Nation Digest

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Obama Names Consumer Advocate

President Obama tapped a former schools chief from South Carolina on Tuesday to chair the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Obama nominated Inez Moore Tenenbaum, a lawyer who was elected by wide margins to two terms as South Carolina schools superintendent. An early Obama supporter, she helped him win the presidential primary in her home state last year.

Obama also announced that he was nominating Robert S. Adler to the commission, which is being expanded from three to five members. Adler, a law professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, worked as a lawyer at the commission for 11 years, was a staffer to Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) and has served for 20 years on the board of directors of Consumers Union, the nonprofit consumer watchdog.

Tenenbaum and Adler must be confirmed by the Senate.

If approved, Tenenbaum would replace acting chairman Nancy Nord, who was appointed to the commission by George W. Bush. Her tenure grew so contentious that several Democrats on Capitol Hill called for her resignation. Nord herself asked Obama to replace her as chairman, though she plans to remain on the commission.

-- Lyndsey Layton


Face-Transplant Patient Thanks Medical Team

Connie Culp came forward in Cleveland to show off the results of the nation's first face transplant, and she offered nothing but praise for those who made her new appearance possible.

Culp's expressions are still a bit stiff, but she can talk, smile, smell and taste her food again. The 46-year-old's speech is at times a little tough to understand. Her face is bloated and squarish, and her skin droops in big folds that doctors plan to pare away as her circulation improves and her nerves grow, animating her new muscles.

Culp's husband, Thomas, shot her in the face in 2004 with a shotgun, for which he was sentenced to seven years in prison. The blast shattered her nose, her cheeks, the roof of her mouth and an eye. Hundreds of fragments of shotgun pellet and bone splinters were embedded in her face. She needed a tube into her windpipe to breathe. Only her upper eyelids, forehead, lower lip and chin were left.

On Dec. 10, in a 22-hour operation, a team of doctors at the Cleveland Clinic replaced 80 percent of Culp's face with bone, muscles, nerves, skin and blood vessels from another woman who had just died. Culp's identity and how she came to be disfigured were a secret until she went public Tuesday.

-- Associated Press

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