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Give 'em an inch...

First, they came for the smokers. I did not speak out, because I did not smoke.

Oh wait, I did speak out. Fat lot of good it did, too. Yep, I was in the minority on that one, and people mocked me when I predicted this.

Three years after the city banned smoking in restaurants, health officials are talking about prohibiting something they say is almost as bad: artificial trans fatty acids.

The city health department unveiled a proposal Tuesday that would bar cooks at any of the city's 24,600 food service establishments from using ingredients that contain the artery-clogging substance, commonly listed on food labels as partially hydrogenated oil.

Artificial trans fats are found in some shortenings, margarine and frying oils and turn up in foods from pie crusts to french fries to doughnuts.

Sometimes I really don't enjoy being right, but it's my cross to bear, I guess.


For entirely selfish reasons (I like going home and not smelling like I've been rolling around in ashtrays), I was really not unhappy with the smoking ban (the current debate-ish thing going on with smokers outside is another story. I still inhale it when I walk by, but really, where else is the smoker to go? They need to just let that one be), but transfats? Are they kidding? I try not to cook with it myself, and I don't think labelling is a bad idea, but an outright ban? I don't think this will fly, but I it's possibly I am being overly optimistic.

Why don't you squawk when the FDA removes a drug from the market because it has side effects that adversely effect human health?

Shouldn't we all get to decide if we are going to take drugs that might hurt us?

The type of fat they use in these restaurants kills people. It's a simple fact. It is a silent killer. It will kill more people than the terrorists ever dreamed of killing.

Since you are willing to give up your rights and liberties to "fight terrorism" is shouldn't bother you that restaurants are being forced to switch fats for you own good.

After all, we want to be safe, don't we?

I'll give up my cheeseburger when they pry my cold dead fingers from around it!

wf - all this reminds me of Demolition Man, which I always confuse with the other one about the future that Sylvester Stallone did, and how people ate *shudder* rat burgers.

Hey Barry,
You are extremely wrong on these issues (and it is not because you are a libertarian). Let me simplify my views:

1. Smoking. I dont care how many cigarettes anyone smokes, as far as they dont smoke near me. There are studies that show that passive smokers are as much at risk for cancer and heart problems as active smokers. It is most appropriate to ban smoking in ALL public places. Not to protect the smokers, but to protect the NON-smokers.

2. Regarding the trans-fatissue: Well, that is a little more complicated, but let me ask you a question. I am pretty sure that there are laws banning restaurants from using meet from cats or mice for cooking. Do you support such laws? If you do, can you explain to me while you would oppose attempts to control the #1 killer (heart disease). I think it is a great idea.

I neither smoke, nor drink, BUT I highly regard my neighbors right to do either.

Free people have a right to be self-destructive.

I have neither the desire, nor right to save my neighbor from himself.

My time is better spent improving my own lot.

We DO have a right to keep other people's self-destructive actions from impacting us. That's why smoking bans in public buildings, and such, as well as random DUI road stops are not only perfectly legal, but vital in a free society.

Whether my neighbor consumes too much animal fat or sugar is of no consequence to me.

If I DON'T OWN my neighbor, then my servants in government certainly can't claim to do so, as we, as citizens, can only give to our servants/government powers that we ourselves possess.

Trans Fat is a killer. Eat all the butter and saturated fat you want, it is natural. Trans fat is not natural and your body doesn't quite know what to do with it. There is strong evidence that it is linked with the rise in heart disease over the last forty or so years. Some investigators are even investigating a link to the increase in diabetes. I'm sure no one would want to eat poison at a restaurant without knowing it. At a minimum, restaurants should disclose wheteher any of their food contains trans fat ( and none of this less than 1 gram per serving shit!).

"At a minimum, restaurants should disclose wheteher any of their food contains trans fat..." (IOL)

Now that's a more practical route - restaurants should label content.

Many higher end restaurants already push healthier meals, but cheaper fast-food is marketed to those who put price ahead of dietary concerns.

When there is demand from the public, private enterprises ALWAYS look to cash in on that demand.

Government activists are generally misguided souls who think the answer to everything is "more cowbell," when "cowbell" = government.

The primary reason why such activists espouse such bans and "sin taxes," is because they don't understand basic economics and the power of the market.

Come on, JMK. Do you agree that people have the right to take any drug they like? We can still hold them responsible for whatever they do. Do you agree that people have the right to commit suicide if they don't want to live anymore? Surely this is a fundamental right. Some woman having an abortion effects you in no way whatsoever, so you are OK with abortion, right? You are also OK with NAMBLA right, so long as the young boys are willing, is that right? And certainly you wouldn't interfere with homosexual marraiges.


Yes, of course, banning smoking is an easier sell. That's exactly why they started with smoking. Clearly, however, they're not stopping there. Smokers are the canary in the bird cage.

Blue, your "rat meat" analogy is a bit silly, but it touches on a good point that IOL had. If some restaurant, for whatever reason, wants to serve rat meat, that's fine with me, so long as customers are aware of the content of the food and can make their own decisions. I think the same rule should apply for trans fats.

You know, just when I start to think that you liberals have a chance of winning me over, you always display this regulatory impulse that turns me away.

Well, I personally dont really have "regulatory" impulses. I just think that matters of hygiene should be talken into account. As I said, I dont care how much anyones smokes, as far as they dont contaminate my air.

Now, I also dont have provlems with a reasturant cooking rat meat, as far they declare it in their catalogue. Maybe the example I used was not accurate. Let me give you another example:

Lets say, hypothetically, that the employes in a restaurant dont follow hygiene rules, i.e. dont wash their hands, and there are bacteria and toxins in the food. Do you think thats ok? Of course not. And there are laws that do not allow that. Trans fat is an unnatural bioproduct of cooking that is harmful. There are good reasons to ban it.

Okay, I actually liked your rat meat example better. Trans-fat (not a byproduct of "cooking," btw) is not a contaminant introduced into the food through neglect, as in your hand-washing example. Rather, it's a critical ingredient in certain recipes, that (let's face it!) make them taste good. They still haven't figured out how to make Krispy Kreme doughnuts or KFC chicken without trans-fats and still make them taste the same, or they would have done so. But people should still be allowed to eat and enjoy these foods, so long as they know what's in them. Do you agree or disagree?

I agree with you that people should be allowed to eat what they wish. Trans fatty acids form to a large degree with cooking (i.e. frying various oils). Depending on the oil used for cooking the amount of trans-fat can go up or down. It can not be eliminated, but restaurants can be forced to use better quality oils to, at least, decrease the amount.

I have to agree with you again, Barry. Label the food, fine, go for it. Ban it? That's just a denial of my freedom to eat something unhealthy and to be a slob. I consider the right to be a slob to be one of the unenumerated rights contained in the penumbra that emanates from the 4th Amendment (Ha! Just when you thought you could trust me, I went all William O. on ya!). I simply do not believe in the Nanny State. If I am harming someone else, as with second-hand smoke, I can see there be a ban on smoking. If I am harming no one but myself, then banning my behavior is unwarranted government interference. Frankly, I don't think there should be any requirement beyond labeling. You shouldn't require that people know that trans fats are bad for you even. Citizens have a responsibility for themselves and for their own education as to what they eat and what is and isn't healthy.

Now the only argument that could be advanced regarding the harm to others with respect to trans fats is the cost of health insurance for people who have illnesses caused by consuming fast food. My response to this is that, if that is a convincing argument, then the only thing you can do is deny health insurance to anyone who doesn't live according to the standards of Jack LaLanne (who turned 92 on Tuesday).

"Come on, JMK. Do you agree that people have the right to take any drug they like? We can still hold them responsible for whatever they do. Do you agree that people have the right to commit suicide if they don't want to live anymore? Surely this is a fundamental right. Some woman having an abortion effects you in no way whatsoever, so you are OK with abortion, right? You are also OK with NAMBLA right, so long as the young boys are willing, is that right? And certainly you wouldn't interfere with homosexual marraiges." (BH)
Freedom (LIBERTY/self-responsibility) with license, BH.

Freedom ISN'T "doing whaever we like, so long as we don't harm anyone else. That's license.

Freedom, as in the Liberty guaranteed us in the Constitution is merely "the burden of full self-ownership and personal-responsibility.

License is carefree and reckless, freedom/liberty is ponderous and burdensome.

I've shared my views on all these things elsewhere on this forum (you can look them up) - I support drug laws, but oppose the "Rockefeller Mandatory Sentences.

I not only support birth control and abortion, BUT would mandate birth control and in some cases, abortion for all "wards of the state" - incarcerated felons, the institutionalized physically & mentally handicapped and those dependent upon Public Assistance.

NAMBLA has no legal standing in advocating child molestation and anyone convicted of even espousing child sex, or having "kiddie porn" should be subject to very severe penalties.

The individual states HAVE and SHOULD HAVE the right to define "Marriage" within that State.

Marriage insinuates the inane view that religions should be forced to condone and perhaps even perform homosexual marriages and the government has not been given that power over religion, nor should it.

Civil Unions, yes, "Gay Marriage," no.

Hope that helps - you've mixed obviously criminal activities (advocating child molesting, for instance) with actual basic rights (the right to suicide - self determination, etc).

When you "think" emotionally you tend to confuse things like that.

JMK, I said right off that people would be held responsible for what they choose to do. Some people get drunk and drive, and you don't want to make drinking illegal, yet some people peacefully puff on pot or snort cocaine and you think they shouldn't be allowed. You make no sense, you illogical clown.

Nobody ever mentioned forcing religions to marry gays. Why do you still try to Rove every issue when you must know by now that I will make a fool of you every time? Gays want the GOVERNMENT to recognize their marraiges, not churches.

Since you agree that the Government has no place in religion, you must also logically agree that marraige isn't religious, since the Government uses marital status in endless laws and for taxation purposes -- I don't see you railing against this "religious" abuse, so I assume that you think marraige is not religious, otherwise the Government would not meddle in it while you remain silent.

I oppose gay marraige because, like most Americans, because I don't like most gay people. I find them annoying at best, and dangerously perverted at worse. I don't want to see guys in wedding dresses making out on TV. At least I am honest about why I oppose gay marraige instead of hiding behind some illogical "religion" fallacy.

You are simply inconsistent, and a hypocrite.

ALL drugs are dangerous.

Most prescription drugs have side-effects, even too much aspirin can kill you.

Alcohol can be consumed without a person being impaired - legally impaired is "above the legal limit, which is 0.08% in most states. That is NOT the case for cocaine, heroin and other narcotics.

Bans on narcotics are most likely here to stay and it's really not an issue worth fighting over for me.

Ideally I'd prefer much harsher sentences for crimes against persons and property so that poorer people who abused drugs from alcohol to heroin would be put away, while those with the means to imbibe safely, in the comfort of their own homes would be free to do that.

Marriage IS a religious institution.

A "Civil Ceremony" is NOT recognized in most Churches.

As a matter of fact - I DO like the sight of two men, two women, humans and animals "making out."

I'd even like to see it on TV, but then again, I've always had a more fluid morality than most folks.

I go with the old axim, "A hit's a hit."

So in reality, the Nanny State doesn't really bother you. Got it.

Marriage is religion? Then why does the government issue the licenses? Marriage in a church doesn't make you legally married, only the government issued marrige license does that.

A civil ceremony WITH a government issued marriage license makes you 100% married.

Do you see a pattern developing yet, JMK?

The gay marriage issue has nothing to do with religion.

"Marriage" is a religious sanctioned ceremony.

A Civil Ceremony is a "Civil Union," NOT an actual "Marriage."

That's why the issue of "Gay Marriage" differs form that of "Gay Civil Unions."

There are about a dozen Federal Justices who mistakenly believe they can legislate that relgions like the RC Church and Orthodox Jews must perform "Marriages" for gays, should "Gay Marriage" become sanctioned by law.

Those religions continue to preach that homosexuality (the act of homosexuality, NOT the inclination) is a "sin."

They have a Constitutional, many would say a "God given right" to continue to preach and endorse that viewpoint.

Gays can't get marraige licenses. Nothing to do with any church.

You lose. Good day sir.

Again, your confusing one issue with another.

Most big cities DO extend "domestic partnerships" the same benefits they do Married couples.

The wording surrounding the issue of "Gay Marriage" hints at a backdoor attempt by some in government to dictate religious policy, which, of course, would violate the 1st Amendment's protection of "religious freedom."

Gays can't get marriage licenses. They cannot be legally married.

What most big cities do is irrelevant.

Let's put it in context. Let's say that blacks were not allowed to obtain marriage licenses. Even if churches would marry them and most big cities recognized their marriages, would all be well?

Plenty of non-traditional churches will perform gay marriages. That isn't the issue at all. In fact, all-gay churches are perfectly legal and probably exist.

You are simply wrong. It is not a question of religion. Gays can be religiously married day and night -- but they can't be legally married.

The government could never force a church to perform a religious ceremony under our Constitution. That's a ridiculous argument. Hell, the government can't even stop wingnut pastors from booting out members who admit to having voted for a Democrat.

Even if gays are allowed to marry, who really cares. I find them obnoxious, but no worse than neocons, and they are allowed to marry. Allowing gay marriage might make Repugs less likely to become homosexual predators on our children.

Hell JMK, you've changed my mind. I think gay marriage is probably OK after all.

Homosexuality is a behavior, not a physical trait, like hair color, skin color or eye color.

I believe that the Catholic Church has it about right - homosexual tendencies should not be criminalized (considered "sinful" in their parlance), but homosexual behavior, like any such abreration could be.

Once again, as we agree that Marriage is a religious convention that has been accepted by the state as a form of legal status, the term "gay Marriage" rightfully remains offensive to many, if not most religious people and makes organized religions fearful of government intrusion.

The First Amendment makes clear that the State can NEVER dictate the content of what religion's preach, but that does not, in and of itself, stop anti-religious zealots to try and do just that.

The good news, for folks like myself, is that the birth-rate or "fertility gap" between Liberals and Conservatives in this country is getting larger!

"According to the 2004 General Social Survey, if you picked 100 unrelated politically liberal adults at random, you would find that they had, between them, 147 children. If you picked 100 conservatives, you would find 208 kids. That's a "fertility gap" of 41%. Given that about 80% of people with an identifiable party preference grow up to vote the same way as their parents, this gap translates into lots more little Republicans than little Democrats to vote in future elections.

"Alarmingly for the Democrats, the gap is widening at a bit more than half a percentage point per year, meaning that today's problem is nothing compared to what the future will most likely hold. Consider future presidential elections in a swing state (like Ohio), and assume that the current patterns in fertility continue. A state that was split 50-50 between left and right in 2004 will tilt right by 2012, 54% to 46%. By 2020, it will be certifiably right-wing, 59% to 41%. A state that is currently 55-45 in favor of liberals (like California) will be 54-46 in favor of conservatives by 2020--and all for no other reason than babies.

"The fertility gap doesn't budge when we correct for factors like age, income, education, sex, race--or even religion. Indeed, if a conservative and a liberal are identical in all these ways, the liberal will still be 19 percentage points more likely to be childless than the conservative."

Tuesday, August 22, 2006 12:01 a.m. EDT

Mr. Brooks, a professor at Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Public Affairs, is the author of "Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism," forthcoming from Basic Books.

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