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The Politics of the F.D.A.

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the can't-we-all-just-get-along? dept.

Government 238

A fight over posting calorie counts for popcorn is just one example of the clash between the White House and the agency charged with protecting public health. Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg, the F.D.A. commissioner, was forced to scrap plans to have calorie counts posted for foods served in movie theaters and on airplanes after a phone call from the White House deputy chief of staff in 2010. From the article: "White House officials describe their disagreements with the F.D.A. as part of the normal, constructive give-and-take over policy that has never undermined the agency’s mission. 'Under President Obama’s leadership, the Food and Drug Administration has new authority and resources to help stop kids from smoking, protect our food supply and approve more affordable prescription drugs,' said the White House press secretary, Jay Carney. The administration also views the agency’s hostility to its oversight as hopelessly naïve, given a 24-hour news cycle and a ferocious political environment that punishes any misstep. 'They want a world that doesn’t exist anymore,' an administration official said."

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238 comments

But remember kids... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39563005)

...it's the RIGHT that's anti-science. Pay no attention. Move along.

Re:But remember kids... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39563117)

Insofar as Obama is also right-wing, you're correct. Don't confuse what passes for left-wing politics in the US with the actual thing.

Broadly true. (0, Flamebait)

khasim (1285) | about 2 years ago | (#39563187)

In general, the Republicans are anti-science and the Democrats are not anti-science.

But does that mean that every single person to the right of Obama is more anti-science than every single person to the left of Obama? No, it does not.

I'm with the FDA on this one. Why not post more information?

Re:Broadly true. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39563297)

Being against those who use questionable science as a blunt instrument to advance their political agenda is not "Anti-science".

Republicans are not distrustful of Science, they are distrustful of politicized scientists and various hangers on.

Since Democrats are generally very agreeable to expanding government, regulations and taxes, they welcome any tool, such as questionable science, that furthers their goals.

Re:Broadly true. (4, Funny)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 years ago | (#39563419)

Great now we've got calorie denialists. Awesome.

Re:Broadly true. (3, Insightful)

Nimey (114278) | about 2 years ago | (#39563653)

Calorie denialism is just another symptom of the Republicans needing to disagree with the Other at every turn.

Re:Broadly true. (1, Informative)

Reverand Dave (1959652) | about 2 years ago | (#39563817)

It's widely known and even some scientists hold the point of view that calories are a myth that is based on shaky science. God gave us these calories to use as we see fit, not the other way around!

Jesus how do the global warming denialists do that? I think my IQ dropped a few points just thinking that phrase.

Re:Broadly true. (4, Informative)

Elbereth (58257) | about 2 years ago | (#39563931)

Bill Maher is an outright germ theory denier [rationalwiki.org]. Most of the Republican party denies evolution and global warming. The Democrats are slightly better, in my opinion, but they've still got a bunch of flakes who have elevated a good idea (organic food) into some kind of pseudo-religion. My sister is like that. She thinks that organic food has magical properties that make it somehow better than any other food. She also refuses to give her kids vaccines. It's funny, because she'll rant about how anti-science the Republicans are in one breath, then rant about some bizarre anti-vaccine conspiracy theory in the next.

People are hypocritical, ignorant morons. That includes you, me, and everyone else. Thinking that you're immune to this kind of cognitive bias is yet another form of cognitive bias [wikipedia.org] (known as bias blind spot [wikipedia.org]).

Re:Broadly true. (0)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 years ago | (#39564171)

Bill Maher's like the left-wing Rush Limbaugh from what I understand. An offensive troll and nutty as a fruitcake.

Are anti-vacc'ers really so partisan? It seems odd that they'd support the party that pushes socialized medicine and isn't so big on individual liberty at the expense of public safety, although I will admit that "hippie-oriented" science denialists like your sister are pretty much always left-leaning...

Re:Broadly true. (1)

Calos (2281322) | about 2 years ago | (#39564247)

Yeah, but if you make an effort to consistently consider the broader view with an even hand, and don't take every opportunity to assert your moral/ethical/intellectual/ideological "truth" at the expense of others, well, you just don't get that same sense of self righteousness that you're entitled to.

That is, unless you can extract self righteousness from the position of being more even handed and trying to remove personal bias. But that doesn't come with the snarky one-liners that make it so fun. Sound the beige alert, all I know is that my gut says maybe. Yawn.

Re:Broadly true. (2)

ThreeDeeNut (1061050) | about 2 years ago | (#39564169)

Very clever... very sinister though as well. Problem is where does it end? Does the little Italian shop down the block now also have to label calories? How bout the ice cream shop? how bout the pizza place? Ok, so they all adopt the new law and now everything has to be carefully measured... the cheeze, the scoop, etc. across the board everything now has to have some stupid label to tell you what you already know (or would if you actually cared). Oh, you put too much cheeze on that pizza accidentally? Well then you need to be fined for breaking the law and we may have to close your shop till the FDA completes the audit. That audit run by overpaid govt employees, oh the tax payers can pay it. Yea, that's going to work well. I cant wait. No more improvisational cooking... only from strictly approved cookbooks where every calorie can be counted. I mean seriously think it through and you will see that its absurd. Just as absurd as thinking solyndra is going to resolve the environmental problems. I mean what happened to all the precious science and facts with that one? Now they are not important? Talk about denial. Look... I am sure some nuts think the environment is not in danger from mankind, but the vast majority of the right actually just think the regulation offered by the left will do nothing but give special interests even more power than they already have and knock out competition. Look at the carbon tax for a terrible plan to increase the pollution while looking green (with greed). Great on paper, terrible on the environment. If the left (or the right) came up with a way to not pollute and offer solutions no one would be a denailist... they would be consumers. Good ideas get bought. I am not a supporter of nuclear power and have hope in wind power but I dont think people should be forced to accept either. Both need research, both need development neither should get any help from the govt and the one that offers the best price to performance should win. No subsidies, no games, just business. BTW: I'm not right or left. I don't think the right is any more credible these days than the left but the idea of a small government with limited reach is certainly one I agree with. Unfortunately neither party wants that any more.

Re:Broadly true. (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 years ago | (#39564309)

Well right now calories and other nutrition information are displayed on most packaged foods and I'd expect some margin for error is allowed...doesn't seem to cause too much trouble.

If anyone thought Solyndra was going to resolve "the environmental problems" they're an idiot. The Solyndra bailout was stupid at best, I won't deny that. It might have made some sense if tariffs had been put on imported solar panels *before* trying to bail out a company that was losing money at an alarming rate.

Re:Broadly true. (2)

hamalnamal (2499998) | about 2 years ago | (#39563531)

I partially agree with

Republicans are not distrustful of Science, they are distrustful of politicized scientists and various hangers on.

But I do think there are some that do completely disregard science (eg. Young Earth Creationists). I have been given the impression by the media that this is a significant part of the republican party, but who knows, it is the media we're talking about.

However I am curious as to what you mean by questionable science. Are you towing the standard "Climate Science isn't real science" line, or something more concrete than that?

I'm not trying to be contrary or anything, it's just I haven't kept up on American politics and domestic affairs nearly as much since I moved away and want to know what you are specifically referring to.

Re:Broadly true. (1)

ThreeDeeNut (1061050) | about 2 years ago | (#39564489)

Read about carbon taxes/credits, then you tube it. Take a good look at how politicians use "science" and misinformation to push a political agenda that lines their pockets, creates MORE pollution and gives companies in on the scheme a "green" seal of approval. Unfortunately greed has infiltrated both sides of politics and "science" (if you can even call it that) is used as "definitive proof" by paid off scientists to push an agenda. Personally I am skeptic of just about all science used in politics these days. Like the internet, you can find your "proof" by simply asking for it... The questions i think all people should ask in every case of science is "who made this report and why did they make it?". Where did they get their grants and who are their supporters.... follow the money trail (when you can).

Re:Broadly true. (1, Informative)

Raul654 (453029) | about 2 years ago | (#39563807)

"Republicans are not distrustful of Science, they are distrustful of politicized scientists and various hangers on." - This is flatly untrue. Republicans deny or abuse science when science interferes with their pro-business agenda (the tobacco-cause-cancer and CO2-causes-global warming denial being a great examples thereof), or when they want it to say things it doesn't (like about fetal pain in early stages of pregnancy). Go read this book [waronscience.com].

Re:Broadly true. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39564009)

You brought up tobacco. If it is so deadly and dangerous how come there hasn't been a complete ban of the product? Instead of a ban the Democrats have turned it into "get as much money from the evil industry into government pockets". Whats the tax for a pack of cigs in NYC, $7?

Don't give me this crap. The DNC distorts science in order to take more money from the people. They don't give a crap about science except for the money they can make from it. Methane is 15x the greenhouse gas that CO2 is, but there isn't any money in taxing cows so instead they are taxing carbon emissions because that is a much bigger tax base. If the DNC wanted to help people they would have banned cigs, or taxed methane.

Show me a science discovery that the DNC supports and I'll show you a new tax to take money from the middle class.

Re:Broadly true. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39564391)

Because we tried that with alcohol back in the twenties and it didn't fucking work, duh.

Re:Broadly true. (1)

compro01 (777531) | about 2 years ago | (#39564465)

You brought up tobacco. If it is so deadly and dangerous how come there hasn't been a complete ban of the product?

1. Any attempt to do so would make the current healthcare debate look like a snowball fight.

2. Any thinking person would realize that's an exercise in futility, much like the majority of the war on drugs.

Methane is 15x the greenhouse gas that CO2 is, but there isn't any money in taxing cows so instead they are taxing carbon emissions because that is a much bigger tax base

Manmade emissions of CO2 are roughly 667x greater (330 million tonnes of methane vs. 220 billion tonnes of CO2) than manmade emissions of methane. Even at a 15:1 ratio in effectiveness, it's only about 2.25% of the effect. Clamping down on methane emissions would do absolutely fucking nothing compared to working on CO2.

Re:Broadly true. (1)

Guppy (12314) | about 2 years ago | (#39564497)

You brought up tobacco. If it is so deadly and dangerous how come there hasn't been a complete ban of the product?

Probably the experience of Prohibition? On second thought, no -- It's clear we haven't learned anything from that.

In any event, opponents of smoking mostly have been contained to nibbling away at the edges when they can find an argument strong enough to overcome opposition -- blocking certain channels of advertising (save the children), limited bans in certain locations (2nd-hand smoke affecting non-consenting persons). The graphic-images-on-cartons move might have a shot, but is currently engaged in legal ping-pong (and will probably go to the Supreme Court eventually).

Re:Broadly true. (2, Insightful)

ByOhTek (1181381) | about 2 years ago | (#39563887)

Republicans distrust any science that disagrees with what they believe, and then call it politicized. Democrats do the same damn thing.

That being said, it seems a lot more disagrees with the republicans than democrats, and the republicans do seem to extrapolate to a lot of 'neutral' science in their mistrust.

And neither side is against big government. Disagreement only seems to be as to which part of the government should be bigger.

Re:Broadly true. (-1, Flamebait)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 years ago | (#39563343)

You can see why the Obama administration doesn't want this info posted in such prominent places. It would fit perfectly into the bizarro-world socialist version of 1984 playing out in every right-winger's head. 600 CALORIES IN THIS SERVING CITIZEN! CHOOSE WISELY, FOR ALL MUST SACRIFICE FOR OBAMACARE!

Re:Broadly true. (4, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | about 2 years ago | (#39564281)

Holy fuck, dude, wtf is wrong with posting calories in food? It's meaningless to me, as I have no weight problem (I have problems putting it on, not taking it off), but I know a lot of fatasses who could use all the help they can get shedding pounds.

Nobody's saying "fattening foods are illegal". What it is is simple education -- popcorn's not supposed to make you fat. But a whole bucketful of it swimming in trans fats? Hell yes a whole bucketful is fattening, print the "10,000 calories, 9,000 from trans fat" on the tub.

I'd like to see a truth in labeling law. I worked at a drive in theater when I was a teenager, and the "butter" for the popcorn was hydrogenated soybean oil. So someone thinks they're getting butter (caloric but good cholesterol) when they're raising their bad cholesterol.

Jesus H Christ, you want the freedom to rip me off and poison me? Typical right wing... corporate rights foremost, human beings' rights don't matter. I should have the right to know what I'm eating. Making you print the damned TRUTH about what you're selling is hardly something to get bent out of shape about.

Re:Broadly true. (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 years ago | (#39564403)

Oh dear I've triggered Poe's law again :-(

I agree that the info should have been posted, but you can see why the Obama administration has worked against it, with the "disapproving Michelle Obama" photoshops already going around. It would have seriously irked right-wingers.

Re:Broadly true. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39564111)

In general, the Republicans are anti-science and the Democrats are not anti-science.

But does that mean that every single person to the right of Obama is more anti-science than every single person to the left of Obama? No, it does not.

I'm with the FDA on this one. Why not post more information?

Citation needed please.

Have you ever thought it's the politicians? Democrats use science selectively, as a weapon when needed to win. Dem's are about winning, not about what's right for the country. I'm so tried of statements like that, it's naive and juvenile.

Re:But remember kids... (4, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#39563203)

For those who didn't read the article, it's not so much anti science as pro-politics. Making sure the message is not negative: "The Bush administration repeatedly stopped the FDA from issuing rules to prevent contamination of eggs, produce and other foods, though both industry and consumer groups agreed they were needed as the death toll rose from such incidents. Mr. Bushâ(TM)s health department also demanded that it approve all agency press releases.

Much of the agencyâ(TM)s staff assumed that the Obama administration would restore the agencyâ(TM)s independence. [But] a decision that had nothing to do with the F.D.A. proved the turning point in the agencyâ(TM)s relationship with the White House. In the midst of the bitter 2009 battle to pass a law to provide health care to tens of millions of uninsured Americans, the United States Preventive Services Task Force announced in November that most women should not get routine mammograms until age 50 because the risks of the X-ray screens and surgical biopsies that often follow outweighed the benefits in younger women.

Although the task force did not consider cost in its analysis, Republicans charged that its recommendation was the start of health care rationing, an accusation given prominent play on Fox News.

"That scared the bejesus out of everybody," a top F.D.A. official said. The Obama administration became extremely risk averse, fearing further controversies might jeopardize the passage of health care reform, agency and administration officials said. It refused many interview requests for agency officials and scientists until the health law passed.

"To the career people, that was disappointing. Employees here waited eight long years for deliverance that didnâ(TM)t come."

Re:But remember kids... (1)

rickb928 (945187) | about 2 years ago | (#39564065)

As a Republican, my objection wasn't that the recommendation that "most women should not get routine mammograms until age 50" would leads to "the start of health care rationing", but rather that it would lead to the Government deciding what healthcare services were appropriate, and controlling access to them.

The difference would be between 'rationing' and 'access'. A subtle distinction, but an important one.

Under rationing, I might be denied knee surgery because I was too young, the Government's assessment of my condition was such that I was either not a good candiate or the surgery was not yet necessary, or that I was too old and the surgery would be of limited benefit. The decision could be motivated by studies of outcomes, available funding, or political considerations impacting these motives.

Under access controls, the Government might deny me knee surgery I was too young, the Government's assessment of my condition was such that I was either not a good candiate or the surgery was not yet necessary, or that I was too old and the surgery would be of limited benefit. The decision could be motivated by studies of outcomes, available funding, or political considerations impacting these motives.

Oh, wait. Hmmm.

Under the current system, I pay for my insurance coverage, consult with my doctor(s), and make the best decision for myself that i can with the available data.

I'm still paying for it either way, but at least with the current system I have a choice. In a single-payer Government plan such as 'Obamacare', it appears I may not. Or I could pay for additional coverage. In other words, pay more. Which I can do now, if I want more coverage or care, or to change my payment scheduling and methods. Right now, if I reduce my deductible by $2000, it costs me about $2000 more a year in premiums. Funny thing, that.

Oh, and my mom, who is 20 years my senior, is waiting for approval from Medicare to have knee surgery, and cataract surgery with lens implants. She's waiting. And waiting. Her doctors are warning ehr that if she doesn't do these things pretty quickly, it may be too late for the best outcomes. So too much delay might leave her unable to move about well enough to avoid falls and serious injuries, unable to see well enough to avoid falls and serious injuries, and in the end risk early relegation to an assisted living home and the significant risks there - MRSAs, staff abuse, and of course falls and serious injuries.

And we want the Government to do MORE of this? Medicare doesn't work well enough to qualify our Government to expand it to all of us.

This expresses my 'Republican' views, and many agree with me. We haven't even touched on whether the Government has the right, Constitutionally, to take over healthcare financing, which would De Facto be a takeover of the industry.

Arg.

Re:But remember kids... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39563257)

The democrats are the right. The complete lack of any socialistic, social democratic or even social-liberal political forces in the US is not an excuse for labeling opinions that would be considered far right anywhere else in the world, except maybe in a few dictatorships, as "left".

Re:But remember kids... (4, Informative)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#39563337)

BTW what's wrong with movie popcorn that it needs a label? I eat popcorn almost every day, and it's only ~300 calories. (I guess the theater dobs-on lots of butter.) Such a regulation would increase cost though. And they aren't in the best financial health, what with competition from HDTV and home viewing.

Another interesting quote from the article:

"In February 2011, the F.D.A. approved an application from KV Pharmaceutical to sell 17P, a decades-old drug used to prevent premature births. Since KVâ(TM)s version, called Makena, was the only one officially approved, the F.D.A. would normally have banned the sale of cheaper unapproved ones. To the agency, the only issue was that KVâ(TM)s drug offered guaranteed safety while those made by pharmacists were riskier.

"For years, pharmacists had been making unapproved versions of this injectable form of progesterone for $200 to $400 for a 20-week course. Though F.D.A. officials worried about repeated instances over the years when other pharmacy-made drugs had been found to lack potency or be contaminated with deadly bacteria.

"Once it had won F.D.A. approval, KV announced its price â" $30,000 for a 20-week treatment, a hundredfold increase. Administration officials then stepped in to halt any effort to ban pharmacy-made versions, citing the need to check an exorbitant price increase from a drug company that suddenly found itself with a monopoly, an increase that could burden women who needed the drug. The administration instructed the F.D.A. to issue a press release stating that, "at this time and under this unique situation, F.D.A. does not intend to take enforcement action against pharmacies" that make unapproved versions of 17P. An administration official said that the health department and the F.D.A. worked together on the 17P issue and that the White House was not involved. "The notion that the statement or the action was somehow forced down F.D.A.â(TM)s throat isnâ(TM)t accurate," the administration official said. "F.D.A. officials said they had often been wrongly accused of considering price in drug approval deliberations and had always been able to reply that price was never a factor.

"We canâ(TM)t say that anymore," a top F.D.A. official said unhappily. Four months later, the White House approved a requirement that sunscreens protect equally against two kinds of the sunâ(TM)s radiation, UVB and UVA, to earn the coveted designation of offering broad spectrum protection.

"Top F.D.A. officials wanted to prohibit lotions with sun protection factors, or SPFs, of less than 15 from being called sunscreens because they do not protect against cancer or skin aging, while the administration insisted they could still be called sunscreens as long as they carried a label that said such lotions were ineffective."

Re:But remember kids... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39563503)

BTW what's wrong with movie popcorn that it needs a label? I eat popcorn almost every day, and it's only ~300 calories. (I guess the theater dobs-on lots of butter.) Such a regulation would increase cost though.

A large buttered popcorn from Regal Cinemas is approximately 1000 calories, 64g Fat, 130g Carbs, 16g Protein

As for increased costs? Yeah, a one-time cost to print a couple signs. Say $200...

Re:But remember kids... (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about 2 years ago | (#39563803)

I don't see how adding a different printed label onto the tub of movie theater popcorn would increase the cost as they wouldn't be using any more ink or other resources since typically theaters don't continuously use the same printed tubs but get different styles. If by increased costs you mean that people might actually think about buying the smaller bag thus cutting into the profits a theater takes in then it sounds like you are ready for politics where a cut means that the increase you saw wasn't quite a big as you wanted but still greater than inflation.

Re:But remember kids... (1)

omnichad (1198475) | about 2 years ago | (#39563981)

And if you want to get really technical, FDA-style Nutrition labels are mostly white, so you'd probably end up saving ink over the typically colorful design that label replaces.

Re:But remember kids... (2)

bigdavex (155746) | about 2 years ago | (#39564703)

BTW what's wrong with movie popcorn that it needs a label?

Perhaps if it had a label we could answer this question.

Definitely some bad decisions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39563131)

The inhaler propellant ban and the morning-after-pill-without-prescription ban have both been stupid decisions, coming from each side of this conflict. The FDA tends to over-regulate, and the administration tends to override them on the wrong decisions.

...and WTF is the tech angle here? (1, Troll)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about 2 years ago | (#39563137)

...and WTF is the tech angle here?

Re:...and WTF is the tech angle here? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39563219)

...and WTF is the tech angle here?

They had a phone call!

Re:...and WTF is the tech angle here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39563235)

And miss a chance to put on our team shirts and herp-derp over the other side? Neva!

Re:...and WTF is the tech angle here? (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about 2 years ago | (#39563289)

/. long ago removed the "news for nerds stuff that matters" moniker. But even if it still existed this seems like it matters to at least the US readership.

Re:...and WTF is the tech angle here? (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 2 years ago | (#39564015)

Aww, an English website run in the US that doesn't explicitly say it's internationally-focused is US focused?

Cry some more.

Re:...and WTF is the tech angle here? (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 2 years ago | (#39564563)

/. long ago removed the "news for nerds stuff that matters" moniker.

If you don't understand how a major conflict between science and politics is both News For Nerds and Stuff That Matters, please turn in your nerd card immediately, and don't let the door hit you on the ass on your way out.

Re:...and WTF is the tech angle here? (1)

digitig (1056110) | about 2 years ago | (#39563439)

Calories in popcorn? (Or are they kilocalories?)

Re:...and WTF is the tech angle here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39563697)

Presumably they have both, but many more or the former.

Re:...and WTF is the tech angle here? (1)

Calos (2281322) | about 2 years ago | (#39564331)

Actually, that's ambiguous, due to the idiotic convention that a calorie and a Calorie are a factor of 1000 different, and the GP used Calorie as the first word of a sentence, which would be capitalized regardless. 1 Cal = 1 kcal = 1000 cal

Re:...and WTF is the tech angle here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39563675)

"...and WTF is the tech angle here?"

The role of the FDA and how it is executed is of extremely high importance to biotech, pharma, agroscience, food science, and other industries. Lots of techies employed there. Really it's a pity that /. spends such an inordinate amount of time on computers.

But... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39563141)

...what in the world would the downside of having the energy content for movie snacks posted? It's not as if it would be prohibitely difficult or expensive to calculate for the vendors. Even McDonalds are doing it, and their meals are a lot more complex than "1 part dried corn, 1 part oil". The only possible reason is that people might not buy as much of it if they realised how fat it made them. But boosting your sales based on a lack of health information seems rather evil, and surely isn't something that movie theaters would do, right?

Right?

It's all about an unimpinged right to choose (-1, Troll)

Xaedalus (1192463) | about 2 years ago | (#39563291)

It's the expansion of the "Nanny" state. Essentially, the government trying to intimidate or coerce people into making a healthy decision for their own good. Yes, posting the calorie count is an objective act. People are free to read the number and then decide for themselves. But it's the issue that the "Government" is forcing businesses to reveal calorie count in the name of trying to create a more healthy society, and thus subtly impinging on a person's ability to make a choice for good or ill.

Personally I view it as protecting the right to sin. We have to have free choice, which means we have to have the right to be able to freely choose what is wrong for both us and society. If we take away the right to choose what's wrong for us, then we begin to remove what makes us unique and individual. Doesn't mean we're immune to the consequences, but we must have the ability to choose. Like abortion: no matter how horrific the practice may be in its extremes, or how morally abhorrent the practice may be, we MUST allow women the right to choose. Otherwise we run the risk of creating a benevolent tyranny that seeks to protect us from ourselves--and a benevolent tyranny is still tyranny.

Re:It's all about an unimpinged right to choose (3, Insightful)

Nimey (114278) | about 2 years ago | (#39563477)

You don't have an unimpinged right to choose if you're prevented from getting all the facts, fuckwit. This is an attempt to let consumers have the facts SO THEY CAN MAKE INFORMED CHOICES.

You are entitled to your own opinions. You are *not* entitled to your own facts.

Re:It's all about an unimpinged right to choose (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39563815)

Without better information (although that is subjective, is calorie count the only information needed to make an informed decision?) then you have a "nanny" state the keeps you ignorant to control your actions.

You could make an argument that no information is better than government selected information, but I'd guess in practice you'd find that the FDA mandates information that is helpful for understanding the health consequences of your choices. If they don't, then you change the institution, not hide all information or let those who are selling you the product control the information.

There is one argument that you could make, because humans are so strange, but it would require some experiments: people may eat more popcorn perceiving that the nutrition information has somehow blessed their choice. (Perhaps some sort of known danger is considered less harmful than unknown danger effect?) I would want to see some hard data.

Re:It's all about an unimpinged right to choose (1)

Khyber (864651) | about 2 years ago | (#39564259)

"You are entitled to your own opinions"

Not in any professional world I know of that requires licensing.

Example: Medicine. If you're not qualified to give medical advice, you're not entitled to any opinion. You don't even have the title in the first place which would give you legal authority to that opinion.

Re:It's all about an unimpinged right to choose (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about 2 years ago | (#39564387)

Bullshit. If there is actual market demand for this type of information on snacks, etc., then it's up to the consumers NOT TO BUY THEM until they find the snacks that do post this information, or until the companies figure out what the people are looking for.

As usual, this has nothing to do with the government and obviously government isn't authorised to do any of it, but that's how you sell out your freedoms every day, day in, day out, and once you sell out your freedoms on anything, the rest is peanuts.

Re:It's all about an unimpinged right to choose (2)

tomhath (637240) | about 2 years ago | (#39564595)

The difference isn't whether you have the facts. The difference is whether you need to look up the calorie content of a serving of popcorn versus requiring the vendor of popcorn to post the calorie content. If you care you could probably get a pretty good idea [webmd.com] with about 10 seconds of searching. Nothing prevents you from getting the facts.

Re:It's all about an unimpinged right to choose (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39563575)

Counter argument, currently, at least in my experience (so anecdotal/etc.), when I have asked for the nutritional information such as caloric counts they were unable/unwilling to give it to me. I don't think it's anything but basic sanity to post information regarding the food we eat. What is in it, how much is in it (e.g. calories, grams of fat, protein, etc.). That's not a nanny state, that's simply labeling things with what they contain.

Re:It's all about an unimpinged right to choose (3, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#39563577)

A free market only works if the consumer is making informed decisions about what they are buying. Adding calorie/nutrition information to food products gives them that information. Publishing reports about Foxconn workers committing suicides also helps consumers be informed.

Re:It's all about an unimpinged right to choose (5, Informative)

MarcoAtWork (28889) | about 2 years ago | (#39563579)

Personally I view it as protecting the right to sin. We have to have free choice, which means we have to have the right to be able to freely choose what is wrong for both us and society.

how can the choice be truly free if you don't have access to information about your choice? And how is legislating access to information impinging on your freedom? You can still eat a 1500kcal popcorn bucket if you so choose, nobody is forcing you to look at the nutritional information label.

It's just like if all food also had a carbon impact value as part of its labeling, you could still easily decide to buy fresh fruit from out of season imported from halfway around the world, or buy that coffee table you like so much made from rainforest wood, you just would be fully aware of the ramifications of your choice.

Or are you saying that having the information available infringes your right to be ignorant? in that case do you really believe your choice is free when you don't know if it's right/wrong for you/society (regardless if you want to choose right or wrong)? and what about the right of people that actually *do* want to make informed choices and so need the carbon/environmental/calorie data, shouldn't their rights be protected?

Re:It's all about an unimpinged right to choose (1)

Xtifr (1323) | about 2 years ago | (#39564017)

You can still eat a 1500kcal popcorn bucket if you so choose, nobody is forcing you to look at the nutritional information label.

More importantly: you can still eat a 1500kcal popcorn bucket even if you do choose to look at the nutritional information.

(As a side note, totally irrelevant to anything you said, all of which I basically agree with: please learn what a "comma splice" is and how to avoid it.)

Re:It's all about an unimpinged right to choose (1)

SolitaryMan (538416) | about 2 years ago | (#39563665)

Nobody takes away the choice from you. Quite the opposite: you are given an opportunity to make informed decision.

Say you have two different buckets of popcorn.

In one case they just look different (buckets, not popcorn). The only way for you to choose is to either go for the prettier bucket or try both and choose based on taste.

In another case both buckets have additional info like nutrition info and ingredients. So now, you can still choose prettier bucket or try both and choose based on taste. However, now you can also choose based on nutrition and ingredients, deciding which one is best for you. For example, now, based on nutrition info you can assess how big of a bucket you need.

Personally, this is how I choose pretty much everything at the supermarket: I look at ingredients. If something looks suspicious, I don't but it.

Why am I robed of that choice at the movie theater?

Re:It's all about an unimpinged right to choose (2)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 2 years ago | (#39563761)

"But it's the issue that the "Government" is forcing businesses to reveal calorie count in the name of trying to create a more healthy society, and thus subtly impinging on a person's ability to make a choice for good or ill."

The government forcing businesses to make information available is impinging on someone's ability to make an informed choice?

I can't tell if you a) are supremely ironic and also supremely subtle b) don't read what you write or c) normally write for Fox news.

Re:It's all about an unimpinged right to choose (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39563769)

It seems what you really want is the right to be ignorant of the consequences of your sinning before you do the deed. No one is telling you that you can't buy and eat as much popcorn as you want. What's being done is informing you of what that will mean for your health in an objective way. You don't have a right to avoid facing facts, though you are free to oppose laws that make you face facts, but at least then face the fact that you are trying to avoid facing facts. Hmm... I think I see the problem here.

Re:It's all about an unimpinged right to choose (1)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | about 2 years ago | (#39563937)

We will always have the right to eat whatever loaded calorie crap we want (I know I love my taco bell burrito despite it being so many calories), but if just 5% of people will choose to consume less after seeing the whopping calorie count of a tub of buttery popcorn that can be a ton of money saved by our government trying to cover people who don't may not have healthcare and ultimately are a drain on the taxes we all pay.

Re:It's all about an unimpinged right to choose (1)

triffid_98 (899609) | about 2 years ago | (#39564371)

but if just 5% of people will choose to consume less after seeing the whopping calorie count of a tub of buttery popcorn that can be a ton of money saved by our government trying to cover people who don't may not have healthcare and ultimately are a drain on the taxes we all pay.

I respectfully disagree. People who live longer cost the state a lot more. Sure there may be more short term costs, but long term it's a total win when you consider what we spend on Medicare and Social Security

HINT: That's approximately 40% of the Federal budget and going up every year.

Re:It's all about an unimpinged right to choose (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39564191)

It's the expansion of the "Nanny" state. Essentially, the government trying to intimidate or coerce people into making a healthy decision for their own good. Yes, posting the calorie count is an objective act. People are free to read the number and then decide for themselves. But it's the issue that the "Government" is forcing businesses to reveal calorie count in the name of trying to create a more healthy society, and thus subtly impinging on a person's ability to make a choice for good or ill.

Personally I view it as protecting the right to sin. We have to have free choice, which means we have to have the right to be able to freely choose what is wrong for both us and society. If we take away the right to choose what's wrong for us, then we begin to remove what makes us unique and individual. Doesn't mean we're immune to the consequences, but we must have the ability to choose. Like abortion: no matter how horrific the practice may be in its extremes, or how morally abhorrent the practice may be, we MUST allow women the right to choose. Otherwise we run the risk of creating a benevolent tyranny that seeks to protect us from ourselves--and a benevolent tyranny is still tyranny.

I think you might be going a little extreme here. Posted calories being held up to the same level as a woman's right to choose?

Really, I don't think there's a problem to letting people know, if they want to, what is in the food they are eating. They don't have to read the nutrition information on the package if they don't want too. Plus, all the pre-packaged snacks at the theater have that information already.

I really don't think posting how much fat and sodium is in your snack is approaching anywhere near benevolent tyranny.

Re:It's all about an unimpinged right to choose (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39564679)

No that would be a fat tax. The requirement to post calorie count means an informed decision. People should be refusing to put things in their body if they aren't provided that information. All the FDA needs to do is run a publicity campaign highlighting peoples need to know these things. They don't need to legislate to get what they want irregardless of what the "white house" wants. This reminds me of an article I read where a spectator was watching an attempt to update water treatment specification after instances of contamination. The person tried to inform share holders the contaminated water was within the "tighter" specification and was told spectators were not allowed to contribute.

Re:But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39563303)

It's a pointless make-work program for burrowcrats?

Do you seriously think that anyone is going to look at calorie count figures on their foot-tall bucket of popcorn and not buy it?

Re:But... (1)

redfox2012 (1150371) | about 2 years ago | (#39563459)

No, but they might just opt for the slightly smaller bucket, given that it tastes like cardboard anyhow.

Re:But... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39563547)

given that it tastes like cardboard anyhow.

Not cardboard, butter coated cardboard.

It's like lobster, an expensive, yet nearly tasteless, animal that is primarily used as a medium for consuming butter.

Re:But... (4, Informative)

jomama717 (779243) | about 2 years ago | (#39563633)

I seriously think that. I wish calorie information was on all foods, everywhere. I believe this simple act would get a huge number of people to wake up and realize what they are doing to themselves. I used to weight 248 lbs. - way too close to the psychological 250 barrier, so I started counting calories and limiting them to a certain number daily. I was blindly consuming anywhere from 3000-4000 calories a day without realizing or caring, and cut it down to ~2000. No fad diet, didn't cut out candy or cheeseburgers, just counted calories. I lost 36 lbs. in 3 months and now a year since starting I have weighed 205 consistently for 9 months. I'm off blood pressure medication, feel fantastic. I still eat and drink what I want I just do it in moderation, and now in a way that maximizes the amount of actual food I can eat while minimizing caloric intake, which ends up steering you to good food that is high in protein and low in fats and sugars. Absolutely no down side to making people aware of what they are eating.

Re:But... (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | about 2 years ago | (#39564217)

Aye, that's about all there is to reasonable dieting. Been in the same boat. Today, I just follow a simple "eat no crap" policy. I cook my own stuff, no ready-made ingredients, fresh produce, meat, poultry, whatever, keeping a rough eye on the calories. No fad behind it. I do avoid ready-made stuff - it usually provides more calories per portion that I do find satisfying than home-cooked stuff. Sure, I am not ideological about it, and I do occasionally give in to some industrial snack-crap, but if you do not let that dominate your diet, you'll see the weight and the blood analysis drift toward what it should be. That's all there is to it. Don't eat crap.

Re:But... (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 2 years ago | (#39563781)

Yes. People look at calorie values all the time, if they're available. Some people will choose not to buy popcorn, or buy less, if they know the ridiculous number of calories that are actually in movie theatre popcorn.

Re:But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39563367)

OK so you put different calorie counts for every snack combo: butter, no butter, extra butter, light butter (where butter = whatever the fuck that stuff actually is). All the old cups and printing plates at some point become landfill. Then a change is made... more landfill. The information is ignored as those who care already know the calories in popcorn or simply don't care.

The administration is saying they want laws to change with a 24-hr news cycle. Could anything be less dictatorial? Do you think you'll have a voice? At some point, at least the theatre owners might be able to bring up some key points (like availability of information thru less costly, non-dead-tree means) but I guess you want laws dictated by the 24-hr news cycle.

Re:But... (0)

Nimey (114278) | about 2 years ago | (#39563771)

STRAWMAN SIGHTED.

See, this is why I can't take the right seriously, because of fucking drama queens like you who don't understand why having multiple logical fallacies in one screed is bad.

Re:But... (1)

hamalnamal (2499998) | about 2 years ago | (#39563783)

OK so you put different calorie counts for every snack combo: butter, no butter, extra butter, light butter (where butter = whatever the fuck that stuff actually is). All the old cups and printing plates at some point become landfill. Then a change is made... more landfill.

Except these things take a certain amount of time to implement and companies are generally given some leeway.
For example, recently Canada changed the warning labels on cigarettes again. You know how they worked the change, all packs made after a certain date had to have the new labeling. Thus we are currently in an in between period where some of the packs I buy have the new labeling and some have the old. Eventually the old packs run out, and all you have is the new labeling. Seems like they'd do the same thing for this Movie Snack thing if it was implemented.

Thus no extra fill for the landfill.

Re:But... (1)

thoth (7907) | about 2 years ago | (#39563443)

The article implies (yes I know, that would require actually reading it and not having knee jerk reactions like the dumb ass AC's above) not posting the nutrition content has more to do with the fact a movie theater and/or airplane aren't regular eating establishments, like say an actual restaurant. (article: "the administration has not made a final decision about what food establishments will be covered.")

Re:But... (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | about 2 years ago | (#39563647)

It is somewhat complex.. the "extra butter" that gets added would be separate, so there would be no consistent measure beyond the base amount.. you could label the popcorn as made (without butter-like topping), and the content for the topping separately. The *FACT* is, that nobody actually ordering said popcorn really cares. Most people are aware that the popcorn itself is moderately light on calories/fat, and the additional topping is very heavy. Also varies by size, and packing... some people will pack much more popcorn into a container than others... unless you expect the theaters to break out the measuring spoons, and scales to dish out the popcorn.. meaning higher packaging costs, and prices (already exorbitant).

Re:But... (1)

RandCraw (1047302) | about 2 years ago | (#39563855)

What would happen if a bucket of popcorn reported the following nutritional data:

1200 Calories
1500 mg sodium
60 grams saturated fat (more than 2 Big Macs, from the coconut oil)

Do you think theater owners might object? Do you think parents might object?

THAT's the downside of posting the nutrients.

Popcorn Calorie Bomb [webmd.com]

Re:But... (2)

jandrese (485) | about 2 years ago | (#39563869)

The downside is that Fox News gets to run 2 months of stories about how the socialist government is even trying to get between you and your movie popcorn and you had better not even think about voting for them again; fair and balanced.

It is depressing how much stuff is not being done in Washington because of how it would play out on the nation's most watched news channel. I firmly believe that the hyper scrutiny of the 24 hour news cycle is the primary cause behind the total partisan gridlock in Congress today. If you can't make a basic compromise without being called a traitor for weeks in the "news" then you can't expect to get anything done. Worse, the people who did buck the trend and try to get stuff done? They're out and replaced by wackos from the extreme fringe of the party.

Re:But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39564163)

No, it's a bully tactic to force retailers to conform to the government, and the first step the government takes to start a smear and humiliate campaign or just a straight up tax to oblivion to get it's way.

Re:But... (1)

tomhath (637240) | about 2 years ago | (#39564409)

FTA:

President Obama’s chief health adviser, thought the requirement was unnecessary and would probably be lampooned on Fox News...

They're afraid of what Fox and Limbaugh will say? Actually this is a valid concern; would a person who went up to the snack bar in a theater really be influenced to not buy a box because a sign says it contains 300 calories? Maybe there are more important things for the FDA to do.

What is this story about? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39563151)

Isn't the summary supposed to clue you in as much as possible on what the story is about? Posting calorie counts? (I presume they mean "energy content".) Who was going to post it? The FDA on their website? The theatres? Forced by the FDA? What does the White House care?

Re:What is this story about? (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 2 years ago | (#39563229)

The White House cares because they (Obama) would take the blame for more Nanny Government. Besides, let's face it, posting calorie information for movie theater popcorn is the height of silliness.

Re:What is this story about? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39563323)

Well.. both the White House, and the people who would blame the White House for more nanny government, would be fucking stupid. Shocking, that politicians would be fucking stupid. Marginally abetted by the populace who would believe that the availability of information constitutes nanny governance. Nanny government is when the government dictates what an individual can and cannot do for the individual's own good, not because it injures another party.

Re:What is this story about? (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | about 2 years ago | (#39563383)

A gallon of fat and salt drenched popcorn probably has a lot of calories and everyone should know that but this is probably more political hay making, much like the light bulb ban.

FDA LOL (1)

Voogru (2503382) | about 2 years ago | (#39563205)

“I never have and never will approve a new drug to an individual, but only to a large pharmaceutical firm with unlimited finances.”
-Dr. Richard J. Crout,
Director, Bureau of Drugs, FDA
Source: Quoted in The Spotlight, January 18, 1982

Re:FDA LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39564167)

The Spotlight is your source? Get serious.

More of the MPAA's doing? (1)

NoKaOi (1415755) | about 2 years ago | (#39563305)

Obviously, as seen in other issues (i.e. ACTA) the MPAA has the president in their pocket. Isn't it true that movie theaters make all their money on concessions, because they give nearly all of the money from ticket sales to the studios? If you post calories then people buy less popcorn, so you reduce concession sales. If the movie theaters can't stay in business selling concessions, will more of the ticket price have to be kept by the theater, thus reducing the profits of the MPAA members?

Re:More of the MPAA's doing? (1)

Xtifr (1323) | about 2 years ago | (#39564141)

If you post calories then people buy less popcorn, so you reduce concession sales.

[Citation needed]

As far as I can tell, most of the theater-going public seems to consider the purchase of popcorn a mandatory part of the theater experience.

Proposal (2)

srussia (884021) | about 2 years ago | (#39563501)

Mandatory nutrient labelling for dirt. Won't anyone think of the children with pica [wikipedia.org]?

Re:Proposal (2)

KhazadDum (790345) | about 2 years ago | (#39563879)

Mandatory nutrient labelling for dirt. Won't anyone think of the children with pica [wikipedia.org]?

And this is why people like Colbert have an assured job.

Because idiots like you will always take it to an extreme over putting a label of numbers onto some object. As if more consumer awareness is bad.

I don't understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39563525)

Who gives a shit about the calorie count in movie theater popcorn? I mean really, that's what our government is harping on? Sure it's nasty unhealthy and if you eat a big bucket your going to feel like throwing up from all the grease, but that's part of the magic of the movies. I get to go to a movie maybe every 3 or 4 months because they are expensive, and who has the time with 3 jobs, but when I do I want my damn popcorn, and I don't need the government trying to guilt trip me about it. I'd love to see a poll of people walking into a theater that asks everyone whether they think the movie food is fattening. I'll bet you even with the poorly educated half illiterate mass of humanity in an average theater the answer would be yes by a gigantic margin. Do we really think a bunch of regulation and mandates are necessary to somehow push us from the 90 percent who think it's obesity in a bucket to 92%?

If the government really wants to get rid of a large swath of fat people then maybe they should only let welfare recipients buy fruits, vegetables, skim milk, and whole bread with welfare. I'm not saying starve people, my family when I was a child survived for a short while on welfare, I'm saying give them what a family that eats sensibly buys, in fact the best way to do this would be to just have government stores that stock only nutritional items where welfare can be used. It would also get rid of the jerks in the store trying to get me to pay them cash for them paying for my basket of groceries on their welfare cards.

It's a fucking shame that in America we feed welfare recipients till they are so morbidly obese that it creates a huge barrier that they can't get over to actually get back into the workforce. At the same time the government that is stuffing people obese tells me I'm a bad miserable horrible human for paying 6.50 for a big bucket of grease with my own money.

Not new - they dissuade the beer/hard labels (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39563863)

Because - gasp - hard cider might be construed to be good for you (it has impressive vitamin A & C):
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100417145238AApTCOo

Really... why can't I choose my beer based on tast+health?

FDA are in the pockets of every food lobbyist (4, Interesting)

Theovon (109752) | about 2 years ago | (#39563917)

There are medical researchers finding that high sugar intake fosters cancer growth, finding this to be particularly evident in those who have cancer. Will the FDA ever label sugar appropriately? Nope. There's even less a chance they'll do this with corn syrup, given the corn lobbyists.

Speaking of corn, imagine having a corn allergy. Actually, it's not necessarily corn per se, but expressions of certain genetic modifications and some of the molds that grow on corn. But basically every processed food has corn derivatives in it. You name it, it's derived from corn. Citric acid (a common preservative used in just about everything), ascorbic acid, microcrystaline cellulose, xanthan gum (a common thickener, derived from an organism grown on corn), fructose, dextrose, "natural flavors", MSG, etc. And they're added to everything from table salt to orange juice. (Why the hell they would need to add corn-derived citric acid to orange juice beats the hell out of me.) And if you search the web for "corn allergy", you'll get the impression that a corn allergy isn't incredibly rare, and there are communities of people who work really hard to figure out which food products aren't treated with corn products. Imagine being unable to buy CHICKEN without being at risk. That's right, almost all chicken sold in grocery stores has corn-based additives. A corn allergy may be rare, but the sheer ubiquity of corn products makes it so that absolutely everyone with a corn allergy in the U.S. will suffer. Nevertheless, the FDA flatly refuses to even create a legal definition of corn, let alone require products to mention it on the label. Even organic farmers spray their produce with corn derivatives as a sort of non-toxic enrivonmentally friendly pest deterrent.

If you have a corn allergy, you are royally fucked.

mod 0p (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39564089)

Ganother cUnting Are you GAY

Attack of the killer labels (1)

WaffleMonster (969671) | about 2 years ago | (#39564231)

We can stand around and argue the merits of labeling requirements and food regulation all day long. There are an endless series of tradeoffs I don't much know shit about and therefore will refrain from offering an opinion.

What is not acceptable about the FDA are labeling requirements that allow knowingly factually incorrect information to be stamped on food labels. Tweaking serving size so that trans fat content is below the .5 threshold and therefore always reads zero should in my view be considered a criminal act.

If the argument is knowledge of whats in our shit will negativly effect sales and you can somehow establish this (leaked memos, admissions..etc) to be the case then I would be happy to see all such fucktards regulated into bankrupcy.

If the argument is cost benefit about the practical implications of labeling custom or frequently changing items then external input from politicians representing the public seems like a credible activity.

They Also Need To Label Sodium (1)

Paul Slocum (598127) | about 2 years ago | (#39564285)

I live in New York where all chains are required to post calories, and it's fantastic! It makes it so easy to choose the correct portions. However food producers are definitely cranking up the salt to compensate now. You can't add sugar or fat without adding calories, but you can add salt.

Hey White House (2)

toriver (11308) | about 2 years ago | (#39564487)

The A in FDA stands for Administration. If you do not want them to administer the areas of food and drugs, just shut them down already.

The FDA is almost as big a joke as the TSA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39564669)

I used to work for a medical device manufacturer. After having worked for a defense contractor, I thought I'd seen the worst so far as beaurocracy and pointless paperwork, and politics. What a rude awakening! The FDA is the king of all the above. At least half the cost of bringing a medical device to market? Satisfying FDA testing procedures to get their "approval". Of course with a wink and a nod and some well-placed cash incentives, you can lie and cheat your way through it all and market your shitty device anyway. Memo to America: The FDA doesn't give a rat's ASS about your health and safety, all they care about is getting their payoffs from Big Pharma, and maintaining their power over a large chunk of what goes on in this country. What we really need, Obama? Major-league reform of the FDA, starting with packing the entire organization with C4 and blasting it to kingdom come, then rebuilding it from the ground up with non-crooked people who aren't all on the take. Then maybe we get safe, cheaper drugs, and safe food to eat, instead of medicine only for the rich, and things like the supplement industry being threatened constantly because Big Pharma doesn't like the competition (after all, can't have all us uppity poor people being healthy, now can we?).
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