It seemed the sun would never rise today, and I imagine it will be in a big hurry to get out this evening. I understand there’s a reason for that. It’s also the reason I’m feeling lamer and blanker than usual this morning. It couldn’t possibly be that I had four glasses of wine on a mostly empty stomach last night. As I had the night off and we were home before 11, I followed them with an over-the-counter sleep aid, ’cause I had the rare opportunity for a full night’s sleep and I didn’t want anything short of a wailing smoke alarm to penetrate it.
And sleep I did, but I still feel wrapped in cotton wool. After breakfast and two cups of coffee. Oh, well. If you’re not allowed a third cup four days before the winter solstice, when are you allowed?
And, not making excuses here, but I have work to do on a story. So let’s go to the bloggage early, shall we?
(Third cup, in progress.)
You’ve probably heard of PolitiFact, the St. Petersburg Times’ website, which strives to bring light to the darkness by fact-checking claims made by politicians. It was the 2009 Pulitzer Prize winner for Public Service, i.e., the best of the big P’s, and has been widely emulated around the country — there’s a version of it in Michigan now, run by a non-profit think tank, and original-recipe PolitiFact has licensed its name to other papers, as well. Seven states have PolitiFact sites now. (Don’t worry, Indiana. I’m sure you’ll get one…some day.)
This week, PolitiFact named its Lie of the Year. Before you click, see if you can guess. Anyone? Anyone? OK, Iet’s cut to the chase:
PolitiFact editors and reporters have chosen “government takeover of health care” as the 2010 Lie of the Year. Uttered by dozens of politicians and pundits, it played an important role in shaping public opinion about the health care plan and was a significant factor in the Democrats’ shellacking in the November elections.
Remember, earlier in the week, when we discussed the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and how they game the system? They have company: The Center for Science in the Public Interest, another group of nutritional busybodies. Yesterday they were a player in this story, which had the conservative blogs and Facebook rockin’ with outrage:
With perfect Grinch timing, a consumer group has sued McDonald’s demanding that it take the toys out of its Happy Meals.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest, an advocacy group, claims it violates California law for the hamburger chain to make its meals too appealing to kids, thus launching them on a lifelong course to overeating and other health horrors. It’s representing an allegedly typical mother of two from Sacramento named Monet Parham. What’s Parham’s (so to speak) beef? “Because of McDonald’s marketing, [her daughter] Maya has frequently pestered Parham into purchasing Happy Meals, thereby spending money on a product she would not otherwise have purchased.”
The story goes on to harumph about Parham’s lack of parenting skills, blah blah blah, to the point that you can almost ignore a few key phrases:
You’re probably wondering: How is this grounds for a lawsuit? No one forced Parham to take her daughters to McDonald’s, buy them that particular menu item, and sit by as they ate every last French fry in the bag (if they did).
No, she’s suing because when she said no, her kids became disagreeable and “pouted” – for which she wants class action status. If she gets it, McDonald’s isn’t the only company that should worry. Other kids pout because parents won’t get them 800-piece Lego sets, Madame Alexander dolls and Disney World vacations. Are those companies going to be liable too?
No, New York Daily News, all the conservative bloggers in the world and MMJeff, they aren’t. Filing a suit and seeking class-action status isn’t the same as winning a suit or getting class-action status. I know we have many lawyers in this house, who can maybe speak to the possibility of Ms. Parham’s suit getting anywhere beyond the pages of the New York Daily News, but at this point, it hardly matters. They’re in a New York daily newspaper, their message has been amplified, they’ve put McDonald’s on notice that it has wandered into the crosshairs of the media-savvy Center for Science in the Public Interest and WIN WIN WIN.
The CSPI is the group behind the “health scares” of the ’90s, which really showed how this ridiculous gamesmanship works, the “studies” that showed fettuccine alfredo, Chinese food and movie-theater popcorn is bad for you. Remember the phrase “heart attack on a plate?” That was theirs.
Another Xtranormal winner: Why your waiter hates you.
Did you know Coozledad has a pet chicken? And that he talks to the animals, just like me? He does.
Phone’s ringin’. Gotta go. Have a great weekend, all.