The Board of Health in New York has approved Bloomberg’s suggested soda ban. This weekend while working in the yard, I remembered my high school science teacher teaching that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. What would be the reaction to this soda ban?
The Action: These are the details of the plan, as reported here.
Under the plan, all restaurants, fast-food joints, delis, movie theaters, sports stadiums and even food carts will be barred from selling sugar-sweetened drinks in cups larger than 16 ounces.
The limits will not apply to drinks sold in grocery stores, diet sodas, drinks that are more than 70-percent fruit juice, or that contain alcohol.
Dairy drinks containing more than 50 percent milk will also be allowed thanks to their redeeming nutritional qualities — though that’s little solace for Frappuccino lovers since the Starbucks treats contain far less milk than that.
The Reaction: Here are some things we might expect to see as a result of the soda ban.
1. Marketing Gimmicks
While working in the yard this weekend, I tried to think of ways I would handle the ban if I owned a restaurant in New York City. Maybe a restaurant sells a large diet soda but lets the customer get it himself; he could just get a sugary option instead. Maybe the large size on the menu would become two separate 16-ounce cups.
The idea of freedom of speech seems to be pretty straight forward. You don’t infringe on anyone’s right to say things. However, some Republican lawmakers in New York want to ban anonymous comments on blogs and newspaper websites in the Empire State.
The legislation, which has been proposed both in the State Assembly and Senate, would require New York-based websites such as blogs and the online hubs of newspapers and other media outlets to “remove any comments posted on his or her website by an anonymous poster unless such anonymous poster agrees to attach his or her name to the post.”
“This statute would essentially destroy the ability to speak anonymously online on sites in New York,” an attorney with the Center for Democracy and Technology told Wired, which first reported the news on Wednesday.
Despite the obvious constitutional implications, the co-sponsors of the Internet Protection Act have described the legislation not so much as an assault on free speech and the open web, but more as a safeguard for people—say, politicians—who sometimes find themselves the victims of anonymous online invective.
It’s pretty hard to kill oneself when you’re already dead. I suppose some vampires have tried it, to end their miserable existence, but I don’t recall any zombies doing so. New York state may be the first to try, however.
The reason being is that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (the Assembly being New York’s equivalent of a “House of Representatives”) has introduced a bill that will raise the state’s minimum wage from $7.50 an hour to $8.25 an hour:
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, joined by dozens of colleagues from his chamber controlled by Democrats, said census data show nearly half of the U.S. population has fallen into poverty or joined the ranks of the working poor. He said New York’s minimum wage has risen 10 cents in the last six years, it is lower here than in 18 other states, and increasing it is “a matter of human dignity.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has supported previous proposals to raise the minimum and his office will review this one through the legislative session, spokesman Matthew Wing said Monday
Scott Reif, spokesman for Republicans who control the Senate, said the Senate GOP would “continue to promote policies that encourage job growth and make New York a more business-friendly state, just as we did last year partnering with Governor Cuomo.”
The New York Farm Bureau and the state Business Council said raising the minimum wage would hurt small businesses, farms and nonprofits that are struggling to meet payrolls now. Farm Bureau President Dean Norton called it “a stealth tax.”
Fudgeknuckles. You can never be happy with politicians as a libertarian—just when they look like they’re on the path to true limited government, free markets, and individual liberty, they come out with something stupid like this:
“I believe marriage should be between one man and one woman,” Christie said. “I wouldn’t sign a bill like the one that was in New York.”
That sound you are hearing is my head slamming into my desk at Warp Six.
I admit, I was becoming a fan of Chris Christie. The way he was socking it to the parasitical public unions in New Jersey was inspiring. Sure, he was not perfect—he probably could have cut back more in some areas—but considering political inertia, he was doing a tremendous job.
Naturally, while I’m feeling really great about this guy, he throws a social conservative curveball just to keep me a grumbling libertarian.
The article does state that he will push for civil unions in New Jersey, as if, “Well, he’s not so bad.” But it is, in fact, horrific: what Christie is saying is that he supports discrimination based on sexual orientation, a boundary that says “You are not like us, you cannot be like us, you cannot have the same rights and privileges as us.” That’s a very disturbing thought. What I don’t understand is how it meshes with the small government ethos of most conservatives. Let’s end regulation and meddling in the economy, let’s make government smaller, cheaper, and more efficient—but then try and wedge it into the bedroom?
For the last two weeks the media has gorged on a non-stop litany of stories concerning the single most important issue facing our nation. Would that be the “unexpected” reports of almost non-existent private sector job growth and an economy that, despite Obama’s reassurances, may be on the brink of a double-dip recession? No. Is it Obama’s violation of the War Powers Act with our continued “kinetic military action” in Libya? Nuh-uh. Maybe it’s Sixth Circuit’s review of the ObamaCare case (nope) or the Federal Reserve’s warning that the political body must act responsibly in order to stave off an economic collapse? Wrong again.
Based on the 24-hour saturation in the news cycle and the sheer number of stories written and aired, clearly the most important issue facing our nation is that a skinny New Yorker with an incredibly overinflated sense of his own worth had to finally admit, after days of vehement protests to the contrary, that it was indeed he who sent the lewd photographs of his genitalia, as well as sexually charged and explicit texts, to college-aged women. These women, who include a porn star, are young enough to be his daughters.
And so unravels the scandal of Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), possibly the most obnoxious and arrogant member of Congress now that former Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) was defeated in the last election. Weiner, considered a rising star in the Democrat Party and a likely candidate to be the next mayor of New York, instead is tearfully admitting to the nation his indiscretions which have been going on for several years, and with at least a half dozen women. Watching his fall from glory, a Brooklyn-born Icarus plummeting towards earth, the proverbial wax of his wings melted by his own flaming ego, it is hard not to feel just a little sorry for him…at least until you remember that these indiscretions occurred both before and after his marriage to his wife Huma, who is now pregnant.
Last year, Brett and I sat down to put together some of our thoughts for a podcast for 9/11. Not necessarily to memorialize it, but to share what we’ve learned from it.
We discussed where we were that day and our thoughts on the state of the country, our rights in the aftermath and the wars that have taken place as a result of the “war on terror.” I also recommend two books by Michael Scheuer, Through Our Enemies’ Eyes and Imperial Hubris, on terrorism and al-Qaeda in relation to our foreign policy.
You can download the podcast here (39 minutes/35 MB).
Here is some coverage from that day. You can read my own recollection of that day over at my personal blog. Please share your own recollection in the comments.
We live in weird times, and in these weird times, the truth cannot be relied on from predictable sources. Take for instance New York’s Democratic Governor David Paterson, who said:
But the candidates are couching their support in economic terms. Gov. Paterson, who is facing an uphill battle against likely rival Andrew M. Cuomo, told a group of bankers recently: “In New York, Wall Street is Main Street. … You don’t hear anybody in New England complaining about clam chowder. If you say anything about oil in Texas, they’ll string you up near the nearest tree. We need to stand behind the engine of our economy in New York, and that engine of economy is Wall Street.”
Paterson’s comments bring to my mind my experience growing up in Seattle, in which the public school system was effectively modernized with computers by Bill Gates and new stadiums and buildings, which brought in a host of new jobs and replaced the dangerous eyesore that was the Kingdome, were put into place by Gates’ fellow tech pioneer Paul Allen. Allen also turned radio station KCMU into the powerhouse that is today KEXP, a move that brought alot of early criticism, alleging that KEXP would be just another bland, commercial radio station.
Despite modernizing Seattle during the 1990s and 2000s, to the benefit of everyone living and working in the area, envy can be heard by many (but not all, of course) Seattleites simply because Gates and Allen have done well for themselves.
Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that my use of 140 or fewer characters could result in seeing the inside of a jail cell. For most users, use of Twitter will not result in a blemished criminal record. For those who would not know a “tweet” from a “twestival,” Twitter is a micro-blogging service that has been the subject of a lot of attention in the last 2 years, from tech-addicted geeks (like me) to the politically obsessed (again, like me) to popular culture (and, so long as it has nothing to do with reality TV, I’m into it). For some, however, relaying police location information publicly available via scanning equipment to fellow anarchists protesting the G-20 economic summit or refusing to “tweet” upon commanded has led, in my opinion, to some questionable arrests for two men in New York.
Over the last few weeks, Democrats have become increasingly concerned that ObamaCare is driving up health insuance premiums in their states. One of the several promises (they’ve since become broken promises) that the Obama Administration made about the law was that it would keep insurance premiums down, making coverage more affordable. That just hasn’t happened.
Rochester, New York-based WHEC covered the anticipated 10% rise in premiums for the Empire States insured in 2014. “Some healthcare experts are warning that premiums could go up by more than 10% on January 1st when Obamacare kicks in across the country,” said WHEC’s Ray Levato. “This is on top of the annual increases we’ve seen in insurance premiums. It’s going to mean less money in your paycheck. Less money for groceries. Less for gas. Less for your family.”
Among the people they talked to for the story was Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who talked about the need for state regulators to “protect families.”
“Our Insurance Department is empowered to protect families and we’re going to watch them like a hawk to make sure they do,” he said. “Because if they don’t, these rates could go through the roof. It’s in part because of Obamacare but health care costs have been going up by double digits for years and years and years. The good news is in this bill there’s a way to stop it.”
Though she still supports stricter gun control measures, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), in a rare moment of honesty from the anti-gun crowd, admitted to the The New York Times that the Manchin-Toomey amendment, which would expand background checks to gun shows and online gun sales, wouldn’t stop criminals from obtaining a firearm for nefarious purposes.
[A] separate gun measure, an anti-trafficking bill, is the subject of talks between Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, and two Republican senators who voted no on the background check bill. The Republicans, Senators Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, are discussing ways they might support the bill, which would criminalize the shipping or transfer of guns to someone who is barred from possessing a firearm.
“I think trafficking can be the base of the bill, the rock on which everything else stands,” Ms. Gillibrand said. “I also think it’s complementary to background checks because, let’s be honest, criminals aren’t going to buy a gun and go through a background check. So if you really want to go after criminals, you have to have to do both.”
Criminals don’t obey laws — that’s why they’re criminals. Over at Reason, Jacob Sullum points out that the push for new gun control laws, though they won’t really reduce instances of gun violence, is basically a publicity stunt; what he calls the “appearance of doing something.”