KBO 2018-12-27T12:00:48+00:00

KEEP BUGGERING ON

The Worst a Brand Can Get

By | January 18th, 2019|0 Comments
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Forget plastics. Numbers are more pliable than any polymer and more credible, to the incredulous, than all the words of a believer in God, than all the world’s believers, than all the God-loving prayers by people of humility and kindness; because to only believe in what you can count is to lose count of the obvious: that it takes very little for someone to act like a fool.

Ask the brand managers at Gillette or the executives at Procter & Gamble what made them believe men would agree to be

Read More

Justice for the Victims

By | January 16th, 2019|0 Comments
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Justice delayed is . . . justice delayed. Not justice denied, because if justice means anything—if America’s criminal justice system is to retain a scintilla of strength from moral rot within and martial enemies from without—if there is a constant to this White House, it is opposition not only to illegal immigration but to immigration by the world’s worst criminals. To see justice done, then, is to know that neither the passage of time nor the passing of the victims of the worst crime

Read More

Business as Usual at the World Bank?

By | January 15th, 2019|0 Comments
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

President Trump’s National Economic Council chief Larry Kudlow is on record saying the World Bank is an outdated, unnecessary relic of a bygone era. With an unexpected opening for the bank’s presidency, a post customarily reserved for the nominee of a United States president, there’s an opportunity to install a new chief who could begin the process of winding up the business of an obsolete institution.

Instead, early reports for the succession have shown a depressing pattern of

Read More

Andrew Bacevich and the Long Twilight Struggle

By | January 14th, 2019|0 Comments
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Greatness is neither a guarantee of goodness nor a grant for do-gooders to remake the world. Try they nonetheless have, at home and abroad, from the 19th century to the first two decades of the current century, in which the handprints of presidents and the footprints of soldiers have left their respective marks throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East; in which the Great War begat not the end of war but its expansion; in which the combined shadow of so many bad wars threatens to

Read More

A Diva’s Demand Gives Dems a Way Out

By | January 14th, 2019|0 Comments
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Cher last week demanded that both House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) give President Trump the money to build the wall. The 70-something pop music diva is well known as being hostile to Trump. Previously, she had said Trump’s election felt like a death in her family and that she would leave the planet.

The media and Dems haven’t quite figured out to react yet, but I think she just threw Pelosi and Schumer a lifeline; a way to fold and in doing

Read More

A Market-Based Solution to Rising Drug Prices: More Competition

President Trump and high-ranking officials in his administration, including Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Kevin Hassett and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, are scheduled to meet tomorrow for a strategy session on how to moderate drug prices.

The president is frustrated over recent price increases that have occurred in spite of his publicly pressuring and shaming drug companies. “Drug makers and companies are not living up to their commitments on pricing. Not being fair to the consumer, or to our Country!” he tweeted on January 5th.

Until now, most of the administration’s suggested remedies primarily have consisted of sort of price controls, which seldom work and at best, have unintended consequences.  A far better solution would be congressional authorization of drug-approval reciprocity among select foreign counterparts, giving patients rapid access to drugs that have been already proven to work in countries whose testing and review regimens are similar to our own.

Reciprocal approval would benefit patients directly: The negative effects of FDA delays in approving certain new drugs already available in other industrialized countries are well documented. Meningitis B, for example, is a devastating infectious disease that can become debilitating so quickly that by the time it is recognized, the patient may be too sick for effective treatment. The European Union, Australia, and Canada approved the first MenB vaccine, Bexsero, in January 2013. The FDA did not follow suit until February 2015. Meningitis B outbreaks resulted in deaths and limb amputations during that interval, when federal agencies had to resort to a cumbersome process in order to approve limited usage of Bexsero. The Centers for Disease Control had to apply to the FDA for permission to acquire and distribute the European version of the vaccine.

Reciprocity would also alleviate shortages of critical drugs in the U.S.. Many of the drugs in short supply are generic injectable medications commonly used by EMTs and in hospitals: analgesics, cancer drugs, anesthetics, antipsychotics for psychiatric emergencies, and electrolytes needed for patients on IV supplementation. Hospitals are scrambling to assure adequate supplies of drugs that are in short supply, or to find substitutes for them. Patients sometimes get the second or third choice of medication.

The FDA is severely limited in what it can do to address shortages. The agency’s app to enable health care providers to keep current on shortages informs them about the problem but doesn’t actually remedy it. Reciprocity of approvals would make numerous needed alternative drugs available. It could have been in place decades ago if only the FDA had met its long-standing commitment to pursue it through the International Conference on Harmonization of Technical Requirements for Registration of Pharmaceuticals for Human Use (ICH).

The ICH’s agenda (supposedly) includes reciprocity of drug approvals among certain governments, but generations of FDA officials have resisted any such “delegation” of their responsibilities. When a senior European regulator was asked about the extent of the FDA’s cooperation on this issue, she quipped, “It’s like discussing the Thanksgiving dinner menu with the turkeys.”

Though the FDA has improvised procedures for importing drugs approved and marketed abroad that have not been approved in the U.S., this “enforcement discretion” approach—a kind of ad hoc reciprocity—is legally questionable. In a recent court decision, the FDA was blocked from using enforcement discretion to permit the importation of an unapproved drug for capital punishment, because the law is clear that an unapproved drug cannot come through U.S. Customs. That’s why Congress must step in.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

By | January 14th, 2019|0 Comments

Amazon Fresh

By | January 12th, 2019|0 Comments
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

A suggestion: Until Jeff Bezos develops a conscience, he should rent one. Until Amazon improves Alexa, its voice-activated virtual assistant, so as to make this thing—this plastic speaker with a light ring and a cloth exterior—sound more intelligent than artificial, Bezos should find a real-life Alexa. Perhaps he should hire Disney to create a 3/4-inch tall version of Jiminy Cricket, a 1:90 scale model to Bezos’s eighth dwarf, Greedy (or Seedy), where, 10 to 20 minutes after Bezos’s

Read More

Jon Meacham’s Nose for Nonsense

By | January 11th, 2019|0 Comments
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Between Tom Friedman’s mustache, which looks like Harry Reems’s mustache, and Jon Meacham’s nose, which looks as big as Reems’s “mustache,” Friedman and Meacham look like a perverse version of Wooly Willy—without the magnetic personality. The two may not look the same, but they sound the same. There they stand: Friedman in his half-zippered fleece, issuing parables about Japanese fishermen and Micronesian lenders, while Meacham, in a stained nightshirt made of green velvet and

Read More

Pure Zuckery

By | January 10th, 2019|0 Comments
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Facebook is the claw crane of social media, with fewer prizes. Instead of stuffed toys filled with straw and roofing fabric, instead of toys laced with mercury and lead—in addition to all manner of choking hazards—for which every fourth dollar yields a 10-cent toy sufficient to make this game feel worthwhile, instead of something tangible we get a series of worthless and intangible likes, shares, and followers.

The difference between the machine and social media is that one may be

Read More

Ambition and the Ends of Government

By | January 8th, 2019|0 Comments
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

One of my favorite journals, The New Criterion, recently posted an article by one of my favorite commentators, James Piereson (disclosure: I’ve know Jim for 30 years, since I worked for him at the John M. Olin Foundation), which pours some some clear water of Machiavellian realism into the muddy debate over Trump’s character.  

Jim is a fine example of the patriot-scholar, and I never fail to learn from his writing. But I would offer a friendly demur, or perhaps clarification, to his

Read More

He Was Some Einstein—and Funny, Too!

By | January 2nd, 2019|0 Comments
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Albert Einstein made a fortune in physics, according to Al Czervik, but Bob Einstein, a.k.a. Super Dave Osborne, mined comedic gold. He was a great straight man. As for his private life, I know nothing. What I do know is this: If good movies are memorable because they have great moments, Einstein was a genius—the comic, not the one with comical hair—because he played it straighter than Mitt Romney at the Continental Baths during a performance by The Divine Miss M, with Barry Manilow on

Read More

A New Year of Resolution Versus Defiance

By | January 1st, 2019|0 Comments
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Congressional Democrats have but one resolution: to undo the president. Do not bemoan their cause, because they intend to keep their word—their newest members never hid their intentions from the public—regarding their desire to investigate the president, to impeach the president, to have a grand jury indict the president.

Do not belabor their promise to do these things. Do not belittle their power to pursue these things, as they have the means to slow if not stop this presidency, as they

Read More

Cuba Libre

By | December 29th, 2018|0 Comments
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The greatest story ever told—about the greatest story ever told—is not “The Greatest Story Ever Told,” as the New Testament has nothing to do with the 1965 movie about a Nordic Jesus and an ensemble cast of three “Batman” (TV series) villains; a bald Greek (as a Roman prefect); a cross-dresser (in reruns); a murderer; a bisexual, who was later murdered; two icons; and a black Jew and a white Elvis.

No: The greatest story ever told, on film, is “The Godfather Part II.” Which brings

Read More

A Lilliputian Revolt

By | December 24th, 2018|0 Comments
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Images abound of American servicemen celebrating Christmas. From shirtless soldiers in the South Pacific, whose first summer is a December day below the equator, to troops in the rain-soaked strip between North and South Korea, whose last Christmas—at home—is a reminder of where they long to be; from these many, whose presence our allies take for granted, we grant 2,000 souls the best Christmas of 2018: an executive order to leave Syria.

To Michael R. Bloomberg, this is no gift—which

Read More

The Rise of the ‘Welfare Capitalist’

By | December 23rd, 2018|Comments Off on The Rise of the ‘Welfare Capitalist’
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Facebook spends more money to protect Mark Zuckerberg than it does to safeguard your personal data. Do the math, or have Google do it for you, as your hand may cramp, your pencil may break, or you may not have enough space to write so many zeros on behalf of such a zero.

Take what Facebook spent in 2017 on Zuckerberg’s home and travel security, and multiply that number by the number of people who are active on Facebook: (7 million x 1 billion = 7e+15). What you get is a product so

Read More

Home for the Holidays

By | December 17th, 2018|Comments Off on Home for the Holidays
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

They come home more indoctrinated than informed, more addicted than adjusted, more estranged than educated. They come home the way they left it: able to shade the right ovals and say the right things—to not know there are different things to say—because their opinions do not differ from established opinion. They come home with the mistaken belief that where they go reflects where they will be; in power, with the right to rule the world and a mandate to inherit the earth. They come home as

Read More

End Times for Time Magazine

By | December 11th, 2018|Comments Off on End Times for Time Magazine
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

From Men of the Year to Person of the Year. From the men who slipped the surly bonds of Earth and touched the heart of all mankind, who touched the heavens and read the words of our Father who art in heaven, who touched the pages of the oldest book—who turned to the verses of the Old Testament—to tell the tale about the newest journey in man’s long climb from the swamp to the stars, who touched the light while they spoke of the first day when God said: Let there be light.

From this

Read More

Final Thoughts About the Finality and Burial of an Ex-President

By | December 10th, 2018|Comments Off on Final Thoughts About the Finality and Burial of an Ex-President
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Soldiers carried the flag-draped coffin through the nave. They carried it beneath the individual flags of the Republic, between the image of the nation’s Founding Father and the symbol of the Union’s savior. They carried it toward the altar of the National Cathedral, past diplomats and dignitaries ranked in rows, past military commanders of the highest rank and leaders of the commanding heights of power.

They carried it to the front—to lie in repose—where it rested, while speakers

Read More

A Date That Lives in Infamy

By | December 6th, 2018|Comments Off on A Date That Lives in Infamy
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

He spoke after the dawn’s early light, after he had received proof through the night. He spoke to a nation in mourning. He spoke with growing confidence, because he knew the morning would come when we would raise our flag in defiance; when we would plant our flag on enemy beaches; when we would fly our flag from island hilltops; when we would wave our flag in the streets; when we would win the war and lower the flag of the Empire of Japan.

He spoke about the events of the previous night.

He

Read More

Tom Friedman’s Garage Sale

By | December 5th, 2018|Comments Off on Tom Friedman’s Garage Sale
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

I have seen the future, and it is a chain-smoking chimpanzee typist: a chest-beating, keyboard-banging columnist for The New York Times who does on paper what he does to the floor—take a massive dump.

Yesterday, he used his column to empty his cage. He listed his belongings for sale, including a trampoline, a safety net, drones, a robot, school supplies, and a self-driving car.

He breached the wall—a great wall with big beautiful doors—between editorial and advertising by promoting the

Read More

Every Page Is Extra: The Interminable Nature of John Kerry

By | December 3rd, 2018|Comments Off on Every Page Is Extra: The Interminable Nature of John Kerry
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The initials JFK are shorthand for tailors and typesetters alike. The letters adorn barrel cuffs and shirt pockets, where the stitching is surgical in its precision and subtle in its placement: a hand-sewn monogram, in indigo or ivory, that matches the darkest color of a particular fabric. The letters have regional and national significance. They have international importance, too, whenever they appear in print by way of Simon & Schuster or the Boston Globe.

But this JFK is not that JFK. John

Read More

Not His Finest Hour: George Bush and the End of the Cold War

By | December 2nd, 2018|Comments Off on Not His Finest Hour: George Bush and the End of the Cold War
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Picture Victory in Europe Day not as an hour of triumph but as a moment of tribulation in which, instead of thanking Englishmen for their strength and stamina, instead of standing alongside ministers of many parties and almost every point of view, instead of standing in defense of King and Country, Winston Churchill stood alone—behind a curtain—so as not to embarrass Germany.

Picture the scene stateside, in which Harry Truman, who was then as foreign to the English as he was to his fellow

Read More

Required Reading – November 26 Evening Update

By | November 26th, 2018|Comments Off on Required Reading – November 26 Evening Update
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Required reading from around the web of the best, most interesting, or most though provoking things we’ve read:

Greenfield: The New Crooked Congressional Black Caucus

“In the last decade, every single House Democrat sent to prison for financial crimes was a Congressional Black Caucus member. In the last twenty years, it’s been over 80%. After the midterms, the CBC has grown past a record 50 members. But that doesn’t mean it’s getting better. Power makes it worse. […]The Congressional

Read More

Required Reading – November 26 Afternoon Update

By | November 26th, 2018|Comments Off on Required Reading – November 26 Afternoon Update
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Required reading from around the web of the best, most interesting, or most though provoking things we’ve read:

Doran and Badran: Trump Is Crude. But He’s Right About Saudi Arabia

“There’s not much Republicans and Democrats agree on nowadays, but President Trump’s expression of support for Saudi Arabia on Tuesday in the wake of the Jamal Khashoggi killing managed to unite them. Democratic and Republican leaders declared that the president’s statement was dishonest, morally blinkered

Read More

Remembering Ricky Jay

By | November 26th, 2018|Comments Off on Remembering Ricky Jay
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

He was two names in one.

Not Rick, Richard, or Ricardo. Neither Ricky nor Jay, but Ricky Jay.

Rick—ee. J—ay.

Ricky Jay.

He was fluent in Mamet speak: ready to do the thing, because he said he would do the thing; the thing he talked about, which was his thing; that this thing—everything was secondary to the thing—was why he did things, because he was a man; and men have been doing things since the thing began.

He was also Jamesian in his speech, a man for whom words like

Read More
Load More Posts