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August 23, 2001 – McDonald’s was in the news – Emery Cargo Planes were in the news and scientist Wen Ho Lee was all over the news.
Starting with the latest controversy to hit McDonald’s – this time over Fries. Faced with lawsuits from vegans and protests from Hindus, McDonald’s said it would provide more detail on the ingredients in its foods so there won’t be any misunderstanding. McDonald’s conceded the root of its disclosure was in a lawsuit filed by Vegetarians over allegations of lacing non-meat menu items with flavoring from meat; specifically, beef. Beginning this day, McDonald’s officials fessed up about everything. They pledged to provide information about certain core menu items were either dairy, meat or a vegetable source. Spokesmen went on to say the beef flavoring was in fish, vegetables and even Chicken.
Meanwhile, Emery Air-freight was grounding its entire fleet of some thirty-seven cargo planes, following a government threat to pull its flight certificate. Seems FAA inspectors found continuing problems with Emery’s maintenance, training and record keeping. The results could make it very difficult for Emery to get its flying rights back, because the pattern of violations, according to FAA Inspectors ran well over 100 in the past 18 months – and those were considered serious violations. In the meantime, Emery was planning on staying in business via Charter Planes.
And the Justice Department went public on what went wrong when Los Alamos nuclear scientist Wen Ho Lee was suspected of spying for China. Although parts of the report were heavily redacted, the findings were clear; the Wen Ho Lee investigation was bungled from start to finish. First, a slap-dash report fingered Lee as a logical suspect, while ignoring other potential culprits with access to classified information. And as the expert in counter-intelligence, the FBI should have seen the flaws, but instead focused on Lee as well, which the report called “inexplicable”. The one saving grace was the disclosure from both agencies that Wen Ho Lee was not fingered because of his ethnicity.
And that’s a small slice of the news that made August 13, 2001 worth looking back at.