2011-04-08 / Commentary

Forty– something

Happy Meals get depressing
By Mike Maddock

Sometimes I wonder if politicians just say stuff to see if we’re paying attention.

Last month Sen. Harry Reid made an impassioned plea with a straight and perfectly solemn face to save federal funds for a cowboy poetry festival in his home state of Nevada. The United States was fighting two wars, the Middle East was falling apart, foreclosure rates were at an all–time high, and the national debt was looming around $14 trillion (I could go on and on), and all the Senate Majority Leader could think about were some troubadours in ten–gallon hats. Either the man really likes rhymes about campfires, or he’s been in Washington too long.

Of course, a politician doesn’t have to be in Washington to lose his mind. We know that all too well here in South Carolina. However, the latest piece of brilliance comes from New York City Councilman Leroy Comrie. He has proposed a bill that would turn McDonald’s Happy Meals into something slightly depressing. Comrie wants any food that comes with a toy to be 500 calories or less and have low fat and sodium totals. In other words, McDonald’s would have to include Xboxes to sell those happy meals.

The worst part is that Comrie’s idea isn’t even original. The folks in San Francisco have already done it, but that’s California. I’m surprised their Happy Meals don’t include some tofu with a side of seaweed and a copy of An Inconvenient Truth. But why pick on McDonald’s? I mean, those geniuses at Hardee’s haven’t met a sandwich challenge yet they can’t fix with an egg, some giblet gravy, and a fried pork chop. But even the politically incorrect heroes at Hardee’s have introduced turkey burgers. Still, McDonald’s is practically a health food store by comparison. They’ve got multiple salads, several wraps, grilled chicken, and fruit. The only thing missing is a muscle–man behind the counter in spandex and a crew hat trying to push jugs of Creatine.

McDonald’s even has yogurt parfaits. I don’t know what a parfait is, but it sounds French. Fries should be the only French food at McDonald’s.

Like Senator Reid, Comrie has reasons for his priorities. He considers himself an example of the dangers of fast food. Apparently, Councilman Comrie is obese and a victim of that evil Ronald McDonald and his legions of temptation. So now, because he can’t choke down a salad and do a few sit–ups once in a while, the rest of New York City must suffer. Forget New York City’s housing problems. Forget the staggering cost of living. Forget about jobs, the education system, and the fact two planes and some terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center and killed about 3,000 people. The real danger is that guy with the red hair, clown shoes, a Littlest Pet Shop toy, and a handful of McNuggets.

In 2003, McDonald’s stock was about $14. As of Wednesday, April 6, it was about $77. Congress’s approval rate is at about 24%. Maybe our politicians should start paying attention.

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