Bloombergian ban on large sodas in NYC blocked by judge with awesome name

A state judge has blocked New York City's ban on large soft drinks in restaurants, movie theaters and other establishments. Calling New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's ban "arbitrary and capricious," the judge banned the ban one day before it was to take effect. But, the buried lede? The judge's name. Meet Supreme Court Justice Milton Tingling, folks. [Reuters, via @normative]


    1. If the government wants to do something then they should put labels on the side that warn of the actual sugar content. They could also restrict the sales for minors. But the thing about being an adult is that you are responsible for learning, evaluating, and then dealing with the consequences.

      I’m anticipating a response that says that since everybody will soon be in the pool for healthcare, that the government has a right to force people to be healthy in order to lower costs. I’m curious if those that would use this *justification* for the actions of Bloomberg’s government would take it to the logical conclusion of banning tobacco and alcohol, which are far greater threats than obesity? Or would they consider banning the sale to minors, as well as the use of labels and funding educational campaigns to be sufficient?

      1. Adults make dumb choices. Sometimes other people pay for those dumb choices. Since it’s been demonstrated in rats that they’d rather get another hit of heroin instead of getting some food (thereby dying of starvation), I think it’s fairly safe to say that learning, evaluating and dealing with consequences is not something we can reliably expect from animals/people. Yes, it is how people SHOULD work but there are a host of examples that could be given to demonstrate that methods of best practice are not methods of common practice.

        You analogue to tobacco and alcohol is a fair one and I think such an argument could be made for those vices, but.. No one is talking about a blanket ban on drinking soda. If you want to get a bunch of bottles and pour yourself a bathtub of cola there is nothing that these laws would have changed about your ability to do that.

        I actually thought this was a very sensible piece of legislation that *could* have made a difference (just how much of a difference is clearly debatable) but without at least trialing it we will now have NFI about such a plan’s effectiveness. Considering a whopping 1/3 of deaths in the US are attributable to sugar-related illness (diseases of the heart/diabetes) I would have thought this was a fairly non-obnoxious way of improving the health and longevity of Americans?

        1. Tax it then, don’t ban it. Use the funds from the taxes to subsidize healthier foods.

          People aren’t getting obese and getting diabetes just because they are stupid. It is more likely this is occurring since they are poor. It is no secret that unhealthy mass produced foods are dirt cheap while healthy foods are expensive. The poor eat unhealthily because they can’t afford the alternatives.

          1. I’d be down with that… I’m pretty comfortable with stupidly expensive cigarettes (they’re $16-17 a pack [25] here in Australia) so I’d agree that’s also a good solution.

            As I said though, the proposed law wasn’t a ban – it was an attempt at consumer pattern manipulation. I’m sure if society would allow it then buying carton of cartons of cigarettes would be a thing, but at present the largest consumer size of tobacco available is a carton. This law was more comparable to saying “um… no… if you want 1000 cigarettes you’re just gonna have to buy a bunch of cartons”.

            FWIW it’s a generally-ubiquitous thing for non-Americans to, upon return from your country, tell tales of the mythically large servings/portions available in the US of A. Would it really hurt to be limited to a reasonably-sized beverage?

            I also think the ‘poor cant afford the alternatives’ is a bit of misdirection because there’s always water or non-sugary soda. To be clear: I looooove soft drink. In the last year I have been drinking almost exclusively that sugar-free stuff. I dunno if it’s just that but simple changes to my behaviors of consumptions like that have contributed to my pants being looser despite continued laziness and consumption of other bad foods.

          2. Processed foods in the US are loaded with salt, chemical preservatives, complex carbohydrates derived from GMO grains that haven’t been sufficiently studied for health effects on humans, and various forms of sugars (some of which are derived from the aformentioned GMO grains).  These are the cheap foods that bzishi is talking about.  It’s not a simple matter of drinking too much soda, though soda consumption is certainly part of the problem.  

          3. “It is no secret that unhealthy mass produced foods are dirt cheap while healthy foods are expensive. The poor eat unhealthily because they can’t afford the alternatives.”Exactly, and this is because US government farm subsidies are all aimed at the various forms of corn and soybean that make up this unhealthy food. Remove those subsidies and watch what happens. 

  1. My neighbour complained about my hippie schoolbus. So I had to go to court(ya, seriously)
    He came late and it was dismissed-yay!
    But not before the judge paged him on the building PA speakers.
    The whole court giggled and judge turned red when he called out for ‘Mr. Dick Tingly’ – truth can be stranger than fiction!

  2. This issue has left me conflicted in a way that I am usually not.  My near anarchist “do what the fuck you want and live with the consequences” side says that the law is stupid and that people should be free to be dumb.  My more measured side points out that Americans are fat and desperate to kill themselves, which would be a-okay under normal circumstances, but they are drive up the price of my health care.

    One of the most depressing things I have ever listened to was an Intelligence Square debate on NPR.  The resolution was something along the lines of “The government should play a large part in fighting obesity” (or something like that).  My flinch response was “hell yes”.  After listening to the two completely incompetent asshole bureaucratic arguing for the motion, I almost changed my mind.  The side arguing against sucked and argued poorly, but the side arguing for the motion so poorly and with such incompetence that they kind of swayed me towards saying “fuck it” to government intervention if that is the quality of intervention you can expect.  Go listen to it.  They have a podcast.  It is depressing.

    1. I’m also conflicted, but on less visceral grounds. The bill only applies to certain businesses, because the department who made the ban can only regulate those business. It also doesn’t apply to beverages containing alcohol or milk, because bars and Starbucks (that triple frappacino is way worse for you than a big gulp, and contains milk) have lots of money.

      A consistent blanket ban would be awesome, and hopefully this motivates one.

    2. If the government wants to “fight” the obesity epidemic, it could start by sinking the Farm bill, which makes corn derivatives extremely cheap. 

      This is really a result of government regulation and subsidy, rather than a lack of government oversight. 

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