Category Archives: Media

The Sriracha Story … How Will It End?

The timing for Griffin Hammond’s documentary on Sriracha sauce couldn’t be better. More on that in a bit. This holiday season, I highly recommend this 33 minute documentary, which you can buy for $5 on his site. Put it on a flash drive, tape it to a Sriracha bottle, and give it to a loved one as a stocking stuffer.

My only complaint is that I wish it were longer and included the current fight over the ability of Huy Fong to sell its products.

Fans of the sauce will especially love the film, and those who can’t stand anything spicy will still find the story of it fascinating.

Hammond tells the story of one of America’s favorite hot sauces with a cult-like following from a societal perspective, from that of David Tran, the Huy Fong company’s founder, and from a historical perspective about the sauce’s origins in Thailand. Now, Sriracha isn’t my favorite hot sauce (it’s hard to pick one), but it was one I stupidly avoided at burger joints. I’m happy to admit I am wrong, because this sauce is wonderful.

Just the “how it’s all made” portion of the documentary, which is well-filmed and produced, would be enough to interest me. Hammond bills it as “The origin story of an iconic hot sauce, finally revealed.” He’s not lying.

Tran, the founder of the most known version of the Sriracha-type chili sauce (with a green cap and a rooster on it), came to the U.S. by way of Hong Kong after the fall of Saigon. As an ethnic Chinese man, he wasn’t really welcome in Vietnam after it went communist.

hf2Tran got out of Vietnam on a boat. When the British told the boat to turn back, it stayed there for a month. The British relented, and Tran made his way to America as a refugee.

In 1980, he founded his company, selling his version of the Sriracha sauce in the Chinatown neighborhood in LA to local restaurants. The company’s name?  Huy Fong — the name of the ship that saved him from communism and a society that didn’t welcome him.

He has never marketed his sauce, though fans appear eager to do so for him — including the webcomic The OatmealTran seems more interested in bringing his product to the masses.

Much success has come to David Tran and his chili sauce factory. His former factory was once a Wham-o factory that made frisbees and hula-hoops, but demand grew too much. So, in 2010, he arranged for a bigger factory — a few times the size of his old one — in nearby Irwindale. In 2012, he sold 20 million bottles of the stuff.

In the making of chili, during the fall harvest, the peppers need to be pureed and mixed with other inputs at the most ripe point, when they are red. So, for much of the ripe-times for these chilis, the Huy Fong plant excretes a delicious chili aroma. Then it’s aged and stored before it is bottled and sent out.

Irwindale’s citizens, fewer than 30 of the city’s 1,400 residents– including a city councilman’s son — complained about the chili odor. And because of this, the city sued, saying the smell of chili was a “public nuisance.” This, after Tran and Huy Fong installed filters not once, but twice in response to complaints. The South Coast Air Quality Management District visited numerous times, but didn’t cite Huy Fong for violations.

Tran won the first round, but on appeal, the city won — even though the judge said there was a “lack of credible evidence” tying health problems to the factory’s smell — on the public nuisance complaint. For now, it doesn’t matter that much until next fall, since the harvest is over. The fight, though, isn’t.

According to the LA Times, some of the closest neighbors to the plant, however, fail to see what the problem is:

Sal Hernandez, a 75-year-old former Irwindale councilman who lives on Azusa Canyon Road, just a few houses from the Huy Fong plant, said he has never noticed a smell. He said he was surprised the city went after the maker of Sriracha hot sauce so quickly and aggressively.

“It hasn’t bothered me yet. I haven’t had any effects from it, and I’m right next door to it,” Hernandez said.

A former reserve police officer who has lived in the city for more than 30 years, Hernandez said few people go before the council to complain about the smell from other factories in town – like the huge MillerCoors Brewery or a dog food manufacturer on Arrow Highway.

“Things we should go to court for we don’t, and for this thing, we’re taking [the Sriracha company] to court,” he said. “I’m surprised. They were praising this thing before they even came in. Everyone was praising it.”

Praising it, indeed. The city even went out of its way to attract those Huy Fong jobs, offering a really good loan for a small town that, when you think about it, is kind of nuts.

The LA Times reports:

Huy Fong Foods decided to locate its factory in Irwindale three years ago when the city offered a loan with “irresistible” terms: pay only interest for 10 years, with a balloon payment at the end.

Huy Fong took the loan and contributed $250,000 a year to the city of Irwindale each year as part of the deal, Tran said. The company then built a $40-million factory that at full capacity could generate about $300 million a year in sales, according to Tran’s statements.

But after complaints about the smell began last year, Tran said he began to get an “odd feeling” about the city’s behavior. In response, the company has taken out a loan with less favorable terms from East West Bank to pay off the city’s loan.

Could Irwindale be suffering from buyer’s remorse? Perhaps. The town with 1,400 people did offer to front a loan for Huy Fong similar to the interest only mortgages popular before the housing crash in exchange for jobs and commerce, which seems like a bad idea. Tran’s premonition led him to pay off the loan early, like some TARP recipients did in the wake of the financial crisis when the Treasury imposed special regulations on loan recipients.

Or is Irwindale angling for a settlement deal? Also possible.

The city could be taking action for all 20-some citizens who have a problem with the plant, though based on former councilman Hernandez’s comments, the city’s actions seem strange — like that of a spurned crazy ex-girlfriend.

One thing is for sure, taking loans from the government may save you money up front, but the special terms of the deal often appear after you’ve signed on the dotted line, as seems to be the case here.

Tran looks like he is taking this personally. He put up a big banner that reads “NO TEAR GAS MADE HERE” and hung it out in front of his factory. The sign gives the impression Tran plans to fight this in court, but the company is largely keeping quiet.

Los Angeles County, where Irwindale is located, has a higher than average unemployment rate — 9.5% as of October. Like the Dollar Shave Club commercial says, “I’m no Vanderbilt but this train makes hay” — Tran’s brought commerce to Irwindale, but do they really want this litigious NIMBY reputation? It doesn’t appear the city has put much thought to the trade offs such a lawsuit brings.

If Irwindale’s sudden and bizarre reversal weren’t enough for Huy Fong, the state of California has made matters worse.

According to a report by ABC News:

The Southern California-based maker of Sriracha has been told it can’t ship any more of its popular hot sauce to food distributors until next month because the state Department of Public Health is enforcing stricter guidelines that require a 30-day hold on the product.

Health department spokeswoman Anita Gore told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the 30-day hold is needed to “ensure an effective treatment of microorganisms present in the product.”

The move by the California Department of Health might be seen as suspicious by some, given the timing. But it appears that the regulation that went into effect wasn’t specifically targeted at Huy Fong.

LA Weekly reports that the 30-day requirement “has existed for years but that it was recently modified in a way that now applies specifically to Huy Fong’s hot sauces.” The Department of Health cited federal regulatory law as the justification for the change in their enforcement, despite the sauce being produced there for over 30 years. The regulations were changed in 2011, under the Obama administration, state that companies that deviate from the scheduled process for acidified food must “set aside that portion of the food involved for further evaluation as to any potential public health significance.”

California has stricter rules than the rest of the U.S. for guns, cars,  and apparently, hot sauce.

One wholesaler is very unhappy, telling ABC News that he’s already received 30 angry phone calls — more than the total number of complaints in Irwindale — about the problems it’s causing. Unfortunately for consumers, they don’t have a city to sue on their behalf, only David Tran, Huy Fong Foods and his legal team. The delays, the wholesaler says, could cost him $300,000 in lost business.

Other cities’ officials are trying to lure Tran and his company to relocate to their city. One such place is Philadelphia. While it’s unlikely Huy Fong — which only uses one chili supplier — would ship its chilis across the country in an expedited manner to make their product there, nearby Arizona and Nevada might be a better fit.

In the film, Tran tells us that if people no longer like his product, he’ll stop making it. His product’s popularity isn’t the problem at present — it’s California, and Californians. David Tran waited a month on a ship to escape Vietnam, so Irwindale should expect no lack of patience from him.

I doubt Tran will go full Atlas Shrugged and deny foodies, hipsters, and hot sauce fanatics his great product. But its fans should take notice to see what the NIMBY crowd and regulatory overreach is doing to one of their prize condiments. Don’t expect any hilarious criticisms of regulatory overreach by The Oatmeal.  Unless Tran wins in court, the price of Sriracha is set to rise, or the California label might be coming off the bottle.bsig

Human Rights Campaign Weighs In On Manning

Bradley Manning Support Network

Army Private Bradley Manning, recently demoted and dishonorably discharged for his role in leaking hundreds of thousands of sensitive classified files to WikiLeaks, was sentenced yesterday to 35 years in prison.

Manning has since applied for a Presidential pardon, and also announced his desire to be treated as a woman.

According to a letter he wrote that was first reported by NBC’s Today show, Manning writes:

“I am Chelsea Manning. I am female. Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition. I also request that, starting today, you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun (except in official mail to the confinement facility).”

However, according to an emailed statement from an Army spokeswoman to Reuters: “The Army does not provide hormone therapy or sex-reassignment surgery.”

It is unclear whether Private Manning will be able to undergo hormone therapy.

The Human Rights Campaign, the activist group which bills itself as “working for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Equal Rights,” had been strangely silent on the topic of Private Bradley Manning. In fact, their webpage never mentions him before today.

Today, the group addressed this issue for the first time:

In an email, Human Rights Campaign Vice President and Chief Foundation Officer Jeff Krehely released the following statement:

 “Regardless of how she came to our attention, Pvt. Chelsea Manning’s transition deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.  As she requested in her letter, journalists and other officials should use her chosen name of Chelsea and refer to her with female pronouns.  Using the name Bradley or male pronouns is nothing short of an insult.  Media, having reported on her wishes, must respect them as is the standard followed by the AP Stylebook.

 “As Pvt. Manning serves her sentence, she deserves the same thing that any incarcerated person does – appropriate and competent medical care and protection from discrimination and violence.  The care she receives should be something that she and her doctors – including professionals who understand transgender care – agree is best for her.  There is a clear legal consensus that it is the government’s responsibility to provide medically necessary care for transgender people and the military has an obligation to follow those guidelines.

 “What should not be lost is that there are transgender servicemembers and veterans who serve and have served this nation with honor, distinction and great sacrifice.  We must not forget or dishonor those individuals. Pvt. Manning’s experience is not a proxy for any other transgender man or woman who wears the uniform of the United States.”

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‘Jackass’ Approved for Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit

bgThe upcoming film Bad Grandpa, part of the Jackass series, was filmed in Northeast Ohio.

I noticed a frame of the Veteran’s Memorial Bridge, a bridge I crossed frequently during my high school years on Cleveland’s West Side.

In an effort to win filming locations, Ohio offers the “Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit” as an incentive, though many films use Cleveland as a backdrop for other cities like New York, Chicago, or Washington, rather than a feature. In other words, Ohioans are subsidizing Hollywood firms to turn Cleveland into New York.

So far as these incentives go, Ohio isn’t alone — over 75% of states offer some form of incentive.

According to the website of the Ohio Development Services Agency:

“The Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit provides a refundable tax credit that equals 25 percent off in-state spend and non-resident wages and 35 percent in Ohio resident wages on eligible productions.”

It also specifies that “[e]ligible productions must spend a minimum of $300,000 in the State of Ohio”.

The Ohio Development Services Agency confirmed to me that, while “the production company has not yet sent in their final audit … the project was approved for a $1.5 million Motion Picture Tax Credit.” The production company projected that “47 percent was to be shot in Ohio.”

Motion Picture Tax Credits and other incentives for filming are popular among state legislators. The Tax Foundation observes:

“Forty-four states [in 2010] offer significant movie production incentives (MPIs), up from five states in 2002, and twenty-eight states offer film tax credits.”

While they are popular, they are not without controversy. The Economist called such incentives a “stupid trend.”

Since 2010, three states have dropped their motion picture incentives. Many others, including New Jersey — the epitome of states with silly policies, have suspended such programs.

The non-partisan Tax Foundation is skeptical of the value of incentives and credits for motion pictures:

“While broad-based tax competition often benefits consumers and spurs economic growth and development, industry-specific tax competition transfers wealth from the many to the few … Movie production incentives are costly and fail to live up to their promises.”

The report continues:

“Based on fanciful estimates of economic activity and tax revenue, states are investing in movie production projects with small returns and taking unnecessary risks with taxpayer dollars. In return, they attract mostly temporary jobs that are often transplanted from other states.”

and:

“Furthermore, the competition among states transfers a large portion of potential gains to the movie industry, not to local businesses or state coffers. It is unlikely that movie production incentives generate wealth in the long run. Most fail even in the short run. Yet they remain popular.”

I’m in agreement. Scrap them.

But if you’re going to keep them, at least require that they say they’re in Cleveland in the film, so that you can pick movies that cast Cleveland in a positive light.bsig

Here’s a screen grab from Google street view of the bridge seen in the movie.

gmaps

The next frame cuts immediately to Charlotte, North Carolina. From the trailer, it appears most of the film is depicted in North Carolina. (Also, Cleveland’s tallest building one of Charlotte’s tallest were both designed by Cesar Pelli and look similar.) Other scenes were filmed in North Carolina.

bg2

You can watch the trailer here:

Cap South — What It’s Really Like to Work in Congress

There are tons of funny shows out there that touch on what it is like to work in the federal government. House of Cards is excellent, and the scene work is phenomenal. Veep — a show I just started watching — is entertaining, but not on the same level for me as House of Cards.

But, one new show might change all that. It’s a forthcoming web series starring my good friend / mortal prank enemy and former room mate, Andrew Heaton as the lead character. His girlfriend in real life, Naomi Brockwell, also stars in it.

It’s called Cap South. (You can learn more about it here eventually, but you can learn more now by following it on facebook.)

Since Andrew’s involved, and the show is run by a fellow Congressional Expat, I expected the dialogue to be highly realistic and very funny. I was correct. Below is what it is really like to answer un-screened phone calls.

Here’s the Trailer:

Answering the phone on the hill in real life (left) versus in Cap South (right). Spot on.
phone

bsig

New Podcast: Obama Helped Kill ’07 Immigration Reform

Today, I joined Michael Graham over at THE WEEKLY STANDARD podcast to discuss the President’s new immigration outline and the framework being proposed by a bi-partisan group of Senators.

Meters v. Paywalls — Sully Style

The chattering class in Washington, D.C. is in a big hoopla after Andrew Sullivan announced he was leaving the Daily Beast (attention old folks, this is now Newsweek) to run his old blog again. He left the Atlantic in Washington last year for NYC to work for the Daily Beast/Newsweek. Like Glenn Beck, Sullivan will test the waters to see if enough people value his content to pay for it. Put another way, he’s “gone rogue” Sarah Palin style.

The big news? His blog will have a meter. A meter, got it? NOT A PAYWALL. NOBODY CALL IT A PAYWALL.

After all, what are meters? Usage devices that trigger — wait for it — a paywall! Meters are but functions of paywalls, but I guess that’s just semantics. It seems to irk Sullivan though that people are saying he will have a paywall. When, at some point for readers, he will. (Unless of course they delete their cookies, use multiple browsers, or find other ways around the paywall.)

While not a regular reader of his content, bomble.com wishes him the best on this experiment.

Catholic Colleges Contemplate Forming Collegiate CYO

Tonight, friend of the blog Cowboy Diplomacy (CD) shared this link with me. It seems seven Catholic schools in the Big East are contemplating taking their ball and forming a new league. Their own collegiate version of a CYO, if you will.

ESPN reports:

The seven Catholic schools in the Big East have agreed to leave the conference and are debating the process of departing the league, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

How DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall and Villanova leave the Big East is still undetermined.

The presidents are expected to issue a statement on their schools’ future in the next 24 to 48 hours.

Interesting. At first glance, I suggested to CD that I am not sure this is the world’s greatest idea. After all, who would want to watch an all-Catholic conference? Doesn’t it sort of limit the exposure of Catholic colleges to the tournament if a lot of them join this conference? CD disagreed:

It makes sense. College basketball is a great product. And, it’s TV money. Bring those basketball schools in to a conference together and give a grant of rights

Admittedly, I could care less about the Big East. It’s just not my conference. I tend to follow Big 10 football and A10 basketball & soccer, and that’s pretty much it. I asked if SLU and other non-Big East Catholic schools might join. CD didn’t know SLU was Catholic, which I found amusing.

ESPN answered:

[Notre Dame coach Mike] Brey also said the discussion among the Catholic schools was to make it a national Catholic conference with Xavier, Saint Louis, Dayton, Creighton, Gonzaga and possibly Saint Mary’s, as well.

Ah, would there be a Catholic Sports Network? What would play in the off hours? EWTN? Top 10 Mass moments? St. Vincent de Paul infomercials?

The question on everyone’s mind is — would Pope Benedict XVI be the commish? He is Pope after all.

catholic 10

I hear there is big money in TV networks & rights these days — but who would subscribe if it wasn’t part of a comprehensive sports package?CD suggested maybe a network would pick it up. Who? To be sure, these are some decent sized markets.

I’m not sure. I guess we’ll see in the next 24-48 hours what happens. Should be interesting.bsig

PARODY: If SJL Gave the Independence Day Speech

Some date in the future, at a secret air base in the Nevada desert.

Aliens have sprung a surprise attack on America and the rest of the world. In your RV, you’ve taken shelter at this once-secret air base. The President and what remains of the top levels of government are there, debating how to respond.

An estranged cable technician devises a way to put a bug into the alien spaceship so we can attack it. Once it takes hold, fighter jets will attack the alien ships when their shields are down.

Your President? Former Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee. A former fighter pilot in her own right, President SJL strides confidently out to a truck with a megaphone. But she still calls herself Congresswoman as a force of habit.

She delivers a rousing speech…. About the memory of an American great — Michael Jackson.

This is what it sounds like:

Bomblecast #13 — Lame Ducks

Friends, after an eight-year hiatus, my podcasts are back. Why eight years? Why not. Anyways, hipsters have brought back mix tapes, skinny jeans, 1980’s glasses and podcasts. So, I figured I’d rejoin the fray and bring you back my podcast.

Because you didn’t ask. Anyways, if it takes off, I’ll do this more often and get a feed on iTunes and such. In the mean time, I’ll just give you this mp3.

EPISODE 13 (right click and save as to download)

Links from this week’s episode

http://www.theuselessweb.com/ (Or, how to waste your time)

POLITICO: Bill sustains fight against human-rights abuses

CBS Saint Louis: Mark Twain Coin In The Works

You Don’t Have A Right to a Job

And please, let’s keep it that way.

In P.J. O’Rourke’s book, Don’t Vote, It Just Encourages the Bastards, he writes:

“When rights consist of special privileges and material benefits, rights kill freedom. Wrong rights are the source of political power.”

O’Rourke is right.

On Facebook recently, a friend of mine shared an image that depicts a proposed “Second Bill of Rights” that President Franklin Roosevelt outlined in his 1944 State of the Union speech.

Thankfully, much of this proposal died with him.

According to what would later become Newsweek, the footage was thought lost until liberal icon/September 11 truther Michael Moore found it.

Thank goodness Moore put aside conspiracy theories for a moment to share with us footage of more of FDR’s economic malarkey.

Newsweek, excuse me, The Daily Beast, quoted Pulitzer prize winning author and content borrower Doris Kearns Goodwin’s views on the “Second Bill of Rights”:

Presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II, told The Daily Beast that Moore “is absolutely right” to focus on FDR’s second Bill of Rights. She said she has never seen a film clip of Roosevelt describing his proposal.

“It was a radical proposal, suggesting a positive role for government in protecting people against the vagaries of the market, and had he lived, it is fascinating to wonder how much of these ideas might have been translated into policy,” Goodwin said in an email.

Remember, aspiring writers, when caught using a person’s work without proper attribution, the question is not whether you should lose your job, rather, “the larger one.”

As Kearns Goodwin put it:

“The larger question for those of us who write history is to understand how citation mistakes can happen.”

But what do I know? I’m not pretentious enough to posit that I “write history.”

What is it that’s so bad about FDR’s proposed second bill of rights? Why is it so bad?

The first line in this proposed new bill of rights is that “every American has a right to __________.” The graphic proposes assigning these six news rights to every American.

The seventh — I am told from some very tenuous deep background sources — is that FDR also wanted to propose a right for Americans  never to be killed by your government abroad by a robot airplane without pesky warrants, arrests and trials. You know, the whole justice system thing.

But after detaining ethnic minorities — citizens no less — in “containment camps” FDR didn’t want to limit his successors. At least he was forward thinking.

The first new proposed right is a right to a job.  As it currently stands, many Americans aren’t in possession of this proposed right since lots of them are unemployed.

I’ll admit, America would be pretty swell if we all had jobs. And West Highland Terriers. But how would we go about implementing such a new right? Let’s flesh it out with a few ideas:

  1. The government employs everyone. (See: Communism.)
  2. The government employs everyone who cannot find a job in the private sector (See: Socialism and related variants.)
  3. The government forces employers to hire people (See notes in #2.)

As O’Rourke said, conferring new rights kills freedom. Either by telling people how to run their businesses, or by taking taxes from them to achieve those ends.

Same goes with the second guarantee — an adequate wage and a “decent” living, however defined. What’s decent living to New Yorkers might seem third worldly to people in the deep south these days. Four people to a closet in a hostel? Why not have a McMansion for the same price? No “big” 20 oz drinks? Come get a supersized 84 0z drink at Confederacy Mart.

A right to a decent home? How would the government implement this? Heavily subsidize housing to ensure more people get it? That worked out great in recent years! Everybody has decent housing…. Right? Or is that just me?

Well, maybe instead of using government (read: taxpayer and China’s) money to encourage people to buy homes, we try to artificially game the market and set prices on housing.

You know, rent control, like in New York.

In New York, rich people with second houses get rent controlled apartments. Kids lie to the government about their residency so when grandma dies they’ll get her posh apartment. (And they never break residency or voting laws, that’s for sure!)  Best of all, if you’re a former chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, you get a couple rent controlled apartments. I think that is in New York’s state constitution somewhere.

Smart kids with a Master’s degree get to live with three other people in a closet for $750 a month per person. Rent control is awesome.

The government, if unshackled by those greedy free marketeers, could do so many great things to make housing affordable. If given more power, imagine how much more affordable housing could be in places like New York! Everyone could be just like Ted Mosby in How I Met Your Mother.

From what I can tell, impoverished people love government solutions that make housing affordable. Government does such a great job. (Unless, of course, you’re a greedy landlord.)

Which brings me to medical care. Every American has the right to medical care? Close the book on this one, guys. Even before Obamacare, this already was the law of the land.

Oh wait. You mean they had to pay for it? Like, by finding jobs? Choosing appropriate housing? Where is the fun in that?

We’re not done yet. There are two more, so stay with me.

Number five is the right to “Economic protection during sickness, accident, old age or unemployment.” Sounds a lot like Social Security Disability Insurance and Unemployment. Well, those have already been implemented to varying degrees.

The results?

Social Security Disability Insurance runs out of money in a mere six years. In 2018 the trust fund will be broke and recipients will have their benefits cut unless Congress pours more money in. Most state unemployment funds are broke, too, borrowing money from the feds.

Well, it’s not like a guarantee of such benefits (or perceived entitlement of them) makes the system susceptible to fraud. No way!

I don’t know about you, but I know at least five people who have, or are currently, committing some level of fraud. People feel entitled. To them it’s not fraud, rather, it’s just getting their money back.  (Which means I know at least five people who would make great citizens in Greece.)

The last is a right to a good education. I grew up in a town that spent ungodly amounts on education, and my parents (and those of my friends) spent more money to send us to what would appear to be an inferior Catholic school.

Yes, my grade school alma mater is a recipient of a Blue Ribbon School Award. How is it that my school, where we dissected chicken wings instead of dead pigs like the kids at public school (seriously!) produce better results (on average) than kids whose education cost multiples of mine?

I got a better education for a fraction of the price (not including taxes for those public schools that produced flunkie yuppies and drug addicts), and the really poor kids three miles east of me got a worse education for five times the cost.

How did that happen? Well, just trust government a little more and presto chango, outcomes will change. Oh, right, they need more of your money, too, so pay up.

You cannot guarantee a “good education”  It’s a pipe dream of false government promises.

It’s up to teachers, parents, students and the like to ensure people get a good education.

The late — not great — FDR’s proposed second bill of rights are nothing but feel good platitudes that don’t give serious thought to the issues and the unintended consequences. Which might explain why unions like them.

In America you have the right to pursue or obtain these things. But they shouldn’t just be given to you by other people. A decent education, for example, takes effort from you. So does finding a job, and using its wages to pay for housing and medical care.

Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone had a job? Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone had an adequate wage and decent living?  Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone had a decent home and medical care,  economic protection during sickness, accident, old age or unemployment, and a good education? And a West Highland Terrier.

The Beach Boys were right — wouldn’t it be nice?

One thing FDR either didn’t consider is that you can’t realistically promise these things to people. And you shouldn’t. Or, a more sinister version is that he knew such promises were dumb but did it for political gain anyway.