Lieberman Fights the Fat


Is this stuff too predictable to be worth noting anymore? Sen. Joe Lieberman plans to aim his mighty presidential powers at marketers of "junk food" (whatever that is). From a Fox News account:

The Connecticut senator, who led the fight to put parental warnings on movie, video game and music advertising, wants the Federal Trade Commission to determine whether there is a connection between junk food advertising and the rise in obesity among youngsters.

"We're talking about how the government can get back on the side of parents and families and support them in raising healthy children and giving them good values," said Dan Gerstein, deputy communications director for Lieberman's campaign. "Governments can't raise children. That's the job of parents. But we can help to pull with them and pull for them."

As president, Lieberman would push for three interim moves while the FTC conducts its study:

— Require junk food advertisements to include nutritional information that somehow issues a warning to parents, much like movie ads are accompanied by parental ratings.

— Ask Congress to require restaurant chains to include nutritional information on menus and mini-boards. There already is a bill pending in Congress to do this.

— Empower the Agriculture Department to set standards for food sold in schools, primarily vending machines. The USDA currently regulates lunch menus, but there are no limits on what companies can sell kids through vending machines.

NEXT: Learning an Important Lesson

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  1. When will this absurd obsession end…

    look, we all die… this obsession with eliminating any possible product that might contribute to death is unhealthy. Living causes death….. America needs to wake up.. we have more important issues.

  2. Has anybody ever read every word of a mutual fund prospectus? Of course not.
    Did full disclosure prevent the current mutual fund scandal, or is it a subsidy for the paper, ink and printing business?
    Follow the money. Has Lieberman been getting contributions lately from aforementioned?

  3. if you don’t know that eating french fries every day is a problem then you’re not worth the extra ink to print a warning.

    i assume there’s just no money in trying to force people to exercise? or that it’s just plain impossible?

  4. “i assume there’s just no money in trying to force people to exercise? or that it’s just plain impossible?”

    Its not that, its the fact that there are some people alive who remember state sponsored nutrition and exercise programs in 1930’s germany.

    BTW, anyone catch last nights “South Park”… great commentary on this subject.

  5. This gets us back to the eternal argument over whether advertising or human decisions are to “blame” for something.

    Some of the best advertising campaigns in the world consistently fail to sell some pretty good products, so I doubt that fast food advertising is to blame for people eating Big Macs.

    Face it, junk food tastes good, especially to kids, and people will eat what tastes good. I used to pack my kids nutritious bag lunches every day for school, full of apples and bananas and sandwiches with lean lunch meat, fat-free cheese and fresh lettuce. And what would they do with their bag lunches? Swap everything with other kids for Rice Crispies treats, pizza slices and french fries.

    So much for “raising healthy children and giving them good values.”

    And if we’re so concerned about kids not exercising enough, why are so many schools scaling back PE and eliminating recess?

  6. Tom, did your kids go to school with morons? Who would give up pizza for “fresh lettuce”?

  7. Name,

    Obviously, you’ve never met anyone east Texas forest dwellers. Granted, they probably tossed the iceberg and just ate the ham and pepperjack, surely a luxury for many of these kids. For a true exercise in horror, come down here, go to a Wal-Mart that sells groceries, and scope out what the backwoods folk are stocking their larder with. If it’s rock-bottom cheap, then it’s on the menu. Ever seen ground beef so fatty that it’s literally white?

  8. “Ever seen ground beef so fatty that it’s literally white?”

    I thought there were USDA regulations on fat content . =)

    All joking aside, government steping in to insure that the chicken you buy isnt tainted with some bacteria is a good thing. Stories like this do more harm then good, people start to question government intentions when they say, ‘its good for you’.

    But what kind of checks and balances would weed bad ideas like this out, and keep the good stuff in? There doesnt seem to be anything in place to solve this problem.

  9. Real fatty ground beef. The other other white meat!

  10. Despite the best efforts of our government?

  11. Crazyness,

    I think those USDA regs deal with letting you know how much fat is in the meat. I know for a fact that Wal-Mart proudly sells meat labeled “80 percent lean”. Meat that is 20 percent fat is not a pretty sight.

    We are the most health-informed society that has ever existed, and we have reached a point of overkill and have become desensitized to all the news about what’s good and bad for us. Either we no longer give a shit and eat what we like, or we turn into health wussies constantly getting our number checked and having strangers shove lighted tubes up our asses. This week I was at a holiday party and got trapped in a group discussion about how using a reclining stationary bike can burn 36 percent more fat than using an upright bike. All I could think of was, how pathetic it is that grown men will consider subjects like this serious fodder for conversation.

  12. Why am I not smart enough to add a link to the word thingies?

    How does one do that?

  13. Why eliminate recess? Simple. Liability. If the kids get hurt in any sort of physical activity the school could be sued.

    Which raises an interesting issue. What if John Banzhaf sues the school for making kids fat by denying them the exercise that comes with recess?

  14. Tom, I often wondered that, we here in CO are not sheilded from the might that is Wal-Mart, and I’ve seen the meat your talking about… I guess I always thought it was turkey meat or something. =)

    Its interesting that you bring up that we are the most health aware society the world has ever known, because we are also the most obese. Those health concerned are also some of the most militant people I have ever met, and say some of the most hurtfull things to other human beings I have ever heard.

    I always have a hard time believing someone suing McDonalds for being 350 lbs always thought the food was good for them.

    American education at its finest…..

  15. I don’t understand consistently lumps the decision not to sell crap in schools in with mandated warning labels on consumer products.

  16. “Governments can’t raise children. That’s the job of parents. But we can help to pull with them and pull for them.”

    That’s Double-think if ever I’ve heard it.

  17. I’m so tired of hearing these health nazis claim they’re doing this for children and parents.

    This is nothing more then practice for expanding this nonsense to adults.

    They claim that this is helping the parents, but what about parents who don’t mind their kids drinking soda of getting “junk food” out of vending machines?
    As always, it’s one persons values being forced on the rest of us.

  18. ^You don’t think putting vending machines in schools imposes on the values of parents who are more aware about their kid’s nutrition?

  19. So, will Lieberman tell deli owners, not to mention pols like himself, that schmaltz is now verboten?


  20. I’m surprised no one’s pointed out the irony that, a few posts later, Lieberman is praised for his “libertarian” leanings.

  21. I’m surprised no one’s pointed out the irony that, a few posts later, Lieberman is praised for his “libertarian” leanings.

  22. Never mind. Lieberman’s pro-government stances were mentioned plenty of times in the comments section of the later posting.

  23. Ready for some radicalism?

    Take the money that would be spent on Lieberman’s proposal and apply it to subsidies to families so that one parent can stay at home. You’d instantly cut the demand for “convenience food” in half, and probably do a damn sight better for the nutrition of kids.

    Ban “corporate sponsored” foods in school lunch programs (i.e., HotPockets, Red Baron Pizza, and French Toast Sticks) and all vending machines in schools (they aren’t a constitutional right, and kids can go 8-9 hours/day without vending machines. Trust me.).

    Parents need to band together as consumer groups to demand menu changes in restaurants. To wit: Any venue calling itself “Applebee’s” should AT LEAST offer apples, or applesauce, or a fresh fruit substitution for french fries. It’s one thing to say, “don’t patronize that restaurant.” It’s quite another when there are NO “quickie” restaurants that offer healthier alternatives. Couldn’t McD’s stock applesauce cups? It’s not like they are a perishable inventory item.

    The Schools are NOT teaching kids about nutrition. They are helping to foster the belief that yogurt is a drink, not something you eat; that students are roboton consumers of the latest merchansizing scam wrapped around the printed school lunch menu, and that reading should be rewarded by Pizza Hut personal-pan pizzas (and bring the whole family, ‘cuz unless they’re gonna sit around and watch the 3rd grader eat their reward, that means more money in P.H.’s pocket!).

    Don’t forget school night at McD’s, wherein the school staff serve students, some percentage of proceeds going to the school.

    Or learning math with marshmallows, M&Ms and Skittles.

    Geez, I got less candy at Halloween than my children get learning to count to ten or reading See Spot Run.

  24. EMAIL:

    DATE: 12/10/2003 09:20:28
    Only when we have nothing to say do we say anything at all.

  25. EMAIL:
    DATE: 12/20/2003 11:49:42
    One must be poor to know the luxury of giving.

  26. EMAIL:
    DATE: 01/09/2004 11:45:47
    During the Samuel Johnson days they had big men enjoying small talk; today we have small men enjoying big talk.

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