From TomPaine.com :
The Case Of The Poison Popcorn
Sometimes the best stuff documenting what I call "E. coli conservatism " is in the back of the newspaper. And in papers you don't read, like the Bakersfield Californian.
This one, in the back of Monday's New York Times , is on the mysterious illness spreading across plants that produce the chemical that gives "microwave popcorn its buttery goodness."
Buttery goodness? I guess that's in the tongue of the be-taster. At any rate, there's a bill in California to ban diactyle, the cause of "popcorn lung" in the workers. ("They can't walk a short distance without severe shortness of breath.")
And why, pray tell, is this bill necessary? Says Assemblywoman Sally Lieber, because America' $3.5 billion flavoring industry is largely allowed to regulate itself. "What we've heard is that the flavoring industry has known for yars that this is potentially a problem, and they haven't taken action," she said.
The E. coli conservative outbreaks: sometimes it's hard to keep track. You'd think you could escape their ravages by moving to a bucolic town way out in the remote California mountains.
You'd be wrong.
In Lake of the Woods, Calif., The water company's office manager: "Never in 28 years has this happened."
And why might it be happening now? The operative theory is that the contamination came from a broken pipe or septic tank.
Did I mention that broken pipes and septic tanks are a national crisis? That the nation's civic engineers have given our wastewater infrastructure a D-minus? That this is what happens in a nation that pretends there is civic virtue in tax cuts?
Grover Norquist, meet Lake of the Woods Wade Biery. And avoid confronting him in a back alley. Biery's is worried his eight-months-pregnant wife might have ingested some of the poisoned water. "There's part of me that's ready to go down there and lop somebody's head off."
--Rick Perlstein Tuesday, May 8, 2007 1:10 AM