Missing in Action: The Week’s Overlooked News Stories

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Ill–received attacks on equality blamed upon business leaders, young people with shingles and why did Academy Award-winning actor Robert De Niro have to take a stand against anti-vaccers? Here’s what might have escaped your notice this week….

In last week’s Missing in Action column, we talked about a piece of anti-LGBT legislation, known as the “Religious Liberty Bill,” which was headed to the Governor of Georgia’s desk. Thankfully, Nathan Deal vetoed that bill amid outrage from gay rights groups and community business leaders. Corporations like Disney, Apple, and Time Warner threatened to change their dealings in the state if discrimination was signed into action. Well it’s 2016 folks and political gall is in long supply. In an act of incredible and laughable hypocrisy, a conservative group is calling Georgia businesses “corporate bullies,” claiming they’ve “declared war” on religion. Just so we’re clear on their position: it’s completely fine to deny basic services to LGBT citizens, but not ok to object to hateful policy by hitting a bunch of backward state legislators in the wallet. Alrighty then.

This week, a member of the BeckySarwate.com team came down with a not-so-fun case of shingles, an adult reactivation of the chicken pox virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people over the age of 60 get the shingles vaccine. Commercials promoting the shot are all over television. But here’s the rub – our suffering staff member is only 35 years-old. In fact she’s the second person in that demographic personally known to us to contract the painful illness within the last nine months. It turns out, shingles ain’t just a middle-aged disease. There are plenty of 30-somethings afflicted with this “older” people problem. In an article published earlier this year, Fox 5 in Atlanta found three women in their 30s struggling with the painful effects of Shingles, left wondering how they contracted the illness. Doctors don’t seem to have any answers, but anecdotally our staff member is certain the multi-prong stressors of career, family and the search for personal fulfillment are a factor in increased shingles cases (and other diseases) among late Gen Xers/early Millennials.

To continue the theme of item #2, you can’t get shingles if you didn’t have chicken pox, and you won’t contract chicken pox if you were vaccinated as a child. Our staff member is infinitely happy that her kids won’t suffer the way she is. Vaccines are good. They prevent horrible maladies like measles, polio, and diphtheria (does anyone even know what that is?). But there are still those who stubbornly ignore scientific fact. In 2010, Andrew Wakefield was stripped of his medical license for linking vaccines to autism in a discredited 1998 study. And now a documentary about Wakefield has been pulled from the Tribeca Film Festival by co-founder Robert De Niro. It seems this is a long-running controversy that just can’t be put to rest. Where’s Jenny McCarthy?

Strangely Sad (April 10, 2010)

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I know better than to get attached to celebrity couples. For one, most of what you see is not real (ahem! Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens). And secondly, it’s usually over before you have a chance to get used to it.

But once in awhile, two stars align and actually get me to care. This week, I was inexplicably saddened to learn of the breakup of Jim Carrey and Jenny McCarthy, coupled for five years. They are both likable, funny people, and always seemed so loving and normal by celebrity standards.

Word is that Jim’s longtime battle with depression, which would often lead him to go AWOL for days at a time, took it’s toll on Jenny. I sympathize. I know from experience how hard it is to keep caring for someone who’s unreachable.