The news last night and this morning carried stories about the decisions by Coke and Pepsi to alter their formulas. They evidently acted to forestall action in California to require them to put cancer labels on their products. It seems the caramel coloring agent they use contains a potential carcinogen. The BBC has more here. And I noticed the 'pink slime' story still has life. ABC carried it again last night.
It is wonderful the economy is picking up (at least according to those in the Never-Never Land of high finance or the Federal government.) But this is another story that intensifies my skepticism. Detroit is simply one of many extreme examples of cities that can't afford to provide their citizens with basic services. Recent stories from Chicago show a a less extreme side of the problem but one that makes one wonder how stable the city's finances are. The consolidations in both the police department have triggered concern and outrage in the neighborhoods where residents fear increased crime and longer response times.
Ezra Klein at his Wonkbook provides a needed and sobering look at the employment data that has been so anticipated and greeted so enthusiastically by the mainstream media. It also shows why I don't trust either the mainstream pundits or the statistics. The pundits, more often than not, are boosters taking the most positive pollyanna view and there is the old saying about statistics: lies, damned lies, statistics, and government statistics.
I found this Washington Post story this morning and I had to wonder if the new measures the Obama is going to introduce to try to boost the housing sector might have been behind a story which said Bank of America is planning new policies that would reduce the debt for as many as 200k homeowners to the market value of the home--a write down they had here-to-fore refused to consider.
The morning news had a story which struck me as a bit--odd. The reporters talked about 'social media shopping' and asked what kind of a 'social media shopper are you?' They ran down the list with the characteristics for each. At the end I had to conclude I wasn't any kind of 'social media shopper.' But I was reminded of that broadcast news story when I read this piece from Huffington Post. The comment from the former Director General of Al Jazeera is right on: the American news is presented without any real context and no sense of what should have priority. The news media, like politics and finance, appears totally divorced from the real world in which most people live.
We just had another discussion about the current movies and our lack of interest. For the most part it is 'been there, done that.' John Carter of Mars? I read the books, all of them, 50 years ago along with the Tarzan series and the Venus series (all by Edgar Rice Burroughs.) And they were 40 to 50 years old then. The Hunger Games? Cross Roman 'bread and circuses' with 'Theseus and the Minotaur.' And most of the adaptations of books I have loved have been disappointing. I can count on the fingers of one hand the numbers of movies adapted from book I have loved that have met or exceeded expectations.