In the first success of its nature for “nanny state” advocates after many years of trying, Philadelphia Thursday became the first major city to attempt to control the non-alcoholic drink choices of its residents by enacting a 1.5-cent-per-ounce tax on soda, tea, sports and energy drinks. This is expected to embolden nanny state tax advocates across the United States.
England’s Royal College of Physicians (RCP) recommended on April 28th that doctors “promote the use of e-cigarettes, NRT and other non-tobacco nicotine products as widely as possible as a substitute for smoking in the UK.”
Several years ago, physician, statistician, sword swallower and vibrant lecturer Hans Rosling produced a fascinating 4-minute video that presented 120,000 data points and showcased how mostly western nations became healthy and prosperous in just 200 years – after countless millennia of malnutrition, disease, wretched poverty and early death.
Cigarette smoking has become significantly less popular in the U.S. over the past decade, it still remains a public-health scourge. Smoking accounts for more than 480,000 deaths every year in this country, or about one of every five death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while an additional 16 million Americans live with a smoking-related disease. Clearly more needs to be done to get Americans to quit smoking.
In Maine, state lawmakers expanded existing bans on tobacco use in private and public spaces to include e-cigarettes. Many cities and states are likewise considering banning e-cigarette use in public and private spaces, and state governments in Delaware and New York have already banned using e-cigarettes in restaurants and other privately owned spaces.
It’s the fourth quarter with under two minutes remaining in the activist-driven campaign against a widely-used plasticizer, diisononyl phthalates (DINP). Yet despite the chemical’s overwhelming and well-established safety record, the outcome of a final regulatory determination by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) remains in doubt.
While cybersecurity risk may be the familiar and recognizable type of cyber systemic risk, it is only recognizable like the tip of an iceberg is recognizable, because most cyber systemic risk lurks well out of view, deep beneath the surface in the ocean of virtual ones and zeros.
The appellate process will only get tougher for the FCC’s Title II Open Internet Order from here, which means both legal and electoral uncertainty over the permanence of the FCC’s net neutrality authority will only grow as the appellate process plays out and the 2016 Presidential election approaches.
The New York Times has added more fuel to the anti-tobacco-harm-reduction fire with a December 4 editorial (here) rehashing the somewhat slanted reporting that appeared in the paper’s news pages on November 30. In two stories that day, the Times explored issues surrounding Swedish Match’s FDA application to change the warnings on its snus products. As I noted (here), “The Times and their quoted experts did a major disservice to their audience; they failed to report the simple truth, that mouth cancer risk for Swedish snus is next to nil.”
Just in time for the holiday season, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is gearing up what can only be called a “war on fun,” persecuting legitimate foreign and domestic businesses for selling legal products to consumers, under the guise of protecting children.
Swedish researchers from several institutions document that snus use is not associated with atrial fibrillation (commonly known as AFib), the most common heart arrhythmia (irregular timing of the heart beat) and a risk factor for stroke (abstract here). The same group previously reported that snus use conferred no significant risk for heart attack (discussed here) and stroke (here).
Recently two towns, Chattanooga, Tennessee, and the City of Wilson, North Carolina, have petitioned the federal government, via the FCC, complaining that state laws are constraining them from the municipal provision of broadband services, that is, from building a government owned network (GON). That is, these municipalities want to expend resources to build and operate broadband systems, without following any of regulations that govern private sector providers. To overcome the state’s rightful authority the city governments have proposed that the FCC preempt state law and empower municipalities in ways that upset the political structure of the U.S.
While we weren’t paying attention, post-war Iraq grew into a major force in the global oil market. Reaching a 30-year high, its production and exports have climbed steadily since 2011—making Iraq the second largest producer in OPEC, the seventh globally. The International Energy Agency (EIA) has forecast that Iraq has the fifth-largest proven oil reserves.
Schoolyards are getting as regulated as the U.S. economy. A Colorado school, like many others, recently banned the game of “tag.” When kids run away from each other, they may trip, fall, and hurt themselves. A New York school banned kids from using balls during recess, but not during sports events, because “unstructured play with hardballs” is dangerous, school leaders said.
The president of the United States has publicly declared that he knows the minimum wage any worker in the United States should earn as an hourly salary: $10.10. Why not $11.11 or $9.99 has been left a mystery. But what the president is sure of is that businessmen clearly are stonehearted money grabbers exploiting some of their workers by not paying them the real value of what their labor is worth.