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Iraqi Spies and the Voodoo Secret

Weakly Standard

A hearty Loop congratulations to FDA Commissioner Andrew C. von Eschenbach, who has joined the ranks of senior government officials using the Internet to communicate with the public.

But unlike some officials -- for example, his boss, Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt -- Eschenbach's weekly "Andy's Take" is not a give-and-take blog. It's a weekly posting, sort of an electronic newsletter. There's no section for pesky reader questions about tainted spinach or his responses.

"Hello," he says in his "Inaugural Edition," posted last week. "I want to take this opportunity to introduce you to the inaugural edition of my new weekly communication to the American public!"

The newsletter will give you Andy's take "on some of the events about food and medical products that you have been hearing about in the news," he writes, including "the inside story" on future FDA announcements and changes at the FDA and so on.

"I hope that you will visit Andy's Take frequently and that you will add it to your bookmarks so that the FDA will . . . be your source for reliable information about food, medical products, and staying healthy" and so the FDA can learn "what we need to do to . . . be responsive to the rapidly changing world."

Great idea. He might explain a little more about that recent contaminated-Heparin problem where inspectors inspected the wrong plant in China. As many as 19 people died, and the FDA has received nearly 800 reports of serious illnesses associated with using the blood thinner.

Or perhaps he'll give us "the inside story" on why it is that all these former commissioners are testifying that the FDA is seriously underfunded, especially for dealing with that rapidly changing world, but he hasn't asked for big budget increases.

Well, maybe the weekly posting can reduce the constant pounding he gets whenever he goes up to testify on the Hill?

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