Lost the case, won the vase! Marine Col. Matthew Bogdanos, the "Manhattan district attorney and reservist" who is a hero in this WaPo piece about missing Iraqi artifacts--he helped recover the "Uruk Vase"--wouldn't be the same Matthew Bogdanos who unsuccessfully prosecuted hip-hop star and entrepreneur Sean "P. Diddy" Combs after a 1999 Manhattan nightclub shooting, would he? ... From this Court TV bio page it sure looks like it. ... Doesn't WaPo's Nora Boustany read the N.Y. Post? ...1:44 A.M.
California's Katherine Harris? Is California's Democratic Secretary of State Kevin Shelley fudging up the law to save Gray Davis from a recall? That's Bee blogger Daniel Weintraub's suspicion. First, Shelley's office wouldn't give a straight answer to the question of whether a Davis resignation would work to cancel the recall. (Weintraub wondered if Shelley wanted "to keep things vague so he can make it up as he goes along.") Now Shelley's requiring signature-counting procedures that will "almost certainly delay the election until March." ... More Weintraub:
This is looking more like a mirror image of Florida every day. Instead of a Republican Secretary of State fighting to slow a recount and elect a Republican president, we have a Democratic Secretary of State acting to slow a signature count to prevent the recall of a Democratic governor.
And just like in Florida, this one might also wind up in the courts. Except for one problem: if the recall proponents sue, they might find themselves locked in a legal death struggle that could delay rather than quicken the pace of the count. So they may be trapped into accepting Shelley's edict.
I don't necessarily want a recall myself. But I do want a Secretary of State who plays it straight. ... P.S.: Who will be the first, as the recall procedure gets even more complex and perverse due to the Secretary's of State's rulings, to use the obvious "SHELLEY'S FRANKENSTEIN" hed? I certainly plan to at the first available opportunity. ...[You already stole Weintraub's 'Katherine Harris' hed. Good work-ed.] 8:10 P.M.
Kf on drugs: I'm confused!
1) I understand why, as Holman Jenkins Jr. argued in the Wall Street Journal yesterday, drug companies need to make big profits on successful drugs if they are going to finance the risky research to discover new drugs, which involves following a lot of false leads.
The occasional gusher provides investors a return on all the money thrown down dry holes.
I also understand why, if there's a drug benefit within a government-run Medicare system (what Democrats want), the government might use its massive buying power to demand low "dictated prices that don't cover" the costs of discovering those new and better drugs.
2) And I also understand why, as Robert Moffit of the Heritage Foundation argued in the New York Post yesterday, "new entitlements always wind up costing far, far more than initial estimates," and the Medicare drug entitlement is likely to be no exception. I understand why, under the alternative, partly-privatized program initially proposed by President Bush, in which you could choose from a variety of private health plans, "[m]arket pressures" would "control costs."
3) What I don't understand is how both these right-wing critiques of the Senate's prescription drug entitlement can be true at the same time. How does the partly-privatized plan give more money to drug companies (solving problem #1) while simultaneously being cheaper (solving problem #2)? I should think that, as a crude first approximation, controlling costs through "market pressures" would involve controlling the cost of drugs (substituting generics, bargaining down prices, making sure treatment is warranted, etc.)--which would mean less money for the drug companies to use to reward investors and fund risky research.