Upstairs Bathroom

We restored the original 1924 (stamped underneath) claw foot tub.  The fixtures are replications with milk glass.  Ginger loves her tub.  This part of the house – above the enrtyway at the top of the stairs we believe was originally open and a sitting area.  A house on the next street has just such a layout.  The tub is dated 1924 so the bathroom wasn’t added until after then, perhaps at the same time as the forced air heating syatem as the vent (in the floor behind the toilet) and the drain pipe share a hideaway in the entryway just beneath.

Sunday, Bloody Sunday

Make no mistake, we are at war.  Those of us living with autism everyday, and those of us whohave to fight school districts, and insurance companies and govenrmental denials, careless bystanders and an apathetic public at large, every day is a struggle and the end is nowhere in sight.  Yet sometimes, hunkered down in your foxholes, you hear about other warrior’s courage and it inspires you to keep fighting.  This is one of those stories. (from Age of Autism)

How Long Must We Sing This Song?
Vicky Debold, PhD, RN

In 1983, the band U2 released an album titled War which includes Sunday Bloody Sunday, a song widely considered to be one of the most powerful political protest songs of all times.  For anyone who doesn’t know the song’s history, it captures the anguish of an observer who witnessed Northern Irish civil rights protesters being fired upon by the British army (lyrics below).

For those of us within the vaccine-injured communities who are fighting on behalf of our children for the basic human right to make voluntary, informed vaccination decisions that are based on sound science rather than ideology, it is a battle.  And it is personal.  Like the victims of the civil war described in Sunday Bloody Sunday, many lives have been lost, our families torn apart, and everyday there’s unbelievable news where indeed, “fact” is fiction and TV becomes reality.

For anyone fortunate enough to be able to attend this weekend’s outstanding Autism One conference and Saturday night’s dinner, they heard my 11 year-old son, Sam, sing Sunday Bloody Sunday.

Sunday Bloody Sunday
U2, 1983

I can’t believe the news today
Oh, I can’t close my eyes and make it go away
How long…
How long must we sing this song?
How long? How long…

‘Cause tonight…we can be as one, tonight…

Broken bottles under children’s feet
Bodies strewn across the dead end streets
But I won’t heed the battle call
It puts my back up, puts my back up against the wall

Sunday, Bloody Sunday
Sunday, Bloody Sunday
Sunday, Bloody Sunday

And the battle’s just begun
There’s many lost but tell me who has won?
The trench is dug within our hearts
And mothers, children, brothers, sisters torn apart

Sunday, Bloody Sunday
Sunday, Bloody Sunday

How long, how long must we sing this song?
How long? How long?
‘Cause tonight…we can be as one
Tonight, tonight…

Sunday, Bloody Sunday
Sunday, Bloody Sunday

Wipe the tears from your eyes
Wipe your tears away
Oh, wipe your tears away
Oh, wipe your tears away
Oh, wipe your blood shot eyes

Sunday, Bloody Sunday
Sunday, Bloody Sunday

And its true we are immune when fact is fiction and TV reality
And today the millions cry
We eat and drink while tomorrow they die

The real battle yet begun to claim the victory Jesus won

Sunday, Bloody Sunday
Sunday, Bloody Sunday

Sam’s story is a common one these days.  He was a healthy, happy, normally developing baby until 15 months-of-age when he experienced a significant physical and social regression after receiving seven vaccines during his well-baby visit.  The following day, he was unable to stand up in his crib, seemed “dazed”, was ataxic and lost interest in walking which lasted for two months, developed chronic diarrhea and progressively lost his ability to speak and all interest in socializing with his family.

In hindsight, I think he suffered from vaccine-induced ADEM (HERE) but it wasn’t diagnosed or treated.  In 2000, at 3 years-of-age Sam was profoundly autistic, non-verbal and mostly disconnected from the world and his developmental pediatrician told me that he would never be able to go to school and would probably be institutionalized.  Even so, he consistently would come running any time he heard the Jeopardy theme song.  As a result, we started music therapy and that’s how he learned to play piano.  If you’re interested, here’s Dr. Wakefield’s intro and Sam’s first two songs (Hedwig’s Theme from Harry Potter and Hotel California):

And here’s Sam’s closing, song, “Rhapsody in Blue” by George Gershwin.

Although I’m very proud of Sam’s courage and what he has achieved, I’m even prouder of the autism community and more broadly, the vaccine-injured communities.  Without the support, hard work and dedication of these communities, I doubt Sam would have delivered the amazing performance that he did.  I happen to think that there’s something rather poignant and ironic about an autistic child soulfully wailing, “I can’t close my eyes and make it go away.  How long must we sing this song? How long?”

In contrast to the song’s lyrics, the vaccine-injured community is heeding the battle call.  And it’s not just the autism community.  As a longtime volunteer for the National Vaccine Information Center (HERE) which has been fighting for vaccine risk awareness and informed consent for nearly three decades and answered thousands of calls from grief-stricken parents the world over including those of previously healthy teenaged girls who are devastated by Gardasil-induced injuries and death, I know that there are many more lining up to for fight for their rights.

And to all who either deny the existence of “broken bodies strewn across the dead end streets” or claim it is only a coincidence that individuals can be seriously harmed by vaccines — we know that this is not true.  These are people whom we love and their lives count.

If this issue is something you care about and would like to hear Sam sing Sunday Bloody Sunday, please come to Washington, DC on October 2–4, 2009 for the upcoming NVIC 4th International Public Conference on Vaccination (HERE).

Bush talks about Burma

Hail to the Chief.  Thank you Mr. Bush for taking leadership in confronting China’s proping up of Burma’s illegal and brutal dictatorship.  I may disagree with you on most of your priorities but I appreciate your work for the Burmese people.

From our friends at US Campaign for Burma:

President and First Lady Visit Burma
Dissidents and Refugees in Thailand

Dear friends,

We wanted to let you know some good news.  President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush just visited Burmese human rights activists in Thailand, 24 hours before they head to Beijing Olympics. The First Lady also made a special trip to refugee camps on the Thailand-Burma border to meet with some of the millions of refugees who have fled Burma’s military dictatorship.

One of our co-founders, Aung Din, today published an opinion article in the Irrawaddy magazine about President Bush’s trip and China’s role in propping up Burma’s dictators.

Burma is an issue in the United States that crosses the fault lines of political parties. We are very glad that Democrats and Republicans have worked together to press for change in Burma.

We very much hope that President Bush, after his meetings, will pressure China to make changes in its policy toward Burma. China is the most important ally of Burma’s dictator Than Shwe, providing him billions in weapons and assistance while blocking the United Nations from .

Despite having to face both the dictator Than Shwe and China, Burmese human rights activists continue to stand strongly in their struggle for democracy. Inside the country they are preparing for the 20th anniversary of the largest uprising in Burma’s history.  Even as the military has put its soldiers on alert, in the last few days dissidents inside Burma have been secretly spray-painting the color red all over the country’s major cities — the color is a symbol of democracy and change in Burma.  We salute their courage and bravery and pledge to re-double our own efforts here in the United States and internationally.

Thank you for supporting the people of Burma in their struggle for human rights!


Aung Din, Jeremy Woodrum, Jennifer Quigley, Thelma Young, Jacqui Pilch