McDonald's: Send in the clown

The clown at the center of the controversy had nothing on the clowns outside the annual McDonald's investor meeting in Chicago last week.

Ronald McDonald has been under fire recently as a provider of both bad meals and bad lessons to the nation's chunky, un-educated toddlers, and with Michelle Obama now taking on the childhood obesity issue, some members of the fit foodie community have been calling for the mascot's head on a plastic tray platter, and are pushing their cause on www.retireronald.org .

Jim Skinner, chief executive of the McDonald's Corp, had to put out the fires that started when a couple of investors started clamoring for the nose of the clown. "Ronald McDonald is not retiring," Skinner said, drawing applause from others at the gathering.

But Deborah Lapidus, a senior organizer at Corporate Accountability International, was not deterred, saying she wanted Ronald removed as the face of the corporation, since the behemoth company uses the clown to market to children. (Duh.) And she found like-minded simpletons to wave signs and petitions -- and dress up in clown costumes themselves.

After Lapidus got booed by the audience, Skinner proclaimed that Ronald "is a force for good... he does not hawk food."

Of course he doesn't. The proper term is "shill."

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