Posts Tagged: Charles Peters

Charlie Peters on why states’ problems are often national ones

Charles Peters

Understanding Government’s founder, Charles Peters, is also the founder of — and still a columnist at — The Washington Monthly.  In his regular column, “Tilting at Windmills,” Charlie talks about how problems in individual states are really national problems, repeated around the country but often left unsolved in each individual case.  Here’s an excerpt: (more…)

Charles Peters: Regulators have egg on their faces

Even when there is an adequate number of inspectors at a government agency, they are conditioned not to make trouble for the inspected. When the Department of Agriculture inspected Wright County Egg in Iowa, later found to be a major source of salmonella, they discovered, according to the Wall Street Journal, “[d]rain clogged, full of shells,” “bugs everywhere,” “cooler floor was dirty, lots of trash,” and “the dry storage area had lots of trash, cartons on the floor everywhere.” These reports came from inspections that occurred from April 1 through August 17 of this year. But the DOA failed to tell the FDA, which is responsible for egg safety, about these problems. The salmonella outbreak occurred a few weeks later. Why didn’t the DOA say anything? “The conditions at the egg plant packing facility were routine.” In other words, the plant has always been a mess, so why speak up now?

Reprinted from The Washington Monthly by permission

Charles Peters on the general size of the Army

One mistake Tea Partiers make when they rant about big government is that they fail to discriminate. Sometimes government is too big. (more…)

Charles Peters on FDA standards and why headlines matter

Charlie Peters has always said that to find the nugget of news inside the average news story, look to the last paragraph.  In this case, he recommends you at least make it to the fifth:

“Avandia Gets Equivocal Vote from FDA Panel. Fewer Than Half Want Diabetes Drug Pulled over Safety Concerns.” If this subhead from the Washington Post leads you to assume that more than half the panel approved of Avandia, it was significantly misleading. Here’s what you would have found if you had stuck it out through the story’s fifth paragraph: of the thirty-two members of the FDA panel who voted, only three favored allowing Avandia to continue its present sales practices unaltered. (more…)

Charles Peters asks, “While we’re at it, how much of a salary cut would work for you?”

I have frequently expressed concern that the White House has been as deficient as the media in its lack of curiosity about what’s going in the bureaucracies that it oversees. Further confirmation of my fear comes from a recent headline in the Washington Post: “White House Orders Agencies to Identify Trimmable Programs.” It seems to me that the White House should know by now what these programs are—or at least have acquired enough sophistication about the ways of Washington to know that the agencies themselves are the least likely to concede that any of their functions is less than absolutely essential.

(Reprinted by permission from The Washington Monthly)

Speaking his mind: Charles Peters on “Massey’s Canaries”

Reprinted with permission from The Washington Monthly:

“We’d be marked men” if we complained about safety problems, a miner at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch Mine recently told a congressional committee. He describes a fear that haunts many miners: blowing the whistle could cost a man his job, and with it the ability to support his family.

Still several miners and family members found the courage to tell the committee, in the words of the Charleston Gazette’s Ken Ward Jr., of a culture that “put production ahead of safety and where violations were corrected only after company guards warned that inspectors were on their way underground.”