Thune For Drug Reimportation

GOP conservatives strategize with Dorgan on reimportation,” by Geoff Earle, The Hill, 30 March 2005, (from South Dakota Politics).

Great news. My favorite Senator joins the fight for free trade in pharmaceuticals

A group of conservative Republicans has opened talks with the leading Democratic proponent of a bill to allow for the reimportation of prescription drugs from Canada and other countries. The talks raise the possibility that GOP leaders will have to hold back a united front of supporters of the controversial legislation.
Keri Rassmussen

Republican freshman Sens. David Vitter (La.) and John Thune (S.D.) are backing a reimportation bill that is identical to a House bill by Rep. Gil Gutknecht (R-Minn.). The senators have been meeting with Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), who last year tried to force consideration of the issue by holding up the nomination of Mark McClellan to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

If the Republican and Democratic senators can reach agreement on a compromise bill — or rally around one of the two existing proposals — they would likely have the political strength to prevail over the objections of leadership and pass a bill through the Senate.

In an interview, Thune warned, “We’re all going to vote for whatever gets to the floor. That’s why the leadership would be wise to bring Vitter’s bill to the floor. Something’s going to pass.”

Dorgan’s bill has seven Republican co-sponsors. If Thune, Vitter and DeMint were to join with those seven Republicans on a single approach, and Democrats backed it, they would be close to the 60 votes needed to overcome a Senate filibuster. Dorgan has maintained that many additional Republicans also are supportive of his approach.cattle as well as drugs — when special interests are with him as well as when they are against him.

What a great Senator!

One North America Against Mad Cow

Canada, U.S. and Mexico agree to import standards related to mad cow,” Canadian Press, 30 March 2005, (from Democratic Underground).

The economies of South Dakota and North America are helped by this bit of integration

Canada, the United States and Mexico have agreed to a single North American import standard related to mad cow disease, Federal Agriculture Minister Andy Mitchell said Tuesday.

The standard, negotiated at a recent meeting in Mexico City, reflects guidelines laid out by the World Organization for Animal Health. It says that, as long as the materials most likely to cause mad cow disease are being removed from the animal at slaughter, and as long as animals are not being imported from herds where the disease has been found, then it should be safe for animals to move across borders.

“It’s a very important agreement between the three countries,” Mitchell said.

You can trade cattle between countries so long as you take certain steps and we are please that we have all three countries on side.”

Another good part of the agreement is that it keeps up momentum for further harmonization. The almost insignificant opening up of Mexico to Canadian cattle is important because it gets both Mexicans and Canadians thinking more in North American terms.

With the new standard, Mexico has indicated that it will begin a regulatory process that will eventually lead to the opening of its border to live Canadian cattle. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency estimates that will begin within three or four months.

Not that sort of Mad Cow

And the South Dakota angle. They won’t be keeping our cows out any longer. Hurrah for Sodak farmers!

Canada will also re-open its borders to American cattle. Mitchell said that will take effect Thursday.

“It certainly indicates that Canada believes in the scientific approach,” Mitchell said.

New TV Series: Allawi’s Law

Courtesy PKA:

The Allawi’s Law Season 2 Teaser Script

The teaser is meant to be a bunch of clips from the upcoming season.
Ayad Allawi: One Good Bad Cop

The teaser begins with Allawi chasing some bad guy down the street. As Allawi turns a corner we see a shocked expression on his face. The camera turns and we see the bad guy being cuffed by two regular cops and a female is standing aside looking on at the cuffing. The female lifts her eyes

Female: Good job detective. I’ll take it from here.

Narrator voice over:Condi Rice joins the cast of Allawi’s Law


The next shot is Allawi walking into the police station. He sees one of his bosses, the district commissioner who Allawi never liked.

Allawi: What’s going on?

Narrator voice over: Also staring Paul Bremer.
City Councilman L. Paul Bremer

Bremer: Now that I’m on city council, Rice is your new boss. Have fun. I’ll be sure to tell her all about you.

Bremer and Allawi then try to stare each other down

Next shot is Bremer and Rice in the commissioner’s office

Bremer: Allawi’s a loose cannon. Al Capone with a badge. He’s one mistake away from starting a war. If I were in your position I would cut him loose.

Rice: Really? Then why haven’t you gotten rid of him? Long silence. Maybe because he’s too effective?

Next seen has a man’s back talking on a celephone in the foreground and Allawi walking up from the background. Allawi walks up.

Celephone man: Got to go, he’s here.

Allawi: What was that about?

Camera moves to see behind Allawi’s back.

Narrator voice over: Ahmed Chalabi

But is he workign for internal affairs?

Chalabi: Silent laugh to Allawi’s face.

Next scene is in the break room with Rice and Allawi

Rice: How can I trust you if you are already lying to me? Do you know what city hall wants to do with you? The same thing they did to your partner. Put you behind some bureaucratic desk until you rot.

Allawi looks a picture of his old partner Benjamin Netanyahu. Rice, disgusted, walks out and is immediately stopped by Chalabi.

Chalabi: I think its time we allow Allawi chuckles to himself to have the strike team he always has been wanting.

Rice: Perplexed and just stares at Chalabi

Chalabi: But “allow me” laughs to himself this time to add an additional member.

Next scene is Allawi gearing up. A lieutenant runs up to him.

Lieutenant: Sir, we have a problem. It’s the new guy.

Allawi walks over and sees Chalabi’s addition
Jimmy Carter: The New Cop on the Beat

Narrator voice over: Jimmy Carter

Carter: I am ready to defend freedom.

Allawi has a skeptical/fearful expression on his face

Next shot is a meeting of Allawi’s loyal strike team members at a darken corner of a bar

Lieutenant: It’s the only way sir.

Allawi: But how can we trust Chalabi. If he finds out about the money train we’re all doomed.

Another Lieutenant: Drug money really is the devil’s money.

The final scene shows Allawi beating up a tied down drug overlord.

Muqtada al-Sadr
Narrator voice over: And a special guest appearance by Muqtada al-Sadr.

Allawi: Now, one last time. Where is the mayor’s daughter? Allawi holds a pistol against al-Sadr’s head

Narrator voice over: Allawi’s Law! This fall!

Lebanese People Power, Again

Lebanese PM to quit today,” Times of Oman, 30 March 2005,

The Prime Minister of Lebanon is resigning today.

Lebanese Prime Minister Omar Karameh yesterday said he would stand down today after failing to form a national unity government, a decision likely to plunge the country into further political turmoil.
Karameh has been operating on a caretaker basis since resigning on February 28 in the face of protests sparked by the assassination of five-time premier Rafiq Hariri in a bomb blast.


Opposition spokesman Samir Frangieh welcomed the news and called for the swift formation of a “neutral” interim government composed of people “who enjoy public confidence” to see the country through to parliamentary elections due by the end of May.

If this sounds familiar… it is because it already happened


Hopefully this is a sign of clear progress. No word on new freedom chicks, so Marchand‘s link to Publius’s old gallery will have to do for now.

Update: Jawa links to Debka. This is incredible. If true, it is still unbelievable.

DEBKAfile exclusive military sources report complete collapse of pro-Syrian political and intelligence structure in Lebanon and abrupt withdrawal of all Syrian commands including key figure military intelligence chief General Ghazaleh.

Lebanese secret service chief Gen. Raymond Azar has fled to Paris. Internal Security Forces head Gen. Ali al-Hajj about to quit.

New York Times has more coverage. Perhaps the Prime Minister will delay his resignation. But more important: there’s an evil thug named Raymond? Raymond?!?

Kung Fu Fighting

The unsung role of Kung Fu in the Kyrgyz revolution,” AFP, 28 March 2005, (from Coming Anarchy).

This is the weirdest news of the night. No wonder the Defense Minister wasn’t good at his job. I’m going to bed.

Many say people power brought down the regime in Kyrgyzstan last week. But Bayaman Erkinbayev, a lawmaker, martial arts champ and one of the Central Asian nation’s richest men, says it was his small army of Kung Fu-style fighters.

In southern Kyrgyzstan, where the protests that brought down the Askar Akayev’s 15-year regime first flared, the name of 37-year-old Erkinbayev seems to be on everyone’s lips.

Effectors of Regime Change in Former Soviet Central Asia?

Erkinbayev is the wealthy playboy head of the Palvan Corporation, who led 2,000 fighters trained in Alysh, Kyrgyzstan’s answer to Kung Fu, to protests launched after the first round of a parliamentary election on February 27.

A hero in his hometown Osh, he is generally considered to have financed the protests and sent his martial arts trainees to the front lines of the demonstrations, including in the capital Bishkek.

Heros of Democracy?

Oh, and the guy’s Tony Soprano too

In the parliamentary elections of 2000 he is said to have spent two weeks on the run from the police after allegedly beating a judge who ordered him to drop out of the race for failing to disclose some of his wife’s property in his registration form.

The ruling was later overturned under unclear circumstances and Erkinbayev described it as an “untruth.”

“When I met the judge later he retracted his accusations,” he said.

India: Friend, Doctor, Whore?

Outsourcing phone sex from call centers in India!,” by Preeti Chaube, India Daily, 29 January 2005, (from Free Republic).

After its success in IT outsourcing and biotechnology fields, India plans to promote itself as a health care destination,” India Daily, 1 February 2005, (from Free Republic).

Embracing India as a Rising Power,” Christian Science Monitor, 31 March 2005, (from Free Republic).

A reminder that India will be America’s best friend in Asia

The US signal of a new era in ties with South Asia was its decision to sell F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan while for the first time offering both F-16s and even more advanced F-18 jets to India as well as potential sales of nuclear power plants. The goal, a US spokesman said, is to “help India become a major world power in the 21st century.”

Coming from a superpower beset by nations trying to whittle it down to size, that’s a generous offer. The hidden truth, though, is that the US needs a strong India as a counterweight to China’s expanding and often belligerent economic and military might in Asia.

The US also believes India’s democracy – unlike China’s one-party rule – gives it a long-run advantage in political stability in the economic race with its giant to the north. That reflects President Bush’s strategy to promote democracy as an antidote to nations becoming bases for jihadist terrorists. It is exactly because India is a democracy that few if any Muslims from its 150 million Islamic minority have ever joined Al Qaeda

Indians are likewise cutting into medical costs

After its success in IT outsourcing and biotechnology fields, India plans to promote itself as a health care destination for people from across the globe, Health and Family Welfare Minister Anbumani Ramadoss said Monday.

We are taking steps to promote India as a health care destination to attract persons from different parts of the world to utilize the cost-effective health care expertise and infrastructure available in the country,” Ramadoss said while delivering a keynote address here on “Health Consumers: What is the size of the market; who buys and who pays?”

And perhaps, more prurient industries (not that the government wants that money)…

Callers from America or Europe or any other part of the world can dial a toll free number that gets routed through a western nation into call centers in India after the caller pays in dollars or euros. Then the callers get connected to some Indian lady who provide the phone sex service.

The practice is totally illegal in India while somewhat legal in Western countries. The business is brisk and revenue flow is very heavy. The Indian operators running these call centers normally have a legitimate normal call center in the front and then phone sex center in the back end.

Girls are paid very heavy and plenty of young models are working in these underground centers. Central Bureau of Investigation and local police try their best to catch these illegal operators but all they can do is to unveil a legitimate call center operations for normal businesses.

All three stories relate to India’s liberal economy and stable democracy. India is the long-term power in Asia. It has a government that is actively seeking foreign customers. And as important, it has an entrepreneurial population that seeks out customers on its own.

How did I ever live without bloglines?

Bloglines is, quite possibly, the awesomest service, ever.


It’s an RSS reader, similar to RSS Owl or Firefox. Except it is far niftier. You input the rss feeds you wish to view, and they appear on a special website. You are notified as soon as the RSS feed is updated. There is even a firefox extension to give you updates as quickly as possible.

It saves a lot of time, and makes blog reading even more fun. I signed up less than 24 hours ago and am loving it.

Plus, it is free!

Google Censors Jawa

Google News Drops ‘The Jawa Report’ for ‘Hate Speech’ Violation,” by Rusty Shackleford, Jawa Report, 29 March 2005, (from Michelle Malkin).

I’ve been hearing complaints about liberal bias at Google for a while, but I dismissed them until now.

I received the following e-mail moments ago from Google News.

Hi Rusty,

Upon recent review, we’ve found that your site contains hate speech, and we will no longer be including it in Google News. If you can guarantee that your news no longer includes hate speech, we will be happy to re-review the site for inclusion.

The Google Team

Needless to say, I am pretty damned ticked.

I challenge Google News to find one instance of ‘hate speech’ on this site that is not either a case of sarcasm, humor, or a direct quote used in the context of a post that attempts to do just the opposite.

All the facts aren’t in yet, and of course Google can carry what sites they wish. Google and Google News are great services that I use many, many times a day. But this is disturbing. Cries of “hate speech” are commonly used to silence conservatives on college campus, and now in the blogosphere too. Let’s hope there is an innocent explanation!

Draft Talk

Uncle Sam Wants You,” by Andrew J. Bacevich, Boston Globe, 28 March 2005,

American Leftism opposes freedom and supports compulsion. It supports compelling pharmacists to serve who the state wishes. It supports compelling doctors to treat who the state wishes. It supports compelling youths to kill who the state wishes.

Less privileged Americans — people of color along with the sons and daughters of the working class — picked up the slack. As a consequence, the military establishment that emerged by the 1990s as a preeminent symbol of revived national self-confidence and self-esteem was in no sense representative of American society. Its members came not from the suburbs but from the farm and the inner city, not from Harvard but from Prairie View A & M. Seldom acknowledged openly but tacitly understood by all, this ignoble arrangement figured prominently in easing the divisions that Vietnam had opened up at home.

According to President Bush, winning the global war on terror means that the United States must exert itself to spread the blessings of liberty around the world. If so, then those who enjoy a disproportionate share of freedom’s blessings here at home ought to share in the sacrifices that such an enterprise necessarily entails. In that regard, plastering yellow-ribbon decals on the back of the family SUV or sporting ”Support Our Troops” jelly bracelets as fashion accessories just won’t cut it.

Military service today is no longer a job opportunity to be coveted. Increasingly, it is becoming a trial to be endured. The immediate question posed by the crisis confronting the all-volunteer force is not whether to revive the draft. Instead the question is this: Will this democracy ensure that the burdens of war are distributed consistent with the principles of equity and justice?

Never mind the factual irregularities — that blacks have been a disproportionately small share of the combat force for more than a decade.

The renewed call for a draft on the left is worrying. But it is not new. I blogged on John Kerry‘s and Juan Cole fascination with serfdom earlier.

I’m not saying that all Leftists support a draft. But it seems that many more of them want one than conservatives. Oppose the draft. Be a conservative.

Conservatives for the Gas Tax (Goldberg Now Geo-Green)

A New Era for Oil,” by Jonah Goldberg, The Corner, 30 March 2005,

Jonah Goldberg joins the geogreen movement

Maybe it’s the nitrogen bubbles in my brain or the afterglow of reading Bob Samuelson’s column today, but I finally feel willing to float a trial balloon in the Corner which, I admit, has been launched more times than the Goodyear blimp: Increase gas/oil taxes.

Admittedly, current high oil prices have caused pain for some and are probably a drag on the economy in significant respects (the airline industry, for example), but the negative effects certainly don’t track with the predictions of doom and gloom which typically accompany fuel tax proposals. Clinton’s 4.3 cent a gallon tax elicited howls that the economy would go off the rails, for example. Well, now gas prices are much higher than they were in 1996, though still lower — adjusted for inflation — than they were in the early 80s. And, more to the point, the economy seems to have absorbed high gas prices better than most would have predicted.

Anyway, since it’s impossible to deny that our dependence on Middle East oil — or our dependence on foreigh oil, a lot of which comes from the Middle East — skews our foreign policy in undesirable ways (and enriches folks we’d rather see make their money from ordinary development), it seems worth considering a tax system which weans us of oil as much as possible. Demand from China and India will be putting upward pressure on oil prices for decades to come. And since I’m increasingly sympathetic to consumption taxes in general, it seems to me a fuel tax is a good place to start.

Goldberg mostly repeats geo-green talking points, but I am glad to see Jonah give President Clinton the credit he deserves. America’s economy is weaning itself off of foreign oil (as a percentage of GDP), but a higher gas tax would help that process along.