Thursday, October 14, 2004

Deja Flu All Over Again

It is not an accident that "it" (flu vaccine shortage) has happened again. Government has set itself up as a monopsony buyer, to keep costs down. They did this in Poland, in the 1980s. Set the price of pork at 5 cents per pound. Of course, there was no pork, but golly was that nonexistent pork cheap!

So now no one can make money making vaccines. Hardly a big mystery that no one does make vaccines. Maybe we can force people to go out to the countryside for reeducation camps, and then shoot them if they won't work for the common good. Grubby, greedy capitalists.

This from Dec 9, 2003 WSJ. Note that like causes produce like effects.

Where's My Flu Shot?

A few weeks from now, when the country has run out of flu vaccine and people want to know why, we suggest they knock on the doors of Senators Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins and Lincoln Chafee. Perhaps the three Republicans can explain when they intend to honor their promise to hold an open debate about the tort liabilities facing vaccine makers.

The only two suppliers of flu shots reported Friday that supplies are running out. The Centers for Disease Control is now urging health-care providers to reserve the shots for those most at risk. That leaves millions worrying that someone in their family might be next to die from a bad case of flu.

The reason for today's shortage -- as well as seven previous preventive vaccine shortages since 2000 -- is that there are just five vaccine makers. This lack of suppliers is partly thanks to Hillary Clinton, who as first lady turned government into the majority buyer of vaccines and pushed prices so low as to make business unsustainable. (This price-control approach, we'd note, is what Democrats would now like to inflict on the new Medicare drug program.)

But just as worrying to manufacturers is an explosion of class action lawsuits. Vaccine makers are supposed to be protected from suits by 1986 legislation, but tort lawyers have found loopholes and filed more than 200 cases. The Republican leadership fixed this by including a liability provision in the Homeland Security legislation of a year ago. That is, until Ms. Snowe, Ms. Collins and Mr. Chafee objected to its "dark of the night" insertion and forced Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist into repealing it.

In return for their victory, the Senators promised an open debate on broad liability reform within six months. That would have been ... June. But the Senate canceled a markup on a reform bill in April and the Senators have gone quiet. Apparently, making sound vaccine policy isn't as politically rewarding as preening before the media by standing up to "special interests" (vaccine makers). So what's your solution for the flu-shot shortage, Senators?


Sinking Llike a Stone in the River

The John Kerry movie/festschrift "Going Upriver" is sinking fast. A total of $481,000 cumulative, nationwide. Some movies gross that much in Cleveland, in one weekend.

I still want to see it; better hurry before it disappears into the mud on the bottom of the river.

"What are you wearing?" Factor

Our Fox guy gets some attention.

In which, among other things, a "little short brown woman" asked to see his penis and "was amazed."

I bet she was. I'm amazed, too. But not surprised.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

More on NV as Swing State

Voter Registration Fraud in NV. Separating the wheat from the chads.

Expose Bush, part of the "Hookers for Kerry" movement. (Yes, Virginia, prostitution is legal in NV).

Boy, Nevada is one strange place. And those people may get to decide who wins the Presidency.

(Nod to JT)

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

I Think This Means They are Reproducing

Check the Conservative Match site. "For Sweet Hearts, Not Bleeding Hearts."

Some things to notice:
  • You can't be gay. All you get to do is put in your own gender, and the site chooses "matches" for you. All of the opposite sex. That's not a PROBLEM, is it?
  • Basically anything you want to look at requires registration.
  • There's a big "Remember Ronald Reagan" ad. I guess if you find that romantic, then this is definitely the site for you.

As for K. Grease, he has to stay far away from these sites, even the most basic browsing. If you are married to an Italian woman, you have to worry about waking up and finding your OWN bloody severed head in the bed beside you.

Oops! I did it (again)

A kid in Wilmington, NC may go to jail for bad language.

Not clear from the story if he actually made any threats.

We have criminalized so many actions that we invoke the nanny now for things that make no sense.

Suspend the kid. Hell, expell the sum' bitch! But don't use the violence inherent in state incarceration unless the action being punished involves direct violence or the explicit threat of violence.

(heh. heh heh. heh. He said "Hell." and "bitch". Heh huh heh. Arrest him).

EC Snapshot

"If the election were held today...."

Awfully close, but Bush might still win. But, maybe not, same site, different method.

How can that be? Why isn't Kerry ahead by 50 EC votes? More optimistic for Kerry, but less accurate. Kerry may win Ohio and Penna, but he hasn't won them yet. (And I did predict that NV would get "play" before the end).

Of course, there's also this.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Kydland and Prescott

Markets are pretty cool. "Information" (see this graph) or else information, had it right.

But I was wrong. Barro didn't get the Prize. A little surprising that Kydland and Prescott got it together. Nonetheless, very important work.

(UPDATE: Until you have kids, you don't really understand time consistency problems.)