My thoughts on vaccines:

1.  I am not a physician.

2.  I have gladly had all vaccines I am aware of appropriate to my age and circumstances.  I have never refused a vaccine recommended to me, and I have sought several out.

3.  When rearing our children, my wife and I assured that our children had all vaccines as and when recommended by their pediatrician.

4.  To the best of my knowledge and belief, my young grandson has had all vaccines as and when recommended by his pediatrician.

5.  As a general rule, vaccines are highly beneficial to populations receiving them, and those vaccines successfully running FDA’s gantlet are extremely unlikely to harm any given individual.  The odds of being harmed by a vaccine are far less than those of winning the lottery, and winning the lottery is so remote as to make the lottery a tax on arithmetic ignorance.

6.  But vaccines may have seriously harmful effects on small percentages of recipients.  By a small percentage, I mean a number consisting of a decimal point with several zeros to its right before any integers occur.

7.  Given that the US population is well over 300 million, when you multiple even that small percentage times the total population, you will come up with some people who are adversely affected.  That’s simple arithmetic.

8.  But each of us makes a decision for ourselves and for our children, not for the population as a whole.  And present technology does not allow us to know in advance who is susceptible to harm.   So we have to decide based on the general odds, odds that in my opinion make the call a no-brainer.

9.  Vaccines are a reverse lottery in which, for statistical purposes, everyone wins.  Regrettably, there are a losers in real life, but their numbers are not statistically significant.  I wish we could know in advance who those losers will be, but we can’t.

10.  Despite the remoteness of harm, I am reluctant to compel people to be vaccinated or have their children vaccinated.  Some circumstances might warrant compulsion, depending on the disease’s virulence, transmissibility, and consequences.  I am not personally convinced the standard is met with measles.

11.  My view is that anyone who does not vaccinate their children against measles is a fool, but we cannot outlaw all forms of foolishness.

Infringing a Trademark by Disparaging It?

Immigration and Customs Enforcement thinks that disparaging a trademark is infringing on the trademark.  I think that’s absurd.  I am not an intellectual property lawyer, but the proposition doesn’t make sense.  Rebecca Tushnet is a professor of intellectual property, and she agrees ICE is wrong.

I attended the University of Texas at Austin, both for undergraduate school and law school.  UT’s logo is:

UT Longhorn

UT’s traditional rival is Texas A&M University.  Students there are known as Aggies.  Aggies traditionally portray the UT logo as follows:

UT Longhorn--sawed off

The altered logo is often accompanied by a bible verse calling for sawing off the horns of the wicked.

I don’t generally defend Aggies, but it would be ridiculous for UT to claim the altered image is an infringement.  The image is just part of the rivalry between the two schools.

School Administrators as Ring Wraiths

The town of Kermit is in far west Texas near the New Mexico border.  Maybe, though I doubt it, that explains why school administrators there can’t tell the difference between fantasy and reality.

Nine-year-old Aiden Steward has been suspended from school there for threatening a classmate with disappearance.  Aiden had just seen the latest hobbit movie and claimed he had the central ring of power, with which he would perform the feat,  Kermit school officials apparently found that a credible threat.

As Ilya Somin of the Volokh Conspiracy notes, Aiden’s father offered a more than sufficient defense:

I assure you my son lacks the magical powers necessary to threaten his friend’s existence,” the boy’s father later wrote in an email. “If he did, I’m sure he’d bring him right back.

The school officials were unmoved.  And they wonder why so many people want vouchers to get their kids out of public schools.

Lord have mercy on us all.