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Soda Jerks

By The Reverend Published: March 14, 2013

Back in September of last year, NY City Mayor Mike Bloomberg moved to ban the sale of sugary soda fountain drinks sold in the city if they exceeded 16 ounces. At the time the ban was announced, Bloomberg made it spectacularly clear what he was attempting to do....

Bloomberg insists that his sugary-drink ban will help reduce obesity in the city. He also argues it’s really no ban at all, just a tool to help people better understand how much sugar they consume.

“We’re not taking away anybody’s right to do things, we’re simply forcing you to understand that you have to make the conscious decision to go from one cup to another cup.”

In other words, Bloomberg's ban of any sugary drink sold in cups larger than 16 ounces was intended as a form of public service announcement.....a daily public relations campaign object lesson to draw awareness to the city's, and the nation's, obesity problem.

What obesity problem?

If America's obesity trend continues at its current pace, all 50 states could have obesity rates above 44 percent by 2030, according to a new report from Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

In 1990, the U.S. obesity average was 12 percent. By 2005, the U.S. average almost doubled, with 23 percent of Americans considered obese. Five years later, that amount doubled again with the U.S. obesity rate weighing in at 35.7 percent between 2009 and 2010.

The reason this is important to our larger society is obvious....

Current estimates put the medical costs of obesity at more than $147 billion. With increasing rates, the costs of preventative healthcare relating to obesity would rise by $48 billion to $66 billion in the next two decades.

So, no, Mayor Bloomberg was not acting like some anti-Tea Party, snatcher of liberties....when he imposed the sugary drink ban. He was, instead, drawing attention to a very real and growing national problem. I've heard local yokels go on and on about how stupid Bloomberg was. Didn't Bloomberg know that a patron could just buy two 16 ounce drinks at a time? What is he, stupid? No, numbnutzes....Bloomberg was not being stupid, he was trying to do what leaders do when a serious problem threatens a population.....draw immediate and repetitive attention to the problem, in order to confront the problem.

I remember in my youth our state's problem with littering. Some of you older codgers may remember as well. Littering had become an epidemic.....people threw stuff out everywhere....it had become a problem. New littering laws, signs, public service announcements, etc. finally made a difference. Bloomberg sought to approach the problem of obesity using similar tactics.

So when a New York judge recently struck down Bloomberg's ban as "capricious" and "arbitrary".....the judge was missing the point entirely. If Bloomberg would have banned sugary drinks altogether, then, yes, he would have overstepped his authority....because sugary drinks, although deleterious to our health, are not banned by the FDA.

Perhaps Bloomberg should have approached the obesity problem differently. But the reaction by the Patriots to Bloomberg's public relations campaign, while expected, bordered on lunacy.

Bloomberg was a "nanny", a "control freak", "dumb", "silly", ...and other things the civility cops won't allow me to type.

To the Fox radio and teevee anchors, Bloomberg's portion control gesture was just too much. It was the sign of the approaching Apocalypse in America. First, a black president giving most Americans access to health insurance....and now this. The socialist nannies had begun their long predicted elimination of Constitutional liberties.....even if those control freak nannies were starting by reducing the size of the Big Gulp.

And just because.....here is what the 2008 GOP VP candidate tweeted in response to the ruling striking down Bloomberg's obesity public relations gimmick....

"Victory in NYC for liberty-loving soda drinkers. To politicians with too much time on their hands we say: Govt, stay out of my refrigerator!"

That, from the person John McCain and the GOP thought should hold the office one heart beat away from the presidency.

If only there were a way to draw attention, in a daily public service announcement kind of way, to the more serious epidemic currently ravaging the brains of many conservative/libertarian citizens. What epidemic? Dumbassery. 40% of the nation is now infected.

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