Mr. Irresponsible knows something about the therapeutic value of a really good snit. But Steve Lopez of the LA Times, who is the very model of a modern Metro columnist, elevates the thing to an art, and to something more -- an actual, no-foolin' public service. How? By sitting down to lunch with Cruz Bustamante, who is running for California Insurance Commissoner largely on a promise to drop 50 pounds as a symbol of personal and governmental probity, and waving cheese-laden entrees under his nose until he almost cries. A dieter who can't resist a plateful of taquitos, Lopez reasons, may not exactly be a pillar of strength when the industry he's charged with regulating presents the due bill for a big pile of campaign donations. (If this seems like trivializing the race, keep in mind that it was Bustamente's silly idea to put his diet front and center.) To his credit, Bustamante doesn't crack. But Lopez has another little test in mind for him.
The piece is a virtuoso exhibition of the cheeky spite that big-city newspaper columnists used to excel in, back when there were big-city newspapers. Read it and weep for a lost era.
(N.B.: As part of an ongoing effort to make accessing its Web content as difficult as possible, because, you know, newspapers are doing so well these days, the LAT will require you to log in to read the piece. That's good thinking!)