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100 posts from March 2005

March 31, 2005

You can be the president

And it's not like she was concerned about the Pope. Feh.--Tacitus

Honey only flock 2 the bee that's the Pope...


Screw the O.C.

Tune in to this week's S.C., chez Coturnix.*

*S.C.=Skeptics' Circle

Life imitates Herman

Captions read: "Do you want me to pull it off fast or slow?"



See also: this week's darkly hilarious Get Your War On, via DruBlood.

Who says hate is divisive?


Clerics Fighting a Gay Festival for Jerusalem [NYT permalink]

Now major leaders of the three faiths - Christianity, Judaism and Islam - are making a rare show of unity to try to stop the festival. They say the event would desecrate the city and convey the erroneous impression that homosexuality is acceptable.

This unlikely cooperation likely reflects each side's mounting concern over a potential Gay Gap.

The shorter Report of the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction

Since you asked, Mr. President, it turns out that the intelligence community is entirely responsible for the WMD debacle and therefore forfeits itself unto the Department of Homeland Security.

Why rats can't vomit

Learn why rats can't vomit. In astonishing detail! With extensive citations from the relevant literature!

Anne_of_the_rats' fine essay also includes a special bonus feature--scroll to the end to learn which of your favorite species can toss its cookies.

For example...

Japanese quail--No
Sperm whale--Yes
Guinea pig--No
Bluefin tuna--Yes

Via Incoming Signals.

DeLay threatens judges

Tom DeLay released the following statement upon the death of Terri Schiavo:

Mrs. Schiavo’s death is a moral poverty and a legal tragedy. This loss happened because our legal system did not protect the people who need protection most, and that will change. The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior, but not today. Today we grieve, we pray, and we hope to God this fate never befalls another. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Schindlers and with Terri Schiavo’s friends in this time of deep sorrow. [Emphasis added.]

Via Think Progress.

And Shakes gives Ted Kennedy his props this brave rejoinder:

Mr. DeLay's comments today were irresponsible and reprehensible. I'm not sure what Mr. DeLay meant when he said 'the time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior.' But at a time when emotions are running high, Mr. DeLay needs to make clear that he is not advocating violence against anyone ... it is time for mourning and healing not for more inflammatory rhetoric, and responsible national leaders should understand that and stop this exploitation.

Vatican expands product line

The Roman Catholic Church is launching a new model of priest to compete in today's tough theological marketplace. The Mission of the Gospel of Life (tm) is loaded with new features like picketing and ultrasonography--all with the same ruthless efficiency and almost fanatical devotion that consumers have come to expect from the Catholic brand.

It is not known when new prototypes will roll off assembly lines.

New Order of Catholic Priests Is Forming to Fight Abortions

The Roman Catholic Church plans to establish its first religious society devoted exclusively to fighting euthanasia and abortion, church leaders said this week.

The male-only Missionaries of the Gospel of Life -- founded by the Rev. Frank Pavone, an outspoken opponent of abortion rights -- will be housed in a vacant Catholic high school and dormitory on the grounds of the Diocese of Amarillo.

The order will have a decidedly political bent, and will be active rather than contemplative, Pavone said.

Priests will be trained to conduct voter-registration drives, use the media to get out their anti-abortion message and lobby lawmakers to restrict abortion rights. They also will learn to lead demonstrations outside offices where abortions and family-planning services are provided.

"There is a difference between knowing the teachings and knowing how to effectively advance a movement," Pavone said. [LA Times]

Via Jeanne D'Arc.

March 30, 2005

LGM gets Instalaunched Atrios'd!

Lawyers Guns and Money got the link from Instapundit was one degree of separation from an Instalaunch.

We'll just say we knew them when. (They are very brave, even for well-armed lawyers.)

But better yet, they got Atrios'd.

Why pharmacist malpractice matters

Amy Sullivan writes:

The Washington Post says there is, devoting a frontpage article to the issue on Monday, declaring: "Pharmacists' Rights at Front of New Debate." But let's look closer. "Some pharmacists across the country are refusing to fill prescriptions for birth control..." "The trend has opend a new front in the nation's battle over reproductive rights..." Says Steven Aden of the Christian Legal Society, "More and more pharmacists are becoming aware of their right to conscientiously refuse..." [...]

Hmm. What kind of a sample are we talking about here? Is a trend thousands of pharmacists? Hundreds? Even a few dozen? Halfway through the piece, reporter Rob Stein admits that "no one knows exactly how often [this] is happening" but notes that cases have been reported in ten states.

Never you mind whether this is a real problem or a trumped-up political issue on both sides, though, because, as we are told in melodramatic fashion: "Pharmacists often risk dismissal or other disciplinary action to stand up for their beliefs, while shaken teenage girls and women desperately call their doctors, frequently late at night, after being turned away by sometimes-lecturing men and women in white coats." [Emphasis added.]

This is a political issue, but it's hardly trumped-up. The issue is not how many wingnut pharmacists are currently refusing to supply birth control but rather how many states permit them to do so and how many more jurisdictions may soon give their pharmacists the right to opt out of modern scientific medicine.

Friends of unwanted pregnancy want to give pharmacists a special dispensation to refuse legally prescribed contraception--a practice that directly or indirectly violates all eight articles of the American Pharmacists Association's Code of Ethics for Pharmacists.

The majority of pharmacists are employees of large drugstore chains. Not unreasonably, most drugstores demand that every pharmacist fill every prescription from every licensed prescriber for every paying customer. These chains reserve the right to fire any pharmacist whose "scruples" interfere with the fundamental condition of his employment. (Except, of course, where local laws prohibit them from doing so.)

So-called "pharmacists' rights" groups are demanding impunity for pharmacists who refuse to fill prescriptions. Ortho Tri-Cyclen alone is among the the top 25 most-commonly prescribed branded drugs in America. These rankings don't even reflect the combined popularity of smaller BCP brands and generic BCP. Given that contraception is bread and butter for most pharmacies, any pharmacist who won't fill a BCP prescription is a worthless employee who deserves to be fired. If I were a pharmacy manager it would be one of the first questions I'd ask any potential pharmacist, out of concern for my bottom line, if nothing else. (I don't know of if so-called conscience clauses prevent pharmacy owners from asking job candidates if they intend to do their jobs.)

Pharmacists who won't do their jobs don't deserve special protection. As healthcare professionals, they are responsible for doing what is medically best for each patient--and since staying non-pregnant is medically safer than being pregnant or getting an abortion, a pharmacist has no right to disregard a pregnancy-preventing prescription.

Pharmacists who refuse to honor legitimate prescriptions should be subject not only to job action by their employers but also to malpractice suits for any damages their primitive superstitions might cause their patients. This goes double for pharmacists who are so ignorant as to claim exemption on the groups that emergency contraception is abortion. Any pharmacist who is so unclear on the basic facts of human reproduction is a quack who deserves to lose his license regardless of his prescription-filling predilections.

Update, granted, Pharmacists For Life is a slick and well-funded lobby group who seems to be getting a free ride publicity-wise. [Media Matters]

[However,] a quick glance at the map shows how far this theocratic madness has already spread:


According to Pharmacists for Life, Illinois also has a so-called "conscience clause" for all healthcare professionals and Ohio is currently considering a similar measure.