Leslie Nielsen, food safety and lame ducks

Leslie Nielsen is still dead, but the food safety wonks in Washington are keeping the fans in stiches.

The U.S. Senate’s slapstick effort to pass food safety legislation is not going to result in fewer sick people. But it does set a tone, like restaurant inspection grades, that food safety is important, that elected officials may, sorta, be paying attention. And if it gets food safety on The Daily Show, then great.

For those who need reminding, food safety is not at the top of the legislative agenda.

“A food safety bill that has burned up precious days of the Senate’s lame-duck session appears headed back to the chamber because Democrats violated a constitutional provision requiring that tax provisions originate in the House. … The debacle could prove to be a major embarrassment for Senate Democrats, who sought Tuesday to make the relatively unknown bill a major political issue by sending out numerous news releases trumpeting its passage.”
John Stanton, Roll Call

"The bipartisan bill, which would overhaul the nation’s food safety system, still has to go back to the House, so there’s plenty of time to screw it up. … staff members for the leading Democratic and Republican senators on the health committee actually got together and worked things out the way they used to do in olden days. Most of the negotiators were women, and while I am certainly not saying that made a difference, I am, sort of, just saying.
“Oh, my gosh! It’s so important,” said Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts, his voice dripping with sarcasm. “I’m glad I rushed back from our break to work on food safety.”

Gail Collins, The New York Times

“Food Safety Bill will save the lives of thousands”
Environmental Working Group

And to Jon Stewart last night.

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