Political Scene

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PHILADELPHIA | Republican Senate candidate Pat Toomey says Congress could have avoided the housing market collapse if it had heeded his warnings to increase regulation of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac back in 2003.

With less than three weeks until the Nov. 2 election, Mr. Toomey and Rep. Joe Sestak are in a competitive race to replace five-term Sen. Arlen Specter, whom Mr. Sestak defeated in the May primary.

Mr. Sestak decided not to seek re-election to his House seat while running for Senate.

Mr. Toomey spoke at a hotel in downtown Philadelphia on Wednesday and criticized Mr. Sestak for voting to bail out Fannie and Freddie.

A Sestak spokesman called Mr. Toomey’s attacks unfounded. He says the Democrat voted in favor of more oversight for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as soon as he got into office.


First lady says arts ‘lift’ youths

First lady Michelle Obama says she has opened the White House to the arts to “lift young people up.”

Last year, the first lady started a regular series of events focused on different genres of music from jazz and country to Latin and classical. This year, she launched a dance series. All the events include an instructional component for students, led by professionals.

In an interview in the November issue of Harper’s Bazaar magazine, Mrs. Obama says the goal is to lift young people up. She says the country needs to be mindful of the “diamonds” that are out there and how it would be “a shame” not to invest in their talents.

The magazine is to be on newsstands on Oct. 26.


Fractures possible drug side effect

Government health officials warned doctors and patients Wednesday about an increased risk of thigh fractures with a widely used group of bone-strengthening drugs.

The Food and Drug Administration said patients taking bisphosphonate drugs such as Fosamax and Boniva appear more likely to suffer a rare type of fracture of the femur. The fractures occurred just below the hip joint and make up less than 1 percent of all femur fractures.

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