Plus Letters to Good Times…
Beyond Paper and Plastic
Leave it to good old Bookshop Santa Cruz to offer some levity as we speed closer to a new decade and, perhaps, a brand new era. The revered Downtown Santa Cruz bookseller, known for its long history of commenting on politics and political books, is now offering an “essential” item as a companion to Sarah Palin’s new book, “Going Rogue.” For every book sold, the bookstore will give the buyer a free bag of walnuts dubbed: “Sarah Palin’s Just Plain Nutz.” The bag is also available solo for just under $4 for those, the bookshop says, “who can stomach a 1-ounce bag of walnuts, but can’t stomach 432 pages of Sarah Palin’s writing.”
This wouldn’t be the first time Bookshop Santa Cruz entered into the political arena. Back in 1993, the store sounded off on Rush Limbaugh’s book, “See I Told You So,” selling it for the price of baloney. A few years later, in 1995—the year Newt Gingrich was named Time Magazine’s Man of the Year—the bookshop offered a custom-made barf bag with every copy sold of Gingrich’s read, “Contract With America.” Then came George W. Bush—admittedly, an easy target—and the Bush Countdown Clock. Learn more about all this at bookshopsantacruz.com.
In the meantime, there’s nothing nuts about giving. And that’s just what the theme of this week’s issue is all about. In our annual Community Fund Issue, we spotlight five nonprofits making a positive difference. But the overall theme in this year’s issue is about “resources.” Dive in and learn more details about the Community Foundation.
There’s plenty more, so enjoy the issue. And relish the abundance all around you.
Letters to Good Times Editor
In response to Susan Smith’s letter (GT 11/19) regarding my letter, my intent was not, as Ms. Smith claims, to be “persuading pregnant women not to receive the H1N1 vaccine” but to have them examine the pros and cons and make an informed decision.
As for my source for stating that the chance of a pregnant woman dying of swine flu being one in 4 million, this is based on CDC data presented by Professor Michael Bronze MD on emedicine.com showing that during the H1N1 outbreak last spring, one in 300,000 pregnant women were hospitalized. As statistics showed that the death rate of pregnant women admitted to the ICU was 7.7 percent, and as not all of those hospitalized were admitted to ICU, the death rate can be calculated to be less than one in 4 million.
Dismissing Dr. Russell Blaylock, a board-certified neurosurgeon,
with the pejorative term “quack” does not negate the well-documented scientific research he presents to support his views.
As for Ms. Smith’s assertion that “Overwhelming evidence suggests
that vaccines save lives,” the relevant question here is whether influenza vaccine saves lives. A review of flu vaccine published in the British Medical Journal on 10/28/06 by the totally mainstream and highly respected Cochrane Collaboration concluded that “evidence from systematic reviews shows that inactivated vaccines have little or no effect.” Some years the vaccine is a total mismatch for the flu strains that circulate, meaning that it can not possibly help, yet in those years there is no increase in deaths from influenza.
It is indisputable that pregnant women who get influenza do have a
higher rate of hospitalization. However, it has not been shown
that vaccination reduces this rate. Vaccination also has indisputable risks.
Vaccination is a very heated issue, with proponents who believe they save lives incensed by those who question it and opponents truly terrified of the hazards. Like many complex issues, it is far from black and white. There are both risks and benefits to vaccination. I recommend flu vaccine to some of my patients based on their individual circumstances. I urge everyone to examine both sides of the debate and decide what is right for them.
Randy Baker MD
Beyond Paper and Plastic
I appreciated reading Lisa Jensen’s recent column about the modern world and the advances in technology. Personally, I could not stomach a world that wouldn’t encourage actual book-reading—as in picking up a real book and reading it, as opposed to going online or getting one of those silley e-book readers. Books are cool. The actual act of turning the the pages is downright powerful. It sounds silly, but how much can you really appreciate from some ridiculous, souless electronics device.
Good Times HOLIDAY DEADLINES
GT offices will be closed Nov. 26-27 for the Thanksgiving Holiday. The following deadlines will be in effect for the Thursday, Dec. 3 issue: Display, Class Display and Bulletin Board: 3 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 25. Classified ads: 10 a.m., Monday, Nov 30. Calendar: noon Monday, Nov 23.