The Nov. 7 election was a wake-up call to all of California that our state is not such a solid shade of blue, and perhaps more the color of its nickname: gold (cha-ching). The three biggest campaigns by corporations — Big Oil, Big Tobacco and Big Republicans — proved that money does buy democracy, and their misinformation deluge worked, since nobody could spend as much as they to fight back. And we either bought it or were exhausted by it (perhaps part of the plan) and didn’t even vote. Ironically, the very proposition (89) that would curb this kind of corporate-interest shock-and-awe was also defeated. And we re-elected a Republican governator by a landslide.
While the rest of the country should be applauded for its mobilization, California has fallen behind. We would rather go into debt for fewer potholes for our doomsday machines than for alternative energy, all while smoking affordable cigarettes. All this leads me to wonder the obvious: Is California really so “blue”? We’re not even a swing state. We’re red as a blush.
Not for the Birds
Thanks to Nick Bradshaw for telling readers about the film version of Eric Schlosser’s best-selling book, Fast Food Nation [“The Meat of the Matter,” Nov. 10–16]. While the movie adaptation is fictional, the consequences of eating fatty, cholesterol-laden hamburgers, chicken nuggets and other traditional fast-food favorites are very real. Studies have shown that animal products contribute to obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease and other serious health problems. Animals raised for fast-food restaurants suffer as well. For example, the 850 million chickens killed for KFC each year are crammed by the tens of thousands into sheds that stink of ammonia fumes from accumulated waste. They are given barely any room to move — each bird lives in the amount of space equivalent to a standard sheet of paper. They have their sensitive beaks seared off with hot blades and routinely suffer broken bones from being bred to be top heavy, from callous handling when workers roughly grab birds by their legs and stuff them into crates, and from being shackled upside down at slaughterhouses. During slaughter, the birds’ throats are cut and they are dumped into a tank of scalding water, sometimes while still conscious. Five animal-welfare advisers have resigned from KFC’s advisory panel because they felt the company was not doing enough to lessen animal suffering. According to Ian Duncan, described as North America’s leading expert on bird welfare, “Progress was extremely slow, which is why I resigned . . . I suspect upper management didn’t really think that animal welfare was important.”
Please visit www.KentuckyFriedCruelty.com to learn about People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ campaign to end KFC’s egregious cruelty to chickens.
senior writer, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
Swede Love Song
I just wanted to thank Kate Sullivan for her mention of my favorite band, Swedish glam-rockers the Ark [Rock & Roll Love Letter, “E.L.O. Is for Lovers!” Nov. 2–9]. My friends and I are huge fans and had tickets to all of the Ark’s West Coast shows (Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and Los Angeles) and had been looking forward to the tour for months. Ola’s “cheeky remark” (as you so well described it) in Washington, D.C., was blown way out of proportion, and the next thing we know they are receiving death treats and the tour is canceled. Yours was the first intelligent thing I’ve read about the incident, and I just wanted to say that all the Ark’s fans appreciate it very much. Keep up the good work!
A piece in the Nov. 10–16 issue, “This Just In: Voters Snookered,” incorrectly identified Ruben Gonzalez as a lobbyist for Englander & Associates. Gonzalez works for the lobbying firm as a media strategist, not lobbyist, representing hotels near Los Angeles International Airport that oppose a planned “living wage” proposal. Gonzalez previously worked for City Controller Laura Chick but did not head her office.