Nanny State

Thom Hartmann Worries About the Cost of Hiring Dietary Supervisors for Children

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I just appeared on Thom Hartmann's radio show to discuss the evils of Happy Meals and other forms of food marketing aimed at children. Knowing that Hartmann would be passionately defending the right of the people to protect children against Big Food's assault by banning toy giveaways and censoring advertising, I opened with a joke, saying that my solution is to assign an adult, or maybe even two, to each child as a dietary supervisor. It would be the job of these adults to decide whether and how often kids can eat at McDonald's as well as to regulate their nutritional intake generally. Tellingly, Hartmann did not understand that I was referring to parents. He responded by accusing me of being utterly unrealistic: How could we possibly afford to hire tens of millions of new government employees to carry out this function? 

I don't think the Hartmann segment is available online yet, but KPCC, the NPR affiliate in Pasadena, has my recent debate on the same subject with Stephen Gardner, litigation director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. CSPI has threatened to sue McDonald's over toy giveaways, likening fast food purveyors to child molestors.

Update: Here is the segment from Hartmann's show.

NEXT: When Big-Government Conservatives Invite Themselves to a Tea Party

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  1. Good one, Jacob. In fact, I think we probably need dietary supervisors, entertainment supervisors, education supervisors, and many others. We could even collapse all duties into a single job.

    1. you mean parents? or am i way off?

      1. You’re way off. It takes a village. Of food nazis.

  2. What do you call it when you insult someone’s intelligence, and they’re too stupid to know that you’ve done that?

    I move that we invent a new verb, “To Chad”.

    1. I don’t get it.

    2. sar?chasm: The giant gulf (chasm) between what is said and the person who doesn’t get it.

    3. I Episiarch that motion.

    4. Was it Dorothy Parker that said something about not having a battle of wits with someone who is unarmed.

    5. Stu: You are literally too stupid to insult.

      Alan: Thank you

  3. It must suck to live with the impression that people are generally stupid and incapable of living without help.

    1. No, because the people who believe this have a totally unjustified sense of superiority.

      1. The people who honestly think they’re smart enough to tell everybody what to do are generally not competent to manage their own lives successfully.

        I’m smart enough to think most people make a shitload of poor decisions, but I fail to see how substituting someone else’s poor decisions will improve the issue.

        1. That or they project their own personal failures on others. Ever notice how many drug warriors end up in rehab? Or how many community moralists end up being caught with hookers or cruising for gay sex?

    2. I think Thom Hartmann is actually proof of this proposition.

  4. Liken fast food purveyors to child molesters? That is heinously insensitive to victims of molestation considering no one is forcing french fries into that fat kid’s mouth.

    1. Hey, they were hardly unresponsive to the chicken nuggets.

  5. The real problem with Jacob’s suggestion is that the adult superviosrs aren’t certified or unionized. Only a bureaucratized licensing scheme and union protection could gurantee that these adult supervisors are the highest quality supervisors of children. Well, that and three months vacation per year.

    1. Bwaahahahhahahahahhaah. Good one.

  6. That’s funny shit. Reductio ad absurdum doesn’t even work anymore.

  7. Unequal Protection – NEW – a complete re-write and update of Thom’s classic story of “How Corporations Became ‘People’ and How You Can Fight Back.” To amend the constitution to say “corporations are not people” go to http://www.movetoamend.org

    In this context, your story becomes less surprising.

  8. #21
    followthemoney wrote 36 min 49 sec ago
    Never disappointed with
    Never disappointed with libertarian arguments that hold water like cheese cloth. Your guest from “Reason” magazine really really believes that putting a toy in a “happy meal” is some sort of free speech?! If there were any truth in advertising, they’d have to change the name of their publication … maybe they could call it “Agenda” or “Anarchy” ?

    Drink

    1. you self-aggrandizing pricks just love to talk about yourselves, don’t you? for a magazine called reason you sure have a douchewad commentariat. it’s more like super funtime autoerotic indulgences!

        1. I’d give that a B+, you hirsute dipshit. At least they tried, unlike Holland.

          1. The “for a magazine called reason” indicates that this is a regular. I expect better from our regulars, except for you.

            1. i tired to work the “for a magazine called reason” in there but I agree it’s wonky and doesn’t fit. still i tried, but it’s getting harder every day to tow the lion around here.

        2. super funtime autoerotic indulgences!

          That’s awesome.

          I think Warty would agree that the main cause of child hood obesity is that kids aren’t taught to jack off properly. You don’t just sit down in a chair and scroll through porn on the PC. Burn some calories, build up ab and thigh muscles by fucking a mattress, you lazy little bastards!

      1. Just in time. Drink!

    2. Wow. This country is doomed. You are only as good as the people who make up your society.

  9. Jacob, did you get into Burger King fattening up all the Teenie Boppers with their “Twilight” paraphernalia? Surely your buddy Thom could have made the leap to a new Dietary Supervisor Jobs Bill. You know, to stimulate the economy and all.

  10. From Hartmann’s website: Hour Two: Why do libertarians want to prevent parents from protecting their children from disease and disaster at the hands of giant corporations?

    Talk about severely not getting it, or perhaps being downright dishonest. Nobody here wants to prevent parents from making whatever parenting decisions they want for their children. The issue here is whether it’s appropriate for the government to curb free speech to pander to public health hysterics (CSPI), or to parents who are unable to control their children.

    1. The issue here is whether it’s appropriate for the government to curb free speech to pander to public health hysterics (CSPI), or to parents who are unable to control their children.

      That’s uncannily similar to an issue that Jacob was there to talk about, except for the part where it has nothing to do with the issue at all and Thom is arguing with the scary libertarian in his slowly leaking head.

    2. Good effort, Tonio, but that crowd is beyond help.

      1. Thanks, Wartster. I should have known that, but it got reinforced for me. Teh Crazy is strong on that site.

        1. BTW, Tonio, I read your post completely wrong the first time around, which is why my response is kinda dickish. I thought it was Hartmann asking whether or not it’s appropriate, with the default answer being “yes.”

          Reading hard.

          1. FWIW< JW, I found your post a bit odd, but not dickish. Second try at posting this. *&^%$#@! squirrels.

  11. How about having Catholic priests act as children’s nutrition supervisors? They would probably do the work for nothing.

    1. And they already know about child molesting.

  12. Hartmann did not understand that I was referring to parents. He responded by accusing me of being utterly unrealistic: How could we possibly afford to hire tens of millions of new government employees to carry out this function?

    Jacob, quit fucking with us.

    C’mon, seriously, what did this talking turd really say?

  13. And what the hell kind of name is “Thom”?

    1. Stop making fun of my lisp.

      1. excellent

    2. And what the hell kind of name is “Thom”?

      Sounds like a good name for my dwarf rogue in Dragon Age.

      1. DA2 is official now. I hope it’s a bit less linear than DA, which was loads of fun on the first playthrough and fucking boring on the second.

        1. Is that a good one? I don’t get much of a chance to play computer games. Looks like my wife is going to be gone to help with her sick father for a couple of weeks. I will have loads of time. And internet obscenity only goes so far. I need to find a decent RPG to play.

          1. Dragon Age was really fun, assuming that you like classic high-fantasy RPGs. I thought Fallout 3 was a lot better, though, but still not as great as Fallout 2 was back in the day.

            I think that the ubiquity of voice acting has hurt the RPG genre, as it forces designers to cut dialogue trees to the bare minimum. You couldn’t make Fallout 2 or Planescape: Torment today. Do any nerds agree with me?

            1. I like the high fantasy stuff. No interest in fallout. I got stuck for a week doing a horrible exercise where I had nothing to do but sit at a desk. I played a game called Throne of Bahl for an entire week. It was quite fun.

              1. Wasn’t that one of the expansion packs for Baldur’s Gate?. That was a good one. Dragon Age is quite similar. The main difference is that it’s not set in a D&D world.

                1. Yes. It was Baldur’s Gate. That was the game. I will have to try Dragon’s Age.

            2. About voice acting yes, about Fallout 3 no. Dragon’s Age was way better. FO3’s main story arc was kinda dumb and they gave away too much money and stuff early. I ended up downloading a whole bunch of mods to make the game better. All in all though I don’t regret getting the game and enjoyed it.

              I’m up in the air about New Vegas. Odsidian – KOTOR 2, Alpha Protocol both games that could have been great but they fucked up the execution badly.

              I actually regret paying for AP.

            3. Planescape:Torment is still my all time favorite RPG. I think you’re onto something though regarding the voice acting, though IIRC, Torment actually did have several sections with voice work at the major crossroad points throughout the game (character introductions and the like), as well as some of the default actions of the characters. They just didn’t have it for every line of dialogue, as that game is still probably a contender for most words ever in a video game. More like an extremely well done choose your own adventure. (Also hilarious, trying to finish the game as a certain alignment)

          2. I can definitely recommend Dragon Age. Caveat: I use an XBox, can’t vouch for the PC version.

            1. I don’t own and won’t own an X Box. My think is I want a game where you have to think more than use your hand eye coordination. I want a thinking game not an arcade game.

              1. You should rethink your stance on consoles. I am and have been an avid PC gamer for a long time but my roomate has an Xbox and PS3 and I’ve played several good console only titles like Red Dead Redemption and Chronicles of Vaklyria that aren’t twitch DIAS games.

              2. John,

                You might like Mass Effect and its sequel. I wouldn’t exactly call them RPGs in the sense of dragons and elves (especially part 2, which enters shooter territory during combat), but they are excellent games that place much emphasis on what you choose to do. Your choices have consequences, and what you do in the first game impacts your experience in the second game.

                I wasn’t sure I would like the games, but I played them both back-to-back recently and had a lot of fun.

            2. I’ve played both, and the PC version is much better.

  14. http://www.slate.com/id/2260221/

    Anyone else catch the Jezebel William Saleton throw down over eating contests? Saleton is so stupid and hysterical he makes Jezebel seem reasonable.

    1. The old line about the Puritans opposing bear-baiting, not because it caused pain to the bear, but because it brought pleasure to the spectators, comes to mind.

  15. He responded by accusing me of being utterly unrealistic: How could we possibly afford to hire tens of millions of new government employees to carry out this function?

    I’m surprised he would make that argument (leaving aside his missing that you’re referring to parents). Usually statists are enthusiastic supporters of the idea of hiring millions of government workers, and are impatient with any suggestion that it would cost too much. “It’s an investment!”

    I guess they can’t keep their bullshit stories straight.

  16. He responded by accusing me of being utterly unrealistic: How could we possibly afford to hire tens of millions of new government employees to carry out this function?

    Jacob — you owe me $0.04 for the Windex needed to clean up coffee sprayed on my monitor. Laughed my ass off over that one.

  17. Jacob: I’m lovin’ it. (Sorry, had to get that one in.) But seriously, hilariously brilliant stratagem.

  18. Tellingly, Hartmann did not understand that I was referring to parents. He responded by accusing me of being utterly unrealistic:

    In Hartmann’s defense it’s obvious why he considered your suggestion “utterly unrealistic.” After all, children already have parents, and they aren’t making the government-approved decisions.

    I saw an ad on TV recently, featuring a diet product that was coming to the assistance of the lady of the house by whipping her food into shape. (Drill sergeant impression.) “Get lost cookies! Corndogs, you’re outta here!”

    I immediately thought, Corndogs? Yeah. Haven’t had corndogs in a while. Next time we go grocery shopping…

  19. He responded by accusing me of being utterly unrealistic: How could we possibly afford to hire tens of millions of new government employees to carry out this function?

    ^Are you kidding? Hartmann has plenty of ideas on how to fund all his other nanny-state ideas (namely extorting the hell out of people and putting the printing press on overdrive), but he says we can’t “afford” this? Ye of little faith! Paper creates wealth, don’t ya know!

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