The driver of tomorrow is not thinking Green...

The driver of tomorrow is not thinking Green...
He's thinking Classic. (click on photo)


Oct 28, 2009

30 reasons why I Love About My Husband

1) When my daughter needs some extra support during the day, my husband says “no problem!” and goes so I can try & concentrate at the office.

2) When I am busy with another child’s function, my husband says “no problem!” and takes my son to boy scouts AND stays to participate.

3) For the below freezing night he spent in a tent with Ryan so they could experience “man time” with fellow scouts.

4) Hhe waits to watch those horror movies he likes for when I’m not home!

5) He says “what do you want to watch tonight? The Proposal?”. And doesn’t mind that I pick an action flick instead

6) He gets excited about the new 2010 Mustang and makes sure to show it to me on our 24” MAC so I can see all the bells & whistles…

7) He says “we got an offer for a free movie ticket, I’m going to find one for us to go see”.

8) He loves the same things I do – our kids, our family, music, movies, photography, fast cars, exploring, traveling, life and food!

9) He hates exercising as much as I do

10) He’s a night owl like me.

11) He can also be quite an annoying happy morning person too.

12) His positive nature balances out my negative nature.

13) When the kids need something at school, or I've yet again overcommited myself & our time, he’s willing to help out.

14) He stands by my side in the hectic, insane pace of our life and takes care of the responsibilities that come with a family of 7.

15) Because he can make a mean meal!

16) Because he loves to eat ice cream with me in bed after the kids are asleep and we watch our movie of the night.

17) He is extremely creative!

18) He is MATH-ew and our math wizard for homework!

19) Kayla, Kassady and Peyton

20) Fitzgerald (a family name with good memories for me)

21) Because he’s part of the best of my Medford Mid High and Senior High memories.

22) My family loves him more than they love me

23) When I’m emotional, he can listen and cleanly cut through the emotion, get to the problem and help work through it with empathy, logic and understanding.

24) He’s home every night with us.

25) One of my favorite moments is when he’s greasy and grimy from fixing our cars or something around the house. He’s awesome.

26) The scar on his leg from his motorcycle accident on what was suppose to be our first date in 1986.

27) The scar on his hand from electrocuting himself while trying to sell our big screen TV when we couldn’t fit it into the house, which resulted in my first experience of watching skin stitching at the ER. I didn’t even pass out!

28) He went with Kassady to Girl Scouts last night while I stayed home and spent time with the rest of our brood.

29) Whatever I need on a computer, Matt figures it out! He’s a genius!

30) That he gets up every day and continues to try to improve our life in some way.

Oct 27, 2009

FOTF: Your teen & pediatrician

I completely agree - this has been an issue lately with McKenna and some serious drugs the doctors are trying to "encourage" (more like push her in to it) her to take, without any regard to me as the parent. Pretty silly because 1) who do they think will be "buying" the medication? 2) picking AND PAY for the prescription; and 3) making the determination what doctor she goes to? It doesn't make sense with her at 13, for a doctor to alienate a loving, responsible, involved and cooperative parent.

Should a parent expect to be informed of their child's conversation with their doctor?

Teenagers are typically sensitive and modest about their bodies — especially when their parents are around — so I can understand the need for privacy during a physical exam. The larger issue here, however, is the physician's accountability to you as the mother, and at this point, I agree entirely with the position you have taken. Other parents have expressed similar concerns to me.

I'm reminded of a mother who told me that she took her 14-year-old daughter to their pediatrician for a routine physical exam. The mother was aware that her daughter was beginning to develop physically and might be sensitive to her being in the examining room with her. She offered to remain in the waiting room, but the girl objected.

"I don't want to go in there by myself," she said. "Please come with me." After arguing with her daughter for a moment, the mother agreed to accompany her to the examining room.

When the exam was over, the doctor turned to the mother and criticized her for intruding. He said in front of the girl, "You know, you really had no business being in the examining room. It is time I related directly to your daughter. You should not even be aware of the care that I give her or the medication I prescribe. Nor should you know the things that are said between us. My care of your daughter should now be a private matter between her and me."

The girl had been going through a period of rebellion, and the mother felt her authority was weakened by the doctor's comments. It was as though he were saying, "Your day of supervision of your daughter has now passed. She should now make her own decisions." Fortunately, that mother was unwilling to do as she was told and promptly found a new doctor. Good for her!

I have discussed this conversation with several pediatricians, and they have each agreed with the doctor in this case. They emphasized the importance of a youngster having someone to talk with in private. Perhaps. But I object to the autonomy demanded by the physician. Fourteen-year-old boys and girls are not grown, and their parents are still the best people to care for them and oversee their development. It is appropriate for a physician to have some private moments with a young patient, but he or she should never forget to whom accountability is owed.

Furthermore, if greater authority is to be granted to the doctor, the parent had better find out just what he or she believes about contraceptives for minors, premarital sex, spiritual matters and the like. Be careful whom you choose to trust with the body and the soul of your child.

The pace of living is so frantic today that we have become dangerously willing to accept surrogate parenting from a variety of professionals who meander through our lives. Educators, youth ministers, athletic coaches, music instructors, psychologists, counselors and physicians are there to assist parents in raising their kids — but never to replace them.

Oct 15, 2009

Minority Report in real life

Minority Report. The movie that had touch screen technology, before there was touch screen technology. I said "it's coming, it's kind of cool" - some scoffed. And hey, here it is.

Minority Report. Eye recognition as you walk through your life, marketing on the side as the recognition technology identifies you and markets to your personal choice. You still don't think that's happening? Cameras are starting to be placed in towns with face recognition software for "security" (yea, right...). Facebook and all it's little cute tests & quizzes that asks to access not only your information but the information of your friends - profiling. We are inundated with information gathering technology everywhere. Phone number in the Safeway line, for your club card networking... (sometimes I feel like they are cloning me somewhere and I've got to stop answering all those nonsense questions!).

Matt Fitzgerald - predicted 20 years ago that Pete Chadwell would one day use a computer for his drawings (how's that MAC working Pete?) and that music, all our media data would be held on a tiny chip (IPod) and he has told me, a few years ago that he can see a time where a chip will be implanted into our heads and we will simply receive our calls, our media data through that chip...

So it chills my blood a bit when I read something like this...and I dare say, it's a few more then a "smattering" of religious fundamentalist that have a problem with this.

Pay with a wave of your hand?


It's a simple concept, really: You inject a miniature radio frequency identifier the size of a grain of rice between your thumb and forefinger and, with a wave of your hand, unlock doors, turn on lights, start your car or pay for your drinks at an ultrachic nightspot.

The problem is, the whole concept is a little geeky for most of us, nauseating for some, Orwellian for a few and even apocalyptic for a smattering of religious fundamentalists.

Forget the science of it -- and yes, it does work remarkably well. Forget the convenience of it. Forget that similar identifying technologies, from bar codes to mag stripes, overcame similar obstacles and are now ubiquitous.

Radio frequency ID implants face a hurdle the others did not: ickiness.

"There is sort of an icky quality to implanting something," says Rome Jette, the vice president for smart cards at Versatile Card Technology, a Downers Grove, Ill., card manufacturer that ships 1.5 billion cards worldwide a year.

How RFID devices work
The RFID technology is un-yucky, however. The implanted tag -- a passive RFID device consisting of a miniature antenna and chip containing a 16-digit identification number -- is scanned by an RFID reader. Once verified, the number is used to unlock a database file, be it a medical record or payment information. Depending upon the application, a reader may verify tags at a distance of 4 inches up to about 30 feet. The RFID implant has been around for more than 20 years. In its earliest iteration, it provided a convenient way to keep track of dogs, cats and prized racehorses. Few took note or voiced much concern.

Then, in 2002, Applied Digital Solutions (now Digital Angel) of Delray Beach, Fla., deployed to its foreign distributors a beta version of its patented VeriChip technology for human use. Two years later, the VeriChip became the first subcutaneous RFID chip to receive FDA approval as a Class 2 medical device.

One VeriChip distributor in Spain sold the concept to the ultratrendy Baja Beach Club, which offered its patrons in Barcelona and Amsterdam the option of having an implant inserted in their upper arms to pay for their drinks without having to carry wallets in their swimsuits.

Judging by the ensuing outrage, you would think VeriChip had given the pope a wedgie.

'Mark of the beast'?
Web sites sprouted like mushrooms, accusing VeriChip of being the biblical "mark of the beast" predicted in the Book of Revelations as a foreshadowing of the end of the world.

Video: Protect yourself against credit, debit card hackers

CEO Scott Silverman was equally vilified as being tied to Satan or, worse, Wall Street. Big Brother was surely coming, though he'd have to get pretty close to read your implant. Claims that the tags cause cancer based on lab rat tests upped the amps of outrage.

Were people suddenly curious about RFID implants?

Continued: Reaction to the product mixed

"Curiosity is probably an understatement," Silverman concedes. "People have always taken interest in VeriChip. Part of the lore and part of the trouble of this company over the past five years has been just that."

Though VeriChip played no part in using its implant as a payment device, the company quickly moved to calmer waters. Today, it markets its VeriMed Health Link patient identification system to help hospitals treat noncommunicative patients in an emergency. Its future may include more advanced medical applications, including a biosensor system to detect glucose levels.

"A lot of the negative press that we received was a direct result of people having a misconception of what this technology is all about," says Silverman. "We believe that the medical application was and still is the best application for this technology.

"That said, if and when it does become mainstream and more patients are utilizing it for their medical records or for diagnostic purposes, if they want to elect to use it for other applications, certainly they'll be able to do that. But it's going to take a company much larger than us to distribute the retail reader end of it into the Wal-Marts of the world." Versatile's Jette has watched contactless RFID battle for acceptance in the credit card arena. Just as Silverman suggests, the dynamics and scale of the payment industry tends to work against widespread deployment.

"Mobil Speedpass tried to do it; they got some traction and decided to see if there was any mileage to take this to a Walgreens or McDonald's. You used to be able to use your Speedpass at McDonald's, but that ended because, at the end of the day, you still only have two gigantic payment processors out there, Visa and MasterCard," he says. "To me, the idea of any kind of payment device having ubiquity requires an awful lot of back-end cooperation, of people willing to say, 'I don't need my brand in the customer's wallet.'"

Although the coolness factor is effective from a marketing standpoint -- American Express Blue with its smart (if largely unused) chip is a good example -- Jette says most cardholders would balk at the very thought of a needle.

"With the implanting in the nightclubs, there is (some) cachet of exclusivity there, especially among a certain demographic where people are piercing themselves and getting tattoos. But those are things that really only 20-somethings do a lot. I really doubt that there will be any market for injectable RFID tags or even any single point-of-sale payment device."

Video: Protect yourself against credit, debit card hackers

"A lot of times, the technology is a solution looking for a problem. Sometimes people fall in love with the technology for its own sake and then try to evangelize a home for it. My business group is just smart cards, and I never forget that although we make money with smart cards, the bills are paid with mag stripe cards. As backwards and old-fashioned as they are, that is still the bulk of what the transactions are going to be in America for a very long time."

This article was reported by Jay MacDonald for

Oct 14, 2009

What your youth pastor and the Verizon guy have in common

Dare2Share - Greg Stier -

You’ve seen the commercials. The guy with the clunky glasses shows up out of nowhere with the network of people standing behind him. He gently reminds the naysayer (who is trying to scare the Verizon user with threats of “the dead zone”) that he has a network to support him.

The Verizon guy is my new favorite illustration of what youth leaders are called to be (and what’s awesome is that many of them have clunky glasses too!) Our teenagers are in “the dead zone” every day. They are getting attacked by the flesh and the world all the time. Whether it be sexual temptation, suicidal thoughts or deep-seeded anger many, if not most, of our teenagers think they are in “the dead zone” and, sometimes, they give up and give into the lies of the naysayer (one wild guess as to who he is.) The youth leader is called to show up to rebuke the naysayer and remind the teen that they are covered.

Who is supposed to be in the network that supports these teeangers as they are attacked by the lies of the naysayer?

Moms and dads: According to Deuteronomy 6 God calls parents to be the primary network of spiritual support at home. Parents are called to live out their faith authentically in front of their kids and bring up the faith consistently to their kids.

Christian adults: According to Titus 2 older men and to be a role model for the younger men and older women are to teach and train the younger women. In other words, EVERY Christian adult has a built in next generation responsibility to be a part of the support network for the next generation in their own congregation!

How dare we entrust ten, fifty or a hundred teenagers to a single youth leader to spiritually mentor singlehandedly! It takes a network of godly Christian adults to support the teenagers in the dead zone and ward off the lies of the Evil One. And, no, I’m not just referring to adults who volunteer to help out with the youth group. Of course they play a huge role. But so should every Christian adult in the church! We are all responsible to encourage the next generation, set the pace for them with our lives and do our best to challenge them to live of “uninterupted service” to Jesus.

The Holy Trinity: The primary “network” of support for every teenager is The Trinity. According to Christ’s high priestly prayer in John 17 Jesus invites us into the fellowship of community with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit every single day. He wants us to be one with Him and them as they are one with each other. I don’t know for sure all that means, but it’s pretty awesome. What a blessed fellowship! What a powerful network (do you think “G3″ could stand for the three persons in the Godhead? G3. Get it? Okay maybe not.)

In many ways the youth leader is the point where all of these categories can come together to support a teenager. The youth leader is standing out front reminding the teenager that there is an entire group of adults, parents and Divine personalities supporting them so that they can know they are covered anywhere they go!

Let this illustration serve as a reminder to us as parents and adults that we are to stand behind our youth leader as they stand behind our teenagers. Let’s not leave our youth leaders in the dead zone. They need our support as they support our teenagers.

Let it serve as a reminder to our youth leaders that they can’t do this job alone. They must call forth their entire support network (parents, adults and the Trinity) to get the job done right.

It’s enough to make me want to go out and buy some clunky glasses (on second thought…no.)

Oct 13, 2009

Morning Thoughts

Yesterday morning as I drove Kayla & Sara to school, we got on the topic of age. Maybe it was my impending 41st birthday. Kayla said something like, "well think about how you will feel when you are 52!". I said "you know I was thinking about that just last week, about being on my way to 50! I mean, mentally it seems weird because I still feel like I've always felt-young (never mind the constant back pain, joint aches, groans as I stand up or roll out of bed...). But 50... and Grandpa Bob pointed out to me I'm closer to 60 than 20 and that I have aged hands".

Nice Pa... ;}"

Today driving in to work my random play on the IPod brought up this moving Matchbox 20 song that I love. And it set me on some reflecting. At the end of your life, who will be with you to hold your hand? Who have we touched during our time here? More importantly, will we be there for the one that needs our hand?

My blog definition is conduit and I am constantly striving for information and I suppose, maybe I have a bit of teacher in me because my hearts desire is to pass along the information to help anyone that might need just that message at that moment. As I contemplate the fact that time really is marching on, our family is getting older & growing, our first kids are close to vacating our home, I hope, with deep sincerity that I made a difference somewhere, that those around me know I love them with the fierceness of family and during the battle of life or in the end, when our beauty has faded, a hand will be there to carry us through as we move to the next place of life.

Now Comes the Night:

When the hour is upon us
And our beauty surely gone
No, you will not be forgotten
No, you will not be alone

And when the day has all but ended
And our echo starts to fade
No you will not be alone then
And you will not be afraid

When the fog has finally lifted
From my cold and tired brow
No I will not leave you crying
And I will not let you down

Now comes the night
Feel it fading away
And the soul underneath
Is it all that remains
So just slide over here
Leave your fear in the fray
Let us hold to each other
Until the end of our days

When the hour is upon us
And our beauty surely gone
No you will not be forgotten
No you will not be alone

Oct 12, 2009

Love for the Long Haul - FOTF

by Mitch Temple

I'll never forget the counseling session with Al and Olivia. They had been high school sweethearts and, now in their mid-50s, had been married almost 35 years. Al was about to retire after 25 years at a paper mill. Olivia was a registered nurse. They had three grown children and six grandchildren.

Al sat stone-faced in the corner chair in my office. Olivia fought back tears as she explained why they were there. "Al says he doesn't love me anymore. He's found someone else."

"Al, is this the situation?" I asked.

He cleared his throat and spoke softly, "Yeah, I guess it's so."

I listened as they both explained how they put so much energy into raising kids and building careers that they forgot to love each other and nurture their marriage. After the kids moved out, Al and Olivia never discovered how to reconnect and fill the gap of an empty nest.

Olivia recounted the wasted years of living two separate lives. She confessed that she had neglected Al sexually and domestically. "He poured himself into his job. I poured myself into the kids and my nursing career," Olivia said.

Al added, "We kept drifting apart. I knew what I was doing was wrong; I was too proud to ask for help."

After a brief pause, I quietly asked, "So are you guys going to call it quits after 35 years? Is this the best answer?" Al stared out the window, and Olivia looked at the floor. "You are both believers. Is this what God wants?"

I continued to ask pointed, painful questions over the next three hours. I knew this couple was on the brink of divorce, and I probably had only one shot at helping them.

At one point, tears rolled down Al's rough face as he said, "I think I have gone too far. I don't think I can pull it back together. I don't think Olivia can forgive me. I don't think I can forgive myself. It's too late."

I looked at Al and said, "Al, it's never too late to do the right thing. You and Olivia have too much to give up. God loves you but dislikes the way you are trying to solve your marriage problems—especially when they can be corrected and prevented."
Reality Check

Toward the end of the session, we had made some progress but not enough. Al had to be challenged to make a decision. So did Olivia. Would she take Al back after he had been emotionally unfaithful?

I handed them two pieces of paper. "Al, Olivia, I haven't heard either of you make a strong commitment to work on your marriage. So what I'm asking you to do right now is write a letter to your children and to your grandchildren explaining that you are going to divorce. Be assured that they will want to know why. They have a right; this affects them as well."

I walked out, leaving them to face the truth, and I prayed earnestly. When I walked back into the room 10 minutes later, Al sat with his head in his hands. Olivia sat quietly with her paper in her lap.

"I can't do it," Al said. Olivia shook her head in agreement. The reality that 35 years of irretrievable investments was about to be lost had set in.

For four months, I worked with Olivia and Al, teaching them how to make changes that would bring back intimacy and purpose to their marriage. One of the things that led them to the point of desperation is that they had stopped doing the things that brought them together in the first place.

They had to reconnect with each other by going back to their dating days from the '60s: pizza and a movie every Friday night. Then they learned how to forgive each other for unfaithfulness in similar but different ways. They stopped keeping score of wrongdoings. They connected daily, even when they didn't feel like it.

They began to study God's Word together for the first time in more than 30 years. Instead of fighting to solve problems, they got on their knees and asked God to help them. They resumed intimacy in the bedroom after sleeping in separate rooms for 10 years. They rediscovered the value of touching, listening and walking together.

Two years ago I received a Christmas card with no return address. There was no writing inside, only a picture of Al and Olivia's large family: several young couples, numerous kids and a balding man and a beautiful, mature lady with gleaming eyes that said, "We did it!"

With the right spirit and actions, any marriage can be restored.
This article first appeared in the Midlife & Beyond Edition of the April, 2007 issue of Focus on the Family magazine. Copyright © 2007, Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. International copyright secured.

Oct 7, 2009

Dressing Standards redress...

I wish I did have my head in the sand.

But alas, I need it out with eyes wide open. And I see clearly the blatant sexualization of our society, pointedly targeting our young people - and those that feel strip joints next to Safeco field or naked girls in the WHS student section are a good way to "educate your children".

IF it were only a few girls, I wouldn't have bothered to write the paper. But it wasn't. Just next to us alone there was a large section of girls running up & down the stairs in pretty inappropriate dress. And I mean inappropriate. Shredded shirts? I was pointing out the near nakedness of Woodinville daughters. I don't know about the last 20 years, all I can attest to is what several of us saw & discussed the night we were there and what we've seen allowed at even the junior high over the years.

I have been thanked by numerous parents for my letter to the editor so apparently I'm not a lone voice, just the only one to point it out publicly.

My intent was not to attack or point out any particular department or group. I did not mention the football team, the cheerleaders or the great band. Kudo's to them all - fabulous! Rather, the intent was to address a problem in the student body that seemed district wide, seemingly ignored by administration, which among many of us is disheartening to see at Woodinville. Football is a great sport, one our family loves and this should not be the reason anyone stays home.

I was not allowed to participate as a volunteer for the Homecoming dance last weekend, even though I was encouraged to call because they were begging for parent chaperons. Maybe I should be using a pen name since we'll be in this district for 11 more years. I was told by an ASB adult that 20 parents and "whatever teachers decided to show up" was enough to chaperon 600+ kids and that I could not volunteer. I can't help but find that very interesting indeed.

Maybe, just maybe, a different type of education might take place for everyone, if our girls - at school - were expected to not dress like they were preparing for the show at the local Grab N Go.

Oct 5, 2009

Swine Flu bologna

I almost divorced Matt yesterday. He almost gave in to the need for the flu shot. I looked him squarely in the eye, put my maternal back up and said "if you want to put that in to your own body, go ahead. But this is one area I feel VERY strongly about when it comes to the kids. We don't have a right to put thimeresol in to them and it's not worth it. They aren't going to die from getting the flu and I'm not giving in". He, being a good and smart husband, smiled & let it go.

Now McKenna is sick. With some Swine Flu symptoms. And some regular flu symptoms. So I reluctantly looked up the symptoms of Swine Flu this morning. And?

"Most U.S. swine flu patients have made a full recovery without antiviral drugs." My point exactly.

When the Swine Flu thing hit, I wondered what all the hubub was about. Sure, some people died, but we get the flu, a different strain, every year. And people die every year from the flu. Usually because they have other contributing factors.

And every year we hear about how the flu vaccine may not be the one for the exact type of flu you get. So what's the point of the shot? We stopped getting the flu shot years ago and we make it through every winter.

The Swine Flu quickly gets labeled a pandemic by the WHO (who?), which quickly gets funding from the government to the pharmaceutical companies (who are our friends right? - I mean they have not interest in profit...) to come up with a vaccine.

The media combines with the government to create a panic or "deep concern" among the general population so that we are ready to line up when the vaccination is released.

Then the testing begins... I shudder to think of using myself or my child as a test subject (knowingly) for a new vaccine.

2 weeks ago I hear an ad on the radio about the "flu" and what you can do, blah blah blah - never have I heard so much attention paid to this annual event. I go home and mention it to Matt and then I say to him "ahhhhh, the Swine Flu vaccine is going to be released I bet and they are ramping up the "cause" so people will be "ready" with fear to be injected".

Sure enough, the very next day (maybe it was two), the news report is released that the Swine Flu Vaccine is coming to Seattle.

So for 6 months they will inject this in to people, something that is still at question to serious adverse effects. Just this morning I woke to a news report about 600 kids have been used for testing the vaccine and it'll be years before we know what adverse effects will come of it. Shame on us for allowing the medical industry to use our children as guinea pigs.

Do we really think the pharmaceutical companies will EVER allow a link to be made between vaccines and mental disorders? Do we have any idea how much money they make off of their product? This is probably just as big an issue as the Tobacco companies hiding for years the fact their product was made to be addictive, to ensure their financial survival. The same with the pain killer addiction epidemic that has overtaken our country and teenagers, as pain killers are made readily available for any condition and prescribed and pushed by doctors and the pharmaceutical companies without accountability or responsibility, because it is a revenue generating industry.

So below is a Seattle Times report on the vaccination, followed by a very interesting reader's response.

My family will be staying put. It'll be interesting to see if this "pandemic" of epic proportions creates the need to force citizens to line up anyway.

State lifts limit on mercury preservative in swine-flu shots
By Sandi Doughton

Seattle Times science reporter

In preparation for swine-flu vaccinations next month, Washington's Health Department on Thursday temporarily suspended a rule that limits the amount of a mercury preservative in vaccines given to pregnant women and children under the age of 3.

The preservative, thimerosal, has never been linked to any health problems, said Secretary of Health Mary Selecky. But a vocal minority believes the compound could be linked to autism. The state Legislature adopted the limit in 2006.

Thimerosal has been eliminated from most vaccines in the United States, but it will be added to the bulk of the swine-flu vaccine being produced to stem a pandemic that health officials estimate could sicken more than a third of the state's residents.

Pregnant women and young children are considered at high risk for swine flu, and lifting the mercury limits will give them quicker access to the vaccine, Selecky said.

"It's vital that everyone in a high-risk group has the choice to be vaccinated when swine-flu vaccine becomes available," she said.

About 15 percent of the vaccine supply will be mercury-free, but people may have to wait longer for it to become available.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Thursday that 6 million to 7 million doses of the vaccine will be available the first week in October, mainly in the form of a nasal spray called FluMist.

About 40 million flu shots should be ready by the middle of October, with an additional 10 million to 20 million doses rolling off the assembly lines every week after that for a total of 250 million doses.

"We will have enough vaccine to immunize every American who wants to be immunized," Sebelius said in a briefing. "But it won't all be available at the same time."

The vaccine itself will be free, Sebelius said, but health-care providers can charge to administer it.

Thimerosal will be added to the vaccine because it is being produced in vials that contain enough medication for 10 shots. The mercury compound kills bacteria, lowering the risk that the drug will be contaminated by needles used to withdraw separate doses.

"Every time you introduce a needle, you run a risk of introducing a potential contaminant," said Dr. Tony Marfin, state epidemiologist for infectious disease.

Mercury-free vaccine will be produced in single-dose vials. Nasal sprays do not contain mercury but are not recommended for children under the age of 2 and pregnant women, because they contain live, weakened virus.

An analysis published Thursday also found that the nasal spray is less effective than shots in adults under 50.

Selecky said the law limiting the mercury preservative will be suspended for six months and applies only to the swine-flu vaccines.

Once common in vaccines, thimerosal has been largely phased out in most wealthy nations. Children's vaccines in the United States are almost exclusively mercury-free, single-dose injections.

However, numerous studies have found no link between thimerosal and disorders in children.

Early results with the new vaccine against swine flu, technically known as H1N1, show it quickly induces a strong immune response, and most people over the age of 10 will require only a single dose.

The rate of side effects also appears to be low. Out of nearly 44,000 people inoculated in China, 14 "adverse events" have been reported, all very mild, said Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, director of the World Health Organization's (WHO) Initiative for Vaccine Research.

WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will carefully monitor side effects, she said.

After 1976's mass vaccination against a different swine-flu strain, about 500 people developed a neurological disorder called Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), and some died.

Scientists still haven't figured out why, but there has never again been a connection between flu vaccine and GBS, Marfin said.

Americans are often blasé about flu, with less than half of people — including health-care workers — bothering to get annual shots.

One reason may be that flu shots are not as effective as many other vaccines, offering about 60 to 70 percent protection against the seasonal virus. That's largely because scientists have to guess which strains will be circulating each year.

With swine flu, they know exactly which strain is involved, said Dr. Anne Schuchat, chief health officer for the CDC's H1N1 response. "We would expect the vaccine to be very effective against the disease we are seeing."

But will it be ready in time?

"Right now we're in a race with the virus and the vaccine," she said.

Flu usually peaks in Washington in February and March, but the new swine-flu strain is already hitting the region. Both Washington State University and the University of Washington have reported outbreaks, and absenteeism exceeds 10 percent at some local schools.

The state is working with clinics, doctors, hospitals and others to set up inoculation programs — and bracing for crowds.

"We are expecting high interest," Selecky said.

Sandi Doughton: 206-464-2491 or

Readers Comment (not mine):

"I don't know. The whole thimerosal-autism issue smells bad to me. It's curious to me how everyone in the media and politics is very careful not to mention the stakes involved for the pharmaceutical companies if it was determined that their vaccines were causing autism and the lengths they might go to to protect themselves.

Before 1989 children routinely received only 3 vaccines before first grade. In 1989 the rate of autism was 1 in 2,500 children.

Ten years later in 1999, after much lobbying from the drug companies, the CDC started recommending 22 vaccines before the first grade. By 2003, with the dramatically increased rates of vaccinations, 1 in 166 children were inflicted with autism. It should have been a national crisis.

The CDC and their partner research communities denied the link between vaccines and autism and at first produced a study in 2001 that said the link could be neither accepted or rejected. By 2004, they managed to come up with another test that said evidence seemed to "favor" a rejection of a link.

Even though they were are continuing to strongly claim that thimerosal is harmless, the CDC and the drug companies decided that they should remove thimerosal from vaccines "just in case."

So there *might* be some evidence that after thimerosal was removed or discouraged in child vaccines that the rate of autism dropped by 35%.

I don't know if this is true or not, or if proper scientific research methods were use. What is fishy to me is how swift and vigorous the CDC and the medical establishment is to smear researchers who find anything suggesting a link between thimerosal and autism. It is also fishy that the data is being guarded so closely and denied to the research community.

Did the autism rate in fact drop significantly after thimerosal was removed? This is a very important question. It can't be that hard to get a rough but scientifically valid measure of the autism rate. We are talking about a 35% drop...that should be easy to accept or reject.

The CDC, who owns the data, remains silent. This is fishy.

Instead of finding the truth and real answers, the efforts appear to be applied to building walls around the data and destroying researchers who suggest any kind of a link.

I don't really know one way or the other, but from my remote vantage point, there is something very disingenuous going on.

And now, years after removing thimerosal from vaccines, they are approving it for swine flu vaccinations? For children as well?"

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