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CPSIA – Let’s Keep Sucking Our Thumbs . . . .

803 days have passed since ANY Democrat in Congress did ANYTHING to help us on the CPSIA. There are only 7 days left until Election Day.

Seven days to go! Go, baby, go!

I just found this article documenting the pain of some Illinois toy craftsmen owing to the CPSIA. Imagine, these guys are being held up by the noxious CPSIA and are essentially shut down. I have been reading these articles for almost three years now. Ho-hum.

Have any of you heard of Mattel or Hasbro going out of business because of this law? Me, neither.

Articles of this type are discouraging on several levels, not least of which is the lack of comprehension of almost everyone who gives a quote. The scale of the problem for small business, even the very nature of the problem presented by the law is unclear, apparently. No one asks the right questions like – why are we doing this? What are we achieving? Is it worth the cost? Can we even measure what we have accomplished?

Of course, the answers to these questions are all negative. No one knows why we’re doing this, other than a general love of children. Don’t know about you but a “general love of children” is a rather flimsy justification for killing off an entire industry (other than mass market companies like Mattel). Given that we have many fine universities here and train the occasional engineer in this country (I am one of them), I would think we could be a just a little more “science-y” in our analysis. So, if we can put our “general love of children” on the shelf for just a moment, why indeed are we doing this? To improve the health of children, right? That sounds good to me.

To assess whether we have had any impact on the health of children, presumably we would need to be able to describe what is WRONG with the health of children now. The zealots assure us that there is no safe level of lead. They also assure us that lead harms children “silently”, in other words, the harm cannot be measured accurately, but trust us, it’s there. In other words, there is no way to differentiate between lead “poisoning” in children not presenting symptoms – and a purely imaginary condition in those same children. The “real” problem and the imaginary problem present exactly the same way – no symptoms. Contrast banning pixie dust with banning lead-in-substrate – the issues are the same.

[Ed. Note: Apparently there ARE safe levels of lead in musical instruments made of brass if they are full-sized, but not if they are under-sized. This is part of the new interpretative rule on the definition of "Children's Products". Therefore, if you had a small trumpet (dangerous, subject to regulation) and you stretched it, making it into a full-sized trumpet with thinner walls of brass, it would become safe (no regulation)! Hmmm. This is not magic, this is the CPSIA!]

And if you want to measure your impact on this dreaded problem, how would you do it? The health statistics are purely made up, because there are no symptoms. The reasoning goes – since there is “no safe level” for lead, then we must consider anything that could possibly cause a blip in blood lead levels as a causative agent, therefore, we must ban everything that COULD POSSIBLY make blood lead levels rise.

Given that blood lead levels are declining these days and are not considered a health risk by the EPA, FDA, NIH or CDC except in connection with certain specific hazards (leaded house paint, residual pollution from leaded gasoline, or other environmental factors like air pollution), we cannot measure any improvement in health. It’s literally impossible (remember, the “real” problem and the purely imaginary problem present exactly the same way). Thus, it will be impossible to measure how much we have achieved for our investment. We must cling to our assertion that there is “no safe level” for lead to assure ourselves that we have accomplished something. This is a logical argument, but there’s no evidence to support it.

So the entire exercise is speculative? The benefits cannot be measured. The problem can’t be measured or even described accurately. There weren’t any victims before, there aren’t any victims now. Seems like nothing has changed. Uh-oh.

Ah, thumb suckers, THAT isn’t true. Something fundamental has changed, thank you Congress. Safety hasn’t improved . . . but a few things have changed substantially:

  1. Our regulator is no longer capable of exercising a judgment about what is and what is not safe. Consider the musical instrument example above. The CPSC has also become quite aggressive, perhaps to justify its existence and its new jumbo budget. Not pretty.
  2. The cost of compliance has already skyrocketed. Those dollars are coming out of activities that would otherwise be used to grow our businesses.
  3. You ain’t seen nothing yet on costs – wait for the CPSC to approve the 15 Month Rule on testing frequency and reasonable testing programs. Costs will rise by 10-100x for many companies if the rule is adopted as presently drafted. I’m not kidding.
  4. Complexity and risk have skyrocketed. What do people do when they can’t figure out the rules or they get scared about the consequences of failure? They exit.

    [Here's another pre-Xmas threat by the ever-lovable Inez Tenenbaum: "'We will continue to recall their products and it will damage the brand. There will be penalties, there will be lost customers,' she said in an interview." She's quite a charmer, isn't she? Does this sound good to you? Want to enter the Children's Product market? Want all your family's wealth dependent on the health of a business in this market, being regulated by Ms. Tenenbaum? Hmmm, the line's out the door, everyone wants in!!!]

  5. Products and markets are being dropped, or aren’t being entered in the first place. Profits are being lost (profit prevention) and jobs are being shredded. Lots of jobs . . . .
  6. It’s not fun anymore to be in this business.

As for the Illinois wood toymakers, it’s a shame for them. We read about this kind of thing all the time. Maybe it will go away on its own. Maybe it’s all their imagination. Small businessmen are often so unsophisticated, they probably don’t know what they’re talking about. The U.S. government is just too smart to get something this wrong. If they really screwed up, they’ll fix it – the government’s not the enemy, you know. Something this big and stupid can’t be true. Somebody big and important, like a trade association, will save us. No, no, 60 Minutes or John Stossel will do an embarrassing story and that will break the logjam. [Ed. Note: been there, done that.] I’m too busy running my business to address this. You can’t fight City Hall. It will get fixed, don’t worry! Nothing this ridiculous lasts very long.

Boy, that thumb must be yummy! But at your age, thumb-sucking seems so inappropriate.

Don’t forget to vote on November 2nd. Even if this scourge won’t go away and has become entrenched, you can still strike a note for capitalism and for sanity by voting against the idiots and the venal people who want to destroy your businesses and deprive you of valuable products that you prize. You can defend yourself – and you MUST.

Read more here:
CPSIA – Let’s Keep Sucking Our Thumbs . . . .

CPSIA – Governmental Biases On Display at CPSC

802 days have passed since ANY Democrat in Congress did ANYTHING to help us on the CPSIA. There are only 8 days left until Election Day.

The WSJ published a short article about the psychology of governments called Studying the Biases of Bureaucrats (subtitled “Five Ways Regulators Think Wrong”). The application of psychology to economic decisions has produced a few Nobel Prizes – the implications of psychology on decision-making is well-known and generally accepted.

See if you recognize the Democrats who run the CPSC in some of these bureaucratic decision-making foibles:

“. . . [P]sychologists have shown that we systematically overestimate how much we understand about the causes and mechanisms of things we half understand. The Swedish health economist Hans Rosling once gave students a list of five pairs of countries and asked which nation in each pair had the higher infant-mortality rate. The students got 1.8 right out of 5. Mr. Rosling noted that if he gave the test to chimpanzees they would get 2.5 right. So his students’ problem was not ignorance, but that they knew with confidence things that were false.” [Emphasis added]

My comment: Is the author suggesting the election of chimpanzees to the CPSC Commission? Hmmm, you must admit it’s a creative suggestion. . . .

“The issue of action bias is better known in England as the “dangerous dogs act,” after a previous government, confronted with a couple of cases in which dogs injured or killed people, felt the need to bring in a major piece of clumsy and bureaucratic legislation that worked poorly. . . . It takes unusual courage for a regulator to stand up and say ‘something must not be done,’ lest ‘something’ makes the problem worse.” [Emphasis added]

My comment: This hypothetical regulator does not work at the CPSC. The aversion of the current Democratic CPSC leadership to not regulating is continually reinforced. Consider for instance, the CPSC’s willingness to make a mockery of protecting the public against harm in the definition of “Children’s Products”. In that recent master stroke, the Commission approved a rule that says that the musical instruments marketed to schools (even exclusively) will be unregulated (even if made entirely of “dangerous” brass) if the instruments are full-sized (a so-called general use item) BUT will fully regulate kid-sized instruments. Big instruments made of brass apparently do not deserve their regulatory attention but little ones do, even if BOTH are used exclusively by kids. Big instruments won’t poison kids but little ones will, apparently.

Spineless or just plain stupid – you make the call!

Motivated reasoning means that we tend to believe what it is convenient for us to believe. If you run an organization called, say, the Asteroid Retargeting Group for Humanity (ARGH) and you are worried about potential cuts to your budget, we should not be surprised to find you overreacting to every space rock that passes by. Regulators rarely argue for deregulation.

My comment: Ho-hum, has anyone EVER seen this at the CPSC? Since the WSJ metaphor relates to rocks, I would note that we must warn consumers that the rocks in our rock kits may contain lead which might be harmful if swallowed. We do NOT have to warn people that our rocks ALSO contain rocks – yet another reason to not to eat them. We also don’t warn consumers to not eat our fossils because it destroys the fossil record – but we do warn them about lead in fossils. Nice!

It’s so fun to contribute to making a mockery of safety! I find it gratifying (not).

The focusing illusion partly stems from the fact that people tend to see the benefits of a policy but not the hidden costs. As French theorist Frédéric Bastiat argued, it’s a fallacy to think that breaking a window creates work, because while the glazier’s gain of work is visible, the tailor’s loss of work caused by the window-owner’s loss of money—and consequent decision to delay purchase of a coat—is not. Recent history is full of government interventions with this characteristic.”

My comment: Invisible costs are the true cancer of the CPSIA. I recently voted NO on a market expansion of our company into a product class that I felt would attract WAY too much regulatory attention at the maniacal CPSC these days. Why take a chance? With the government almost promoting the destruction of our industry and its supply chain (see today’s WSJ for yet another scare tactic by Inez Tenenbaum), there is just no reward for moving into certain markets. And how will the regulators measure this effect? There is no evidence of our choice to NOT enter a market. That must mean it never happened . . . right??? Perhaps that’s what they think. They only believe bodies (that are still warm and only if they are stacked high – and even then, we know that “anecdotes are not evidence”). No bodies are evident when you opt out.

Case closed?

‘Affect heuristic’ is a fancy name for a pretty obvious concept, namely that we discount the drawbacks of things we are emotionally in favor of. For example, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill certainly killed about 1,300 birds, maybe a few more. Wind turbines in America kill between 75,000 and 275,000 birds every year, generally of rarer species, such as eagles. Yet wind companies receive neither the enforcement, nor the opprobrium, that oil companies do.”

My comment: Or here’s an example from the CPSIA world: deaths from lead number just one, and injuries number just three (all alleged, none verified) over ll years (CPSC data) but deaths and injuries from swimming pools are greater on an average DAY. So what’s our national obsession, at least of the Democrats? Lead. Makes a lot of sense. Not.

The CPSC – it’s a psychologist’s dream . . . but it’s our nightmare.

Read more here:
CPSIA – Governmental Biases On Display at CPSC

CPSIA – Hey Sucker!

801 days have passed since ANY Democrat in Congress did ANYTHING to help us on the CPSIA. There are only 9 days left until Election Day.

Consider this note I received today from a friend:

“Thought you’d like to know that i received a check in the mail today from Uncle Sam’s new Affordable Care Act to help cover the cost of my Medicare drugs in the amount of $250. Mind you, this one-time gift arrived just eleven days prior to election and, to me, an obvious bribe to receive my endorsement of their plan. Hope this backfires on them as I am immediately turning this check back to Joel Pollak in the form of my contribution in the same amount. Hope it helps the last few days of his successful campaign.” [Emphasis added.]

The Affordable Care Act is Dem-sponsored legislation designed to ameliorate the “donut hole” that Seniors experience in drug coverage under Medicare. I am sure this is a real problem. That said, the arrival of this check magically two weeks before the election is just one more bit of evidence of the privilege taken by Congress and the White House to award themselves gifts in even-numbered years to ensure reelection. The real question is “how dumb are we?”

Please note that the CPSIA was just such a gift. Passed almost unanimously on August 14, 2008 right ahead of the 2008 election season, the CPSIA allowed every member of Congress to blunt accusations that they were “soft” on Chinese toys. Not unlike so many other pieces of complex legislation passed by Nancy Pelosi’s Congress, our esteemed members of Congress apparently never read the bill which covered soup-to-nuts in Children’s Products, not just toys. Even today, you can find Congressmen expressing surprise and alarm that the law covered anything other than toys.

Duping members of Congress must seem like child’s play to devious staffers. After all, they know the members can’t or won’t read their handiwork. We call that the “political process”.

Some people ask me why I cut the Republicans such a “break” by attacking only Democrats on this law. Didn’t all the Republicans vote for the law, too? By and large, that’s true. However, since passage of the CPSIA, many Republicans have stood up and tried to help us. They have allied with my efforts and have gone to considerable effort, not to mention taken political risk, to address a Congressional screw-up that imperils Small Business without any corresponding safety benefit for consumers. Has every Republican member of Congress helped us? No. However, ZERO Democrats have lifted a finger to help us and most have scorned us publicly and privately. The Democrats who were put in charge of the CPSC are perhaps the MOST insensitive and the most strident in their political posturing.

Until the Democrats DEMONSTRATE that they can be trusted, which for me will take quite a bit of work on their part, I have NO interest in giving them a pass. The Republicans have EARNED my support. I hope you are not susceptible to bribes or other trickery by the party in control. Your business and your markets hang in the balance. Assess the situation clearly and pick sides. It’s now or never!

Read more here:
CPSIA – Hey Sucker!

CPSIA – Jan Schakowsky Wants to Design Your New Home, Too.

801 days have passed since ANY Democrat in Congress did ANYTHING to help us on the CPSIA. There are only 9 days left until Election Day.

801 days without ANY help. Amazing . . . .

Rep. Jan Schakowsky, the Illinois Congresswoman who informed the WSJ that I am a “cynical special interest” because I dared to participate in the upcoming midterm elections, is not content with rearranging your business and the Children’s Product industry. Now she wants to redesign your new home.

Does she have good taste, you ask. Well, read on and see what you think of Jan Schakowsky as your architect or decorator.

Your home is your last refuge, right? Not if she gets her way – but then again, she knows what’s best for you! After all, a bigger government involved in every aspect of your life is a BETTER government. The estimable Ms. Schakowsky is the sponsor of HR 1408 Inclusive Home Design Act of 2009. In other words, this law-in-the-makings is her handiwork.

She brags about this pending legislation on her Facebook page in posts dated October 6, so she must be pretty psyched about it. I gather she wants the electorate to know of her excellent leadership in Congress, so I thought I’d help out. Happy to lend a hand to such a “great” leader.

Best I can tell, Ms. Schakowsky latest brain wave is to require you to redesign your new home to be disability-friendly if you get “federal assistance”. The so-called purpose of the act is “[t]o require all newly constructed, federally assisted, single-family houses and town houses to meet minimum standards of visitability for persons with disabilities.”

And what might she have in mind, precisely? Anyone who receives “federal assistance” needs to design new homes to meet several ADA-like standards even if they are useless to the buyers. No matter that this will cost money or that you don’t want it. It’s good for you, Jan says so. It may also make it difficult for you to find new homes without these features. Like cod liver oil, you’ll get used to it!

As noted, to get into this spot, you need to receive federal assistance. Here’s a sample of what might constitute “federal assistance”:

“any assistance that is provided or otherwise made available by the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development or the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, or any program or activity or such agencies, through any grant, loan, contract, or any other arrangement, after the expiration of the one-year period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act, including . . . grants, subsidies, or any other funds . . . services of Federal personnel . . . any tax credit, mortgage or loan guarantee or insurance. . . .”

In other words, if you even brush against the federal government in constructing your new home, you are COVERED by this law. Tax credit for your new energy-efficient furnace? You’re IN. HUD loan refinance for a development of several homes? You’re IN. Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac involved? You’re IN. Vet benefits? You’re IN. Inspected by a federal employee for some reason? You get the idea.

Hey, here’s the REAL idea – the government belongs in EVERY aspect of your life. Ms. Schakowsky doesn’t even think you should be allowed to measure the door frames in your house without her oversight. It doesn’t even matter if you have a disabled person living in the house – you MIGHT be visited by one and certainly, you would not able to accommodate that visit without Ms. Schakowsky’s supervision.

Perhaps you should invite her, too, just to work out the kinks. Uh-oh, I sense an amendment coming!

Had enough yet? If not, vote DEM on November 2nd so society can be reengineered a little bit more. On the other hand, if you have the vaguest sense that this is a runaway train and might need to be stopped before it’s too late . . . vote the other way.

The Dems brought this on themselves. They put people like Schakowsky in leadership roles. The Children’s Product industry is in tatters as a result. PLEASE STOP THE INSANITY ON NOVEMBER 2ND!!!

Read more here:
CPSIA – Jan Schakowsky Wants to Design Your New Home, Too.

CPSIA – Do We Need More Government? [No!]

796 days have passed since ANY Democrat in Congress did ANYTHING to help us on the CPSIA. There are only 14 days left until Election Day.

Hey, have any of you noticed that since I began a daily reminder of our abandonment by this Democrat-led government (reminders began on August 22nd when 738 days had passed without help), no Democrat has done a single thing to help us? Have you also noticed that as they weren’t rising up to help us, the Dems were actually engaged in making things WORSE? Definition of Children’s Products, the so-called “15 Month Rule”, making carpets subject to testing, further implementation of a database certain to make our business environment FAR more hostile.

Do we need a lot more of this?

Mr. Obama says we do: “The basic idea is that if we put our blind faith in the market and we let corporations do whatever they want and we leave everybody else to fend for themselves, then America somehow automatically is going to grow and prosper.” The implication is clear – more government is the solution, we can’t trust markets. Corporations need overseers, heavy regulation.

This quote is from a remarkable WSJ article that appeared last week by Daniel Henninger entitled “Capitalism Saved the Miners“. Beleaguered victims of the awful CPSIA should read this article. Let me sum it up with his concluding remarks:

The U.S. has a government led by a mindset obsessed with 250K-a-year ‘millionaires’ and given to mocking ‘our blind faith in the market.’ In a fast-moving world filled with nations intent on catching up with or passing us, this policy path is a waste of time. The miners’ rescue is a thrilling moment for Chile, an imprimatur on its rising status. But I’m thinking of that 74-person outfit in Berlin, Pa., whose high-tech drill bit opened the earth to free them. You know there are tens of thousands of stories like this in the U.S., as big as Google and small as Center Rock. I’m glad one of them helped save the Chileans. What’s needed now is a new American economic model that lets our innovators rescue the rest of us.” [Emphasis added]

I don’t know about you, but I think we operated our company very well before Mother Government invited herself into our affairs. We knew the difference between right and wrong, and were pretty good at allocating our capital to its highest and best use. Now we must play “Mother May I” with the self-appointed experts who arrived to protect against “dangers” they can’t accurately describe or measure. The vacuuming up of our money, our resources, our mind share, our energy, destroys our ability and will to compete.

Fine, ignore the reality. Wait for the bodies. Assert your superiority and your authority. But the facts are the facts. The case against the CPSIA is crystal clear and the only ones who don’t “get it” are the Democrats. After two years of banging my head against the wall, I can only conclude that they don’t WANT to get it.

It’s no mystery – I know why the Dems refuse to listen. They are rather transparent about it. When I spoke to Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL9) at a candidate forum eight days ago, I asked her why she called me a “cynical special interest” to the WSJ. She asked me who I was, and then told me she didn’t know me. That fact didn’t stop her from trashing me, a private citizen, to a nationally-prominent newspaper. Pointing the finger at me serves her interest in getting reelected – she’s saving the populace . . . again. Who is in a position to argue with her? When I protested that our products had been safe for 26 years, she replied that she “didn’t understand what the problem is” and turned to a voter standing nearby to assert that she just wants to protect children against lead. The higher moral ground . . . for people who don’t know what they’re talking about. Unfortunately, scare tactics sell very well.

I believe the Mob also sells protection. Do you want to buy some protection from them?

The Chilean miners were saved by companies that invested their money to make the world a better place incentivized by the opportunity to make a profit. Our industry, the one that serves children as our reason-to-be, is being depleted by a heavy tax – the intrusion of a heavy-handed government that treats us as “guilty-until-proven-innocent”. The government REFUSES to listen to us.

Those of you with children will pay the consequences.

Thank you, Mother Government. The market saved the miners, but you will happliy kill us.

Vote on November 2nd for a fresh start.

Read more here:
CPSIA – Do We Need More Government? [No!]

CPSIA – Appropriate Recall Points Out The Real Problem

795 days have passed since ANY Democrat in Congress did ANYTHING to help us on the CPSIA. There are only 15 days left until Election Day.

The CPSC today announced a recall of a product called “Bathtub Subs”. The battery-operated bathtub submarine toy is “yellow, has a smiling face, turquoise windows, an orange propeller and an orange periscope that turns the toy on and off. The intake valve has a water pump that sucks in water to propel the submarine.” The cringe-worthy problem: “The intake valve on the bottom of the submarine toy can suck up loose skin, posing laceration hazard to children. . . . CPSC and the company are aware of 19 incidents of lacerations to boys’ genital area. One of the incidents required medical attention.”

This product has a real safety issue, and it has nothing to do with lead. We can understand the problem because the issues can be described accurately and the injuries can be measured. This is how we can measure the right response. The product was aimed at very young children (toddlers) in bath-time play. It seems foreseeable that the toy might rest against “sensitive” areas. The product was not apparently designed with this risk in mind. Please contrast your ability to assess the issue here with, say, rocks, fossils, pens, ATVs, bicycles, musical instruments, children’s underwear, shoes, books and other products that have famously run afoul of the CPSIA’s restrictions on lead without demonstrating any apparent safety issues.

As a toy maker, I hate when this kind of problem happens. It makes all of us look bad, even we had nothing to do with the issue. We all get blamed for problems caused by other companies. This is how CPSIA’s are born.

There were 19 incidents in the last year with this product. Makes you wonder what it takes to get someone to do something about the issue. Do you think this was a “mystery”? Here’s what you find on the Amazon.com review page today (before it gets taken down):

Dangerous toy, May 25, 2010
By Tyler Warren

I bought this toy for my 12 month old son. He was playing with it in the bath one evening and put it down in his lap. It sucked up some skin on his penis and cut it. I called and put in a complaint to Munchkin and I am very disappointed that this toy is still on the market a month later. This toy is dangerous and should not be given to children.

Comment Initial post: June 15, 2010 8:37 PM PDT

Julie Everett says:

The same thing happened to my 19 month old son tonight. I reported it to the CPSP [sic]. You should do the same since the company didn’t take you seriously. My son has injuries to his penis and testicles. Here is the link if you like. https://www.cpsc.gov/cgibin/incident.aspx

Very Dangerous, June 15, 2010
By Julie Everett (Florida)

My son loves this toy. Tonight he was playing with it in the tub and also set it in his lap and it sucked some of the skin from his penis and his testicles and cut both of them. I will be filing a complaint with the company as well. Do not buy this for your child!

I agree it is a dangerous toy…, August 8, 2010
By Pamela Beightol (Falconer, NY United States)

I had the same thing happen to my 15 month old when he was playing with the toy. His skin from his penis got cut after about 3 minutes play with the toy. I would not let my 5 year old play with it either.

I would have given it no stars if possible, August 26, 2010
By Kendall Tupker

The same thing happened to my 13 month old son. We had just given him this toy to play with in the bathtub and within a few minutes he was screaming in pain. While he was holding it in the water near his lap it caught his foreskin and cut him. Needless to say the sub ended up in the garbage and I made a complaint to the company. Never, ever buy this toy.”

This was publicly available on Amazon for months before either the company or the agency did anything about it. By all appearances, neither did Amazon.

Let’s face it, this item is not exactly a dire threat to our way of life. That being said, this kind of insensitivity to consumer needs and expectations is how unjust laws like the CPSIA get written, passed and revered. It is also raw, red meat for a headline-mad CPSC anxious to justify its existence and its budget. Do I hear massive penalties?! Manufacturers have to think ahead and consider whether they want stories like this told about them. This is a compliance issue, a duty of care issue. It is NOT an issue that requires legislation. Unfortunately, nothing is routine at our regulator these days. Who knows what the implications will be flowing from this recall.

One last thought: among the many reasons that I truly HATE the CPSIA, it is the rising spectrum of a liability feeding frenzy over children’s product safety. This can ruin what we are doing, and in any event, I don’t relish planning my business around protecting myself from ravaging trial attorneys. Paranoid? Well, I received notice of this recall at 5:40 PM CST and in the next 15 minutes found these two sites devoted to this very recall:

Lawsuit Settlement Funding and Lawyers-and-Settlements.com. The latter website invites: “If your child has suffered an injury related to the use of this product, please click the link below and your complaint will be sent to a lawyer who may evaluate your claim at no cost or obligation.” Remember, this was up within 15 minutes of the announcement of the recall.

Think of the chaos that will follow the much-anticipated public database. We can only pray that a Republican Congress will de-fund the database before it gets off the ground. Or else we’ll all be in the ground . . . .

Vote on November 2nd. It’s your duty!

Read more here:
CPSIA – Appropriate Recall Points Out The Real Problem

CPSIA – My Appearance on Fox News "Fox & Friends"

795 days have passed since ANY Democrat in Congress did ANYTHING to help us on the CPSIA. There are only 15 days left until Election Day.

I appeared on Fox News’ Fox & Friends show today discussing the CPSIA, testing costs and my political involvement to save our business. To watch the video, please click here.

Read more here:
CPSIA – My Appearance on Fox News "Fox & Friends"

CPSIA – Washington Times SLAMS "Children’s Product" Definition

EDITORIAL:

Bureaucrats way out of tune
Government imposes regulations on children’s CDs and DVDs
By THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The Washington Times
7:09 p.m., Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The government wants to regulate Hannah Montana CDs and DVDs. The bureaucrats at the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) insist that the discs marketed to children be tested for lead, but when the same young starlet churns out raunchier material under her real name, Miley Cyrus, they will escape scrutiny. Never mind that the same 10-year-olds will likely end up buying both products.

For the rest of the article, please click here.

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CPSIA – Washington Times SLAMS "Children’s Product" Definition

CPSIA – Tune in to Fox News on Monday AM

790 days have passed since ANY Democrat in Congress did ANYTHING to help us on the CPSIA. There are only 20 days left until Election Day.

I am scheduled to appear on Fox News “Fox & Family” program on Monday at 6:15 AM EST to discuss the CPSIA and my involvement in politics as a means to address our many CPSIA problems.

Let’s set some Nielsen ratings records for Fox on Monday!

Read more here:
CPSIA – Tune in to Fox News on Monday AM

CPSIA – Jan Schakowsky’s Expert Opinion

790 days have passed since ANY Democrat in Congress did ANYTHING to help us on the CPSIA. There are only 20 days left until Election Day.

I guess I’m famous now. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL9) is talking about me to the Wall Street Journal:

Ms. Schakowsky said Mr. Woldenberg’s success as a fundraiser, is proof that ‘very cynical … special interests are highly engaged in the [Ninth District] campaign.’

It seems strange that Ms. Schakowsky is so certain that I am an official Special Interest, a cynical one at that. When I ran into her at the BJBE candidate forum on Monday night, she asked me who I was. I was just a touch insulted, since as a cynical Special Interest, I would have expected her to know who I am. After all, she did tell Elizabeth Williamson of the WSJ that I was attempting to cynically influence the election in her district. This is what cynical Special Interests do, apparently.

What sneaky business am I up to? I want to amend the CPSIA. Ms. Schakowsky does not want to change her seminal law. That makes me a Special Interest. In other words, I disagree with her. And I thought my “special interest” was educating kids. Apparently not.

I never met a Special Interest before but now I know what one looks like. Here’s a picture of a Special Interest:

What makes Ms. Schakowsky such an expert on Special Interests, anyhow? Well, it turns out she has experience. For instance, Crain’s Chicago Business recently pointed out the “highly unusual intervention” by Ms. Schakowsky to stop foreclosure procedures against a “group” of borrowers in her district. What a caring, generous act, always looking out for her constituents! Here’s Ms. Schakowsky both explaining and congratulating herself:

“In an interview, Ms. Schakowsky says she was concerned that Devon Avenue ‘essentially would go dark. . . . If there are communities that are (in danger of being) decimated, I assure you that any member of Congress would do everything they could to deal with the devastation of foreclosures. I feel very proud of this,’ she says, adding that Mr. Singh’s contributions had nothing to do with her decision to help. ‘It was clear to me there was a widespread problem,‘ she says.” [Emphasis added]

What a swell Congressman!

Ummm, some of the borrowers were donors to Ms. Schakowsky and her Democratic cronies. Is it okay for the Congressman to do this? Should she be “proud” of her magnanimous act? Republican challenger Joel Pollak filed an updated House Ethics Complaint against Ms. Schakowsky providing following details:

  • “While initial reports suggested that Schakowsky had helped about 20 businesses in the local South Asian-American community, court documents show that 19 of the 24 loans (80%) in foreclosure . . . were held by just three individuals: Mr. Amrit Patel (12, including 3 held jointly), Mr. Balvinder Singh (5), and Ms. Shahira Khan (4, including 2 held with Patel). One of the remaining 5 loans is held by Mr. Haresh Patel, who is apparently Mr. Amrit Patel’s son.”
  • “Court documents indicate that only 3 of the 24 affected properties are actually located on Devon Avenue. Only 4 are actually in the neighborhood. Except for those few, and for a small cluster of multi-unit properties further north near the intersection of Touhy Avenue and Clark Street, most are well outside the area, including properties as far away as Calumet City, Itasca, Barrington, and Sauk Village, IL.”
  • “Some of the key individuals who benefited from Schakowsky’s actions have close political ties to her and her allies. Mr. Singh contributed $500 to Schakowsky in 2004 and $2000 in 2006. He has also given thousands of dollars to other federal, state, and local Democratic candidates. Mr. Patel contributed $1000 to Ms. Schakowsky in 2002, and raised $50,000 for former governor (and convicted felon) Rod Blagojevich (D) in 2006. He also paid $34,000 to Mr. Blagojevich’s wife in real estate consulting fees; similar transactions were probed by prosecutors during Mr. Blagojevich’s recent corruption trial. . . . In addition, Mr. Patel’s lawyer is Democratic state senator Ira Silverstein, whom Schakowsky backed successfully in 2008 for the position of 50th Ward Democratic Committeeman.”

Cozy! Does that sound like a Special Interests story to you? If it does, perhaps Ms. Schakowsky IS an expert on such things . . . .

[Btw, I am Joel Pollak's Finance Chair. On the occasion of the WSJ profiling me in that role, Ms. Schakowsky labeled me as a Special Interest.]

Still wondering about her authority on the topic of Special Interests? According to FEC records, Ms. Schakowsky seems to hang out with Special Interests by the basketful. How many Labor Unions, lobbyists and trial lawyers does it take to be tainted by Special Interests? Or are Special Interests just small educational toy companies which complain about laws that Schakowsky defends???

Let’s see who gave money to Rep. Schakowsky through June 30:

PACs:

Union PACs:

• AFL-CIO COPE PAC
• Air-line Pilots Association PAC
• Amalgamated Transit Union PAC
• Am. Fed of Govt Employees PAC
• Am. Fed. Of State, County and Municipal Employees PAC
• Am. Fed. Of Teachers (AFL-CIO) PAC
• Am. Postal Workers Union PAC
• United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners PAC
• Letter Carriers Political Action Fund
• Intl Brotherhood of Teamsters DRIVE PAC
• Intl Union of Operating Engineers
• Intl Assn of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental & Reinforcing Ironworkers PAC
• Intl Assn of Firefighters PAC
• Intl Assn of Machinists and Aerospace Workers PAC
• Intl Brotherhood of Boilermakers Campaign Assistance Fund
• Intl Brotherhood of Electrical Workers PAC
• Laborers International Union of North America PAC
• Natl Air Traffic Controllers PAC
• Natl Assn of Social Workers PAC
• SEIU COPE
• Transport Workers Union PAC
• United Auto Workers PAC
• UniteHere (Garment and Textile Workers) PAC
• United Food & Commercial Workers Intl Union PAC
• United Pilots PAC
• United Transportation Union PAC

Medical Interest Group PACs –

• Am. Academy of Family Physicians PAC
• Am. Academy of Neurology Prof. Assn BrainPAC
• Am. Academy of Phys. Assts PAC
• Am. Assn of Nurse Anesthestists CRNA-PAC
• Am. Assn of Orthospaedic Surgeons PAC
• Am. College of Radiology Assn PAC
• Am. College of Surgeons PAC
• Am. Congress of Oby-Gyn PAC
• Am. Hospital Assn PAC
• Am. Nurses Assn PAC
• Am. Occupational Therapists Assn PAC
• Am. Optometric Assn PAC
• Am. Podiatric Medical Assn PAC
• Blue Cross Blue Shield PAC
• Natl Community Pharmacists Assn PAC
• Natl Emergency Medicine PAC

Corporate PACs -

• CME Group PAC
• Coca-Cola Enterprises PAC
• Credit Union PAC
• Emergent Biosolutions PAC
• Entertainment Software Association PAC
• Ford Motor Civic Action PAC
• General Electric PAC
• Illinois Central Rail Co. PAC
• Harris N.A. PAC
• Hospira Inc. PAC
• Kellogg Company PAC
• Kraft Foods PAC
• Lockheed-Martin PAC
• Microsoft Corporation PAC
• Natl Assn of Chain Drug Stores PAC
• Natl Assn of Realtors PAC
• Natl Beer Wholesalers Assn PAC
• Natl Cable and Telecom Assn PAC
• Northern Trust Corporation PAC
• Raytheon Company PAC
• UPS PAC
• Walgreen Co. PAC

Trial Lawyer PACs–

American Association for Justice (formerly the Assn of Trial Lawyers of America) PAC

Law Firm PACs

Drinker Biddle
Dykema Gossett
Hogan Lovells
Holland & Knight
McGuireWoods
Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough (former firm of Inez Tenenbaum’s Chief of Staff Matt Howsare and CPSC Executive Director Kenneth Hinson)
SNR Denton US LLP
Venable LLP (VEN-PAC)

Others –

• J Street PAC
• Medical Marijuana PAC

Individuals:

Lobbyists –

Michael Bauer (community organizer/lobbyist)
Jonathan Cuneo
Andrew Fields
Ken Inouye
Charles LaDuca
Andrew Quinn
Ed Rothschild (Podesta Group)
Larry Suffredin See also this link.
Susan White (health insurance lobbyist)

CPSC-related -

Pamela Gilbert (former Exec. Dir. of CPSC under Ann Brown; partner in Cuneo Gilbert & LaDuca law firm and lobbying firm; member of Obama Transition team – with now Commissioner Bob Adler – responsible for the CPSC)

Plaintiff/Trial Lawyers –

Patricia Bobb
Thomas Clancy
Robert Clifford
Kevin Conway
Philip Corboy, Jr.
Anne Megan Davis
Jay Paul Deratany
Linda Friedman See also this link.
Andrew Greene
Keith Heibeisen
Penny Nathan Kahan
Thomas Keefe See this link, too.
Clint Krislov
Jerry Latherow
Joseph Power
Thomas Prindable See this link, too.
Larry Rogers
Antonio Romanucci
Mary Stowell [She gave a mere $98,525 in 2008 campaign donations, and recently felt it was her "duty" to file a complaint with the FEC about Republican Bob Dold's June 30 campaign disclosure for the missing cost of a bus (bill not received).]
Candace Wayne

Other Notable Lawyers:

Patricia Curtner (bond lawyer)
Lynn Cutler (government affairs lawyer)
Elizabeth Gracie (real estate tax lawyer) See also her 2008 campaign contributions.
Gail Morse (state tax specialist)

Large Contributors to Dem Causes –

Lucy Ascoli
Prudence Beidler
Pam Crutchfield
Grace Allen Newton
Bettylu Salzman
Susan White
Lois Zoller

Others –

Gila Bronner (prominent government contractor)
Anna Giannoulias (mother of Democratic Senatorial candidate Alexi Giannoulias and family owners of well-known failed bank)
Laura Ricketts (part-owner of the Chicago Cubs)
Sheli Rosenberg (executive in various Sam Zell entities)
Howard Trienens (longtime Chairman of Board of Trustees of Northwestern University)

This list gives me a whole new perspective on Schakowsky’s campaign slogan “A Fighter on Our Side”. Which side is that, precisely?

While I am sure Ms. Schakowsky meant “cynical . . . special interest” as a compliment, I hardly deserve to be in such august company as her campaign contributors. I am sure she really meant “Shoo, fly, shoo”.

On November 2nd, we’ll see who shoos. Don’t forget to VOTE!

Read more here:
CPSIA – Jan Schakowsky’s Expert Opinion

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