Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
Doctor in the House?
The British have the ultimate-single payer health plan — the National Health Service, as it's called, a full-blown system of socialized medicine. It also now has patients pulling out their own teeth.
A survey of more than 5,000 patients in England reveals it is so difficult to find a publicly-funded dentist that six percent had resorted to self-treatment. Some said they fixed broken crowns with superglue. And one person spoke of pulling 14 of his own teeth with pliers.
The study indicated that 20 percent of all patients had decided to simply forego dental care because they could not find a government-supplied provider — and could not afford to go with a private dentist. Almost half of all dentists in England say they no longer accept patients on the national health care plan.
The San Francisco Department of Public Health will host a daylong meeting Thursday looking at the idea of creating a safe place for illegal drug users to inject themselves — without fear of arrest. The San Francisco Chronicle reports the idea behind the legalized "shooting gallery" would be to decrease overdoses, keep dirty needles off the street, and cut the risk of spreading diseases such as AIDS and Hepatitis C.
But even Democratic Mayor Gavin Newsom is distancing himself from the idea. His spokesman worries that it is likely to end up creating more problems than it addresses.
A middle school in Portland, Maine is considering making birth control pills available to sixth, seventh and eighth graders without parental consent. The Portland Press Herald reports the school already makes condoms available — and will consider expanding the policy during a meeting Wednesday.
Students only need a blanket consent form from parents allowing them to be treated at the school health center. The children are not required to inform parents about whatever treatment they receive. The school says that last year about four percent of the students who visited the health center reported being sexually active.
Last week we told you that Internet goliath Google had barred political ads from Republican Senator Susan Collins because they mentioned MoveOn.org. Google cited a policy against using trademarks without permission.
Wired magazine now reports MoveOn has opted out of the Google policy — saying it does not want to support a rule that denies people freedom of expression.
But MoveOn is still putting heat on a Web site called Cafe Press — which sells customized t-shirts, bumper stickers and other novelties. The site had been promoting items making fun of MoveOn — with slogans such as "MoveOn.org is the worst friend a Democrat could have" — and "General Petraeus has done more for this country than MoveOn.org." MoveOn sent a cease-and-desist letter to cafe press — even though courts have consistently ruled in favor of parodies and critiques.
When liberal "Air America" talk hostess Randi Rhodes was injured Sunday night outside her Manhattan apartment — her colleagues reported that she had been mugged — and were not shy about pointing the finger of blame.
The New York Daily News reports fellow host John Elliott claimed on his show — "Is this an attempt by the right-wing, hate machine to silence one of our own? Are we threatening them? Are they afraid that were winning? Are they trying to silence, intimidate us?"
Liberal blogs also lashed out at the alleged conservative muggers. Now it turns out Rhodes' lawyer says Rhodes in fact fell down while walking her dog.
— FOX News Channel's Martin Hill contributed to this report.