Subject to Change, version 2.0
I'm a goddamed liberal. Deal with it.

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Sunday, July 03, 2005

New Iraqi anti-insurgency forces using tactics reminiscent of the kinds of regimes that need to get overthrown. From the Observer:...The Observer has seen photographic evidence of post-mortem and hospital examinations of alleged terror suspects from Baghdad and the Sunni Triangle...

[War and Piece]
6:21:45 PM    

SCOTUS battle: I'm just wild about Harry

One of the nice things about Harry Reid is that he doesn't look in the mirror and see a President (yeah, Joe Biden, I'm talking about you). Here he is, ever so gently and reasonably setting Bush up: "I am convinced this is an opportunity for the president to bring the country together," Reid said during a news conference at UNLV's William S. Boyd School of Law. "We do not need a lot of...

- Lambert
6:20:49 PM    

Evaluating O'Connor's Evaluation.

Kate's outrage over the Washington Post's feminist assessment of O'Connor strikes me as well-placed. The article, which tries to illustrate the chilly relationship between the women's movement and one of their most emancipated, ceiling-shattering members, starts by probing O'Connor's...

[Ezra Klein]
6:19:57 PM    

And now for something a bit different .

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
More pics here

I gotta say it was a trip watching The Who and Pink Floyd perform last night. For>What's Wrong with These Pictures? Crisis Pictures is a nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization that buys and publishes photos from world trouble spots that the mainstream media don't publish.

News America Now says GOP Senator Rips His Party A New One in an interview published this weekend. It's Chuck Hagel, and the NYT piece is previewed in Editor & Publisher.

You could let ABC/Disney know how you feel about their broadcasting Paul Harvey's Tribute to Slavery, Nukes, Genocide.

The guy who did the research that some took to mean pot causes cancer now says it doesn't.

Ahistoricality sees a personalized license plate.

Play Yellow Elephant Bingo.

Yes, this is the post I was working on when I learned that my mother was dying. As you can imagine, that derailed me somewhat. I had a couple of other posts planned for the day, but I just haven't felt like concentrating. This one was nearly finished before I decided I'd rather scan that picture of my mother and post it, but it didn't really suit my mood after I got the news that she was gone. We apologize for the interruption of services and hope to have them restored shortly.

[The Sideshow]

6:19:12 PM    

Random thoughts on the myth of pussy control.

Lindsay did a fabulous post the other day on how male privilege and the defense of it can blind people to things that should be as obvious on the nose on their face. Case in point--General Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan limiting the traveling rights of Mukthar Mai, the woman who was gang-raped to punish her brother and who instead of killing herself as expected pressed charges against the rapists and has since become quite the hero. Lindsay's point was that Musharraf is so blinded by male privilege that he could not see that Mai is a hero that speaks well of his country--instead he, as is traditional with all patriarchies, is focused instead on the shamefulness of being a victim. (Victims, of course, are shameful because in patriarchies women are blamed for their own victimization.) The parallels to our culture are unmistakeable and the thread got derailed by the same old fight about how much responsibility is on rape victims for their own abuse--of course, the official story is we only blame them to help women understand how not to provoke men to rape.

As usual, I cannot believe how many seemingly well-meaning men defend the practice of blaming victims for their own abuse. I didn't see how men who don't rape really benefit from the belief that men should be considered such uncontrollable animals that women have to restrict our own freedom of movement to stay safe as if we were avoiding walking into the jungle to avoid tiger attacks. After I wrote this post, though, I think I figured it out. The benefit of having male sexuality defined as so uncontrollable and aggressive that rape is inevitable doesn't have a direct benefit to men, but it does have the indirect benefit of contributing to a larger model for understanding heterosexual sex, one where women are blamed when anything goes wrong.

6:18:12 PM    

Wolcott on Lowry. You definitely don't want Wolcott on your case:

To keep the baseball analogies going a bit, Rich Lowry, editor of the National Review, reminds me of a centerfielder backpedaling for a ball destined to land way over his head. Or should I say "backpeddling"?

Twas barely a few issues ago, and he was trumpeting loudly and unambiguously in a NR cover story on Iraq, "We're Winning."

The situation migrated south since then, and today he has an article on NRO hedging, "It's Winnable." So we were were definitely winning in Iraq a couple months ago, and now it's still possible to pull out a win, and presumably a month or two from now it'll be "There's Still an Outside Shot at Winning," and a few months after that it'll be "How We Could Have Won If All of My Previous Articles Had Panned Out."

. . . He also brought a thread of silver lining into the Corner with a post about the latest lousy Iraq poll numbers titled, I am not making this up, "PUBLIC OPINION ON IRAQ--COULD BE WORSE."

If he keeps lowering the bar, he's going to become a limbo master.


Update [2005-7-3 17:57:57 by Armando]: Please click through for the whole post. I've used a lot of his piece, and it is only fair he get the hits.

 [Daily Kos]
6:16:58 PM    

Chellie Pingree: Canada Cozies Up to Big Pharma

The shouldn’t-be-shocking-but-still-is news out of Canada last week that their health minister will attempt to ban the shipment of drugs to the US has the hands of the pharmaceutical manufacturers written all over it. I had an opportunity to discuss this bad news on TV a couple of nights ago on CNN's Lou Dobb's Tonight show. Currently the business of “re-importing” drugs from Canada back to the US is a $700 million dollar leak in Pharma’s stranglehold over total control of drug sales in the US and is getting in the way of their maintaining their status as the most profitable industry in the world.

It is just this simple--Canada, like virtually every other country in the world, negotiates with the pharmaceutical manufacturers to set a reasonable selling price for medications in their country. (To be perfectly clear--this is not “socialized medicine,” not a “subsidy”...this is just a government seeking the best price for its citizens.) And, if your home is in a border state like mine (Maine), the contrast is striking. I have “ridden the bus” to Canada more than once with a group of seniors. For some of them the ride is six to eight hours long, but filling their prescriptions at a Canadian pharmacy can be well worth the trip--and, for a growing number of Americans, the only way to get what they need. The last time I shared the bus with this hearty band, there were 25 seniors buying a three- to six-month supply of the drugs we will all need someday--for heart problems, blood pressure, arthritis. After making their purchases in a cross-border drug store that looked just like one back in Maine, they sat down over coffee to compare their receipts to the ones they had brought from home. Their collective savings were $18,000. I once sat next to a woman taking Tomaxifin, a wonderful drug that has made a life-saving difference for many women with breast cancer. She paid $110 for her 30 day supply at her local pharmacy in Maine, yet in Saint Stevens, New Brunswick, the same amount only cost $12.35. As far as I am concerned, that is criminal and there is just no excuse for it, period. For many people these are life-saving drugs and people really do make choices between buying food and medication every day.

Anyway, you no longer have to “ride the bus” to get the best price. Internet web sites have made it possible for people all over the country to get some of the same discounts and, as they become more widely used and talked about, the more politicians have been hearing from their constituents telling them that they want to pay the discounted prices. Because of this, there are no less than four bills in Congress that would sanction and expand the process of “reimportation” and they have a lot of support from both sides of the aisle. Of course, they also have a lot of powerful opposition from the administration (complete with “embedded” former members of the industry in key positions) and, oh yeah, millions of dollars of opposition from Pharma--spent in a wide variety of ways to influence the process including lobbying, campaign contributions, paying people to write op-eds supporting their position, huge “aren’t we benevolent” media campaigns... I could go on.

(Now I want to be careful not to make too big of heroes out of these same members of Congress. Many of those “fighting” for reimportation of cheaper drugs back to the US were the same legislators who voted for the provision of the Medicare bill that specifically prohibits any negotiating for better prices ... so much for government acting “more like a business.” Can you imagine a law telling Wal-Mart that even thought they were one of the largest purchasers in the world of any product, they were not allowed to ask for a discount??)

Well, in spite of the tremendous opposition, the practice of bringing prescription drugs back from Canada has been growing. Seeing the increasing difficulty of beating the policy makers, Pharma just decided to use their best weapon--fear and intimidation. There have been growing threats that Canada would experience “supply problems” if the volume of drugs shipped back to America continued to increase. Imagine how that feels to a Canadian sitting home wondering if their local drugstore was going to run out of their vital heart medication thanks to Americans looking for cheap drugs--Americans who are only trying to purchase their medications in Canada because American lawmakers have not been as willing to play tough as Canadians.

Anyway, it is all a scare tactic--the only reason that there would ever be a short supply in Canada is if drug manufacturers stopped sending them. And what honest argument could they possibly make for shipping boxes of a critical drug to Detroit but not Alberta??

I watched them do this once back in Maine. When I was a state senator, we passed a bill allowing us to negotiate for better prices (just like they do in Canada). Well, that made them mad. You can probably imagine that “made them mad” is an understatement. So, while they tried to kill the law in court (which, by the way they never did--all the way to the Supreme Court), they threatened to cut off our major wholesale distributor of medications and sent letters to the Department of Health and Human Services. Just to prove they were really tough, instead of marking the shipping labels “Maine,” they just delivered the same drugs to the Pennsylvania branch of the distributor....and let them ship back to Maine.

Here is the long and short of this: What the Canadian Health Minister is doing is wrong and what the pharmaceutical manufacturers are doing is even more wrong. Sadly though, our collective fingers have to be pointed back at the many gutless politicians who have, once again, let themselves be influenced by those handing out campaign contributions and the legions of lobbyists who sadly yield more influence than the millions of frustrated Americans still paying the highest prices in the world for medicine. When we were debating our bill in Maine I think that our governor had the best analogy--he said that it is like you are the one person on the airplane who paid full fare and everyone else is in the cheap seats. Welcome to America--time for a new travel agent.

- Chellie Pingree
[The Huffington Post | Full Blog Feed]
6:15:34 PM    

Evil makes a comeback.

 A couple of Sundays ago, I noted an odd pairing of articles featured in two of our major papers. While the New York Times wrote about the torture houses run by Iraqi insurgents, the Los Angeles Times focused on nearly...

 [Body and Soul]
6:14:18 PM    

This is a Joke, Right?.

The conservatives say that Gonzales isn't conservative enough for them? What the hell do they want? This guy steps on the principles of the Geneva Conventions and sees no problem with using torture, and that's not conservative enough? J. Christ, what would he have to do to win their hearts and minds? I thought they backed this sort of shit. I thought they liked the hard line approach. How...

By (Pissed_Off_Patricia).
9:41:34 AM    

Rape, Pillage, Repeat.

So where did that $8B go? Some interesting answers: The IAMB then spent months trying to find auditors acceptable to the US. The Bahrain office of KPMG was finally appointed in April 2004. It was stonewalled. ‘KPMG has encountered resistance from CPA staff regarding the submission of information required to complete our procedures,’ they wrote in [...]

[Suburban Guerrilla]
9:39:43 AM    

The Living Word.

George W. Bush is not Lord. The Declaration of Independence is not an infallible guide to Christian faith and practice. Nor is the U.S. Constitution, nor the U.N. Universal Declaration on Human Rights. "Original intent" of America's founders is not...

9:38:48 AM    

Queenie Elizabeth Baranian Avedikian, 1918-2005 .

The picture got a bit messed up over the decades, but I'm sure she'd want us to remember that she used to have great legs. She was a spectacular ham and had a resonant alto voice that she used to joke was really a bass. She also drove me out of my mind, but that's the way of mothers and daughters. If there's a Heaven, she cooks the food.

[The Sideshow]

9:37:52 AM    

Sunday Discussion Group — Plame Game Edition.

It figures. Just figures. Friday afternoon, in advance of the July 4th weekend, the same afternoon of the most important Supreme Court retirement in generations, and we learn that Karl Rove is up to his ears in a criminal scandal that could rock the White House.

Now that Time Inc. has turned over documents to a [...]

[The Carpetbagger Report]
9:35:51 AM    

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