The president and a vice-president for CTIA, a lobbying organization for the wireless industry, spoke recently with CNET about why they think the FCC should leave their members alone. The vice-president, Chris Guttman-McCabe, is a lawyer and as such his answers are useless. President Steve Largent, however, actually has a couple of candid moments during the interview. [More]
One of the implied promises of a brand name, especially when it comes to drugs, is you can expect higher quality, but maybe that doesn’t apply when it comes to McNeil products.The FDA says the plant that produced the recently recalled children’s Tylenol, Motrin, Zyrtec and Benadryl, was using raw materials that were contaminated with bacteria. The plant also lacked adequate quality-control procedures and was dirty. So far none of the recalled medicine has tested positive for bacterial contamination, but the FDA report suggests that the contaminated material was used to make the recalled lots. The plant has been shut down indefinitely. [More]
“Tobacco products today are really the only human-consumed product that we don’t know what’s in them,” the director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products said to the Associated Press. To address that, the agency has told tobacco companies to provide a list of the ingredients in their cigarette brands by June 2010. The FDA says it won’t publicize a lot of the data in order to protect trade secrets, but that by June 2011 it will publish a list of “harmful and potentially harmful” ingredients, at which point tobacco companies will have to start listing the amounts of each one on their products. [More]
The Baseline Scenario has written a pitch-perfect article that pretends financial industry types are now speaking for the airline industry. It’s filled with appeals to the free market, and lots of threats about how the American Way of Life will collapse if we can’t let passengers sit for more than three hours on tarmacs. [More]
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has just completed a survey of wireless customers and a review of the “tens of thousands” of complaints made to the FCC every year, and they’ve reached a verdict: the FCC needs to step up and provide a better way for consumers to get help. [More]
Back in June we noted that the FDA was about to get a lot more say over the tobacco industry if the Senate approved a new bill. Well they did, and so yesterday the FDA flexed its new muscles by banning fruit, herb, spice, and candy flavorings from cigarettes. That’s right: clove cigarettes were just banned by the FDA, which is bad news for gothy teens and great news for everyone else.
Remember Burr Oak this past summer? That was the Chicago cemetery that dug up bodies and resold the graves to new customers. Well, yesterday a U.S. Representative from Illinois introduced the Bereaved Consumers Protection Act, a bill that would standardize record-keeping, make cemeteries accountable to federal officials as well as state, and protect consumers from shady business practices.
This week, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) postponed a vote on a bill creating a Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) until September when lawmakers return from recess. The delay is partly due to other more pressing issues, but mainly due to unexpected (really?) pushback from the financial industry.
Tomorrow, President Obama is expected to call for the creation of a new watchdog agency that would help protect consumers from abusive credit card, mortgage, banking practices. The banking industry is not happy about the idea, reports CNN. But hey, they’re just looking out for us: “It’s bad for consumers,” a banking industry lobbyist told the network. Oh, well, never mind then, and pass me some more delicious subprime!
The bailed-out banks have found a new way to annoy the government, according to the Congressional Oversight Panel, the body named by Congress to oversee the federal bailout. Chair of the committee and friend of the blog, Elizabeth Warren, is concerned that the same people who are subsidizing the banks are being targeted by abusive lending practices, says the Wall Street Journal
The House this week voted to empower the FDA to regulate tobacco, just in case people still smoke even after new taxes push the cost of cigarettes to over $9 per pack and the recession bankrupts everyone. Under the measure, which passed 298-112, the FDA would be able to set nicotine levels, control cigarette advertising, and require companies to provide a full list of cigarette ingredients. As usual, the killjoys in the Senate may force the House to smoke a light version of the cigarette bill…
According to Friend-of-the-Blog and now chairwoman of the Congressional Oversight Panel examining the Troubled Asset Relief Program, Elizabeth Warren, our Treasury Department overpaid banks by as much as 30% for their assets.
President Obama has had it up to here with poor FDA oversight, particularly of salmonella-infested peanut factories, and he’s called for a review of the underfunded organization, according to U.S. News & World Report.
“Pre-emption” is a legal doctrine that says the federal government can claim all regulatory power over an area or subject, barring states from acting on their own. The drug maker Wyeth has brought a case before the Supreme Court arguing that a woman in Vermont, who lost her arm due to a drug complication that Wyeth knew about but did not publicize, cannot sue them in state court because of pre-emption. Wyeth says that only the FDA has the power to regulate it—and since the FDA approved Wyeth’s drug label, it’s the FDA’s responsibility. We think Wyeth is pretending to care about federal-versus-state power in an attempt to weasel out of any responsibility.
The reader who sent Go Daddy an email asking why they shut down RateMyCop.com received a response in which they emphatically denied any censorship—this was all about a customer exceeding his contracted server usage limits and nothing else, they say. Read their full response after the jump.
Yesterday, Go Daddy pulled the plug on RateMyCop.com, which has been criticized by law enforcement officials for allegedly putting police officers in danger by listing their names and in some cases badge numbers. Visitors can then add comments and post critiques or praise about specific cops in their area. The website collected its officer data via public information requests, and no personal information is used, nor are undercover agents revealed. Still, law enforcement officials are upset at the exposure. When the site’s owner, Gino Sesto, called Go Daddy, he was first told it was removed due to “suspicious activity,” but then the reason was changed by a supervisor to an exceeded bandwidth cap, which Sesto disputes. Update: Go Daddy responded to our reader’s email and said taking the site offline had nothing to do with censorship.
Today the House of Representatives unanimously approved H.R. 4040, the Consumer Product Safety Commission Modernization Act of 2007, that virtually eliminates lead from children’s toys (down to 100 parts per million by 2012) and increases the funding of the CPSC. A Senate committee approved its own version of an anti-lead/pro-CPSC bill in October, but it hasn’t reached a floor vote yet—so sometime (early?) next year a final bill should be hammered out to send to the White House. Unless, of course, the lead toy furor disappears after Christmas.
It’s been more than two years since the CPSC first became aware of problems with the spray-on sealant Stand ‘n Seal—it contained a chemical that can cause extreme respiratory problems in some customers, but was only partially recalled by the manufacturer and then replaced with another product with the exact same chemical—but the CPSC has yet to issue any fines to the company, writes the New York Times. It’s yet another example of how an underfunded, underpowered CPSC fails to protect the public from reckless companies who swap ingredients, lie, and hide important data in order to protect their bottom line.