2014's fast food atrocities
Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.
Lately, conservatives haven’t shown much of a knack for the facts. The healthcare reform debate has been marred by bogus accusations of death panels and the myth that reform will include a government mandate that taxpayers foot the bill for abortions. Now, some Republicans are extending that same treatment to the personnel decisions in President Obama’s administration.
On Sunday in the Washington Post, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, wrote a column warning of the number of informal policy “czars” employed by the White House. Hutchison asserted:
A few of them have formal titles, but most are simply known as “czars.” They hold unknown levels of power over broad swaths of policy. Under the Obama administration, we have an unprecedented 32 czar posts (a few of which it has yet to fill), including a “car czar,” a “pay czar” and an “information czar.” There are also czars assigned to some of the broadest and most consequential topics in policy, including health care, terrorism, economics and key geographic regions.
The Op-Ed has generated a great deal of backlash from liberals — and justifiably so. Hutchison’s use of the word “unprecedented” is completely misleading. The Bush administration employed numerous czars, and yet Hutchison makes no mention of this fact in her piece. Additionally, as Amanda Terkel points out at Think Progress, all of the so-called czars in Obama’s administration actually have formal titles; Obama has only referred to one member of his administration as a czar. It’s right-wing commentators like Sean Hannity who are actually invoking the term.
And there may be a reason. The right has seized on the term “czars” so aggressively that it’s hard not to read it as an attempt to play up allegations that Obama is some kind of communist. In July, Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va. wrote his own piece in the Post, alleging that Obama was creating a “virtual army of ‘czars,’” adding, “At last count, there were at least 32 active czars that we knew of, meaning the current administration has more czars than Imperial Russia.”
“Russia” is the word that gives away the strategy. After all, they were all commies over there! But the use of the term in this way must be baffling to anyone with even a basic familiarity with high-school world history. Russia’s czars were in no way communist. They were actually overthrown during the Bolshevik Revolution, which led to the eventual formation of the Soviet Union. Russian czars assumed the throne through a hereditary monarchy and ruled with an iron fist; Obama’s czars get appointed by the White House and have no direct authority over anything the federal government does (Cabinet officials, not the czars, are in charge of how to implement policy). The thinking from Republicans here seems to be that equating any Russian word with Obama is enough to prove he’s a secret communist.
Hutchison is in a tough fight with incumbent Rick Perry for the Republican nomination for governor of Texas. So her piece seems like a blatant attempt to appeal to the same voters in the state who liked Perry’s suggestion that Texas could secede from the United States — i.e., the hardcore right-wing base.
But that shouldn’t excuse the unfounded claims in Hutchison’s piece, nor as Matt Yglesias observes, the Post’s decision to print it. Yglesias writes:
The article in question manages to not so much as mention that all of our recent presidents have employed “czars.” I find it completely impossible to believe that Washington Post editors are unaware that George W. Bush employed “czars.” I find it completely impossible to believe that Washington Post editos [sic] have completely forgotten the administration of a man who was still president as recently as nine months ago. And I find it completely impossible to believe Washington Post editors don’t grasp the relevance of this fact to assessing the credibility of Hutchison’s complaint. Her use of phrases such as “unprecedented” to describe Obama’s czar-related conduct, combined with the total lack of context, is transparently designed to mislead the audience. And the Washington Post decided to print it!
Vincent Rossmeier is an editorial assistant at Salon.More Vincent Rossmeier.
Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.
KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.
Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.
Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.
Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.