Friday, June 1, 2012

The King Wants Your Big Gulp


by guest blogger Andrew Roman
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Yes, liberals live (and love) to ban things. If they could, they'd ban more. It's that we're allowed to do so many things and make our own choices that causes them so much distress. And in circumstances where an outright ban isn't possible (e.g, guns), they are madly infatuated with imposing restrictions. Modern liberalism has shown us that the road to Utopia - ever under-construction and always under-funded - is more easily navigated when those who know what is good for us (and the Earth) remove these hazardous obstacles. 

For instance, if the planet could communicate directly with us (outside of the melting glaciers and mounting polar bear corpses), no doubt she would breathe a much-needed sigh of relief now that the Los Angeles City Council has banned plastic bags from super markets. The environment-crippling single-use plastic bag is slated to be replaced with that dinosaur of free-market-transport: the paper bag ... which, incidentally, was replaced many years ago by the very same plastic bags that are now being banned from use.  Something about saving the earth, if I recall. The ban is intended to reduce the amount of garbage in landfills, cut back on litter and show the environment some love.

But facts are pesky things. They can burst blissful bubbles and annoy the self-congratulatory well-intentioned.

Plastic bags make up less than one half of one percent of all garbage in the State of California.

Plastic bags make up a full one percent - that's one part out of a hundred - of all litter nation-wide.

These same plastic bags make up nearly two percent of all plastic debris found on beaches or in the oceans.

That we have anything left alive in our seas is astonishing.

Let us not forget about the jobs that could potentially be lost domestically thanks to the ban. Yes, plastic grocery-store bags are manufactured right here in the good old U-S-of-A.  And what of the inescapable trouble that will arise from those disgusting  bacteria-laden reusable bags that are now being pushed by environmentalists?  (Most of them are made in China, by the way). Would you put your peaches in one of those things?

To hell with those perfectly sanitary,  fish-killing, dump-filling, beach-trashing, dog-poop-picker-uppers! I demand my right to acquire E.coli while saving the planet!

Next, a riddle...

If a million people tried doing serious damage to the environment by getting together, say in Central Park, and pressing a million asthma inhalers simultaneously into the air, how many holes in the ozone layer could be created? How many species could be eliminated from an already fragile collection of eco-systems teetering on the brink? How many degrees could surface temperatures across the globe by ratcheted up? What would the caribou death count be?

Thank goodness that these noxious threats to the ozone layer are being phased out. 

Whether or not President Obama's EPA is aware that people who use these over-the-counter inhalers actually release the chemicals contained in them into their own bodies and not into the atmosphere is unclear at this time.

Not to worry, though. Prescription inhalers cost at least three times as much as the over-the-counter variety being banned.  After all, asthma sufferers were looking for ways to spend more money on their life-saving medications, weren't they?

There is solace in knowing the carbon footprint of the United States will be that much smaller.

Here in New York City, where banning things is a way of life, our King - Michael Bloomberg, his most exalted majesty - has once again kicked aside an obtrusive roadblock on the path to sweet Utopia by telling us yet again what is good for us. (If not for him, how many dead would litter our streets like so many banned plastic grocery bags?)  Recall, he rescued us by banning certain cooking oils in privately owned restaurants. (Yes, in privately owned restaurants). He banned smoking in bars. (Yes, in privately owned bars). He has waged war on salt, forced calorie counts to be posted in restaurants, usurped the will of the people by thumbing his nose to term limits, extended the welcome mat to  illegals, and rejected the real purpose of government  - that is, to protect freedom Rather, he has used elected office as a platform to hoist personal feelings about the morality of health upon the rest of us.

The King has proposed - and will almost certainly get - a ban on all sugared drinks in containers that measure larger than sixteen ounces.

This is not a joke. It isn't a Rush Limbaugh parody, a Saturday Night Live bit or a Mad Magazine spread.

Michael Bloomberg, from on high, has decided that it will be illegal - yes, illegal - to fill a cup larger than sixteen ounces with non-diet soda and other sweet drinks in any of the five boroughs of New York City.

Illegal.

Say goodbye to super-sized sodas. Say goodbye to choice. Say goodbye to liberty. Say goodbye to sanity.

Say howdy to more big, intrusive government.

Say hi to unabashed liberalism.

The Bloomberg ban would affect restaurants, street carts, delis, movie theaters, stadiums and arenas. Yes, that means that it will be against the law to buy a 32-ounce Mountain Dew at Yankee Stadium to wash down my Nachos, but perfectly fine to buy seven beers before the first pitch is ever thrown.

 Such thinkers, these liberals.

The ban wouldn't apply to diet drinks, fruit juices, booze or even milk shakes - because it is common knowledge that large quantities of ice cream and whole milk are better for you than a jumbo Coke .

To be fair, the ban would not include bottled soda in grocery stores and convenience stores, but would wipe out the famed Big Gulp.

I  can see it all now.

The scene is a 7-11 convenience store somewhere near Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. It's lunchtime. A pickup truck packed with construction workers pulls up. Out come four hungry, thirsty he-men. One of the guys, parched from a hot summer's morning of work on the new office building across 4th Avenue, grabs a Big Gulp cup and places it underneath the dispenser at the soda machine. His arid throat tingles as he anticipates the rush of icy cold Coke about to pour in, squelching the burn of his thirst, soothing his overworked body.

As the man's Big Gulp cup - built for 32 ounces of pure refreshment - fills past the half-way point with frosty Coca Cola, three red lights suddenly emerge from the front of the machine and begin flashing in rapid sequence. The machine immediately shuts itself down as two iron-pronged grills slam down in front of the dispenser. An alarm sounds. The store clerks quickly put on their protective eye gear  and duck behind the display of black-and-white cookies. Customers scatter.  A woman screams.  

The store's front door is bolted shut as a nine inch thick steel titanium bar is lowered from behind the portrait of Mayor Mike Bloomberg above the lottery ticket wheels. Simultaneously, two metal rods project from the sides of the soda machine, expanding themselves toward the Big Gulp cup from either direction until they penetrate the cup, piercing the skin, causing the Coca Cola to empty into the overrun pan. The straws and cup lids are electronically sealed behind bullet-proof glass from a remote location. The Slurpee machine melts into a pool of molten metal.

Before he can process all that has happened, the thirsty man is surrounded.  In an instant, someone starts reading him his rights as his wrists feel the cold steel of the cuffs clenching down. It's all over within thirty seconds, and it's all for his own good.

Voices within the store begin to buzz: "Shoulda went with the diet" ..... "It's really for the best."  A couple of the older men - grizzled nanny-state veterans -  reflexively suck in their guts as they watch the man escorted from the premises. "I don't touch the stuff anymore myself," one says to another.  "Does he want to die young or something?" another one nervously asks out loud. An old lady in a rocking chair chuckles uncontrollably. Some begin looking around, anticipating an appearance from King Mike himself. "Another life saved!" someone calls out from just beyond the rotating sausages. "It's for our own good," a mother of nine affirms.

And just like that, life returns to normal in the Brooklyn 7-11.

One of the men from the pickup truck buys two 16-ounce cups of icy cold Coke without incident. Another buys a 20-ounce bottle of Pepsi from the cooler, while the third says he is going to the Baskin Robins  across the street for a large ice cream soda.

Now seriously....

Is this idiocy really about health? Does anyone in their heart of hearts genuinely believe this entire power play is about curbing obesity?

What's to prevent people from buying multiple cups of smaller sized soda? What's to keep people from their free refills in fast food joints? If this is really about cutting back on fat, why not just close down the bakeries?  Or put restrictions on the number of Kit Kats allowed per household? Or limit potato chip consumptions to one bag a week. Or pizza delivery to two medium pies every ten days? Or mandate that no one within the five boroughs can sit down to watch any television program with less than two vegetable servings and a fruit platter?

There is so much asininity in this proposal that environmentalists would have me hung for the amount of trees it'd take to supply the paper I would need to list the ways.

People are living longer than ever before. And if you properly adjust statistics by taking away those that die in car accidents and are murdered , the United States has the highest life expectancy on Earth.

In reality, this is a freedom-curbing intolerable intrusion into our lives that has nothing - repeat, nothing - to do with improving the health of our citizenry. Ultimately, regardless of intention, this is only about expansive government. It is about making the individual even smaller in the shadow of a growing state. It is about shrinking liberty. It is about the right of the people to be able to make personal choices that were never intended to  the fall under the awning of the power of government.  Free people must have the right to make these decisions themselves, good or bad. Indeed, choices have consequences, but none so menacing as  allowing government to take away - ban - things it deems as a "public concern."

Where is the line?

Where does it stop?

Human beings just don't know when to say when.

C.S Lewis wrote, "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."

Go ahead and redefine the millennia-old definition of marriage. Please feel free to terminate as many unborn children as you wish.  Hand out condoms to school children as you see fit.

But don't you dare put seventeen ounces of Sunkist Orange in a cup in this city.

Incidentally, today is the 75th Annual National Donut Day in New York.

That's right, National Donut Day.

Our Majesty-In-Chief will be out and about today celebrating this internationally heralded health food, culminating in a proclamation letter written by ... himself.

Can a Boston cream donut even fit in one of those Big Gulp cups?
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3 comments:

  1. Well said, my friend! You got me to thinking...what if, as an act of civil disobedience of sorts (I say "of sorts", because it doesn't sound as if there's a statute against it), New Yorkers brought their own containers to lunch or dinner, ordered two or more 16 oz drinks and then poured them into one container to enjoy while they ate? Would Nanny McFee have an aneurysm?

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  2. That is why, among many other reasons, this entire thing is as ridiculous as it is dangerous. This is a BIG DEAL. I've talked to a few folks who are sympathetic to the proposal, and they seem to think this is really just a symbolic move. But I disagree. This proposal cannot simply be a symbolic gesture on their part because no one is claiming it is. No one is saying, "Well, we know this won't make a difference in the overall fight against obesity, but it is an important statement of public policy." No, this is DELIBERATE incremental erosion of liberty. You see, the sinister nature of this kind of move isn't readily apparent, but it surely exists. In and of itself, this proposal doesn't seem THAT outrageous to many on the left because, technically, we can still have as much real soda as we wish. Complaining about governmental encroachment seems silly - parhaps even paranoid - to that side because, as of right now, no one is saying that Coke and Pepsi are unavailable in as much quantity as one wishes. But, what is the next step? Banning purchases of two 16-ounce cups at one time? Confisacting containers as per state edict? How outrageous will any of that actually be in light of this government grab? There is a reason we are all reacting as we are to this....even many libs are saying this is going too far. sadly, this will probably pass because the NYC Health gang were all appointed by His Majesty.

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    1. With liberals, liberty is a one way ratchet. Whether it's the size of your toilet tank, or the content of your light bulbs or a convoluted soda law that make no real world sense, every erosion of liberty seems to be nearly impossible to get back. And hordes of government bureaucrats, whose livelihood depends on the regulatory labyrinth are there to make sure the erosion is permanent.

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