Saturday, November 17, 2007

If I Lived in Maryland, I'd Be in Jail..

Parents face jail for not vaccinating their kids

Maryland judge will give choice of getting children shots or facing penalty

updated 1:53 p.m. MT, Fri., Nov. 16, 2007

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. - Two months into the school year, more than 2,000 students in this suburban county outside the nation’s capital had yet to get the shots they needed to attend class. So the school system decided it was through playing nice.
Parents in Prince George’s County have been ordered to appear at a special court hearing Saturday where they will be given a choice: Get their children vaccinated on the spot or risk up to 10 days in jail and fines.
It is one of the strongest efforts made by a U.S. school system to ensure its youngsters receive their shots.

Prince George’s County school officials and prosecutors said parents have been duly warned about the need for vaccinations over the past year. They said the goal isn’t to throw parents in jail but to protect public health and get kids who have been barred from school back to class.
“How can you in good conscience allow your child to miss school and their education for no particular reason?” said John White, spokesman for the 132,000-student school system.
At the courthouse, the health department will have a makeshift clinic to administer vaccines. Parents will be given the chance to offer the judge an excuse for why they didn’t get their kids vaccinated. Under Maryland law, parents can obtain exemptions for religious or medical reasons.

Those who fail to show up — and those who fail to offer a valid excuse and still refuse the shots — could be prosecuted under truancy laws and face possible jail time and fines of $50 per day. Prosecutors do not expect to actually charge anyone on Saturday.
“The message is get your kids vaccinated or get an exemption,” said Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey. “You can’t just sit on the fence.”
Barbara Loe Fisher, head of National Vaccine Information Center, a vaccine skeptic group, complained: “It is terrorizing parents. When you have the threat of going to jail, it is hard to make an informed decision.”
Even the judge who opened his court is somewhat skeptical about hauling parents into court.
William Missouri, administrative judge for the county circuit court, agreed to the Saturday session and said it would probably prod some parents to comply. But the problem “may have been ratcheted up to a level it should not have been at this time.”
School officials said that it is not clear why parents are not complying, but that some may have religious or medical objections, while others may have failed to turn in the paperwork, or their kids’ addresses were outdated.
The prospect of stiff penalties appears to have worked already. Last week, when the court notices were sent to parents, 2,300 students had not been properly immunized. As of Friday afternoon, only about 1,100 remained on the list.

Maryland, like all states, requires children to be immunized against several childhood illnesses, including polio, mumps and measles. In recent years, it has required that students up to high-school age be vaccinated against hepatitis B and
chicken pox.
After that, thousands of students — most of them high schoolers — were found to lack the required immunizations. Parents were sent letters and visited at home, and the school system even offered free vaccinations.
“Once the word gets out, it will definitely work,” Bob Ross, head of the parent-teachers association at Surrattsville High School in Clinton, said of the new get-tough approach. “Parents are going to have to set aside some time. Parents have a responsibility to help protect the public health.”

Looks like I would be in the clink. I have no religious or true medical objections to the chicken pox vaccine, only that I think its a waste of time and that it's better for the kids to catch it naturally. Perhaps that is a medical objection, but what business of it is the state if I don't submit my paperwork?

Give me a friggin break. Parents have a responsibility to decide the healthiest course for their own children when it comes to vaccines, and shouldn't have to inform the state of their reasonings or beliefs if they deny all or even just one.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sexiest Man Alive 2007

From People:
George Clooney and Brad Pitt have shamelessly campaigned for him since 2001, but this year's winner was Bourne to the title. "You've given an aging suburban dad the ego-boost of a lifetime," Damon, 37, told PEOPLE, explaining why he couldn't possibly accept the crown – which perfectly demonstrates many of the reasons we chose him in the first place: irresistible sense of humor, rock solid family man, heart-melting humility.
One yummy aging suburban dad! I didn't find him sexy until he did the Bourne movies, and now that he has that haggard, up-with-kids-all-night look, crowsfeet from smiling at his children, he's much better looking than when he was younger. Plus of course, we all know I am partial to blue-eyed, greying blonde men ;)
Enjoy the fluff, read about the runners up.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Butter Chickpea Curry - For Amanda

I found this recipe on, and it is the best homemade curry we have ever eaten. I exaggerate not when I say we were tempted to lick our plates clean, and the kids almost did. The both wolfed this down, which is amazing for my picky princess. Its not spicy, but incredibly flavorful..just fantastic. I had never used the tomato soup before, and it made all the difference in flavor, don't skip it. I halved the salt as well and its just perfect, any more would be gross.

We didn't use potatoes, I served the chickpea mixture over cauliflower instead which even Mike ate because it disguises the flavor enough for him LOL. I can't imagine serving the chickpeas and potatoes over rice, that just makes me shudder actually. Too much, I would think its fantastic with the potatoes in it and you don't need a bed of rice.

I have read of people substituting zucchini or carrots as well, I think the zucchini would be fantastic, I will try that next time.

  • 4 medium potatoes, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed tomato soup
  • 1/2 cup cream or milk
  • 1 (12 ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1.Place potatoes in a saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil over high heat; simmer until the potatoes are tender. Drain, and set aside.

2. Warm oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in onion and garlic, and cook until the onions are soft and translucent. Stir in curry powder, garam masala, ginger, cumin, and salt. Cook for 1 or 2 minutes, stirring. Pour in soup, cream, and chickpeas. Stir in potatoes. Simmer 5 minutes.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Lest We Forget

It seemed weird to be putting up my Christmas tree on Rememberance Day, but we don't talk about the day with Mr K as of yet. War, fighting, peacekeeping, death, these just aren't topics that we have covered yet with him, and it made me realize today, that the meaning of Rememberance Day lay right within that thought of mine.
Mr K has no idea what war is. He doesn't have to huddle down when an air raid siren goes off, or be frisked at military checkpoint while out shopping with his family. He sees no gunfire, hears no screams of the bereaved, feels no pain at the death of a loved one at the hand of war.

I have always been aware and grateful to those who served, to those who have fought in the World Wars to ensure our way of life, our very basic freedoms. We cannot imagine the horrors, the sacrifices of not only their lives, but mothers who lost their sons, wives who lost their husbands and soulmates. Those who worked hard at home, as well as on the frontlines. But to look at my son today and realize that HIS life was directly affected by all this, well, usually only a parent can comprehend why that makes it ten times more meaningful than any thoughts of myself.
So thank you, to all who have served, have died, who fought in unholy conditions, those who have lost someone, you who have sacrificed and to those who are serving in the military as I write. Thank you for the fact that my almost 4 year old has no clue what war is, knows not of death and terror, and most importantly, he has peace of heart, peace in his life and peace of mind. I am more grateful this day then I have ever been.