Sun, Oct
10
2004

A Sample of Things I Didn't Know

Sun, Oct 10, 2004

Why is it that key elements of the United States constitution, like the right to free speech, prohibition and the repeal of prohibition are called “amendments”? Were they added to the constitution after the fact?

Dan: Why, yes. The first ten amendments were ratified on December 15, 1791. The constitution was formally adopted two years beforehand

So, for two years, America had a constitution, but no Bill of Rights?

Erin: They wanted to get the legislative process established, first. You have to remember, this was their second attempt to form a functional government. Their first attempt was a complete flop. After the end of the war, we were briefly a confederacy. Things like currency and trade regulations were devolved to the states. It did not work.


Canada’s Got Good Drugs

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A few people have mentioned this, so I thought I’d add my two cents: It is a shame, in responding to his vulnerability on the high price of American drugs, that President Bush has to slandar the pharmacies and pharmaceutical companies of Canada. Bush said, when asked why he was reluctant to import cheaper drugs from Canada:

Just want to make sure they’re safe. When a drug comes in from Canada, I want to make sure it cures you and doesn’t kill you.

And that’s why the FDA and that’s why the surgeon general are looking very carefully to make sure it can be done in a safe way. I’ve got an obligation to make sure our government does everything we can to protect you.

And what my worry is is that, you know, it looks like it’s from Canada, and it might be from a third world. And we’ve just got to make sure, before somebody thinks they’re buying a product, that it works. And that’s why we’re doing what we’re doing.

Full transcript here

Yes, you do take risks ordering drugs from an internet pharmacy, and I don’t dispute the obligation of the FDA to protect the quality of the food and drugs Americans consume. However, if the United States government were to import drugs from my nation, I doubt that they’d do so through the Internet. And despite what some cynics might tell you, Canada is not a third world country. Erin and I have taken our share of Canada’s pharmaceuticals, and those drugs are every bit as good as their American counterparts (and cheaper too!). The FDA’s own tests confirm that Canada’s internet pharmacies deliver what they promise, meeting American quality standards. This should come as no surprise given that most of Canada’s pharmaceuticals are provided by American-owned companies.

The reason Canada’s drugs are so much cheaper than those of the United States is because the government of Brian Mulroney, back in the late 1980s, negotiated a deal with the pharmaceutical companies, extending their patent protection in exchange for lower prices. Pharmaceutical companies operating here make less money off of the drugs they sell to Canadians, but they’re able to operate for years longer without competition from generic copycats, giving the name-brand companies far more time to make back their investment.

If Bush wanted someone to blame for the high prices of drugs in America, he should look back at who would have been responsible for negotiating with the pharmaceutical companies in the States and blame them for making such a bad deal. It’s a score if the person to blame is Bill Clinton; it’s an embarrassment if the blame falls on George Bush Sr. So perhaps the political benefit of blaming the real culprit isn’t open for Bush Jr, or perhaps the American pharmaceutical companies aren’t interested in negotiating cheaper rates with somebody with a backbone, and have let President Bush know this in no uncertain terms…


One More Reason to Vote For Kerry…

If Kerry wins this November, it will be the first time in sixteen years that the presidency has been held by somebody whose last name wasn’t Bush or Clinton. If Bush wins this November, that opportunity may not come until 2016 at the earliest, because I guarantee you that the next president’s first name will be Hillary.

And after Hillary, Jeb.

And the rest of the world will be left to wonder just how America got itself a constitutional monarchy when nobody was looking.


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