Software Nerd

Sunday, August 27, 2006

"Morning after" pill goes over-the-counter

The FDA has allowed one type of "morning after" pill (called Plan-B) to be sold over the counter to anyone showing proof of being 18 years old or more. Some months ago, a senior employee of the FDA resigned when the FDA disallowed OTC sales. She said she resigned because the FDAs ruling had nothing to do with science. I believe her. The FDA is a stumbling block at the best of times, making their own guesses about a patient's risk-reward thinking. In this case, however, Republican Christians reared their ugly head.

Then Hillary Clinton and another senator held up a new FDA appointment in the senate. So, Bush "paid them off" by allowing OTC sales. Imagine that! Hillary actually fought for individual rights. Whatever her motives, I'm happy about the ruling, and also happy about the small defeat for Christianity. Listen to what one of these idiots says: "How does the FDA plan to prevent Plan B from being purchased by child predators and rapists and used to cover their crimes?" said Dr. David Stevens, executive director of the 17,000-member Christian Medical Association based in Bristol, Tenn., in a prepared release. Why don't these guys go join their cousins in middle-east!


  • Hi. I'm writing to respond to a comment of yours that I saw on Mark Cuban's board.

    "From the titles of his books, this Wise guy ought to be on ShareSleuth's side. One can only assume that his books are not about real corruption, but the typical left-wing stuff aimed at anyone who wants to make money."

    I've read one of those books, and I think I know Weiss' general POV.

    He isn't left-wing. In fact, he is a fervent believer in the efficient capital markets hypothesis and its annex, the random-walk hypothesis. These, as you probably know, are ideas often associated with laissez-faire thinkers.

    In Weiss' case, his belief in ECMH leads him to the conclusion that just about any actively-managed investment fund, whether it puts the word "mutual" or the word "hedge" in front of the noun "fund," is a fraud. If it's actively managed, then managers are charging (more than adequately) on the presumption that they can beat the market, whereas in fact they can't. Almost all investors would be better off in passively-managed funds.

    That is Weiss' general bias. He's against the anti-nakedness crusaders because he believes the sort of reforms they propose would undermine the efficiency of markets that he takes as a premise, and because he believes they're often just using their crusade as a cover for their own pump-and-dump schemes. Hence his term, "the baloney brigade" for Bob O'Brien, Faulk, and that crowd.

    In this context you can perhaps understand his position on sharesleuth. He's happy to see Cuban short sell -- that's part of what makes markets efficient. He's also happy to have Cuban publicize the reasons for his short selling. His problem is with calling it "journalism," which blurs lines he'd rather leave unblurred and gives ammunition to the baloney brigade, which is always trying to discredit short-sellers by charging that they all do covertly what Cuban is now bragging about doing -- i.e. they buy reporters to badmouth their target stocks.

    And no, I'm not Weiss. Nor do I agree with everything he writes on these matters. I do think he has a coherent and important point of view, and of course if you want to discuss his -- or for that matter my -- views on these matters I'm easy to find.

    By Anonymous Christopher, at 6:59 AM  

  • Thanks for the info; I really appreciate you taking the time to provide a detailed explanation.

    From what you write, I slot Weiss into the set of economists who want what's called "pure and perfect competition" or something close to it.

    For starters, the concept is an imaginary figment not tied to reality. Worse still, its political implementations -- like antitrust law -- try to force people to be free.

    The biggest problem is that the "perfect competition"school pretends to be friends of Capitalism, saying that Capitalism is based on perfect competition. This is false: Capitalism is based on the concept of individual rights. Having an economics czar telling us we must be free, and telling us that he is not going to let Mark Cuban influence our little minds is worse than patronizing and presumtious. It is dictatorship with the garb of Capitalism.

    By Blogger softwareNerd, at 4:26 AM  

  • That's a bit of a stretch, SN. Leaving aside the differences between the ECMH on one hand and the "perfect competition" models for products and services to which you're alluding on the other ... Weiss isn't an official of the state. He isn't threatening to put Cuban in prison.

    At most, he is suggesting that people voluntarily engage in a sort of shunning, leaving Cuban's sharesleuth unread. Which is very different. He is exercising his freedom in a way that constrains Cuban's not at all, since clearly Cuban has no right to expect an audience for sharesleuth.

    I think you are right, though, to imply that Weiss' understanding of ECMH may be a bit mechanical. I said as much in a review I wrote of his second book. I'll send you a copy of the review if you're interested.

    By Anonymous Christopher, at 7:36 AM  

  • Since these comments were off-topic, I have created a new blog entry (click here) where I have quoted them and added my most recent response.

    By Blogger softwareNerd, at 11:42 AM  

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