Friday, August 10, 2007

HPV Vaccine

In response to Through the Lens, "Thought on the HPV vaccine"

Although I agree that Perry’s motives should be questioned, I dispute your sentiment that he deserves the benefit of the doubt. Taking into account Perry’s history, including the Father’s Day Massacre where Perry vetoed 78 bills from one session, many of which dealt with health care, Texans can’t help but to question his motives.

I feel that there is a general lack of knowledge on the subject among the public. Media, doctors, scientists and our government have portrayed HPV and the HPV vaccine in so many different ways, citizens can have difficulty making an informed decision. I agree with your view that the decision to vaccinate or not should be a decision left to the individual. Education in essential to making an informed decision and those responsible for educating the public have failed in their task. HPV is not a disease that spreads by a cough and there should be no mandatory requirement to take the vaccine.

In reality, HPV is a complex virus. Some studies suggest that at least 50% of sexually active men and women contract HPV. Whereas some people’s immune system is able to ward off the virus, other people are not as fortunate.

Females who contract HPV could develop cervical cancer, OR they could develop genital warts. It is less publicized that there are numerous strains of the HPV virus. Some strains develop cancer and others develop warts. The HPV vaccine doesn’t contain ALL of the strains, therefore a female receiving the vaccine is not completely protected from the virus.

Furthermore, with all of the controversy surrounding the state sponsored vaccinations, we have forgotten to take into account treatment for males. Females contract the virus from males therefore males obviously harbor the virus, sometimes without any symptoms. Unfortunately, males can not receive the vaccine, so they simply keep spreading, often unknowingly. In truth, the medical society does not fully understand the capabilities of the disease in males and as a result there are still many kinks to be worked out.

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Friday, August 3, 2007

Conscientious Dissent

The purpose of government is to protect the rights of its citizens. Many initiatives put forth by the powers that be seem to an attempt to, slowly but surely, limit the rights of one small section of the populous at a time. The formula seems to be that, if you can pick a small enough section of the population and justify the action being taken, those peoples rights are no longer respected. Examples of this include, but are not limited to: the smoking ban, drug testing our children, gay marriage constitutional amendment, the Patriot act. Although these various programs can be justified, in one fashion or another, they all share one fatal flaw. If we, as individuals or as a community, begin to accept the role of government to be that of the determiner and the enforcer of morality and right in our daily lives, one day the finger of big brother will be squarely pointed at us all. Today it’s smokers and homosexuals, tomorrow it could be unhealthy eating and promiscuity that are not in favor.
By allowing the so called leaders of our city, state and country to direct our discourse toward what we dislike in each other we are ignoring rampant misuse of public funds and a reduction in the services we depend on the government to provide (quality schools, safe and free bridges and roads, disaster preparedness, commerce regulation). We as citizens pay taxes in good faith, expecting a managed execution of our community funds for the community’s well being. What we receive in return are divisive politics and corporate run government.
Our responsibility as citizens is to maintain the quality of government that we expect as a community. And by accepting a government that spends public funds to regulate the actions of citizens in the minority we are opening the door for government to regulate many aspects of our lives. If we test kids for steroids, why not for nicotine. We know that smoking is unhealthy and illegal for minors. How far does it go? Simultaneously, as we appropriate public funds for this testing, 26.6% of Texas children under the age of 17 have no health coverage, the highest percentage of uninsured children in the United States. As citizens we must preserve the rights we are "god given" and not be so willing to support the limitation of the rights of others. It seems more reasonable that rather than being divided into our subgroups, with short-sighted and ultimately selfish intentions, we must be united in our demand for the few things that we have employed government to do.
Truly every citizen must take some blame. If we continue to simply accept, if we no longer question our government how can we be ensured of its integrity.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Attorney General Greg Abbott to Review Craddick's Actions

Tom Craddick’s refusal to recognize members of the house had a serious and long lasting effect on Texas politics and the concept of democracy.
Days before the session ended in May 2007, a bipartisan group of lawmakers attempted to call for a vote on whether Mr. Craddick should finish the term as speaker or be removed and replaced for the interim.
Craddick escaped by refusing to recognize any member who wanted to make the "motion to vacate the chair," saying he had "absolute authority" to refuse to recognize anyone he chose.
A June 2007 article in The Dallas Morning News details how lawmakers from both parties question the validity of Craddick’s procedural logic. They have called for and received a review of Craddick’s actions from this past session from Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.
The central principle of democracy is that we all have a voice and we all should be heard. And in a free market place of ideas the strongest and most sound ideas would rise to the top. Craddick’s administration of his duties as Speaker was an attempt to silence the elected representatives of thousands of Texans, in effect silencing a percentage of this great state’s citizens. If, in fact, it was the will of the members of the House that Craddick be removed, his removal would be a manifestation of the collective will of every Texan that voted and elected a representative. Had he allowed it to come to a vote, Craddick’s removal would have either been approved or rejected lawfully and the Attorney General would not currently be wasting his time and the states money investigating this slick politician’s methods. By refusing to allow a vote, Craddick denied us all the due process of government.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

With Steroid Bill Government Oversteps Its Bounds

The "steroid bill" that has been championed by State Sen. Kyle Janek, R-Houston, appears to be an example of government trying to do the job of parents. The Texas House of Representatives voted 140-4 to send the steroid bill to Governor Perry. Perry then signed the testing program into law last month. According to the current bill, testing would be performed randomly on athletes participating in UIL sports. Do we really want the state singling out our children and examining a very private aspect of a minors life? I would say no. What other purposes does this testing serve? If other substances besides steroids are found, what will be the protocol in that situation? High school athletes are amateur athletes. They do not play for money, only for the love of the game. They take all the responsibility and risk upon themselves. As studies have shown, there is a small percentage of athletes who do seek the aid of steroids. It is a mistake, but one that can hopefully be overcome. By involving the state in a very private aspect of an individual and their families relationship, we are asking the bureaucracy to treat our children with compassion and understanding during a very sensitive situation.
What happens when the test is wrong, all tests have a percentage of error. How will the state be able to replace the time lost from the sports season or the reputation that will be tarnished. Even Sen. Janek has admitted that the program has flaws. "The state should consider holding back on testing if concerns about over-the-counter supplements causing positive test results are not satisfied by the fall."
Perhaps educating athletes, coaches and parents of the dangers of steroids and other drugs would help prevent steroid use. If a coach or parent noticed sudden mood swings or quick massive growth, I hope they would at least stop to talk with the student to see how they are doing.
Spending millions of dollars a year to randomly test high school athletes is absurd. The bottom line is that we do not want the government testing our children and infringing on their right to privacy before they are even of legal age.

View articles about this bill at: .