Thursday, July 1, 2010
POISONED BERRIES… Fireworks are a Fourth of July cliché. Monterey’s canned them this year anyway, so Squid proposes a new holiday icon: strawberries. What’s an Independence Day party without berry-topped ice-cream pie to chase the barbecued chicken sandwiches? What better fruit to supply the patriotic red with blueberries and whipped cream? But wait, now… this brings to mind a Squid Scout warning about which berries are safe to eat: “Blue always, red sometimes, white never.”
And even the prettiest strawberries can belie a serious toxicity if they’ve been gassed with methyl iodide, the carcinogenic fumigant that has activists like Pesticide Action Network, leftie lawmakers like Bill Monning and even some Nobel scientists freaking out on the state Department of Pesticide Regulation. Despite warnings from our own state experts that its ag use would have a “significant adverse impact on the public health,” the DPR has recommended methyl iodide for approval in an ill-advised move to replace the environmentally ghastly fumigant methyl bromide.
The public comment period ended June 29; we’ll find out soon enough if the notoriously shady agency is corrupt enough to ignore the public outcry. Because if methyl iodide is approved, we’ll be breathing it: Strawberries trounced lettuce as the county’s top cash crop in 2009. They’re grown in Moss Landing, Castroville, Carmel and Salinas Valley. The abundance of vitamin-C-packed local strawberries should be a patriotic red star for Monterey County – not something to fear. Squid’s Fourth of July pies will be organic.
KING OF LEON… Squid has always had a soft spot in Squid’s three hearts for Leon Panetta. Not every local boy gets to do damage control for Bill Clinton’s indiscretions, or become the nation’s chief spook. So it’s with sadness that Squid notes Panetta’s latest efforts to justify the floundering effort in Afghanistan.
Asked, in effect, what’s up, on a Sunday talk show, Leon acknowledged that progress in the war is “harder, it’s slower than I think anyone anticipated.’’ Duh. He went on to admit it’s been years since he and his CIA pals had reliable information about Osama bin Laden.
But hey, why be discouraged? “The fundamental purpose, the mission that the president has laid out is that we have to go after Al Qaeda… so they never attack this country again,” Panetta opined, staying on message.
Squid might find all this funny, only it also happens to be tragic.