Thursday, June 11, 2009

FDA Regulation of Tobacco Closer to Reality, The Palin/Letterman Battle

Senate Votes for FDA Tobacco Regulation
By an overwhelming vote of 79-17, the Senate has approved a bill to allow the FDA to regulate tobacco products. The house had already passed a version of the bill, but the Senate amendments will need to be reconciled before it can be signed into law. It does not appear that there are any Senate amendments that will be major roadblocks to prevent passage, so expect this one to be finalized in the next few weeks. Voting against the bill were 16 Republicans and Sen. Kay Hagan (D) from tobacco-rich North Carolina.

The bill stops short of allowing the FDA to ban cigarettes but allows them to regulate both nicotine contents and ingredients, including banning flavor enhancers that might make tobacco more appealing to teenagers. Phillip Morris had come out in support of the bill, while all of the other tobacco manufacturers had opposed it.

I would only mention this because the news is slow today and because it has received much media coverage, but Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) at late-night host David Letterman are in a war of words. Letterman made some crude jokes a few nights ago about the sexual promiscuity of Palin's daughters, including saying that one got knocked up by Alex Rodriguez on a trip to New York City.

There isn't too much to this story. Dave's jokes were out of line, but the bigger story is that you have two people who want media coverage. Dave is battling Conan O'Brien in the ratings and Gov. Palin is trying to maintain national recognition. This story will likely quickly fade.

Horror at the Holocaust Museum
The killing of a security guard at the National Holocaust Museum is a huge shame and not a political issue. My heart goes out to the guard's family and for those at the museum at the time of the shooting.

It is worth noting that a major report, initiated by the Bush Administration and released by the Obama Administration on the risk of a rising tide of white supremicist terror was panned by some of the far right. Obviously, they were wrong and the report was right. Regrettably, I fear we may see more of the same from a fringe few over the coming months. We all should stay ever vigilant.

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