Wednesday, June 25, 2003

This frightens me for some reason. I guess "laugh lines" are okay, but not "frown lines."

The news out of California just gets weirder and weirder. Mickey Kaus at first questioned the recall effort, but has since been persuaded otherwise [scroll down to the Tuesday, June 24 post]. It was an article from USA Today that convinced him of its justice. Kaus quotes Cochoan:

"California, the worst-performing state in the analysis, did the opposite. It approved huge spending increases and tax cuts during the boom. When the economy soured, the state began borrowing money and using accounting gimmicks to avoid its day of reckoning. Today, it continues to spend $1 billion a month more than it takes in."

And Kaus adds:

"Wouldn't it be a good thing if politicians knew there was a heavy price to pay for this crowd-pleasing irresponsibility--not just an inevitable fiscal crisis that can be put off until after the next election and then forgotten before the election after that, but a swift mid-term hammer that might crush their careers? [emphasis Kaus] I tend to think yes."

But, then, what about a governor who goes on tax cutting sprees, indulges special interests through higher spending, then leaves for a better job elsewhere, leaving their state in a fiscal rock and hard place just as the economy is about to tank?

Remember? "When Al Gore predicted during the campaign that Bush's Texas tax cuts would wreak havoc in the state, Bush joked, 'I hope I'm not here to deal with it.'"

Can recalls be retroactive? Impeachment doesn't seem to be gathering steam for some reason.

[UPDATE, JUNE 26 at 3:35 pm. Mickey Kaus, by email, responds, "looks like texas is in better shape than calif.!"]

Speaking of which, Slate's Chatterbox gives us a hilarious prereview of the Bush/Cheney 2004 web site. I'm not sure about the "Interstate 04" imagery, though. I mean, isn't it just a reminder that, under President "Turn the Carrier Around," we're on a seemingly endless road to nowhere? [emphasis mine] One that is bleak and unrelenting, like the economic downturn?

Or a road to hell. We might be on it, as this Time article illustrates.

Ah, but there is some good news regarding the power for good greedy corporations can sometime have when market forces compel them. This is an important story. Thanks to writers like Erik Schlosser, whose "Fast Food Nation" brought to light the egregious conditions in slaughter houses, we're all being forced to think about how the food we eat gets to the table. I'm no vegan, but it is sickening to see animals being treated as if they are mindless and insensate. McDonalds began the process of making the world a little better last week, when they told suppliers to stop using antibiotics. Ostensibly they did it out of pressure from the medical community, who have expressed growing alarm at the overuse of antibiotics in humans. But it should have the perhaps unintended consequence of forcing suppliers to provide a better quality of life for their poulty, since antibiotics are used in part to reduce the threat of illness caused by the unsanitary conditions in which they're raised.

"Health officials applauded McDonald's announcement, but some producers criticized the company for bowing to public pressure and barring the use of some antibiotics that are still deemed safe by regulators.

"'The pork industry wants to make sure sound science is driving the industry and not emotion,' said Cynthia Cunningham, a spokeswoman for the National Pork Board. 'McDonald's is trying to be laudable, but their position was based on marketing.'" Isn't this the group that brought us "the other white meat?" Right. Marketing.

I don't care about the motivation, just the effect. McDonalds basically controls the way food -- at least the food that finds its way into hamburgers, milkshakes (hmmm, what is in a McDonalds milkshake?) fried pieces of chicken, and egg sandwiches -- gets raised or grown in this country. Schlosser explains in his book how McD changed the way potatoes are grown in this country, simply to make them better suited to making fries.

More good news. [ed., Kudos as you cleverly close the loop and return to California] Bonds is simply the greatest offensive force in baseball history. The fact that I went to high school with him has no effect on my opinion here.


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