Wandering Eye: The unregulated poultry industry, Maryland still has the most millionaires, and more

Baltimore-based writer Wil Hylton has a piece in the new New Yorker about food safety, or, more accurately, the lack thereof when it comes to chicken. "Ground beef," says one of Hylton's main sources, attorney activist Bill Marler, "has learned its lesson—but chicken is still, in many respects, unregulated. So we have to keep fighting." Hylton conveys the problem by thumbnailing a salmonella outbreak that government food-safety investigators probed for a year before, last summer, eking out a very small victory: The producer, Foster Farms, "agreed to withdraw the fresh chicken produced in its California facilities during a six-day period in March of that year," but would continue to distribute the rest. Seems like something Congress could do something about, considering that the outbreak Hylton profiles may have sickened as many as 18,000 people, and it's just one example of many. But at least there's Marler, whose lawsuits were described by the government's top food-safety official as "a central element of accountability." (Van Smith)


Maryland has more millionaires per capita than any other state, according to this Wall Street Journal piece, based on survey data. This has been true for four years running: "In the Free State, 7.7% of households had more than $1 million in investable assets in 2014. Connecticut and New Jersey followed," the WSJ says. Which is crazy, right? Because, according to all sources in the business and right-wing think-tank community, Maryland’s sky-high taxes have been driving millionaires away for, like, ever. See here and here and, well, anyone on or associated with Fox News. And yet here we are, with a Republican governor who is determined to cut the state budget—especially pay for ordinary workers and benefits for poor people—and, no doubt about it, cut the tax burden for people with millions of dollars. So they won't run away. Or something. (Edward Ericson Jr.)


Yesterday "60 Minutes" aired a piece on the growing disconnect between police and the communities they are sworn to protect. The focus of the piece was the city of Cleveland, where 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot by cops in November while playing with a toy gun in a public park. Chief Calvin D. Williams offered straight-faced platitudes on policing, even in the face of a Department of Justice report on the systemic overuse of force by his officers, but readily acknowledged the many problems departments across the country face. But perhaps the most revealing part of the segment came when reporter Bill Whitaker went with two beat cops to a public gym in the city's troubled 4th District. The partners stood by kind of awkwardly as residents talked about their mistrust of police. When Whitaker asked one of the cops how he differentiates the kids there at the gym from the bad guys, the officer suggested, "One of the things is probably a smile and a wave and, 'How you doin', officer,' instead of spittin'." This was the same guy who earlier in the report said, "I don't live here, but this is my community." Very telling, that. (Brandon Weigel)

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