Tuesday, May 08, 2007


So it's finals week and I have no finals. Strangely, I'm extraordinarily busy. Go figure. Soon. Soon I'll graduate. Anyway, here's a couple of noteworthy stories via the Houston Chronicle.

Senate blocks bid to allow prescription drug imports

From the AP

In a triumph for the pharmaceutical industry, the Senate on Monday killed a drive to allow consumers to buy prescription drugs from abroad at a significant savings over domestic prices.

On a 49-40 vote, the Senate required the administration to certify the safety and effectiveness of imported drugs before they can be imported, a requirement that officials have said they cannot meet.

"Well, once again the big drug companies have proved that they are the most powerful and best financed lobby in Washington," said Sen. David Vitter, a Louisiana Republican.

The vote neutralized a second amendment, later passed on a voice vote, that would legalize the importation of prescription drugs manufactured in Canada, Australia, Europe, Japan and New Zealand.

More here.

Fight against adult businesses costly for city

It's a big bill for so few clothes.

The city has spent nearly $1.3 million since 1997 on outside lawyers to defend a sweeping sexually oriented business ordinance against legal challenges from topless bars, adult book stores and "modeling" studios, officials say.

That figure doesn't include the likely equal amount of time city lawyers have spent over the years supporting and advising the outside legal team.

City Attorney Arturo Michel said defending the ordinance has been an unusually costly and time-consuming process.

"It involved more legal work, and clearly more work with people looking at the data and preparing for trial," he said. "With most other litigation, we typically don't appropriate anything that's even close to that."

Not surprisingly, the city's policymakers and the adult industry diverge on the necessity of fighting over the ordinance, which, among many regulations, prohibits the businesses from opening within 1,500 of feet of schools, churches, parks and day care centers.

More here.