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It's a true #ThoughtfulThursday on Here's A Thought with Charles Shaughnessy for February 5, 2015!


To watch the VOD of yesterday's #HERESATHOUGHT with Charles Shaughnessy, click on this link:
It was Charlie, on his own, taking lots of phone calls and discussing current events.  
Here is the second cartoon that Janne did in honour of Charlie's birthday on February 9th. Click on this event link on Facebook if you would like to leave your best wishes to Charlie for his birthday on Monday!

You may have noticed an event that is posted on Facebook.  It's to 'cyber' wish Charlie a Happy Birthday on February 9th.  Janne Nordvang outdid herself with this delightful cartoon portraying Charlie's life from birth to #HeresAThought! If you haven't wished him a happy birthday yet and want to, here's your chance!


  1. I really enjoy the discussions on current affairs. Always so interesting to hear other points of view! I was wandering Charlie, what your thoughts are on the decision in the UK to allow three parent babies? When a woman has defective mitochondrial DNA which leads to babies with serious problems like brain damage, muscle wasting and heart failure, among others, which will occur in every subsequent baby, then healthy mitochondrial DNA from a donor woman is added and results in a permanent change in the DNA which means healthy babies!
    Do you think it is a good thing, or do you think it is meddling in 'God's' work which will lead to 'designer babies'? I personally think it is wonderful and will help many parents who cannot have healthy children.
    Looking forward to another great show!

    1. Watch out! Slippery slope! LOL! :-p
      More seriously, I totally agree with Sharon's point of view, but because I know very well this world of genetic deseases who causes so many worries, difficulties and issues, also in the way you can consider parenthood once you know you have the deletion and have NO other ways to go than asking for this medical help, I really hope that no one will be too "hard-edged" about this topic here or during the show! What I want to say is that one's point of view CAN'T BE the same if one is concerned or not, believe me!! ;-)

    2. The thought of "designer babies" is a scary one. Next, you'll have scientists trying to do genetic engineering to eliminate certain genes that can cause certain behaviors...the "gay" gene, the "conservative political thoughts" gene (since some folks think there is such as thing as political DNA), etc. Sounds a bit too much like the experiments Josef Mengele was doing in the 1930s and 1940s.

      The bigger question is if you have a designer baby with "healthy" mitochondrial DNA, wouldn't that lead parents to think that their child then has immunity to all infectious diseases and thus does not need to be vaccinated? If so, that leads to a greater question about public health and not just about eliminating serious problems like brain damage, etc. Plus, such choices would essentially remove people who have "disabilities" like Down's Syndrome from society, and I really don't want to go there.

    3. Hi Sharon! I have a tough time with this one. We had a boy in our church with mitochondrial disease, and I saw how disabled he was(he passed away at 8 yo). At the same time, he was such a joy and a gift, I know his parents can't imagine NOT having him in their lives, even for that short time. They have created something similar to Ronald McDonald house in his name, for families who need to stay close to the hospital.
      I can understand why parents who have this genetic defect would want to do everything possible to decrease the risk, but this really hasn't been clinically tested! And will this open "Endora's Box"(insert Nanny joke here)? What else can we 'fix' to get perfect babies?
      Mitochondria are like a "battery" in a gene, so this would be essentially replacing a defective battery with a good one, not affecting the child's gender, looks, etc. But it's a slippery slope to changing things that are really out of our control. So many of our genius inventors/theorists have had what sounds like Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism. Beethoven was deaf, Handel was bipolar.
      Like all of these scientific innovations, it has merits, but can be used for great evil in the wrong hands.

    4. What was I just saying? Hummmm... ;-)

      I have no time today to develop my thoughts about this here on the blog, and won't be able to watch the show live either, but will come back to share my experience about it tomorrow!
      It is VERY important NOT to mix everything in the discussion : the possibility to have a healthy baby when you have a genetic deletion that will be transmitted to your child and this concept of "designer babies"... The two have nothing to do with each other...

      Wish you all a good show! Xo

  2. great poster thanks for sharing janelle love it have a great Birthday charlie !

  3. Janne did an amazing job, as always! Looking forward to this evening's show, and I'll even be home tonight!!! YAY!!
    I guess my "current event of the week"(besides ISIS setting a man on fire and cheering while he burned to death!!!) is the vaccine debate. I have some strong Libertarian leanings, so a small part of me wants to say "you can't force people to do this", but the bigger part of me says "Then go live on a secluded island because you're putting the rest of us at risk". Sort of like how I feel about cigarettes, yes you have the "right" to smoke, but does that supercede my right to breathe clean air? I lean toward "defending the defenseless"(young babies who have not been vaccinated and ill children who can't get the vaccine).
    The road block is that "vaccines cause autism" theory(which has pretty much been de-bunked, and the original British study was revised and updated to show no causal relationship). I'm of the school that says ''signs of autism appear at the same age that the MMR vaccine is given", so while there appears to be a correlation, it doesn't equal causation. I know the anti-vaccine people would argue just as vehemently for their side, and that's where it's tricky. Can we FORCE a parent who firmly believes vaccines are harmful, to inoculate their child? I realize too, that I'm a baby boomer, the generation that got a lot of these vaccines in SCHOOL! We never questioned it, we lined up for vaccines, for polio on a sugar cube(yes, I'm a dinosaur), Tine Tests for Tuberculosis. So for me, it's just what you do...diseases that greatly affected my parents and grandparents have been eradicated thru vaccination. End of story for me.

    1. I'm with you on this Jo! I really believe that all children should get their vaccinations. Measles would not be spreading like it is if everyone had been vaccinated! It is not fair to the very young or ill who cannot receive their vaccinations yet! We had pretty much eradicated measles from this country, and now it's back! Imagine if it was polio or small pox making a comeback! And it could happen!
      Here at school, we have to keep a careful record of the children who are not vaccinated, and if there is any outbreak in the area, those children have to stay away from school for 21 days as a precaution.

    2. I definitely understand where you are coming from when you say that we need to find a balance between some of the things we are allowed choose and the way that it can affect others. I'll use my own experience as an example. Last year, the school where I work was affected by an outbreak of whooping cough. The students who contracted it had not been vaccinated because their parents were afraid that the vaccinations would harm their children. As an adult working in some of the classes where two of the students who had confirned cases, I was given less than one business day to provide proof that my vaccinations were up to date. However, since my doctor who could have provided the documentation to prove that was out of town, and his office had closed for the day, the CDC required that I be excluded from work for five days, be revaccinated and take antibiotics I didn't need. I was one of 5 adults who fit this same general description; for whatever reason, we were unable to provide documentation of our own vaccinations and therefore had to deal with the consequences of someone else's choices. Now, I will not say that the parents who chose not to vaccinate their kids were right or wrong, only that it was a choice that affected other people. But then we have to ask the question, can we require people to make choices, one way or another? How do we ensure that we are pushing for the greater good without infringing upon the individual rights of people? This is a conundrum that we see in many different parts of society, and vaccinations are a great example. And so now my question becomes that of if it is possible to meet both the need of the public good and the need of the individual freedoms.

    3. Thank-you for calling in tonight and talking to charlie.i agree with both of you,completely!

    4. Happy Birthday Charlie! We love you on FB and everything you do and say here on #Here's A Thought.Thank-you for all you do and can do and will do!

  4. Great show today! Really enjoyed listening to everyones point of view on the mitochondrial DNA question. Just to be clear, I am totally against designer babies, but if it can help a woman who knows her mitochondria is defective so she cannot have a healthy baby, then I think using a donor's mitochondria is a good thing.

    I have been counting my "ums" and true enough, I say um not uh! I will be studying everyone at school tomorrow!! Strange but interesting study on linguistics! Not sure about the young people saying um, but they sure do say "like" enough times!

    Last weekend was a huge sporting one for me, as I am a huge football and soccer fan! My heartbreak over the Seahawks loss, and I still have nightmares about it, was helped by my team Chelsea coming out of a very important game with Manchester City with a draw. A win would have been better but still, we are still the top of the BPL and heading to the finals of the Capital One Cup.
    This time of year is hard for me as I rehab from watching football, but at least I have my soccer!

    I hope Janelle, you feel better soon and will be back next week! We missed you!

  5. i totally can see Charlies point of view on all subjects discussed on today show,but I must say I w ould love to see where Charlie stands on knowing how the situation will be solved with the ISIS situation.I was so appauld at the executions of the journalist in the cage and the beheading of the other.I am also exasperated with the story on this Measels out break.It is getting out of control and something has got to be done about it.We can't just sweep this under the rug.What are your thoughts on this Charlie.i know you are very open-minded an honest about your feelings on the air,but censors and editing aside,what do you really feel about these two subjects?!

  6. Something funny happened to me this week: I'm in New York at the moment. I got used to the fact that I wake up each morning at 3am, I return some emails, go back to sleep and wake up again at 6:30am and everything is fine. What is funny is that I have a kind of mental jetlag, I cannot calculate the time deference correctly; I keep sending messages to family and friends back home in the middle of the night over there. And today I wanted to watch the show live and naturally waited for 1am… when actually I could have watched it alive in the afternoon…. I'll try to remember next week.
    Well, very interesting topics this week. Glad I watched the recorded show.
    Charlie I wish you a very happy birthday and that you'll always have one more dream to pursue.

    1. Welcome to the "Tri-State Area"(New York, New Jersey, Connecticut)! I hope you brought a warm coat, gloves, hat, scarf, boots, and a shovel!! Have a wonderful time!

    2. Thank you MissJoAnn! I don't mind the cold weather. in 3 weeks I'll be back in my warm zone in the Mediterranean. till then I love every minute in the big freezing apple. I work half a day and then walk in the streets and Avenues and smile at every flake of snow or freezing ray of sun.

    3. Have a wonderful time in New York Galit!

  7. as I already mentioned - really great show today!
    Regarding ISIS, I don't think they invented cruelty in the Middle East: in the last decade we saw Hamas throwing Fatah men from 10 stories buildings in Gaza, Iran hanging gay men in the city centers from cranes, lately they were throwing a gay man tied to chairs from roofs of buildings and when that didn’t kill him they threw stones and breaks on their heads, also in Iran we saw women being stoned to death. What ISIS did to the poor Jordanian pilot is shocking to any human being, but not surprising under the regions circumstances.

    I am wondering what people in this forum make of the reaction of Jordan which executed ISIS prisoners as a revenge. The most natural initial thought would be "good for them!". On the other hand, would a western country react the same way? And if not, what CAN be done? I'll be happy to read your thoughts.

    1. I have to agree with Charlie, in as much as I feel this could be the turning point with ISIS since they have now attacked one of their own, so to speak, and the way that they did it was so terrible that they have upset many in the Muslim world.
      As to the way Jordan retaliated by executing ISIS prisoners, I guess it is to be expected from that part of the world. I do not think Western countries would do the same thing, mainly because they have to abide by the judicial systems in their countries.

    2. I do hope you are right Sharon, but I don't think they really care even about their own. who ever doesn't agree with them is consider infidel and is becoming a subject to their attack. and Jordan is not a very strong country among the Arab countries. the Arab league doesn't really function much - so you cannot find a real mechanism that can turn this moment to a turning point. unfortunately. I don't really have a solution.. but I'm quite pessimistic

    3. One thing that is being over looked (or, more likely, misinterpreted) with regards to what is going on with ISIS--I keep seeing mentions of the Crusades when trying to explain the barbarity. President Obama brought it up at the National Prayer Breakfast, and Charlie brought it up in this week's show. The problem with this analogy (the Crusades were bad, they were attacks in the Middle East, heads on stakes, etc.) is that the Crusades were a response to the Muslims taking over a good portion of Europe during the early Middle Ages and had as their goal retaking Jerusalem from the Muslims. The Moors took over most of Spain and had advanced into France before they were driven back (and finally were defeated in early 1492 after over 700 years of fighting). Muslims had taken over large portions of the Balkans (and you still see strong support for Islam in that region) and had expanded their influence into Italy, threatening the Roman Catholic Church. The Christian Byzantine Empire (which controlled the Middle East) even supported the Crusades as a way to defend against the Muslim Turks. So the Crusades were more than just Christians vs. Muslims; they were an effort to retake territory that had been lost to invaders or to defend territory.

      What we're seeing today with the barbarity of the actions of ISIS (and yes, it's terrorism--if what happened at Fort Hood is considered terrorism, then these actions certainly are) is a return to the barbarity of the Crusades. Civilization has evolved, but would we feel more secure if, instead of beheading captives and torching them, ISIS started using weapons of mass destruction (and yes, they did exist--even the New York Times has acknowledged that) to do their dirty work? Would we really feel better if poison was put in the drinking water and people died slow, agonizing deaths?

      And, in response to Galit's question--unfortunately, I don't see President Obama responding the same way as King Abdullah II of Jordan has. He won't even admit that ISIS is a terrorist organization. It would be nice if Obama expressed genuine concern about what is happening and not dismiss it or blame the U.S. (or his predecessor).

    4. Well, no, not exactly. Jerusalem was not part of Europe and the crusades were actually an effort to swell the coffers of both the Catholic Church as well as the Princes who took part. It was offered to the riff-raff of Europe as a Holy adventure that would guarantee them a place in heaven and a chance to make their fortune out of infidel gold. It was also seen by the Church as a grand PR effort to unite the faith at a time of external and internal pressures. I was bringing up the crusades because each side sought to "up the stakes" in barbarity as part of their psychological warfare. Burning prisoners alive in cages was one of their favorites as was flaying alive and being eaten by dogs. Both sides took perverse delight in inventing new and ever more brutal ways to horrify and demoralize the other. As for the push/pull of Christian and Muslim in Europe, that was a simple case of two mighty empires and religions attempting to expand a sphere of influence. This was also a period when Islam was as much a civilizing and sophisticated influence as Christianity. Remember, it gave us both our alphabet and mathematics. As for ISIS, I applaud POTUS' instinct to de-legitimize this despicable bunch of thugs. Just as the GOP at the start of his administration tried to de-legitimize Obama ( disrespecting his SOTU , seeking to invalidate his citizenship etc.) as a means of weakening his credibility and support, so he is stripping ISIS of the "dignity" of belonging to any legitimate religion or group. We should be seeking to alienate them from Islam, not crediting them with a religious ideology. They are global outcasts from Islam as much as from the rest of the world. They are able to recruit in the name of Allah, but when no one in the whole world gives them legitimate standing ( even as an "islamist terroro group," ) that "mystique" will dissolve and their muddle-headed, perverse, barbarity will be exposed and robbed of psychological potency.

    5. I didn't say Jerusalem was a part of Europe--I just said the main goal of the Crusades was to reclaim Jerusalem from the Muslims. I'm quite aware of the geography of the region, even if my field is U.S. history.

      I'm not disputing that the Crusades also increased the wealth of the Church (certainly the loot they brought back would indicate that), but you also have to understand what was going on in Europe at the time that led to this response. The Iberian peninsula had been conquered by the Moors, and slowly Portugal then Spain were pushing them back to North Africa. Charlemagne drove them out of France. Rome, the seat of the Roman Catholic Church, was threatened. The Roman Catholic Church had split several centuries earlier into East and West, and the Eastern Catholics/Orthodox were in constant battle with these invaders from the Middle East (that eventually would topple the Byzantine Empire and establish the Ottoman Empire). There really was no "Christian Empire" (nor even a single Christian religion) because of the split, and even the Holy Roman Empire (that loose confederation of German principalities) really wasn't that strong. In many ways, the Crusades were an effort to unite Christianity against a common enemy, the Muslims who controlled Jerusalem, but they did not succeed in reuniting Christians into one religion.

      Warfare was quite different during the Middle Ages than it is now. There’s a reason why these people were called barbarians. But I’m still wondering why the majority of the world—even in the Middle East—views ISIS as a terrorist organization, while President Obama does not. Does he think ignoring them will make them go away? Or does he secretly want them to infiltrate the U.S. and punish those who oppose him? After all, we’ve already had workplace violence in the U.S. that mimics what ISIS is doing.

      By the way, yes, the Muslims/Arabs made great contributions to mathematics (and I certainly prefer using Arabic numbers to Roman numerals when doing math). But I’m using a modified version of the Latin alphabet when I write, not one created by the Muslims.

    6. Charlie, remember on the show you said you thought you were going to get an argument from me, and you didn't? Guess what...HERE IT IS! Not really an argument, but a totally different side of the coin. I will leave the historical analysis of the Crusades to Karen, and hope that Galit will join in with her "we live this every day" views on these terrorist groups.
      I totally disagree with this "if we don't give them attention, they'll go away" mindset with ISIS(Boko Haram, Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, Taliban, etc etc). They haven't "gone away" since the year 632. Other groups have done things in the name of Jesus over the years, and have stopped(and usually condemned by those who are less radical or angry. It's happening right now as Evangelical groups try to reach out to the gay community and to women who were traumatized when they sought an abortion). These guys.....never left, still around, with better weapons. The weapons and their new ability to recruit worldwide on the internet seem to be the ONLY things that aren't remnants of the 600's! The civilized world has been waiting 1500 years for this muddle-headed, perverse barbarity to go away.
      People like me, and we are legion, are just not grasping why the REST of the world is calling these savages what they are, and our POTUS wants to ignore them and not give them attention. These are not toddlers who are pitching a tantrum and will stop if you don't reward it! I do understand the "psychology" of it all, but this tantrum has gone on for too long and become too extreme. ISIS doesn't need the dignity of belonging to a group....they already ARE(in their minds) and a very powerful one at that. We just can't grasp "that pink elephant in the room that you all can see, and he looks really dangerous?? Let's just ignore him and hope he leaves" as being a solid foreign policy. It's too late for that. I keep remembering Galit's first comment on this topic, trying to address "the denial" and the Emperor's New Clothes.
      I will also return to a comment I made on the previous blog about this....the Muslim world needs to be in charge of stopping this. If they're religion is being hijacked and their name something. The world 'needs' to see peaceful Muslims stepping up to get rid of this, and thankfully now the UAE has joined Jordan in their fight. There is a meme that I've seen online, that I wish I could share here(the visual makes it so much clearer). It's a photo of a radical Islamist with a look of sheer rage in his eyes, and the caption reads "Islam is a religion of peace? Don't tell me, tell HIM". And that's how a lot of us feel about it, if we are going to risk lives and spend money we don't have to fight off "bad Islam", then "good Islam" needs to step up to the plate like the Kurds have done.
      Flame-proof suit being zipped as we speak. ;-)

    7. As much as I do think that President Obama needs to recognize that ISIS is a terrorist organization, I think that saying he doesn't want to do so because he secretly hopes that they will come in and wipe out those who oppose him is a bit of leap. All knowledge of the group, and logic, would indicate that they would not stop at simply those who oppose him and would extend to anyone who, in any way, opposes them. I do understand the mentality that negative attention is still attention, I see that a lot with my junior high students who constantly seek to have someone paying attention to them and are willing to resort to any means necessary to get it. With them, you take away the audience, and you take away the motivation. But, as JoAnn said, we aren't talking about a group of kids misbehaving or throwing a tantrum because they can't get what they want. And with the internet and the way that the world is connected now, it's really hard to take away the audience- not that it would take away their motivation, anyway. I think that President Obama does need to step up and call this group for what it is, but then I have to ask what the next step would be. If he is going to call them a terrorist organization, then what does that mean we are willing to do about it? Do we simply say that anyone associated with the group is automatically considered a terrorist and should be treated as such? Do we keep acting like the world's policeman and say that we are willing to fight and spend money that we don't have in order to fight them? On the other hand, do we have to wait until the group does something that directly attacks our country before we are willing to step up and take action? I also have to ask if recognizing them as a terrorist group would almost act as an invitation for them to attack us. I'm no political analyst or expert, and I won't pretend to be. I do, however, think that there is a lot to be considered in our president publicly recognizing the group as terrorist. It almost seems as though the president is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't (which isn't really surprising given the state of politics in the country in general). It seems like he's going to get criticized no matter the decision that he makes because there are unpleasant consequences either way. This is far more than simply a bully in the halls or on the playground at school, and we can't just ignore it and hope that it goes away. We can't just deny that it exists and think that it will go away or not affect us. We, as a country, need to recognize that we are not immune to the violence and we need a leader who will recognize that same thing. But we also need to decide what the next step should be if he steps up and calls them out for being terrorists. I believe that it needs to be a cooperative effort to combat them as a terrorist group, though I don't think that the world needs the big, bad U.S. to step in and start fighting the battle for all other countries. Muslim nations need to play a huge part in that battle, if not take the lead, because they need to show the terrorist factions that they won't stand being represented in that manner any longer. Combining efforts to combat the terrorists is going to be the most powerful tool to stopping them from the brutality in which they are readily participating.

    8. JoAnn has a point in when she mentions how long the world has been dealing with this problem. Today it's ISIS, but 200 years ago the Barbary Pirates were pretty much doing the same thing. The Barbary States (Muslim states/nations in North Africa) tried to control the Mediterranean in the late 1700s and early 1800s and demanded that all nations that wanted to trade in that region pay tribute (essentially, a bribe). They seized ships and enslaved their crews or ransomed them to fund their operations. Sometimes, they beheaded their captives--ISIS isn't just merely repeating the atrocities of the Crusades.

      Well, when Thomas Jefferson became president, he wanted to cut defense spending--so he refused to pay tribute. Instead, he sent the Marines to handle the problem (they're called "leathernecks" because they wore leather around their necks to protect them from beheading). The "shores of Tripoli" part of the Marine Corps Hymn refers to this--the Barbary Pirates stopped asking the U.S. for tribute after they dealt with the U.S. Marines who invaded North Africa and planted the U.S. flag there (although the U.S. did pay ransom for captured sailors).

      Thomas Jefferson had the benefit of being aware of the situation from his experience as an ambassador in the 1780s. He had met with the diplomats from that region and knew that hoping the problem would go away wasn't an acceptable response. Perhaps President Obama should open a history book and see how his predecessors (one who in a sense was the founder of his political party) handled similar situations.

    9. I believe that President Obama is doing the right thing in trying to de-ligitimize ISIS. I think if we can isolate them as a terror group, who are dangerous to everyone, it will help in our efforts to defeat them. They are a pure terror group, using Islam as a lure to recruit people to their cause and the more we can discredit them the better!

    10. JoAnn "These are not toddlers who are pitching a tantrum and will stop if you don't reward it! I do understand the "psychology" of it all, but this tantrum has gone on for too long and become too extreme. ISIS doesn't need the dignity of belonging to a group....they already ARE(in their minds) and a very powerful one at that. We just can't grasp "that pink elephant in the room that you all can see, and he looks really dangerous?? Let's just ignore him and hope he leaves" as being a solid foreign policy. It's too late for that".

      so accurate! I have nothing to add but support every word.

  8. Wonderful show, as always(though I missed seeing Janelle!). Thank you so very much for taking the time to chat with me. Hope you weren't too disappointed when I didn't give you an argument LOL! I hate so much that women who have dealt with genetic disorders and even lost children, are having to relive all of it with this topic(not just here, but in the news). As I think more about the "3 Parent/DNA" issue, part of it for *me* is that I don't trust the powers that be in our world today. I can't trust them(be it politicians, pharmaceutical companies, general bad guys) to do what's in our best interest and safety. The bad effects of experiments like this don't show up for YEARS(thalidomide comes to mind). We have seen the 'progression' from 'miracle egg and sperm united for first test tube baby', to people washing sperm to ensure that they get the gender they desire. Are we messing too much with natural processes? I don't know. To add religion to the mix, we live in a fallen world. Life is hard, there is evil, and sickness, and bad things happen to good people(and seemingly, vice versa). Where is the line between healing medicine and too much manipulation? I don't know. Perhaps it is that curing/relieving an illness in a living being is seen as acceptable, but we all pause and say "hmmmm?" when we are creating life in a laboratory? Again, I don't know.
    Galit brought up Jordan, and there's another "hmmm?" topic. I realize that this is not new to those who live in the Middle East, but it *is* new to us in the West. It was happening, but we didn't hear about it. My first reaction was "You go, King Abdullah!", yet do we really want to go down the road of "retaliatory murder"? Or is ISIS becoming bolder, because they know(or believe in their psychotic minds) that nothing will really happen that will stop them? The more they do, the more 'the world' gets mad at Islam(even if it's not accurate), which may then give them more recruits as some Muslims get angry about the backlash.
    Personally, what stuck out for me was that a Muslim nation said "enough! You are slandering our faith, you are killing our people, you are behaving like animals!", which is kind of what we talked about on the last serious blog. People WANT to see Muslims taking control over this themselves, they need to fight the cancer in their own body. Hopefully other nations will join in the fight against ALL of these terror groups.

    1. exactly as you put it - it's kind of "catch 22": if you react as they expect you to - then you are no better then ISIS. if you behave like is expected from you as a western country - they might get the wrong message and get even worse (though I don't know what can be worse then burning your prisoner alive..)

    2. the "silver lining" in it all, is that the actions of ISIS(and Boka Haram, etc) are becoming too atrocious to ignore. There have been those of us who have been saying "uhm, do you maybe see a connection between all of these groups if you really, really think about it?" are finally hearing others say "you know, maybe they have a point." And now I hear that an American female hostage was supposedly killed in the Jordanian air raids(not a lot of facts yet, she may have been contained in a munitions site, or been long dead just waiting for an excuse to blame it on an infidel). Do they SERIOUSLY think that the USA and the rest of the world is going to blame Jordan for this woman's death?! Though that is SOP for these radicals, putting women and children in harm's way, or hiding themselves or their weapons in schools and hospitals....then screaming "those (insert infidel here) killed our children!". And sadly, it has WORKED to bring division and change the subject while we fight amongst ourselves about it. I don't see it working this time though.

  9. I have been thinking about the 3 parent/mitochondrial therapy issue, and the thing that I keep coming back to, is a bit of a live and let live mentality. Everyone has different personal needs, and everyone is in a different place in their life. For some, it might be worth avoiding the heartache that they know is coming from having a child with severely debilitating and limiting genetic problems. Others will say that it's not something they feel comfortable with because it is meddling in things that should not be touched by man. I am not in that position, and therefore I am in no place to judge. As has been mentioned a couple of times here as well as on the show yesterday, the problems that could arise from manipulating the cell make up of children may not be readily apparent until years down the road when the damage has already been done. I have to wonder what, if any, other genetic problems and mutations could be caused by such manipulation. Bringing religion into the matter, I actually really like Charlie's observation/question regarding the idea that God has granted us curiosity and the ability to think and to reason and how that plays into the moral dilemma of how much we should manipulate biology and genetics. I'll also add in agency to that particular part of the discussion. If we believe that God allows us to choose how we will act, and how we will use the curiosity and intelligence that he has given us, then I don't know how much we could say that we are "stepping on God's toes" by manipulating genetics, since that would be something people can either choose to do or not to do. Of course, that doesn't release people from the consequences of their choice either way. That would come back to the dilemma of having designer babies and the question of how people could use gene manipulation irresponsibly and for things as frivolous as choosing eye or hair color. I've never been the person to try to force my own beliefs or opinions on someone else, so as long as we don't get to a point where the people who suffer from a genetic condition are obliged or forced to participate in gene therapy if they don't feel that it's right for them, I'm not going to say that it's right or wrong. The same goes for the other end of the spectrum wherein I would not be able to agree with refusing to allow people who wish to participate in something such as mitochondrial therapy to do so, thereby infringing on their own personal rights. The biggest question that I would have regarding this issue would be how would it affect society as a whole, and what would be the consequences down the line.
    As for ISIS, I think it's time that someone stand up to them and start to fight back, though I don't know that the "retaliatory murder" approach is the best way to go. I can't immediately think of a better option, however. The only thing that I can say for sure about it is that it needs to be a global effort to try and stop the terrorist organizations that threaten everyone who don't agree with them. It's not just one nation or one group of people that they are affecting. People throughout the world are feeling their influence. As Galit mentioned, there has always been brutality and violence. The difference is that, now, with the internet, modern technology and a far more globalized society and connections to people throughout the world, the influence of that brutality and violence is easier for more people to see and experience without having to wait to read about it a textbook years down the line. Whatever the solution, it needs to be formed on a large scale, with the countries throughout the world who feel the negative influence of such terrorist organizations in order to combat the impact that they are having throughout the world.

  10. love the poster and the notes the phone number and so glad someone never forget the pets love that ,so another great show it was looking forward to thurs, war is not a good thing peace is a lot better if people would stop the killing and the measels i haven't heard that in years what's is really going on with and why is out i had all the measels mumps chicken pox and it not fun wish there was help for me back back then not fun at all hope people will smarten up and do the right thing , well have a great Birthday 60 is not so bad i haven't felt this good in years i just turn 61 in january i didn't i think i wasn't going to get this far but i'm still here some one up their must like us to stay this long I'm still having a good time so will you we just keep getting younger and healthy keep the faith charlie !

  11. The thing that finds me rattled is why parents are so worried about the MMR vaccine. I understand the "MMR vaccine is linked with Autism" story has been debunked, but because of that published story, many parents worried too much about a possible cognitive disorder risk than vaccinating their children from a deadly disease. My parents decided that it was important for me to have both MMR shots and to be vaccinated, and I got both vaccinations at 18-30 months old.
    I am 19 years old, but I also have Autism. I agree with Charles about that MMR vaccine Autism link. If the vaccine causes Autism, then the time span prior to my diagnosis in June 1998 would have been four or five months prior to the last shot I got, not almost a year since I had the vaccinations. I honestly don't know if it was because of Mercury in other shots or my ancestors or any type of genetics from both sides. I honestly don't know, but I'm ruling out the MMR vaccine. I'm glad I got the vaccines when I needed to get them. I think that if parents would have given their children the vaccines then we might not have had this outbreak and so many people wouldn't get sick with the measles. The story published in 1998 has been debunked, so why are these parents still not getting their kids the vaccinations if it doesn't link up to anything but protection against the measles? It's just confusing to me.

    1. I believe that you are right, if there really was a link between the MMR vaccine and the Autism spectrum, then that doesn't explain the huge number of people who have been vaccinated who should be showing signs of being somewhere on that spectrum. I was vaccinated when I was a kid, and I do not fit into that spectrum. I know plenty of people who fit that same description. I can understand a legitimate reason for not getting vaccinations, like an allergy or an illness that makes the vaccination more harmful than helpful. But I also know some people who are morally opposed to vaccines for fear that they will be harmful in some way. I don't think we should try to oblige people to get their children vaccinated, but I think that it needs to be an informed decision either way. People should have easy access to the information and any risk factors either way. But, is it socially responsible to allow parents to decide that, for any reason other than a legitimate medical reason that could be potentially threatening to the child, they do not choose to have their children vaccinated against seriously threatening and contagious diseases? And then what happens if their child, who was not vaccinated, ends up exposing someone who can't have the vaccine to a contagious and dangerous disease? I believe that we need to establish a balance between personal freedoms, liberties and choices and the need to be socially responsible and conscientious.

    2. I completely agree with you Taylor! So glad you are participating here on the Blog!

    3. Thank you Taylor! While I do not have the challenges of dealing with an autistic child, I have friends who do--and they are totally opposed to the lies spread by the anti-vaxxers like Jenny McCarthy. In many ways, that has damaged research to find the causes of autism instead of helping to advance knowledge. Plus, there is no legitimate link between the two, and as someone with a compromised immune system I would prefer to have students in my classes who have been vaccinated versus those who aren't and choose to spread the plague (for lack of a better analogy). Unless there is a legitimate medical reason (such as recovering from chemotherapy), vaccinations should be mandated for entry into school. I know a lot of colleges require students to be get shots to prevent meningitis before staying in dorms because of the contagious nature of the disease.

      There always will be people who refuse to inoculate their children for personal reasons (although you do have to wonder if they would choose to do so if they had to pay for the medical expenses of people who are infected by their unimmunized child). There are people who refuse to use the wonders of modern medicine for religious reasons. But at the same time, while it's a matter of personal freedom, at the same time it does become a public health issue--and the public good should outweigh personal choice in these cases. Just like freedom of speech does not permit you to shout "FIRE" in a crowded theater, you shouldn't put others at risk because of personal choices. Religious preferences, however, is an entirely different matter, because there is a separation of church and state in the U.S.

  12. The vaccines have had their rounds with Autism and new studies show that they arent the cause, (even though there is still quite a debate about it) There is still a climbing population of children with signs of autism. could there be something else to consider?
    Of course more of the population are having children on the earth today so that can account for some numbers. What i want to say is, I think it could have something to do with the environment that we live in. This last 40 years is a generation of people that have started and continue to consume processed foods more and more. Foods that have been geneticly grown, and sprayed, and chemicals added to preserve. Foods that we have become addicted to because the flavors taste good., The unbalanced amount of carbs and sugars we intake, Cold cereals, Fast foods,. just add water,. precooked,. microwave it!!.. Fruits and vegetables forced to grow bigger, better and conditioned to stay on the shelf longer.. I'm just saying. Even though you rinse off veggies after you buy them.. what was in the soil when it was a seed? what did it take into itself as it grew?
    If that is some of what is causing the rise in autism, then it is already in our body system and is being passed on through our babies. I have 2 children with Aspergers and 1 with a comprehension disability. they have needed help over the years in schooling and social life. They are able to function in society, but it is much more difficult for them than what someone you would call normal. I look back thru our family genes to see if anything was passed on, and other than some members having a mild case of this or that, it is hard to tell where my children got it from. The foods that we depend on to live, are changed from long ago, and they very well could be causing problems that many years ago wouldn't have been as severe. I cant prove that processed foods are poisoning our systems and creating disabled children, but it is something to think about.

  13. I think there could be many factors involved: environmental or otherwise. A 2012 study found a 2% increase in the chances of schizophrenia or autism in offspring of fathers of 40 years or older. While this small number should not discourage men from having children, in a society where second or even third marriages are common, it could account for the apparent bump in national averages.

  14. The new cartoon is just WONDERFUL!! The best part for me? "Call Aunt Rita". Janne is such a gift to the show. Taylor, thank you for your input, it adds so much to the conversation.
    Do you all think that maybe we are just DIAGNOSING Autism more? Seems that almost every child has an IEP and sits somewhere on the spectrum. Back in my day, when T-Rex walked the Earth, these kids were just 'quirky' and usually geniuses. I can remember a boy who was in honors classes with me, he was 11 when he started high school, 14 when he graduated on the 3 yr plan, then went on to Harvard. He couldn't even drive yet! And he had all of the social quirks that we'd diagnose as autism today. There were those boys who were really 'nerdy', who worked on the A-V squad, lacking in the social graces, etc....they are the computer wizards of today. Look at Bill Gates. Those kids all would have been 'on the autism spectrum' today, along with every kid who didn't like the textures of certain foods, or who got overstimulated with too much noise around, or who couldn't focus and fidgeted at his desk(but could take a car engine apart and put it back together). We'd ALL probably have an IEP and a diagnosis today!

    1. Yeah, I have to agree with you. I think that we are what I call "over diagnosing" these kids. I really don't know how to explain it. It's like if we see this long list of symptoms and our kids has a few, and maybe only one, they're Autistic. I'm seeing more kids going in OT and Special Education than I've seen when I was in there!! I think back when I was diagnosed, and in 1998, Autism was still considered rare in my hometown, doctors were very specific and detailed about it and asked my mom specific, detailed questions. Now, it's like Autism has exploded into this huge thing, and I'm sitting here and I'm wondering what happened, because it was so rare and then the numbers were getting higher and higher. I totally agree with you. I think we may be over diagnosing Autism just a little bit.

    2. I couldn't agree more with you Jo, and Taylor and Karen! I do think Autism is over diagnosed today, along with ADD and ADHD. We see it all the time at school.

    3. I very much agree that we are seeing a lot more diagnoses of Autism spectrum. I think that part of the reason we see it diagnosed so frequently is the fact that it is no longer limited to severe cases, but is expanded to include far wider range than it did before. I believe that could account for some of the increase in the number of diagnosed Autism since the wider range would definitely encompass more people who's brains function differently than many others. I do believe that there could be something to the idea that we are over diagnosing people as being within the spectrum, as well. It almost seems like any child who thinks differently or who sees the world differently than many other people are diagnosed as being on the Autism spectrum. Like Sharon, I see many students diagnosed with some level of Autism, as well as with ADD or ADHD all the time, and I also have to wonder if all three of them are over diagnosed.

  15. Another factor is that autism is diagnosed more than before. Previously, children on the spectrum were generally shuffled off into Special Education class and taught life skills, with no hope for them becoming contributing adults. Look at the challenges Temple Grandin faced. Now, whenever something looks off (as it was for my colleague, whose son was diagnosed around age 2), pediatricians and specialists look for tell-tale signs, and hopefully intervention/therapy (I can't recall the right word) begins to make it easier for the child to progress and adapt--and helps the parents as well. Plus, there are a lot of areas on the autism spectrum; it's not "one size fits all." People with Asperger's are often highly intelligent but lack social skills, while those who are profoundly affected require more accommodations and assistance (and might have physical problems as well).

    1. YES!!! Karen, I totally agree with you with the Special Ed part and the diagnosis part! I remember in elementary school I always spent half a day, every day with Special Ed and speech teachers. They had very little hope in me and didn't think I would become who I am today, a successful college student working her way to success. I wished I've heard about Temple Grandin before I saw her story in the movie on HBO. She's seriously my role model. Now, you look online and see these incredible stories about children with Autism, and now they have someone to look at and say "If she can do it, then I can do it." And I agree with you when you said that Autism is not as you called "one size fits all." Autistic people act very differently. Not one is the same.

  16. I do think that there are a lot of factors that influence the cases of children diagnosed with Autism spectrum issues, and that it's difficult to narrow it down to any single factor. A rising number of people means that, statistically, the chances of Autism spectrum issues increases. I also believe that there are environmental factors that could be influencing the number of diagnoses of Autism spectrum disorders. Plus there's the fact that the term "Autism spectrum" includes a wide expanse of descriptions, allowing for more diagnoses to fit within that spectrum. There are also a plethora of toxins that kids are constantly exposed to that could be influential factors in the increase in Autism spectrum cases. I very much think that the increase of cases in the Autism spectrum is based on a combination of factors.

  17. forgot to say Happy Birthday to both of u maddy & charlie have a good one !

  18. Sorry I didn't find the time to come back earlier... and you are all now discussing about 2 other also very interesting topics ;-)
    But I really want to share my thoughts about the one Sharon launched before last week's "HaT" about "the decision in the UK to allow three parent babies when a woman has defective mitochondrial DNA which leads to babies with serious problems"...

    I listened and read with great interest all your reactions about it here on the blog and during the show...
    Everyone has of course the right to think and see things on the basis of their own beliefs but I am convinced that opinions are also greatly linked to ones experience and one won't think the same if one is concerned or not, as I previously said...
    So because I really (and unfortunately) know this subject of genetic diseases pretty well, I would like to add a nuance at some of your remarks by sharing my point of view...

    Indeed, some genetic disorders cause only intolerances with no "serious" illness or disability ; others, some difficulties in the daily life that you can mostly or partly control... Okay!
    BUT a big part of them are often affecting more severely, leading to multi-system diseases, or altering stages of development... in this case -because there is no cure right now- you can only rely on maintaining or slowing the degradation of quality of life or autonomy. Some of these diseases even result in death in the more or less long term...

    In this painful discussion for the families who are involved, one shouldn't mix everything.
    It isn't the same to have "Down syndrom" OR "Muscular dystrophy" -often life-threatening ; not the same to deal with "Deafness" OR suffering from "Multiple disabilities"-caused for example by a mitochondrial disease...
    I would like to add that it is also better to drop out any other considerations : I know that in the US some clinics exist where you can choose a donor on frivolous criteria such as hair or eyes color or the IQ, so the concept of "designer babies" can be more significant (and scary!!!) than in France where this isn't allowed ; I understand that the context is different...

    As you know, genetic disorders are mainly inherited diseases. Depending on the types of inheritance --autosomal dominant or autosomal recessive gene, x-linked or y-linked, mitochondrial DNA etc...-- one will have a fluctuating risk to pass on the disease to the next children, but still, we are talking here about a risk from 25 to 100%! Enormous!
    The minimal one is 25% : still 1 risk to 4! And please know that you can find yourself stuck in that "1 to 4 risk area" with each pregnancy if you aren't lucky!

    (to be continued on next post)

  19. So in addition to take care of your sick child his/her all life with tiny perspective to cure him/her (although research is ongoing, treatment options are currently limited right now), or even accompanying him/her until his/her last breath, you have to take the risk to have another one just as ill?!?!
    Or never have other children ever?!?!

    Another possibility is to be tested during the pregnancy but then you have to accept to maybe undergo medically-motivated induced termination (please note that the prenatal diagnosis can't be done before 11 weeks minimum for the moment) : there are consequences, very painful ones!
    In some countries you can also count on a pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), maybe one of the "softer" solution offered to those families affected by genetic deletions... but still, as the wikipedia article writes it (I couldn't say it better) "this method raises strong often conflicting opinions of social acceptability, particularly due to its eugenic implications".

    So... tough situation isn't it?
    In my opinion, it is ONLY with regard to these described perspectives that you can really comprehend this medical search result in UK that Sharon was talking about... and even see it as an important (positive) step!
    Exactly the same with "gene therapy"! Hopefully the doctors will be soon able to correct genetic disorders... it is not playing the role of Dr Mengele! It is simply cure serious illness of innocent children who have ask nothing! Who are only being VERY unlucky!

    Most of the parents are fortunate : their genetic brewing (mixing) process during the conception of their child goes well.
    But please know that we are all containing genetic bugs : as I just said, most of the time, it is going well, but sometimes the partner with whom you want to found a family, the love of your life, has the same deletion, and sometimes furthermore if the hasard is doing wrong, the defect will be passed on...
    It can happen to everyone!

  20. PS : and nobody knows which genetic bugs it has in itself, and nobody knows if its partner has the same deletion or not... until the corresponding disease occurs in its child at different ages (baby, child, youth, adulthood)...

  21. I agree Nadia, that none of us know what we would do unless it happened to them. And if it did happen, I would hope that I would have the right to do as much as I possibly could to save a child from an early death or a life filled with health challenges, and to choose to have a healthy child.
    Thank you for your heartfelt comments.

  22. Charlie,I need to forward my apologies ahead of time that I will miss your show today,but I have a funeral service to attend today for a friend that was like a father to me.His death include gruesome details which I will exclude,but we are having the burial service for him today @ 3PM so I request that you keep us in prayer.My friends name was Bryan and his family and I will miss your show.I especially gain so much from your insight.i will try to catch up with you in the archives after the show and the wake for Bryan,tonight.If I could listen in I was going to call live today to wish you a belated LIVE birthday and an early LIVE Happy Valentines Day you,Cynthia


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