New York City
Back when I first heard about the proposed New York soda ban, I couldn’t believe anyone would suggest something that ridiculous. Seriously? A city putting limits to sizes on sugary drinks? They couldn’t be serious.
But they were serious. Then it was approved by New York’s Board of Health. Seriously. You can’t buy a 20-ounce Coke in New York City.
Now people in Washington D.C. are trying to get the soda ban in place there, as well. Apparently stupidity is contagious.
The issue came up at a debate for council seat candidates. Two current council members said they would support a ban like New York put in place. That got councilwoman Mary Cheh giddy with excitement. It was Cheh who tried unsuccessfully to put a larger tax on sugary drinks, so the thought that she could control what you drink in Washington – or at least how much of it you drink – is music to her ears.
And Cheh even knows that her position on this issue is going to bring criticism from, you know, people who have a brain. She said, “I know ‘nanny state’ and all that, but it’s appropriate for government to intervene at times to make sure that the choices that are presented are healthy for us.”
Her statement isn’t even kind of correct. It’s not ever appropriate for government to intervene to save you from yourself.
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.
“Find out just what people will submit to and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them…The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.” ~ Fredrick Douglass, Freed Slave and leader of the abolitionist movement
Having already made a name for himself nationwide with a crackdown on crime in the nation’s largest city, New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani made his place in history permanent just over a decade ago with his inspiring and firm handling of the Muslim terrorist attacks of 9/11. In the aftermath of that attack, Giuliani brought a city and a nation together, refusing to allow bloodthirsty madmen the satisfaction ofour surrender. True, they dealt a devastating blow, but it was a sneak attack in a long war, and like Pearl Harbor, it would be answered with overwhelming force.
A decade later, third-term NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg has taken up the mantle of leadership from the retired Giuliani, and also works diligently to protect the citizens of New York City. Admittedly, I have been highly critical of Bloomberg in the past, as when he accused the Times Square Bomber of being a disgruntled TEA Party member angry at the ObamaCare bill (as it turned out, it was an angry practitioner of Islam, the Pakistani-born Faisal Shahzad…but in Bloomberg’s defense, what were the odds that the bomber would turn out to be an angry Muslim? I’d say the odds were no more than 9.95 out of ten at best).
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.
In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, there are new calls from a host of politicians who want Americans to give up their liberties. Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and John McCain (R-AZ) were among the first to say that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the alleged bomber who was apprehended on Friday night, should be held as an “enemy combatant” and thus denied his constitutional right to due process.
Michael Bloomberg agrees. During a press conference on Monday, the New York City Mayor said that Americans should be willing to sacrifice their liberties — including their privacy — on the alter of security:
In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Monday the country’s interpretation of the Constitution will “have to change” to allow for greater security to stave off future attacks.
“The people who are worried about privacy have a legitimate worry,” Mr. Bloomberg said during a press conference in Midtown. “But we live in a complex word where you’re going to have to have a level of security greater than you did back in the olden days, if you will. And our laws and our interpretation of the Constitution, I think, have to change.”
“Look, we live in a very dangerous world. We know there are people who want to take away our freedoms. New Yorkers probably know that as much if not more than anybody else after the terrible tragedy of 9/11,” he said.
“We have to understand that in the world going forward, we’re going to have more cameras and that kind of stuff. That’s good in some sense, but it’s different from what we are used to,” he said.
Written by Trevor Burrus, research fellow at the Cato Institute’s Center for Constitutional Studies. Originally published on Monday, March 25, 2013, it has been cross-posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.
In today’s New York Times, philosopher Sarah Conly gives “Three Cheers for the Nanny State,” specifically, NYC’s famed big soda ban. Invoking aspects of the theory of “nudge,” made popular in a book by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein, Conly argues that, sometimes, the government can rightfully save us from ourselves.
The popularity of “nudge theory” is closely tied to the recent spate of popular science books on the foibles of the human brain. Books such as Predictably Irrational and A Mind of Its Own are part of a new self-help fad: the idea that scientists studying the error-prone human brain can help us understand why we are unable to quit smoking, lose weight, and many other common problems.
Written by Walter Olson, Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.
Much legal commentary at Slate follows a pat formula: judicial activism is a genuine menace, but not from left or liberal jurists. It’s those awful judges on the conservative and libertarian side who engage in the real activism when they strike down laws and government initiatives, or as in the case of ObamaCare, come close to striking them down. To observe the formula at its most mechanical, check out Emily Bazelon’s Slate article last Wednesday portraying a judge’s striking down of Mayor Bloomberg’s ban on big soda sizes as a venture in “conservative judicial activism.”
New York City statist supreme Michael Bloomberg’s crowning jewel of government, his law banning sodas of more than 16 ounces, is now just a fond memory thanks to a judge according to the Wall Street Journal:
A state judge on Monday stopped Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration from banning the sale of large sugary drinks at New York City restaurants and other venues, a major defeat for a mayor who has made public-health initiatives a cornerstone of his tenure.
The city is “enjoined and permanently restrained from implementing or enforcing the new regulations,” wrote New York Supreme Court Judge Milton Tingling, blocking the rules one day before they would have taken effect. The city’s chief counsel, Michael Cardozo, pledged to quickly appeal the ruling.
In halting the drink rules, Judge Tingling noted that the incoming sugary drink regulations were “fraught with arbitrary and capricious consequences” that would be difficult to enforce with consistency “even within a particular city block, much less the city as a whole.”
“The loopholes in this rule effectively defeat the stated purpose of the rule,” the judge wrote. (Read the full text of the ruling.)
From Reason TV: The greatest city in the world - New York, New York - is home to 8 million souls, a magnet for 52 million tourists a year, and legendary for the grossest public toilets this side of a Turkish prison. That makes sense, since nobody really owns public toilets, leading to the ultimate tragedy of the commons.
There’s a reason the Big Apple shopping blog Racked recently recommended a list of the 16 best in store bathrooms for New Yorkers on the go. Can you imagine a similar list of johns maintained by Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s tidy team?
Remember last year, when the NYPD had a shootathon outside the Empire State Building? Many claimed that the NYPD acted recklessly during the incident; indeed, all 9 injured were shot not by the criminal, but by the cops. You may have thought that the NYPD would get away with it, but it looks like one victim is going to try and sue the pants off them:
A University of North Carolina student wounded in last summer’s shooting outside the Empire State Building is suing New York City police department.
Chenin Duclos (SHEHN’-ihn DOO’-kloh) and eight other bystanders were wounded by police gunfire, ricochets and fragments. Officers were engaged in a gunfight with a man suspected of gunning down a former co-worker.
Duclos alleges the officers were grossly negligent.
The lawsuit says police should have taken steps to avoid the confrontation. It suggests they should have waited until he moved away from bystanders.
The shooting happened as thousands were on the streets surrounding the landmark on a bright August morning.
There was no immediate comment from city officials.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages. It was filed Tuesday in Manhattan’s state Supreme Court.
How’s that for a kick in the butt?