LARSON: Guilt trips of the week – plastic straws and sandwiches

As I was standing in my 25-minute-long hot shower this morning, I realized that I really don’t give a crap about my carbon footprint. Please don’t read that aloud. It was hard enough to type… much less SAY. And the audible gasps such a sentiment triggers probably have a carbon footprint, too. This potential cascade of carbon shame must be avoided like a superfund site.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe we should be good stewards of the earth and her resources. I just don’t think doing so requires obsessing over a freakin’ sandwich. If you haven’t read yet, sandwiches now have an identifiable carbon footprint, according to a study by The University of Manchester. The world has been waiting to learn the deepest mysteries of the sandwich ecosystem, and here we are.

Everything was taken into consideration — livestock, transportation, packaging, and labor — in calculating just what level of shame each of us should have standing in line at Subway deciding exactly how barbaric we feel toward Mother Earth on any particular day. Hopefully sandwich shops will offer earth-friendly alternatives for woke sandwich eaters — like free-range lettuce cabbage kale wraps with sprouts. Yes, they taste terrible, but the sense of superiority over the Trump-supporting deplorables eating ham, bacon, and turkey on Monterey cheddar bread with extra mayo is irresistible.

Isn’t life stressful enough without assessing the carbon footprints of sandwiches?

Sadly, this week’s leftist shame manufacturing didn’t stop with sandwiches. The California Assembly’s Democrat Majority Leader, Ian Calderon, proposed a new law that would land restaurateurs in jail for six months and levy a $1,000 fine if they — you might want to sit down for this — provide a plastic straw to a customer who did not request one.

Apparently a 16-year-old activist did some “research” a while back, when he was nine, and determined we consume half a billion straws per day in America, creating an environmental apocalypse in our waterways and landfills. The media has parroted the fourth-grader’s flimsy research as if it had been conducted by the National Institutes of Health, and now “500 Million straws” per day is a scientific verity; a movement is born.

Let’s understand this for a moment. In California, drug addicts can exchange their dirty needles without consequence. Smoking weed is legal there. Illegal immigrants who burden their social systems are protected in this “sanctuary” state. Abortions are legal well into the second trimester in California. And here comes a lawmaker who wants to criminalize — with jail time and hefty fines — an unrequested drinking straw. California, we love you, but you are completely screwed up. (I should note that Calderon has backed off of imposing fines for the contraband straws, but the notion he considered it in the first place should be concerning enough.)

I have always observed that there is nothing progressives see as unregulatable. There’s no mundane detail of your life that’s too mundane to either incarcerate or make you feel guilty over (unless it’s smoking dope, aborting a baby, exchanging dirty needles, or living here illegally).

Not even sandwiches and drinking straws.


Associated Press award-winning columnist Neal Larson of Idaho Falls writes at He is also the author of “Living in Spin.” He is a conservative talk show host on KID Newsradio 106.3 and 92.1, and also at “The Neal Larson Show” can be heard weekday mornings from 8:00 to 10:00. His email address is