Soda Ban

Bloomberg's Tears Taste Like Mountain Dew

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Office of the Mayor

Yesterday New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that the state's highest court has agreed to hear an appeal of the decision that overturned his big beverage ban on separation-of-powers grounds. Last July an appeals court panel agreed with Martin Tingling, a State Supreme Court judge in Manhattan, that the ban, which would have imposed a 16-ounce limit on servings of sugar-sweetened beverages sold by restaurants, food carts, and concession stands, exceeded the New York City Board of Health's legal authority. Although both decisions hinged on statutory interpretation, they also raised the deeper issue of what this "public health" is that the board is charged with protecting. Is it limited to traditional concerns such as communicable diseases, tainted food, and contaminated water, or does it extend to anything that might result in disease or injury, including voluntarily assumed risks such as those associated with drinking too much soda? Tingling and the appeals court took a relatively narrow view of the board's authority, recognizing that the broader understanding of public health would give it an open-ended license to meddle in people's lives for their own good. "To accept the respondents' interpretation of the authority granted to the Board by the New York City Charter," Tingling said, "would leave its authority to define, create, mandate and enforce limited only by its own imagination." He and the appeals court judges deemed it implausible that the legislative branch had intended to grant that kind of power to a bunch of bureaucrats appointed by the mayor. 

The idea that his powers might be limited by law, even when he was using them in the service of what he considered a vitally important cause, left Bloomberg fuming. "We have a responsibility as human beings to do something, to save each other, to save the lives of ourselves, our families, our friends, and all of the rest of the people that live on God's planet," he said in response to Tingling's ruling. "And so while other people will wring their hands over the problem of sugary drinks, in New York City, we're doing something about it." Bloomberg honestly believes he is saving the world, one slightly smaller serving of soda at a time. How dare a bunch of judges interfere with that mission simply because they think he does not have the legal authority to carry it out? Bloomberg wanted reporters to know that Tingling's decision "was not a setback for me." Rather, "this is a setback for the people who are dying." He added, lest there be any misunderstanding about his paternalistic motives, "In case you hadn't noticed, I watch my diet. This is not for me." Yesteday he was slightly more restrained:

Obesity is the only major public health issue we face that is getting worse, and sugary drinks are a major driver of the crisis. The related epidemics of obesity and diabetes are killing at least 5,000 New Yorkers a year and striking hardest in black and Latino communities and low-income neighborhoods. New York City's portion cap rule would help save lives, and we are confident the Appeals Court will uphold the Board of Health's rule.

Notably absent from Bloomberg's comments about the setbacks suffered by his pint-sized pop presrciption: any explanation of why he has the authority to do what he wants to do. As with the NYPD stop-and-frisk program, he seems to think calling a policy effective or important is tantamount to showing it is legal.

Bloomberg will be out of office by the time the New York Court of Appeals is ready to hear this case, so its fate will depend on his successor. That is likely to be Bill de Blasio, the Democratic candidate, who is leading his Republican opponent, Joseph Lhota, by an absurdly wide margin in recent polls. A couple of months ago De Blasio told The New York Times he was a big fan of Bloomberg's soft drink initiative, saying, "A ban on large sugary drinks is an important part of any public health agenda." (Really? Even a public health agenda that does not encompass protecting people from their own choices?) But De Blasio is not making any promises about pressing Bloomberg's appeal. "Bill supports the ban on large sugary drinks," a spokesman for the candidate told the Times yesterday. "As mayor, he would review the status of the city's litigation."

Lhota, by contrast, had this to say about the big beverage ban at a debate in August:

I don't agree with the soda ban at all…I believe the City of New York should educate people about why sugared soda is bad for you, and people should make their own mind up. Government shouldn't tell us what to do. Government should educate us and then we make up our own mind.

Yesterday, the Times reports, Lhota "said emphatically…that if elected, he would withdraw the city's appeal, allowing the proposed regulations to die."

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  1. Bloomberg’s Tears Taste Like Mountain Dew

    You slanderers, this is why we need to decide who is and isn’t a journalist!

    1. I’m thoroughly confused. I’ve been saying for years that mountain dew tastes like god’s tears. What does this all mean?

      1. I’ve been saying for years that mountain dew tastes like god’s tears. What does this all mean?

        Well then, shouldn’t it be self-evident?

        Bow before Godverment.

      2. When law and duty are one, your selfdom encloses the universe. But remember these limitations – you are never fully conscious, you are always less than an individual.

      3. Regular or throwback Mountain Dew? The throwback stuff tastes even better than the regular.

    2. Related: My favorite blog post about Mountain Dew:

      “So what if Mountain Dew can melt mice?”

      http://www.grantland.com/blog/…..-melt-mice

      1. At first I read that as “melt ice” and I was like “and?”

        But yeah, anything with low enough pH is going to “melt” mice.

      2. So does bourbon, but you don’t see him banning anyone having more than 32 oz of that.

        1. Unless it’s bourbon and coke.

          1. Bourbon and Coke should be banned.

  2. “We have a responsibility as human beings to do something, to save each other, to save the lives of ourselves, our families, our friends, and all of the rest of the people that live on God’s planet,”

    This is one of the most vile things I have ever heard. And I’m including SF’s Warty fanfic in that.

    1. We must DOOOO SOMETHIIIIIINGGGGGGGG!

    2. It’s particularly vile because in his hyperbole you can hear the real truth: that he’s just really, really pissed that someone was able to thwart his control schemes. It’s like a little temper tantrum from a 3-year-old. And that’s the mayor of NYC.

    3. There’s only so much I can do.

      1. Kinda fucked up that reality is more perverse than anything you can dream up.

        1. It always is.

          1. Alas, SugarFree is not God.

            …Wait. Not alas.

        2. SF could write an entire series combining the existential horror of dealing with petty bureaucrats and Warty-centric rapemagheddon.

          Warty versus the sassy DMV clerk
          Warty tries to immigrate to the US
          Warty is examined and quarantined by a very concerned CDC official
          Warty tries to pay his taxes without an accountant
          Warty gets denied a permit to turn his back porch into a solarium

          Clearly these all end in the rape and psychological destruction of entire branches of government, but I’m sure SF could create some tension in the buildup.

          1. Warty is examined and quarantined by a very concerned CDC official

            I’d find this one amusing, but only because the CDC probably wouldn’t quarantine Warty, and instead quarantine someone the prez didn’t like with a suspicious looking mole.

        3. Kinda fucked up that reality is more perverse than anything you can dream up.

          That sounds like a challange to me….. as soon as he finishes his Cheetos.

    4. Maybe spend some of that gun control money on helping poor fat people?

      Or would that not give him the gratification of using his power to lord over us peons?

      1. “Poor fat people.” One of the greatest oxymorons of our generation/culture/whatever.

    5. Let’s start imagining things that we as human beings can do to save Bloomberg, even if we have to force him to do those things….

    6. I have a responsibility to take all of his money by force for his spiritual good. Also, I must take his property. And his security. And his office. It’s OK to do this forcibly, because it’s a responsibility, and he said so.

  3. …they also raised the deeper issue of what this “public health” is that the board is charged with protecting.

    The board should turn its attention to the scourge of firing wildly at suspects in the middle of a crowded street or beating on SUV drivers alongside your civilian fellow bikers.

    1. That shit sounds too much like work, and not enough like beating innocent civilians while terminating those mutts they call dogs.

    2. Look, that’s not going to help anyone. Everyone knows shooting people and vandalism are wrong. What helps people is teaching them that the things they do every day are probably going to kill them tonight, or tomorrow at the very latest, and only the government can save them.

  4. ” sugary drinks are a major driver of the crisis.”

    Courts are supposed to be places where logic is respected, right?

    Seems “proof by counterexample” would do well here. Have a really fit guy come in and testify that he regularly drinks sodas in sizes larger than 16 ounces.

    Related, a while back some guy with an internet blog got into to big problems from law enforcement when we was giving nutritional advice without the benefit being a certified nutritionist. How exactly do Bloomberg and Michelle Obama get away with trying to do the same?

    “The related epidemics of obesity and diabetes are killing at least 5,000 New Yorkers a year and striking hardest in black and Latino communities and low-income neighborhoods”

    Nice use of race in the Bloomberg statement, yes?

    1. I’ll testify. I went from an office job to working on my feet part-time at a doggie daycare. I would drink a Super Big Gulp (64 oz.) non-diet soda every day after work (although I filled the cup with ice, so it was probably more in the 32 oz. range). I lost a shit ton of weight.

      But if I say that, then Bloomturd would mandate 2 hours of exercise for every NYer, every day.

      1. Eggzactly.

        The “major driver” as Bloomberg calls it is most definitely activity or lack of it.

        Again I pose the question: How can Bloomberg stand and give health/nutrition lectures when he is not a trained/educated/certified nutritionist or doctor? Doesn’t his nanny state forbid unlicensed persons from engaging in such activities?

      2. I used to drink a super big gulp of Mountain Dew everyday. When I stopped, I lost my 6 pack.

        Explain that, Bloomberg.

        1. Bloomberg: pictures or it never happened.

        2. “The tide goes in the, the tide goes out, you can’t explain that”

        3. “I lost my 6 pack.”

          You didn’t drink it and forget about it?

          Leave it somewhere?

    2. Related, a while back some guy with an internet blog got into to big problems from law enforcement when we was giving nutritional advice without the benefit being a certified nutritionist. How exactly do Bloomberg and Michelle Obama get away with trying to do the same?

      They’re just a mouthpiece for their health department, which is chock full of experts.

      Plus, regulations don’t apply to important people.

      Nice use of race in the Bloomberg statement, yes?

      Women and minorities hardest hit is now a way of life with these people. Yeah, I said “these people”.

  5. “The related epidemics of obesity and diabetes are killing at least 5,000 New Yorkers a year and striking hardest in black and Latino communities and low-income neighborhoods”

    “It’s making it harder for my troops to meet their stop-and-frisk quotas!”

  6. , “would leave its authority to define, create, mandate and enforce limited only by its own imagination.”

    Feature, not bug to Bloombergites.

  7. “Bloomberg’s Tears Taste Like Mountain Dew”

    Is it because he’s diabetic? I bet its because he’s diabetic.

    1. Ahh little known fact, there Normie.

      The secret ingredient to making Mountain Dew is, in fact, SugarFree’s tears.

      Warty is responsible for collecting them.

      1. Its not just a job for Warty – its also his hobby.

  8. OT: I thought this was funny. At first I thought it was a stupid message about not dressing in racist costumes, but you quickly realize its a joke.

    1. The first three are real. They started that full potato campaign last year.

      1. I suspected that because I was actually starting to get angry at the stupidity of it, then Dracula came along.

        1. Really? I started laughing at the first one.

          If someone gets offended by a costume they can go fuck themselves.

          1. The best one is the Scandanavian with the viking costume. That’s the most valid argument because none of the liberals whining about this would possibly care if I showed up as a Swedish, French, or Irish stereotype.

            Hell, St. Patrick’s day is basically an Irish minstrel show and no one complains about that.

            1. Hell, St. Patrick’s day is basically an Irish minstrel show and no one complains about that.

              Anyone that complains about a holiday that’s basically based on drinking can go fuck themselves too.

              1. I’m complaining about it. I’m pointing out the hypocrisy of the left on issues of race and stereotyping.

                If there were a Geronimo Day in which people dressed up like Indians and drank whiskey, I have a feeling there might be some pissed off liberals.

                1. I’m not complaining about it.

                  This is why we preview.

                  1. Who’s WE, paleface?

    2. I was going to respond with the Dalek one, nice to see it there already.

    3. The buck teeth on the dynamite is a nice touch. Also, why is no one rubbing that dog’s belly? HE NEEDS BELLY RUBS!!!!

    4. Firstly, that went straight on my facebook page. Secondly, I want that suicide bomber costume.

      1. From the comments:
        http://knowyourmeme.com/photos…..-a-costume

  9. “To accept the respondents’ [Federal Governments’] interpretation of the authority granted to the[m] Board by the New York City Charter [United States Constitution], would leave its authority to define, create, mandate and enforce limited only by its own imagination.”

    This is what Chief Justice Roberts said in the ACA decision in the same dream where I wake up next to Kate Upton.

  10. “We have a responsibility as human beings to do something, to save each other, to save the lives of ourselves, our families, our friends, and all of the rest of the people that live on God’s planet,”

    Holy Jack and Diane, what an ass! I read that and I immediately got a headache because it reminded me of a teacher my son had in elementary school. Long story but I’ll keep it as short as possible:

    I was making dinner and I noticed that my daughter kept giving my son nervous looks. I knew something was going on but couldn’t figure it out until I went down the hall and I found water all over the floor from the toilet that had overflowed because my son had taken nearly a whole carton of cigarettes and tried to flush them, per his teacher’s instructions. Apparently she had told her class that if they loved their parents they should destroy the parent’s smokes and booze and “turn in” their drugs. Yes, I did speak with the principal and no, the teacher wasn’t disciplined for encouraging her students to steal and destroy private property.

    Now I’m pissed all over again.

    1. And I am pissed for you. It’s been said before, but 1984 was a warning, not a handbook.

    2. That whole turning children into enforcers agains their parents thing is scary.
      I’m just glad the kid didn’t find and turn in pot instead, because that could have led to CPS visits, and the awful consequences thereof.
      Education is too important to be left to government agents.

  11. “And so while other people will wring their hands over the problem of sugary drinks, in New York City, we’re doing something about it.”

    You know, I can honestly say that I’ve never wrung my hands over the problem of sugary drinks.

    wring one’s hands clasp and twist one’s hands together as a gesture of great distress, esp. when one is powerless to change the situation.

    I expect there is swooning and/or cases of the vapors going on over sugary drinks as well?

    1. I’ve never “wrung my hands.”

      Unless this is some euphemism for jackin’ it. In which case, I’ve done that plenty of times.

      1. That is just one of the many techniques you’ll learn in my new DVD, “Stroking to the Oldies”.

  12. Bloomberg: “In case you hadn’t noticed, I watch my diet. This is not for me.”

    And if I do it, you have to do it too.

  13. Isn’t tons of stress bad for your health? Given that Bloomberg seems to stress out about everything that could conceivably harm anyone, he must have unbelievably high blood pressure, various mental issues and possibly heart problems.

    I think we should pass a law mandating that Bloomberg spend two hours every day in a padded cell with nothing to occupy his time but soothing music and perhaps a train set. It’s for his own good, and I really think we need to protect our overstressed billionaires from the dangers of their lifestyles.

    1. Only two hours a day?

      I vote we just put him out of his misery.

  14. “We have a responsibility as human beings to do something, to save each other, to save the lives of ourselves, our families, our friends, and all of the rest of the people that live on God’s planet,”

    What an interfering, infantilizing sack of excrement.

    I guess they (everyone) don’t get to make choices, or decide anything for themselves – not when “we” have a “responsibility” to keep them alive for as long as possible, no matter what, by forcing them to do what “we” have decided is best for them.

    So I’m sure Bloomberg won’t mind when someone forces him to become even more healthy, at gunpoint, right?

    Because that’s what it boils down to – he wants universal coercive busybodydom, and he can go do something anatomically impossible if he thinks it’s acceptable.

    Christ, even with family the only responsibility I’ll accept is a responsibility to attempt to convince them to alter their behavior if it’s particularly destructive or the like.

    Force? The circumstances in which that would be morally acceptable even with the closest bond are so few and uncommon as to round to zero.

  15. That’s Milton Tingling. He was a classmate of mine at Horace Mann School.

    But I do like that alt text.

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