Ross Mackenzie

In case you missed them, some items of dubious import currently in the news. . .

At the Olympics, Chinese authorities have restricted access not only to Web sites, protest areas, leading dissidents and key regions of the country. They also have banned the sale of dog meat — this apparently so as not to distress on-site foreigners somehow insufficiently distressed by China’s screaming lack of individual liberty.

The Democrats were on to something similar. Until someone with sense called a halt, the Democratic convention’s host committee was telling convention vendors not to serve fried food because — please sit down for this — frying affects the environment. Also contemplated: mandatory meal diversity, with (a) 50 percent of each meal consisting of veggies and fruits, and (b) every meal (excluding garnishes) displaying at least three of these five colors: green, yellow, red, blue/purple and white.

The convention’s “director of greening” (a first in convention history) reportedly has set an 85 percent recycling goal and banished from the convention premises not only plastic water bottles but foam cups.

The University of Chicago, long deemed among the most sensible in the land in, e.g., economics, law and political philosophy, may have but one foot in the land of right reason. The business, law and economics faculties have proposed naming a research institute after the late great Nobel economist Milton Friedman. But about 100 teachers throughout the school are objecting because, according to The New York Times, “the honor could be interpreted as a wholesale endorsement of Friedman’s free-market ideology.”

Has the press made up its mind on a subject regarding which the scientific jury is still out? (1) In its “Green Zone” collection of wire-service reports on the environment, The Arizona Republic has a standing logo declaring: “We know being green is important to you” — and never mind that many readers may not be totally keen on “being green.”

And (2) how about this for an example of journalistic bias (for polar bears, against oil companies and the Bush administration) — from a June 15 Associated Press dispatch: “Less than a month after declaring polar bears a threatened species because of global warming, the Bush administration is giving oil companies permission to annoy and potentially harm them in the pursuit of oil and natural gas.”

Ross Mackenzie

Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.

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