THE FD.COM MUST-READ ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

Gretchen Morgenson launched an all-out attack on the makers of Magnetix and other dangerous micro-magnetic toys in the Sunday Business section of the Times. As we've discussed a couple of times in this space, the horrific stories of children who died or became ill after swallowing these powerful micro-magnets has turned us off the toys for good. We got rid of the Magnetix we had in the house and continue to advise all of you to do the same. Morgenstern's article reveals, disturbingly, that despite the widespread problems with these toys, toymakers are still sold on micro-magnets (produced in China) and continue to use them in toys. That includes Canada's Mega Brands, which still manufactures (an allegedly new and improved version of) Magnetix (in China), and was somewhat less then cooperative with the feds during the product's 2006 recall. For example, they never got around to telling retailers to take the defective version of the product off of store shelves, where they could be easily found a year after the initial recall. The new version of the product is now labeled as unsafe for children under 6.

The small, overburdened staff of the long-since-gutted Consumer Product Safety Commission continues to investigate Mega Brands, but:

. . . Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois and chairman of the Senate subcommittee on financial services and general government, which has jurisdiction over the Consumer Product Safety Commission [said]  “When a company is selling dangerous products in America and refuses to cooperate with the C.P.S.C., we have few laws and few tools to use to protect consumers.”

COLUMNIST'S KIDS DISCOVER WORLD IS FULL OF PEOPLE JUST AS RICH AS GRANDPA

New York Sun parenting columnist Sara Berman (full disclosure: the daughter of the newspaper's half-billionaire co-owner Michael Steinhardt) was recently saddened that her son after visiting a friend's house in Bedford, NY, felt jealous of the other family, claiming that it owned "the best house I have ever been to," and even had "the best art" on its walls.

"The trick is to be happy with what you have. It's one of the hardest lessons to learn in life," I told him. "Even I'm still learning it, Jacob. Someone will always have more than you," I said.

. . . My husband said that if he had been with us, he would have pointed out to Jacob that material goods don't necessarily bring happiness — and that practice, hard work, and accomplishment are much more likely to bring a lasting sense of fulfillment.

I told him that I did try this tactic. . . It went in one ear and out the other. "Mom," he said seriously, "there is always someone who has more than anyone else: Someone who is at the tippy, tippy top. That's where they are. At the tippy, tippy top."

Yes, there is. But fortunately for young Jacob, it's grandpa, and mommy's in his will.

AND NOW, YOUR OBLIGATORY "HARRY POTTER" POST

Potter650In anticipation of the release of the final book in the "Harry Potter" series (reviewed in today's Times by the speed-reading Michiko Kakutani), the paper asked several writers and artists to speculate on how J.K. Rowling might wrap up her tale of hormones and wizardry. We were most intrigued by the submission from Andrea Deszo, a professor at Parsons/the New School for Design, who apparently dropped off a generic Halloween card he found at the malls' Hallmark shop, along with comments indicating that he'd possibly never read a page of the books, but still had a deadline to meet:

I envisioned scenes from an apocalyptic battle. Strung together in a nonlinear visual narrative, they are meant to set a certain mood. I intended to offer points of departure for the imagination rather than provide a concrete answer to the question of how it will all end.

Points of departure, indeed.

WORST COMMENTARY ON LIFE AS A NEW MOTHER EVER

We spotted this headline on a story about oft-injured former tennis star Lindsay Davenport the other day:

Davenport mulls comeback after birth of first child

July 19, 2007 | Permalink | Subscribe to RSS

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