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Where's the Beef?

Smart Bomb: The completely unnecessary news analysis



Can we count on nothing these days? A New York man has a beef with Wendy's and McDonald's, alleging unfair and deceptive trade practices because their burgers look larger in ads than they really are. OK, hold on, is any American surprised by this?

Now, we're not saying the claimant, Justin Chimienti, is right—after all, he's seeking $50 million in damages in his proposed class-action suit—but we are living in the land of "25% more" and "30% brighter." Nonetheless, the lawsuit claims the actual burgers are some 15% smaller than the sandwiches in the ads.

The complaint states that the "actions are especially concerning now that inflation, food and meat prices are very high and many consumers, especially lower income consumers, are struggling financially." Is a Quarter Pounder no longer a quarter pound? Was it ever?

According to the BBC, the allegation may be hard to prove because the claimants have to do more than weigh a hamburger. Mark Bartholomew, law professor at the University of Buffalo, said in order to prevail, they must prove customers were actually fooled. And let's face it, Americans know a Big Mac isn't big—that's why they order the large fries and Coke with the Meal Deal.

They know they're being fooled, but what are they going to do—go to Taco Bell?

Meet Me in Budapest
Well, Budapest is not exactly Miami. But they do have a dictator, so what better place for the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) to throw a moon howl, as it did last week. Hungary is a country where Donald Trump can say "president-for-life" with a straight face.

The American right's new hero, Victor Orban, just "won" his fourth term as Hungarian prime minister. Something of a Mini-Me Putin authoritarian, Orban makes folks like Tucker Carlson, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Alex Jones wet just hearing his name. According to the CPAC website: "We know that we are facing serious challenges. CPAC Hungary is looking for the answer to how we can protect Western civilization, true Western values, how we can resist the attacks of the left."

And speaking of Florida, we've got a great deal for you on some swampland that doesn't even have alligators. "It's mind-blowing," said András Gollner, a Hungarian democracy advocate. "It's almost as if the FBI or the Department of Justice decided to hold a bash in a village in Sicily that is the home of organized crime."

But don't listen to that. The shindig was a great success, even if Putin's atrocities in Ukraine did put a bit of a damper on the party atmosphere. Let's just keep our eyes on the prize, where a future America can be a lot more like Hungary.

Hangin' 10 at the Great Salt Lake
Let's go surfin' now, everybody's learning how, right on the Great Salt Lake. We are not making this up, folks, the Utah Water Development Commission is thinking about bringing Pacific Ocean water to Utah through a 700-mile-long (and uphill!) pipeline to restore the shrinking lake.

Wilson and the band couldn't be more excited and have already broken out their baggies. Sure, there will be naysayers pooh-poohing the brilliant idea, but there always are. We went to the moon, didn't we? We cured cancer, didn't we? We invented the electric skateboard, didn't we?

Think of all that ocean water pouring in to give us what we've always wanted—a beach with a wave machine. There will be beach-blanket bingo, bikini volleyball and dudes and chicks with surfboards ready to shoot the curl. The good thing is we won't run out of water from the Pacific, it's just too big. We could actually save waterfront houses in La Jolla.

Don't be surprised if the Utah Office of Tourism jumps all over this baby to earn back the billions and billions it will cost. Some old-schoolers say we should just conserve and stop sending all our water-gulping alfalfa to China, tear out our lawns and turn golf courses into skate parks. But this is Utah, where only commies conserve, and God said we can do whatever we want with this land.

Postscript—That's it for another fab week here at Smart Bomb, where we keep track of who's in bed with Clarence Thomas, so you don't have to. Don't worry, Wilson, the band doesn't have to keep tabs on Justice Thomas or his extreme right-wing activist wife, Ginni, but you gotta admit they'd be fun to hang out with.

Here's a little something from our "Freudian" file: During a speech at his presidential library in Dallas, George W. Bush denounced "the decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq ... I mean Ukraine." Then he was heard muttering, "Iraq, too."

But wait, Iraq had weapons of mass destruction ... and we'd be welcomed with rose petals ... right? Too bad "W" didn't throw in the Vietnam War, too, where some 2 million civilian noncombatants were killed, thanks in large part to U.S. bombing.

In March 1968, U.S. soldiers in Charlie Company executed some 500 women, children and old men in the village of My Lai. Lt. William Calley was the only soldier convicted by court-martial for his role; he served no prison time for the slaughter. Americans were outraged when they found out about it, said Neil Sheehan, a New York Times reporter who covered Vietnam. But he noted that little was said about the countless thousands killed by American napalm and bombs. Putin, anyone?

Private Eye is off this week. Christopher Smart is former editor of City Weekly who later covered local news and politics for The Salt Lake Tribune. His Smart Bomb column is published weekly at cityweekly.net.