Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Is The New York Times Op-ed Page In A Permanent Vegetative State

The FLUBA Committee on Brain-Life asks, would a John Bates Clark medal holder want to 'live' only by the grace of talking points dripped, dripped, dripped into him by Howard Dean, James Carville, and Barry Lynn:

But medical care is the cutting edge of extremism.

Yesterday The Washington Post reported on the growing number of pharmacists who, on religious grounds, refuse to fill prescriptions for birth control or morning-after pills. These pharmacists talk of personal belief; but the effect is to undermine laws that make these drugs available. And let me make a prediction: soon, wherever the religious right is strong, many pharmacists will be pressured into denying women legal drugs.

'Laws that make these drugs available'? The FLUBA is unaware of any pharmacist exception to either the 1st Amendment's free exercise of religion clause, or to the 16th's prohibition of involuntary servitude.

And we are also aware of how competition in the self-organized market tends to produce the goods and services the public desires. Quite a bit more efficiently than 'laws', at that.

Speaking of 'extremists':

Another thing that's going on is the rise of politicians willing to violate the spirit of the law, if not yet the letter, to cater to the religious right.

Everyone knows about the attempt to circumvent the courts through "Terri's law." But there has been little national exposure for a Miami Herald report that Jeb Bush sent state law enforcement agents to seize Terri Schiavo from the hospice - a plan called off when local police said they would enforce the judge's order that she remain there.

First, the above would seem to be untrue. Second, it was only five years ago, in Florida, when there actually was a group of law enforcement agents sent to seize someone who was being protected by courts. Both Florida courts and the 11 Circuit Court of Appeals.

As related by John Fund, Janet Reno, whose Justice Department had just sustained a humiliating defeat in the appelate court, went--after normal court hours, on Good Friday--to a federal magistrate who was unfamiliar with the case, swore in an affidavit several things that were demonstrably untrue, and received a search warrant (not a warrant to seize a criminal), which was used to launch a full scale SWAT-like armed raid on law abiding citizens in their family home in Miami.

All to do the bidding of Fidel Castro (and his lawyer Graig Craig), and have little Elian Gonzalez returned to totalitarian Cuba.

So, what notice did Paul Krugman take of that potential Constitutional crisis--which outraged even ardent Clinton backers Allen Dershowitz and Laurence Tribe?

Not a peep. His first column post-raid (April 23, 2000), does make interesting reading though:

How can you tell the hacks from the serious analysts? One answer is to do a little homework. Hack jobs often involve surprisingly raw, transparent misrepresentations of fact: in these days of search engines and online databases you don't need a staff of research assistants to catch 'em with their hands in the cookie jar. But there is another telltale clue: if a person, or especially an organization, always sings the same tune, watch out.

Real experts, you see, tend to have views that are not entirely one-sided.

And real experts who are not surviving only through material fed to them, usually aren't either.

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