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Currently Viewing Posts Tagged Regulation

Fruit or Business?

Have you heard this before? Burdensome regulations stifle the economy, discourage job creation and slow economic growth?

Before we discuss, let me present this brief commercial on political donations:

Dow Chemicals spent over 13.6 million dollars on lobbying in 2016. Dow gave one million dollars to the President’s inauguration committee.   Dow Chief Chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris was appointed by President Trump to lead the President’s Advisory Council on Manufacturing.

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President Trump is on record as saying that he wants to reduce regulations. He suggests the 2-for-1 method. For every new regulation enacted by such agencies as the EPA, there must be 2 old regulations eliminated. That serves as a backdrop to a recently filed lawsuit.

This story from the Los Angeles Times tells about a lawsuit that has been filed by several states, seeking to ban a pesticide that has been shown to harm the brains of children.

Several  states (shown in the article) are claiming that Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt violated the law by ending his agency’s effort to ban a pesticide that is being sold by Dow Chemical Co., after federal scientists determined that it can interfere with the brain development of fetuses and infants.

Federal law requires the EPA to ensure that pesticides are safe for human consumption. Children can be far more sensitive to the effects of pesticides.

Health advocates have been pushing to ban chlorpyrifos. It is currently sprayed on citrus fruits, apples, and cherries. Representatives for Dow have asked the Trump administration “to set aside” the results of government studies that show that it and all the products that contain it, pose a health risk.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has now formally urged the EPA to ban chlorpyrifos. This organization, representing more than 66,000 pediatricians and pediatric surgeons, said that it is “deeply alarmed” by Pruitt’s decision to allow the pesticide’s to continue to be used.

Dow’s position is that this has been used since the 1960’s and that more studies need to be made. And that they have already made modifications on its use.

In 2015, the Obama administration proposed banning the use of pesticides with food. Companies like Dow respond that there would be harms by not using pesticides.

Do you think this is a blog to convince you that regulations are right or wrong?  No… I want you to decide. Are “Tree-huggers” just overreacting?  It is a balancing act to protect business, consumers, our water, and our land.

Have a great weekend!!! And don’t forget to rinse off those apples before eating them!

And for our pic o’ day, here’s some expertise on nature:

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The Regulation of Regulation

In the 1960’s there was a Hollywood Production code that determined what could be shown on television. The Music Picture Association of America had censors determine what had to be removed from various shows.

Because of TV censorship rules, actress Mariette Hartley was not allowed to show her belly button on Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek [episode #78 “All Our Yesterdays” (1969)]. Later, as a way to get back at the censors, Roddenberry got even by casting Hartley with “two” belly buttons in the Science Fiction move Genesis II (1973)

As to financial regulation, let’s look back at October 24, 1929. It is now known as the first day of the great Wall Street Crash of 1929. It is listed in history as Black Thursday.

Congress began to investigate the cause of the crash and amazing instances of fraud, skullduggery (I have always wanted to work that word into a blog!), and downright unscrupulous behavior. That’s when the idea was being floated to create an agency to regulate Wall Street. (In 1934, the Securities Exchange Commission was formed for just that purpose)

As the topic of Wall Street regulation was being debated, there were many against such regulation and oversight. For instance, Richard Whitney, president of the New York Stock Exchange (1930-1935), was one voice who assured Congress that meddlesome bureaucrats would be bad for the market and bad for business. He told Congress that Wall Street could better police itself.

BEIJING, CHINA - MAY 17: A giant panda plays in a rocking chair at Beijing Zoo on May 17, 2017 in Beijing, China. (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

Maybe he thought that it’s much like this picture. If you give a Panda Bear a rocking chair, he will voluntarily stay in the chair. (Or maybe I just wanted an excuse to post a picture of a bear in a rocking chair)

If you click on the attachment of Richard Whitney, you can see what can happen with ‘voluntary”. After that self-regulation speech, he went on to steal $150,000 worth of bonds and $667,000 from the Stock Exchange Gratuity Fund, that had been set-up as a fund to aid widows and orphans of brokers.

Just something to think about when you hear politicians talk about why regulation is always bad. Or that it is restrictive and should be abolished. Sometimes, rules are necessary. Plus, no one would watch football if there were no rules… right?

And that takes us to pic o’ day, which is not good advertising:

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Keeping up Appearances (Passport Ramblings)

Have you ever thought about the mane on a lion? Well, male lions are easy to recognize because of their distinctive manes. Field biologists have concluded that the only reason that a lion has a mane… is to appeal to the female lion.

Apparently to the lioness, the mane represents sturdy genes and a very healthy constitution for a male to live long enough to grow a substantial mane.  So, even to lions, appearances do matter!

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That brings me to appearances on passport photos. They matter too. As of November 1, 2016, the State Department will not accept passport photos if you are wearing glasses. That’s right… no glasses; even if you normally wear glasses.

Last year, more than 200,000 passport applicants submitted poor-quality photos that could not be accepted. “The No. 1 problem was glasses,’’ the State Department said in a news release. “We had to put their passports on hold because we couldn’t clearly identify them from their photo.’

The following are other passport photo regulations:

  • You must submit a photo taken within the last six months.
  • Photos must be high-resolution. They cannot be blurry or grainy.
  • Photos must show your true skin color. They cannot be over- or under-exposed or have shadows on your face. (apparently,you are not allowed to look like a Cheetos snack)
  • Selfies are not recommended. Photos taken too close or too far away will be rejected.
  • Photos must be 2 by 2 inches.

So, appearances do matter. Especially when it comes to your passport photo…or if you are a lion.

And for pic o’ day, see how a smile can change your entire image:

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The Next FDA Commissioner

Conflict or Qualified? The NY Times just did a story on the recent Presidential nominee to head the FDA. The title of the article tells the summary of the story, F.D.A. Nominee Califf’s Ties to Drug Makers Worry Some.

The article starts out with a meeting in May 2014, and presentation that Dr. Robert M. Califf gave to a group of biomedical researchers,  pharmaceutical lawyers and industry experts.

His PowerPoint slides showed the importance of speeding up the pace of biomedical innovation by transforming research. Near the end of the presentation, one slide was put up that indicated one barrier to that pace: Regulation.

At the time, no one reacted to that one slide. Now, it has garnered some attention because this Cardiologist/nominee will potentially be the “Police Chief” of medications that get approved and make it to our pharmacies.

He is a renowned clinical researcher who is unquestionably qualified to lead the agency. On the other hand, he will be in charge of an agency that regulates what is responsible for about a quarter of every dollar that we spend.

This agency is now facing such issues as whether/how to regulate electronic cigarettes. Dr. Califf’s previous job was heading up Duke University’s research center, which received more than 60% of its funding directly from pharmaceutical companies. Does that make him too close to them and create a conflict; or does his familiarity with the industry make him more qualified to regulate it.

Dr. Califf personally received $215,000 as a consultant from drug companies from 2009-2015. As a side note, several years ago Frank Luntz did research on the term drug companies and advised them to start calling themselves pharmaceutical companies. Drug Company sounded bad to the public. More on that in his book Words That Work: It’s Not What You Say, It’s What People Hear.

“Pharmaceutical Companies” have always been known to have great ties to government while employing powerful lobbyists. In 2002, the Homeland Security Act that we all knew was going to make us safe as it was signed into law… also contained a provision buried deep in the legislation that protected Eli Lilly and a few other big drug companies against  lawsuits by parents who believed that there children had been harmed by thimersol.

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    So, the question really remains, when is regulation protective and when is it too restrictive? Let’s hope that Dr. Califf knows the balance. As one professor who worked with him observed, “How does he think? We won’t know until we see how he behaves.”

 

 

And for pic o’ day, a bit of surveillance:

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