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“The Database That Ate American Business”

Friday, April 9, 2010  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

My new Townhall.com column concerns the database which the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act of 2008 obliges the Consumer Products Safety Commission to establish and open to the public by March of 2011.

The segment I did on the database on Thursday with one of my law partners who is an expert on the CPSIA, Liz McNulty, generated a large number of calls and e-mails from concerned manufacturers over what one commentator to my column called a “government sponsored flame war” –an apt description of the new database. Liz’s advice to manufacturers: Begin immediately to design a response strategy to the “reports” which will be filed with the CPSC and made public in the database. Many of the “reports” alleging serious product defects will require an immediate and thorough response while others will be better left unanswered. It will depend on the product category, the nature of the “report,” and the litigation background for the product involved.

As Rob Neppell of Kithbridge.com has often argued on my program, the manufacturer who does not already have in place blog and web tracking of all references to their products or services is flying blind in the new era of social media. The manufacturer who does not have a plan of response to the new database is asking to be hammered by the plaintiffs’ bar.

The obvious and immediate response is to begin now to urge members of Congress to revisit this portion of CPSIA as part of any review of the law that has already compiled a long list of disasterous unintended consequences.

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“The Database”

Thursday, April 8, 2010  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Today’s segment on the database mandated by the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act (“CPSIA”) is intended to help alert manufacturers to the perils the database will pose to them when it becomes operational in March 2011. If you have additional questions, you can e-mail Liz McNulty at emcnulty@hwlawonline.com.

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Trouble for the Treaty with Russia?

Thursday, April 8, 2010  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Here is the text of a statement released by senators John Kyl and John McCain on the new nuclear arms treaty with Russia. It spells big trouble for the treaty, and the start of the push-back against President Obama’s agenda, including his radical pledge to halt the development of all future nuclear warheads, weapons, or missions:

Statement by Senators Jon Kyl and John McCain on START Treaty

PHOENIX, ARIZONA – U.S. Senators Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) today made the following joint statement today regarding the President’s signing of the follow-on agreement to the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START):

“We appreciate the long hard work of U.S. negotiators. We have just received the text of the treaty and have not had an opportunity to review the annexes, which, in many respects, are the real operational details. We look forward to that review and constructive discussion with Administration officials as we carefully engage in the Senate’s constitutionally mandated duty of advise and consent.

“Under the treaty, Russia and the United States have reduced the number of warheads and verification procedures significantly. Both of these changes will have ramifications on our force structure and intelligence that we will need to evaluate.[# More #]

“While we were initially advised that the only reference to missile defense was in the preamble to the treaty, we now find that there are other references to missile defense, some of which could limit U.S. actions. Further, the Russians have unilaterally declared that the article which allows either Russia or the U.S. to withdraw from the treaty is intended to allow Russian withdrawal if it believes new U.S. missile defense capabilities pose a threat to its strategic nuclear forces. This has the potential to constrain improvements to U.S. missile defenses, if objected to by the Russians.

“Whatever our ultimate conclusions on the START follow-on treaty, we continue to believe it will be difficult for it to pass the Senate without the fully funded robust nuclear weapons modernization program required by section 1251 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2010.

“Finally, we agree with the President’s statement in the Nuclear Posture Review that: ‘today’s most immediate and extreme danger is nuclear terrorism…today’s other pressing threat is nuclear proliferation.’ We look forward to working with all concerned parties to ensure that U.S. and allies’ long term interests are fully addressed.”

The Triclosan Cloud and the CPSIA Precedent

Thursday, April 8, 2010  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

I have spent a lot of time explaining to audiences the devastation on businesses small and large brought about by the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act (“CPSIA”).

On Monday I interviewed CPSC Commissioner Anne Northup about the Act and the wide-ranging dislocations it caused and the costs it continues to pile up on American business. The transcript of that conversation will be posted here soon, and will be a primer on CPSIA. Commissioner Northup’sblog is here.

Today the Washington Post carries an article that ought to be titled “How About CPSIA 2.0” though its real title is “FDA says studies on triclosan, used in sanitizers and soaps, raise concerns.”

FDA has just swallowed all of Obamacare’s authority to regulate menus and drive-though boards in restaurant chains across the country, but it is clearly gearing up to snap up regulation of triclosan. Even as Henry Waxman urged on the job-killing CPSIA, the triclosan push is being orchestrated by Massachusetts Congressman Ed Markey, another ardent proponent of bigger and bigger government.

Given the economic carnage brought about by CPSIA, every company making any product containing triclosan should immediately begin to mobilize opposition to rushed legislation or rule-making. “Markey wants triclosan banned from all products designed for children and any product that comes into contact with food, such as cutting boards,” the Post notes, and it was that sort of demand for an absolute ban on lead and phthalates that led to CPSIA and the havoc that has followed.

The left pushes panic and fear and the government expands as an answer to that fear. Every expansion leads to enormous costs and decreased economic activity and fewer jobs. It is absolutely vital to punish the Democrats at the polls in November and return the House into the hands of the party committed to curbing this expansion and then to cutting it back. You can help begin that turn-back with contributions to Tim Burns in the special election in Pennsylvania and to Charles Djou’s campaign in the special election in Hawaii, and with contributions to the NRCC.org and the NRSC.org. These latter two groups are not run by the RNC, but are targeting their efforts on returning the Congress to responsible hands and beginning the repair of the damage done in the past two years.


Broadcasting with CPSC Commissioner Anne Northup Monday.

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