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March 31st, 2004:

Yet another moralizing pharmacist

What an outrage.

A pharmacist refused to fill a North Richland Hills woman’s prescription for birth-control pills this week, but the woman hopes her experience will provoke an examination of pharmacists’ power over patient care.

Julee Lacey, 32, a first-grade teacher and mother of two, ran out of birth-control pills Sunday night and went to her local CVS pharmacy for a last-minute refill. The new pharmacist at the branch told her, “I’m sorry, but I personally do not believe in birth control, so I will not fill your prescription,” Mrs. Lacey recalled.

Her husband and the assistant manager could not persuade the pharmacist to change her mind.

When pressed, the pharmacist added that birth-control pills “cause cancer.”

“I think my doctor should make these decisions,” Mrs. Lacey said. “If they’re going to decide not to do birth-control pills, where are they going to draw the line?”

CVS officials could not be reached for comment Tuesday, but a company spokesman told KXAS-TV (Channel 5) that a pharmacist who cannot fill a prescription because of a deeply held belief should ask another pharmacist to do so or call a competing store, if needed.

The incident may stoke a national debate that has put pharmacists on the front lines of the abortion issue.

In January, Eckerd drugstores fired a Denton pharmacist and two co-workers for refusing to sell the “morning-after” emergency contraceptive to a woman identified as a rape victim.

This jerk deserves to get fired just like the Eckerd’s idiots did. Here’s CVS’ corporate contact info if you’d like to help them come to the right decision.

Officials at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, which dispenses contraception and medical care, including abortions, decried what appeared to be “a dangerous trend” and called birth-control pills “basic health care.”

But Elizabeth Graham, director of the Houston-based Texas Right to Life Committee, has said pharmacists have a moral right to refuse to fill some prescriptions.

According to the Texas State Board of Pharmacy, pharmacists may decline to fill prescriptions if they might harm patients, but not on moral grounds.

Moral right, my uvula. Would you expect a steakhouse to keep a waiter who refused to serve beef because he believes meat is murder? It’s the same damn thing.

One more thing: Anyone want to bet that if Julee Lacey’s husband had gone into this CVS to buy a box of condoms, the pharmacist would have rung up the sale without batting an eye?

Via Retrogrouch.

Les Francais, ils aiment McDonalds

Ah, French cuisine. Escargot. Crepes Suzettes. Big Mac and fries.

Call the French snooty, or just demanding, for their attention to good food, good wine, good atmosphere in their restaurants. But the French have a dirty little secret: Of all the people in Europe, they like McDonald’s more than anyone else.

Pound for quarter-pound, they eat more of it, more often, than any other nationality on the continent, and the naysayers here who predicted the French would give up their beloved aged cheese before adopting the fried meat patties so often seen as emblematic of America’s bad taste, have been proven as wrong as red wine with fish.

Yes, we ate at McDonald’s a couple of times while in France last October (something we almost never do here). Sometimes you need a little taste of home, and sometimes you just need to eat cheaply (relatively, anyway – a Big Mac’ll set you back over $3.50). We also ate lots of good French food, so don’t get all indignant on me.

My theory for why the French love Mickey D’s: The fries. Pommes frites are a common side dish over there, at least at the restaurants we visited, which included some pretty fancy ones. Ever have fries with veal medallions in a nice brown gravy? If there’s one thing better than french fries, it’s french fries with gravy. My arteries are hardening just thinking about it, but boy was it good.

Casey v. Neeley

I’ve done my share of ragging on Rick Casey, the Chron’s hotshot columnist, who by and large hasn’t been all that impressive to me. I have to say, though, when he connects he can hit it out of the park. His series on the hype versus the reality for Shirley Neeley, the Galena Park ISD superintendant who was named State Commissioner of Education in January (see Part One and Part Two; Part Three is Friday) is a great read. Check it out.

Doing good works

There’s been some good discussion of the theological implications of John Kerry’s use of Scripture and Team Bush’s fierce response to it. In particular, I suggest you check out Lean Left, Political Aims (Happy Blogiversary, Amy, by the way), Slacktivist, and The Talent Show, who makes use of a Jack Chick tract to illustrate the point of contention. Those of you not familiar with Chick might not realize that the “millions of people who are trusting in their good works” yet are doomed to hell are Catholics – Kevin at Lean Left picked up on the Catholicism of Kerry’s remarks, and as a one-time nice Catholic boy myself, they made perfect sense to me as well.

Anyway, some good reading there, so check it out.

Pop ups???

I first saw this in a Kos diary, but without a link I was not willing to believe it. Now that I’ve done a little Googling, I can see for myself that it’s true: The GOP’s Internet “strategy” is ludicrous.

In a possible harbinger of future e-campaigns, visitors to websites such as, and in recent days have been greeted by one of the year’s first online political attacks.

The banner and pop-up ads placed by the Republican National Committee on about 1,400 sites starting March 19 attacked presumptive Democratic nominee John F. Kerry for his vote last year against spending $87 billion for military operations and reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Pop-up ads? POP-UP ADS? Are they on crack? Have they never heard of the X10 camera and the violent hatred those ads inspired? Are they not at all familiar with the range of popup blocking technologies, from Mozilla to Google’s Toolbar, from AdSubtract to Earthlink? I was going to make a snarky comment about the GOP’s support for Microsoft throughout its antitrust trial, but it turns out that even Internet Explorer will soon have the ability to kill the accursed things. What century are these guys living in?

Of course, as a good Democrat, I heartily cheer this effort. You go, guys! Spread those popups like kudzu!

“It’s one more way to reach out to voters, but it’s a very new medium,” said RNC spokeswoman Christine Iverson. “We’re on the frontier right now of figuring out how to use the Internet effectively for political communications.”

Take your time. No rush.

UPDATE: Rob Booth and WhiteHouseForSale have various nits to pick with me, which I address in the comments.

DeLay denies indictment reports

Tom DeLay is denying earlier reports that he has taken steps to deal with the possibility of being indicted by a Travis County grand jury in its investigation of TRM/TAB (see here).

“If the law is the standard in the state of Texas, then we have no problems and we don’t anticipate a problem,” DeLay, R-Sugar Land, said emphatically during a news conference in Washington.

“I have not been notified that I am being investigated; I have not been subpoenaed,” he said.

Targets of grand jury investigations aren’t always notified, however.

The Houston Chronicle reported last week that DeLay had told a group of Houston supporters March 8 that he may need to raise more money for a legal defense fund. There also have been reports in Washington that DeLay has discussed with some House Republicans a GOP conference rule that requires party leaders to step aside if they are indicted on a felony punishable by at least two years in prison. DeLay is the second-highest-ranking Republican in the House.

“All the reports are wrong. The reports in Washington are particularly wrong,” DeLay said. Speculation that he would consider stepping aside is “ridiculous,” he added.

DeLay acknowledged that during a recent meeting with financial supporters in Houston, he discussed what he called a political witch hunt by Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle, a Democrat. DeLay denied there were discussions about a legal defense fund for this case.

“None of that happened,” DeLay said. “I don’t have a transcript of everything that I said. Obviously, somebody sitting in that room — even though he gives me money, does not exactly support me — ran quickly to the Houston Chronicle. I don’t know what he said, and I really don’t care what he said.”

I’m not quite sure what he meant by that first sentence; as I understand it, the point of the earlier speculation was that Republican Party rules require a temporary abdication of leadership positions for someone who’s under indictment. That has nothing to do with Texas law. DeLay is clearly saying that he doesn’t expect to be indicted, and he may well be right, but that seems a bit tangential to the subject.

Anyway. New grand jury is in next week, and things ought to pick up from there.