Daily Archives: December 15, 2010

More on the McDonalds Happy Meal suit


Monet Parham and daughter enjoying a Happy Meal

 My pal Walter Olson (Cato Institute, Overlawyered.com) has a great opinion column in the NY Daily News on this bit of bogus crap. The plaintiff is a professional agitator, paid by us taxpayers.

It’s representing an allegedly typical mother of two from Sacramento named Monet Parham. What’s Parham’s (so to speak) beef? “Because of McDonald’s marketing, [her daughter] Maya has frequently pestered Parham into purchasing Happy Meals, thereby spending money on a product she would not otherwise have purchased.

You’re probably wondering: How is this grounds for a lawsuit? No one forced Parham to take her daughters to McDonald’s, buy them that particular menu item, and sit by as they ate every last French fry in the bag (if they did).No, she’s suing because when she said no, her kids became disagreeable and “pouted” – for which she wants class action status. If she gets it, McDonald’s isn’t the only company that should worry. Other kids pout because parents won’t get them 800-piece Lego sets, Madame Alexander dolls and Disney World vacations. Are those companies going to be liable too?

The center’s longtime shtick is to complain that businesses like McDonald’s, rather than our own choices, are to blame for rising obesity. So let’s take Happy Meals as an example. When you buy one, you get a string of choices. Milk or soda? (Is that really a hard choice for a parent worried about nutrition?) You can swap out the fattening French fries for “apple dippers” with caramel sauce and plenty of kid appeal. But your choices do not end there. If you think the scoop of fries is too big for a kid serving, you can tell the kid to share it with the grownup on hand, namely you. (You’re the grownup. You make the rules.) You can even, shocking as this sounds, toss the surplus French fries into the disposal bin.

Much of the interviewing press was happy to treat Monet Parham as a random (if oddly well-informed) California mom, but it didn’t take the blogosphere long to discover that she is apparently anything but random. Ira Stoll, who blogs at Future of Capitalism and used to put out the New York Times-tweaking smartertimes.com, soon discovered (via a commenter) that she is in fact the same person as Monet

Parham-Lee, who is a “regional program manager” on the state of California payroll for child nutrition matters.

Specifically, she works on a federally funded program that campaigns to exhort people to eat their vegetables and that sort of thing. The comment:

Nancy and I raised three (skinny) children, but certainly treated them to the occasional Happy Meal, especially on road trips. It’s really no big deal: as Olson points out, we’re the parents, and we make the rules. How hard is that?


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How do you explain evil?

Alaine Leconte

22-years-old, lives in Old Greenwich, and forced gas station clerks to lie on the floor and then shot them in the head. What can possibly go wrong in such a short time span to turn someone into a stone cold killer? I’m baffled.


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An apology to the GPD

In one of my comments regarding tha Apple Store break-in, I made a crack about our policemen facing no danger. As yesterday’s Florida School Board incident showed, there’s no way of knowing when some whack job will pull a gun (and my vote for person of the year goes to Ginger Littleton, who attacked the gunman with her purse).

Our cops respond to boozed-up domestic disputes, armed robberies and have to pull over motorists, alone, on dark nights. They have no way of knowing what they’re facing yet they respond every time. That requires an incredible amount of courage and I admire it.

Of course, if they cracked a window open in that new headquarters building of theirs  they might hear an alarm bell, but that’s another story.


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UBS to French employees:

Soap? What is this soap, eh?

Remember to wash! You can lead a horse-eater to water but ….



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This is pretty cool

Doctor/researcher on track of why staph infections kill some humans while others aren’t affected. 100,000 a year die of staph infections, yet 30% of us carry the bacteria in our noses with no harm.

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Well of course it is


 Washington D.C. area richest in the country. When all power is concentrated in one spot, you’ll find the smart and talented drawn there. It used to be New York and, later, Silicon Valley, but finance and invention are old hat – now it’s all about redistribution of wealth and for that, you want to be in D.C.


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Nixon goes to China

Jerry Brown’s talking about a 25% cut in the state’s budget. “Those who wanted less government are about to get it,” his treasurer says. Fine by me.

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Forget Ct’s budget deficit, did you know that our state’s pension fund is under-funded by $34 billion?

And that’s before calculating the actual pension amounts owed – the state’s got a backlog of twenty years on that job.

You probably want to move from our fair state before Hartford comes calling on Greenwich to pick up this tab.


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Well which is it?

Malloy names new police commissioner.

Bradford, who rose to the rank of major in the State Police, will not join the Malloy administration after the Super Bowl.

Maybe he decided to work for Philadelphia, instead.

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It’s a long way from Dunkin Donuts to Greenwich Avenue

Thieves bust down door to the Apple store, take a leisurely stroll along the aisles, stealing computers and phones and are long gone before the cops arrive from their shiny new headquarters one block away. Yes, there was an alarm sounding the entire time.

Police spokesman Kraig Gray defended the force’s performance: “We arrived with hot coffee,” he told FWIW’s Scusie, “and you can bet that, if they’d still been there, we’d have thrown it right in their faces.”

Greenwich Time notes that:

The burglary comes almost a month after an even more brazen robbery at Betteridge Jewelers just down the street at 117 Greenwich Ave. Two sledgehammer-wielding men entered the store when it was open Nov. 16, smashed a case and grabbed watches inside before escaping. No arrests have been made in that case.

Gray, noting that the two crimes were different, said the Avenue hasn’t necessarily become a more dangerous place or an easy target for criminals.

“One is a commercial burglary at night, while the other is a daytime robbery,” he said. “It’s completely different, and once we figure out day and night, we’re gonna make some progress here.”


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iPhone goes to war

Army to issue smart phones to its troops

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They never let up

California mommy and Ralph Nader group sue McDonalds over Happy Meals 

It’s impossible to enter a McDonalds accidentally and even more difficult to order a Happy Meal through inadvertence so what, exactly is the complaint here? The mommy is free to avoid Happy Meals for her kids – what’s got her knickers knotted, I suppose, is the terrible thought that other parents AREN’T FOLLOWING ORDERS


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I was just asking myself …

If we can put a man on the moon, why can’t we have haggis-flavored potato chips?

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Inmate dines kosher while his fellows nibble bologna

Told Judge he needed better food because of his strict adherence to “Festivus”.

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A contract!


A 1959 house on four acres way up Taconic (north of North Stanwich). Asking $1.4 million since May and never budging, it’s now under contract.

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Seventh time the charm?

15 Reynwood

15 Reynwood Manor has been for sale since at least 2002, at prices varying from $15 million to $23 million. Today it’s back on at $17.5 million. It’s a beautiful old house, completely renovated by one of Greenwich’s noted developers, and still has 9 acres from the original estate. All that noted, it’s assessed at around $8.5, and if it couldn’t sell at the height of the market, I’d be surprised if it fetched its asking price now. Then again, the owner is clearly in no hurry.

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Nice deal

16 Lauder Lane

16 Lauder Lane, originally asked $7.450 in 2008 (and $7750 back in 2000) but sold yesterday for $5.4 million. Assessment was $5.647. This became a relative bargain.


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Why your diswasher no longer works

No more phosphates, no more clean.


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More foreclosures coming

So says the WSJ, which predicts another 10% drop in prices. That’s a national outlook, not local, but ….

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In case you wondered why this blog hasn’t been focused on real estate news lately

 There’s been no news.

This is true statewide, as well.


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