Live Free or Diet!


MSNBC's smart Howard Mortman takes a Marlon Brando-sized bite out of various plans to tax what we eat with a smart and funny piece that summarizes Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown's proposal to tax tippling, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's jihad against vending machines in schools, and vice-presidential also-ran Joe Lieberman's vendetta against jelly doughnuts. Here's a snippet:

Few things are as personal as what we eat. Yet that?s not stopping politicians who want to turn the Happy Meal into the Never Happy Meal. Will future elections become a choice over which politician food cop should be the one to decide what we put in our mouths?

The answer is yes, prompting proponents of personal responsibility to introduce bills in Congress and in statehouses with names like "The Commonsense Consumption Act" and "The Personal Responsibility in Food Consumption Bill." And that?s how the great political food fight of 2004 will be framed. It?s red meat for libertarians and do-gooders alike.

We don?t have to instinctively beef up government bureaucracy. We don?t need a carbohydrate czar. Nor should we stalk Girl Scout cookie sellers or consider nutritional enterprise zones dishing out tax credits for squeezing fresh orange juice.

There are less intrusive approaches to making us healthier. Here?s a private sector solution: A Seattle restaurant, the 5 Spot, is waging a campaign to stop obesity lawsuits against restaurants by having customers sign a waiver before dining on a sinfully rich high-calorie dessert called The Bulge. Now that?s personal responsibility.

And it?s a great way to respond to the food cops ? let ?em eat cake!