Sam Kazman's "Drug Approvals and Deadly Delays" article in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons (Winter 2010), tells a story about how the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's policies have led to the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans. Let's look at how it happens.
During the FDA's drug approval process, it confronts the possibility of two errors. If the FDA approves a drug that turns out to have unanticipated, dangerous side effects, people will suffer. Similarly, if the FDA denies or delays the marketing of a perfectly safe and beneficial drug, people will also suffer. Both errors cause medical harm.
Kazman argues that from a political point of view, there's a huge difference between the errors. People who are injured by incorrectly approved drugs will know that they are victims of FDA mistakes. Their suffering makes headlines. FDA officials face unfavorable publicity and perhaps congressional hearings.
Last Sunday, the media were reporting that the Muslim Brotherhood was sitting down with Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman, in a completely unrelated story, the BBC reported that British Prime Minster David Cameron announced that "State multiculturalism has failed": "David Cameron has criticized 'state multiculturalism' in his first speech as prime minister on radicalization and the causes of terrorism.
"At a security conference in Munich, he argued the UK needed a stronger national identity to prevent people turning to all kinds of extremism. He also signaled a tougher stance on groups promoting Islamist extremism.
"... As Mr. Cameron outlined his vision, he suggested there would be greater scrutiny of some Muslim groups which get public money but do little to tackle extremism. "
At Philadelphia's 30th Street Station on Tuesday, lifelong government rail promoter Vice President Joe Biden unveiled a $53 billion high-speed train initiative and half-joked: "I'm like the ombudsman for Amtrak." As with most gaffetastic Biden-isms, the remark should prompt more heartburn than hilarity. Just who exactly is looking out for taxpayers when it comes to federal rail spending?
Vigorous independent oversight of public infrastructure binges is especially critical given the nation's long history of mass transit slush funds, cost overruns and union-monopolized construction projects to nowhere. Among the new projects championed by the Obama administration: a $10 billion New Jersey-to-New York commuter rail tunnel pushed by Senate Democrats that state officials won't pay for but believe everyone else in the nation should be forced to subsidize. When Biden talks about "seizing the future," he's talking about seizing your wallets for his party's electoral security.
Those censorious liberals who truly hate the very existence of the Fox News Channel denounce it for being a political organization, not truly a news network. Behind that line is decades of liberals being able to strangle, smother, and spike news stories they didn’t like. Liberals defined what “news” was, and what it wasn’t. They’re still at it today.
Take the pro-life group Live Action. On February 1, they released shocking videos showing what they found when they brought hidden cameras into Planned Parenthood clinics, with a man and woman posing as pimp and prostitute. An office manager was taped telling the “pimp” how to evade the law, such as lying about prostitutes' ages if they were children 14 or under. Any older and the clinic would be obligated to report to the authorities. “We want as little information as possible,” she said conspiratorially.
That matches very nicely with the mindsets of ABC, CBS, and NBC, which absolutely refused to acknowledge the existence of this damning video. (Fox News did cover it, and so did CNN.)
Republicans look strong each time President Obama assaults the treasury or the democratic process, but people seem more willing to forgive his infractions than they are with other politicians. That, along with the possibility of fissures among conservatives, could make him a formidable candidate for re-election.
It's mystifying that anyone other than pure leftists and those on the public dole could even consider voting for Obama after the way he's governed and behaved in office, but he seems to have nine political lives. It's amazing that he could enjoy high approval ratings while his policies are so unpopular. But so many invested their hope in him to be the man he pretended to be, and they don't want to let it go. The mainstream media are happy to nourish that sentiment, and their job will be even easier if the economy continues to rebound despite Obama's repeated body blows to it.
Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Google services all have been disrupted by Egyptian governing authorities in pursuit of clamping down on protests. And we don't think the U.S. government would do the same?
Tell me, what's the difference between the Egyptian government's shutting down social networks to "bring order" to protests and the U.S. government's shutting down the Internet if there is an "imminent cyber threat"? Answer: nothing.
Over the past two years, the Obama administration has ramped up regulation and control of the Internet. Of course, it's packaging any bids to do so under Internet and homeland security.
When Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana decided to announce recently that he isn't going to run for the Republican nomination for president -- and instead is likely to run for governor of his state -- you would have thought, from the reaction in some quarters, that he had committed the ultimate act of betrayal. At least one senior longtime Republican political aide thought that Pence had somehow let down his principles and his country by not taking a chance on the presidential race. Folks on the Pence for president bandwagon were in a deep funk. "Seriously, who else do we have?" one asked me. "Unless something miraculous happens and we get an unexpected gift candidate."
Another GOP stalwart agreed: "Sad to say, but at a time when we need someone with guts, like Reagan in '76, challenging an incumbent president of his own party, or Rubio staying in the Florida Senate race when he was 40 points down to Crist, we get political calculation and personal ambition." Poor Mike Pence! Let's remember, the congressman has young kids and other options, and the presidency was a gamble.
On the centenary of Ronald Reagan's birth, I pause for another historic event: agreement with President Obama, who says of his predecessor in USA Today, "Ronald Wilson Reagan was a believer ... he recognized that each of us has the power -- as individuals and as a nation -- to shape our own destiny. He had faith in the American promise; in the importance of reaffirming values like hard work and personal responsibility; and in his own unique ability to inspire others to greatness."
I suspect Reagan would be embarrassed by the attempts to elevate him to political sainthood. Even conservatives who now long for another Reagan were sometimes critical of him during his presidency and of those around him they believed were holding him back. "Let Reagan be Reagan" they cried, as if he wasn't who he was.
The situation that is unfolding in Egypt and the Middle East has such a potential of changing everyday, that anything I write about the current situation could well be yesterday’s news by the time you read it.
I don’t think that a lot of us understand the ominous volatility of what’s going on and unfortunately that reaches into the highest levels of politics in this nation.
Tunisia was the first pot to boil over with Egypt coming shortly thereafter and Jordan showing signs of following suit.
It seems rather ironic that Hollywood doesn’t want to make movies about Ronald Reagan. Perhaps it’s because virtually no one in the industry can stand his belief system. Or it could be that Hollywood’s last effort was an exercise in character assassination. A made-for-TV movie planned for CBS in late 2003 was ignominiously taken off the schedule and moved to a premium pay-cable channel after outraged conservative protests (which, full disclosure, I heartily joined).
Hollywood liberals, editorialists, network anchors, and TV critics at that time exploded in horror over what The New York Times called the “Soviet-style chill” caused by Reagan supporters. “Censorship!” was the clarion call of the day. And week. And month.
On January 8, the owners of The History Channel announced that they were scrubbing a splashy, $30 million, eight-hour miniseries on “The Kennedys,” starring Greg Kinnear as JFK and Katie Holmes (Mrs. Tom Cruise) as Jackie. The Kennedy family objected, and demanded it be pulled. On February 1, it was announced that a deal was struck to unload this massive project on the Reelz Channel, a tiny network where the project will be lost. “Censorship!”? This time, the free speech-loving critics are as quiet as church mice.
Oops, they did it again. President Obama's grabby-handed environmental bureaucrats have earned yet another spanking from the federal judiciary over their "determined disregard" of the rule of law. Isn't it time to give these misbehaving government hooligans a permanent timeout?
Federal judge Martin Feldman in Louisiana excoriated the Obama Interior Department Wednesday for defying his May 2010 order to lift its groundless ban on offshore oil and gas drilling in the Gulf. Nine months later, not a single permit has been issued. Several deepwater platforms have moved out of the area to take their businesses — and an estimated 5,000 jobs — overseas. Billions of dollars in potential oil revenue and Gulf lease sales-related rent have also dried up.
Is there anything about the Obama administration that doesn't reek of discriminatory application and enforcement of laws and the arbitrary and capricious abuse of power?
Obama's best defense against the charge that he's doing outrageous things is that to correctly accuse him of committing these actions makes one look like a kook. Viewed alone, they are quite disconcerting. Taken together, especially with levels of audacity and arrogance that would impress any tyrant, they are immensely troubling.
Here's a modest proposal for liberals who say they support job creation: Stop smearing successful, law-abiding private companies whose values don't comport with yours. I'm looking at you, New York Times.
Chick-fil-A is an American success story. Founded by Georgian entrepreneur Truett Cathy in 1946, the family-owned chicken-sandwich chain is one of the country's largest fast-food businesses. It employs some 50,000 workers across the country at 1,500 outlets in nearly 40 states and the District of Columbia. The company generates more than $2 billion in revenue and serves millions of happy customers with trademark Southern hospitality.
So, what's the problem? Well, Chick-fil-A is run by devout Christians who believe in strong marriages, devoted families and the highest standards of character for their workers. The restaurant chain's official corporate mission is to "glorify God" and "enrich the lives of everyone we touch." The company's community service initiatives, funded through its WinShape Foundation, support foster care, scholarship, summer camp and marriage enrichment programs. On Sunday, all Chick-fil-A stores close so workers can spend the day at worship and rest.
My guess is that U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson is an amateur zoologist. Vinson is the federal judge who ruled Monday in Pensacola, Fla., that those who confected Obamacare cannot compel the citizenry to buy health insurance. Moreover, he found that because the 2,600-page bill was created without any "severability clause," the entire law is unconstitutional. The authors of Obamacare declared that without mandatory insurance, the whole bill would have been unworkable. Mandatory insurance was not severable from the law. Hence Judge Vinson, because of the way the bill was constructed, threw the whole law out. Now it is up to the Supreme Court to breathe life into this legislation or to bury it. I say R.I.P.
As learned as Vinson indubitably is — in the course of his meditations on Obamacare, he reread the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, James Madison's notes at the Constitutional Convention, certain cogitations of former Chief Justice John Marshall and more — the erudite judge surely noted a zoological curiosity. Conservatives and liberals are so different as to be drawn from distinct species of political animals. To me, the conservative always has appeared to be some form of mammal. The liberal is reptilian. I could be wrong. I wonder what Judge Vinson might say.
Whatever may happen in the hours after I write this column, two things are certain: The next chapter in the magnificent and ancient civilization of the Nile will be yet to be known. And the role that America plays in Egypt's great, unfolding story remains also in doubt.
I well understand the Obama administration's uncertain message in the first week of the Egyptian tumult. We have always been conflicted in such moments. America's founding idea has pointed to our ultimate objective — domestic and foreign:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
The turmoil in Egypt must not be seen in isolation from other events in the world. Neither is it an aberration. It is the next scene in a long-running play whose final act is the domination of the world by radical Islamists.
The Obama administration has been delusional in its belief that dictators and religious fanatics can be coddled. It has also been dangerously wrong in thinking exposure to our way of life will make them more like us. In fact, such exposure has confirmed what they have been taught: that America and the West are secularists who mock God, sexualize women and live only for the pleasures of this world.
The history of radical Islamist movements is being repeated in our time. First there is infiltration and when their numbers are large enough, domination. Next comes subjugation, followed by eradication of nonbelievers. To think things will be different this time is folly.
In my "Black Education Disaster" column (12/22/10), I presented National Assessment of Educational Progress test data that demonstrated that an average black high school graduate had a level of reading, writing and math proficiency of a white seventh- or eighth-grader. The public education establishment bears part of the responsibility for this disaster, but a greater portion is borne by black students and their parents, many of whom who are alien and hostile to the education process.
Let's look at the education environment in many schools and ask how conducive it is to the education process. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, nationally during 2007-2008, more than 145,000 teachers were physically attacked. Six percent of big-city schools report verbal abuse of teachers and 18 percent report non-verbal disrespect for teachers.
An earlier NCES study found that 18 percent of the nation's schools accounted for 75 percent of the reported incidents of violence, and 6.6 percent accounted for 50 percent. So far as serious violence, murder and rapes, 1.9 percent of schools reported 50 percent of the incidents. The preponderance of school violence occurs in big-city schools attended by black students.
Is it not amazing that it’s taken the news media exactly 100 years to discover that Ronald Reagan was a role model? While he lived and even after he died, they shot every arrow and dropped every bomb they could on this man and his reputation. Now that it’s his 100th birthday and America is celebrating, they find him useful. They’re trying to rub Reagan’s magic all over a floundering Obama.
After Obama’s latest State of the Union speech – a dreary, boring spectacle for a normally riveting speaker – all three networks praised Obama as “Reaganesque,” as if he were one of the sunniest American exceptionalists. Time’s latest cover reads “Why Obama [Hearts] Reagan,” and the cover story inside is titled “The Role Model,” oozing that Obama “realized long ago that Ronald Reagan was a transformational president.”
Though tolerance is not the highest virtue and hypocrisy is not the lowest sin, liberals have a dearth of the former while demanding it and an abundance of the latter while forbidding it.
Washington University's withdrawn speaking invitation to Bristol Palin is a textbook example both of liberal intolerance and hypocrisy.
The university invited Palin to share her views on abstinence during its "Student Sexual Responsibility Week" in February. But when it was disclosed that the school had offered Palin $20,000 to speak, open-minded liberal students objected and the university withdrew the invitation.
Last week, in his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama was adamant about freezing U.S. government domestic spending over the next five years. But why not do the same for U.S. spending abroad?
The president said: "So tonight, I am proposing that starting this year, we freeze annual domestic spending for the next five years. Now, this would reduce the deficit by more than $400 billion over the next decade."
Forget for a moment that I believe we need to cut government spending by at least 10 percent across the board (including in foreign support) and not just freeze it. Can you imagine American homes in which the primary breadwinners lost their jobs freezing their household spending but not doing the same in their financial support of almost every household in their neighborhoods?