Vaccines: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver – Transcript

The benefits of vaccines far outweigh the minuscule risks, but some parents still question their safety. John Oliver discusses why some people may still feel uncertainty about childhood vaccinations.
Vaccines: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
Season 4 Episode 17
Aired on June 25, 2017

Main segment: Vaccine safety
Other segments: Lawsuit over coal segment from episode 105, possible existence of Trump–Comey recordings, Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017

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[John] Welcome to Last Week Tonight. I’m John Oliver. Thank you for joining us. Look, before we begin: you may remember, last week, we did a story about coal, the reason Dick Van Dyke looked like he spent all of Mary Poppins in blackface. One of the coal company CEOs that we mentioned was not particularly thrilled with how the piece turned out.

Oliver is the target of a lawsuit by one of privately-owned coal company. Oliver strongly criticized Murray Energy Corporation and CEO Robert Murray on his show Last Night Week Last Week Tonight.

[John] It’s true! We here at the show “Last Night Week Last Week Tonight” are currently being sued by Bob Murray, CEO of Murray Energy. I desperately want to talk to you about this tonight. But our lawyers suggested that the courts be the venue where we work this out. But I promise we will tell you all about this, as soon as it is over. Of course, Mr. Nutterbutter will get a chance to tell his side of the story. Of course he will.

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[John] But for now, for now tonight, let’s move on to President Trump, two words that don’t belong together, but that we’re all getting used to hearing out loud, like “Instagram celebrity” or “Ansel Elgort”. Back in May, Trump suggested on Twitter that he may have tapes of his conversations with deposed FBI director and Slenderman alter-ego James Comey. On Thursday, Trump finally admitted that he had no such tapes and offered up this rationale for his claim.

[President Trump] Well, I didn’t tape him. You never know what’s happening when you see that Obama administration and perhaps longer than that, was doing all of this unmasking and surveillance you read all about it. I’ve been reading about it for the last couple of months, about the horrible situation with surveillance all over the place, and you’ve been hearing the word unmasking, a word you probably never heard before. So you never know what’s out there, I don’t have any tape and I didn’t tape.

[John] What the fuck was that? Whenever Trump talks, it’s like a cross between a lottery machine that spits out words and a Speak-and-Spell that just fell into a toilet. But he wasn’t done. Trump had not yet explained the strategic brilliance of how his tweet influenced James Comey. Wait for the reporter’s follow-up at the end.

[President Trump] When he found out that there may be tapes out there, whether it’s governmental tapes or anything else and who knows, his story may have changed, you’ll have to take a look at that, because then he has to tell what took place at the events, my story was always a straight story, my story was always the truth, but you’ll have to determine whether or not his story changed, but I did not tape. It was a smart way to make sure he stayed honest, in those hearings. Well, it wasn’t very stupid, I can tell you that. “It wasn’t very stupid.”

[John] Let’s break down what just happened there. First: world-class reporting, Fox News, you really held his feet to the fire there. Second: he seemed justifiably taken off-guard by that compliment. Third: think about what he just said. He didn’t just casually admit to misleading the American public. He also implied that doing so may’ve swayed Comey’s testimony which, if that was his intent, could constitute witness tampering. He then implied he made Comey tell the truth about their conversations, seemingly verifying Comey’s account, which is incredibly damaging to the president. Trump might be right, it wasn’t “very stupid”. It was extraordinarily stupid. All this served to distract from the important business in Washington concerning the Senate’s new Obamacare replacement bill, the “Better Care Reconciliation Act”, released on Thursday, and denounced by many Democrats. Obama took to Facebook to say: “it would raise costs,” “reduce coverage, roll back protections and ruin Medicaid as we know it.” Obviously Obama objects to repealing the ACA. His parents literally named him after Obamacare. Of course he would say that, so put that aside. Meanwhile in the senate Chuck Schumer engaged in some spectacular prop comedy.

[Sen. Chuck Schumer] When the White House passed their health care bill, a bill that President Trump called “mean”, I thought it wouldn’t be possible for the Senate Republicans to conjure up a bill even worse than that one. Unfortunately, that is what they have done. Meaner. Can you read it? Do I have to color it in? How’s that? Right there. “Meaner”.

[John] My God. Now, if political theater were actual theater, it’s the equivalent of someone falling to their death in Spiderman: Turn Off The Dark. As for the contents of the bill, it is set to hurt a lot of people. BCRA preserves much of what was objectionable in the House bill, like deregulation for insurers to drastically cut their coverage. When it comes to Medicaid spending, this new version is, in some ways, even harsher than it was before.

[CNN Live] The House bill would end Medicaid expansion in three years and give states a block grant to fund Medicaid as they see fit. The Senate version phases out Medicaid expansion more slowly, starting in 2021, but makes deeper cuts to the overall program by reducing federal funding over time.

[John] So the House bill would cut Medicaid relatively quickly, the Senate bill would do it slowly, but far more drastically. Both options are deadly. It’s choosing between getting run over by a drunk driver or getting run over by a drunk elephant. That elephant has been going through a rough patch since her divorce. That’s right, I said “her”. Hashtag “lady elephants can commit involuntary manslaughter,” hashtag “feminism”. Those cuts will have massive impacts right now, Medicaid covers 20% of all Americans, 49% of births, 60% of children with disabilities and 64% of all nursing home residents. Unless you are a professional beach volleyball player with a vasectomy, estranged from his family and who plans to jump into a volcano at age 35, you or someone you know desperately needs these services. Some Republicans have come out against this bill in its current form. Some, because it’s too harsh, others, because it is not harsh enough. And of course Ted Cruz is in that group. Of course he is. He is the only man in history whose personality somehow contracted bedbugs. I would be very careful relying on those politicians to hold out. Just this morning, Rand Paul suggested he might vote for the bill if they needed him and Ron Johnson said he wasn’t a “no”, he was just a “not yes yet”. Isn’t so much a courageous stance as it is not a cowardly stance yet. You should be wary of any coverage with this kind of tone.

Today on Face the Nation, The Republican Senate health care bill is on life support.

Is the plan to repeal and replace Obamacare on life support?

A Senate plan that is dead on arrival.

It would seem the Republican version of the bill is dead on arrival.

[John] Oh, that’s great, it’s dead on arrival. Then kick back and relax everyone, I haven’t felt this confident about an outcome since Tuesday, November the 8th, 2016. The point is, there is every chance that absent huge effort to stop it, this bill may well pass. So resisting complacency would be, to borrow a truly moronic phrase, “not very stupid, I can tell you that.” And now this.

* * *

And now: The ongoing controversy over WNEP 16 Scranton’s backyard train. Talk back callers seem to be obsessed with the train in our backyard. I would just like to know whose idea it was to put a train in the backyard. I’m trying to watch the news and hear the weather and it’s distracting. I’m calling about your train! Keep the train rolling, baby. How ’bout making this train go the right way? Now is the wrong way. We don’t care if it’s going backwards or frontwards, we just enjoy it. That trolley keeps blowing over because it’s not supposed to be there. The train’s supposed to be there, not the trolley. Tell that guy that complained about the trolley being on, conductor can put anything on the track he wants to. Shut up and go do your supper dishes. What is going on with the train? It hasn’t been running in weeks. I wish that I could put a quarter stick in that train and blow it up. We’re calling again. Your train is not running once again. I’m so sick of these idiots worrying about the stupid train in the backyard. Your news show is on so many times during the day that you oughta just take one of those half hours and play nothing but a video of a train running around in a circle. Maybe that would pacify these idiots who call when the train isn’t running.

* * *

[John] Moving on. For our main story, we’re going to talk about vaccines. Or, as the “fun doctor” at your family practice puts it: “Shots! Shots!” Seriously, there’ll be a slight pinch. Vaccines are humanity’s most incredible accomplishment and they’ve saved millions of lives. There was a time when a new one was a cause for huge celebration.

Dr. Jonas Salk discovers a vaccine that promises to wipe out childhood’s crippling and killing enemy, polio. Anxious parents are thrilled and grateful, responding to one of the greatest mass inoculations in medical annals.

[John] It’s true, people lined up for the polio shot like it was an iPhone! Although, for the record, Polio was never “childhood’s most crippling enemy”, because that was and will forever remain: “accidentally seeing your father’s penis.” Despite their success, small groups are skeptical and vocal about vaccines. Their voice has been amplified by the human megaphone that is the president of the US.

[President Trump] I am in favor of vaccines. But I want smaller doses over a longer period of time. You take a baby in, and I’ve seen it, and I had my children taken care of over a long period of time, same exact amount, but you take this little beautiful baby… It looks like it’s meant for a horse, not for a child.

[John] Trump, on the campaign trail, raising doubts about vaccinations. A sentiment he’s also expressed online, with a tweet reading: “tiny children are not horses.” That is an assertion that PolitiFact rates: “I guess technically we’ve gotta give him that, but, good grief.” You know this: it is not wise to take health care advice from a man who has willingly sought care from this doctor, who looks like he sneaks into a Senor Frog’s to fucks the mozzarella sticks. It is not just Trump who is skeptical and those concerns have driven some people to extremes. In 2011, some parents made headlines by taking what they saw as a more natural route to immunizing their children.

We’re talking about parents who are taking used lollipops, saliva and pus-soaked clothing from complete strangers and deliberately infecting their children.

[John] Setting aside the grossness of parents infecting their kids with lollipops, that graphic has an unfortunate misspelling, “swapping spit and passing puss” sounds like the sex talk that Kid Rock would give his teenage son. You’re gonna wanna swap some spit and pass some puss, but if you don’t throw a raincoat on that devil dog it’s gonna be scorch city for you, buckaroo. We just had some quality time. While it is important to remember that the vast majority of parents are making sure their children get vaccinated on time, the voices of those who don’t, carry. Any internet search about vaccines will quickly lead you down a frightening rabbit hole. The background hum of doubt can make some parents understandably nervous.

I’m concerned about how many vaccines we have to give our children at once.

I will do them, but I’m debating the age. When should I have them done?

There’s so much information there, I don’t know who to ask. There’s no such thing as an unbiased source.

At least 10 percent of parents delay or skip some shots. Around one percent don’t vaccinate at all.

[John] Parents get so much information, it is hard to know what to do. Should you vaccinate? Should you eat the placenta? Should you let kids cry? And the answer to those, are yes, no, and absolutely, because the more they cry now, the more they’ll be prepared to watch “This Is Us” when they get older. This atmosphere of confusion about vaccines caused real problems. In 11 states, the number of unvaccinated kids is on the rise. And in small pockets, all over America, the numbers can get startlingly high. In the Somali community in Minnesota, the measles vaccination rate for children dropped to 42 percent. And that had very real consequences.

Measles, once eradicated in the US, is now exploding in Minnesota, where many parents won’t vaccinate.

The virus is so contagious that if you’re exposed to it and you don’t have the vaccine, there’s a 90% chance you’ll contract it.

They can have permanent brain damage, blindness or deafness. We wouldn’t vaccinate if this was just a rashy illness. This is a very serious disease.

[John] Exactly: in that community, the number of measles cases this year outpaced the total number in all the US last year. And that is terrible, the only thing Minnesota should have more of than any other state is Garrisons Keillor and people disappointed by the Mall of America. So it’s just a bigger mall and it has two Build-A-Bear workshops? That’s amazing. This memory will last me a lifetime. As will these two bears. From two different Build-a-Bear workshops. We are going to look at why these fears persist and what the consequences of succumbing to them can be. I get why vaccines can creep people out. Vaccination is getting injected by a needle filled with science juice. Pretty much every medical practice sounds terrifying when you break it down like that. An appendectomy means removing one of your organs through stabbery. Antibiotics are poisons used to murder things living in you. And even exercise means forcefully burning up your insides. My point is: the human body is a true carnival of horrors and I’m embarrassed to have one. Much of the fear surrounding vaccines stems from their supposed link to autism. A theory that gained traction in the late ’90s, thanks to a study published in The Lancet, suggesting a link between autism and the MMR vaccine. The study was of just 12 children by this guy, Andrew Wakefield. If you’re wondering why I didn’t say “Dr.” Andrew Wakefield, this is why.

Follow-up studies of hundreds of thousands of children could not find any evidence that the MMR vaccine causes autism. Investigations into Wakefield’s original paper revealed he distorted the data and acted unethically. He’s lost his medical license. The Lancet paper has been retracted.

[John] It’s true: Wakefield made a big splash before having his title revoked. He’s the Lance Armstrong of doctors. Even though Wakefield’s conclusions have been debunked many times, he still gives talks about the supposed dangers of the MMR vaccine. This is him in 2011, talking to the Somali community we saw earlier in Minnesota, and presumably ending his speech with: “trust me: I’m a used-to-be-a-doctor.” Wakefield is not the only voice raising alarms about vaccines. He has company from across the political spectrum, from Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on the left, to Alex Jones wherever the fuck he fits in, to even this guy.

You can’t make people do procedures that they don’t want. The parents have to be the ones to make decisions for our kids. It can’t be the government. Against Nuremberg Laws.

[John] Rob Schneider performing an impromptu rendition of his character: “the annoying guy who is wrong.” Despite his misunderstanding of what the Nuremberg Laws are, and what constitutes acceptable headwear for a grown man, Schneider has spoken out against mandatory vaccines for years, calling this California state assemblywoman to debate the issue, prompting her to post on Facebook: “that is 20 minutes of my life I’ll never get back arguing” “that vaccines don’t cause autism with Deuce Bigalow, male gigolo.” Sure, it’s funny. But, you know, hold on, lady. Let’s not sully the good name of Deuce Bigalow because of something that his portrayer, Rob Schneider, said. That’s like implying William Wallace doesn’t trust Jews or Officer Nordberg is a murderer. Try and separate the two. These days, very few people will say they are completely anti-vaccine. Instead, like the president, they’ll say: “I’m not anti-vaccine… but.” And it’s what comes after that “but”, that we need to look at tonight. One example is: “I’m not anti-vaccine, but I am pro-safe vaccine.” And that can often refer to concern over scary-sounding ingredients, like thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative. RFK Jr. has led a crusade against it, just this year, he gave a speech where he said this.

For 33 years I’ve been working to get mercury out of fish. Nobody has ever called me anti-fish. I want mercury out of vaccines, I should not be called anti-vaccine.

[John] Why would anyone be ashamed to be called anti-fish? Fish are stupid. How do I know that? Look at them! Just look at this idiot! It’s not just him, check this moron out, and while you’re at it, what about this dimwit? Here’s another bonehead. I’m pretty sure this dunce didn’t make it past the third grade. This doofus isn’t curing cancer. That’s right! Come at me, fish! I’m sorry, you can’t, can ya? And that’s because, after five hundred million years, you haven’t figured out how to breathe. Fuck you, fish, it’s easy. I’m doing it now. Ea-sy. You don’t’ know me, fish. Get out of here. More importantly, in fact, much more importantly, the mercury that has been used in vaccines is not the same kind that is harmful in fish. There have been multiple large studies finding no link between thimerosal and autism. Perhaps most importantly of all, since the early 2000s, it has been removed as a preservative from all vaccines for infants, except for the flu vaccines and even there, thimerosal-free versions are available. We spent time and energy solving a problem that never existed. It’s like spending years fighting to get marshmallows out of Lucky Charms, because a few people think minions can choke to death on them. For a start, marshmallows dissolve and minions don’t exist, and if they did, I would want them to choke to death, ’cause those little fuckers will murder us. Open you eyes! If you’re thinking: if it wasn’t harmful, why was it taken out? There was intense public concern amplified by people like then-congressman Dan Burton, making arguments like this.

I have yet to find any scientist who will say there is no doubt that the mercury in vaccines does not contribute to autism. They’ll say there’s no scientific evidence, there’s no studies or anything that proves that yet. Turn that around, there are no studies that disprove it, either.

[John] Here’s the thing. Proving a negative is an impossible standard. And that is also a slippery slope. Because it means that I can say you, Dan Burton, are a donkey fucker. You dress up donkeys in cheerleader outfits and you fuck them. It’s what you’re into. And you do it all the time. And you will say to me there is no evidence of me doing that. But I would say: turn that around, there’s no evidence of you not doing that, either. See, Dan? This is not a road you want to go down. The thing is, that donkey-fucker’s remarks actually get at why scientists can be at a real disadvantage in this debate. Because they are careful in how they present their conclusions.

Science and English are not really the same language. And so when a scientist says, we have no evidence there’s a link between vaccines and autism, what they’re really saying is, we are as positive as someone can humanly be that there’s no link. One thing that I sometimes do when I’m talking to parents is say, I’m as confident that there’s no link between vaccines and autism as I am that if I walk off this building I would not be able to fly.

[John] Right. And that is about as clear as you can be. If your doctor does believe they can fly, run. They are either crazy or they are R. Kelly. If your pediatrician is R. Kelly, vaccines are the least of your problems. I know that some will say that the real problem is that scientists are being paid by pharma companies to hide the problems with vaccines. You can find countless memes about how the system is corrupt, some of which feature a very smart looking cat. I’m not saying there are not problems with big pharma. There absolutely are. We have discussed them before. But on the rare occasions when there have been issues with vaccines, they have been pulled and fast. I know that that explanation will still not satisfy some. There are gonna be some toxic comments below this video, alongside the usual ones about how I look like an owl who can’t get a date for prom, or that I probably live alone, surrounded by jars I’m too weak to open by myself. You’re laughing too hard at that. And those comments will link to the hidden truths about vaccines and demand to know why I didn’t look into them. We did look into a lot of them and the problem is I could go point by point and be talking for hours tonight and this will still never end. It’s like whack-a-mole. As one theory goes down, another pops up. I kind of get the insistence that there must be a link. The age children are supposed to get the MMR vaccine happens to be the same age that signs of autism can appear. But correlation is not causation. That is what scientific studies are for. And remember: they are really clear, that link is not there. And the problem with spending more and more time and money trying to prove that link is that it takes resources away from studying actual causes and treatments. Listen to the mother of one child with autism, who started a foundation, she wanted to find out the causes.

We have dozens of studies! We were right to look at whether vaccines might be a cause of autism, but there comes a point where there is so much evidence, none of which shows any link between vaccines and autism, that you have to say, enough!

[John] That’s right. It’s like that Einstein quote you sometimes see on Internet: “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again” “and expecting different results.” Except Einstein didn’t say that. Because memes aren’t facts. If you won’t take that from me, take it from this smart-looking cat. That hum of doubt is hard to shake off. Some parents agree with the president and they favor hedging their bets, and skipping or spacing vaccines out, just in case. 93 percent of pediatricians say they’ve been asked by parents to do that. And one of the places that that idea may be coming from is a pediatrician named Dr. Sears. Not Bill Sears, the famous doctor and author, but his son: Bob Sears. Dr. Bob has made a name for himself with what can seem like a sensible approach to address worried parents’ concerns.

[Dr. Sears] I’ve put together my alternative vaccine schedule. It’s a way to get a baby fully vaccinated, but in a manner that spreads the shots out a little bit.

[John] And that sounds like a decent compromise. It’s the middle ground position, right? The middle ground between sense and nonsense. It’s like saying, it would be crazy to eat that entire bar of soap, so I’ll just eat half of it. Enthusiasm for spacing vaccines out stems from some parents’ belief that children these days get too many shots, too soon, perhaps best summed up by this meme of a doll full of needles. If that’s how they were given, I would oppose that. Let’s break that fear down. While children do receive more shots than they used to, the number of antigens in those shots or the substances that induce the immune response has greatly decreased, and it’s a drop in the ocean compared to the thousands of foreign antigens a child encounters every day. Watch a child for five minutes and see if they don’t eat friend’s boogers, put their entire mouth over the water fountain or try to kiss a raccoon they just found in a dumpster. My point is: children are fucking disgusting. Sears admitted his approach is not based on scientific research.

Where is the published, peer-reviewed evidence to support the notion of a, quote, overload, if you follow the CDC-recommended schedule?

[Dr. Sears] Chris, I don’t think there is any such research and I actually never claimed there was. I have put out there clearly in my writings that my precautions on spreading out vaccines are theoretical. It’s a theoretical benefit to kids and it’s a choice that a lot of parents feel more comfortable about and might bring more parents to vaccinate if they spread the shots out more than the regular schedule.

[John] Except your job is to make sure children don’t get deadly diseases, not to make parents comfortable. You’re a pediatrician, not a flask of whiskey tucked into a baby Bjorn. Dr. Bob sometimes seems to be trying to have it both ways. While he says he is pro-vaccine and that he doesn’t tell parents to skip or delay important shots, his book just happens to include an alternative vaccine schedule and a selective vaccine schedule. And on that one, you can get vaccinated for measles as late as ten years old. Every once in a while, he’ll drop a line like this.

[Dr. Sears] My statement I like to make on vaccines and autism is that vaccines don’t cause autism, except when they do.

[John] I know that sounds like equivocating bullshit, but: opportunistic quacks writing books that fan flames of people’s fears don’t cause a legitimate public health hazard… except when they do. While the benefits of Dr. Sears’ plan are, as he says, theoretical, the dangers of spacing vaccines out are very real. CDC says spreading shots out puts children at risk of developing diseases during the time that shots are delayed. Some of those diseases are dangerous. Measles was responsible for over 130 000 deaths worldwide in 2015, partly because it is ridiculously infectious. I’m talking, “Happy” by Pharrell infectious. I just said that, and it’s already stuck in your head now. Cause I’m happy. That’s how infectious measles is. One way we can keep measles at bay is through herd immunity, the concept whereby, the more people who are vaccinated, the harder it is for a disease to spread. But the margin for safety there is smaller than you may think. Most experts say that the herd immunity threshold for measles is around 95 percent. But when, in France, that dropped to 89 percent a few years back, this is what happened.

In 2007, there were around 40 cases of measles across France. Then, in 2008, a 10-year-old girl returned from holiday in Austria. She went back to school and played with some friends. Several days later, the girls became ill. The measles infection spread from district to district, infecting the susceptible population. In 2011, there were almost fifteen thousand cases; at least six people died.

[John] Okay so that clip proves two things: one, a decrease in herd immunity can have devastating consequences, and anything is terrifying if you play children singing Frere Jacques underneath it. I guarantee you that’s true. Look at what happens when you add that underneath this stock footage.

There’s no way those kids are not about to be decapitated by a stop sign. And if you are thinking, that is a chance that I’m willing to take. I’m making this choice for my child, the thing is, you’re not. You’re putting at risk kids like Rhett Krawitt. He was diagnosed with leukemia at age 2, his immune system was weakened he couldn’t be vaccinated, meaning if he picked up a serious disease, it could be fatal. I’ll let his mom take it from here.

When he was first diagnosed he was pulled out of society. We avoided highly concentrated groups of people. When we went out, we wore a mask. We did limit his exposure. We were so excited for the day when he could start kindergarten so he could have that sense of socialization and community and learning.

A year into remission and back in school, Rhett will soon be healthy enough to be fully vaccinated. Until then, his life depends on herd immunity.

[John] Exactly. So by getting vaccinated, you’re helping and protecting those who are most vulnerable, like sick people, and newborns too young to be vaccinated. Why would you choose not to do that? I believe Jesus Christ put it best when he said: “do you need some sort of wise quote to convince you on this?” Just, like, don’t be a dick.” I honestly know that for some people this is still hard. But what can help is to try and anchor yourself to what we know to be true about the risks of vaccines. When it comes to autism, again: there is no link. And even when it comes to other serious side effects, it is literally, according to the CDC, close to one in a million. I know that in a way that’s not helpful because every parent thinks their child is one in a million. Your child’s odds of being convicted of murder and eventually executed by the state are only 1 in 119 012. And if that makes you feel even worse, just cheer up: maybe your child will be one of those murderers that never gets caught. They’re very smart. Maybe. Maybe one of the biggest problems is that when people hear about vaccines so much of the emphasis is on non-existence or wildly unlikely harms and we tend not to talk about the very tangible good that they do. Nobody is going on Facebook to post “didn’t get polio again today! So lit!” Maybe we kind of should, it is easy to forget the benefits of vaccines are enormous.

What we have seen in the industrialized world is all of the major epidemics, they’ve vanished. Moms today have every expectation that their beautiful little baby will live and not be polished off by diphtheria, by tetanus, even, occasionally, by measles. That is the transformation in young lives that vaccines have wrought.

[John] And that is a really good point, only slightly undercut by him using the phrase “polished off”. You’re talking about babies, not a rack of ribs. It comes down to this. It is likely that at some point, you may hear scary vaccine stories from other parents or on the Internet. It is hard not to be terrified when you encounter it. That is partly because parenthood in general is fucking terrifying. I’m someone who is scared of literally everything, the dark, the light, heights, depths, confined spaces, wide-open spaces, strangers, intimacy, spiders, and a sudden lack of spiders. But for what it’s worth and if this helps at all: I have a son. He is 19 months old. He was born prematurely, and I’ve worried about his health and I still worry about his health. But we are vaccinating him fully on schedule. If I can overcome the temptation to listen to the irrational shouting of my terrified lizard brain, then I believe that everyone can.

* * *

And now this. Seriously: the people of Scranton are very invested in WNEP 16’s backyard train. Our backyard train continues to be a debated topic in Talkback 16. I see Kurt in the backyard, the train is down to just the locomotives. What happened to the passenger cars? So much for buying that, a new train that was supposed to be indoor, outdoor, weatherproof with sound and smoke. You are all talking about the snowstorm in the backyard and all I can see is that poor train engine, the poor little thing spazzing out, too worried about his tracks getting all covered up. Can you give him a little home or something? I’d like to see that train running in the backyard, even with the snow. You get the weathermen out there to clean that track off. I turned the news on and I saw the train running. I am so happy. Thank you. I could come through the phone and give youz all a big hug. I’ve been enjoying the Talkback 16 segments. I think Jon Meyer is the one who is shutting down the train to distract from the terrible reviews he’s getting on Talkback 16. It’s just another example of fake news. That’s our show. Thanks for watching. We’ll see you next week. Goodnight!


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