New York

NYC Soda Ban Will Have Unintended Consequences

Soda Ban

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.

New York movement seeks to ban anonymous comments

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.

New York State commits economic suicide

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.”

Chris Christie, NOOOOO!

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?

Beltway Lotharios and the Cycle of Scandal

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.

Remembering 9/11

World Trade Center on 9/11

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.

Two Democratic Candidates Talk Sense About Wall Street

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.

Can Your Twitter Account Get You Arrested?

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.

Today in Liberty: Senate Dems outline Obamacare “fixes,” growth not keeping up with projections

“The American founders often referred to a ‘Liberty Tree.’ Our generation didn’t plant that tree - we didn’t grow that tree - we were simply handed it by the generations of Americans who came before us….Let us highly resolve not to rest until we have delivered to our sons and daughters a Liberty Tree that is just as healthy, a Constitution that is just as strong; and a nation that is just as free as those that our fathers and mothers gave to us.” — Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA)

— Senate Dems finally rollout Obamacare fixes: After months of talking about the need for fixes to the law, six Senate Democrats have finally offered some specifics on how they plan to address at least some of Americans’ concerns. The biggest proposal is the introduction of a “Copper Plan,” which, they write at Politico Magazine, “will give consumers more control over their own coverage, spur competition and, most importantly, increase affordability.” Two of the Democrats, Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Mark Begich (D-AK), are up for reelection this year and are thought to be among the chamber’s most vulnerable members. Despite the push for fixes, the Heritage Foundation notes that most of the six “didn’t have strong initial reservations about the massive bill when Obama signed it into law in March 2010.”

Did you really think Bloomberg’s Mayors group was about safety?

In 2006, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg started a group called Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG). The group’s mission was ostensibly to keep America’s “communities safer by keeping illegal guns out of dangerous hands.”

Apparently MAIG’s definition of “dangerous hands” is “your hands.”

It comes as no surprise that the petty, pathetic, sniveling despot’s ultimate goal is not what it seems. Since Bloomberg ascended to his dictatorial throne, he’s been working to control the lives of every New York citizen. From trans fats, to salt (resulting in a ban on food donations to homeless shelters, because the hungry homeless are more concerned about sodium intake than… you know… STARVING TO DEATH!) to sugary drinks (a ban deemed unconstitutional by a court with just a little common sense), Michael Bloomberg became the anointed Prince of Peremptoriness in the city, taking it upon himself to “save” New Yorkers from themselves.

So it’s no surprise that he would want to ban guns – not just keep them out of dangerous hands, but ban them outright. It’s also not surprising that he would lie and obfuscate to legitimize his group of gun grabbers.

 
 


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