Friday, February 26, 2010

I've been saying for years...

...that Jenny McCarthy's son wasn't really autistic.

Now, she finally admits it in an interview in Time magazine this week.  How many children have been harmed by parents who were afraid to vaccinate their children?  And, how much money has McCarthy made by exploiting these parents' fears?

Shame on you, McCarthy.  And, I feel sorry for those parents who trusted the "expertise" of a Playboy Bunny before the educated, medical experts.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Letter to High School English Teachers...

As my students start writing their first paper in my Comp I course, I have had many conversations w/ students this week on the differences between the writing they have done in high school and the writing I expect from them in college.  Some students seem to embrace the freedom that comes with using "I," "you," more than 5 paragraphs, and "In this paper, I will discuss..." in their papers.   Others seem indifferent and have just rolled w/ it.  And, one student stormed out angry yesterday.

My conversations w/ students is much like the conversation happening online on the WPA list serv.  I found this exchange between a high school teacher and college department chair to be especially interesting.  In the interest of furthering the conversation about student writing, student needs, and professional development, I'm posting it here, too.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Recent News on Autism, Wakefield, and the MMR Fraud

Looks like Andrew Wakefield will probably lose his license--as he should.  I feel nothing but contempt for the man for the pain and suffering that he has put autistic individuals through because of his quackery.

And, now, The Lancet has finally retracted Wakefield's 1998 article that made the supposed connections between autism and the MMR vaccine.  Again, 'bout time.

If you're interested in sound, scholarly research that discredits any connection between autism spectrum disorders and MMR vaccinations or mercury, check out Paul Offit's book, Autism's False Prophets.  As a rhetorician, Offit's book is such an excellent example of logical analysis that I can't recommend it enough.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Emanuel, Palin, and the "R" Word

What is just as offensive as Rahm Emanuel's use of the word "retarded" to describe Conservative ads against health care reform?  Sarah Palin exploiting the situation to get herself back in the spotlight by insisting that he should resign. 

Emanuel reminds me of the student who says something off the cuff without malice intent.  Palin, on the other hand, is completely exploiting the "I have a child w/ special needs" to further her own political celebrity.  [Groan]