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“The minor, offhand references to the health care law highlight how much the ongoing fiscal stalemate has seized Washington’s attention and distracted from the rocky debut of ObamaCare’s exchanges. The dearth of media questions about the Affordable Care Act is even more surprising given that attempts to thwart the law ushered in the shutdown to begin with,” she says.

‘IF A REPUBLICAN HAD DONE IT’

Whether it was hasty typing or errant spell check, White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer conducted immediate damage control following what universally was deemed an “unfortunate tweet” by the press on Tuesday. His brief mass message to 54,335 Twitter followers included an unintentional racial epithet.

Yeah, well. It was “a horrendous typomy apologies,” Mr. Pfeiffer explained later.

“A few sniggers were aimed at Dan Pfeiffer,” points out Glenn Reynolds, the “Instapundit” at PJ Media. “But if a Republican had done it, it would have made the evening news.”

FOR THE LEXICON

“SpiteHouse cones.”

Meant to block entry into parks and historic monuments, they join the term “Barrycades” in the current federal toolbox of deterrents used by law enforcement authorities at sites closed during the government shutdown. The term was first identified at Twitchy.com.

WHERE THERE’S SMOKE

The government shutdown is expected to delay a much anticipated Food and Drug Administration ruling likely to curb TV advertisements of e-cigarettes, deemed a “booming industry” by Advertising Age. Almost half of the federal agency’s staff has been furloughed, including those working on tobacco issues. There’s drama overseas, meanwhile. On Tuesday, the European Parliament rejected health officials’ proposals to tightly regulate e-cigarettes, a decision not lost on observers on these shores.

“The European Parliament’s decision not to treat e-cigarettes like medical devices is a huge win for smokers trying to quit, and thus great news for public health,” says Jeff Stier, a policy analyst at the National Center for Public Policy Research. Such a move would have made e-cigarettes “prohibitively expensive,” he says.

“Switching from burning tobacco to combustion-free e-cigarettes would yield significant health benefits both in the short and long terms. Banning e-cigarette sales to minors, but keeping them accessible to adults, strikes the right balance,” Mr. Stier continues.

“But as usual, activists on the nanny-state side want the government to get in the way of free-market approaches that work. That they didn’t succeed in Europe is a big win for actual public health, but a loss for ideologically driven activist groups,” he adds. “Now, attention shifts to the U.S., where FDA has promised a decision very soon. We can only hope that the FDA takes note of Europe’s rational approach.”

POLL DU JOUR

88 percent of Americans say the “government is in charge of the people”; 94 percent of Republicans and 83 percent of Democrats agree.

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