Love Potion #9.1

It has been six months since Pfizer pharmaceuticals unleashed its wonder drug to combat erectile dysfunction on an unsuspecting – albeit receptive – public. Since then, the news has been awash in stories of the sales records being set (4.3 million prescriptions in its first week), the gushings of satisfied users, the lamentations of besieged… Read more »

Sex, Lies, and Presidents

Thomas Jefferson also had his secrets. As a young man he attempted to seduce his neighbor’s wife, whom he was supposed to be looking after while her husband was away. And, of course, he may have had an affair with black slave Sally Hemings, though the facts remain in dispute. Over the course of the… Read more »

Too Well Endowed?

Often, it is the confluence of several news events that brings the real story into focus. Take the Feb. 18 press release on the results of the National Association of University and College Business Officers’ annual survey of school endowments: “Golden Era in University and College Endowments,” the organization trumpeted. “Institutions Hold More Than $150… Read more »

Sorry, Wrong Number

For the first test in the survey, I called the Alcohol Treatment Routing Referral Service of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. My ostensible purpose was to locate the facility nearest me that offers treatment for alcoholism. I thought this question could be easily answered by a hotline that… Read more »

Washington Monthly

The IRS wasn’t alone. In July, the Clinton administration declared confidently that our nation’s nursing homes were in fine shape; only 1 percent suffered any serious health or safety problems. Then the General Accounting Office released the results of an investigation charging that one in three nursing homes in California – a state with a… Read more »

What One Doctor Learned

I joined the Public Health Service believing that government service was important work, and I left it with the same conviction. But over the years, the growing anti-government sentiment and the increasing privatization of our health-care system made me wonder. Had the legacy of the government, the public collective, as the ultimate guarantor of medical… Read more »

Capitol Hill’s longest

I’ve learned this lesson the hard way. This is the ninth agonizing year of my effort to reform the Mining Law of 1872, signed by Ulysses S. Grant and intended to entice people to “go West” and settle. My successes have been marginal. Because I will leave the Senate at the end of the year,… Read more »

Patriot Games

ne June day two years ago, James Douglas Nichols was pushing 70 miles per hour down a country road not far from his Decker, Michigan farm when he was caught in the crosshairs of a sheriff deputy’s radar gun. The deputy pulled Nichols over and issued him tickets for speeding and for driving without a… Read more »

Very Risky Business

Last spring, when the stock market took its hair-raising ride, in one corner of Wall Street there was more than the usual anxiety. In fact, there was stockbrokers-looking-for-upper-floor-windows kind of fright. In April, clients of the giant Bankers Trust New York Inc.including Procter & Gambletook multimillion dollar losses on a kind of trading most Americans… Read more »