Preview of coming injections

Novo Nordisk, the leading supplier of insulin, is withdrawing its top-line pen-based injection system from Greece in response to the government’s demand for a 25-percent cut in all drug prices. The company says it cannot afford to provide the product at a loss, and that other countries may be likely to follow suit — and besides, Greece already owes them $36 million.

And there was, of course, wailing and gnashing of teeth; the Greek diabetes association complained about “brutal blackmail” and “a violation of corporate social responsibility.” Novo Nordisk offered to provide a lower-end product — same quality, but lacking nifty automated features — at no cost, which apparently didn’t mollify the critics.

Greece can expect more of this. LEO Pharma is pulling two drugs out of the Greek market, an anti-clotting agent and a psoriasis treatment, saying Greece owes them $300 million.

Money quote:

Stefanos Combinos, the director general of the economy ministry, told the BBC that Greece was one of the three most expensive countries in Europe for medicines.

He said pharmaceutical companies had enjoyed great profits out of Greece over the decades and had an obligation to accept price reductions.

Or, to quote a comparably-uninformed US official, “I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.”

(Suggested by this description of the Novo Nordisk action at Daily Pundit.)

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Perhaps you should have put a ring on it

Robbins Diamonds billboard


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Strange search-engine queries (226)

To produce this weekly feature, we drill, baby, drill, into the very site logs that mark the passage of readers, and we hope we hit a gusher of snarkworthy search strings upon which we can cash in, or at least fill in the blank spaces while we wait for something resembling actual content to turn up.

teenager songs:  Pretty much the definition of “popular music” for the last sixty years or so.

shehulk jump roping nude:  You realize, of course, that if she saw you watching her, not only would you be pounded into a pulp, but you’d be sued.

yogurt girl teen kit sexy:  Watch it. One of those girls might grow up to be like the She-Hulk.

rule 34 dakota fanning:  I remind you that she’s still technically underage, though I don’t think she’s going to grow up to be like the She-Hulk.

bullying old teacher elderly horrible mean:  Must be the one who gave you a D-minus for your D-minus-quality work.

too much fudge:  How is that even possible?

why Sears or Wal-mart cannot effectively create a trendy counterculture image:  Because it’s all counterculture these days; tradition is viewed with suspicion, even hostility, and neither of these is good for sales.

“single use shoes”:  A hard sell to women, many of whom wouldn’t dream of throwing away shoes.

child ornery after surgery:  Hey, those stitches hurt.

sexual subtext brain-sucking phallic starship troopers:  Doesn’t sound like subtext to me.

dustbury ok:  Glad you approve. Now get off my lawn.

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One hundred years of fortitude

President Johnson’s Memorial Day proclamation in 1966, 100 years after the first:

Americans will be fighting and dying in Vietnam this Memorial Day, 1966, in fulfillment of our commitment to freedom. Their sacrifice is part of an ancient legacy that begins with man’s first act of transcendent courage, and that contains all that is noble and selfless in human character.

Our own liberty was won in struggle against tyranny. In two world wars and in Korea, brave Americans and their allies gave their lives that men might live and prosper in freedom.

We shall not forsake their sacrifice. We shall — because we must — persevere.

We are totally committed to defeat this aggression.

This nation has never left the field of battle in abject surrender of a cause for which it has fought.

We shall not do so now.

We shall see this through.

Yet as we protect freedom by courage in arms, we shall every day continue the search for an honorable peace.

It is tragic that young lives must be sacrificed, that great sums must be spent for the instruments of war, when the work of peace awaits man’s accomplishment in every land. America today — as in past years — is prepared to join in that work with any nation whose devotion is to peace with its neighbors, and a better life for its people. Let the guns of aggression be silent, we say, that the sounds of the builders, of the planters, of the teachers, may be heard.

(Also: One of my first essays on the subject, circa 2004.)

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And even more Harmon-y

On the preceding Angie Harmon thread, reference was made to Harmon’s upcoming series Rizzoli & Isles, based on characters from Tess Gerritsen’s novels.

Shortly thereafter, a few publicity photos of Harmon (who plays Jane Rizzoli) and Sasha Alexander (who plays Maura Isles) surfaced, and far be it from me to let such a thing pass by, so:

Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander as Rizzoli and Isles

Rizzoli & Isles starts July 12 on TNT.

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Besieged Petroleum

Okay, if “top kill” doesn’t work, and apparently it doesn’t, how about some good old-fashioned incentivizing?

Offer a bounty for each barrel of oil recovered. With the amount of oil being spilled, it should be easy to scoop up some fraction of it. Each barrel recovered is that much less environmental damage and that much less clean up required. Also, it might be possible to separate out the water from the recovered oil and use the resulting oil as oil.

We would need some place to receive the collected oil. Possibly a tanker on site along with a floating dock, pumps and lines to transfer the collected oil from the collector to the tanker. And then we would need a method to separate the oil from the water.

And the price tag?

I think a thousand dollars a barrel would probably pull every boat within a hundred miles of the Gulf Coast into this operation. A dollar a barrel? Well, maybe a couple of guys in a Greenpeace skiff. Somewhere in between there I think we could get measurable results for less than the national defense budget.

Assuming somewhere around a million barrels are running around loose in the Gulf, retrieval of half of it at $1000 a barrel would run $500 million. At the moment, that looks like chump change.

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Expired registration is expired

The post-card renewal form for Gwendolyn’s registration came in this past week, and I tossed it onto the Big Pile O’ Paper on my desk. When next I encountered it, it was face down, so I found myself peering at the fine print on the back, which includes this warning about Delinquent Penalties:

Delinquent registration renewal penalties will begin accruing one month following the expiration of the previous expiration.

Take that, Mr Smartypants Procrastinator.

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But first, you render unto Caesar

An observation in the comments at Hot Air:

I always ask the social justice advocates in my circle (principally my nephew who is still too young to know any better, and my best friend) if they think paying every higher taxes counts as “good works” in the eyes of God. They always look at me like I have three heads. Of course not. Well, that’s good, I tell them, because then otherwise people would be getting admitted into Heaven based on how much friggin’ federal tax they pay and not so much on what they give from their own hearts. The answer is always that people won’t give from their own hearts. Yet for all of recorded human history, this is exactly what happened. A drop off in charitable giving is inversely proportional to the rise of the welfare state. I can assure you that if I had more of my income to take home every month, I would give more than I already do. I dare say that’s true of most people, esp. Americans who are the most generous people on the planet.

I suspect Americans also have more faith in God’s means testing than in the formulas used by the Department of Whatever.

(Via Kathy Shaidle.)

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Those rays are like cosmic, man

Too soon? The Booth Babe reports that a visitor to the green-car expo at the Detroit Auto Show actually asked, “Does this car run on solar power?”

Considering that at the time this question was asked, the car in question (1) was running (2) in the basement of Cobo Hall, the only answers that make any sense are:

  1. “Hell, no.”
  2. “Did you notice that the entire back-seat area has been replaced by a battery pack?”

My money’s on #1. (And I wonder if it had a, um, moonroof.)

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The domain name pretty much gives it away advances the opinion that James E. Lynch, Jr., mayor of Bordentown, New Jersey, really sucks.

Which no one, yours truly included, might have noticed, except that James E. Lynch, Jr., mayor of Bordentown, New Jersey, tried to get the Web site shut down.

David Gewirtz points out semi-gleefully:

A Web site that might have had, maybe, 20 visitors, has now been written up in:

This is probably not teaching Mayor Lynch anything about free speech, but it’s probably helping him understand the power of bad PR.

And if that doesn’t, the Farkers certainly will.

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To top it all off

The adjuster was here, and we apparently will be adjusted: new roof and new gutters.

Actually, it’s a little more complicated than that, since underneath the old roof is an older roof, with shake shingles, that will have to be removed. (Which I knew beforehand.)

Still, if it’s a hole in the wallet, it’s a load off my mind. I have one of these newfangled hail deductibles, equal to one percent of the insured value of the structure. It’s more than the deductible for other losses, but not that much more.

And it’s another round on the rollercoaster. So far I’m taking it well, especially since the insurance company fronted most of the replacement cost already. But I’m starting to wonder just how far I am from being officially declared bipolar.

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And it’s off to Manhattan

Manhattan, Kansas, that is. Apparently the drivers are better:

The annual GMAC Insurance National Drivers test polled 5,202 licensed drivers from 50 states and the District of Columbia with a 20-question test derived from state department of motor vehicles exams. A passing grade was 70% or better.

So how’d we do?

Test performance varied widely by region. Drivers in the Midwest scored 77.5% on average, the highest among all regions, and had the lowest failure rates at 11.9%. Conversely, the Northeast scored the worst with an average score of 74.9% and had the highest failure rate of 25.1%.

Drivers in Kansas topped the nation with an 82.3% average score, while New Yorkers were last on the list with a score of 70%.

I have to wonder just how much the Empire State score is skewed by residents of the City of New York, many of whom know nothing about cars except that they’re yellow and have a meter.

On the other hand, 8 percent of Kansans in this survey admitted to texting while driving, compared to only 3 percent of New Yorkers. I’d attribute this to the legendary New York survival instinct.

(Sort of complete data set here.)

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To blatantly split

Better writers than yours truly seem to struggle with some of the same procedural questions that I do. For example, SK Waller ponders:

I find it really difficult to remember how not to/to not split my infinitives. Is it “can never”, or “never can”? I’ve read the rule over and over, but I can never/never can remember it.

My own rule, which comes with absolutely no official grammatical sanction whatsoever, is to default to not splitting — unless not splitting makes for a clumsy or uneuphonious or otherwise undesirable result.

The sample everyone trots out is the voiceover at the beginning of Star Trek, The Original Series. I submit that “To go boldly where no man has gone before” is a step downward from the original. On the other hand, “Boldly to go…” puts the adverb up front, but who wants an adverb up front? This one I’d leave alone purely for metrical purposes: the rest of the phrase doesn’t scan, but the pair of iambs at the beginning is downright compelling.

I often hate the way I’ve worded something, especially after I’ve hit the Publish button, but I am seldom inclined to scold someone else: if your participles don’t dangle and your pronouns balance out most of the time, you’re probably way ahead of the game, at least as it’s played in our ostensibly post-literate culture. I suppose I’ll be drummed out of the Grammar Police for so saying, this being the sort of thing up with which they will not put.

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Opening soon?

Stacy McCain reports on a rumor circulating among Senate staffers, to the effect that if Elena Kagan’s confirmation to the Supreme Court comes off without a hitch, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will perforce retire, allowing the President to make another nomination before Tisha B’Av November. (Repeat: this is merely a rumor.)

Much noise continues to be made about “diversity” on the Court, so I suspect that the new kid will come from one of the Ivies currently unrepresented on SCOTUS — although Brown is probably out, if only because of its motto: In Deo Speramus. That sort of sentiment is not to be tolerated in today’s tolerant society.

This is, incidentally, just one of several things that does not make Jenn feel good.

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Quote of the week

Lore Sjöberg — if that weren’t great enough of a name, try hanging “Fitzgerald” in the middle of it — comes up with a batch of reality checks, one of which I am required to endorse:

When you say you’re trying to figure out “what women want,” you actually mean you’re trying to figure out what this one specific woman you’re friends with and have had a crush on for three years wants. (That one’s easy, by the way. The answer is “not you.” Now move on.)

[slinking slowly away]

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Catch it and you keep it

Good luck with that:

I once worked on an ad campaign for saving Darfur. And they told us that one of the ways they kill people in the civil war over there is by dropping shit from airplanes. They often can’t afford ammo, so what they’ll do is fly up in the air and push heavy shit out of an airplane, hoping it lands on unsuspecting people down below. Fridges. Air conditioners. Old trucks. Anything they can get their hands on. Now imagine that. You’re walking along in Darfur, minding your own business, when BOOM! A goddamn washing machine lands on your head. That’s the worst thing I’ve ever heard. I man, I get how much fun it would be to push a sofa out of an airplane. I’d pay $200 to do that. That would be awesome. But to have that actually be used as a way of conducting genocide is evil and shitty and makes me feel like the postapocalypse is already here.

(Title swiped from National Lampoon. Suggested by Pop Culture Junk Mail. Unlike those two links, that first one will give your work filters fits.)

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