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Reason Alert: Mitchell Report, Iran

  • Steroid Tests for Baseball Players Qualifies as Government Reform?
  • Is a U.S.-Iranian Dialogue Realistic?
  • Thank McDonald’s for Keeping You Thin
  • California’s Red Ink Growing
  • New at Reason

Steroid Tests for Baseball Players Qualifies as Government Reform?
That didn’t take long. Republicans and Democrats are already excitedly calling for more hearings on steroid use in baseball and the newly-released Mitchell Report. Reason magazine’s Matt Welch says it all makes perfect sense, “Because nothing says ‘government reform’ like, uh, making sure a private professional sporting league enacts no-warning year-round drug tests on its athletes?…We now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if you give a former Senate Majority Leader $2 million a month for more than a year and half, force clubhouse lackeys to testify under threat of $100,000 fine, and have federal prosecutors grant vastly reduced sentences to drug convicts in exchange for cooperating with Mitchell’s private investigation, you can indeed produce circumstantial evidence that Nook Logan (career home runs: 2) and nearly four score others may have taken legal supplements without a prescription to help them recover more quickly after working out, many during a time when such supplements were perfectly acceptable according to Major League Baseball’s own rules. And as a direct result, your teenage daughter might eventually face drug testing if she plays sports, once Congress goes through another thrilling round of reforming government.”
» Welch: Barry U.S. Bonds

Is a U.S.-Iranian Dialogue Realistic?
“The Iranians are playing three-dimensional chess in the Middle East, while the U.S. is playing with its hankie. American policy in the region suffers from a lack of ideas… Iran would gladly draw the U.S. into a lengthy discussion of everything and nothing, and use this empty gabfest as a smokescreen to advance its agenda. But diplomacy is not an end in itself; to be meaningful it has to achieve specific aims and be based on confidence that both sides seek a mutually advantageous deal. Nothing suggests the Iranians have reached that stage yet. That’s because Iran believes it is winning in the region. The U.S. seems unable to deploy the same array of foreign policy instruments as the Iranians, even if it is vastly more powerful; America’s principal Arab allies are anemic, their mostly geriatric regimes illegitimate; and America’s attention span abroad often seems so limited that an adversary’s favored tactic is to just wait until its officials lose interest and head for the lecture circuit. The Iranians are right, they are winning; at least for the time being.” – Reason magazine’s Michael Young, opinion editor of the Daily Star in Beirut, writes that “there were two types of reactions to the NIE, both inadequate for dealing with the real stakes in American-Iranian hostility throughout the Middle East.”

Thank McDonald’s for Keeping You Thin
In Reason magazine, Greg Beato says fast food restaurants are no worse for us than most mom and pop diners, but those places don’t incur the wrath of activists seeking to legislate our waistlines. Beato writes, “[Y]ou can get a free dinner with as many calories as 10 Big Macs at the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, Texas, if you can eat a 72-ounce sirloin steak, a baked potato, a salad, a dinner roll, and a shrimp cocktail in 60 minutes or less. And if you’re craving 10 pounds of junk food on a single plate, just go to Eagle’s Deli in Boston, Massachusetts, where the 10-story Challenge Burger rises so high you practically need a ladder to eat it. Fast food makes such a savory scapegoat for our perpetual girth control failures that it’s easy to forget we eat less than 20 percent of our meals at the Golden Arches and its ilk. It’s also easy to forget that before America fell in love with cheap, convenient, standardized junk food, it loved cheap, convenient, independently deep-fried junk food…Instead of atomizing families and communities, dives and diners bring them together. Instead of tempting us with empty calories at cheap prices, they offer comfort food and honest value. Instead of destroying our health, they serve us greasy authenticity on platters the size of manhole covers.”
» From the Reason Archives: Is the Size of Your Butt the Government’s Business?

California’s Red Ink Growing
In a column for the Orange County Register, Reason Foundation’s George Passantino reports that since Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s first budget, state “revenue has increased by approximately 32.2 percent while general fund spending has increased by 36.6 percent. This fact reveals the folly of believing that increasing revenue can resolve the fiscal imbalance. Increases in revenue simply trigger more spending.” How bad is the California budget? Even recalled Gov. Gray Davis says it is time to institute a spending limit. Passantino concludes, “Schwarzenegger has talked long enough about reforming the state’s spending and his record has created a platform for his ousted predecessor to step to his right on fiscal matters. We have ‘torn up the credit cards’ multiple times now only to order new ones. Now, is the opportunity for meaningful action, not more promises.”
» Passantino: The Chilling Effect of the Schwarzenegger-Bush Mortgage Rate Freeze

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