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CPSIA and minibikes

In the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, cycle shop owner Mike Larson explains how CPSIA’s irrationality actually increases risk: “Kids aren’t licking or eating their ATVs, but they just might ride adult-sized ATVs thanks to this ban. Congress is putting kids in danger by refusing to address this problem.”

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Speaker line-up via Rick Woldenberg; opening statements by Reps. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.) and Fred Upton (R-Mich.); ABC News coverage; Republicans reportedly preparing legislation that would amend, but not repeal, the ill-conceived statute; a move to strip funding for the controversial product database.

A separate piece of legislation may address the law’s devastating effects on the sale of youth motorcycles, snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles:

“The original legislation Congress passed was meant to keep kids safe from lead content in toys,” said Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT), who comes from a state where smaller recreational vehicles are popular. “Ironically, the overreaching enforcement wound up putting kids at risk by forcing them to use larger more dangerous machines that are intended only for adults.”

Rehberg’s “Kids Just Want to Ride” Act, which he introduced last month, has 41 co-sponsors, including seven Democrats. A similar bill in the last Congress garnered 70 co-sponsors, including 24 Democrats.

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Carter at Point of Law compiles a list of mostly-bad bills Congress left town without passing [parts one and two] One very worrisome law of this sort, the we-sue-the-world Foreign Manufacturers Legal Accountability Act (FMLAA), is the subject of a new policy analysis by my Cato Institute colleagues Daniel Griswold and Sallie James (it’s the sort of aggressive trade restriction that could touch off major retaliation, not to mention its possible CPSIA-like effects on vintage dirtbike collectors; more background here, here, and here).

Unfortunately, two troublesome enactments — the food safety bill and the misnamed Paycheck Fairness Act — were teed up by Majority Leader Harry Reid for possible expedited passage in the lame duck session.

The Motorcycle Industry Council feels momentum is now on its side in its effort to re-legalize youth motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles, which flunk CPSIA’s ban on lead-containing alloys. [MotorcycleUSA.com] More background here and here.

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kingstork21

  • As noted earlier, the next all-out debacle on the CPSIA front is expected to result from the law’s tracking and labeling regulations, due to take effect August 14, and for which the CPSC has not yet issued guidance, although product makers ordinarily need to resolve crucial issues of manufacturing (as with etching of lot numbers) and packaging at least many months if not longer in advance of sale. Sharon McLoone at CNNMoney had quite a good report a week ago on this latest crisis, which as of this writing has not been followed up much of anywhere else in the press. This continues the pattern in which 1) most key elements of the ongoing CPSIA disaster get good coverage in at least one (sometimes more) major media outlets; 2) the bigger-picture disaster of the law never quite succeeds in breaking out into general coverage as a national story, in large part because 3) the agenda-setting New York Times never consents (even six months into the story!) to give the matter any coverage at all. For more hints on the approaching tracking-label train wreck, see this op-ed by a South Carolina maker of school supplies (“Companies such as ours are now forced to guess about their new legal requirements. … My company may have to change labels hundreds of times a week in our two factories. The investment necessary to handle this new rule alone is crippling.”), or the comments of appliquéd bib maker Laurel Schreiber of Lucy’s Pocket (if the testing doesn’t get her, the tracking labels will), or of New Jersey wooden toy maker John Greco (advised that tracking info would add $3.50 to $5.00 to cost of making $10 handmade toy). And here’s a view from the home furnishings business.
  • No, the menace to pre-1985 children’s books has not gone away, not in the least. Librarians and publishers remain on the edge of their seats awaiting exemptions, clarifications or both. There was some good coverage last month in the Sioux Falls Business Journal (store owner Jenny Cook “had to throw out only 30 books at her store to comply” because most were newer; “Siouxland Libraries has pulled a list of books that were published before 1985″) and at Syracuse.com (“When you think through the implications, it means closing our libraries to children”). And in a sign of possible things to come, ABC-affiliated stations in Seattle and Washington, D.C. have now run sensationalist “toxic books!” attacks on local libraries [Common Room, ShopFloor] More: Winifred Maker, Anderson Valley Post (April).
  • The CPSC’s stay of enforcement didn’t really solve the problem of the ban on dirtbikes and mini-ATVs, and responsible users and dealers end up getting the short end of the stick [Jason Giacchino/ATVSource, Vince Castellanos/ESPN FMX, Motorcycle Industry Council, Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier]
  • Downtown Los Angeles is home to an estimated 500 toy companies — most of them far smaller than crosstown giant Mattel — and they’re in much distress from the law. [Alexa Hyland, L.A. Business Journal] The L.A. Times, which once gave serious scrutiny to the law’s effects on the apparel and resale sectors, seems (scroll) to be dropping the ball.
  • Those who remain in the kids’-product business after coping with all the other parts of the law will also want to educate themselves about “recall escrows” [Rick Woldenberg]
  • Inez Tenenbaum, named by Obama as new CPSC chair, had her confirmation hearing on Tuesday [ShopFloor and more, Rick Woldenberg]. Nancy Nord earlier stepped down from her role as acting chair.
  • What, what, what could they have been thinking? The American Library Association has actually given its 2009 Public Service Award to California Senator Barbara Boxer, a key architect of some of CPSIA’s provisions; the retroactive phthalates ban she championed has been especially effective in forcing “books-plus” off library shelves, and she has turned a coldly unsympathetic ear to cries of distress over the law (via @melanes). To repeat: what could the ALA have been thinking?
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Public domain images courtesy ChildrensLibrary.org: Walter Crane, illustrator, The Baby’s Aesop (1887).

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bikepostermichelinThe Bicycle Product Suppliers Association has played a role (PDF) in the fight against CPSIA’s (presumably inadvertent) ban on kids’ bicycles; it’s also been dealing with a controversy in the New Jersey legislature over a proposed ban on quick release wheels. But now the legal bills are coming due: “In fact, the expenses associated with these issues could ultimately surpass the association’s entire annual budget of approximately $100,000,” said BPSA president John Nedeau [Bicycle Retailer].

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Plenty of news in recent days:bicycleposter2

  • Ordinary bicycles have now joined youth motorbikes and ATVs in the twilight status of not-quite-legal temporary toleration. That’s the impact of a unanimous (2-0) vote (PDF) by the Consumer Product Safety Commission granting the conventional bicycle industry a two-year stay but not exemption from CPSIA’s lead limits (earlier). Since everyday bikes unavoidably contain some lead that is potentially absorbable (if at infinitesimal levels), they are not legal, exactly, but the Commission promises not to go after anyone for selling them, for now. CPSC acting chair Nancy Nord:

    We are compelled to deny the petition because the language of the statute does not give us the flexibility to do otherwise, even though our staff does not believe that lead exposure from using bicycles and related products presents a risk that they would recommend the Commission regulate. The risk assessment methods traditionally used by the Commission in evaluating exposure to lead are no longer available to us under the CPSIA.

    Nevertheless, we also recognize, as we did when presented with a similar petition filed by the All Terrain Vehicle industry, that safety requires the presence of some lead in the metal used in the product to insure structural integrity. I am also mindful of the staff’s findings that the contact children may have with the parts of the products that contain lead is not extensive and would not present a risk as we have traditionally understood the term—that is, would not increase blood lead levels in any measurable way. Presented with the dilemma of inflexibility in the law vs the need for regulatory action that recognizes safety and good sense considerations, we are opting to stay enforcement.
    Rumors of wolves
    This course of action is becoming all too frequent for the CPSC. It is needed to avoid market disruptions and to protect consumers. However, it is not the optimal way to implement a statute.

  • On the other hand — and with potentially catastrophic consequences for businesses large and small — the commission by a 1-1 vote (Nord in favor, Thomas Moore against) turned down a stay (PDF) of the tracking label requirements due for August (earlier here and here). Much coverage at NAM ShopFloor, here (decisions on packaging, whether to etch numbers into products, etc. must be made with much lead time and manufacturers now face staggering costs if they guess wrong), as well as here, here, and here.
  • When flocks stray

  • Yesterday the House Small Business Committee held its long-awaited hearings, the first in either chamber since CPSIA took effect, on the law’s calamitous impacts on business. I haven’t had a chance to watch yet, but the House Small Business majority (Democratic) side has put up videos. The impression one gets from reform blogs is that 1) the hearing itself was pretty good but that 2) committee leadership then proceeded to ignore much of what was actually said and rally behind the Waxman line that there’s nothing wrong with the law itself, it’s just that the CPSC leadership hasn’t implemented it properly. [Carter Wood, Rick Woldenberg, Woldenberg's submitted statement]
  • Chalkydoodles has a two-part interview with founder Cecilia Leibovitz of the Handmade Toy Alliance: part I, part II (via ExUrbanis);
  • CMMJaime takes a look at the CPSC’s new handbook for resellers, and finds its reassurances for small businesses subjective and vague, particularly when it comes to lines like: “Use your best judgment based on your knowledge of the product”.
  • “Toy importer Rob Wilson’s company sometimes sells wooden children’s puzzles, but he hasn’t ordered one since last November.” That’s from the Metro-West Daily News in suburban Boston, which also has this ominous political bit:

    McGovern [Rep. James McGovern, D-Mass.] said the federal agency is not being onerous, and businesses should work with it to resolve their worries.

    In a written statement, Sen. John Kerry’s office said the measure is meant to keep dangerous products off the shelves, and it needs a chance to work before it is changed.

Public domain paper doll images courtesy Karen’s Whimsy.

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porcupinesnake2

  • Understatement alert: per the official Congressional Research Service on Capitol Hill, “For the moment…one thing seems certain: implementation of the CPSIA is not going well.” [report in PDF format courtesy ShopFloor]
  • In Wisconsin, the Madison Children’s Museum has for the past 21 years based its annual fundraiser (July 18, this year) on a big discount sale of American Girl dolls and accessories. Worse luck for them.
  • “Anti-recycling”, maybe? Is there a word for what happens when you yank perfectly safe, useful products off shelves by the ton and send them instead to landfills?
  • Blast from the past dept.: if you think Public Citizen has made a mess of the risk and science issues in its advocacy on behalf of CPSIA, you should check out the world-class mess it made when it enlisted in the trial lawyer campaign against silicone breast implants, to name but such one campaign of many.
  • Powersports dealers wary of whether new stay of enforcement really protects them [DealerNews, Sioux City (Iowa) Journal]
  • The first senior, influential Senate Democrat to acknowledge that CPSIA needs fixing? Montana’s Max Baucus is willing at least to sign on to a legalize-minibikes bill.
  • In the comments section on NPR’s phthalates story earlier this month, one of the most-recommended comments was that by Steven Tesney of Houston, who wrote, “As a result of CPSIA and the surrounding political grandstanding, my small home-based company will be going out of business. I design clothing for ‘Alternative’ families with infants, toddlers & kids. My products are organic and use natural dyes but because of new testing requirements that are completely cost prohibitive, I will be forced – along with hundreds of thousands of crafters, artisans and other small business owners – to close my doors. The only companies that will be able to afford the testing will be large corporations (many from China). Mass produced goods win while homemade, handcrafted goods lose. Say goodbye to the charming hand carved wooden toys & crocheted baby caps that you take to baby showers. Say hello to a plethora of licensed products staring back at your children.”
  • “CPSIA and the black market” [Wacky Hermit]

crowandpitcher2
Public domain image courtesy ChildrensLibrary.org: Walter Crane, illustrator, The Baby’s Aesop (1887)

It’s going to take an act of Congress to bring dirtbikes, kid-size ATVs and similar motorized vehicles back into the legal sunlight. In the mean time, though, the CPSC has consented to let them venture back out into a half-legal and temporary twilight. That’s the upshot of the commission’s new pair of decisions, in which it’s 1) granting a temporary stay of enforcement on the vehicles, just as in February it granted such a temporary stay with respect to some of CPSIA’s most impractical testing obligations for manufacturers, while 2) refusing to accord the recreational vehicles an actual exemption from the law. Because of the latter refusal, sale and service of the vehicles will continue to be in violation of the law’s terms, and dealers and families will have to hope that the 50 state attorneys general agree to follow the federal agency’s lead in forbearing from enforcing the law for the time being. [Motorcycle Industry Council; StopTheBanNow.com; documents at "What's New" section of agency site]
Ride in the shadows
Why this unsatisfactory half-relief, in the face of a continuing uproar against the ban? Acting chair Nancy Nord has said she believes a permanent exemption to be inconsistent with CPSIA’s terms, which forbid such exemptions unless manufacturers can proffer a scientific demonstration that leaving a class of products on the market will not result in “any” lead absorption or other public health risk. Her co-commissioner Thomas Moore, while as usual distancing himself from Nord and from critics of the law, reached the same conclusion, agreeing that the ban was risking safety problems by causing kids to get on bikes too large for them. [Washington Post] According to Rick Woldenberg, the industry submitted evidence that the lead exposure a child would experience from riding an ATV for between two and seven weeks would approximate the amount of naturally occurring lead in one (1) Coffee Nip candy (a perfectly legal confection). But “so infinitesimal as not to worry about” is not the same thing as “not any”, and no such legal distinction was recognized by the drafters of CPSIA, for whom the maxim “the dose makes the poison” would appear as mysterious as if written in, well, some sixteenth-century German book.

More on the political maneuvering and protests over the industry’s pleas for relief: KneeSlider, CycleTrader, ShopFloor (and more there). On protests, see RacerX Online, CALA (on Malcolm Smith protest). Missouri legislator Tom Self made a 10-day tour to Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky on behalf of lifting the ban [Covenant Zone]. No word on whether an April 23 protest rally set for Denver will go forward as scheduled.
Crossed one motocrosser too many
Congress, of course, must act. Apropos of which, Covenant Zone has some further thoughts with which to close:

A sign of immaturity in children is when they fail to see the consequences of their actions; without a belief in the value of seeing the big picture, they would constantly snack on chocolate bars and coca-cola instead of fruits, vegetables and juice, they would stay up “past their bedtime” at the expense of a good night’s sleep and being refreshed for the next day, they would simply jump on a motorbike and ride instead of summoning the discipline to first learn about safety and maintenance, as well as the honesty required in understanding how to ride within one’s limits.

Sometimes I get the impression that the average kid who spends time in the great outdoors has more maturity, common sense and appreciation for the broad horizon of life’s Big Picture than does the average members of Congress, who don’t even read the bills they sign into law.

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Last week twenty-eight Democratic senators sent a letter (PDF) to Acting CPSC Chair Nancy Nord the gist of which can be summed up as, “Never mind the law we passed, start enforcing the more reasonable law we wish we’d passed”. Neat move, if somewhat at odds with the concept of the “rule of law”.

Rick Woldenberg scrutinizes the politics (with particular attention to ATVs/minibikes) and also points out something seldom brought out in press accounts: the last 23 commission votes on CPSIA have been settled by 2-0 votes, with reputedly “good” CPSC commissioner Thomas Moore (cozy with Congress, vocally pro-CPSIA, a Democrat) voting exactly the same way as Nord, the reputedly “bad” commissioner (at odds with Congress, unenthusiastic about much of CPSIA, known to be a Republican, etc.) Fickle friends Which particular decisions, one wonders, would have turned out differently had some new appointee been installed in the vacant third seat, as Rep. Henry Waxman is reputedly demanding as a precondition for even considering hearings on the law? Woldenberg makes the same point today in a Chicago Tribune letter to the editor, responding to an exceptionally lame April 4 editorial in that paper. More on CPSC politics: news-side WSJ; Nord responds to attack from Sen. Durbin, and requests that President Obama name permanent chair to replace her (more). (Update: the National Law Journal is out with coverage of the “furor” CPSIA has set off in Washington).

On a brighter note, AmendTheCPSIA has posted videos (slow loading) of the Capitol Hill rally two weeks ago to demand action on the law. Here’s the video of dirtbike racing dad Rod Yentzer and 6-year-old (!) son Chase:

And here’s bike dealer Steve Burnside of DSD Kawasaki in Parkersburg, West Virginia:


Also, Carol Baicker-McKee has a another excellent post on the rally, while Rick Woldenberg discusses the politics of the event. Earlier rally coverage here.
Public domain image: Yankee Mother Goose (1902), illustrator Ella S. Brison, courtesy ChildrensLibrary.org.

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Last Wednesday’s CPSIA rally at the Capitol drew an overflow crowd of hundreds, with thousands more reportedly watching from around the world via webcast. Many speakers had powerful stories to tell, and cameras from CNN and ABC were on hand to record them; AP mentioned the event in covering the dirtbike-ban story. There is, as you might imagine, no way to upstage a six-year-old motocross champion who declares from the podium, “I promise I won’t eat my dirt bike”.

A few things I learned by attending:

  • Ordinary bikes (not the motorized kind) are clearly out of compliance with the law because of the leaded brass in certain components, and have been given no exemption. I’m still wondering why the CPSC directed the motorbike dealers to tarp over their inventory but did not do the same with the ordinary-bike dealers. Earlier here; much more (PDF) in this CPSC submission by Mayer Brown for the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association.
  • Until I saw their handout leaflet, it hadn’t sunk in that the non-profit and charitable giants in resale, including Goodwill, Salvation Army, Easter Seals, Volunteers of America, and St. Vincent de Paul, have banded together in a Donated Goods Coalition. Good for them, and I hope someone listens.
  • Held up for inspection

  • Even blogging the subject as much as I have, I’ve somehow said almost nothing about CPSIA’s requirements for batch numbering, labeling and tracking of kids’ products, due to hit later this year. It seems these requirements all by themselves will suffice to wipe out small producers in droves even if the crazy testing requirements can somehow be made sane.  A few write-ups touching on the subject: Handmade Toy Alliance (Word document), Kathleen Fasanella/Fashion Incubator, Publisher’s Weekly.
  • The rally happened because of the efforts of grass-roots business people around the country, above all Rick Woldenberg of Learning Resources. (The story of the Oregon delegation could stand for that of many others.) Motorbike people were much in evidence. Also present: people from trade associations from regular businesses not been much heard from in the CPSIA furor of recent months, including makers of shoes and footwear, cribs, and even household cleansers, all of whom turned out to have stories to tell. Who knew there was a whole association specializing in the little items you get when you put in the quarter in the vending machine and turn the crank?
  • Kids’-book author (and valued commenter) Carol Baicker-McKee was there and gave a superb talk, making effective use of a copy of Orwell’s 1984. Otherwise, however, among groups deeply affected by the legislation, the book and library trades were conspicuous by their absence. I wasn’t the only one who noticed this; so did Publisher’s Weekly.
  • I finally got to meet face to face many persons who have been favorably mentioned in these columns over the past three months. I was not surprised to find a whole lot of nice, dedicated people, the sort of people you’d want to be making products for your children to use. You, Reader, would have enjoyed meeting them too.
  • Many members of Congress spoke. All were Republican, and a few were pretty good. For better or worse (maybe some of each) there was a minimum of partisanship, with scant mention of the reports that the Democratic House leadership had ordered members not to attend. Several lawmakers minimized the institutional role in the debacle of Congress (which passed the law last year almost unanimously), instead seeking to throw the blame onto the CPSC’s management, which put them surprisingly close to the position of Henry Waxman himself. One GOP member said it was important to be nice to the Democrats and not alienate them, since they held all the power. Not observing the nicetiesThis may have been good advice, but I was still a little surprised.
  • Amid a great deal of talk about unintended consequences, very little was said about there being actual adversaries out there, who know quite well what the law is doing and support it anyway. If more than a word or two was breathed about the roles of Public Citizen, PIRG, or the various members of Congress who are actively hostile on the issue (and not just “needing to be educated”), I missed it. Which meant (it seemed to me) that some of the good people who’d taken the trouble to come to Washington were going to be surprised and perhaps unprepared when they discovered figures out there like, oh, just to pick randomly, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, whose positions are not so much unreflected-on as deeply hostile (and with mysteriously unsourced numbers too).

Speaking of which, Consumers Union, publisher of Consumers Reports, confirmed once again that it falls into the “hostile” and not merely “unreflective/ uninformed” category with this deplorable hatchet job, which provoked a slew of angry, substantive comments; see also blog posts including those of Carol Baicker-McKee and Sheeshamunga.

More rally coverage: Domestic Diva, Polka Dot Patch.
Public domain image: Yankee Mother Goose (1902), illustrator Ella S. Brison, courtesy ChildrensLibrary.org.

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Ordinary kids’ bicycles, as opposed to the motorized kind, haven’t gotten much attention in the CPSIA outcry. But they’re in trouble too. More: see April 6 update, including an informative CPSC submission (PDF) by Mayer Brown for the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association; and an upcoming meeting of the alarmed industry.

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dizzymoth2

Short takes for the weekend:

  • U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) has introduced H.R. 1692, a bill to exempt ordinary books from the law’s lead limits; the American Library Association immediately endorsed the bill [ALA District Dispatch]
  • Lead poisoning, the Law of Diminishing Returns, and the fanaticism of “zero” as a goal [Fenris Lorsrai] “Dangerous until proven safe” [Coyote Blog]
  • The very popular style site Dooce gives the law a mention in a review of a handmade hippo wood teether;
  • From Ed Driscoll/Pajamas Media, a new Silicon Graffiti video: “2009: A Book Banning Odyssey”. We get kindly mentioned.
  • His company can comply with CPSIA and carry on as before. So why is he so upset? [Rick Woldenberg] And Darleen Click picks up on Woldenberg’s parody post-CPSIA toy “catalog” [Protein Wisdom]
  • “It wouldn’t be fair ’cause everybody wants to ride”: Kids themselves, mostly ages 7-9, comment on the minibike ban [Valley News] Some thoughts on why much of the media began to “get” the off-highway-vehicle (OHV) ban before it started to realize the law’s implications for books, apparel, toys and so forth [Wacky Hermit]
  • Could Canada be preparing to repeat some of the errors of CPSIA in its own law? Is someone alerting the folks in Ottawa to try to make sure that doesn’t happen? [ecoDomestica; Product-safety bill C-6 #CCPSA, successor to Bill C-52; Tim Holtorf, Tim & Zodi's and followup]
  • Just made my travel reservations for Washington, D.C. April 1; I’ll be observing the CPSIA rally on Capitol Hill. And you?

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processionofthenursery

  • UPDATE 5:45 p.m. Eastern: Well, that was quick. A source reports that Congressional staffers hastily announced that they’re canceling the hearing next week and that the idea is “not likely to ever be brought back”. Someone must have realized that letting people from around the country get in front of a microphone and talk about the effects of this law would not exactly do wonders for the image of Henry Waxman, Public Citizen, PIRG, or Consumer Federation of America. More: Rick Woldenberg confirms cancellation/disinvitation.
  • A prime objective for critics of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act in recent weeks has been to obtain a hearing on Capitol Hill that might focus lawmaker and press attention on the law’s many unexpected and harmful effects. Now it looks as if that might be happening. Rick Woldenberg:

    I have been invited to testify before the Subcommittee on Regulations and Healthcare of the House Committee on Small Business next Thursday. The purpose of this hearing is to explore Small Business issues related to the CPSIA. The Subcommittee is still looking for small businesses to testify. … If you are motivated to testify, you may want to reach out to the Subcommittee staff to volunteer, or if you have a Congressman on the Subcommittee, contact their Washington office urgently. …

  • Relatedly, Whimsical Walney, whose time seems to have been in part freed up for blogging by the CPSIA-induced shutdown of her Bay-Area-based children’s line, offers some advice here and here on how to talk with lawmakers about the act.
  • If you still haven’t taken a look at it, Daniel Kalder’s excellent BooksBlog entry in The Guardian (U.K.) on CPSIA and older books, which quotes from my City Journal article, is here. It’s drawn attention around the world, including places like France, Italy, and Romania.
  • oldtalesreading

  • Speaking of books, America’s libraries appear to have dodged catastrophe for now with the help of the American Library Association’s (understandable under the circs) last-minute embrace of the position that unless someone announces otherwise, it’s going to assume the law doesn’t apply to library stacks or circulation (earlier; commentary on the shift, Deputy Headmistress and Rick Woldenberg). Thus: Cincinnati Enquirer (“We’re hopeful saner heads will prevail and they’ll exempt us,” says Emily Sheketoff of the ALA), Middletown (Ohio) Journal, Brown County, Ohio, News-Democrat.


    So it seems to be mostly the librarians who are the most literal-minded and obedient about following guidance from high government authorities, or who are most legally risk-averse, or something, who are taking drastic steps like tarping over their pre-1985 stacks or planning to discard the volumes entirely or excluding older kids’ books from their used-book sales (in which case they’ll wind up….where?). Esther at Reading Loft/Design Loft has been picturing how libraries will look if they can’t make an exemption stick. And I didn’t notice it when it ran last month, but Annoyed Librarian had a funny rant at Library Journal about the law. Perish the thought, of course, that any library might ever want to acquire a pre-1985 book for kids’ use.
  • Popular conservative talk host Hugh Hewitt has continued his coverage of the law. Per one transcript, he discussed it with star columnist Mark Steyn who knew about the youth motorsports debacle:

    In my little corner of New Hampshire, every 12-year old boy loves taking an ATV, loves riding it around up in the hills. And the idea that the lead in it is going to cause that kid to keel over, is preposterous. This is government by insanity…

    On the other hand, Mark Riffey passes along word that popular talker Glenn Beck doesn’t plan to cover the issue because “there’s no public outcry” (a paraphrase second-hand of what might be a staffer’s view, or his, it’s not clear). What? Does he restrict his reading diet to the New York Times?

  • Wacky Hermit at Organic Baby Farm is angry: “When you have to consult a lawyer before you hold a church benefit sale, you are not in America.” (some rude language).
  • In the first-linked item above, Woldenberg also reports on an announcement by the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s chief of enforcement, Gib Mullan, that the commission intends to shift its enforcement methods in a more punitive direction, handing out many more penalties than previously in order to achieve more deterrent effects on businesses of all sizes. This is well in line with the clear guidance the commission has been given by Henry Waxman and colleagues in Congress. Next Thursday, if those planning the hearing do their jobs right, many in Congress might for the first time hear some voices that no one thought to consult when the law hurtled toward passage last summer. [REPEATING THE UPDATE: Hearing reportedly canceled.]

Public domain images: Grandma’s Graphics, Mabel Betsy Hill and Elson’s Basic Readers.

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