meat and profitmongers
From the 7-22-2007 Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune
In the wake of all the negligent homicide and mayhem of the past several months, is it still fair to ask just how safe are we? And who's minding the store? And who's bought whom?
Almost 200 people were killed in Sao Paolo, Brazil, because all the warnings about an unsafe airport finally came true. Local government's reaction was typical of that anywhere: scrape together any evidence which could place the blame on the dead pilots. Several airports in the U.S. have similar problems with overcrowding and obsoletely short runways.
If I ever get a vote to peg the beginning of the downward spiral of America's moral character, I would submit evidence of raw hamburger in the 1960's. Growing up in restaurants between California and Gomorrah South, I learned a few things. One of them was that you could safely eat raw beef.
While I recall once sampling a bite of one of my mother's perfectly spiced meatballs before she fried it crisp, I never developed much appetite for meat on the hoof.
But those who so desired could safely eat raw meat 40 years ago because our government took care of business. The fabled Pure Food and Drug Act, passed during the Muckraker era of journalism, actually worked. Today, we expect profit hungry industries to police themselves. The result: lots of people are sick and dead, with more on the way.
Perhaps the more morally obtuse can rationalize it as population control and survival of the fittest, while in the same breath spitting that evolution is just a godless, liberal, commie-pinko plot designed to weaken traditional family values.
It's enough to make you sick to your stomach and just about any other bodily part.
Even altruism is now sold to the highest bidder. Major manufacturers of high profit, salt- and sugar-laden breakfast cereals just announced a pullback on mass media directed at kids. If true, how long will it last? A couple of years or less until it loses whatever competitive or political edge the largely cosmetic change brings.
How long did grocery stores credit you with a nickel for every bag you re-used? A couple of years until the PR veneer wore thin.
There actually was a time when charity was only deemed credible if kept low key. As recently as 25 years ago, turning a company's good works into TV spots would have been looked upon as a media disaster because it called into question corporate intentions. Was a charitable contribution made because somebody wanted to help the community? (Perhaps.) Or score a tax break? (Goes without saying.) Or to buy something good about yourself to place in ads about yourself so that the next time your actions maim or kill somebody, you can presumably draw upon a reservoir of good will?
That's why my stomach turns at those phony Nevada Mining Association ads showing antelope trotting over green slopes. The facts are that once an area has been devastated by mining, no matter what you do to cover the scar (and Nevada still has hundreds of dangerous open wounds), the land never recovers.
Ronald Reagan was a magnificent shill for selling the public on poisoning itself. He said "gov'ment is the problem" often enough that crooks, pimps and thieves were able to peddle poison.
Reagan's Environmental Protection Agency chief earned the ultimate accolade from Travus T. Hipp, who nicknamed her "Poison Annie" Burford.
For awhile, we were sold the heart benefits of fresh fish. What could be healthier than farm-raised salmon, removed from all the pollutants we've heard so much about. Then we find out that the farmers have raised the fish in dirty water and fed the fish contaminated food. Never mind.
There is no hallow so holy that some greedy bastard won't violate it if he thinks he can make a buck.
The recent execution of their former top drug regulator by the formerly communist Chinese government only underscores the problem. He was killed as an example of their good intentions to fix their hopelessly corrupt system.
You can't run a clean sewer.
It will be the height of poetic justice if al Qaeda is able to score another major hit on the United States because they've figured out that we will do nothing to obstruct commerce. We allow poisoned food, dangerous drugs and lethal products through our ports by the megaton every day.
Too many still believe that government regulation is a problem, so we don't inspect much of what arrives in these parts, then get mad when some babies get sick or die.
Airline security remains cosmetic. Formerly lethal baby formula and cigarette lighters are now magically OK to bring aboard. Has somebody come up with a safer nipple?
If that makes you feel better, this won't: We are now almost six years past 9/11 and 15 years since the first World Trade Center attack.
With no publicity, the Airport Authority of Washoe County is just now commencing to get started to thinking about installing new bomb sniffing equipment, something which may may actually save lives someday.
For the past couple of months, they've been playing ring around the agenda on about $30 million worth of hardware, software and consultants for an "in-line explosive detection system."
It's mandated by Dubya's dunces, so you can understand why it's taking so long. Perhaps this is where "Heckuvajob Brownie" has found new employment.
Meanwhile, if any airline offers you steak tartare, I suggest you stick to a bag of peanuts.
IF NOBODY ELSE WILL DO IT DEPT. I've been getting complaints from longtime readers, so I will take it upon myself to apologize for hatemonger Ann Coulter's presence in the Tribune. I assume the deciding factor is that the publisher is paying Coultergeist what she's worth, meaning we're probably getting her for nothing.
Be well. Raise hell.
The Dean's List
The Dean of Reno Bloggers could very well be Andrew Barbano, self-described "fighter of public demons," who started putting his "Barbwire" columns online in 1996 and now runs 10 sites.
RENO NEWS & REVIEW, 11-9-2006
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Andrew Barbano is a 38-year Nevadan and editor of NevadaLabor.com. As always, his opinions are strictly his own. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune since 1988.
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