The measles outbreak has hit New York City. Literature targeting Orthodox Jews is behind it.

The first major measles outbreak in New York State this year may have started in upstate New York, but it’s officially reached the epicenter — New York City.

For several months, officials in New York City have been encouraging members of ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities in the Brooklyn area of New York City to vaccinate their children in an attempt to squash the rapidly growing number of measles cases in the region. In addition to providing education about the vaccine and talking to local rabbis, they have also tried keeping unvaccinated children from attending school.

Despite those efforts, there have been 285 confirmed cases of the infection since September with 21 of them leading to hospitalization. It’s the largest measles outbreak the city has seen in over three decades. So this week, officials took a more staunch approach — Mayor Bill de Blasio declared a public health emergency.


As part of the increased efforts to eradicate the outbreak, the mayor announced that those who refuse to comply with the required vaccinations will face some legal consequences: violations will be issued, and some may incur fines of up to $1,000. As of today, the order targets four zip codes where the outbreak seems to be centralized.

Some individuals claim that vaccinations go against their religion, and the order is unconstitutional. That, however, isn’t deterring Mayor de Blasio from towing a hard line in this worrisome situation.

“This is the epicenter of a measles outbreak that is very, very troubling and must be dealt with immediately,” de Blasio said during a press conference. “The measles vaccine works. It is safe, it is effective, it is time-tested.”

Health officials claim they won’t randomly perform spot checks on students as part of the enforcement. Instead, if a new case of measles is detected, they will look into the vaccination records of all individuals in contact with the infected person. They hope this stringency along with the imposed fines will encourage more people to get vaccinated.

While the outbreak is scary, the entire Orthodox community isn’t to blame. Only a small percentage Orthodox Jews in the area are against vaccinations.

According to the New York Times, most religious leaders in the community do not back anti-vaccination beliefs. Instead, they have been perpetuated by a grassroots movement that may have started with the distribution of a propaganda handbook created by a group called Parents Educating and Advocating for Children’s Health (Peach). The handbook makes many false claims about vaccines, saying they cause autism, contain cells from aborted human fetuses and defy the Kosher diet.

“Vaccines contain monkey, rat and pig DNA as well as cow-serum blood, all of which are forbidden for consumption according to kosher dietary law,” Moishe Kahan, a contributing editor for Peach magazine, reportedly said in an email.

Despite the fact that most prominent rabbis maintain vaccines are Kosher, the literature seems to have still swayed a number of families.

The Times interviewed several rabbis and Jewish medical experts who attest to this, maintaining they have been working hard to educate and influence the people in their community who refuse vaccinations.

However, as has been seen in other areas of the country where measles outbreaks have occurred, those who are anti-vaccination aren’t quick to drop their beliefs. And the required vaccination mandate seems to have made them dig their heels in deeper.

“I don’t think it’s up to the city to mandate anything. We all have constitutional rights,” a mother-of-five who identified herself as Gitty, told the Times. She added that she refused to vaccinate any of her kids, referring to the act as “a medical procedure by force.” She added: “We are marginalized. Every minority that has a different opinion is marginalized.”

Another woman, whose interview outside of the mayor’s press conference was posted on Twitter, called the act “unethical,” maintaining the government has no right to force her to inject her children with medicine.

“This is my religious belief,” her friend, featured in a separate video interview, explained. “It comes along with whatever it comes along and we deal with whatever comes along with and I think I chose the better part of it, because my kids have measles for life,”  she exclaimed.

There are even claims that “measles parties” are being held in the community, in order to expose children so that they can build up immunity and antibodies.

Spreading a potentially deadly disease to other people shouldn’t be anyone’s right.

According to the CDC, the measles vaccination is not 100 percent effective. One dose is about 93 percent, while two offers 97 percent effectiveness. So just because someone is vaccinated doesn’t mean they’re totally immune to the disease.

Refusing to get vaccinated, regardless of the reason, is putting other people’s health and lives at risk, no matter how you slice it. New York City’s approach to the measles outbreak might seem extreme, but at this point, it’s necessary to stop this outbreak once and for all.

Family
Youtube

Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

Most Shared
via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

Keep Reading Show less
Family