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.
Days after online activist Aaron Swartz committed suicide, chair of the House Oversight Committee Darrell Issa, R-Calif., announced that investigators would look into the federal case brought against the young technologist who downloaded millions of JSTOR articles. A heavy charge had been levied on the government by Swartz’s loved ones and supporters: The overreach of federal prosecutors had pushed Swartz to his death.
This week, Issa and top House Oversight Democrat Elijah Cummings, D-Md., sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder posing questions about Swartz’s prosecution. The letter was explicit in asking whether political motivations influenced the decision to pursue felony charges against the open-data activist, while JSTOR — the purported victim of his actions — had no interest in pressing charges.
The letter asked, among more general questions about reasons behind the decision to prosecute, “Was Mr. Swartz’s opposition to SOPA [Stop Online Piracy Act] or his association with any advocacy groups considered?”
Swartz helped spearhead opposition to the Internet censorship bill SOPA and is partially credited for the act’s failure in the House following mass online protests. Issa too was a leading opponent of the bill and was among the first lawmakers from his party to speak out against it.
Issa told HuffPo that the Justice Department has promised to brief him and Cummings on the Swartz case. “I expect that we’ll be meeting with them next week,” he said. “We expect to have a candid and open discussion with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and then we’ll take it from there, but I promise you we will not leave one stone unturned.”
Meanwhile, California Democrat Rep. Zoe Lofgren’s proposal to amend the dangerously broad Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (under which Swartz was prosecuted) is reportedly facing push-back from the Justice Department. To aid in efforts to reform the legislation, Anonymous recently hacked the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s website and has threatened to release as of yet unknown information, believed to relate to Supreme Court justices, if changes to cybercrime laws are not made.
Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email firstname.lastname@example.org.More Natasha Lennard.
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.