February 24, 2006

LinkNews Digest [02/24/2006]

McDonalds Sued Over Fry Ingredients

CHICAGO - McDonald's Corp. faces at least three lawsuits claiming the fast-food giant misled the public after it acknowledged earlier this week its french fries contain milk and wheat ingredients.

Debra Moffatt of Lombard, Ill., seeks unspecified damages in a suit filed Friday in Chicago. Her attorney, Thomas Pakenas, said his client has celiac disease, which causes gastrointestinal symptoms set off by eating gluten, a protein found in wheat.

Mark and Theresa Chimiak of Jupiter, Fla., sued Friday in Florida, claiming their 5-year-old daughter has an intolerance to gluten and became seriously ill after eating the fries. Nadia Sugich of Los Angeles sued Wednesday, saying she eats no animal products and would not have eaten the fries had she known they contained dairy ingredients.

McDonald's, based in Oak Brook, Ill., said Monday that wheat and dairy products are used to flavor its fries. Before its acknowledgment Monday, the company had quietly added "Contains wheat and milk ingredients" to the french fries listing on its Web site. (LINK )

Even the Dogs in SanFran Will Recycle

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - San Francisco, a leader in urban recycling, is preparing to enlist its canine population for a first in the United States: converting dog poop into energy.

Norcal Waste Systems Inc., the city's garbage company, plans to test collection carts and biodegradable bags in a city-center park popular with dog walkers.

A city study found that almost 4 percent of all the garbage picked up at San Francisco homes was from animal waste destined for the city's landfill, Norcal Waste spokesman Robert Reid said. San Francisco has an estimated 120,000 dogs.

"The city asked us to start thinking about a pilot program to recycle the dog poop in order to cut back adding more waste in landfills," Reid said.

Dog feces could be scooped into a methane digester, a device that uses bugs and microorganisms to gobble up the material and emit methane, which would be trapped and burned to power a turbine to make electricity or to heat homes.

Dogs and cats in the United States produce about 10 million tonnes of waste a year, Will Brinton, an environmental scientist and owner-director of Woods End Laboratories in Maine, said. (LINK )

Wayans Attempts Trademark for N-Word

The actor Damon Wayans has been engaged in a 14-month fight to trademark the term "N---a" [rhymes with "Bigga" - ed.] for a clothing line and retail store, a search of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's online database reveals.

Wayans wants to dress customers in 14 kinds of attire from tops to bottoms, and use the controversial mark on "clothing, books, music and general merchandise," as well as movies, TV and the internet, according to his applications.

But, so far, his applications have been unsuccessful. Trademark examiner Kelly Boulton rejected the registration dated Dec. 22, citing a law that prohibits marks that are "immoral or scandalous." A previous attempt by Wayans was turned down on identical grounds six months earlier.

"While debate exists about in-group uses of the term, 'n---a' is almost universally understood to be derogatory," Boulton wrote to Wayans' attorney, William H. Cox, according to the application.

The word "n---a" is ubiquitous in hip-hop music, where it provides half of a rhyming couplet radio listeners never get to hear in the Grammy-winning song "Gold Digger" by Kanye West. Ol' Dirty Bastard used the term 76 times in the 1999 album N---a Please, not counting repetitions in a chorus.

"The very fact that debate is ongoing regarding in-group usage, shows that a substantial composite of African-Americans find the term 'n---a' to be offensive," Boulton wrote in rejecting Wayans.

Though attempts to commercialize "N---a" coincide with a generational shift in how the word is perceived, the clothing is still likely to test some boundaries, as Rhodan demonstrated in a phone interview.

"You couldn't wear it," he said. (LINK via WIRED)

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