Published on: October 16, 2008
In a commentary earlier this week, I made a passing reference to a specific kind of attorney and described the type as “an ambulance-chasing shyster.” Which led one MNB
user to write:As a Jewish lawyer doing real estate work, I take NO offense to the use of the word “shyster.” Though it’s literal definition is exactly how you used it, there is a school of thought that it has an anti-Semitic tone. I know that’s not where you were going…
The fact is that I actually did a quick online check before using that word to see if “shyster” had the same kind of negative and racial connotation as “shylock.” It made no mention of it, so I went ahead.
But I appreciate the email, and especially that you give me the benefit of the doubt. I meant nothing by it, but in these times of heightened sensitivities, I at least want to be transparent about my thought processes.
I’ve been smacked around a bit this week by people who believe I have taken leave of my senses on the plastic bag issue, but did get one email yesterday that said:Don't give it up or let it rest! You have a privileged voice to use towards good and changing ignorant mindsets on plastic bags and transparencies of packaging and ingredients and oh yeah, doing the right and excellent thing, cause it is just, well, the right thing to do.
Seen enough of the horrendous impact of our collective sitting back and letting greed and letting easy outs rule. Go, Kevin! Right is Might!
But the following email, addressing the savings that come to both retailers and shoppers when disposable bag usage is decreased, from MNB
user Carl Finfrock seems more typical:Answer is simple; just give a $10 credit at the check lane for customers bringing their own cloth bags.
If you think that would fly, I’ve got some land in Florida at a cheap price.
Actually, Carl, at the moment it seems like almost everyone in Florida has some land at a cheap price.
To me, the saving money is gravy. I use canvas bags because I’m making a tiny little dent in the amount of crap that goes into landfills. If enough of us do it, maybe the dent will be worth noticing. If not, it still seems to me to be worth doing.
As I said yesterday, a man’s only as good as his dreams.MNB
user Ann Thies wrote:I agree that we need to reduce plastic bags, but what do people use for kitchen garbage bags? I use the plastic bags from grocery, drugstore or where ever as liners. Any extra bags I have I recycle. I use paper bags to collect my recyclables and take them to curbside. I also have organic recycling, and purchase what is touted to be a biodegradable bag for holding the organics.
user chimed in:As a retailer I'm very concerned about every town and municipality making their own rules for plastic bags. The reality is plastic bags are made from the same material that gets recycled at curbside. Unfortunately towns and cities won't allow this to be added to the recycling system. At store level most every store has recycling bins and they dispose of this product at their cost. In those bins are many different stores plastic bags. Also these bans are discriminatory because they are directed at food stores. Feel free to look at all of the plastic bags in my recycling bins! Paper isn't the solution either. Cutting down thousands of trees is a better option? Most cities and towns are singling out plastic while doing nothing with paper. There must be statewide solutions, but solutions that address the entire environmental solution which is RECYCLING and using reusable bags but not just banning one bag or another in one venue. What about plastic bags for chicken? frozen foods? fruits and vegetables? All these things must be taken into consideration before we make ludicrous new regulations from ideas that aren't well thought out but gets politicians’ names in the papers.
I agree completely that it is infinitely preferable to accomplish a national shift away from disposable shopping bags through cultural persuasion rather that legislation. I also agree that if there are rules, they ought to apply to everyone, not just certain retail venues. And, I agree that they should be consistent, not differ from town to town.MNB
had a story yesterday saying that the California Grocers Association (CGA) has joined Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger “to unveil an historical agreement that makes the private sector key partners in the state’s disaster response system with the intent to expedite relief efforts and maximize critical resources. The governor announced that agreements have been reached with four private sector partners, including the CGA, Business Executives for National Security, the California Utilities Emergency Association and Wal-Mart Stores.
Which led one MNB
user to note:Doesn’t it seem ironic that so many cities in California fought to keep Walmart out, but now in a disaster, they’ll be expecting them to come in a provide them with emergency relief?
Excellent point. That Walmart is signing onto such a program says a lot about the company.
Responding to yesterday’s story about research from the Environmental Working Group concluding that a number of leading brands of bottled waters contain “a variety of contaminants, including cancer-linked chemicals three times higher than California's health standard,” MNB
user Steve Lutz wrote:The EWG is an organization well known for junk science and scare tactics. Their basic approach is to create headlines designed scare consumers. Remember Alar? That was the EWG. After they blew up the apple industry the truth came out that the EWG extrapolated dosage rates to the point where a consumer would have to eat two boxes of apples every day to achieve the risk factors they created and then cited. And it worked; consumers were afraid despite the fact that the medical community agreed the story was bunk.
This is more of the same from the EWG….junk science, partial facts, and non-peer reviewed conclusions designed to scare consumers and punish retailers. Sadly, in the 24 hours news/30-second media attention span we live in it’s a formula that achieves their objectives.
Had a story yesterday about the rising popularity of goat meat, which I said I don't think I ever have tasted. One MNB
user responded:Kevin, goat meat is everywhere. Boer goats are meat goats from South Africa and prized for their full, well-muscled frame. Tennessee meat goats are also thick framed and know as "stiff-legged" goats because of a condition called Myotonia, an inherited neuro-muscular condition which causes them to stiffen and sometimes fall over when startled. The Indo-Caribbean cultures eat goat meat, and it can be found in most Indian restaurants or markets. It is also sought after by Muslims, Greeks, Asians and Eastern Europeans particularly near the Caucasas.
Curried goat and roast goat is delicious. Like venison, it is low in fat - it's great in stews and the Philippines dish called kaldereta and the Greek Chevon Souvlaki.
Give it a try - you won't regret it.
It isn’t nice to make the Content Guy hungry this early in the morning…
user Louie Yan had some thoughts about recent MNB
Sports Desk stories about baseball and football:You miss any mention of professional hockey and soccer. The NHL is the premier hockey league in the world and players from around the world aspire to play on NHL teams. Soccer is the biggest sport in the world and the US is far behind in following it. As big as basketball is here, everyone forgets that the game was created using a soccer ball.
You’re right…but on this one I am going to claim editorial privilege.
Much as I might want to, I have to be a little careful about spending too much time on sports. (I could do an entire MNB
just about sports and popular culture…but I’m not sure I could make a living from it.)
I think baseball is the best sport on the planet, but I only really write about the playoffs because there are just so many games. Football lends itself to scores because the games are only weekly.
And to be honest, I don't much watch professional basketball, hockey and soccer – when the World Series ends, I immediately start counting down to spring training. (The only other sport I might watch on TV is women’s beach volleyball…but if I start writing about that you guys are going to shoot me…)