cows.jpgThis is the dumbest example of self-dealing cronyism that I have have read this week. (via Rick Perlstein)

The Bush administration said Tuesday it will fight to keep meatpackers from testing all their animals for mad cow disease.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture tests less than 1 percent of slaughtered cows for the disease, which can be fatal to humans who eat tainted beef. But Arkansas City-based Creekstone Farms Premium Beef wants to test all of its cows.

Larger meat companies feared that move because, if Creekstone tested its meat and advertised it as safe, they might have to perform the expensive test, too….

The Agriculture Department argued that widespread testing could lead to a false positive that would harm the meat industry. U.S. District Judge James Robertson noted that Creekstone sought to use the same test the government relies on and said the government didn't have the authority to restrict it(emphasis mine)

Oh yeah, I have yer free markets right here. The markets are free, so long as the Republican party and Bush Administration's large political donor interests in the big corporate cattle industry are fat and happy.  Screw the entrepreneur who saw a way to up-market his own cattle by providing an additional value-added service to his consumers that was his own, personal choice to make for his own cattle on his own damn farm.  Is that about it? 

Rick sums this up perfectly: "There's your conservatism, America: not extremism in defense of liberty. State socialism in defense of Mad Cow."

Just when you think the Bush Administration can't get any more ridiculous…

Mercifully, Rick Perlstein has come up with a fun party game to go along with this wretched story that I thought could be fun for all of us as well.  Says Rick:

Let's have some fun and pretend what the world would be like if other people thought like the Bush administration thinks. Here's my entry; you can propose your own in the comments.

Chicago-based singles-bar habitué Lewis P. Smith wants to get an AIDS test. More successful Chicago studs fear that move because, if Smith gets tested and advertises his sperm as safe, they might have to perform the expensive test, too.

Okay, I'll bite. Here's my potential entry, and I've decided to sex it up a little bit for the celebrity obsessed (since CNN has decided to hire yet another celebrity beat reporter, it's clearly the way to go for serious newsy types!):

In the wake of ever-increasing, champagne-sodden and then some celebutante driving incidents, studio prexy X. Pensive Suit orders that all actors and actresses be issued their own personal minion to drive them about from one party to another so they can party into the wee hours without running into curbs or over small shrubberies or lawn fountains. Rival prexy B. G. Ego, who happens to be a big GOP fundraiser among the Path to 9/11 set, complains to his pal Karl over quail wings that cheap minions are difficult to find, what with the recent crackdown on illegal immigration and all, and that his celebutantes ought to be allowed to drive while inebriated, high, and practically passing out, because what's the harm in that?

Can't wait to read your entries on this one.

(Photo of cows via I-Man–10N.)