Morning Links

Friday, March 9th, 2012
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46 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  Lucy Steigerwald | 

    Seconded re “Cult of the Presidency.” That’s definitely a must-read.

  2. #2 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    For the first time in 10 years, a federal appeals court has disbarred a prosecutor for misconduct in a murder case.

    For the first time in 10 years, a prosecutor was guilty of misconduct in a murder case. Great record!

    /sarcasm

  3. #3 |  Marty | 

    when I use ‘snort my taint’ today, do I need to credit Ken at Popehat?

  4. #4 |  dave smith | 

    Regarding birth control. Even if it is over the counter, a person could STILL go her doctor for advice.

  5. #5 |  dave smith | 

    A doctor posted about how important a medical exam to screen for cancer is with a prescription of birth control. This would be a testable statement. Is El Paso TX, and other places where birth control pills are easy to obtain cervical and breast cancer clusters?

  6. #6 |  mdb | 

    The turkey thing is fairly common, I have had run ins with them, one even scratched up my car (a male that saw his reflection and attacked it – I have the video – funny at first then really annoying). Those things are territorial.

  7. #7 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Reagardless of what else happens in the ongoing fight over abortion, something MUST be done about laws that can put people at jeopardy for ending pregnancies that the mother could legally termenate via abortion.

  8. #8 |  Cyto | 

    This trend of charging women with crimes for what they do while pregnant is troubling.

    Is “understated” the new black? Since she tried to kill herself, douche-bag prosecutor coulda gone for attempted double-murder with aggravating circumstances I suppose.

    Although to be fully accurate, she was 8 months pregnant at the time she ate rat poison – which did kill her pretty much fully formed baby. Having suffered through a similar loss with a late term placental abruption I can fully attest that she’s suffered more than enough. More than a decade down the road and I’m still scarred. This poor girl will never be whole after this betrayal and loss.

    I have no idea what this douche of a prosecutor is thinking by piling on like this. I suppose he’s looking for the ‘right-to-life’ support when he runs for Lt. Governor or something. Any of you nitwits in Indiana vote for this contemptible prosecutor will get exactly what you deserve.

  9. #9 |  Cyto | 

    This trend of charging women with crimes for what they do while pregnant is troubling.

    Is “understated” the new black? Since she tried to kill herself, douche-bag prosecutor coulda gone for attempted double-murder with aggravating circumstances I suppose.

    Although to be fully accurate, she was 8 months pregnant at the time she ate rat poison – which did kill her pretty much fully formed baby. Having suffered through a similar loss with a late term placental abruption I can fully attest that she’s suffered more than enough. More than a decade down the road and I’m still scarred. This poor girl will never be whole after this betrayal and loss.

    I have no idea what this douche of a prosecutor is thinking by piling on like this. I suppose he’s looking for the ‘right-to-life’ support when he runs for Lt. Governor or something. Any of you nitwits in Indiana vote for this contemptible prosecutor will get exactly what you deserve.

  10. #10 |  Bad Medicine | 

    Gah, Virginia Postrel accuses doctors of extortion for office visits as if they are the ones keeping the Pill under lock and key, but provides no link between a doctor’s bottom line and the effort to make the Pill OTC. Are physicians’ lobbying groups fighting this? That would be interesting to document, but instead all she says is “they make money on the office visits.” My auto mechanic makes money on my annual car inspection too, but I don’t blame him for the requirement…

    On the $10 million number thrown out as the figure it would cost for new studies before the Pill could go OTC, I’d be really surprised if it could be done that cheaply. Medical trials and tests are notoriously expensive. A friend in the pharmaceutical industry talked about needing another $500 million for another round of tests required by the FDA. The level of effort may not be the same with the Pill, but $10 million seems pretty low.

  11. #11 |  Maria | 

    I’m glad you featured Bei Bei’s case. (Happy belated women’s day indeed! /sarc)

    Let’s play the “What’s next” game. How about prosecuting pregnant women who call into suicide help lines with premeditated murder? Prosecuting the line operators for negligent homicide? Maybe prosecuting family members or friends who tried to counsel and help them yet failed to report them to the police with some form of aiding and abetting or as an accessory?

    Insane you say? So was the idea of prosecuting this type of case not that long ago. I don’t care what you think about abortion. This case is dangerous for the doors it would (not could, would) open.

  12. #12 |  MDGuy | 

    Yeah, it’s not just doctors that want to keep the pill prescription-only. Look at the comment from herasmus_b_dragon on Postrel’s article: the doctor who prescribed it to her missed her hereditary clotting disorder, and then she started smoking after getting on the pill and suffered a pulmonary embolism. The prescription-only status doesn’t solve either of those problems, but she’s for it anyway.

  13. #13 |  Leah | 

    Another one who is glad to see Bei Bei’s case here. That is clearly one of the worst, but there are a frightening number of cases where women are prosecuted for things like falling down stairs (happened in IA a couple years ago) and where they are forced to undergo cesareans because hospitals get court orders. http://Www.advocatesforpregnantwomen.org has many examples.

  14. #14 |  Nipplemancer | 

    RE: the turkey
    Face it, birds are evil.

    RE: #10
    Without that scrip from the MD, you can’t get the pill. How is that not putting it under lock & key?
    AFAIK, the AMA does recommend making the pill OTC which is a plus one for them.

  15. #15 |  Deoxy | 

    Reagardless of what else happens in the ongoing fight over abortion, something MUST be done about laws that can put people at jeopardy for ending pregnancies that the mother could legally termenate via abortion.

    I’m squarely in the “late term abortion is murder” camp, and I still agree with this VERY much.

    Related: there was a case (in NY maybe? can’t remember) where a woman had her boyfriend stand on her stomach (among other things) to help her miscarry. She wasn’t charged (under the rational that she could have had an abortion, which is essentially what she did), but he was. Same thing, really, since she had asked him to do it… I suppose “practicing medicine without a license” MIGHT have been appropriate, but otherwise…

  16. #16 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    Actually, yes, there IS a reason.

    There are several health questions which should be asked before they’re handed over, since there are several types of pill and there are some conditions which rule out taking them. That’s why a pharmacist should be the one doing it. (Of course, if the pharmacist knows you, and has done it before? Well, they’ll hand it over. That’s kinda part of the point as well)

    That doesn’t mean keeping it prescription-only, it’s an argument for pharmacist-only. The USA doesn’t really have that category of medicine? Well, fix that too.

  17. #17 |  EBL | 

    Charging a mentally ill woman with fetal homicide is just stupid. Granted she was eight months pregnant, but she could have conceivably had a legal abortion at that time (not sure about Indiana). But that is not the primary issue, it is her mental instability. Treat this for what it is, a person who needs mental health intervention.

  18. #18 |  StrangeOne | 

    Leon, why should adults of sound mind have to ask permission to take medications of any kind? In my experience the whole prescription process is a pedantic game of “Mother may I?”

    Patients that don’t intend to abuse their meds are frequently misinformed by their doctors or even deliberately misled (especially regarding branded pills vs. generics, which have nothing to do with all those free lunches and dinners pharmaceutical reps throw for doctors). Smart patients get recommendations and multiple second opinions, gullible ones ask for whats on the tv ads or just whatever their doctor gives them, and patients that intend to abuse their medication will tell whatever lie they need to to get it.

    The whole prescription process is just another aspect of the prohibitionist culture. We’ve bought into the myth that adults who vote, raise families, run businesses, and can fight and die in our military are still incapable of making their own medical decisions. The desire to make sure everyone is properly informed, is secondary to the presumption that they need to be informed at all, or punished by law when attempting to self medicate.

  19. #19 |  Joshua | 

    StrangeOne:

    I agree with you for everything except for antibiotics. I don’t want to die of an antibiotic-resistant infection because ten million idiots took antibiotics when they caught a common cold.

    Antibiotics abuse seems to be the only drug abuse that is directly harmful to other people.

  20. #20 |  Bad Medicine | 

    #14 – I’m not saying it *isn’t* under lock and key, I’m saying the doctors are not the ones making it that way. Doctors don’t decide what medicines are OTC versus Rx only. They don’t control that process, they just have to work with it. The alternative is being a “Pill-mill” and getting into problems with the authorities for dispensing prescriptions without a patient relationship, etc.

  21. #21 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @19 – It’s not about “asking permission”, it’s about ensuring that people don’t take medicines which may have substantial side effects without their being appropriate for them.

    Pharmacists have an “interest” to sell, I’d note – ensuring that someone isn’t taking incompatible medicines or has a condition which would rule out their taking the drugs isn’t malicious. (Shit, warning people certain drugs can KILL you if you eat a grapefruit while on them, for example…)

    The UK and other countries with a defined “pharmacist only” system have a LOT fewer drugs prescription-only. The system works, and well.

  22. #22 |  Judas Peckerwood | 

    @#21 — “It’s not about “asking permission”, it’s about ensuring that people don’t take medicines which may have substantial side effects without their being appropriate for them.”

    Exactly. Which is why we should also require prescriptions for alcohol, tobacco and all foods aside from brown rice and raw vegetables.

  23. #23 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @19 – Completely untrue. Insurance, if you use that system, has to pay for the damage done by inappropriate and abusive drug use as well. Or deny coverage to a lot of perfectly innocent people on those grounds.

    Or you’re back to medicine only paid out-out-pocket, and even fewer people with coverage. And yet, again, countries with single-payer medicine* and a 3 tier (OTC, pharmacist-only, prescription) system manage to have far fewer prescription meds…

    (*I actually support a model of state-supported insurance like the Netherlands)

  24. #24 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @22 – Heard of “sin taxes”? That’s the alternative. So, basically, you’re asking for a system where there’s a considerable tax on medicines to pay for the side effects. Never mind the fact that legitimate users will pay more too.

  25. #25 |  Mattocracy | 

    Leon,

    There are a lot of over the counter medicines that have a bad reaction to certain medical conditions. There are warning labels on the pill bottles. (At least, this is true in the US, don’t know about the UK).

    BC should be OTC, with the possbile complications listed on the pill box/bottle.

  26. #26 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @25 – And guess what? People don’t read them. Simply having a pharmacist do some basic enquiries saves lives.

  27. #27 |  Brandon | 

    So because of your unsupported assertion that something “saves lives,” there should be laws prohibiting people from engaging in free exchange? Leon, are you a DEA agent, by chance?

  28. #28 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    Unsupported assertion, right. And “free choice”, right. Brandon, do you work for the PR department of a drugs company, by chance?

  29. #29 |  Mattocracy | 

    What if people refuse to answer the pharmacists questions for whatever reason? Should they be prohibited from buying birth control then?

  30. #30 |  Astra | 

    Many women are on birth control for years at a time. How often should they have to repeat a conversation about potential risks in order to get refills? My doctor recommends Pap smears now only every 5 years, further reducing the need for a doctor’s visit to update a prescription.

    I can’t remember a single time a pharmacist has ever given me counseling on a drug. Well, one told me that paying extra for Synthroid over generic was a waste of money and I believe he was flat wrong there (he wasn’t the one who had to go in for months of tweaking and blood tests every time the generic formulation changed).

  31. #31 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    What I would like to know is, with “The Pill” having been in general use for more than half a century, and with extensive non-‘scrip use data available in other countries, how does the FDA justify calling for more tests? “Because it makes us feel like we do something useful” isn’t good enough.

  32. #32 |  Andrew Roth | 

    Re: the Barbour pardon case:

    The MS Supreme Court made the right decision. The powers of pardon, clemency and commutation are some of the most important powers granted to the executive to check the judicial and legislative branches. The pardon power has also become one of the most infrequently exercised executive powers, especially at the federal level, where it has become a sacrosanct tradition for the President to annually mock the pardon process by pardoning a turkey, usually while simultaneously being stingy about pardoning actual convicts. This is a grotesque national disgrace.

    It is extremely important to give governors and presidents broad latitude to exercise their pardon and clemency powers. The judiciary and legislature should intervene only in the most extreme circumstances, if at all. If the public is unhappy with a governor’s or a president’s exercise of pardon or clemency, it can vote him out of office at the next election. Impeachment or recall can be used if the electorate or legislature are particularly appalled and want an immediate remedy.

    The problem with judicial or legislative interference in the pardon process is that it is ripe for abuse and easily able to neutralize a very important executive power that is often practically the only vestige of mercy in a very vindictive legal culture. Restricting pardon, clemency or commutation powers is a slippery slope. In the current political climate it will not be used only to check governors who use these powers dubiously, like Haley Barbour, but also those who use them more equitably, honestly and to much better ends, like Mike Huckabee and George Ryan. Even in this case, where Barbour’s motivations appear to have been pretty perverted, it’s good to see a court reject a challenge to a governor’s power to pardon convicts as he sees fit. Lisa Madigan’s unanimous judicial slapdown for challenging George Ryan’s de facto closure of death row was even better.

  33. #33 |  Anthony | 

    Leon, should I have to get a prescription from a carpenter to buy a table saw? I hurt myself pretty bad with one and I doubt I’ll read all the warning labels on it. What about lawn mowers? Where do you draw the line where adults can make their own decisions?

  34. #34 |  Xenocles | 

    “…she started smoking after getting on the pill and suffered a pulmonary embolism.”

    They should probably warn people not to do that. Maybe a good place for that would be on the commercials for birth control pills.

  35. #35 |  (B)oscoH | 

    The more I read about Crane and the Koch brothers, the more it sounds like old people fighting old battles. There’s a new guard in libertarian circles. Radley, you’re one of the most important guys in it focussing on issues that are starting to get real traction and aren’t about greedy industrialists being allowed to poison the Lorax. Stay above the fray if you can.

  36. #36 |  Mike Leatherwood | 

    So, the prosecutor gets canned for….theft, essentially, by misusing funds and not declaring them. You could say witness tampering, except that if he had used his OWN money, no one would have batted an eye….
    *sigh*
    I guess I shouldn’t be overcritical, but it just shows it is ok to screw over the people, just not the government.

  37. #37 |  Bill Poser | 

    I’ve lived here in Canada so long that I no longer remember if the distinction exists in the US, but here there is a distinction between “over the counter” and “off the shelf”. “over the counter” medicines do not require a prescription but can only be obtained from a pharmacist. You can’t take them off the shelf. You have to go to the pharmacist and ask for them. The theory is that this gives the pharmacist the opportunity to discuss them with you and make sure you understand risks, side effects, etc. It seems to me that this would be a perfectly adequate way of addressing the risks of birth control pills.

  38. #38 |  Pugnacious | 

    Even in this case, where Barbour’s motivations appear to have been pretty perverted, it’s good to see a court reject a challenge to a governor’s power to pardon convicts as he sees fit.

    Anderson~

    What was it in his 200 pardons–192 of them to former inmates that had served their “time” but were convicted felons unable to vote or own a weapon–perverted?

    It was the most apolitical act in his political career.

  39. #39 |  tariqata | 

    My experience with buying non-prescription drugs from a pharmacist in Canada (iron supplements, if you’re interested) was that it was an extremely straightforward interaction; the first time, the pharmacist asked me if I understood how to take it properly and the potential side effects, and explained; the second time, I said yes, I’d had it explained and bought the pills. It added a couple of minutes to the transaction but gave me the opportunity to ask some questions and be sure that I understood. It probably took far less time than reading the dense fine print, and again, I could ask for clarification if I needed it. It’s really not an onerous requirement for drugs which carry potential risks or which need to be taken in a certain way, like the pill, and talking to a pharmacist seems like a pretty reasonable method of imparting that information.

  40. #40 |  SJE | 

    Mike @36: I’d add more. The prosecutor got done for shifting money from one account to another, and its not clear that he personally benefited.

    It disturbs me that the biggest no-no’s in legal ethics are mixing client funds with your own or pretending to be a lawyer when you are not. However, corrupting the truth to send an innocent man to prison or death row rarely gets touched.

  41. #41 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @33 – Really, I wasn’t aware that the primary purpose of those things was to change the biochemical balance of your body in drastic ways.

    @39 – Exactly.

  42. #42 |  Pi Guy | 

    Leon,

    I think you just argued for instituting a policy in which the Lowe’s Depot Pharmacist is required to discuss every table saw transaction with every customer (aka: if you prefer, potential future Emergency Room patients with their fingers in Zip Loc baggies). Nearer to the bottom of that slippery slope, where would one go to obtain a scrip for a Dewalt 1/2″ 18V cordless hammer drill? “Well, son, I think the 18V might just be a little much for you. There’s an Ace Harware down next to Arty’s Hot Weiner’s with some 14.4s that would be just right for you.”

    You can ask the guy and he may or may not know that much. You know, or are. at least, pretty darn sure that it does what you want done, you purchase it with your own hard-earned money, and you take your chances. Doesn’t matter if it’s meds, saws, beer, cars, porn, or forcing all children under the age of 6 to wear a safety helmet at all times other than when they’re asleep.

    There are risks associsate with everything and some of us non-condesecendingly assume that most of the rest of the population is capable of assessing it on their own, performing their own cost-benefit analysis against their own needs and desires. Some people are actually pretty swell at taking care of themselves.

    Or are you just trying to protect the, uh, less able amongst us, Leon? It might not be as noble a gesture as you seem to be assuming that it is.

  43. #43 |  Bergman | 

    What I’m waiting for is two trends I’ve been watching to collide head on.

    One of them is the charging pregnant women thing; Deliberate abortion is legal, but accidentally killing your baby results in a murder charge? Wow.

    The other trend is the growing tendency for authorities to charge people based on appearances, rather than what actually happened. Someone does something innocuous and entirely legal, someone else wildly misinterprets it and freaks out. And when the dust settles, the person who didn’t break any laws gets charged with the misinterpretation (which would be illegal…if it had actually happened).

    So when they collide, we’ll probably see a pregnant woman get brutalized in such a way the baby dies, then see the woman charged with murder.

  44. #44 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @42 – What “slippery slope”? The “slippery slope”, which in reality has a lot of drugs which require a doctor’s prescription in America sorted with a minute talking to a pharmacist in the UK?

    How terrible.

    Moreover, again, what function does a cordless hammer have in your body’s biochemistry? Most people do *not* have the highly specialised skills required to judge drug interactions, having people kill themselves en-mass by accident is generally considered a bad thing.

    Well, I think so. You apparently disagree. Not to mention the drugs where there are public health effects. (quite apart from antibiotics, there are some drugs which are contradicted for use while driving, for instance)

  45. #45 |  Windy | 

    #18 StrangeOne

    Too bad the Framers didn’t take this doctor’s advice:
    “Unless we put medical freedom into the Constitution, the time will come when medicine will organize into an undercover dictatorship to restrict the art of healing to one class of men and deny equal privileges to others: The Constitution of this Republic should make a special privilege for medical freedom as well as religious freedom.”
    — Dr. Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declaration of Independence

  46. #46 |  Mike T | 

    One of them is the charging pregnant women thing; Deliberate abortion is legal, but accidentally killing your baby results in a murder charge? Wow.

    Well this is one of the ironies of most of the pro-choice women I’ve met. They will rant and raved like a hysterical banshee about their sovereign right to vacuum out their unborn child’s brains, but want to crucify a woman who wants to smoke while going to term. In their feeble little minds, it’s better to outright take the child’s life than risk doing minor harm by smoking tobacco.

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