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Steyn, Lileks, the Young Guns, David Harmer, Cheney Audio, and The Looming Tower’s Lawrence Wright

Thursday, October 22, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Mark Steyn, James Lileks and the Young Guns Mary Katharine Ham andGuy Benson anchor Thursday’s show as usual –which makes it the favorite show of the week for most– and the audio of former Vice President Cheney and a visit from California Congressional candidate David Harmer –a special election looms for a traditionally Democratic seat that Harmer is within shouting distance of— add to the mix.

Hour three is devoted to one of my regular conversations with Lawrence Wright, author of The Looming Tower, still the first book anyone serious about al Qaeda ought to read. For the latest on how al Qaeda is faring around the globe and on the choice facing America in Afghanistan, be sure to listen to the last hour.

The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 (Vintage)

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Reactions To The Richard Dawkins Interview

Thursday, October 22, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

The reactions to my interview with Richard Dawkins from Tuesday —transcript here— continue to arrive via e-mail at and via blog posts, and from both atheists and believers.

Among the more interesting blog posts:

Not a Potted Plant (atheist).
What Does The Prayer Really Say (Fr. John Z. –with many comments.)
My Domestic Church (believer)
Beliefnet (believer with some atheist commentators.)

Democrats Swing And Miss On Adding A Quarter Trillion Dollars To The Deficit

Thursday, October 22, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Democrats schemed to sneak an additional quarter trillion dollars into the deficit yesterday, in an attempt to keep the spending out of the final Obamacare’s cooked books. Thirteen Democrats voted no, indicating that many among the Democrats are aware of the country’s revulsion at the leap left made thus far this year and scared of the vast reach of Obamacare and the deficits and taxes it carries with it.

The Heritage Foundation’s Morning Bell explains the significance of the vote.

The messages that will be sent by voters in Virginia and New Jersey will emphasize the electorate’s rejection of Obamacare, but individuals need to continue to contact those Senate Democrats most likely to refuse to go along with the crippling of American medicine and the deep cuts in Medicare at the heart of all versions of Obamacare. Start by contacting Evan Bayh of Indiana and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, two Democrats who are facing re-election in 2010. Here’s the list of Senate Democrats to call or e-mail early and often:


Sen. Blanche Lincoln

DC Phone: (202) 224-4843

Local Phone: Dumas (870) 382-1023, Fayetteville (479) 251-1224, Little Rock (501) 375-2993, Jonesboro (870) 910-6896, Texarkana (870) 774-3106

Link to E-mail

Sen. Mark Pryor

DC Phone: (202) 224-2353

Local Phone: Little Rock (501) 324-6336

Link to E-mail


Sen. Michael Bennet

DC Phone: 202) 224-5444

Local Phone:
Denver Metro Office: (303) 455-7600 Toll Free: (866) 455-9866 Fax: (303) 455-8851
Colorado Springs Office: Phone: (719) 328-1100

Link to E-mail.


Sen. Joe Lieberman

DC Phone: (202) 224-4041

Local Phone: (860) 549-8463

Link to E-mail


Sen. Bill Nelson

DC Phone: (202) 224-5274

Local Phone: Orlando (407) 872-7161, Miami-Dade (305) 536-5999, Tampa (813) 225-7040, West Palm Beach (561) 514-0189, Tallahassee (850) 942-8415, Jacksonville (904) 346-4500, Broward (954) 693-4851, Fort Meyers (239) 334-7760

Link to E-mail


Sen. Evan Bayh

DC Phone: (202) 224-5623

Local Phone: Evansville (812) 465-6500, Fort Wayne (260) 426-3151, Hammond (219) 852-2763, Indianapolis (317) 554-0750, Jeffersonville (812) 218-2317, Southbend (574) 236-8302

Link to E-mail


Sen. Mary Landrieu

DC Phone: (202) 224-5824

Local Phone: Baton Rouge (225) 389-0395, Lake Charles (337) 436-6650, New Orleans (504) 589-2427, Shreveport (318) 676-3085

Link to E-mail


Sen. Jon Tester

DC Phone: (202) 224-2644

Local Phone: Billings (406) 252-0550, Bozeman (406) 586-4450, Butte (406) 723-3277, Glendive (406) 365-2391, Great Falls (406) 452-9585, Helena (406) 449-5401, Kalispell (406) 257-3360, Missoula (406) 728-3003

Link to E-mail


Sen. Ben Nelson

DC Phone: (202) 224-6551

Local Phone: Omaha (402) 391-3411, Lincoln (402) 441-4600, Scottsbluff (308) 631-7614, Kearney (308) 293-5818, South Sioux City (402) 209-3595

Link to E-mail

North Dakota

Sen. Kent Conrad

DC Phone: (202) 224-2043

Local Phone: Bismarck (701) 258-4648, Fargo (701) 232-8030, Grand Forks (701) 775-9601, Minot (701) 852-0703

Link to E-mail

Sen. Byron Dorgan

DC Phone: (202) 224-2551

Local Phone: Bismarck (701) 250-4618, Fargo (701) 239-5389, Minot (701) 852-0703, Grand Forks (701) 746-8972

Link to E-mail

South Dakota

Sen. Tim Johnson

DC Phone: (202) 224-5842

Local Phone: Aberdeen (605) 226-3440, Sioux Falls (605) 332-8896, Rapid City (605) 341-3990

Link to E-mail


Sen. James Webb

(202) 224-4024

Link to E-mail.

West Virginia

Sen. Robert C. Byrd

DC Phone: (202) 224-3954

Local Phone: Charlestown (304) 342-5855, Eastern Panhandle (304) 264-4626

Link to E-mail

The FDA’s Notice on Food Packaging

Thursday, October 22, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

The notice served on the food industry by the Food and Drug Administration is here. My column yesterday on this potentially enormous new regulatory scheme is here. The FDA is targeting “Front of Package” (“FOP”) labeling, and it is not hiding its regulatory club:

It is important to note that nutrition-related FOP and shelf labeling, while currently voluntary, is subject to the provisions of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act that prohibit false or misleading claims and restrict nutrient content claims to those defined in FDA regulations. Therefore, FOP and shelf labeling that is used in a manner that is false or misleading misbrands the products it accompanies. Similarly, a food that bears FOP or shelf labeling with a nutrient content claim that does not comply with the regulatory criteria for the claim as defined in Title 21 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 101.13 and Subpart D of Part 101 is misbranded. We will consider enforcement actions against clear violations of these established labeling requirements.

FDA is also developing a proposed regulation that would define the nutritional criteria that would have to be met by manufacturers making broad FOP or shelf label claims concerning the nutritional quality of a food, whether the claim is made in text or in symbols. FDA’s intent is to provide standardized, science-based criteria on which FOP nutrition labeling must be based.

We also intend to continue to improve our understanding of how consumers view and use such labels. Research suggests that the proliferation of divergent FOP approaches is likely to be confusing to consumers and ultimately counter-productive. We want to work with the food industry – retailers and manufacturers alike – as well as nutrition and design experts and the Institute of Medicine, to develop an optimal, common approach to nutrition-related FOP and shelf labeling that all Americans can trust and use to build better diets and improve their health.

The recent experience with FOP labeling in the United Kingdom demonstrates the potential of voluntary initiatives to provide consumers helpful FOP labeling. In that instance, the government set certain criteria for the use of such labeling, and retailers took the initiative to implement FOP labeling in their stores. The agency wants to explore the potential of that approach. If voluntary action by the food industry does not result in a common, credible approach to FOP and shelf labeling, we will consider using our regulatory tools toward that end. This effort will include research to assess through consumer studies the likely effects of FOP symbols on information search behavior related to the Nutrition Facts label, which in turn can affect consumer understanding of the full nutrition profile of a product. The foundation of that approach should be a common set of mandatory nutritional criteria that consumers can rely on when they view FOP labels, even if no one symbol is ultimately selected as superior.

Ah yes, Great Britain’s approach.

Comments on this guidance are to be sent to Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852, and to be marked as concerning the “Guidance for Industry Letter Regarding Point of Purchase Food Labeling.”

Every manufacturer of food should file comments, and each should begin with the objection that the FDA is greatly exceeding the regulatory role intended for it by Congress and potentially opening the floodgates to a new tidal wave of plaintiffs’ lawsuits and market hobbling, government-dictated packaging. FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg simply asserted the agency’s authority to undertake this new and powerful expansion of its regulatory role, but that assertion is at best controversial. If Congress wants the FDA to control FOP labeling, it should say so clearly in response to an explicit FDA request for the authority preceded by a presentation of the “science” referred to in this notice.


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