Most people by now would have heard of the rather bizarre proposal by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to ban every sweetened drink over 16 ounces sold in public venues. In a case of the Nanny State getting bigger britches, the Mayor thinks this will help fellow New Yorkers.
Not surprisingly there has been plenty of outrage and mockery of this proposal. Perhaps it did not occur to the good Mayor that not only is this a bit of over-the-top PC silliness, but for the long-suffering residents of that city on a hot day, they can simply buy two or three 8 ounce drinks. But I guess we are not to expect our ruling elites to be that clever.
His proposal was met with plenty of cynicism, criticism and contempt – and rightly so. While obesity – especially childhood obesity – is a genuine concern, these kinds of bureaucratic nightmares help no one, but instead simply increase the powers of an already too large state, and take away responsible choices from ordinary folks.
Education campaigns? Fine. Warnings? Fine. Healthy alternatives? Fine. Blanket bans? Baloney. Just how ludicrous, heavy-handed and arbitrary is it to actually try to ban large drinks with sugar? It sounds like something the Soviets might have tried in the past, or the North Koreans today. It is just silly, and the very thought of an army of soft drink police making sure this law is being enforced simply boggles the mind.
If this were all the Mayor was up to, I suppose we could put it down to a bad hair day. But hot on the heels of this lunacy we have even more lunacy – and this one really is serious. He is reported as being quite happy with a proposal to decriminalise small amounts of marijuana.
The news story runs as follows: “The New York Police Department, the mayor and the city’s top prosecutors on Monday endorsed a proposal to decriminalize the open possession of small amounts of marijuana, giving an unexpected lift to an effort by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to cut down on the number of people arrested as a result of police stops.
“Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, whose Police Department made about 50,000 arrests last year for low-level marijuana possession, said the governor’s proposal ‘strikes the right balance’ in part because it would still allow the police to arrest people who smoke marijuana in public.
“The marijuana arrests are a byproduct of the Police Department’s increasingly controversial stop-and-frisk practice. Mr. Bloomberg and police officials say the practice has made the city safer, but, because most of those stopped are black or Hispanic, the practice has been criticized as racially biased by advocates for minority communities.”
So let me get this straight: he wants to ban New Yorkers from having too much sugar, while allowing them to have too much marijuana. He thinks mind-altering drugs are OK – at least in small amounts – but sugar is bad – at least in larger amounts. Am I missing something here? Has he been smoking too much of this stuff himself? Or is he having sugar withdrawals?
Just what kind of priorities is this mayor running with? He wants more state control on sugar, but less state control on drugs. Sorry Michael but I just don’t get it. Indeed, all that sugar banning may simply drive more people to drink, or drugs.
American columnist Michael Brown has just written on this issue as well, noting some other glaring double standards and inconsistencies. He begins, “In defending his controversial proposal to ban the sale of all sugary drinks over 16 ounces, New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg boasted that, on average, New Yorkers outlive other Americans by three years. But that is only if they make it out of the womb. At present, 41% of all New York City babies are killed before birth.
“To be sure, obesity is a massive problem in America (no pun intended), with very serious health complications for individuals and very real economic implications for the nation. In no way do I minimize the problem of obesity. But Mayor Bloomberg’s proposal is wrongheaded and, worse still, tragically hypocritical.”
If he is really concerned about the health of his citizens, then what about some much graver health risks? “And what about sexual health risks? Bloomberg is a champion of ‘gay rights,’ apparently ignoring the numerous health risks for men who have sex with men (MSM). And when he boasts about the healthiness of New Yorkers, has he forgotten about a 2006 CDC study that reported that, ‘Over the past several years, increases in syphilis among MSM have been reported in various cities and areas, including Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, Southern California, Miami, and New York City.’ Yes, that very same New York.
“All this, however, is trivial when compared to the staggering abortion rates in New York City, which have been as high as 46% in 1998 (meaning, virtually half of all babies conceived) and most recently were reported at 41%, including the following breakdown: ‘Specifically non-Hispanic Blacks have a 59.8% abortion rate. Hispanics have a 41.3% abortion rate. Asians have a 22.7% abortion rate. And non-Hispanic Whites have a 20.4% abortion rate.’ As New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan remarked, ‘If 41% of New York babies are aborted, with the percentage even higher in the Bronx and among our African-American babies in the world, it is downright chilling.’
“Also downright chilling is the fact that earlier this year, Planned Parenthood honored Bloomberg with a lifetime achievement award, coinciding with his $250,000 donation to their organization after ‘it initially lost funding from the Susan G. Komen breast cancer charity.’ This is the same Bloomberg who ‘was sued in 1997 by a sales executive who claimed that after she became pregnant, Mr. Bloomberg urged her to have an abortion, telling her, “Kill it!” and saying sarcastically, “Great! Number 16,” apparently referring to the number of pregnant women at the company. Mr. Bloomberg adamantly denied any wrongdoing and settled the case out of court for an undisclosed amount’.”
So here we have a Mayor who cares not one iota about the health of unborn babies, or about the health of those who are involved in dangerous sexual lifestyles, but he is ready to jump all over some poor guy with a large Dr Pepper. And this guy is Mayor? Heaven help New York.