Friday, 28 January 2011

Taco Bell & Beef

I'm not exactly a big fan of legal 'games'.  When some idiot comes up to sue someone....over something silly....I'm of the mind that the court ought to toss the court out or make the idiot motivated to sue.....pay a bit of fee to the state for running a circus.

This week....a Bama law firm (Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles....got a new case.  They are to sue Taco Bell.  Apparently, someone did some science stuff, and determined that Taco Bell doesn't use real meat.  Their product....which is best to describe as a mixture....is around 35 percent or less actual beef.  Course, the lawyers were very careful not to say who did the testing or what the specifics of the test were about.

Taco Bell....is fairly upset about this.  It's just not right in their mind to sue them for this kind of stupidity.  Today, Taco Bell came out fighting....saying that their "seasoned beef" actually has 88 percent USDA-inspected beef.  The rest?  Water, spices and a mixture of oats and starch.

My suspicion is that this Bama law firm will become famous for a couple of months...as the mighty lawyers who took on Taco Bell.

At some point....my other suspicion is that this sample that the lawyers got.....came from one individual Taco Bell, who might have bought a cheap mix outside of the Taco Bell chain and done some things on their own.  Some smart science guy figured this out and collected a sample which proves the point of a lesser mixture.

Why do I suggest this?  After you eat enough burgers from McDonalds, Wendys, Burger King....and enough chicken from various places....you come to realize that some franchise owners are cheating the system and using substitute and cheap ingredients.  Typically, this voids the franchise agreement and you can lose your operation real quick if the big boss figures this out.  Sometimes, even the franchise owner doesn't even realize this and his chief of operations is doing this on the side to save $40k a year and buy himself a new pontoon boat.

Just my ten cents of observations and humble opinion.

The Aftermath & Fury

After the 5-star snowstorm of Wednesday night....things started to unfold on Thursday to a massive amount of fury here in the local area of Washington and the surrounding region (Arlington, Maryland, etc).

Those PEPCO guys who provide power to DC and Maryland?  Well....they had a huge amount of criticism over the past twelve months for outages that went on for days and days.  As darkness fell last night...a full twenty-four hours after the snow started....there are over 150k homes without power.  The local news media allowed folks to focus their fury on another period of time without power.  PEPCO will have to slug it out at another consumer meeting with local political folks slamming them hard.

Then you have the METRO bus guys in the local area.  They have a standing directive that says when they call "finish" in a snowstorm....they must run the bus and train system to the end point, and dump the passengers at that point.  Well....the bus guys got the "finish" order and just stopped right where they were.  The news folks caught up with the Director of METRO and he didn't have an explanation for violating the rule.  From what I saw....buses were moving much anyway and if you left work at 6PM.....you weren't ever going to get anywhere.  The fury bucket for METRO is kinda full.

Then you have the tow truck drivers.  Apparently, at some point.....some folks started to just park their cars on the interstate, exit ramps, and just barely off a regular road....and hike to a bar or hotel or catch a ride with a guy who had four-wheel drive.  The tow guys were out in force by sun-up yesterday and made hundreds of thousands in a twelve-hour period.  If you didn't make an attempt to retrieve your vehicle quickly....you ended up with a $150 towing fee.  The fury on this issue is tremendous.  At some point, the lady at one impoundment yard told folks that they should have just stayed with their vehicle.  That didn't come across too well.

Then you have the Virginia road crews.  They were so proud around midnight of Tuesday....eighteen hours prior to the storm.  They dumped a great deal of salt and chemicals to be the prevention tool of slush.  Apparently, the rains came before the snow.....washing away all of the prevention work.  Then the Virginia crews got behind, and never caught up....on local streets or the interstate.  Folks had fury to dump on these guys.

What I tended to notice from work yesterday....most folks who live in Maryland, didn't even try to make it into work.  They called in and took leave.  They were tossing their fury on the local road crews who never came to small streets or roads that would allow them to get out.

The nifty thing by 10PM last night....a good twenty-four hours later....was this warning that in six days....another storm will make its way through the area.  The weather guys were optimistic about this, in that it might just be a two-incher.  But then this Wednesday storm wasn't supposed to be anymore than just rain/snow mix and they guessed wrong.  We are building up for another round of fury.....if you ask me.

My Doubts

The State of the Union message had one major moment....where the President brought up the topic of Sputnik, and talked for a few moments on how Sputnik and the Space Race ended up inspiring America's innovation for an entire generation.  He wanted to suggest that we needed a Sputnik-moment now.

I sat there for a few moments....pondering this suggestion and Sputnik.  There's alot that most Americans have missed over the past decades when you bring up Sputnik.  This moment of inspiration that challenged America?  Well....basically, you bring up a rocket, and toss a "cap" on the top.  This "cap" has a simple radio transmitter....dot-dash-dot-dash....nothing more, and a couple of car batteries there to power this simplified radio transmitter.

So it launches....goes into a very simple orbit, and then you get a bunch of Soviet folks all pepped up because you triggered the space race, and the Russians win on step one.

The Americans woke up the next day....and got all peppy.  The American science folks felt upset.  The media was upset.  And the political folks were upset.

So the Americans took off to put up a guy into space in the quickest fashion possible.  Then the Americans continued on this trail and eventually put a guy on the moon.

The funny side to this story...is that we are talking about an entire race built on a simple radio transmitter and a couple of car batteries attached to it.

So what the President is asking for....is a couple of dimwits to come up with some kinda transmitter and car-battery set-up.....toss them into a cone....and fire up a bunch of Americans into doing the impossible.   For some reason, I'm having doubts about this Sputnik stuff working on modern age Americans.