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From a reader: “This might be the sickest, slickest thing to come out of Congress since the Dems took over, and, I think, something that Henry Waxman is losing a lot of sleep over. Waxman got Phillip Morris and the AMA to sign on to a measure that would put tobacco under the FDA, which on its own is a big deal. But as part of the compromise, the FDA has no regulatory jurisdiction over the content of advertising, or–critically–menthol cigarettes. Menthols are a) more addictive b) more carcinogenic and c) smoked more by young people and African Americans.
Yet other than a recent piece (not available online) by Shawn Zeller of CQ, there’s been very little coverage of the issue:
Food and Drug Administration authority over the tobacco industry has long been a goal of smoking’s opponents, but aggressive lobbying by tobacco companies has staved it off. However, now that the House seems on the verge of acting on legislation by Democrat Henry A. Waxman of California to grant the FDA regulatory authority, a group of doctors is lobbying to stop the measure — on the grounds that it would not go far enough.
Nearly 700 public health and medical groups, including the American Medical Association and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, have lined up behind
Waxman’s bill. So it would seem to be an uphill climb for the 200-member American
Association of Public Health Physicians to oppose it, especially since the legislation has even received the blessing of the largest U.S. cigarettemaker, Philip Morris USA.
But the public health doctors insist the compromise Waxman struck with Philip Morris would do too much to accommodate tobacco interests. “The bottom line is that if this bill is passed, it will do more harm than good,” says Joel Nitzkin, who heads the physicians’ group. “It gives the image of FDA authority, but not the substance.”
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”