Congress passed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act five years ago, giving the FDA the authority to regulate tobacco. And the FDA has lately proposed extending its regulatory power over all tobacco products -- including cigars, pipe tobacco, hookah tobacco, and electronic cigarettes -- while also mandating that tobacco manufacturers list ingredients and post warnings on their labels. However, the proposal fails to do at least one fairly significant thing -- it fails to prohibit using candy and fruit flavors in tobacco products or bright and colorful product packaging, both of which seem to comprise the new big tobacco corporation strategy to get kids hooked to tobacco at a young age (even though the FDA proposal would outlaw selling tobacco products, including e-cigs, to minors). Why should the FDA prohibit that? Simple: because kids can't make adult decisions unless and until we teach them how -- and if the decision to become an addict limits an adult's freedom, including the freedom to resist that addiction, what would that decision do to a child? Hence the American Heart Association helps you tell the FDA to go further in its attempts to rein in tobacco use by our youth.
Meanwhile, Food and Water Watch joins forces with Greenpeace to help you tell President Obama to ban oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Ocean. Why? Not just because Shell Oil has tried to drill there for several years and has had, shall we say, setbacks doing so. Not just because the American region of the Arctic is home to one fifth of the world's polar bears, as well as many species of whales, walrus, and birds you don't find anywhere else. Not, even, because Alaskan Natives rely on relatively unspoiled Arctic land to help keep their way of living. The main problem with drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic is that we have absolutely no idea how to do it right -- we don't know the Arctic ecosystem well enough to know what our oil drilling will do to it, and we also can't clean up an oil spill in the frigid Arctic Ocean anywhere near as well as we could in, hypothetically (and I do mean hypothetically, right, BP?), the much more temperate Gulf of Mexico. It gets worse: scientists find that climate change seems to be happening faster there than anywhere else. That doesn't sound like the place you want to drill. So in short: let's not drill there at least until we know we won't cause great harm to the area. Spoken like a true conservative, if not a contemporary "conservative."
Finally, if you've missed previous opportunities to tell your House Reps to reject efforts to gut national school lunch nutrition standards, then CREDO provides one more. House Republicans who push the "effort" to enable schools to "opt out" of the new standards -- when only 1 in 10 schools are struggling and still have resources available to them if they're struggling -- claim they're not against childhood nutrition, but I say they're objectively pro-diabetes and objectively pro-obesity. (Will Glenn Reynolds rue the day he called anti-Iraq war folks "objectively pro-Saddam"? He will if I have anything to say about it!) These Republicans are playing a misdirection game, too -- we should not be focusing on "struggling" school districts so much as struggling parents who cannot hover over their children when they eat at public schools, where kids get about half the calories they get over the course of a day. Parents struggling to get their kids to eat right -- so they don't have all the junk food-related health problems that all of us will ultimately pay for in rising health care costs -- need help from our government more than school districts too busy obsessing over the handful of kids throwing their apples away to do the job they're supposed to do.