Monday, November 28, 2005

A Bureaucrat Triumphs and a Little Bit of Chicago Dies

And at once the vicissitudes of life had become indifferent to me, its disasters innocuous, its brevity illusory - this new sensation having had on me the effect which love has of filling me with a precious essence; or rather this essence was not in me it was me. I had ceased now to feel mediocre, contingent, mortal. Whence could it have come to me, this all-powerful joy? I sensed that it was connected with the taste of the tea and the cake, but that it infinitely transcended those savours, could, no, indeed, be of the same nature. Whence did it come? What did it mean? How could I seize and apprehend it? - Marcel Proust, in Á La Recherche du Temps Perdu on his encounter with a madeleine.

For as long as anyone remembers, one of the great unexpected pleasures of living or working on the periphery of Chicago's Loop was the strong aroma of chocolate suddenly wafting mysteriously through the air. Now, this singular delight is about to meet a brutish end. The countless many who loved it have been outnumbered by a disdainful one, slithering furtively to the EPA with a formal complaint against the scentgiver, the Blommer Chocolate Company, which has been processing cocoa beans in its Kinzie Street factory for sixty-six years. With singular and relentless obtuseness, the EPA has now put the strong-arm on Blommer to protect the "children, the elderly and people with heart and lung diseases" from the pernicious effects of inhaling cocoa dust, by installing equipment that will banish it from the air forever. What's next? Putting the screws to bakeries to eliminate whatever particulate produces the aroma of fresh-baked bread?

In reply, I can only paraphrase the response to the mania of another bureaucracy, the FDA, as it "protects" us from the supposed peril of prescription drugs imported from Canada, "Show me the dead chocolate sniffers." Show me the helpless urchins, weezing invalids and lovable grandmothers brought low by Blommer's romantic emissions. I suggest to you, sir, that you cannot, because they do not exist. Old, young or infirm, place any of them within the power of that sweetly dense scent, and I submit you will witness neither consternation nor concern, but only an unforced smile.

Six decades of pleasure, gone in an instant via a desk jockey's decree, the long, cold winter hard upon us, and aromatic respite snatched away, never to return. It's almost enough to turn one into a libertarian.


Anonymous said...

Hear, all ye good people, hear what this eloquent speaker has to say!

Amie said...

yes, we should keep polluting, like we've always done, because it smells nice.

oh, and that's some blissful ignorance about importing canadian drugs. canadian health care gets those drugs at those prices from us. if we continue buying our own drugs back from canada, US pharmaceutical companies will raise prices for the canadian government.

do your homework next time.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of doing one's homework, if you had bothered to read the coverage of this from Crain's and the dailies, you would have learned:
1. The claims of harmful pollution are nebulous. The Illinois EPA was quoted that they have never had and do not have issues with the Blommer Plant.
2. Even the local spokesman for the American Lung Association spoke of the EPA's actions as "It's like crushing an ant when there's a pack of wolves around".
3. While Blommer was cited for emitting particulates for the huge periods of 10 and 16 minutes, the state's coal-fired power plants, which pump 15,000 tons of pollution into Illinois air each year, are given a free pass.
If this isn't a typical Bush administration diversionary sideshow, what is?

In terms of Canadians getting their drugs from us, it's much more likely they were manufactured in plants in oversea locations like Ireland. American drug companies, like everyone, are becoming mere brokers. They buy most of their new drugs from the research of American universities, and, if you check their 10-K's, spend a lot more on marketing than they do on original research.

Anonymous said...

Just another case of the zealous bureaucrat adhering to the old saw "the perfect is the enemy of the good".

Is it any wonder why we look around at our country in dismay noticing "there is no 'there' there". Its the malling of America and we're destroying all that makes life worth living, "the little things".

Someone should get this bureaucrats name and post it.