WASHINGTON _ While the dysfunctional House was hyperventilating over a patients' bill of rights last week, a committee in the genteel Senate was seeking a solution for a "national problem" whose existence seems as shaky as Jell-O.
Folks, hold on to your Philadelphia cream cheese, Oscar Mayer bologna, Alpha-Bits, Tombstone frozen pizza, Jell-O or other Kraft Foods Inc. favorites. Good intentions may now inspire a dubious law.
My latest journey to the obscure brought me to the Senate Antitrust, Business Rights and Competition Subcommittee, headed by placid zillionaire Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., who tends to amble about Capitol Hill with neither entourage nor fear of gawking tourists. Even in a charisma-challenged body, the department-store-mogul-turned-sports-owner (Milwaukee Bucks) verges on the invisible, known chiefly for, well, ah, owning the Bucks.
But a bright, quiet man is prime sponsor of the "Product Packing Protection Act of 2001," the subject of a hearing with all the classic, choreographed elements of most proceedings here: prescreened witness testimony, a "real person" to play the role of victim, less-than-Perry Mason interrogations and nary a hint of an opposing view.
As I sat back and pined for other Kraft products _ a cup of Sanka, or perhaps a glass of Crystal Light, along with a slice of DiGiorno pizza, a Louis Rich hot …