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My Time in the USA: Democracy is overrated (or, the return of the stupid label)


You might remember that many years ago (actually, it’s just shy of four years ago) I wrote a post about a disconcerting label I found on the box of a pair of Shure earphones I got to try to sleep better during the night when noise was coming from the outside. This was a Californian notice about the danger of carcinogenic chemicals, most likely related to the PVC in the earphones’ cord — which didn’t even last six full months! I had to trash the extremely expensive pair of earphones, because the cables ruptured behind my ears; the stupid plastic was just too rigid I’m afraid.

Well, now that I’ve been in California for a while, I was expecting to see many more similar notices, but at least here in Hermosa Beach where I’m based, I haven’t seen one … until Starbucks was forced to put on. I actually did find out something more about those notices before, as Amazon has a page which is linked in your order when you’re shipping something in California that should have the label attached.

Now the title of this post is obviously inflammatory, I know that and it’s half-intended, but my problem with all of this is that when I wrote about that stupid label, I didn’t really know much about the whole thing — I’ve been told right away in those comments that the labels are extremely common in California, a few months ago I finally found that it was a popular ballot that actually put the law into place… and now I feel like something’s extremely wrong in this place.

Really I feel this is one of the most stupidest warning people can have on things, and somehow, for once, it makes me feel better thinking that in Italy, referendums are only used to vote laws off, not in…

Comments 5
  1. If we, the American voters, actually fired entire legislatures with any regularity the state questions might be more useful for removing laws. An example is the state question on the Oklahoma ballot this time with axed an entire section of the state constitution.

  2. California is the exception, not the rule. It’s always so insane to me when I travel there because of how different things I know are. Example: Calorie counts plastered all over the menu. Go into a place like Starbucks, Chipotle, or any restaurant around the US, then go to one in California. It’s an eyesore seeing all those numbers plastered on every line item.There’s also bacon warnings IIRC. Chipotle has a notice that one of their beans are cooked with bacon. Which is a bit of a slap in the face because nothing on their menu has bacon.There’s good in this too though. Despite how annoyed I get trying to determine the recyclable/compostable status of certain items, it makes me feel good that I can do that with a reasonable degree of certainty.

  3. Heh, the calories information is .. useful sometimes, but not having a breakdown means that you only have a very vague idea of where the calories are; it’s okay if you’re a top model on a diet, but for people like me who care more about avoiding _sugars_ (due to diabetes) just giving the calories is vastly useless.At least I’ve seen that the proposition of labeling anything that might contains GMO has been rejected, one for sanity.Honestly half of this looks like to me…

  4. There’s a reason why California sees a high out-migration in recent years. Being in the grip of liberals is a big part of it. Note, however, that the Prop 37 was defeated in this cycle. It required fairly idiotic anti-GMO warnings. I heard that the luddite anti-GMO hysteria is in vogue in Europe and so leftists and greenies expected an easy sailing for this expensive piece of feel-good war on science. It did not happen: nobody was eager to pay more for their groceries.

  5. I’m pretty sure the problem is not much with the “leftists” (since I would be one as well) and more with the “new agey” kind of crap. In Europe I’d rather attribute that to the grip that _religion_ keeps on people.Although it’s probably an interesting study of what the heck is going on in America where completely opposite environments lead to similar (idiotic) conclusions — as I agree, Prop 37 was utterly useless.I actually found “Ron Paul’s Farewell Address”:http://www.campaignforliber… quite interesting, and not really just for his side of the political spectrum. But the topic of politics is something I want to touch with a different post altogether.

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