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Posts Tagged ‘legislation’

CO lawmakers siding with terminally ill over FDA

Posted by Richard on March 25, 2014

Ryan Dunne is 9 years old and terminally ill. He has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, and it’s destroying all the muscles in his body. Soon, he won’t be able to walk. Eventually, he won’t be able to breathe.

Last year, Ryan and his family found hope. He took part in a 6-month clinical trial of a new drug, one of two that have shown great promise. Ryan’s parents told CBS4Denver’s investigative reporter Brian Maass that the drug worked wonders:

“When there was no hope, all of a sudden things were getting better,” said Ryan’s father, Chris.

“He walked further, had better stamina and energy and didn’t fall into bed saying, ‘I’m tired,’ “ said his mother. “And when he was pulled off of it he went downhill immediately. The drug is effective.”

The other drug markedly improved 100% of the kids who received it, and there were no side effects.

But the trial in which Ryan was enrolled is over. And there are years to go before the FDA eventually approves either of the drugs — if it ever does.

Thousands of boys suffer from the same debilitating, fatal disease, and the FDA has been asked to grant “accelerated approval” to the drugs that appear to be their life-savers. The FDA response? It says that it has an “evolving position on these drugs” and “has reached no conclusions.” In other words, don’t call us, we’ll call you.

In Colorado, Democrats and Republicans have joined forces in support of a bill (HB1281) that gives the terminally ill the right to use experimental or investigational drugs without FDA approval. The bill has all the safeguards you’d expect: no insurance coverage, no suing if things don’t work out, a doctor must sign off, and the drug maker must agree to provide the medicine. Today, HB1281 cleared its first hurdle when it passed out of committee on a 10-1 vote.

Opponents seem few and their arguments lame. On a recent newscast, I heard one lawmaker object that Colorado can’t enact a law that challenges the FDA’s authority — apparently not a fan of the growing 10th Amendment movement. Another worried that without FDA approval, a drug might not be safe. But to a terminally ill person, any side effect from a drug that seems to work is preferable to the “side effect” of waiting — death.

Similar “Right to Try” bills are under consideration in other states. If you’re in Colorado or one of those states, urge your state legislators to support such legislation. There is also an online petition urging the FDA to grant accelerated approval for one of the DMD drugs, eteplirsen. Please go to for more information and to sign it.

UPDATE: The petition has surpassed the 100,000 signatures needed to get a response from the Obama administration. But 200,000 signatures might elicit a better response, so if you haven’t signed yet…

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SOPA/PIPA sponsors bailing

Posted by Richard on January 19, 2012

Support for HR 3261, the Stopping Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and its Senate counterpart, the Protect IP Act (PIPA), which prove that technologically challenged legislators have no business regulating the Internet, is collapsing in the face of widespread public opposition, with 14 former cosponsors dropping their support. Americans for Limited Government issued a press release today in which its president, Bill Wilson, urged other lawmakers to drop their support (emphasis added):

“The American people have spoken, with the urging of popular websites like Wikipedia, through hundreds of thousands of emails and phone calls to members of Congress in opposition to a big government takeover of the Internet. It led to no less than 14 cosponsors of SOPA and PIPA to drop their support, eight in the Senate alone. Now it is time for other cosponsors to respond to the will of the American people as well.

“There simply is no constituency for legislation that, in the name of protecting copyright, institutionalizes a system of blocking entire websites, removing visibility from search engines, and targeting ad providers, all based merely on the accusation of intellectual property theft. Existing law already provides for the removal of copyrighted material from the Internet domestically, and dealing with foreign infringement requires diplomacy with relevant nations overseas, not a regime of censorship here at home.”

Under current law, if someone uploads copyrighted content to, say, YouTube or my blog, the copyright owner can demand that it be removed. That’s reasonable. The site owner can comply or dispute the copyright claim, in which case a court will determine who’s right. But under SOPA, a single unsubstantiated claim of copyright infringement would be sufficient for the government to shut down the entire site immediately, with no judicial review.

For more information about the bills, the imploding of support, and why such legislation simply isn’t necessary to protect copyright, see the long list of references attached to the ALG press release, and especially this NetRightDaily post. To tell your senators and representatives that you don’t want the government’s boot on the Internet, click the button below.

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Pass this bill instead

Posted by Richard on September 15, 2011

When the President addressed Congress a week ago and exhorted them 17 or 18 times to "Pass this bill!" there was no bill to pass. No actual written legislation. Nothing at all on paper, only talking points on his teleprompter. After that was pointed out, staffers hastily drafted a bill, and the President has been waving the 150-page document ever since as he endlessly repeats "Pass this bill!"

The title of that belatedly drafted bill is the "American Jobs Act of 2011." But here's the funny thing: A dozen or two times a day, the Prez calls on the House (where it must originate) to pass that bill — now, not later! — and exhorts his followers to call their congresscritters and tell them to pass that bill. But no Democrat ever introduced the bill. The Prez keeps urging the House to pass a bill they can't pass. 

Yesterday, Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX-1) decided to rectify that situation. He introduced his own bill, only two pages long, named the "American Jobs Act of 2011." It changes the corporate tax rate (and alternative minimum tax) to 0%. 

Brilliant. I love it. Call or email your congresscritters and urge them to pass Rep. Gohmert's "American Jobs Act of 2011" (H.R. 2911). It would create far, far more jobs than the President's amalgam of recycled tax increases, tax incentives for favored groups/behaviors, and "stimulus" spending. 

Warner Todd Huston thinks either Obama is incredibly incompetent or cynical and duplicitous: 

If Obama were an effective president Rep. Gohmert would never have been able to appropriate Obama’s bill name for his own. If Obama was effective he’d have crafted his jobs bill, delivered his speech that night, and lined up at least one Democrat, if not the whole Democrat Party, to introduce his bill the very next morning after the speech.

But Obama did no such thing. Not only was there no bill when he delivered the speech, even this many days after the speech the bill has never been introduced in the House of Representatives where such bills might begin the legislative process.

Of course, it is also possible that President Obama never intended to submit any bill named the “American Jobs Act of 2011″ in the first place. It is possible he never wanted such a bill debated for real because all he was doing was using it as a political ploy for his reelection campaign.

Whichever is the case, the best defense is a good offense, and Rep. Gohmert has mounted a marvelous offense. Let's help him out by talking up his "American Jobs Act of 2011" (H.R. 2911) as a sensible alternative to the President's as-yet unintroduced, as-yet unnamed "Son of Stimulus" bill. Contact Congress!

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Making felons out of bloggers

Posted by Richard on June 3, 2011

Copyright law in this country is already pretty screwed up, and it's obvious that the entertainment industry has Washington wrapped around its little finger. But who would have thought that a bill like S.978 would be given serious consideration?

From time to time, I embed YouTube videos in my posts. As Mike Masnick noted, doing so if this poorly drafted bill passes could get me five years in the slammer:

If you embed a YouTube video that turns out to be infringing, and more than 10 people view it because of your link… you could be facing five years in jail. This is, of course, ridiculous, and suggests (yet again) politicians who are regulating a technology they simply do not understand.

This is so wrong in so many ways. First of all, as Masnick pointed out, the drafters seem to know little or nothing about such things as streaming, linking, and embedding, and they throw in an undefined phrase like "performing by electronic means" without a clue as to what the consequences are.

Secondly, what happened to fair use? When I embed a video on this blog, I don't charge people to watch or listen. How is what I'm doing any different from inviting some people over to my house and playing the same song or video? Or will that soon be a crime, too?

Thirdly, even if this is legitimately a copyright infringement, how in the world does it rise to the level of a felony with punishment comparable to burglary or bank robbery? Why isn't it simply a civil matter?

And furthermore, there's the issue of mens rea. It used to be a well-established (hundreds of years of common law precedent) principle of the law that, to be guilty of a criminal act, you have to have criminal intent. 

The critics of mens rea often pompously declare that "ignorance of the law is no excuse." Nonsense. With laws and regulations with the force of law now running into the millions of pages, how can anyone not be ignorant of the law (or at least a large portion of it)?

The "reasonable person" test should apply. If a video is posted on YouTube and hasn't been taken down at the request of the copyright holder, a reasonable person (like me) can reasonably presume that either it's not subject to copyright or the copyright holder has chosen to allow its dissemination.

S.978 deserves to die an ignominious death. Contact your senators and let them know what you think of this ridiculous bill. 

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A grim anniversary

Posted by Richard on March 24, 2011

One year ago today, ObamaCare became the law of the land. In the Wall Street Journal, freshman Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) offered a personal and moving op-ed piece about this abomination and the consequences if it's not repealed:

Today is the first anniversary of the greatest single assault on our freedom in my lifetime: the signing of ObamaCare. As we consider what this law may do to our country, I can't help but reflect on a medical miracle made possible by the American health-care system. It's one that holds special meaning for me.

Some years ago, a little girl was born with a serious heart defect: Her aorta and pulmonary artery were reversed. Without immediate intervention, she would not have survived.

The infant was rushed to another hospital where a surgeon performed a procedure at 1 a.m. that saved her life. Eight months later, when her heart was the size of a small plum, an incredibly dedicated and skilled team of medical professionals surgically reconstructed it. Twenty-seven years later, the young woman is now a nurse in a neonatal intensive care unit where she is studying to become a nurse practitioner.

She wasn't saved by a bureaucrat, and no government mandate forced her parents to purchase the coverage that saved her. Instead, her care was provided under a run-of-the-mill plan available to every employee of an Oshkosh, Wis., plastics plant.

If you haven't guessed, this story touches my heart because the girl is my daughter, Carey.

Please go read the whole thing.

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Help the South Dakota medical marijuana initiative

Posted by Richard on October 21, 2010

Some really fine people in South Dakota are working hard to pass Measure 13, an initiative to allow qualifying patients access to medical marijuana. It's a pretty restrictive and highly regulated access — the most restrictive medical marijuana law in the country — but it's a start, and better than nothing.

The South Dakota Coalition for Compassion is waging this battle on a shoestring, and they could use some help. Even a small donation will be greatly appreciated, put to good use, and potentially make a big difference. Can you spare a few bucks? Please join me in supporting the South Dakota Coalition for Compassion.

Note: After completing your donation, you'll be taken to a 404 error page instead of a receipt. Don't worry, an email receipt is sent almost instantly.  

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Another boot on another neck

Posted by Richard on June 25, 2010

The Democrats have reconciled House and Senate financial legislation differences, crafting yet another 2000-page bill that no one has read. They're prepared to pass it next week: 

After more than 20 hours of continuous wrangling, congressional Democrats and White House officials reached agreement on the final shape of legislation that would transform financial regulation, avoiding last-minute defections among New York lawmakers that had threatened to upend the bill.

Fannie and Freddie aren't much affected — the Socialist Democrats want to regulate everything except government. I'm guessing that their friends at Goldman Sachs and other liberal-dominated, generously-contributing firms will make out OK, too. As for the rest of the financial services industry, especially the little guys buried under a new mountain of regulations and red tape, and their customers — well, I suspect this observation is accurate: 

"My guess is there are three unintended consequences on every page of this bill," Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R., Texas) said of the nearly 2,000-page bill.

If passed into law, this abomination will give the Obama administration yet another boot on the neck of yet another industry. Apparently, the Socialist Democrats aren't going to rest until they fulfill Orwell's dystopian vision of a boot stomping a human face forever. 

They're calling this the Dodd/Frank Act. And they gave those two weasels, who share a significant portion of the blame for the housing bubble and resulting financial meltdown, a standing ovation. 

Patrick Dorinson had the best comment about this that I've seen: 

"But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”

– Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the health care bill, March 2010

"No one will know until this is actually in place how it works.”

– Sen. Chris Dodd, on House-Senate conference approval of financial reform, June 2010

“Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.”

– Mark Twain

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I’m reporting “fishy” health care information

Posted by Richard on August 6, 2009

I've decided to help the Obama administration identify the sources of "disinformation" about its plans for America's health care system. At the request of Linda Douglass (one of at least a dozen "objective" journalists who've quit shilling for the Democrats in their mainstream media jobs in order to take positions in the Obama administration doing the same thing for pay), I'm reporting Rep. Barney Frank for contradicting the President's assertion on June 15: 

What are not legitimate concerns are those being put forward claiming a public option is somehow a Trojan horse for a single-payer system. … So, when you hear the naysayers claim that I’m trying to bring about government-run health care, know this – they are not telling the truth.

Here's what Barney Frank told the Single Payer Action organization on July 27, when asked why not to push for a government-run single-payer system right now (emphasis added): 

Because we don’t have the votes for it. I wish we did. I think that if we get a good public option it could lead to single payer and that is the best way to reach single payer. Saying you’ll do nothing till you get single payer is a sure way never to get it. … I think the best way we’re going to get single payer, the only way, is to have a public option and demonstrate the strength of its power.

Here's the video (I'm sending a link to, as Linda Douglass requested, so they can add Frank to their database of "disinformation" disseminators): 

[YouTube link]

Who knew that Barney Frank was acting on behest of "high-level Republican political operatives" and/or insurance companies?

Note: Mary Katherine Ham uncovered the complete story of the "high-level Republican political operatives" cited by the DNC ad as orchestrating all the town hall meeting protests. It turns out to be a single libertarian, Bob MacGuffie (who insists he's never voted for a Republican), and four friends who set up a website and a PAC, Right Principles, with current assets of about four grand.

Ham also reports the parts of MacGuffie's memo on what to do at a town hall meeting that the DNC ad omitted, and she has a YouTube video of MacGuffie applying his own advice when questioning his own representative, Jim Hines. You be the judge of whether this is an "orchestrated, hateful action" by a member of a mob or a perfectly reasonable thing for a citizen to do in a representative democracy.

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3/13 beer smash

Posted by Richard on March 13, 2009

The Colorado House Business Affairs and Labor Committee killed a bill on Wednesday that would have allowed supermarkets and convenience stores to sell full-strength beer instead of 3.2% beer. Ari Armstrong is upset about it.

The audacious Armstrong, publisher of, has organized a protest taking place on the west steps of the Capitol at 11 AM Friday, March 13. Via email (emphasis added):

"Grocery stores have a right to sell regular beer to consenting adults, and beer drinkers have the right to shop at stores of their choice. By killing Bill 1192 Wednesday, the legislature maintained unjust protectionism at the cost of individual liberty, property rights, and freedom of association," said Ari Armstrong.

Armstrong will smash beer bottles from Colorado brewers who endorsed protectionism. The event will feature appropriate measures for safety and cleanup, so no beer or glass will be left on state property.

"The protectionists are smashing our liberty, so it's only appropriate that we smash their beer," Armstrong said.

I've got to admit I have mixed feelings about this. I agree completely with Ari that this is unjust protectionism, and that the State of Colorado should long ago have abandoned this vestige of prohibitionism (I believe only six states still have 3.2% beer). I'm utterly contemptuous of legislators who argued that this bill would promote teenage alcohol abuse.

But… but… but… 

The idea of smashing perfectly good, drinkable bottles of beer just disturbs me deeply. 

I think I've got a tear in my eye.

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The bailout has become an abomination

Posted by Richard on October 2, 2008

The Senate passed a new version of the Wall Street bailout bill designed to attract more House votes. I desperately hope this monstrous, pork-laden abomination fails. I won't expound further because Bob Bidinotto has already explained why better than I could: 

The original administration-backed "rescue package" bill was three pages.

The failed House version had ballooned to 110 pages.

Now, the Senate has expanded it to a 450+ page behemoth, laden with new pork — including provisions completely unrelated to the "financial crisis," such as help for rural schools, disaster aid, and a provision "demanding that insurance companies provide coverage for mental health treatment—such as hospitalization—on parity with physical illnesses." This will include treatment for various "addictions" (drugs? alcohol? gambling? sex? the Internet? cell phones? conservative talk radio?).

The initial five-year estimate of costs for just the mental-health provisions is $3.8 billion, but as we know about all government programs, that's just a chump-change opener. Traditional medical care has been tied, however tenuously, to actual, demonstrable physical maladies. But given the politicized and ever-expanding "mental illness" racket — in which the psychiatric industry discovers, concocts, and arbitrarily defines new "mental diseases" almost daily — this provision alone is absolutely destined to fund an explosive government-underwritten growth industry that will gobble up countless more billions of taxpayer dollars every year. But hell, why not? Now that the employees of banks, investment houses, insurance companies, and Detroit automakers are to be collecting their paychecks (directly or indirectly) from the taxpayers, I suppose it's only fitting to include shrinks. Perhaps they can help all the other groveling beggars restore their battered self-images.

Folks, it's time, more than ever, to kill this sucker. Get on the phone and send your emails to the House of Representatives, the only place where there's a prayer of stopping this statist monster.

In typical Bidinotto fashion, multiple updates follow, and you really need to read them all. The mental-health provision is only one small part of the steaming pile of crap that fills this bill: "disaster relief," rum production, mine safety, Indian tribes, railroads, auto race tracks, wool production … it goes on and on and on…

This bill is so vile and disgusting that it makes me wish the original 3-pager had passed. I can only hope that enough members of the House are equally disgusted, and this monstrosity is terminated with extreme prejudice, as it deserves. 

Bidinotto concluded: 

Now ask yourself: What in hell does all that inserted stuff have to do with a "financial rescue package" for banks and financial institutions during an alleged time of crisis?

This pork-and-special-interest-laden bailout bill is a complete fraud on and rip-off of the taxpayer, and it's high time for us to rise up and demand that the House vote it down.

I have never before used this blog to urge readers to contact their congressmen, but this bill will be a fatal game-changer for the future of America's free-market system. We have to fight this, or, starting next year, we and our kids will live in a very, very different America than the one we grew up in.

If you don't know how to contact your congressman, go here.

Then DO IT. Like, now. 

All I can say is I agree. Completely. And angrily. Do like he says — now! 

This piece of shit must die!

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Posted by Richard on November 7, 2007

Monday, the Club for Growth released its 2007 Senate RePORK Card, a scorecard of senators' votes on 15 anti-pork amendments (the House RePORK Card was released back in August). Here's all you really need to know about how sorry the Senate is: only 2 of the 15 anti-pork amendments passed, one to kill a spinach-growers' subsidy included in an Iraq war funding bill, and the other to kill Sen. Clinton's $1 million grant for a Woodstock Festival museum.

PorkbustersNonetheless, some of the scores are interesting:

  • Only three senators received a perfect score of 100% (and were present for a majority of the votes): Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK), Jim DeMint (R-SC), and Richard Burr (R-NC).

  • The only senator receiving a 0% was Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) who voted against all 10 anti-pork amendments he was present for.

  • The average Republican score was 59%; the average Democratic score was 12%.

  • The best scoring Democrat was Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) with an impressive 80%, tying with or scoring better than thirty-nine Republican senators.

  • Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) scored a 53%; Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) scored a 7%, voting for only one amendment.

The House, meanwhile, voted last night to override the President's veto of the pork-laden Water Resources Development Act and to approve the conference report of a monstrous omnibus spending bill. The Labor-HHS-Military-VA conference report not only includes earmarks "airdropped" into the bill without a vote by either chamber, it also includes a Democratic amendment to gut an earlier reform that prohibited "backdoor" earmarks. The veto override vote was 361-54, so most Republicans abandoned their President to protect their pork.

In fact, 42 Republicans sided with Pelosi on both votes. The'yre listed here. The Club for Growth will undoubtedly support primary opponents for some of these people; if you value fiscal responsibility, you might consider helping them. 

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Caution: legislature at work

Posted by Richard on January 23, 2007

I don’t usually read (and certainly don’t subscribe to) The Denver Post. It’s a depressingly predictable liberal rag. They’ve never met a tax increase they didn’t like, they reflexively endorse 90+% of Democratic candidates (throwing in just enough "thoughtful moderate" Republicans to justify their claim to being non-partisan), and they positively swoon over phrases like "government initiative," "investing in our future," and "public-private partnership."

But I’m going to have to start dropping by their website regularly to read the columns of David Harsanyi, which seem to be consistently iconoclastic, humorous, and more than a little libertarian. Check out, for example, his wonderful Dec. 21 column, "Liberals confused over charity," which opens with the line, "Anyone can be compassionate with other people’s money."

Today’s column is a follow-up to his Jan. 11 column about the latest installment of Denver’s plan to "end [sic] homelessness." They’re throwing vast amounts of money at a non-profit organization with a long history of defaulting on government loans so that it can build housing units for the homeless (at $250,000 apiece, not counting the parking garage for the cars the homeless don’t have). This is the latest such project targeting a recently revitalized neighborhood that’s getting a bit sick of being the preferred location for various "affordable housing:" and "group home" projects. Harsanyi pointed out that powerful city councilwoman Debbie Ortega, appointed executive director of the Mayor’s Commission to End Homelessness, is also the president of this profligate non-profit’s board of directors, and furthermore, is associated with its for-profit arm. How convenient.

But I particularly want to draw your attention to Harsanyi’s Jan. 18 column, which provided a brief — and funny — overview of the plethora of paternalistic legislation our lawmakers introduced in the first few days of this legislative session:

How about Rep. Anne McGihon’s crucial HB 1126, "concerning the authority of physical therapists to perform physical therapy on animals."


Then there’s this paternalistic absurdity called HB 1006, sponsored by Rep. Paul Weissmann. He wants to double penalties for moving violations when the driver is "knowingly distracted."

How is one "knowingly distracted," exactly? By living?

For the purposes of Colorado law enforcement, "knowingly distracted" includes, but is not limited to, cellphone use (even hands-free), grooming, reading, eating and drinking. In other words, it gives police almost unlimited pretext to issue double fines.

Listen, no one should be reading a novel while driving. But should sipping a cup of coffee or eating a bagel be a crime?

Speaking of treating parents like children, every year, Democratic Sen. Bob Hagedorn is good for at least one solid intrusion. This year he’s babysitting by sponsoring a bill that prohibits "the use of an artificial tanning device by a minor unless specifically prescribed by a physician."

That bill seems less weird when you check out HB 1082, apparently sponsored by Rep. Andy Kerr and Mr. Spock. It would make it a crime for an individual to be implanted with a microchip. If citizens want to install microchips in their (untanned) teenage daughters, isn’t that their creepy concern?

Then there’s Rep. Jim Riesberg, who is co-sponsoring a bill that would create a new bureaucracy at your gym.

The "Athletic Trainer Practice Act" requires athletic trainers to obtain a valid license issued by "the director of the division of registrations in the department of regulatory agencies" before engaging in the practice of athletic training or representing himself or herself as an athletic trainer.

Republican Sen. Tom Wiens has joined the fun. He’s sponsoring a bill that "clarifies" the ins and outs of "whether to wear a helmet while participating in equestrian events called ‘gymkhana."’ Gymkhana, I believe, is derived from the Hindi phrase that translates to "stay the hell out of my business."

Amen, David!

To be fair — and to further illustrate Harsanyi’s sense of humor — I should quote his correction today of an error in the above:

Note: I owe an apology to state Rep. Andy Kerr, whom I accused in my last column of conspiring with Mr. Spock to pass a bill outlawing human microchips. It was Rep. Mary Hodge. And she is in league with the Cylons.

Regarding distracted driving, by the way, I’m happy to report that the Libertarian Party of Colorado (which seems to have stopped promoting insane 9/11 conspiracy theories) came out solidly against the bill and got a fair amount of local media attention for doing so. To date, however, they haven’t addressed tanning by minors, microchips, athletic trainer regulations, or any of the other pressing matters Harsanyi mentioned.

I can only hope the microchip issue doesn’t set off the moonbat wing of the LPCO.

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