Independent Women's Forum RSS feedhttp://www.iwf.orgThe RSS feed for the IWF. News, Commentary and Blog posts from the Independent Women's Foundation.(...)IWF RSS Anything. . . Just Not to a Mom?<p> Lately, I&rsquo;ve seen a lot of articles that tell people what not to say to mothers:</p> <p> <a href="">What not to say to a mom</a></p> <p> <a href="">What not to say to a mom who had a C-section</a></p> <p> <a href="">What not to say to a mom of boys</a></p> <p> <a href="">What not to say to a mom of girls</a></p> <p> <a href="">What not to say to moms of twins</a></p> <p> <a href="">What not to say to moms with one child</a></p> <p> <a href="">What not to say to moms of a lot of kids</a></p> <p> <a href="">What not to say to a stay-at-home mom</a></p> <p> What not to say to&hellip;.</p> <p> &hellip;and on and on it goes.</p> <p> Sadly, I haven&rsquo;t come across an article entitled: &ldquo;You Can Say Anything To Me Because I&rsquo;m a Grown Up Who Can Deal.&rdquo; And really, considering what moms do deal with on a daily basis, we really should be able to handle quite a bit, right?</p> <p> For instance, most new moms (and dads) go without a proper night&rsquo;s sleep for weeks at a time. Moms dutifully wipe dirty butts, pick boogers out of noses, and clean vomit off of car seats, beds, floors, carpets, and often even ourselves. Moms keep their kids safe during night terrors and sometimes sleep in teeny toddler beds. They clean and tend to wounds, pick hair for lice, and conduct body checks for ticks. Moms sometimes have to deal with school bullies, tough teachers, and those other moms on the playground who play mean girl games.</p> <p> Breastfeeding moms have to endure the process of feeding or pumping milk in less than ideal situations. Bottle feeding moms have to make sure their gear is clean and ready at all times. Working moms juggle schedules and caregiver needs and guilt, while stay-at-home moms battle loneliness and money woes and anxiety and guilt. All moms deal with nagging, constant interruptions, and thankless task completion each and every day. It&rsquo;s true that mothering can be humiliating, exhausting, physically challenging, frustrating, and yet rewarding all at the same time.</p> <p> Considering these clear displays of endurance, tell me, why in the world would these strong women be bothered when someone gives them a condemnatory side glance while breastfeeding in public? Why would these tough moms put much stock in the Crossfit Dad who looks aghast as their children devour a Happy Meal and sugary juice box? Why would a reasonable mom spend any time worrying about the snide remark made by the sanctimonious neighbor after witnessing that mom hauling in tons of formula and the party-size bag of cheeseballs after a trip to the grocery store?</p> <p> Of course, no one is made of steel. It&rsquo;s natural to feel uncomfortable when you sense that you are being judged, but why are we encouraging moms to care about something that&rsquo;s out of their control?</p> <p> This week, ABC News <a href="">reprinted a heartfelt Facebook post</a> by mom blogger Laura Mazza, imploring people to stop judging other moms. Mazza explained that we don&rsquo;t understand people&rsquo;s individual situations so we should hold off on judging that mom who is breastfeeding in public or that mom who is bottle-feeding, or the other mom that&rsquo;s scolding her kid loudly, or the one that won&rsquo;t get off her smartphone at the playground.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s a nice sentiment, but let&rsquo;s get real. No one&rsquo;s going to stop judging. Being judgmental is as natural as breathing. While Mazza&rsquo;s post is well-meaning, it might be better to advise women to try to ignore the judgment, side glances, snide comments and rudeness of others and just get on with their busy lives.</p> <p> Moms walk a tough road that requires a lot of physical and mental strength. It would be nice if the people around us always understood that and tried to make parenting easier. But it&rsquo;s inevitable that we are going to be met with some jerks along the way that add to our load. We don&rsquo;t need to wish them away; we have the choice to shrug them off and ignore those who don&rsquo;t approve.</p> <p> It wouldn&rsquo;t be the hardest thing you&rsquo;ve had to do today. Not even close.</p> GunlockMon, 26 Jun 2017 12:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumVulnerable women shouldn't have to wait 45 days to conceal carry • Cam & Company GunlockTue, 20 Jun 2017 15:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumDr. Gwyneth and Her Goop Will See You Now<p> Retired actress and current lifestyle guru Gwyneth Paltrow is determined to expand her Goop empire. Paltrow isn&rsquo;t going to let her recent <a href="">admission</a> on Jimmy Kimmel Live! that she &ldquo;Doesn&rsquo;t know what the f**k we [at Goop] talk about&rdquo; deter her from teaming up with Vogue editor Anna Wintour and Cond&eacute; Naste to launch a Goop magazine&mdash;a paper version of the website that will ostensibly be filled with more content that Paltrow doesn&rsquo;t really understand.</p> <p> And last week, Paltrow hosted her first Goop Health Summit, called <a href="">In Goop Health</a>, where people paid between $500-$1,500 to learn how to turn away from science and evidenced-based medicine in favor of a variety of peculiar and downright harmful treatments all sanctioned by the actress.</p> <p> Since I don&rsquo;t have an extra $500 laying around, I wasn&rsquo;t able to attend Goop&rsquo;s health conference in Los Angeles, but I did read others&rsquo; accounts and was pleased to see that most of the coverage was in agreement: At best, Goop is just another time-consuming fad for rich, white, body-obsessed women. At worst, Goop and these new health summits are dangerous and attract the very demographic vulnerable to dodgy medical advice and the promise of miracle cures.</p> <p> One critic of Paltrow&rsquo;s summit was Dr. Jen Gunter, a Canadian OB/GYN and a board certified pain specialist who is a frequent critic of medical quackery and pseudoscience. Hearing that Dr. Amy Meyers&mdash;a summit speaker&mdash;suggested that magnesium can be used in place of antibiotics to treat non life-threatening infections, Dr. Gunter, on her own website, reminding Goop devotees that all infections can become life-threatening if they&rsquo;re not treated properly. Gunter wrote:</p> <p> This is the medical equivalent of saying it&rsquo;s okay to play in traffic just avoid the really big trucks. Or only wear your seat belt if you think you are going to be in a life-threatening crash. This is dangerous and unethical advice. I am&nbsp;not sure how else to sum it up.</p> <p> The Guardian&rsquo;s Lindy West&mdash;usually someone who can be counted on to bash these sorts of privileged gatherings&mdash;was more sanguine, <a href="">writing</a> that we should all lighten up:</p> <p> These women are having fun. They are sitting on pillows and connecting with each other. It is the kind of spontaneously intimate conversation that happens among women all the time, dressed up in the language of magic and, sure, monetised.</p> <p> And some were simply amused. Elle&rsquo;s Crystal Meers <a href="">wrote</a>:</p> <p> High on matcha lattes and Bulletproof Coffee, women (and a handful of men) shopped the Clean Beauty Apothecary, hydrated with Moon Juice tonics, and joined The Class founder Taryn Toomey for a new style sweatless session. But bone broth aside, the main attraction of the day was the five panel discussions exploring the Goopiest of Goop topics from gut health to the mother wound.</p> <p> Whatever your feelings about Gwyneth, Goop, and the advice given out at the health summit, one thing&rsquo;s for sure: Despite her efforts to come off as a self-effacing everywoman interested in helping people &ldquo;become their best version,&rdquo; Paltrow&rsquo;s not at all like us. This was perhaps best demonstrated when Paltrow invited her good friends&mdash;actress and self-help book author Cameron Diaz, designer-of-very-expensive-clothing Tory Burch; I&rsquo;m-not-sure-what-she-does-or-why-she&rsquo;s-famous Nicole Richie, and super model and wife to a billionaire tech visionary Miranda Kerr&mdash;to chat about the complex job of being a working mother.</p> <p> Lindy West reported that each of them delivered &ldquo;a bounty of platitudes about ambition, female friendship, self-care&rdquo; but that not once did they acknowledge the elephant in the room: They are all filthy rich with staffs to help them deal with these &ldquo;complexities.&rdquo;</p> <p> Women seeking advice from the Goop panelists should also note that these women can also employ top doctors to treat them after they do something silly&mdash;like relying on crystals for hormonal balance, doing sixteenth-century leech treatments to improve skin, putting rocks in their vaginas, engaging in unnecessary draining of one&rsquo;s lymphatic system, steaming their vaginas (do you sense a theme?), sitting in pools of goat&rsquo;s milk to rid oneself of parasites, starting starvation diets, and deciding a picture of your aura is better than taking anti-depressants.</p> <p> For the average woman who lives on a budget, it&rsquo;s important to avoid things that actually make one sick and will cost precious dollars to fix. For that reason, it&rsquo;s probably best to avoid Goop&rsquo;s health advice, unless of course, you&rsquo;re in it for the laughs. There are plenty of those, along with the leeches.</p> GunlockMon, 19 Jun 2017 12:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumJerry Seinfeld Isn’t Disgusted Enough With Kardashian-Style Reality Television<p> Jerry Seinfeld isn&rsquo;t a fan of reality television. In an interview with sartorial online magazine Mr. Porter, Seinfeld explained that he&rsquo;s not one to easily get upset with his kids. Yet there&rsquo;s one thing that grates on his nerves: When they watch &ldquo;Keeping Up With the Kardashians.&rdquo;</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> <em>I never lose it around them. The one time I really, really got upset was when my daughter was watching the Kardashians on her phone in her bed and I could not take that scene. For someone who for their whole life, television was the Olympics of being a comedian. It was only for the very best. You had to have everything. You had to go through all the different hierarchies of your career to get to television. I&rsquo;m offended by reality television on many levels and that show of course is the premier example of reality television. These people are not doing anything interesting. I lost my temper with that one.</em></p> <p> Seinfeld&rsquo;s right of course, but it&rsquo;s clear his irritation with the Kardashian family has more to do with their seemingly effortless and meritless ascent to television stardom, a venue Seinfeld clearly reveres as only appropriate for those who have slaved away in the bowels of Hollywood or endured the standup comedy circuit like he did.</p> <p> While it does indeed seem unfair that this talent-free family has prospered on nothing more than self-promotion (to the tune of $100 million for four more seasons of vulgar showboating), the Kardashian clan&rsquo;s greatest offence is hardly taking advantage of a system that rewards those who have the least self-respect. In fact, they might even deserve praise for figuring out how to game the system.</p> <p> <strong>It&rsquo;s About Content, Not Just Style</strong></p> <p> The really disturbing thing about the Kardashians is the content of their show&mdash;the dysfunction, cruelty and disloyalty to each other, pettiness and backstabbing, staged relationships and even marriages, the drug abuse, depression, sexual exploits, boundary-less living and hard partying, financial recklessness, and utter moral emptiness. Or how about how the family&rsquo;s relentless pursuit of material wealth and fame has endangered Kim&rsquo;s physical health and Rob&rsquo;s mental health?</p> <p> These are the things that should bother Seinfeld far more than the family&rsquo;s bizarre meteoric rise and million-dollar payday.</p> <p> The Kardashians aren&rsquo;t the only ones producing unsavory content on television. Just last week, ABC suspended production of its reality show &ldquo;Bachelor In Paradise&rdquo; after allegations of sexual misconduct involving two inebriated contestants. The details are murky, but if we are talking about drunken hookups, one wonders: Isn&rsquo;t that the whole point of that show?</p> <p> <strong>The Kardashians Are Just One Example</strong></p> <p> Seinfeld also seems baffled that people actually want to watch ne&rsquo;er&ndash;do&ndash;wells doing nothing. But he forgets that voyeuristic window-peeping into the lives of rich people is a popular sport. What else accounts for the popularity of such vapid gossip sites as TMZ and Perez Hilton? Most of the people featured in those outlets are similarly &ldquo;not doing anything interesting,&rdquo; unless, of course, you consider paparazzi shots of Jennifer Aniston filling up her SUV&rsquo;s gas tank, Katy Perry lounging on a tropical beach, or a comparison of cellulite on the perfect-by-normal-standards bodies of young actresses to be interesting. Many do.</p> <p> There is some good news, though. It appears the popularity of reality television in general and the Kardashians&rsquo; show in particular are beginning to wane. Americans are experiencing a bout of reality television fatigue and have grown tired of the gimmicks to gain their attention&mdash;such as the weird cross-pollination of genres (&ldquo;Survivor&rdquo; with totally naked people? Let&rsquo;s give it a whirl! Blindfolded dating? Why not! B-grade celebrities and sharp knives? Heck yeah!).</p> <p> While Seinfeld may have missed the mark on why we should all change the channel when the Kardashians appear, he&rsquo;s still doing a public service by pointing out that there are far better things to watch on television&mdash;like old &ldquo;Seinfeld&rdquo; reruns.</p> GunlockMon, 19 Jun 2017 08:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumFancy Food Marketing: Silly or Smart? • Cam & Company GunlockTue, 13 Jun 2017 10:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhy The Baby Industry Really Doesn’t Want Newborns To Sleep In Cardboard Boxes<p> To paraphrase Dr. Seuss: would you put your baby in a house, with a mouse, in a box, with a fox? A lot of people are saying yes &mdash; to the box, that is. According to the <a href=""><em>New York Times</em>, babies in boxes are all the rage in Finland</a>, and there&rsquo;s growing popularity here in the United States.</p> <p> It makes sense. These days, it&rsquo;s trendy to suggest Scandinavian countries are far superior to the United States in basically all areas of policy&mdash;from maternity and paternity leave to gay marriage, education to government corruption, and so on. So it&rsquo;s no surprise that maternity wards in America are now adopting the Finnish style in how and where we put our newborns to bed.</p> <p> According to the <em>Times</em>, part of the appeal is that Finland has a very low child mortality rate&mdash;a statistic some hospitals and public health groups say is due to the fact maternity wards in Finland give new parents a cardboard box filled with baby supplies that can double as a baby bed.</p> <p> <strong>States Are Having Baby Box Giveaways</strong></p> <p> Now hospitals in several American states&mdash;New Jersey, Ohio, Alabama, and Texas&mdash;are planning to start their own baby box giveaway programs that, in addition to baby supplies like diapers and formula, will come with advice on safe sleeping practices for infants.</p> <p> Of course, this isn&rsquo;t anything new. When I brought home my firstborn son a decade ago, my father marveled at the supplies I had purchased. In addition to the crib, our son had a lovely, ruffled, and tufted bassinet to sleep in as well. My father chuckled at seeing these two expensive items. &ldquo;Huh&hellip;two beds for this precious boy!&rdquo; he noted. You should have seen his reaction to the diaper wipe warmer!</p> <p> My father then adopted what&rsquo;s best described as a grumpy &ldquo;These spoiled kids these days!&rdquo; attitude and reminded me that when I was a newborn, I was placed in a dresser drawer on the floor, adding, &ldquo;it was good enough for you!&rdquo;</p> <p> <strong>Babies Are Now Big Business</strong></p> <p> He&rsquo;s right, of course. But times have changed, and babies are now big business. In fact, the baby products industry rakes in billions of dollars each year. <a href="">A 2015 Vox article on the baby market boom</a>, asked an important, if not rather obvious, question: Are these companies serving parents, or just preying on them? Consider the money-making potential in this market before you answer. Vox reports:</p> <p> Some of the market&rsquo;s most dominant companies have hit record-breaking numbers over the last few years, further signaling that parents are indeed spending more money than ever before. In 2013, Graco, a popular supplier of strollers, car seats, and high chairs, pulled in $119 million in sales. But that&rsquo;s nothing compared to Pampers, Proctor &amp; Gamble&rsquo;s diaper brand which also happens to be its largest; it brought in $10.7 billion this past year. Bed Bath &amp; Beyond Inc. has seen its sales double since it acquired BuyBuy Baby in 2007. Babies &ldquo;R&rdquo; Us has expanded its footprint to 224 stores, and currently carries more than 20,000 products; it brought in $654 million as of August.</p> <p> Of course, there&rsquo;s nothing wrong with companies making money and understanding consumer demands and psychology. But it&rsquo;s also interesting to consider what a cardboard box would mean to this thriving and booming industry.</p> <p> <strong>The Government Wants To Regulate Your Baby Box</strong></p> <p> But the baby market need not worry. Their friends in the regulatory space are already sniffing around this (not so) new and affordable trend, and wringing their hands about the lack of regulation in the baby box industry. The <em>Times</em> article quotes one member of the Consumer Product Safety Commission&mdash;which is charged with pulling faulty, damaged, dangerous, or badly designed products from store shelves&mdash;wondering, &ldquo;What is the box made of? How durable is it? If you use it through three different children does it deteriorate?&rdquo; They add ominously, &ldquo;those are things they&rsquo;ll determine in the standards committee.&rdquo;</p> <p> Ah, yes, thank goodness for a government standards committee looking into these dangerous boxes and posing these tough questions.&nbsp; As usual, regulators think most parents are pretty stupid&mdash;unable to determine if a box has deteriorated to the point of being dangerous, or was somehow cheaply made and not durable enough to house a tiny infant for the night.</p> <p> If I were to do it all over again, I&rsquo;m not sure I&rsquo;d trade my crib and frilly bassinet for a lowly box. But we should all be able to agree that parents should have more choices and price points in baby products&mdash;and trust them to make the right decision for their families.</p> GunlockMon, 12 Jun 2017 10:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumJerry Seinfeld Reminds the World that Hugging Shouldn’t be Compulsory<p> When did compulsory hugging become a thing?</p> <p> I bet Jerry Seinfeld is asking that question. This week, <a href=";;utm_medium=social&amp;xid=entertainment-weekly_socialflow_twitter">video surfaced of him refusing to hug pop singer Kesha</a>, who approached him at an event at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.</p> <p> While Seinfeld was being interviewed on the red carpet, Kesha rushed over, interrupted the interview, and asked the comedian, &ldquo;Can I give you a hug?&rdquo;</p> <p> Not waiting for an answer (because in her mind, this was a rhetorical question&hellip;who would refuse a hug from a fellow rich celebrity, right?), Kesha moved toward Seinfeld, ready for her embrace.</p> <p> Seinfeld, startled, lifted his hands in a defensive mode; he stepped back from her, and then stuttered a little before saying, &ldquo;No thanks.&rdquo;</p> <p> Undeterred (and probably believing it was all part of Seinfeld&rsquo;s shtick), Kesha laughed then pleaded with the comedian, saying, &ldquo;Please?&rdquo; A little one?&rdquo; then again stepped forward with her arms outstretched. She was getting this hug!</p> <p> Again, Seinfeld backed away and said, this time with a tinge of annoyance in his voice, &ldquo;No thanks.&rdquo; He turned to the radio host who was interviewing him and said, &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t know who that was.&rdquo; Kesha fled with a screech, finally defeated.</p> <p> Poor Kesha.</p> <p> Seinfeld first approached the topic of odd social closeness and familiarity in season five of his popular sitcom Seinfeld in an episode called &ldquo;<a href="">The Raincoats</a>.&rdquo; The episode featured Elaine&rsquo;s &ldquo;close talker&rdquo; boyfriend Aaron (played by Judge Reinhold), meeting Jerry&rsquo;s parents, who are visiting. Hilarity ensues when Aaron moves awkwardly close to Jerry&rsquo;s mom, then to his dad, then to Jerry himself. His body language is slightly aggressive, like that of a drunk and belligerent frat boy starting a fight with a pledge. Yet Aaron isn&rsquo;t drunk or rude; he&rsquo;s completely affable and very generous (offering to take Jerry&rsquo;s parents to the Met when Jerry admits he&rsquo;s doing nothing to entertain them).</p> <p> That episode premiered in 1994, but Jerry, as usual, had tapped into a lasting cultural trend&mdash;our tendency to ignore personal space.</p> <p> A decade later, the <a href="">New York Times covered this issue</a> in a piece about promiscuous levels of hugging at a high school in Montvale, N.J., where students identified hugs by type:</p> <p> There is the basic friend hug, probably the most popular, and the bear hug, of course. But now there is also the bear claw, when a boy embraces a girl awkwardly with his elbows poking out.</p> <p> There is the hug that starts with a high-five, then moves into a fist bump, followed by a slap on the back and an embrace.</p> <p> There&rsquo;s the shake and lean; the hug from behind; and, the newest addition, the triple&mdash;any combination of three girls and boys hugging at once.</p> <p> Hugging even has a national holiday <a href="">with a website that offers swag</a>&mdash;like a hoodie with the words &ldquo;hug it out&rdquo; emblazoned on it. Cute. Hug Day was created thirty years ago to encourage people to openly express themselves through hugging. The organizers also say hugging reduces stress and blood pressure, except for, you know, the people who get stressed and whose blood pressure spikes at the very idea of being hugged by strangers. Today, one is expected to simply relax and take the hug that&rsquo;s offered and even to return that hug enthusiastically. If one seems hesitant to hug, one comes off as cold and boorish.</p> <p> Perhaps we&rsquo;ve reached a tipping point on hugging, however. Last year, the Times Square &ldquo;hug guy&rdquo; <a href="">punched a woman</a> who refused to pay him for his &ldquo;free hug.&rdquo; Clearly, hug guy has moved into the Seinfeld camp.</p> <p> I&rsquo;m not suggesting we return to the formal days of Victorian England, when touching was verboten, but perhaps we can take the physical contact down a notch or two. It might be nice to replace hugging with a smile and a handshake or even a friendly greeting with our arms planted firmly at our sides. So thank you, Seinfeld, for reminding us that although hugs are great, like good comedy, they should never be forced.</p> GunlockThu, 8 Jun 2017 12:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum"Too Safe" playground rules are causing more kids to act out • Cam & Co GunlockTue, 6 Jun 2017 09:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumPodcast #83 How vaping regulations harm those trying to quit smoking<p> Julie Gunlock sits down with Paul Blair of Americans for Tax Reform to discuss how proposed vaping regulations would harm Americans trying to quit the smoking habit.</p> GunlockFri, 2 Jun 2017 09:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumSC Johnson, Transparency, and the Free Market<p> SC Johnson&rsquo;s iconic advertisement campaign, which states it&rsquo;s &ldquo;a family company&rdquo; resonates with people. Family companies are associated with small town values, integrity, honesty and products that are durable, reliable, affordable and safe. People want to buy products from companies they trust.</p> <p> Last week, SC Johnson announced it wants to do more to gain consumer&rsquo;s trust. Responding to demands for more transparency, the company launched a <a href="">new website</a> that lists the chemicals used in their products. Ostensibly, this allows people who might have an allergy to certain chemicals to check which products contain those chemicals so that they can avoid them.</p> <p> SC Johnson is receiving vast praise for the move. Even Ken Cook, President of well-known alarmist organization The Environmental Working Group, praised the move. Cook told PR Newswire: &ldquo;SC Johnson is once again raising the bar for other companies,&rdquo; adding (emphasis mine):</p> <blockquote> <p> This is a groundbreaking disclosure of allergens in cleaning products from SC Johnson,&rdquo; Cook said. &ldquo;By taking these steps, SC Johnson will help millions of consumers be smarter about chemicals in cleaning products <strong><em>that have the potential to causes allergic skin responses</em></strong>.</p> </blockquote> <p> While I&rsquo;m happy to see Cook praise SC Johnson, it&rsquo;s important to remember that while there are chemicals out there that can cause allergic reactions, the mere presence of a these chemicals does not automatically mean a person <em>will</em> develop an allergic reaction&mdash;even for those with diagnosed allergies to a particular chemical. SC Johnson and many other companies that produce cleaning and personal care products use chemicals in very small amounts&mdash;far below what causes allergic sensitivity to develop.</p> <p> Of course, what&rsquo;s lost in all of this is the discussion of why manufacturers use these chemicals in the first place. Consumers should know that chemicals often make products better, longer lasting, more durable, free of bacteria, and more affordable. It&rsquo;s easy to get caught up in the alarmism surrounding chemicals and to be afraid of the multisyllabic words that might appear on ingredient labels. But it&rsquo;s important that people realize that these products undergo hundreds of safety tests before being placed on store shelves.</p> <p> When I see efforts to provide more information to consumers, I&rsquo;m reminded of the benefit of the free market system. Government didn&rsquo;t make SC Johnson do this&mdash;consumer demand drove this industry initiative. That&rsquo;s good for shoppers.</p> GunlockWed, 31 May 2017 11:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumVaping industry under regulatory fire • Cam & Company GunlockTue, 30 May 2017 09:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumPolicy Focus: E-Cigarettes: When Regulatory Overkill Actually Kills<p> Each year, nearly half a million Americans die of smoking-related diseases. Smoking-related healthcare costs exceed $300 billion a year. Convincing people to stop smoking is both a public health and economic priority.</p> <p> Electronic cigarettes, more commonly called e-cigarettes, have helped in that effort. In Europe, 6.1 million people have switched from traditional cigarettes to far less harmful vaping products. In the United States, new government data reveals nine million adults now use e-cigarette products&mdash; the vast majority of whom were former traditional cigarette smokers.</p> <p> Unlike traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes do not contain tobacco and, crucially, do not burn or smoke. With traditional cigarettes, harm comes from the toxins released (tar) when a cigarette burns. As Professor Michael Russell remarked in his landmark 1976 study on harm reduction, &ldquo;People smoke for nicotine but they die from the tar.&rdquo;</p> <p> E-cigarettes do not burn but instead contain a liquid solution made up of glycol and flavorings, and in some cases, nicotine. Vaping (the term for smoking an e-cigarette) closely mimics smoking yet is 95 percent less harmful than smoking and has helped millions of smokers quit traditional cigarettes.</p> <p> Yet access to these products is in danger thanks to new FDA regulations that require all vaping products to undergo a retroactive FDA pre-approval process at a cost of $400,000 and over 500 man-hours per vaping product.</p> <p> Because the vast majority of vape shops are small businesses, and most produce multiple vaping avors (each of which will be required to go through a separate approval), it&rsquo;s estimated that 99 percent of all vaping businesses will close, robbing consumers and, tragically, those who are trying to quit traditional cigarettes of these vital, safe, and useful products.</p> <p> <strong><span style="font-size: 16px;"><a href="">CLICK HERE TO READ THE 6-PAGE POLICY FOCUS &gt;&gt;&gt;</a></span></strong></p> GunlockWed, 24 May 2017 09:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumIWF Joins Coalition Urging FDA Commisioner to Ease the Heavy-Handed Regulatory Approach to E-Vaping<p> <span style="font-size: 12px;">WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Independent Women&#39;s Forum today joined&nbsp;</span>Taxpayers Protection Alliance<span style="font-size: 12px;">&nbsp;and 18 other policy leaders and advocacy groups from across the country in sending a letter to&nbsp;</span>Dr. Scott Gottlieb, newly confirmed commisioner of the Food and Drug Administration,<span style="font-size: 12px;">&nbsp;urging him to&nbsp;</span>propel the FDA as a leader in smartly evaluating the risks and rewards of new technologies - like electronic vapor (aka e-cigarettes) - that can improve public health.&nbsp;</p> <p> Additional groups that signed the coalition letter include American Commitment, Americans for Tax Reform, Competitive Enterprise Institute, and many other public policy organizations and leaders.&nbsp;</p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><a href="">VIEW PDF OF LETTER</a></strong></span></p> <p> May 23, 2017<br /> <br /> The Honorable Dr. Scott Gottlieb<br /> Administrator Food and Drug Administration<br /> 1717 Pennsylvania Ave NW #1025<br /> Washington, DC 20006<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Dear Administrator Gottlieb,<br /> <br /> We the undersigned organizations dedicated to improving public health and reducing taxpayers&rsquo; burden through innovation, congratulate you on your confirmation to chair the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). We look forward to working with the FDA to craft policies to give Americans new and revolutionary options to better their health. Most immediately, we urge the FDA to create an environment that encourages smokers to switch from traditional cigarettes to less harmful alternatives like electronic and heat-not-burn products which research shows are significantly less likely to cause the deadly conditions associated with burned tobacco products.<br /> <br /> The world is moving from analog to digital in almost every aspect. Wearable tech like Fitbit and Apple Watch are changing the way we exercise and monitor our health. Telemedicine is providing access to doctors for those in remote areas or difficult circumstances. Companies like Zipline are using drones to deliver medicine in Rwanda, overcoming a lack of roads and other infrastructure challenges. These advances provide unprecedented access to information and services by bypassing conventional outmoded paradigms and creating new ones.<br /> <br /> The tobacco market has experienced a similar tech-driven disruption. Over the past decade, electronic vapor (aka e-cigarettes) has evolved from a marginal novelty to a significant part of the lives of Americans across the spectrum as they seek out safer and better nicotine-delivery alternatives. As millions switch from smoking to vaping, the mass movement from a harmful analog product&mdash;cigarettes&mdash; to demonstrably safer digitized products should be celebrated as a development with the potential to improve and save millions of lives.<br /> <br /> Despite the success of educational campaigns on the harms of tobacco use, cessation efforts have hit a plateau, with a portion of the population unable to kick their deadly habit. We recognize that quitting tobacco use is a complex and personal challenge; what works for some may not work for all. This effort demands an all-of-theabove approach. As we noted in a previous letter to Congress:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> The world has made enormous progress in reducing smoking. Decades of improvements in education, research, and cessation methods have helped reduce the percentage of smokers in the US from 42.4% in 1965 to 15.1% today. Despite those efforts, nearly 40 million Americans and a billion people worldwide still smoke &mdash; most in low and middle-income countries that are hit harder by tobacco-related illness. How the FDA regulates new, life-saving technology will influence regulators and policymakers throughout the world.</p> <p> Unfortunately, the FDA&rsquo;s often opaque and heavy-handed regulatory approach has not kept up with the ever-changing landscape of technology and innovation. For example, the Deeming Rule, which took effect August 8, 2016, would dramatically slow the progress of e-vapor harm reduction. As we summarized, the rule:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> ...requires e-vapor product manufacturers to endure a lengthy and expensive pre-market tobacco application process for all products not brought to market before the predicate date of February 15, 2007. Unless a product is &ldquo;substantially equivalent&rdquo; to decade-old products, the FDA estimates that a single application will take 5,000 hours and cost $330,000. The FDA estimates that companies will need to file 20 applications for each product within the first two years of regulation, setting the cost around $6 million per product. Even that would be enough to exclude all but the largest companies, but the National Center for Public Policy Research estimates the real cost will be closer to $1 million per application. The industry has seen massive growth and innovation in the last decade. By setting the predicate date well before the introduction of most modern vapor products, the FDA has ensured that most manufacturers will be forced to shut down, as 99% of products will not go through the required process.</p> <p> We hope that under your leadership, the FDA can become a leader in smartly evaluating the risks and rewards of new technologies that can improve public health. As the speed of innovation continues to increase, we stand ready to work with you in good faith and in context of the best available science to serve the American people.<br /> <br /> We further request a meeting with you or your designee to discuss these concerns.<br /> <br /> Sincerely,<br /> <br /> David Williams, President, Taxpayers Protection Alliance<br /> Evan Swarztrauber, Director of Public Affairs, TechFreedom<br /> Lisa B. Nelson, CEO, ALEC Action<br /> Phil Kerpen, President, American Commitment<br /> Grover Norquist, President, Americans for Tax Reform<br /> Col Francis X. De Luca USMCR (Ret), President, Civitas Institute<br /> Michelle Minton, Fellow, Competitive Enterprise Institute<br /> Matthew Kandrach, President, Consumer Action for a Strong Economy<br /> Jason Pye, Director of Public Policy and Legislative Affairs, FreedomWorks<br /> George Landrith, President, Frontiers of Freedom<br /> Joseph Bast, President and CEO, The Heartland Institute<br /> Julie Gunlock, Outreach and Program Director, Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum<br /> Heather Higgins, President and CEO, Independent Women&rsquo;s Voice<br /> Andrew Langer, President, Institute for Liberty<br /> Don Racheter, Ph.D, Moderator, Iowa Wednesday Group<br /> Forest Thigpen, President, Mississippi Center for Public Policy<br /> Jeff Stier, Senior Fellow, National Center for Public Policy Research<br /> Pete Sepp, President, National Taxpayers Union<br /> Eli Leher, President, R Street Institute<br /> Paul Gessing, President, Rio Grande Foundation<br /> <br /> cc:<br /> The Honorable Donald J. Trump<br /> President of the United States of America<br /> The Honorable Dr. Tom Price<br /> Secretary of Health and Human Services<br /> The Honorable Mick Mulvaney<br /> Director of the Office of Management and Budget</p> GunlockTue, 23 May 2017 12:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumMichelle Obama criticizes average Americans food choices, flaunts personal chef • Cam & Company GunlockTue, 23 May 2017 12:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumHey, Michelle Obama: If You Have a Personal Chef, Don’t Criticize Regular Americans’ Food Choices<p> Many Americans think Michelle Obama did a stellar job as First Lady&mdash;evidently including Michelle Obama herself. Last week, she joined former White House chef turned chief sycophant Sam Kass to trade compliments on how together they transformed the way common Americans eat.</p> <p> <a href="" target="_blank">Speaking</a>&nbsp;at the Partnership for a Healthier America&rsquo;s annual meeting in Washington, D.C., Mrs. Obama&rsquo;s trotted out stale material (&ldquo;Malia was so sad to see her Kraft Mac-n-Cheese getting thrown out!&rdquo;) while Kass told his own stories about his proximity to the royal family and relished Mrs. Obama&rsquo;s explanation that he had enlightened and encouraged them to rid their kitchen of the lower class horror of &ldquo;processed foods.&rdquo;</p> <p> Mrs. Obama, expanding on her familiar and now very tired mac-n-cheese story, explained how she soothed the troubled first daughter by assuring her that mac-n-cheese can still be eaten, but it has to be made from scratch. Then, without a hint of irony, she revealed a rather important detail: she wasn&rsquo;t the one doing the cooking. That was Kass&rsquo; job.</p> <p> That interesting nugget of information came after Kass asked Mrs. Obama to look back on those tough days as a working mom, just before and after Obama was elected to the Senate. As a reminder, that was when Mrs. Obama was earning over a quarter million dollars working at a Chicago hospital while also serving on the board of a large food company (that produces processed foods). Senator Obama was also receiving considerable royalties from his book&nbsp;<em>Dreams From My Father</em>.</p> <p> While most Americans who struggled to make ends meet during the Obama presidency might assume that life was pretty good in the Obama&rsquo;s household even before he ascended to the Oval Office, Michelle wasn&rsquo;t so sanguine, saying instead that life was hard. She was traveling a lot, Barack wasn&rsquo;t home, and she was helping with the campaign. Luckily, she had Kass by her side who, she admitted, was hired as the family&rsquo;s personal chef.</p> <p> While I&rsquo;m sure all moms would love to come home, kick off their high heels, and sit down with their families to a chef-prepared meal, most simply don&rsquo;t have such luxuries. Instead, normal moms just want to produce something quickly (like those &ldquo;processed foods&rdquo; Mrs. Obama so loves to hate&mdash;boxed mac-n-cheese, frozen chicken nuggets, canned fruit cocktail, rotisserie chicken, canned soup) so that they can actually have a conversation with their kids, help them with homework, give them baths and put them to bed. You know, mom things, rather than preparing the homemade b&eacute;chamel sauce and grating a block of organic Vermont cheddar that will eventually be folded into the just-boiled elbow macaroni and then baked for a half hour. Yay! Dinner served at 9pm!</p> <p> In Mrs. Obama&rsquo;s world it&rsquo;s easy to produce homemade baked noodle dishes when you have Sam Kass doing all the work.</p> <p> Eventually moving past her own troubled and difficult time as an upper middle class mom with a staff, supportive husband, and thriving career, Mrs. Obama went on to praise the food industry for cutting calories in foods. That is indeed an accomplishment and the companies as well as the organization that coordinated these calorie reductions&mdash;The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation&mdash;deserve praise. Yet, Mrs. Obama might also reflect on the fact that the food industry makes a practice of responding to consumer demands.</p> <p> One of the demands moms have made for the last several decades (as women have returned to the workforce in droves) is to have more, not less, of what Mrs. Obama likes to pejoratively call &ldquo;processed food.&rdquo; Busy moms and dads usually call these foods by another name&mdash;convenience foods, because these products help parents produce healthy meals in a short amount of time.</p> <p> Mrs. Obama means well and there&rsquo;s no doubt that she&rsquo;s had a transformative impact on the nation&rsquo;s eating habits&mdash;some of it good and much of it bad. But she needs to remember what F. Scott Fitzgerald said about the very rich: &ldquo;They are different from you and me.&rdquo; Michelle Obama is different from you and me.</p> <p> Which is why most normal parents would do well to ignore her advice.</p> GunlockThu, 18 May 2017 16:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum