, I thought because he was crawling, standing on his own, and climbing, that he would be fine with a blanket.

“This is the face of immense, unfathomable grief, the face of longing, of heartbreak, of self-inflicted GUILT. I will NEVER stop feeling responsible.”

Jordan hopes that people will learn from her experience rather than try to use it to push their own agendas.

I know all about grief and guilt.

And assholes with agendas.

I take great pride in my Friday sessions, where we share stories, struggles, and successes.

It’s making me a better person (maybe).

It’s a much better use of my time rather than sitting in yet another fucking faculty meeting, with the nerds from grade school who made it through to prof-land and feel entitled to inflict their previous abuse on grad students.

And have no intention of admitting weaknesses or self-examination.

Just part of the system

It’s a big old goofy world.


Food porn and Idiocracy: Consumers vote with money, not science, as Fig & Olive packed weeks after Salmonella outbreak

Fig & Olive sounds like a nightclub. It’s 6:30 p.m.

St. Tropez-inspired beats pound over the chattering of a stylish crowd in suits, leather jackets, and high heels. The Crate & Barrel-esque lounge at the CityCenter DC restaurant is packed. Even more people, martini glasses in tow, hover around the edges of the 25-seat, U-shaped bar.

idiocracy2What salmonella? On this recent Thursday, it’s as if the widely reported outbreak that sickened and hospitalized diners here in early September never happened.

Bar plans foiled, I ask about a table for two.

“We’re fully committed to reservations right now,” says the hostess.

I ask about the wait. She looks at her computer screen and contorts her face in all sorts of unpromising ways.

“Forty-five minutes.”

My husband and I wander around CityCenter DC for a bit. Centrolina, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, DBGB Kitchen and Bar, and Mango Tree all have seats available.

Forty-five minutes pass. No word from Fig & Olive. An additional 45 minutes pass. Still no word. We head back to check on the status of our table. Without explanation, the hostess fidgets with her computer some more, then finally leads us to the crowded dining room upstairs.

During the first few minutes of our dinner, the couple next to us sends an order of roasted potatoes back to the kitchen. Four women on our other side wait at least 10 minutes before the server even greets their table.

At our table, empty water glasses go unfilled for long stretches, and the staff fails to take away the appetizer plates before plopping the entrees on the table. Our server, though friendly, forgets my husband’s beer. Only after the main course arrives does he acknowledge the error and offer to remove the drink from the check. Even then, it’s not until our meal is nearly over that the beer actually arrives. It’s warm. The chicken is dried out, and the paella is fine but unmemorable. Our total for two appetizers and two entrees comes to $113.60 with tax and tip.

imrs.phpOn the way out, I spot one of the cast members from The Real Housewives of D.C.

It’s hard to say whether all these diners are very forgiving or merely ignorant of the salmonella outbreak that shut down the restaurant. As of Oct. 23, the D.C. Department of Health had confirmed 34 cases of the bacterial infection, which causes diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. It can be fatal. The agency interviewed an additional 209 people who dined at the establishment and reported illnesses—and that’s just in D.C. Fig & Olive also allegedly infected diners at its restaurants in West Hollywood and possibly New York, prompting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to open a multi-state investigation into the restaurant chain.

Foodborne salmonella outbreaks are infrequent. This is only the fifth documented outbreak in D.C. in five years, according to DOH.

If the outbreak began with Fig & Olive, it now appears that some of these most recent salmonella cases could have been avoided: A hospital notified the D.C. Department of Health that multiple Fig & Olive diners had been sickened two days before health officials actually shut down the restaurant. In the interim, more people reported becoming ill. Some also alerted Fig & Olive to their food poisoning days before it was shut down. It’s unclear what the restaurant did to try to fix the problem before the health department intervened. Representatives for Fig & Olive declined to comment for this story.

idiocracyIn the aftermath of the outbreak, four local victims have filed lawsuits against Fig & Olive, with additional lawsuits coming out of California. One lawyer says he has as many as two dozen more coming; another says he has about 15 more clients.

A CDC spokesperson says the agency hasn’t identified the exact source of the infections. The D.C. Department of Forensic Sciences tested 84 environmental and food samples. So far, none have tested positive for salmonella, although it’s rare to isolate a particular ingredient in an outbreak. Health department officials say the common denominators among Fig & Olive’s victims include truffle mushroom croquettes and truffle fries. The restaurant has since removed all dishes with truffle oil from its menu.

The remainder of the story is excellent. Fancy food ain’t safe food. Check it out at  http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/articles/47614/gut-reaction-fig-olive-is-packed-weeks-after-a-salmonella/

Idiocracy: The rise of the Food Babe

Idiocracy is a special kind of 2006 movie, vastly underrated but all too prescient.

Vani_Hari_from_Charlotte_Video_ProjectReal Clear Science writes that it takes a special sort of nonsense to land the top spot on our annual list of junk science. Last year, the honor went to the grossly misleading nature “documentaries” on Discovery and Animal Planet. This year, it goes to Vani Hari, better known as “The Food Babe.” And wow did she earn it.

Hari catapulted into the public spotlight this year by accusing Subway of using a “harmful” chemical found in yoga mats to make its bread fluffy. It’s true, the chemical in question, azodicarbonamide, is found in both yoga mats and bread, but as a food additive, it’s not dangerous in the slightest. Azodicarbonamide is merely guilty of having a hard-to-pronounce, foreign-sounding name. Nevertheless, Subway caved to her request.

“This is the worst example of pseudoscientific fearmongering I have seen in a while, and that’s saying something.” Yale neurologist and President of the New England Skeptical Society Steven Novella said.

Hari followed up her Subway victory by convincing the world’s largest brewers to disclose all of their “shocking” ingredients, including dried fish bladder. Never mind that dried fish bladder, also known as isinglass, has been used in beer for centuries with no ill effects.

Hari’s most recent fallacious foray was a misleading, viral image claiming that Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latté is full of dangerous, carcinogenic chemicals. It is not.

Transparency in the food industry is not a bad thing, but Hari’s resonant fearmongering, coupled with the way she massacres science, debases everybody’s intelligence. She preys on our most flighty, fearful, and irrational instincts. The public deserves better.

Step away from the turkey, do not wash

You’d figure a website called food.com could get some basics right, but no, in the run-up to U.S. Thanksgiving next week, idiocracy rules.

wash.turkey.nov.14“Step 3 Rinse the Turkey

Remove the giblets and neck out of the turkey cavity. Rinse the turkey with cold water inside and out, removing any excess fat and leftover pin feathers. Dry the turkey by patting it with paper towels and place it in a large roasting pan.

TIP If you purchased a frozen turkey, allow about 5 hours of thawing per pound.”

Do not wash the poultry, unless you killed it yourself and need to remove the feathers.

Texas woman calls 911 when husband refuses to eat dinner

Continuing the decline into idiocracy, a Texas woman faces charges after calling 911 30 times over six months, most recently to complain that her husband wouldn’t eat his dinner.

Last Friday, the woman allegedly made a pair of calls to 911, including a hang-up and another where a woman was heard screaming.

Police were dispatched to the residence and officer Paul Gonzales said police were told by her that "her husband did not want to eat his supper." A police report said the 53-year-old woman was also yelling "about things that happened two weeks ago."

Oregon. man upset by McDonald’s order repeatedly calls 911

Oregon appears to be an emerging state for 911 wackos – rivaling Florida and Texas – after a 23-year-old called 911 Friday to complain about his order at a McDonald’s in Clackamas, Ore.

Last month, a fellow Oregonian was arrested after calling 911 to complain about a juice box missing from his McDonald’s order. From insufficient shrimp in Texas, a McNuggets emergency and missing lemonade at a Burger King, 2009 is turning into a watershed year as American fast-food diners to a 911-mediated slide into idiocracy.

In the latest incident,  KOMO News reports that  a man said he had paid $10 in the drive-thru but only received a single burger and a fry before he was told to pull around.

"Sir, this is not a police matter," the dispatcher told him. "You need to take it up with the manager of the McDonald’s."

The man thought it would be wise to call 911 again.

"This is a 911 emergency. I got robbed for eight dollars."

"Sir, 911 is life-and-death only. If you do continue calling 911 you will be arrested for misuse."

"Well, arrest me at (expletive) 82nd and Sunnyside Road. Please send a cop right now. I swear to God all my life…"

The man was arrested and spent the night in jail.

On Saturday, the man told KATU he stood by his actions.

"I was very upset that they tried to charge me for food I had already paid for. … For me to end up going to jail over a $10 order, that’s just ridiculous.”

911 is for medical emergencies, not a screwed up restaurant order

In an act typically associated with angry Florida fast food patrons, a woman in Texas called 911 after paying $1.62 for extra shrimp in her fried rice, and not receiving it, reports MY FOX in Dallas-Fort Worth.

The incident happened at A&D Buffalo’s…Restaurant’ employees said the woman originally left with her order, but came back claiming she did not get her full $1.62 worth of extra shrimp. Since she had already left the building with her food, they refused to give her a refund.

At this point the woman became irate, and called 911, telling the operator,

"I always get the shrimp fried rice, so I said I’m going to get extra meat this time. But he didn’t even put extra shrimp in there."

The woman also told the operator that she demanded either a refund or the additional crustaceans, and that she decided to place the emergency call when she was met with resistance.

Similar incidents have happened far too often. A disgruntled patron called 911 when a fast food joint ran out of lemonade, or chicken nuggets, or someone doesn’t like the way their sandwich or hamburger was prepared.

I wish they’d arrested the shrimp lover, perhaps giving her a lesson in the appropriate times to call 911.

McNuggets are not a 911 emergency

In yet another example of America’s slide toward Idiocracy, a Florida woman called 911 after paying for 10 Chicken McNuggets and told that no deep-fried chicken bits were available and would she like something else because all sales are final.

She called 911 three times.

"This is an emergency, If I would have known they didn’t have McNuggets, I wouldn’t have given my money, and now she wants to give me a McDouble, but I don’t want one. This is an emergency."

Once police arrived, the woman told police,

"I called 911 because I couldn’t get a refund, and I wanted my McNuggets.”

The police report states the woman,

"maintained the attitude ‘this is an emergency, my McNuggets are an emergency.’"

And why do these food-related 911 calls keep recurring in Florida?