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In today's pages: Obama's energy plan, the FBI's anthrax probe

August 5, 2008 |  2:47 pm

Steve McAfee illustration for SB 1420 While the world waits for the FBI to disclose more about its investigation into the post-9/11 anthrax attacks, critics of the bureau are sounding off in newspapers across the country. We bring you one today: Gabriel Schoenfeld, senior editor of Commentary magazine, who wonders if the investigation into microbiologist Bruce E. Ivins won't prove to be the FBI's latest bit of substandard work:

Only over the last year and a half did the bureau begin to focus on Ivins. Why it took the agency years to look in his direction is a central mystery.

(For a much different take, the Wall Street Journal offers an opinion piece from former U.N. biological weapons expert Richard Spertzel, who declared that Ivins couldn't possibly have been the sole culprit.)

Columnist Jonah Goldberg mourns the passing of Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Peter Rodman, a  national-security expert who worked for the past five Republican presidents. Their deaths provide a jumping-off point for Goldberg to ridicule Barack Obama for giving a "dangerously naive" speech in Berlin about Europe moving out from under the "shadows of yesterday."

Rounding out the page, Harold Goldstein and Eric Schlosser urge state lawmakers to pass a bill (SB 1420) that would require fast-food and chain restaurants to display on their menu boards the calorie content of their selections. While many observers might ask why the government should insert its regulatory fingers into a fiercely competitive market, Goldstein and Schlosser argue that the bill would promote free enterprise:

In recent years, a number of fast-food chains have begun to promote healthier items. We applaud that decision. Requiring calorie information on menu boards would support those marketing efforts and enable consumers to make informed choices. Chains that sell good-tasting, lower-calorie foods will be rewarded; chains that don't may see their sales decline. That's how the free market is supposed to work. 

In the editorial stack, as we like to call it (insert your own joke here about sandwiching a dumb idea between two bad ones), the board utters a less-than-full-throated endorsement for Barack Obama's latest ideas about energy policy, saying he is "right about energy more often than he's wrong, and also is right more often than McCain."

The board also berates the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to protect the gray wolf and the wolverine in the face of dwindling populations, and it laments the burdens Santa Monica's neighbors bear as a consequence of its imbalanced stance on development.

Finally, in the letters columns you'll find, among other things, a spirited defense of the aforementioned Bruce Ivins from a former co-worker, as well as reactions pro and con to Goldberg's column on Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the Mexico Olympics.

Steve McAfee did the calorific illustration for the column by Goldstein and Schlosser.

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