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June 26, 2006

Limbaugh busted on drug charges (again!)
Posted by Teresa at 10:07 PM * 132 comments

Breaking news story:

Jun 26, 2006 7:52 pm US/Eastern

Limbaugh Detained At Airport

(CBS4 News) WEST PALM BEACH Sources have confirmed to CBS4 News that conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh has been detained at Palm Beach International Airport for the possible possession of illegal prescription drugs Monday evening.

Limbaugh was returning on a flight from the Dominican Republic when officials found the drugs, among them Viagra.

Limbaugh entered a plea deal back in April in a previous case where his charge of fraud to conceal information to obtain prescriptions was dropped under the condition he continue undergoing treatment for addiction.

Limbaugh had admitted to being addicted to pain killers on his radio program and had entered a rehabilitation program prior to that arrest.

I guess Limbaugh must think drug laws are for the little people.

Supposedly he got hooked on painkillers on account of having a bad back, though given the quantities he was caught procuring, last time around, one has to wonder whether there wasn’t some recreational aspect to it. Or perhaps, since he’s now smuggling Viagra, his back has improved.

Just a thought.

Update: Apparently what happened was that Limbaugh’s Viagra prescription had been written by one doctor to another doctor, rather than to Limbaugh, supposedly to protect Limbaugh’s privacy. Hogwash, say I. Doing that is at minimum a second degree misdemeanor violation. It’s not a standard procedure, no matter how embarrassing one’s prescription.

But since Limbaugh got the drugs in the U.S., here’s another question: what was he doing in the Dominican Republic for which he needed that Viagra prescription he didn’t want anyone to know about?

Also: Universal glee.

Spotted by Sisyphus Shrugged: Arthur Hlavaty gets the prize for best headline for this story.

Limbaugh on Drugs, and Kos on Limbaugh on Drugs. (Thank you, Bob Oldendorf.)

Comments on Limbaugh busted on drug charges (again!):
#1 ::: breeamal ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2006, 10:34 PM:

This is the third time. What ever happened to three strikes and you're out?

#2 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2006, 10:37 PM:

Don't you know, it's a whole new ball game with the Bushies!

#3 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2006, 11:16 PM:

Hmm. Intesting synchronicity:

My portable radio's battery went sour during my evening walk. The way this particular radio works, is that even though a battery doesn't have enough juice for FM, it will still recieve on AM for a while. I searched around a bit for the local Air America outfit, but a great loud station broadcasting Limbaugh overwhelmed it. The great blowhard was smugging about the triumphant discovery of WMD in Iraq. This latest claim has already been dismissed, but of course it is fair game to play it up for the non-reality-based community.

I turned the radio off in disgust, and made a wish that the arrogant a**hole would again be picked up for perscription fraud . . . or have to go to the ER after an overdose.

Being found carrying illegal boner meds . . . not bad!

Thank You, oh most high Wish Giver from beyond the Stars.

#4 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2006, 11:34 PM:

As of 11:30 pm Eastern time he had not been charged with anything; there was only one bottle (of V*****) with a prescription label with 2 doctors' names on it; and Limbaugh claims he had the doctor make out the label with another doctor's name on it instead of his name as the patient "for privacy".

Yeah. All I know is, if I had been caught flying into the U.S. with prescription meds not correctly labeled, I would have been arrested.

#5 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: June 26, 2006, 11:36 PM:

a quick Google turns up plenty of quotes like

"Too many whites are getting away with drug use...Too many whites are getting away with drug sales...The answer is to go out and find the ones who are getting away with it, convict them and send them up the river, too. " - Rush Limbaugh on drugs.

It's news stories like this that taught me how to spell schadenfreude.

#6 ::: Things That Ain't So ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 12:02 AM:

Come on, people, get with the new reality. Law are to be made by theocratic neocons, because they know what's best for everyone else. Everyone else has to obey the laws, but the theocratic neocons don't because, really, they know what they're doing, God guides them, they're the smart ones, they're on the right side, blah, blah, they can do what they want and get away with it, it's the rest of us reality-based Godless libs who need micromanagment.

Isn't it obvious?

#7 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 12:36 AM:

Gone doctor shopping again, and in Schmuck's bro's Florida, justice is bought and sold...

How many drugs can Rush Limbaugh take,
Before his ass lands in jail,
How many pills can a white bigot pop,
Before they don't give him bail,

How many byes can a white male scum get,
Before they stop letting him sail,
The answer my friend,
It's pissing in the wind
The answer's it's pissing in the wind.

#8 ::: Harry Connolly ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 01:00 AM:

It's tough to live with addiction. I hope he can break the habit. He needs to keep trying until he succeeds.

Not that I would, you know, cross a room to spit on the guy.

#9 ::: Stephan Zielinski ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 01:06 AM:

Lehrer said that satire died the day Kissinger won the Peace Prize.

Rush Limbaugh. Sildenafil citrate.

So much for horror.

#10 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 01:11 AM:

I wonder what the other drugs were.

#11 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 01:11 AM:

Mmmm. Ahhh.

Tomorrow's The Daily Report should be . . . choice.

#12 ::: Joel Wideman ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 01:14 AM:

I know that mocking blowhard conservatives is a favorite pasttime on this site, but there's no need to twist this into something it wasn't.
They didn't find Viagra AMONG other drugs, they found Viagra. Sure, you can nitpick and say "it's a drug, he broke the law!" and call him a hypocrit, but what level of lawbreaking was it? Was it trafficking in narcotics? Was he going to be selling it in schoolyards? No, it was a misdemeanor, and a BS one at that. Wanting to pillory him over this is like the Republicans wanting to impeach Clinton over a BJ.

#13 ::: David Louis Edelman ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 01:29 AM:

Am I the only one who is profoundly annoyed when stories like this suck up media attention? So Limbaugh was embarrassed to carry around a bottle of happy pills. So he's a hypocrite. Big frickin' deal. Make note of it at the bottom of page 12, and move on.

I felt the same way about the whole Clinton impeachment. So he messed around with some intern. So he fibbed a little. Big frickin' deal. Make note of it in the official record, slap his wrist, and move on.

The problem with these stories is that they turn everything into a big schmaltzy drama of our politicians' and pundits' personal lives. The issues get buried. Ted Kennedy can't open his mouth with the Right snickering about his predilection for alcoholic beverages. If George Bush misconjumagates a verb, the Left falls into a laughing fit. The argument devolves. Discourse breaks down.

I'm trying to remember the last time the MSM reported seriously on anything Limbaugh actually said on his show. All anyone seems to care about is his supposed drug habit.

You say Rush is a blowhard? Great, fine, I don't agree with much that he says either. But argue it intelligently by refuting the statements he makes on his show. Don't make little petty stabs at his personal conduct. I don't care.

Oh, and yes, I know that Limbaugh makes plenty of petty stabs at others' personal conduct. Fine. Doesn't change the point.

(No intended slander against Teresa for bringing this up in the first place.)

#14 ::: Digital Traveler ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 01:29 AM:

Viagra, I don't even want to know what that might look like~

#15 ::: kathryn going to Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 01:43 AM:

One is supposed to bring all the bottles for prescription medicines, or have a copy of prescriptions, any time one travels?

Or is this just a customs and borders rule, to ensure one isn't smuggling in some terribly expensive medicine without paying duty.

While I could see this for the scheduled drugs- painkillers and whatnots... Vigara? A man cannot go traveling with one pill in his wallet for "just in case"?

If the rule is to make sure medicines could be identified, then the rule should have to be for all pills, prescription or not. No one would ever be able to travel with those 7-day-planner boxes.

And yet I have relatives who do travel with just pill-boxes. if they had to take all the bottles with them their entire carryon luggage would be nothing but pills. Are they lawbreakers, moving about the country as they do?

#16 ::: Jeffrey Smith ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 01:49 AM:

"Authorities said they found a bottle of Viagra in his possession without a prescription. A sheriff's office spokesman said it didn't have Limbaugh's name on it, but that of two doctors.

"Limbaugh attorney Roy Black said a doctor had prescribed the drug, but he said, it was 'labeled as being issued to the physician rather than Mr. Limbaugh for privacy purposes.'"

Privacy purposes. Hmm, that didn't work out so well.

#17 ::: Vian ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 01:50 AM:

David: Clinton/was is a politician - who cares if he's a pants man? And who'd be surprised?

Limbaugh is a self-appointed arbiter of standards of public morality. I should think a lot of his audience would be disappointed that he does not live up to the standards he demands of others. Although, hey, maybe he will - maybe he'll set an example by pleading guilty and doing some time (And I might win the Bulwer-Lytton contest and the Nobel Peace Prize in the same week, which is just about as likely).

Digital Traveller: Thanks for that. Now I have to go wash out my brain. Eww.

#18 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 01:51 AM:

Joel & David: It's not about the pills, it's about falsifying the prescription label.

If you're a person on probation, you should at least -try- to stay squeaky clean. (ESPECIALLY if you're a public figure/celebrity.) Because even a minor infraction of the law might end up sending you to prison.

So for Limbaugh to be carrying around a bottle of pills with a falsified label is either: a) mindbogglingly stupid, b) mindbogglingly arrogant, or c) both.

One would hope that the authorities obtained a urine sample; being wigged out on drugs might explain why he'd be such a flaming fool.

#19 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 02:19 AM:

I'm sure that Rush will get Presidential Medal of Freedom for his vailiant struggle against the persecution of the liberal media. Damn them for reporting this!

#20 ::: Annalee Flower Horne ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 02:44 AM:

[obviousjoke] The fact that the man can find a use for Viagra is proof that The Powers That Be have one sick, twisted sense of humor. [/obviousjoke].

I seriously don't care what the man's popping, but you'd think he'd be sick of the taste of crow by now.

#21 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 02:52 AM:

Why couldn't he just order the stuff over the Internet, like anyone else can?

#22 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 03:25 AM:

Kathryn: I travel with a lot of meds -- eight prescription pills and two prescription-only injectables, one of which (epoetin alfa) has a couple of specific illicit uses, not that anybody's going to mistake me for an Olympic sprinter. And yes, if I'm going somewhere domestically for a couple of days, I just take the two seven-day pill holders preloaded. (The insulin is in my kit of pump gear, which has a medical letter with it.) I've also got a wallet card with the names and dosages. (It suddenly occurs to me that I should add descriptions, as not everyone will know which is which.)

But if I'm gone any longer, and certainly if I were going anywhere international, I'd have all the bottles, with their labels, and my labels are all properly filled out. A phone call to any Walgreen's can verify them. And I'm sorry, but my luggage is not "nothing but pills." A month's supply of everything would go into, say, a shaving kit if they were packed neatly.

I really don't like being hassled at airports (or anywhere else), and some of the folks around here have heard me be very vocal about Security Theater Amateur Night. But having data on your prescription meds is not just a way of staying out of trouble with the authorities, it could save your life, and that is absolutely not hyperbole.

#23 ::: David Bilek ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 03:35 AM:

Did anyone else notice that Limbaugh was returning from the Dominican Republican when he was caught?

Whatever could he have been doing in the Domincan Republic with a bottle full of Viagra prescribed in someone else's name for anonymity? Who can say? Certainly not me.

#24 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 03:53 AM:

Whatever could he have been doing in the Domincan Republic with a bottle full of Viagra prescribed in someone else's name for anonymity?

"Dr. Coulter, Dr. Coulter . . . Dr. Malkin, Dr. Malkin . . . wanted in Physical Therapy, stat."

#25 ::: FMguru ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 05:05 AM:

This is funny on three levels:

1) The drug thing. This is starting to become a habit. Pattern of behavior, second offense, recidivism - each trip through the legal system is going to be harsher and harsher. Even well-connected junkies, if they trip up enough times, will end up in some serious trouble.

2) The boner thing. Hahahahahaha, big man Rush Limbaugh has to take a fistful of boner pills to get his Vienna Sausage to stand at attention. Welcome to Instant Punchline territory. Public humiliation wise, he'd have been better off with a bottle of Percocets.

3) The sex thing. Why is an umarried middle-aged morals scold carrying around a bottle of V-pills? And why is he taking short trips to the Dominican with it? As Peggy Noonan liked to say, it's irresponsible not to speculate, so I'm speculating about no-questions-asked paid arrangements with underaged females. Or underaged males.

#26 ::: Joel Wideman ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 06:36 AM:

Bruce: It's not about the pills, it's about falsifying the prescription label.

Uh, no, it's about blowing something out of proportion and ignoring the more serious implications.

#27 ::: David S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 06:52 AM:

Danger Will Robinson! Laughter out of control. Warning! Do not attempt to interrupt, subject having too much fun...

#28 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 08:24 AM:

Wow, this is unfortunate. I kind of feel sorry for him. This is a man who clearly needs help and he's not getting it.

Mislabeled meds is clearly something worthy of investigation no matter who has done it. I mean, we're referring to it as mislabeled meds, but if the meds had been, in fact, correctly labeled, then wouldn't it have been evidence of illegal possession? How were the security people supposed to have disambiguated the difference at the time of discovery?

Now, it may be as Rush has explained. In that case, it would be a case of Rush being rather foolish especially since he's on probation right now, or it may be something else. It's pretty clear that the reason why it made the news is because it's Rush. That he sets himself but as the arbiter of all that is good and moral only compounds things.

What I fail to understand how people continue to respect his words about morals. I'm failing to see a scenario that fits with the facts where Rush gets to come out of this with any sense of honesty intact. Yet, people still respect his opinions.

Oh well, maybe this will result in him getting the help he needs.

#29 ::: Harry Connolly ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 08:35 AM:

Wait. It was only Viagra?

*poof!* There goes my sympathy for his addiction.

Okay. I still feel a little sympathy for him. Poor Rush Limpbaugh.

#30 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 09:06 AM:

One thing that I'm sure of is that one of three conditions must be true:

  • Attorney Black's story is absolutely true, and some doctor is getting a, well, interesting call from the relevant authorities -- Rush shouldn't expect to much slack from that doc again;
  • Limbaugh lied to his attorney, which means that unless everyone's stories are battened down tight, this will get uglier, fast;
  • Attorney Black is lying, which is very unlikely -- somebody told him that story.
Wouldn't you like to be in the room for Rush's next meeting with his probation officer?

Of course, as already mentioned, the issue is not the farcical activities of this over exposed buffoon. It is the reality that most defendants of his original charge would not have gotten quite that sweet a deal in the first place, and anyone else in the same situatiom as Rush faces would be facinbg prompt cancellation of probation.

#31 ::: J Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 09:19 AM:

Joel Wideman, you're doing the poor fool no favors by trying to make excuses for him. His behavior is utterly inexcusable, and when you play the hypocrite for him you only attract more attention to him.

Don't sacrifice your honor for him, he isn't worth it. The best thing you can do is to just shut up and let it blow over. The more you try to justify the unjustifiable, the worse it looks for him and for you. Not that you had any particular credibility in the first place, but it's time to start posting under another name about other topics, and just put this aside.

#32 ::: DaveL ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 09:19 AM:

I can understand the expressions of glee but really, is Viagra equivalent to Oxycontin (or whatever it was Limbaugh was/is addicted to) as a drug of abuse?

Can't we rustle up any sentiment in his favor based on notions of personal privacy, on the general idiocy of the War on Some Drugs, or in opposition to the idea that only the government and the medical industry can decide what drugs it's appropriate to allow us to put in our body?

A few months ago we spent time and effort (rightfully) excoriating the FDA for withdrawing TNH's medication from the market. Should she be arrested if she manages to score some of it outside the country, or should she get a pass because she's not a right-wing radio host?

I wouldn't want to let schadenfreude and the desire to score political points against a blowhard get in the way of taking a rational view of drug regulation and illegal drug policy.

#33 ::: Avery ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 09:55 AM:

I agree with you DaveL. Viagra is not equivalent to Oxycontin. The blood pressure medication I take is not equivalent to Oxycontin either, but last time I was going through customs I made sure that I had labeled bottles for everything rather than just stocking my little SMTWTFS box. Why? Becasue I didn't want to spend six hours in some odd corner of an airport while someone in blue compared my meds with the pictures in the PDR.

It never even occured to me to make sure it was my name on the labeled bottles and, unlike Rush, I do believe that people should have a right to privacy.

The movie that goes with this episode is not Requiem for a Dream, it's Dumb and Dumber.

#34 ::: Joel Wideman ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 10:03 AM:

J Thomas, you must have me confused with someone else. I'm not the one drawing attention to a misdemeanor while ignoring the greater scandal.

#35 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 10:14 AM:

DaveL --

Limbaugh is on probation for the kind of drug offenses that would get anyone other than a member of the neocon aristocracy hard time.

He has committed another drug offense, under, well, peculiar circumstances.

Do you have the rule of law or not?

If you do, what's about to happen to Rush would be the same thing that would happen to a 19 year old black kid from Miami with the same record.

#36 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 10:23 AM:

Just in passing, and without reference to anything else going on in this thread... one of the pervasive myths we've all picked up from T.V. or wherever is that misdemeanors are no big deal.

I've seen attorneys fight hard to get a misdemeanor charge reduced to a violation (i.e., the equivalent of a traffic ticket). Misdemeanors go on your Permanent Record. They can cause problems for you in the future. If anybody advises you to "just plead to the misdemeanor", you ought to think about it long and hard before you take their advice. Sometimes pleading to it might be the smartest thing to do. Sometimes, maybe it isn't.

Granted, misdemeanors aren't felonies. But that doesn't mean they're chopped-liver.

#37 ::: rhndr ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 10:26 AM:

re: DaveL,
yeah, viagra isn't percocet. And I do not doubt that some donut-head is going to spin this as "too much government interference" and regulation. And, certainly I am not in favor of people being harassed over small quantities of poorly-documented non-narcotics. Lord knows we have enough madness with Security Theater.

That said, if somone is carrying a perscription that doesn't have their name on it yet claim it is theirs I think it is prudent to verify that the rest of the label is accurate - that it really is sildenafil citrate, and not something else packaged as a small, blue pill. Recall what Bruce Schneier has taught us about using common sense and a feel for what is "hinky." It's called "they can't keep their story straight"="what else are they lying about."

Interesting how we picked up on the "what else are they lying about" thing pretty quickly.

I don't know the fellow, so I can't summon up genuine sympathy for him - but I can summon up sympathy for any poor schlub who really didn't want to be harassed by security, who didn't want the embarassment of people knowing that he needed the little blue pills, and who is struggling with drug addiction.

Little blue pills does not = further drug abuse, btw, but it does fit a pattern of deceptive behavior characteristic of people with chronic drug problems, which is one of the reasons (ironic, eh?) that conservative types have little sympathy for addicts.


#38 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 10:30 AM:

You know how I feel about the whole issue? They'll Never Lock Him Up.

#39 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 10:38 AM:

No, sidenafil citrate isn't the same as oxycontin. However, for a lawyer's perspective on why this is a bad thing, see this at Firedoglake. Note this point especially: "Just so we are clear, in every jurisdiction that I know of, getting your drug prescriptions in someone else’s name is not legal." She goes on to note that when urine screening is done, the screenee is supposed to report all medication they are taking, because all the medication that you take affects the results of the testing. Therefore, whether this was an error of ignorance or of arrogance, it's still something the court has legitimate reason to be annoyed about. So does Mr. Limbaugh's attorney.

#40 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 10:54 AM:

On the basis of a 2-minute newsclip seen some years ago (I Don't Watch TV), I consider Limbaugh the equivalent of a germ that causes a pernicious disease, but this attention -- attack, basically -- strikes me as being the kind of thing I'd expect to come from Right-wingers, and I'm embarrassed to see it coming from the Left. A mis-labeled bottle of Viagra? That seems to me to be trivial and immaterial bullshit, remote from rational priorities. Not that I'm always rational, mind you, but... there are serious things going on in the world that are vastly more deserving of our attention and condemnation -- including false or misleading things Limbaugh says in his Public aspect.

#41 ::: beth meacham ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 11:51 AM:

Far more interesting than the illegal bottle of Viagra is the question of why Rush needed or wanted to take Viagra on a trip to the Dominican Republic.

Could it be that he was on a very special tour package? I do wish someone would ask him.

#42 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 11:53 AM:

I don't really care all that much that it's Viagra. It bothers me that someone who calls for the torture of suspects as part of his campaign for lawnorder is

walking around with dicily-issued drugs while he's under a short-term plea deal stemming from his walking around with dicily-issued drugs in which he agreed not to procure any more dicily-issued drugs, and

is so convinced that lawnorder is for people other than him that he figured he was good to carry dicily-issued drugs through customs anyway

#43 ::: Dan ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 12:47 PM:

I'm told that a lot of junkies require the "big blue V" because a wide variety of recreational pharmaceuticals make the little general neglect his duties...

Given that he's been to rehab something like three times, I get the feeling it isn't taking.

#44 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 12:47 PM:

By the way, if you are wondering how good a lawyer Black is, consider the deal that Rush got. It's not garden variety probation.

This is not the more typical 18 month suspended sentence, or even the preferable deferred sentencing. In the first case, IIRC, the judge might have the power to simply instruct the defendant that the sentence was now in full effect, and that he should arrange his surrender. In the second, there already would be a guilty plea (part of the deal) and if the judge felt it necessary, could move directly to finding the defendant guilty and handling him his sentence.

No, what Rush got was the best option -- deferred prosecution for 18 months. He does have an arrest record, and has to follow the conditions of his deal, but at the end of the time period the judge can dismiss the case and it simply goes away. If the defendant violates, the judge has to decide whether to start prosecution -- there has been no plea.

No question about it, Black deserves his reputation. Let's see what he can do with this.

#45 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 12:47 PM:

Limbaugh has made a highly remunerative career out of being an insulting, noxious, intolerant, belittling, loudmouthed public media personality bigot. A few of the enormous number of his targets include drug users whom he called for the locking up in squalid jail cells and throwing away the key of, "feminazis," women serving in the military in any role except scut clerical labor, Hilary Clinton, uppity anybodies who dared object to social discrimation and opportunities handed to upper class white males that were somehow not available to others....

When someone like Limbaugh, privileged and flaunting it, who insults those who don't agree with his bigotry, who's a prominent media personality who for decades has spewed his demeaning commentary as a paid "entertainer," gets caught for the second time on a prescription drugs violation, after having been essentially given a free pass on drug charges anyone adult not politically connected would have served significant jail time on, the fellow doesn't deserve the benefit of the doubt or much sympathy.

He called for intolerance of lawbreaking, he supported police state actions. And with him caught by the police state regimen he promotes, he supports police state regimen, he shouldn't get any exemption from him--among other things tehre's poetic justice involved. And it's not his first infraction. He skated over doctor shopping and hypocrisy and being a junkie, when his words about junkies were that they should be locked up and the key thrown away--but Limbaugh's claim was that oh no he wasn't a junkie...

Excuses, excuses, really really lame excuses.

And then there is just why did the multiply-wed-and-divorced hypocritical "family values" mouthpiece go on a trip to the Dominican Republic with a bottleful of boner pills, anyway? Too cheap to go to Thailand like Neil Bush?....

He's a Media Personality. He's forfeited his privacy regarding behavior from his treatment of other people and disrespect for them. Those who live by the sword, and all that...

#46 ::: Melody ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 12:48 PM:

Re: Dicily. Julia - thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am constantly looking for new high-I words, as I am an I-magnet in Scrabble. My husband (Oleander) and I made a rule long ago that if it appears on ML, it's valid for Scrabble. Yay!

...and you know what Joel? I feel completely justified in laughing my fat lumpy @ss off at that scumbag and his problem du jour. I'm truly tired of the argument that people fighting the good fight can't step aside and enjoy some snarky goodness once in a while. Feh!

#47 ::: alex ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 12:50 PM:

I'm sure Rush's probation officer is currently wondering if there were any other bottles of pills in his possession with somebody else's name on them.

#48 ::: kathryn arriving in Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 01:08 PM:


For the folks I was writing about, when I visit their home I can see the shelf of daily meds. There's well over a big shoebox's worth of bottles. I suppose if necessary, they could ask their pharmacist to give them tiny bottles, rather than the (roughly) 4 inch by 1 inch big brown-orange bottles.

I'm sure they do carry copies of their medical history, which likely includes prescription information.

But I also bet that domestic airport security avoids asking them about their meds, because that'd mean hearing a long, long narrative. Now I'll have to ask them if they've ever been hassled that way.

Or, for myself, I'm now contemplating the non-prescription meds or vitamins I take on domestic trips.

I usually don't take them in their bottles (i.e. costco bottles the size of footballs). Some look like ordinary pills. Am I risking that someday I'll be stuck for hours justifying why I believe I should take folic acid to an airplane security person acting as a deagent?

#49 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 01:11 PM:

I want this guy to go to prison. I really do. He's been advocating that people who do what he has done go to prison. Therefore he should go there, and when he gets out he can say "they should all go to prison just like I did." OR he can stop saying everyone else should go to prison.

OTOH, I happen to know that ED meds...can be useful and needed even by people who are not actually having sex. But you don't need to go to the Dominican Republic for that!

#50 ::: Kathryn arriving in sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 01:22 PM:

" matter how embarrassing one's prescription"

Never mind Rush- he's on parole, and that means a greatly reduced right to privacy.

But in general, there are medicines which are strongly linked to specific medical conditions. Telling the government what medicine you're taking can be equal to telling the government what illness you have. That seems... odd.

#51 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 01:28 PM:

Schmuck doesn't go on-line because he doesn;t want his privacy invaded.

[Antecedent/linkage--Limbaugh is a rightwing fascist privileged white male hypocrite. So is Schmuck, the schmuck exterminating the rights of citizens and abrogating the US Constitution and Bill of Rights--Schmuck won't go on line because he doesn't want his privacy invaded--but there would be a lot more privacy of communications on the Internet without the actions and attitudes and direction of the Schmuck...]

#52 ::: Avery ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 01:34 PM:

Short answer, Kathryn, is yes. You may be detained for hours, they may evey be able to charge you a hefty fine. (Remember, you're talking about the people who evacuated an airport becuase the "keep alert" function on an X-ray machine failed to reset properly.) The odds of this are probably minor on a domestic flight, but if you doing something international I'd really think about getting a 50 count bottle. Of course I tend to draw the atention of law enforcement types because I have the delicate physique of a linebacker, have a beard and a pony tail.

Either way, this isn't a fair comparison. You are talking about drugs that are legitimatly prescribed to the person carrying them. In the Rush case he has a drug that he says was perscribed for him, but has someone elses name on the bottle "for privacy reasons".

#53 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 01:44 PM:

Personally, I just want to scrub my brain clean of the vision of Rush Limbaugh with a raging stiffie.

#54 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 01:50 PM:

Charlie, what struck me was that Limbaugh was effectively saying he couldn't trust a pharmacist to keep quiet. Does that seem odd to you?

#55 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 01:58 PM:

I should add: when travelling abroad I've got a couple of simple rules. (1) Any medication should be labelled, and stored in the box it was prescribed in (this being the UK, we get tablets in blister packs). (2) I carry a letter from my GP, listing what I'm on. (3) never fly with opiates of any kind; it might be an over-the-counter painkiller in the UK, but there are parts of the world where you can end up in prison for several years for owning them. If you need them, don't visit those places. (Exception: if you have a prescription and a letter from your GP and you've checked with the consulates of the destination and refueling stop and possible diversion targets in advance.)

As my next scheduled flight stops to refuel in Singapore, you betcha rule (3) is on my pre-flight checklist with red highlighter.

Oh yes: I carry a pocket-sized pill box with compartments when I'm in my own country, and when abroad -- just not when I'm likely to have an excitable customs official going through my luggage.

#56 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 01:58 PM:

It would be irresponsible NOT to speculate whether Rush was going to crush them up and slip them, along with some trank, into juiceboxes which he would then give to underage Dominican boys.

#57 ::: Steve Thorn ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 01:58 PM:

Why the D. Republic? Maybe WIRED can answer that --,1272,44888,00.html

#58 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 01:58 PM:

Dave, it's surprising how many people think a pharmacist is just a jumped-up shopkeeper in a white coat.

#59 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 02:15 PM:

More notes about travelling with drugs:

1. If you carry it on your person or in your hand luggage, assume that you will be searched and challenged to explain it. (Rush obviously failed this clue test.)

2. Loose pills will be interpreted in the worst possile light if they are found on your person. A lab test might clear you but it won't give you back your lost connection or the couple of days you spent in custody.

3. Funnily enough, you can skip your daily vitamin pills for quite a long time without dropping dead. Self-prescribed OTC stuff is not essential to life. Missing a single daily dose of folic acid while you're pregnant does not mean your baby will be born with spina bifida. Headache pills can be purchased at the destination, and you won't have to worry if they're legal there. Leave this stuff at home, and plan on hitting a pharmacy at the other end.

4. If you can't buy some OTC preparation at your destination, it might be illegal there. Ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Let me emphasize this. I am in the UK. There is a box of painkillers in my bathroom cabinet, that I bought at a pharmacy up the road, perfectly legally. There are 24 of them and they each contain 200mg of Ibuprofen and 12.5mg of codeine. That's nearly 300mg of an opiate. Possession of that amount in Singapore carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $200,000 fine; possession of thirty boxes would be enough to get you hanged. But in the UK it's legal. Don't make assumptions about the legality of OTC medicines in foreign countries.

You are probably safe if you have a prescription, but I'd still check with an embassy or consulate before carrying opiates abroad, and ask for a written response.
5. When the label on the bottle says "take one tablet three times a day" it invariably means "take at eight hour intervals". Jet lag and time zones notwithstanding. However, being a couple of hours out will almost never kill you. (If you know it will kill you, should you be travelling? Think hard.)

#60 ::: Kathryn arriving in sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 02:28 PM:


Just to check, in my case I'm carrying multiple vitamins (different pills) in one container. None are prescription. As a retorical question: this could still cause the agents to take a few hours off of security in order to check my antioxidant status?

Yes- always important for internation trips. I'd never cross a border without all the (small as is possible to get) bottles and copies of prescriptions.

Research is critical. For example, in the US pseudoeph. used to be fully over the counter. (Now it is OTC with proof of ID- depends on the state. Ties into older ML threads on innocent sinus sufferers being punished for the sins of addicts, or on meds being blacklisted even if there are no good substitutes.)

In many other countries it's either entirely illegal or is heavily regulated. Could be far too easy for an American trying to keep their eardrums from bursting to carry those decongestants into the wrong places.

#61 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 02:35 PM:

Kathryn, how to the security people know that those pills you're carrying are harmless vitamins?

Yes, it's part of the lunacy of the War on Drugs. No, I don't approve of it. But I'm trying to be pragmatic and cautious here.

(On the vitamin pill front, next time you buy a 1000 tablet bottle at Walmart or wherever, buy a 50 tablet bottle of the same brand and the same strength. Use it on trips, and decant from the big bottle into the little bottle. Beyond verifying that it's the same stuff and the same dosage, nobody's going to pay any attention to the manufacturer's batch number.)

#63 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 02:57 PM:

Charlie--(On the vitamin pill front, next time you buy a 1000 tablet bottle at Walmart or wherever, buy a 50 tablet bottle of the same brand and the same strength. Use it on trips, and decant from the big bottle into the little bottle. Beyond verifying that it's the same stuff and the same dosage, nobody's going to pay any attention to the manufacturer's batch number.)

I do this for my regular prescriptions, which come by mail order in 90-pill lots, in bottles that could well hold a couple of hundred. I have some much smaller labeled bottles, doctor's name and all, same meds, expired two/three years ago, and make sure the pills match the labels on the bottles.

So far, this has worked for domestic trips, but I haven't been out of the country since 1999. Would the expiry dates on the bottles be a problem? All of the prescriptions are appropriate for a middle-aged woman with moderately high blood pressure who's missing both a thyroid and a gall bladder, although one is banned for Olympic competition.

#64 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 03:02 PM:

Joann: sports are weird, the sporting authorities ban all kinds of stuff that anyone else takes routinely. I don't think the expiry date would likely be a problem, as long as the contents match and the stuff's legal and you've got a doctor's letter. But if you're going to travel abroad you might want to ask for a small prescription and get it made up locally so you can explain to the pharmacist why you want it in small bottles.

#65 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 03:19 PM:

I use a pill organizer, and have ever since I couldn't remember whether I'd taken my heart medicine, decided I hadn't, took it, and discovered that I had.


So I put the prescription receipt (which has the same information as the scrip bottle) in the same plastic bag with the pill organizer. I generally forget to worry about it. OTOH I haven't flown since I went on the new ADHD med (which SUCKS compared to Cylert AND is Schedule Two).

It never occurred to me to worry about the vitamins and so on. I figure if they ask I'll say "Well, this is B-complex, and this is beta carotene, and this is lycopene, and this..." and also depend on the fact that people who are planning to sell things or whatever don't tend to have them in old-man pill organizers, and tend to carry more than seven.

Call me naïve, but I refuse to be all paranoid and worried. Especially since looking all paranoid and worried is a reason they pull you out of the line for special attention!

I wouldn't do this if I were going to Singapore. Fortunately I'm as likely to go to Singapore as I am to practice recreational self-amputation.

#66 ::: Edward Oleander (Detox Nurse) ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 03:51 PM:

Not that I would, you know, cross a room to spit on the guy.

I would.

#67 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 04:00 PM:

Charlie--But if you're going to travel abroad you might want to ask for a small prescription and get it made up locally so you can explain to the pharmacist why you want it in small bottles.

Of course, the last time but two or three that I went out of the country, I was gone for 3.5 months. *Then* I was having serious difficulty with my insurance people getting enough meds to keep me going the whole time.

It also occurs to me that the only truly effective cold medicine I've ever taken was some homeopathic stuff (*not* Boiron) that I got in Italy, and which by rights should have gotten me all sorts of grief when I came back to the US, being in Italian and all.

#68 ::: Daniel Martin ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 04:05 PM:

Note also that every news story I've seen indicates only that Mr. Limbaugh was detained for some hours after this prescription bottle was found on him. That is, he wasn't charged or arrested that I know of.

I haven't been through US customs (except at a Canadian drive-through border crossing) in over 15 years, so I don't know how paranoid they are now, but I could easily imagine it taking a few hours simply to sort out that finding a prescription label with a different name on it didn't mean that we really had someone who was trying to enter the country with a forged passport. (It's perfectly believable that someone who would forge a passport would remember to forge a driver's license too, but would overlook one little pill bottle)

I also want to know who wrote the wire story that every news outlet is running, and who leaked the story. I'm vaguely suspicious that it might have been Rush himself or his lawyer who leaked it in an effort to create a backlash against the authorities.

#69 ::: Edward Oleander (Detox Nurse) ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 04:13 PM:

Not that I would, you know, cross a room to spit on the guy.

In fact, I would strap on my leg braces, leap to my feet, and risk serious injury to my feet sprinting after that jackass, just for the opportunity to hawk a huge loogie right in his face.

To Hell with taking the high road. To Hell with always trying to be dignified, and to not "sinking to their level." Scum like Limpbaugh deserve to have their ass handed to them in the same manner they treat their own enemies.

If 14 years of watching The Simpsons has taught me anything, it's that it is perfectly ok to occassionally make the Nelson Muntz's of this world walk down Main Street with their pants around their ankles, bawling in pitiless humiliation, and then squirting condiments in their hair for added measure.

I have had my street clients returned to prison for parole violations as minor, or more so, than Mr. Limbaugh's. For them to see him escape with little or no criminal consequences, or at least a public drubbing, undermines the job I try to do every day, and I am SICK to death of it...

Note: Harry, I'm not picking on you, but your quote gave me the perfect opportunity to grab my soapbox... Thanks for the leg-up! :-)

#70 ::: Scott H ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 04:18 PM:

DaveL wrote:

Can't we rustle up any sentiment in his favor based on notions of personal privacy, on the general idiocy of the War on Some Drugs, or in opposition to the idea that only the government and the medical industry can decide what drugs it's appropriate to allow us to put in our body?

Don Fitch wrote:

...mis-labeled bottle of Viagra? That seems to me to be trivial and immaterial bullshit, remote from rational priorities. Not that I'm always rational, mind you, but... there are serious things going on in the world that are vastly more deserving of our attention and condemnation -- including false or misleading things Limbaugh says in his Public aspect.

Guys, I salute the sentiment and I agree in principle. Were it almost anyone else, I wouldn't indulge gossip. However, in this particular instance I'm afraid that I must respectfully disagree with your decent and civilized suggestions.

I completely agree that it's both immoral and unseemly to make an issue out of someone else's medical problems or legal screw-ups, particularly in regards to what drugs he puts in his own body, regardless of whether doing so may constitute a felony.

I will further assert that it's ethically proper to dispense, for the moment, with any speculation about what Limbaugh may or may not have put in the bodies of prostitutes in the Dominican Republich, or the ages or genders of those prostitutes.

However, I would suggest that, for the greater good in 2008, we should all point out the impropriety of so speculating--or otherwise bring the matter up--whenever we have an opportunity to do so.

The United States is overrun with human vermin, of whom Rush Limbaugh is one of the vilest. Not only does he not deserve to be treated with simple human courtesy, I truly and sincerely believe that the world would be a better place if he was to get cancer and die.*

As a general rule, I would argue quite strenuously that people should be treated with at least as much courtesy and decency that they show to others. Whenever practical, you should behave towards others with the maximum courtesy and decorum of which you yourself are capable. Thus is the cause of civilization advanced and the world made a generally better place.

However, we live in an imperfect world, and sometimes you really do have to do distasteful things in order to advance the general good. I for one don't fancy the prospect of trying to explain to my grandchildren that I did nothing to stop the nation's ongoing subjugation by aggressively moronic, morally bankrupt, uncultured subhuman filth because it would have been impolite to fight back.

In the case of the Republican party leaders in general and Rush fucking Limbaugh in particular I do not believe that it is possible to compose an assault so cruel or hateful that they do not deserve to suffer something much, much worse.

Bad news for Rush Limbaugh is good news for the country and humanity in general. It should be widely celbrated..

*Though, given Limbaugh's physical condition, I would think our deliverance would be more likely to manifest as some sort of heart disease. Viagra, Mr. Limbaugh? By all means! Here, have some amyl nitrate as well! Take it with you on your next visit to Madame XXX's House of Infectious Pleasures.

#71 ::: Avery ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 04:31 PM:

As a retorical question: this could still cause the agents to take a few hours off of security in order to check my antioxidant status?

How likely is it? Probably somewhere between pretty low and extremely low. But you're dealing with an organization that once considered tweezers to be an unacceptable security risk.

I'd tend to avoid it for much the same reason that, whenever I get pulled over by the police at night, I turn my dome light on and put my hands at 11:00 and 1:00 on the steering wheel. Maybe he's a polite professional who just wants to warn me that one of my tail lights is out. Maybe he's having a rough day and I match the description of the guy who shot the Quick-Mart attendant an hour ago.

#72 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 05:14 PM:

I only have a layman's acquaintance with the regulations governing prescriptions. We have some health care professionals here. I'm betting they know more than I do. Is it appropriate to have prescriptions written from one doctor to another, when the actual recipient is a third party? The rule as I know it is that the prescription specifies the recipient. If you write it to a third party, who then turns the drugs over to the patient via an unrecorded transaction, you've circumvented the entire purpose of prescriptions.

The intent is deceitful, not therapeutic.

Here's what I know for sure: I'd be a fool to try to cross an international border if the pills I have on me don't match the prescriptions on the bottles, and if the name on the prescriptions isn't mine.

#73 ::: Jacob Davies ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 05:19 PM:

I sincerely hope someone at the FBI is looking into what, exactly, Mr Limbaugh did in the D.R. during his little visit. Let's see, he violates his probation by getting sex drugs prescribed to him in someone else's name, and then - as a single man - visits a known hotbed of child prostitution & a favourite sex tourism destination.

18 USC 2423(b)

(b) Travel With Intent To Engage in Illicit Sexual Conduct. - A person who travels in interstate commerce or travels into the United States, or a United States citizen or an alien admitted for permanent residence in the United States who travels in foreign commerce, for the purpose of engaging in any illicit sexual conduct with another person shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 30 years, or both.

#74 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 06:02 PM:

Things continue to develop, from the Palm Beach Post:

State attorney's office spokesman Mike Edmondson said his office also will look into whether Limbaugh violated that agreement with prosecutors. Prosecutors also will examine the possibility of "any doctor being complicit and the possibility of doctors being charged as well."

According to the deferred-prosecution agreement, Limbaugh must refrain from violation of any law.

If prosecutors determine the Viagra possession to be a crime, Limbaugh could again face the felony doctor-shopping charge. Doctor-shopping is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

Definitely not a good day for the big guy. The prosecutors have responded and they are not happy.

I'm sure his doctor hit the speed dial to his attorney early on here. Has anyone reported his name yet? If he dispensed anything else to Limbaugh that goes sideways to the FDA prescription rules, particularly if it is a DEA "scheduled" item, everybody will be spending more time at the courthouse.

#75 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 06:06 PM:


The patient's prescription MUST be in the patient's name. If the story is correct that "Rush's" prescription was written by one doctor for another doctor, they've broken several laws.

I believe that the doctor who wrote the prescription could lose his license to practice.

If the doctor who is listed as the patient on that prescription actually gave the medication to Rush Limbaugh, he's looking at some sort of punishment from the State board as well.

I can't see any judge or the DEA looking on this with any tolerance. And I have to wonder what drugs the first doctor is indulging in, that he would take the risk of writing the prescription in the first case...

(My mother is an RN, and explained this to me when I asked what sort of procedure was followed to account for the drugs prescribed at the hospital.)

#76 ::: J Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 06:24 PM:

J Thomas, you must have me confused with someone else. I'm not the one drawing attention to a misdemeanor while ignoring the greater scandal.

Joel Wideman, no, I'm talking to you. You've used up this name, you should start using a new one.

However, if you want to tell us about the greater Rush Limbaugh scandal, by all means go ahead.

#77 ::: Edward Oleander (Detox Nurse) ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 06:32 PM:

THN:I only have a layman's acquaintance with the regulations governing prescriptions. We have some health care professionals here. I'm betting they know more than I do. Is it appropriate to have prescriptions written from one doctor to another, when the actual recipient is a third party? The rule as I know it is that the prescription specifies the recipient. If you write it to a third party, who then turns the drugs over to the patient via an unrecorded transaction, you've circumvented the entire purpose of prescriptions.

It is ethically reprehensible to write such a "third party" RX. Having the proper name on the bottle is absolutely essential to ensure that the right drug is getting to the right person. ANY ethical doctor would refuse to participate in such subterfuge. As a nurse, I not only refuse to administer any medication from such a bottle, I immediately confiscate ANY bottle a client brings in without their name on it. The amount of confusion this so-called "privacy" practice of name switching introduces into any health care system could prove harmful to patients if a needed drug is denied, or an inappropriate drug given. Just best never to go there. In a health system with two million prescribing MDs, and hundreds of thousands of pharmacies, the KISS principle applies in force.

Both doctors who were "protecting privacy" should be censured and fined. The privacy issue doesn't wash, anyway. The existing system is designed to honor ALL patient's rights t privacy. To me, this sounds like smokescreen to cover over-prescribing. My immediate question is: How many not-so-trivial drugs does Rush have in his cupboard with someone elses name on them?

#78 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 06:33 PM:

...what struck me was that Limbaugh was effectively saying he couldn't trust a pharmacist to keep quiet. Does that seem odd to you?

Not any more. Remember, he's aligned with the people who think nothing of publicly haranguing a woman for her "morals" when she tries to get birth control. Why shouldn't he suspect that the same kind of treatment might be applied to him?

#79 ::: Kathryn arriving in Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 06:55 PM:

When traveling outside of the US and Canada, I'll just buy one kitchen-sink multivitamin, just to make things easier. Simplicity in travel saves time, and it's never smart to be annoying in some *other* country's customs (and plain stupid to be ignorant of their laws).

[Contemplating my stack of vitamins and supplements]

Still, even if I keep my vitamins in original containers, that isn't going to help domestic security if they want to be argumentatively suspicious. My Trader Joe's [a popular inexpensive grocery chain] green tea extract is just brownish powder in easily opened gel capsules. Alpha lipoic acid? Whitish powder, same capsules.

If they're bored and want entertainment from my personal items, I can't stop them. But, [spinning up a rant] it's my responsibility to never substitute subservience for politeness when facing security theater. Sure, I'd do everything reasonable to not delay my fellow passengers in security lines. But everything reasonable isn't everything possible. [further rants about what's the point of pawing through medicines- how exactly does that protect airplane safety? Checkpoints to test if folks are breaking *any* law aren't supposed to happen.]

Maybe right now I should feel glee at the idea of an arrogant and hypocritical man being taken down. But for every Rush there'll be 10000 ordinary guys- not criminals, not in parole- who just want to bring one or two vigaras along on a weekend vacation. That they could get in trouble at the airport seems a bit much.

#80 ::: Jacob Davies ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 07:00 PM:

If those 10,000 "ordinary guys" were on probation for drug offences, and their Viagra was prescribed illicitly in another person's name, and they were travelling to or from a major sex-tourism hotspot - well, yeah, they might get in trouble at the airport. Wait, why is that supposed to be a bad thing, now?

#81 ::: Echidna ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 07:10 PM:

Kathryn: But for every Rush there'll be 10000 ordinary guys- not criminals, not in parole- who just want to bring one or two vigaras along on a weekend vacation. That they could get in trouble at the airport seems a bit much.

And as long as they've got their name on the prescription bottle, the worst they'd face is a bit of sniggering from a customs official. People have described reasons to have medicines not in the original bottles, but not for having a prescription written in someone else's name.

#82 ::: Kathryn arriving in Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 07:25 PM:


I was contemplating the ratio of "arrogant hypocritical people on parole" to ordinary non-criminal people. (Or does the act of carrying one vigara outside of its bottle make one a criminal?) I'm also generalizing to security lines in general: customs is a special security case.

Perhaps the guards knew his status on probation, and gave him an extra search simply because of that.

But what if they gave him an extra search because they could? If they feel they have the power to do any search on a whim, then for every Rush they catch, there'll also be 100s or 1000s of ordinary people being harassed.

Is catching Rush at the airport worth it? Couldn't his parole officer have been doing more focused searches at, say, Rush's home?

topic drift alert... Criminals get severely restricted privacy rights. That ought not to mean we slice away at everyone's privacy simply because it makes it easier to search criminals.

#83 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 07:40 PM:

Limbaugh is certainly brazening it out:

AP reports:

Limbaugh joked about the search on his radio show
Tuesday, saying Customs officials didn‘t believe him
when he said he got the pills at the Clinton Library
and he was told they were blue M&Ms. He later added,
chuckling: "I had a great time in the Dominican
Republic. Wish I could tell you about it."

#84 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 08:14 PM:

Crooks and Liars has done some investigative telephoning to various medical State boards (including Florida, which is the most germane) to try to figure out what laws/procedures might have been broken by the doctor(s) here.

#85 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 08:17 PM:

Kathryn - I suspect that since Rush is on probation, and was traveling overseas, he qualified (deservedly) for extra attention.

For what it's worth, when crossing the border, it's unreasonable to have any expectation of privacy. It's the sheer mass of humanity that makes it possible to cross in and out of the US without a thorough luggage search. I don't think any real cause is required to perform a search at a border that would require probable cause when traveling domestically. IANAL - does anyone know what the actual law is on this?

I really don't see this as an impingement on anyone whose liberties aren't already legally impaired.

Now the random acts of Security Theater now playing at an airport near you are quite another story...

#86 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 08:33 PM:

I don't know what the law is when crossing the border, but I do know that when I was driving a rental car from Vancouver BC to Seattle back in 1986 I was stopped and the car searched for no reason (that I was given) other than I looked nervous. Personally, I attribute the appearance of nervousness to too many Canadian beers the night before, but anyway...

#87 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 09:34 PM:

DaveL: besides seconding several people's comments on your version of a sense of proportion, I'll note that you owe Teresa an apology for comparing a stiffener to a drug needed to function in daily life. That may not be as low as Limbaugh has gone, but it's certainly in his class.

#88 ::: Alan Hamilton ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 09:40 PM:

I would be really surprised if some tabloids don't already have reporters going down to the DR with cash for anyone that wants to say how she "spent some time" with Rush.

As for customs, they do have the right to identify any pills you have with you, and can make you wait while they do it. It's in your interest to make it easy for them. You probably won't be busted for vitamins if you're not doing anything else suspicious (like having a prescription bottle with someone else's name on it).

As for prescriptions, I would never travel without the original bottle. If the bottle is too big, the pharmacist can split the prescription between two bottles, a small and large one. You can also order blister packs.

#89 ::: glinda ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2006, 11:08 PM:

Upthread a bit: I'm one of those people for whom a month's supply of prescribed medications fills more than a shoebox. Two weeks' worth of just one of those meds is in a 6" by 1 1/2" or 2" bottle; others are smaller, but then there's that Advair disk...

I'll be traveling out-of-country in August, for 11 days, and am getting concerned: I need to keep the meds in my carryon, because if they lose the checked-in luggage and I'm sans meds, there are real problems for even skipping doses for a couple of them. I'm on a couple of non-prescription supplements, recommended by my neurologist for the neuropathy but not covered by any prescription plan. Hm. maybe a letter specifying those supplements, on doctor's letterhead? But as someone said, alpha-lipoic acid from Trader Joe's is a white powder in an easily opened capsule.

Not fun.

Gah. Now I'm getting paranoid. *wry* I have no concerns about getting into Iceland or the UK, but getting back to the dear ol' USofA... aieeeee.

#90 ::: Seth Breidbart ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2006, 12:35 AM:

I haven't seen anything about which doctor prescribed the Viagra. The conditions on Rush state that he isn't allowed to see any doctor except the one specified ("doctor shopping").

I've averaged 3-4 flights each month for the last 5 years. My luggage has been searched any number of times. They have never cared about a bunch of vitamin pills in a 2" ziplock bag (many different sizes and colors, some capsules, some tables, the bag typically labelled "AM" or "PM"). They likewise didn't care about 3 oz of whey protein (whitish powder) in a sandwich-size ziploc bag.

#91 ::: Kathryn in Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2006, 01:15 AM:


I don't think you should worry. Each country will have a website that explains how they categorize medicines. Have copies of prescriptions for ordinary medicines, and a doctor's note if the country recommends it. Get the doctor to write out the generic / chemical name of the medicine whenever possible.

What I did do if I needed multiple bottles was to peel the labels off big bottles and move them to the smallest workable size.

And then read up online what people say about the country.

For example, I found out that one country I was about to visit had two customs lines, and the "medicines to declare" line was usually much shorter. Because I did have a medicine to declare, I went to this special line... no wait at all. They didn't actually read my doctor's notes- but they did notice that I had them ready. Probably helped.

#92 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2006, 02:33 AM:

Jeralyn at TalkLeft has a quote from the Transportation Security Administration regarding prescription pill bottles and their labels here. Essentially, they don't care as much as Customs does.

#93 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2006, 03:01 AM:

Mike, Kathryn, Charlie: I only travel to Mpls and back these days, but I take all my meds in their original packaging. I have a plastic container that is just the right size and include a copy of my Emergency Information sheet. The container and my wrist BP monitor take up about a third of my carry-on luggage, but the only thing I've been searched on is when I was bringing beads back (they look like explosives). Now I have Sandi mail the beads to me.

Charlie, one of the meds I take with me is codeine, but since nobody has wanted to look at the meds so far, I don't know if there'd be trouble or not.

#94 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2006, 03:15 AM:

For a few years I was traveling with a backup dialysis bag in my carry-on. They're all very officially marked, but still, it's a two-and-a-half-liter sack of liquid with various piping attached, and I am glad I quit having to carry them before September 11.

In the nature of backups, I never actually had to use the onboard bag, and the supplier is extremely good at sending your travel supplies where you need to be when you need them to be there, and is justifiably proud of that. (If you think about traveling with ten liters of fluid a day, you see why this is not an issue of checked baggage.) And my nurses told me that occasionally they'd gotten frantic calls from the airport to run a bag out to someone stuck between planes, so I kept hauling them.

The dim (not exactly dark) side of it was that I had a plastic tube hanging off my abdomen. (Well, I still do, but it's subcut, doesn't go all the way through into the secret works.) This wasn't a security issue (it certainly wasn't visible), but I was once in an ED where a guy decided it was a feeding tube. Now, he was just an orderly, but through my whole stay he never understood what PD was, despite multiple explanations. There have been a few cases where the patient was unconscious and someone with authority to act decided the catheter was a feeding tube, with fatal results.

I'm glad I don't do that anymore. For numerous reasons.

#95 ::: pat greene ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2006, 05:00 AM:

Chip, I was so appalled at what you said DaveL said that I thought I must have missed something, and had to go reread the thread to make sure.

Dave may have been guilty of less than clearly argued thought, but simply pointing out the way in which drug regulation issues have come up in this forum before is not to equate the two drugs involved, nor is it to equate TNH's use of meds with Limbaugh's. It is possible to argue from more general principles sometimes.

Even so, what you claim he said in no way is in Limbaugh's class. Not even close. For one thing, Rush nastiness always has malice aforethought, whereas Dave seemed merely careless.

I detest Limbaugh. Completely. And I am appalled at how his treatment contrasts with those of less means. And a large part of me hopes they throw his rat-bastard ass in jail for a very long time. However, I'm with DaveL when he says "I wouldn't want to let schadenfreude and the desire to score political points against a blowhard get in the way of taking a rational view of drug regulation and illegal drug policy."

#96 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2006, 06:53 AM:

I think it is prudent to verify that the rest of the label is accurate - that it really is sildenafil citrate, and not something else packaged as a small, blue pill.

On that matter, John Aravosis points out (in a post I can't link to because it uses the v-word) that Oxycontin also comes in blue pills.

#97 ::: Barry ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2006, 10:57 AM:

Back in the 1990's, right-wingers had many America-hating[1] slogans like 'I love my country, but fear my government'. One of those sayings was 'Congress should be forced to live under the same laws that they passed for us'. A good slogan for elites in general.

[1] We know that those sayings were America-hating because that's how they'd be branded now, and eternal truths don't change - do they?

#98 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2006, 11:56 AM: tourism is a habitual and self-reinforcing activity, with almost three quarters of sex tourists being on repeat visits to the Dominican Republic and more than half having visited other sex tourist destinations.

As the following portraits of individuals will show, sex tourists to the Dominican Republic, like those found in Thailand, Cuba and Costa Rica, are preoccupied by issues surrounding their gender, economic and 'racialised' power. They imagine themselves to be at the mercy of biologically determined sexual 'needs' or 'urges' and thus believe that women control a 'resource' (their female bodies) which is vital to men's well being.

Western women, who are generally in a position to limit or deny their access to this vital resource, are therefore seen as powerful. This model of male sexuality, couched in terms of 'needing' rather than 'wanting', allows them to view themselves as passive victims of 'nature' rather than as active agents, which in turn means that they do not see themselves as fully morally responsible for their actions.

Sex tourists to the Dominican Republic also buy into a highly sexualised form of racism. Without exception, the sex tourists we interviewed described Dominican culture as sexually 'open', 'natural' and 'free'. We have found that, in other settings, sextourists further rationalise their own behaviour through reference to a set of beliefs about the economic and social situation in the 'third world' countries they visit and this was also the case in the Dominican Republic.

Child Prostitiution and Sex Tourism: Dominican Republic (PDF)

I would be perfectly content to have Limbaugh spend the rest of his days campaigning for drug-law reform from his prison cell.

#99 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2006, 12:40 PM:

Don Assmussen's "Bad Reporter" this morning in the Chron takes the story to a, er, um, different level.

We have definitly made it around to the farce.

#100 ::: Dolloch ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2006, 03:21 PM:

The breaking story linked to above has changed and is no longer the one quoted. It now goes to the 6/27 11:22pm version which has eliminated reference to his previous drug charges, has included his joking about it on his show, and tries to establish that in Florida the third-party labelling is perfectly acceptable.

Liberal media bias my ass. Who needs Newspeak when the media will self-censor to the point of re-writing the story?

#101 ::: Kathryn in Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2006, 03:57 PM:


It is still the case that a medical equipment bag doesn't count towards your carry on limits for US domestic flights / flights from (and to?) the US.

See CFR Part 382... "the carrier recommends to all of its passengers who require such medication or other items for medical necessity to bring a carry-on bag containing the medication or other item on board. Such medication carry-on bags would not be counted toward the passenger’s carry-on baggage allotment."

(found in this summary of disability and travel laws)

#102 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2006, 04:22 PM:

Arrogance/hubris--self-congratulatory Media Personality who's on probation, goes on a trip to a country which apparently has much of its GNP being generated by prostitution these days, with a Viagra prescription, with labeling that is in violation of US law...this is something consonant with the content of "America's Stupidest Criminals."

One difference, though, is that the perpetrator's not likely to volunteer to be on that show.

NPR did an interview with a woman who deals with the "talent" on the show, getting permission from them such they agree to be on the show and allow their particular stories to be broadcast to the public. She said that some of them do it for their bit of public attention/fame/infamy, some for the money, and some: she related that there was one woman, who had been driving drunk and was stopped by a cop. She tried propositioning to cop to avoid the DUI. She said she wanted to be on TV, and wanted the video clip of it, to have the record to remind herself of how utterly loathesome and disgusting and vile she got when drunk, so that she would never get drunk and drive again.

Again, my feeling about the situation, is that those who demand punishment for others, should get the punishment they demand when they trangress. I am not a supporter of the war on drugs, police states, etc., but when someone who does support those things transgresses the rules they call for others to comply with and be punished harshly for violating, they deserve the punishment they called for for leveeing on others.

That is, I agree with Macdonald, Limbaugh belongs behind bars.

#103 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2006, 07:56 PM:

Kathyrn, I'm a large woman and I'll be away for a week. There's no way that I could carry everything I need in a carry-on bag, so it doesn't matter that the meds & BP monitor go into my carry-on.

#104 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2006, 08:01 PM:

As I have never quite had the bad sense to actually say to an airport screener, "My tribe is a tool-using tribe. We are the People Who Check Things."

#105 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2006, 08:03 PM:

Having said that, would anybody like a T-shirt with a version of the sentiment? Designing the icon for "Tool-Using Tribe" would be worth the effort.

#106 ::: kathryn in Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2006, 09:05 PM:


Understood for longer trips- but even then, you likely want to keep both your travel essentials and your key medical supplies with you.
(You also get to check an extra bag with no fee, if it is for medical equipment.)

No one should ever feel as if they must pack valuables into their checked in luggage, just to make room for medical supplies. No one has to, because the law protects against this.

If one is carrying on an extra bag, it might be good to have a copy of the rules. There's always some chance of running up against a guard who is entirely wrong yet stubborn.

I also recall seeing, but can't find, rules that say that medical equipment being searched must be done in the presence of the owner. Security must also change gloves upon request.

Also, if during seating the airline's staff request that people gate-check one bag, then a person with a medical supplies bag doesn't have to count it towards the onboard bag limit.

#107 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2006, 09:20 PM:

(asked on the other thread, but meant for here)

If you've traveled with "exceptional supplies" (medical, fragile, photographic),
And security asked to search it,
And you got security to follow the rules for searches,

How did you do it? What worked? What phrasing did you use to request that the TSA follow their own rules without the TSA agent getting snippy and angry?

For example, you can request they wear fresh gloves before searching your medical equipment. I bet many people want to ask for this, but are afraid of what could happen. How would you / did you phrase this reasonable request?

#108 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: June 28, 2006, 11:14 PM:

pat greene: you may read the post as you like; I found it to use a grossly unreasonable comparison that goes far beyond muddy presentation.

#109 ::: Meg Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2006, 05:44 AM:

I'm sorry, but even here in .au we've heard of Mr Limbaugh, and even over here, having never actually had to listen to the man, I've worked up a good case of cordial dislike. The phrase "hoist on his own petard" is really starting to look comfortable.

[Side note: I'm on two types of medication - one is a thyroid med which is supposed to be kept below 20C, the other is an SSRI type antidepressant. The one time I went out of the country, I carried the medications with me in their original packaging, which in each case has my name on it (as is standard for Australian prescription medication) but didn't carry a note from my GP. The one trip I made went from Australia to the UK via the US - I had to change planes in LA each way - and at no time did my luggage get searched. Admittedly, this may have more to do with my own paranoia (I stood in the "something to declare" line each time, and told the nice customs person about my medication before they could ask questions, so they just said no, no, that's fine, on you go) and my gender than with any external circumstances.]

#110 ::: DaveL ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2006, 10:22 AM:

CHip opined: I'll note that you owe Teresa an apology for comparing a stiffener to a drug needed to function in daily life.

That was certainly not my intent, and if TNH read it and took it that way, I tender her an apology.

#111 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2006, 10:39 AM:

I can think of ways that Limbaugh could get hold of a prescription that didn't have his name on it, without it being written for him as a third-party prescription, but none of them involve him needing to hold on to the drugs, and none of them involve him needing to travel with them.

Seeing my sympathy for Limbaugh requires an electron microscope.

#112 ::: rhandir ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2006, 10:51 AM:

John M. Ford
As I have never quite had the bad sense to actually say to an airport screener, "My tribe is a tool-using tribe. We are the People Who Check Things."
While that sounds really, really clever, and quite funny, I, uh, don't get it.
The reference, I mean.
It seems really, really familiar, like it should be referring to The Face of Evil, but I'm guessing that's not it. Oh, and I want that t-shirt.*

*And will cheerfully design it too!

#113 ::: fd ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2006, 12:49 AM:

healthy body

#114 ::: David Goldfarb notes comment spam ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2006, 03:06 AM:

...but not a healthy mind...sigh.

#115 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2006, 06:30 AM:

Rhandir -- it's not a reference to anything else particularly, though I can think of resonances -- to You Know Who's "We are the Little Folk" and "Among my tribe, this is not a problem," where "this" refers to various social behaviors that Some Other People do have Problems With.

I don't feel any urgent need to carry my Leatherman Wave on board a commercial airliner, but I don't carry it as a weapon, and wouldn't want to use it as one unless there was absolutely no alternative to such action. It's for doing quotidian tasks, many of them unexpected, that would be a lot more difficult without a sharp edge or a gripping device or a screwdriver. In an era where pretty much everything is made with tools and requires tools (some of them highly specialized, but my Swiss Army with the rack of interchangeable drivers is a side issue), sometimes you gotta have the right piece of metal.

I am reminded of an ad Cross Pen ran some years ago in NASA Tech Briefs, extolling the virtues of their DIP Switch Setting Device.

#116 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2006, 09:25 AM:

I am reminded of an ad Cross Pen ran some years ago in NASA Tech Briefs, extolling the virtues of their DIP Switch Setting Device.

Also useful for making notes on paper or skin, when you aren't resetting DIP switches with it.

#117 ::: Dave Langford ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2006, 09:38 AM:

sometimes you gotta have the right piece of metal.

Hazel and I dug out and repaired a relic of the Old Technology this morning: a microfiche viewer acquired in 1970-something and now suddenly needed. Fortunately we had all the right pieces of metal, including a power drill and soldering iron to restore a oddly sized cartridge fuse that had blown.....

#118 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2006, 04:37 PM:

Let it henceforth be known throughout the land that the word "limbaugh" has entered the porn-slang lexicon as a synonym for "viagra." So it is written; so it will be done!

(And look! They even got the sex-tourism angle into the article! Such thoroughness.)

#119 ::: Scorpio ::: (view all by) ::: July 08, 2006, 08:45 PM:

You know, if he had had it put in his own name, but had the label bear only the chemical name of the stuff, only his doctor, pharmacist, and *maybe* a customs guy would know he had a prescription for it.

Instead, the whole world knows.

#120 ::: Dg P ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2006, 03:09 PM:


#121 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2006, 03:15 PM:

*points at Doug P's teeny weenie and giggles*

#122 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2006, 03:53 PM:

Doug P is an unhappy former Foley page.

#123 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2006, 04:26 PM:

Doug P #120: Would you mind translating that into English?

#124 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2006, 09:22 PM:

Diddly P misspelled KICK... and fumblefingered a B in front of EAT.

And what's his obsession with "ass" and "assholes"? Is that all he ever thinks about?

#125 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2006, 08:29 AM:

All gone now. Thank you, Larry.

#126 ::: Lauren ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 10:52 AM:

Can we cut Rush some slack given that the laws obviously have been changed with the Anna Nicole verdict? She died from having ingested drugs that were not only prescribed to her pseudo-name, Michele Chase, but the rest of the drugs were prescribed by her Psych and were prescribed to Howard K Stern and to even the Psych herself. How can anyone be hard on Rush now for his stupid harmless sex meds, when Anna Nicole and her son lie dead in the ground with not ONE person guilty. Not her, Howard or even her Doctor. Oh, and Methedone is illegal in the Bahamas but somehow no one is prosecuted? Laws are made on what previous verdicts are...Anna Nicole's case changed that. To think that my friend was all paranoid giving me like 4 Vicodin once after I hurt my back and had no insurance? Heck, I never do drugs and we all felt guilty for that small thing. Rush took sex pills, oohhh! so sinister. Um, compare that to Anna and her son being murdered by prescription drug? Mind you, I'm not a big Rush fan, but I gotta side with him here.

#127 ::: Fragano Ledgister sees astroturf ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 11:02 AM:

Looks like it, smells like it.

#128 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 11:21 AM:

So when did Anna Nichole go on her right-wing radio show to say that all drug abusers should be in jail?

#129 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 03:20 PM:

Jim Macdonald #129: You know, that would make an interesting alternative history tale.

#130 ::: Charles ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 10:53 AM:

Mr. Limbaugh is once again doctor shopping and the Republican Party is covering it up. Not only is it an embarressment to this country, it sends the wrong message to American troops, who are being brain washed on Armed Forces radio by this addict. Two investagations have been silenced by members of this administration that prove, he has found another way to get his drugs and until he gets medical help for his addiction, he will continue his dirty little secret. Get help Mr. Limbaugh!

#131 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 15, 2008, 11:31 AM:

Hiya, Charles. Welcome to Making Light.

Would you happen to have a link to the story?

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Comment above looks like spam.

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