San Francisco Bans Happy Meals and Other Fast-Food Meals Served With Toys

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors have approved a ban on Happy Meals and other fast-food servings that fail to meet nutritional standards. While sympathetic to the motivations behind the legislation, I have serious questions over the constitutionality (and logic) of the ban.

For many years, advocates attempted to use tort law to curtail fast-food as a defective product or a nuisance. Like others, I was critical of the use of tort law in those cases. Now, there seems a push to simply try to outlaw such food. Yet, it is hard to see how they can satisfy even the rational basis test under constitutional law. After all, other low nutrition food will be available in a city famous for its Ghirardelli’s chocolate. They are simply targeting those chains which give away toys.

Moreover, this denies parents the ultimate say as to what their children eat. Parents may impose a perfectly healthy diet on their children but allow them to eat at McDonald’s once a week or once a month. This is the ultimate expression of patneralistic legislation — taking such decisions from parents. Companies could challenge the law under equal protection, due process, and other constitutional claims.

The government can certainly demand the posting of nutritional information and campaign against such low nutrition foods. It can certainly ban such food from school cafeterias, but this is one bill (in my view) that would not pass constitutional mustard . . . I mean muster.

Jonathan Turley

Source: CNN

387 thoughts on “San Francisco Bans Happy Meals and Other Fast-Food Meals Served With Toys

  1. Here are the facts on childhood obesity from teh CDC:

    Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years. The prevalence of obesity among children aged 6 to 11 years increased from 6.5% in 1980 to 19.6% in 2008. The prevalence of obesity among adolescents aged 12 to 19 years increased from 5.0% to 18.1%.1,2

    Obesity is the result of caloric imbalance (too few calories expended for the amount of calories consumed) and is mediated by genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors.3,4 Childhood obesity has both immediate and long-term health impacts:

    Obese youth are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. In a population-based sample of 5- to 17-year-olds, 70% of obese youth had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease.5
    Children and adolescents who are obese are at greater risk for bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems such as stigmatization and poor self-esteem.3,6
    Obese youth are more likely than youth of normal weight to become overweight or obese adults, and therefore more at risk for associated adult health problems, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.6

    Healthy lifestyle habits, including healthy eating and physical activity, can lower the risk of becoming obese and developing related diseases.3

    Seems like a reasonable restriction on commercial free speech to me in view of the epidemic of childhood obesity. I also think a constitutional argument could be made that limiting aggressive marketing to children is within the purview of governmental power to protect children when parents are powerless to do so. No one can patrol what kids see on billboards and TV all the time. The question is may a corporation market unhealthy dietary choices to those least able to resist while the government sits helplessly by?

    Parents, undeniably have a role to play here, but the ultimate costs of preventable poor health are foisted on society as a whole whether under Medicare, Medicaid, or higher health insurance premiums and overburdened healthcare delivery systems. Does the constitution require that we ignore these problems and bankrupt ourselves under notions of due process, equal protection, etc.?

  2. Once again Mespo, you’re bleeding heart has led you over that Huxlean/dystopian line between proper and improper government.

    I agree with J.T.

    And so does John Locke.

    “The care, therefore, of every man’s soul belongs unto himself, and is to be left unto himself. But what if he neglect the care of his soul? I answer: What if he neglect the care of his health or of his estate, which things are nearlier related to the government of the magistrate than the other? Will the magistrate provide by an express law that such a one shall not become poor or sick? Laws provide, as much as is possible, that the goods and health of subjects be not injured by the fraud and violence of others; they do not guard them from the negligence or ill-husbandry of the possessors themselves. No man can be forced to be rich or healthful whether he will or no.” John Locke, ‘A Letter Concerning Toleration’

  3. Locke perfectly understood his world of the 17th Century. He also understood the need to protect children:

    “Children, I confess, are not born in this full state of equality, though they are born to it. Their parents have a sort of rule and jurisdiction over them when they come into the world, and for some time after, but it is but a temporary one. The bonds of this subjection are like the swaddling clothes they are wrapt up in and supported by in the weakness of their infancy. Age and reason as they grow up loosen them, till at length they drop quite off, and leave a man at his own free disposal.”

    (…)

    The power, then, that parents have over their children arises from that duty which is incumbent on them, to take care of their offspring during the imperfect state of childhood. To inform the mind, and govern the actions of their yet ignorant nonage, till reason shall take its place and ease them of that trouble, is what the children want, and the parents are bound to. For God having given man an understanding to direct his actions, has allowed him a freedom of will and liberty of acting, as properly belonging thereunto within the bounds of that law he is under. But whilst he is in an estate wherein he has no understanding of his own to direct his will, he is not to have any will of his own to follow. He that understands for him must will for him too; he must prescribe to his will, and regulate his actions, but when he comes to the estate that made his father a free man, the son is a free man too.

    59. This holds in all the laws a man is under, whether natural or civil.”

    (Second Treatise, ch. 6, 55-59)

    Locke was not as simplistic as you suggest. He likewise understood that we are heirs to the past, not it’s prisoners.

  4. Bob,Esq.:

    “I agree with J.T.

    And so does John Locke.”

    ******************

    Now that we’ve got that Locke thing straightened out, I bet we get JT to come around too.

  5. Advertising is a form of mild to severe brainwashing for they try to convince you that you need something that, in reality, you probably don’t. The goal is to turn a want into a perceived need. Children are particularly susceptible to this kind of message as they themselves (and indeed many adults) haven’t learned to properly distinguish between “want” and “need”.

    When advertising is directed at our most impressionable minds, it should absolutely be restricted if not banned altogether.

    Proof?

    It’s anecdotal but within my sample space more people of my generation know the words to the McDonald’s Big Mac song or that Burger King will let them have it their way than know their basic Constitutional rights.

  6. wow, so now we need to get involved in family nutrition for the good of the children.

    How hard is it to read a book on nutrition. How many times a week do people eat at McDonalds to make this a problem.

  7. Mespo-
    You seem to be equating the marketing of the food with the consumption of the food. No, parents can’t guarantee that their children will not see advertising (though I’d argue they have more power than you might think). But for much of a child’s life, the parents do control what goes into their kid’s mouths. Happy Meals are targeted at fairly young kids, kids who don’t generally have the ability to purchase whatever food they want.

  8. Mespo: “Now that we’ve got that Locke thing straightened out, I bet we get JT to come around too.”

    Once again, the apriori principle under discussion is the role of law in a proper government.

    As stated before:

    “Laws provide, as much as is possible, that the goods and health of subjects be not injured by the fraud and violence of others; they do not guard them from the negligence or ill-husbandry of the possessors themselves. No man can be forced to be rich or healthful whether he will or no.”

    Quoting Locke’s views regarding children does not address the issue and only serves your purpose so much as being a red herring.

    Again, on the distinction between the laws that a proper government can promulgate and that which it cannot:

    Immanuel Kant: “All duties are either duties of right, that is, juridical duties (officia juris), or duties of virtue, that is, ethical duties (officia virtutis s. ethica). Juridical duties are such as may be promulgated by external legislation; ethical duties are those for which such legislation is not possible. The reason why the latter cannot be properly made the subject of external legislation is because they relate to an end or final purpose, which is itself, at the same time, embraced in these duties, and which it is a duty for the individual to have as such. But no external legislation can cause any one to adopt a particular intention, or to propose to himself a certain purpose; for this depends upon an internal condition or act of the mind itself. However, external actions conducive to such a mental condition may be commanded, without its being implied that the individual will of necessity make them an end to himself.”

    Your notion of the State being delegated the power to enforce duties of virtue as if they were duties of right is sheer modern liberal fantasy.

    NOT ONE of the founding fathers would agree with your argument.

  9. What’s next in line? Ban candy from the aisles? Ban soda pop from the aisles?

    Can cereal no longer contain a puzzle or prize? Will they need to change the packaging, so as to notice entice the little ones?

    The government has no legitimate reason to get involved unless it is the government who is providing the meal, or the parent has been so negligent as to put the child’s health in danger. That must be evaluated on an individual basis.

    Is the obesity problem caused by malnutrition? Funny, I thought it was the result of excess.

  10. Jason:

    I agree the marketing is generally to children who can’t make the purchase. I just can’t decide if that makes the practice even more pernicious. Anyone’s who has been trapped in a car with a kid screaming to go to Mickey D’s to get an 5 cent Avatar plastic mold, surely will understand my dilemma.

  11. Ronald:

    “wow, so now we need to get involved in family nutrition for the good of the children.

    How hard is it to read a book on nutrition. How many times a week do people eat at McDonalds to make this a problem.”

    ************************

    If men were angels (or as amended by Buddha to “angles” on another thread), no government would be necessary.

    ~James Madison (Federalist #51)

  12. “Your notion of the State being delegated the power to enforce duties of virtue as if they were duties of right is sheer modern liberal fantasy.”

    Correction: Should read simply ‘modern fantasy’ since both liberals and conservatives have similar agendas seeking to merge duties of right with duties of virtue.

  13. Mespo,

    Most of the “facts” you mention are only opinions. There is no evidence based reason to ban Happy Meals, only what is known as “best practice” meaning a consensus of experts which has a tendency to change with the political winds and the next round of research. “Best Practice” is the least reliable method of determining how medical illness should be treated and often is only the best guess available. Best practice opinions change all the time.

    Look at red wine. There are opinions based on non-scientific evidence (meaning the lack of valid studies or studies with low numbers or lack of controls) that both support a glass of red wine a day and condemn it. The same is true of dark chocolate. There are studies that show that people with BMIs in the thirties (which is considered obese by some standards) outlive persons with lower BMIs. At best the scientific underpinnings of nutrition are a mixed bag.

    Using convenient “facts” is no way to develop a reasonable public policy especially one that has civil rights implications such as the ones proposed in NYC and SF.

  14. Bob,

    “Huxlean/dystopian?”

    From what I remember of “Brave New World” it was a pretty straight forward condemnation of viewing society as simply a engine for commerce. Which fits in well with “Island” (not strictly a dystopian, more like the prelude to one). “Ape and Essence,” the other dystopian I know of from Huxley, has more to do with the dangers of nationalism than anything else. Am I forgetting one?

  15. Why not stress the ‘war-like crisis’ inherent in Happy Meals?

    “Liberty, as we all know, cannot flourish in a country that is permanently on a war footing, or even a near war footing. Permanent crisis justifies permanent control of everybody and everything by the agencies of central government.” — Aldous Huxley

  16. “Anyone’s who has been trapped in a car with a kid screaming to go to Mickey D’s to get an 5 cent Avatar plastic mold, surely will understand my dilemma.”

    Mespo, It’s called parenting. I prefer to handle that myself. I’m pretty sure it has always been the role of the parent to set the boundaries, and that of the child to test them. If the child gets their way by screaming, they will undoubtedy repeat the act.

  17. Bob,Esq.

    “NOT ONE of the founding fathers would agree with your argument.”

    *****************

    I’m not so sure of that:

    “The laws… which must effect [a people’s happiness] must flow from their own habits, their own feelings, and the resources of their own minds. No stranger to these could possibly propose regulations adapted to them. Every people have their own particular habits, ways of thinking, manners, etc., which have grown up with them from their infancy, are become a part of their nature, and to which the regulations which are to make them happy must be accommodated.” –Thomas Jefferson to William Lee, 1817.

  18. mikeyes:

    “Most of the “facts” you mention are only opinions.”

    **************

    Oh, mere trifling opinions, what value are they?

    You might want to keep in mind that an “opinion” from judge or jury on the evidence against you can send you straight to death row.

    Those “opinions,” based on empirical peer-reviewed studies, are from the CDC. Pray tell do you have better? Are we to assume that they are false? Why quibble with the manifest facts when you have no better information to offer?

  19. BBB:

    “Mespo, It’s called parenting. I prefer to handle that myself.”

    ************************

    Thanks, BBB. I assume your exercise of reason and restraint will do wonders with a “rational” screaming two-year old even as you attempt to maneuver the car. Anyone who suggests that perfect parenting will stop a screaming child has never been a parent … or, perhaps, even a child.

  20. Re: ‘Huxlean/dystopian’

    I was referring more to the distinction between Orwell’s version of dystopia and Huxley’s.

    Instead of being made to embrace an Orwellian fear of the Happy Meal, Mespo would lull us into a state of complete passivity — accepting the absence of the Happy Meal; because, by Ford, it’s for our own good in our Nanny State.

  21. Mespo,

    That quote by the author of our restatement of social contract goes nowhere and you know it. In order for that quote to mean what you want it to mean, the distinction between alienable and inalienable rights becomes meaningless and the social compact becomes illusory.

  22. Bob,Esq:

    “Fed 51 supports legislation against Happy Meals?!”

    ********************

    It’s supports legislation against the manufacturers of dangerous products or preventable harms to the public. How we apply that precept is up to us.

  23. I am a big fan of walking.

    The McDonald’s in our small town is centrally located … forget the drive-up window. If your kid wants fries and a hamburger, tell him/her to walk to McDonald’s. It’s a good way to help them discern the difference between need and want.

    As to Locke’s opinion … I’m going to suggest that walking to McDonald’s could be wrapped up nicely in an External/Internal Experience package however that ignores the following:

    “It seems plain to me, that the principle of all virtue and excellency lies in a power of denying ourselves the satisfaction of our own desires, where reason does not authorize them.” (Locke)

    Here’s a link that incorporates a paper from Locke as to the eating and drinking habits of children: (I always forget that Locke spent time as a tutor). Locke’s thoughts on “fruit” are quite entertaining as are his thoughts on “stools”:

    Some Thoughts Concerning Education – Part II (of X) (To Edward Clarke, of Chipley, Esq. — Locke 1692)

    http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1692locke-education.html

  24. Mespo: “It’s supports legislation against the manufacturers of dangerous products or preventable harms to the public. How we apply that precept is up to us.”

    Again, the government is not specifically empowered to promulgate duties of virtue; not matter how hell-bound that good intent might be.

    Your desire to increase the power of the state to exercise power over the individual’s duties of virtue (i.e. converting them to duties of right) is just as contradictory to our social compact, if not more, than the right’s desire to imprison women for having an abortion.

  25. For some years, I treated kids that were on Ritalin for being, basically, hyperactive, even though they have more specific diagnoses for these behaviors, like ADD/ADHD. What we found is that getting them off of “Happy” meals and other sugars and healing their guts, kept their brains for starving and helped them regain control over their feelings and behaviors.

    So Well Done to SF for helping parents win the battle of saying NO to Drugs, even if they are disguised as food.

  26. Excellent points all Blouise.

    This is why we call them “duties of virtue”

    “Juridical duties (duties of right) are such as may be promulgated by external legislation; ethical duties (duties of virtue) are those for which such legislation is not possible.”

  27. Prof. Turley- “would not pass constitutional mustard…I mean muster.” Are you casting asparagus on McDonald’s cooking? Lettuce be reasonable. After all, they are entitled to due process of slaw. Justices Frankfurter and Burger would agree.

  28. “What we found is that getting them off of “Happy” meals and other sugars and healing their guts, kept their brains for starving and helped them regain control over their feelings and behaviors.”

    Then by God you should outlaw candy, breakfast cereals, slurpees, and sugar itself if you’re going to exercise any integrity in this matter; right?

  29. “Thanks, BBB. I assume your exercise of reason and restraint will do wonders with a “rational” screaming two-year old even as you attempt to maneuver the car. Anyone who suggests that perfect parenting will stop a screaming child has never been a parent … or, perhaps, even a child.”

    Not only “been there; done that”, but have done so 8 times.

  30. Bob,

    Aldus Huxley’s father was a writer.

    I don’t think Huxlean makes sense in this context. It’s like referring to a society repressing sexual urges as Orwellian. It might be correct, but it’s such a minor aspect of the the man’s work that it would never be understood as the meaning.

    If anything Huxley would argue against marketing towards children. His bent towards Eastern Mysticism often came through as a rejection of training children as consumers. One of the main tragic figures in “Island” is a teenager who reads Catalogs instead of pornography.

    Lem’s “Eden” would be a better example of the kind of passivity you’re talking about. Plus, it’s got aliens, so that’s cool.

  31. I’m with mespo and BIL. I don’t think the city could dictate what the fast food chains can serve, but there’s a rational basis behind a law protecting children from aggressive advertising for a product that’s bad for them.

    Bob,Esq.,

    Can you really not see a difference between having a product be available on the market and heavily marketing the product to very young children? Just wait for next Pixar or Disney movie — you’ll see joint Burger King or McDonalds commercials selling kids the movie and the happy meal toy four or more times on hour on TV.

    What’s the difference between restrictions on cigarette advertising and this?

  32. Blouise,

    I don’t think we’re talking about children who can walk to McDonalds to get their meal.

    I do think you’re on the right track with regard to exercise. If we wanted to work on the obesity problem, we would do better by making the nintendo only work for 30 minutes at a time. At ten, I would be off playing with friends for the entire day. Unless it was raining or too cold, we were outside. We would ride our bikes; walk the creek, climb a tree, or roller skate all over the neighborhood. Little girls played jump rope, hopscotch, etc. All the kids in the neighborhood would get together to play hide-and-go-seek, or kick the can. Tell me the last time you saw kids playing like that? Maybe our problem is that our neighborhoods aren’t as safe as they used to be. Maybe that is where the government should be playing a more active role.

  33. Approximately 2 months ago my 2 year old grandchild was introduced to the wonders of McDonald’s fries by her father, my now-in-the-doghouse son-in-law.

    Every-time we drive by a McDonald’s she can be heard from the backseat saying, ” Mmmmm … Mmmmm … Mmmmm.”

    There is no law to prevent such actions … not even fear of Mother-in-Law displeasure is a strong enough deterrent.

    Once again I will find myself stating the obvious to a grandchild, “If you want McDonald’s, you have two feet to walk on, you have a bike to ride on … take your pick.”

    Four out of the five older grandkids worked at McDonald’s during high school and at one time or another from each of them I received validation for my “get to McDonald’s under your own power” stance.

    Raise ’em up right … and when they are older

  34. BBB
    1, November 12, 2010 at 11:07 am
    Blouise,

    I don’t think we’re talking about children who can walk to McDonalds to get their meal.

    I do think you’re on the right track with regard to exercise. ….

    =========================================================

    Of course I’m on the right track but obviously my point was missed …

    Goodness, insisting that if a child wants to eat McDonald’s he/she has to get there under his own power isn’t just about McDonald’s even though McDonald’s is the subject on this thread.

    Such insistence is indicative of a philosophy on raising children that carries over to other habits. Television time is monitored, video game time is monitored, playtime for the exercise and socialization is encouraged, reading instead of watching television is encouraged … good lord, the list goes on and on.

    Oh … never mind … legislate away

  35. Blouise,

    I think you missed my point.

    At what age do you think it is appropriate to send your child off to McDonalds under their own power?

    Is that an age where the toy in the “Happy Meal” was part of the childs motivation to go to McDonalds?

  36. Blouise I introduced my son to McDonald’s when he, my mother and I were on a driving trip to Michigan. He is was a few months short of being two. He instantly loved it, and pointed to it in every town we drove though after that. He begged for it a few years and then moved on to pizza. When he was in college he turned into a vegetarian that would only eat organic sustainable foods. Now he has relaxed a bit but I just sent him an email asking him what kind of turkey he would eat if any for Thanksgiving. He is in Argentina hiking now so he must be eating a variety of food.

  37. Gyges,

    Dystopia, in its generic sense, refers to an authoritarian/totalitarian society wherein the individual is completely subsumed into the collective.

    When the state forces duties of virtue on the individual as duties of right, it’s either done under the guise of criminal law (Orwellian) or hidden under the alleged good intentions of the state — which are never questioned because the citizens are maintained as simply too passive to care (Huxlean).

    I simply referenced Huxley to note Mespo’s benevolent tyrant approach to promulgating law.

    To read into it any further is to simply miss the points I made while quoting Locke & Kant in regard to our social compact.

  38. James M.: “What’s the difference between restrictions on cigarette advertising and this?”

    Where’s the ban on cigarette sales in San Francisco?

  39. BBB,

    Q. “At what age do you think it is appropriate to send your child off to McDonalds under their own power?”

    A. When they are able to get there safely under their own power … generally speaking, age 10, but perhaps earlier, given the circumstances of the neighborhood.

    Q. “Is that an age where the toy in the “Happy Meal” was part of the childs motivation to go to McDonalds?”

    A. Don’t buy “Happy Meals”. Even my son-in-law knows that. (The toys are cheap and often dangerous for the very young and unless the kid is starving, the majority of them only finish the fries.)

    We take children to restaurants all the time … we start when they’re infants and train them to behave. The adults order fancy alcohol drinks that come with pretty fruit and little umbrellas or swords in fancy glasses and guess what … we don’t let the children touch them. Am I getting through here? (McDonald’s is not the best choice if training a child in restaurant etiquette … Ronald McDonald is the first hint)

    By the way, if an 8 or 10 year old wants to go to McDonald’s under his/her own power, what do they use for money once they get there? I don’t give them money to go to McDonald’s … they have to dig into their own savings. Consistency …

    The word “no” is never a word parents should be afraid to utter. Following the word “no” with an explanation is also quite helpful in advancing a child’s understanding. The fact that a child will continue to demand that to which one has denied him access necessitates repetition of said denial. Bothersome but all part of the parental responsibility.

    Now, I decided 39 years ago that the nutritional value of McDonald’s (and most other fast-food chains) fare was lacking and thus not the kind of food I wanted my children to consume on a regular basis. However, that was my decision to make … not the government’s.

  40. Blouise: “Now, I decided 39 years ago that the nutritional value of McDonald’s (and most other fast-food chains) fare was lacking and thus not the kind of food I wanted my children to consume on a regular basis. However, that was my decision to make … not the government’s.”

    Testify.

  41. Blouise,

    Thanks.

    For the most part (probalby due to you in a small town and I in a more populated area) we are on exactly the same page.

  42. Swarthmore mom
    1, November 12, 2010 at 11:45 am
    Blouise I introduced my son to McDonald’s when he, my mother and I were on a driving trip to Michigan. He is was a few months short of being two. He instantly loved it, and pointed to it in every town we drove though after that. He begged for it a few years and then moved on to pizza. When he was in college he turned into a vegetarian that would only eat organic sustainable foods. Now he has relaxed a bit but I just sent him an email asking him what kind of turkey he would eat if any for Thanksgiving. He is in Argentina hiking now so he must be eating a variety of food.

    =============================================================

    I don’t care how much my son-in-law paid you to advocate for him … he remains in the doghouse! :)

    Seriously, when I was a kid the first MdDonald’s opened in our city and it was right on our route home from church. My mother, a big nutrition nut, hated the place. My father, a junk food nut, loved it but always bowed to my mother’s wishes when it came to what was “good” for the children. My father’s aunt (his deceased mother’s sister) lived with us and went to church with us every Sunday. My father denied her nothing. Once a month one of us kids would whisper to our great-aunt on the way out of church, “Don’t you feel like McDonald’s?”

    We would climb into the station-wagon and she would say, “Stuart, I would like to stop at McDonald’s.” , and, of course, we would. My mother would roll her eyes, neither she or my aunt would ever get anything, but my father, my brothers and I would happily munch away on $.15 hamburgers, $.12 fries, and milkshakes. We kids knew better than to push our luck … once a month … no more than that.

  43. SwM,

    P.S. … at that time “Blue-Laws” were in effect in Ohio. Only a few restaurants were open on Sundays … the “new” McDonald’s was one of them … in fact, the “new” McDonald’s was open 7 days a week and no business kept those kind of hours … talk about a slippery slope …

  44. Bob,Esq.,

    I consider toys advertising, not a real part of the meal. So is that the key difference? That it’s a physical object they’re banning?

    If cigarette manufacturers wanted to start including collectible toys with each pack of cigarettes, like an upscale version of Cracker Jacks, could San Francisco ban that practice? If so, what distinction are you drawing?

  45. The way I look at it … if the government is going to legislate in order to protect citizens from things that are bad for us then they should start by outlawing the Republican Party and all teabaggers.

    If they aren’t willing to do that, then shut up and let us get on with living our lives.

    Of course I’m talking San Francisco here … the place that actually had an initiative on the ballot to name their sewage plant after George W Bush ….

  46. Blouise “The way I look at it … if the government is going to legislate in order to protect citizens from things that are bad for us then they should start by outlawing the Republican Party and all teabaggers.”

    Be careful what you wish for. I’m pretty sure the Republicans and those supporting the Tea Party (I find no need to show such disrespect for those with whom I may disagree) would see their opposition to present the same risk.

  47. Some of the ingredients of our foods stretch the imagination way beyond belief.

    Would you believe that some of the ingredients come from the oil fields in China?

    Didn’t think so … but our clothing, toothpaste, etc. suffers the same Happy Meal beginning with a Sad Meal ending.

    If the lizard brain federal congress can’t do anything about it, perhaps the states, counties, and municipalities can.

    http://blogdredd.blogspot.com/2010/10/closer-look-at-momcoms-dna-2.html

  48. Bob,Esq.:

    “Again, the government is not specifically empowered to promulgate duties of virtue; not matter how hell-bound that good intent might be.”

    **********************

    Agreed, but that’s not what we’re talking about. The state is empowered to act to prevent actual harm to its citizenry, and that is the point. No one is advocating banning of these fat-laden, salt/sugar infused “meals,” merely regulating the commercial speech and other methods of merchandising of the madness. If we did the former, we are mandating virtue; if we do the latter we are protecting society’s most vulnerable.

    James M’s question about banning cigarette advertising and sales to minors is a good one and illustrative of the point.

  49. Blouise:

    “The way I look at it … if the government is going to legislate in order to protect citizens from things that are bad for us then they should start by outlawing the Republican Party and all teabaggers.

    If they aren’t willing to do that, then shut up and let us get on with living our lives.”

    *****************

    If we don’t ban Repubs and teabaggers, should we ban pedophiles? While I know your comment was typed in jest, it raises an interesting point. Is one act of non-lethal sexual exploitation worse than decades of commercial exploitation resulting in permanent harm to the health of the person or possible death? I don’t know the answer but I am interested in the question, and I won’t dismiss it out of hand.

  50. BBB

    “Be careful what you wish for. I’m pretty sure the Republicans and those supporting the Tea Party *(I find no need to show such disrespect for those with whom I may disagree)* would see their opposition to present the same risk.”

    *How “politically correct” of you. They called themselves teabaggers in the beginning and occasionally my conservative nature comes to the forefront and rails against change … I’m just showing my respect for the good ol’ name days … me and Bubba …

    Of course they would see Democrats in that same light … that’s what makes them so dangerous … to the Democrats, but not to me.

    Can you imagine a non-partisan election? No Party(s), no Party Platforms, no Party loyalties, no Party war chests … just individuals trying, each in his or her own way, to grab the voting public’s attention. Imagine corporations trying to figure out to whom they must donate and how, without the Party structure, to keep those recipients in line? What about Supreme Court nominees, or Federal judges, …. Governors, Mayors …

    It would be chaos … for the politicians …

  51. Mespo: “The state is empowered to act to prevent actual harm to its citizenry, and that is the point.”

    Harm due to “the fraud and violence of others.” Duties of right. Not duties of virtue.

    The state was never empowered to promulgate duties of virtue as if they were duties of right; or “guard [its citizens] from the negligence or ill-husbandry of the possessors themselves. No man can be forced to be rich or healthful whether he will or no.”

    The line between the individual and the state that demands respect for a woman’s right of self ownership in re abortion is the same line you’re crossing by converting duties of virtue into duties of right in this matter.

    The law is meant to protect the weak; not the stupid from themselves.

  52. mespo,

    Yes, it was in jest … but I’ll defend it to a certain point.

    I purposely left Democrats out simply to be cantankerous.

    I really do believe in the sentiments of Locke’s quote from an earlier post:

    “It seems plain to me, that the principle of all virtue and excellency lies in a power of denying ourselves the satisfaction of our own desires, where reason does not authorize them.”

    However the judgement as to what I should deny myself is based on my ability to reason … not the government’s.

    Political parties are like Unions and other Professional organizations … good up to a point but beyond that point, no good at all. The difficulty seems to be in determining where the point is and not to go beyond it.

  53. Morpheus: What is real? How do you define real? If you’re talking about what you can feel, what you can smell, what you can taste and see, then real is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain. This is the world that you know. The world as it was at the end of the twentieth century. It exists now only as part of a neural-interactive simulation that we call the Matrix. You’ve been living in a dream world, Neo. This is the world as it exists today… Welcome.. to the desert.. of the real. We have only bits and pieces of information but what we know for certain is that at some point in the early twenty-first century all of mankind was united in celebration. We marveled at our own magnificence as we gave birth to AI.

    Neo: AI? You mean artificial intelligence?.

    Morpheus: A singular consciousness that spawned an entire race of machines. We don’t know who struck first, us or them. But we know that it was us that scorched the sky. At the time they were dependent on solar power and it was believed that they would be unable to survive without an energy source as abundant as the sun. Throughout human history, we have been dependent on machines to survive. Fate, it seems, is not without a sense of irony. The human body generates more bio-electricity than a 120-volt battery and over 25,000 BTUs of body heat. Combined with a form of fusion, the machines have found all the energy they would ever need. There are fields, endless fields, where human beings are no longer born. We are grown. For the longest time I wouldn’t believe it, and then I saw the fields with my own eyes. Watch them liquefy the dead so they could be fed intravenously to the living. And standing there, facing the pure horrifying precision, I came to realize the obviousness of the truth. What is the Matrix? Control! The Matrix is a computer generated dream world built to keep us under control in order to change a human being into this.

    Neo: No. I don’t believe it. It’s not possible.

    Morpheus: I didn’t say it would be easy, Neo. I just said it would be the truth.

  54. Bob,Esq.
    …….

    The law is meant to protect the weak; not the stupid from themselves.

    ==================================================

    Yes! I agree with that statement!

    And, if I may add … the weak aren’t stupid and the stupid (put in any name you’d like) aren’t necessarily weak.

  55. You do realize that advocating this as a good idea boils down to pointing a gun at a mcdonalds worker for giving a child 30 cents worth of plastic? Did i miss when we solved the rest of this country’s mounting problem that this is what we now have to occupy our time? Have you all lost your goddamned minds?

  56. ekeyra
    1, November 12, 2010 at 3:34 pm
    You do realize that advocating this as a good idea boils down to pointing a gun at a mcdonalds worker for giving a child 30 cents worth of plastic? Did i miss when we solved the rest of this country’s mounting problem that this is what we now have to occupy our time? Have you all lost your goddamned minds?

    ============================================================

    Possibly ….

  57. Bob,

    Dystopian refers to a branch of literature. Many of which exhibit those characteristics but not all.

    Sometimes it’s simply a crappy future, “Do Robots Dream of Electronic Sheep?” or any number of other Philip K Dick books are considered dystopian, even though in most of them a repressive government isn’t the prominent feature.

    Which is all an aside. My point was simply that I don’t think that anyone who hears the term “Huxlean dystopian” would think “Oh he means passive vs. fear based acceptance of totalitarian rule.”

  58. I thank everyone for their comments from which I learn much. Personally, I have the rather extreme view that marketing to children for anything should not be allowed. But I don’t guess the Constitution would allow that.

  59. Bob Esq:

    “Correction: Should read simply ‘modern fantasy’ since both liberals and conservatives have similar agendas seeking to merge duties of right with duties of virtue.”

    you sir have said a mouthful, your next happy meal is on me.
    Just tell them Ronald sent you.

    Kudos to your intellectual acumen.

  60. Oh great Blouise I’ve been kinda under the weather since I got back in town from Palm Bch. I saw today that part of the money the U.S. has pledged will soon be released. If my memory serves me correctly it’s 1/10th of the pledge. It took seven months.

    Will you please e-mail me that info to Dabuhreport@hotmail.com
    and thank you so much for your effort.

    Now not only is Cholera a concern in this part of the world we now have this.

    Sad news has made its way into the Surfer offices this afternoon as we’re hearing confirmed reports that 3X World Champion Andy Irons has passed away.

    Irons, 32, withdrew from a professional surfing event in Puerto Rico last weekend due to illness and passed away during a layover en-route to his home in Kauai, Hawaii. He had reportedly been battling with dengue fever, a viral disease.

    http://blogs.surfermag.com/office-blog/breaking-news-andy-irons-passes-away/

    Locally acquired case of dengue fever turns up in Miami

    The first locally acquired case of dengue fever in Miami-Dade County in more than 50 years was confirmed Thursday by health officials. They warned people to take precautions against the mosquitoes that carry it.

    “This is a big deal,” said Lillian Rivera, administrator of the Miami-Dade Health Department.

    http://www.palmbeachpost.com/health/locally-acquired-case-of-dengue-fever-turns-up-1040936.html

    This is not good, this is a La Nina year which typically means warmer wetter weather during winter. The upside for Northern Florida is we just finished a record 30+ days with no measurable rain and we’ve been running 15+ inches behind in yearly rain fall so mosquito’s were not a problem this year. I may have been biten five times.

    Anyways I look forward to hearing from you and it’s nice to know that you cared that much. Thanks :)

  61. Oh great Blouise I’ve been kinda under the weather since I got back in town from Palm Bch. I saw today that part of the money the U.S. has pledged will soon be released. If my memory serves me correctly it’s 1/10th of the pledge. It took seven months.

    Will you please e-mail me that info to Dabuhreport AT hotmail.com
    and thank you so much for your effort.

    Now not only is Cholera a concern in this part of the world we now have this.

    Sad news has made its way into the Surfer offices this afternoon as we’re hearing confirmed reports that 3X World Champion Andy Irons has passed away.

    Irons, 32, withdrew from a professional surfing event in Puerto Rico last weekend due to illness and passed away during a layover en-route to his home in Kauai, Hawaii. He had reportedly been battling with dengue fever, a viral disease.

    http://blogs.surfermag.com/office-blog/breaking-news-andy-irons-passes-away/

    Locally acquired case of dengue fever turns up in Miami

    The first locally acquired case of dengue fever in Miami-Dade County in more than 50 years was confirmed Thursday by health officials. They warned people to take precautions against the mosquitoes that carry it.

    “This is a big deal,” said Lillian Rivera, administrator of the Miami-Dade Health Department.

    http://www.palmbeachpost.com/health/locally-acquired-case-of-dengue-fever-turns-up-1040936.html

    This is not good, this is a La Nina year which typically means warmer wetter weather during winter. The upside for Northern Florida is we just finished a record 30+ days with no measurable rain and we’ve been running 15+ inches behind in yearly rain fall so mosquito’s were not a problem this year. I may have been biten five times.

    Anyways I look forward to hearing from you and it’s nice to know that you cared that much. Thanks :)

  62. Mespo727272:

    ““The laws… which must effect [a people’s happiness] must flow from their own habits, their own feelings, and the resources of their own minds. No stranger to these could possibly propose regulations adapted to them. Every people have their own particular habits, ways of thinking, manners, etc., which have grown up with them from their infancy, are become a part of their nature, and to which the regulations which are to make them happy must be accommodated.” –Thomas Jefferson to William Lee, 1817.”

    there must be more to that letter. So what you are saying is that Jefferson thought people should pass laws to ensure their happiness because they are incapable of finding their own happiness? The government is necessary to make people behave because people have habits they wish to control?

    I seriously doubt Jefferson would agree to government making a law promoting the decaffeination of coffee because of the lack
    of will power on the part of a beaner.

    So what does the entire letter say?

  63. Gyges,

    You’re right, it is an aside regarding the main points I’ve made here.

    But as a further aside, I stubled across this nifty observation cited in the Wikipedia article on ‘Brave New World’

    “Social critic Neil Postman contrasts the worlds of Nineteen Eighty-Four and Brave New World in the foreword of his 1985 book Amusing Ourselves to Death. He writes:

    What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.” In 1984, Orwell added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we fear will ruin us. Huxley feared that our desire will ruin us.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brave_New_World

  64. Ronald,

    Don’t you think the world would be just that much more dandy if people would just learn how to play by the rules already in place?

  65. Blouise,

    Thanks for clearing that up. I think I may have become over-sensitized when it comes to abundant supply in incivility associated with political differences. It seems too many would rather say “screw you” (or much worse) than accept the fact that good, reasonable people can have ideals that are polar opposites.

    I recently read Bill Moyers “Report from Philadelphia: The Constitutional Convention of 1787”. I recommend it for all. Though not a complete accounting, it does well to introduce the reader to the men. The sense of duty. The willingness to accept compromise. And the learned respect for those of different backgrounds and ideals.

  66. BBB
    1, November 12, 2010 at 5:59 pm
    Blouise,

    I recently read Bill Moyers “Report from Philadelphia: The Constitutional Convention of 1787″. I recommend it for all. Though not a complete accounting, it does well to introduce the reader to the men. The sense of duty. The willingness to accept compromise. And the learned respect for those of different backgrounds and ideals.

    =======================================================

    Thank you … I’m going to take you up on that suggestion. I usually like Moyers’s work so I will find “Report from Philadelphia: The Constitutional Convention of 1787″. I’ll check the library first and if they don’t have it I know I can get it from three or four different sellers on the web (thru Barnes & Noble)

  67. This is an interesting thread and though I’ve come to it late I have a question that goes to the heart of my decision making process on stories like this: What is the material (moral, legal etc.) difference with the government having the ability to ban food ingredients or additives or production treatments like melamine, sawdust, DDT, PCB’s because they are unhealthy for consumers and actually banning a food that is bad for you?

    Melamine kills some people quickly in quantity and crap-food like a diet through childhood will kill some people slowly. What’s the difference between ingredients and the thing itself if they are both harmful? I as yet can’t see a difference.

  68. lottakatz:

    do we ban sugar because it is harmful to the diabetic or do we ban peanuts because some may have allergies?

    At what point do you say people have responsibility for their health?

    When is enough enough?

  69. lotta,

    Interesting take on the matter … I need to think about it but off the top of my head I’m not certain that the premise you present … equating fast food that comes with a toy to melamine … is correct.

    To protect young children, for older children aren’t interested in Happy Meals, I guess your premise would be to stop all fast food establishments from serving young children or should the punishment to deter such consumption be levied against the adults who buy the food and feed it to their children? That would seem to put fast food into the same category as alcohol and tobacco … only to be purchased and consumed by those 18-24 and older?

    Gotta run … (gulp)going out to dinner … I’ll check-in for any clarification later.

  70. Ultimately this is a health issue due to the net negative effects. “If people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as the souls who live under tyranny.” It was true when Jefferson said it and it’s true today. However, focusing on the outcome shifts the focus from not just the causation but the responsible parties for instigating the causation: advertising targeting children. People should have dietary discretion, but that does not mean that children – the most impressionable members of society – should be subjected to advertising that lures them into an unhealthy choice before they are capable of rational exploration of the subject for themselves. You cannot stop people from eating junk if that’s what they want just like ending cigarette ads didn’t stop people from smoking. If you think the comparison to tobacco ads misleading, I suggest you take a look at how that industry responded when people accused them of targeting children with flavored cigarettes: they pulled them from the shelf. Limiting free speech – especially in a commercial context – isn’t a problem, but trying to regulate what people consume is and it is simply by the operation of human nature.

  71. I find myself in a laughingly strange situation. I don’t buy Happy Meals … never have, but I don’t want government telling me I can’t.

    Children of the age to whom these Happy Meals appeal, have no income or the ability/means to get themselves to the restaurant … it is the parents who are sucked in by the ads and the merchandise.

    I just saw a new ad on TV for Happy Meals … part of the proceeds from each meal is now donated to Ronald McDonald House. You can even pay an extra dollar if you’d like. Little kids don’t have any idea what a Ronald McDonald House is but their parents do.

    I guess McDonald’s has found a way around appealing to parents with cheap little toys … now it’s sick little kids’ families.

    Geeze … I guess government just got focked … back to the drawing table …

    As an intelligent human being who decided 40 years ago that fast food wasn’t good as a regular part of my children’s diet without any help at all from the government … I can continue not to buy said food for my grandkids even though now it means less money for Ronald McDonald Houses. Should I feel guilty now do you think?

    Please, please more government!

    What a ludicrous situation!

  72. ekeyra,

    “Why would you care about adverising targeting children? Last I checked we dont let them have jobs.”

    Because they are children. Duh.

    Why would you care if they are made unhealthy so a multinational conglomerate can profit? Last time I checked, caring for children required nothing more than a conscience. But that’s right! The only true measure of a person’s value is how much money they make so conscience doesn’t factor in there does it. Here’s an idea – let’s force feed them McSwill as we put them work in sweat shops making the very same cheap plastic crap used to lure them in in the first place and then that way McCorp can double their profits!

    I don’t even particularly like children, but as an adult male not raised by wolves I do consider it a duty of virtue to care for them and if caring for them means restricting McMoney’s ability to sell directly to them a product that kids cannot comprehend is inherently dangerous? Too bad for the venal adults. They should just suck it up and do the right thing, you know, like actual adults do as distinguished from children in mature bodies.

    Of course, you feel free to go ahead raise your kids to eat crap food. While you’re at it, why not give them a carton of Winston and a ashtray for their 10th birthday. Tobacco is an inherently dangerous product but it’ll help keep the lil’ buggers awake for their shift at the plant. And while you’re busy reducing your child’s already slim (and getting slimmer every day) chances at success in life, how about telling them condoms are for pansies. Or that hanging out a car window in the highway is just good ol’ fun. Or that firecrackers are always meant to be held lit in their hands. Or that movies and TV are real. Or that the dog with a foaming mouth just wants to be petted.

    Why do you care what happens to them?

    They’re only jobless children after all.

  73. Blouise,

    I know for a fact Ronald McDonald House will take your donations sans Happy Meal.

    Guilt is a tool of both propagandists and ad men alike.

    As long as you make the decision to purchase what they are selling, no tool is too low, no audience too malleable and no consequence too dire as long as those P/E statements pass muster.

  74. BIL,

    I think ekeyra’s point may have been that since children don’t have jobs, they don’t have any independent income, so it must be the parents who are making the purchasing decisions. It certainly wasn’t spelled out, however.

    If was ekeyra’s point, I’d also point out that companies wouldn’t spend so much money on advertising targeting children if it didn’t work.

  75. I sincerely apologize for giving you too much credit to figure it out all on your own buddha. I wont make that mistake in the future. Also, just to put this whole thing in perspective, theyre not even banning the greasy unhealthy food you seem to be equating with handing a child a loaded gun. They are banning the cheap peice of plastic made by industrious chinese children half a world away.

    “Guilt is a tool of both propagandists and ad men alike.”

    and buddhas

  76. ekeyra,

    And the propagation of ignorance is a favored tool of yours.

    If you feel guilty, that would be your response to the stimuli.

    Then the question becomes why do you feel guilty.

    Guilt, like fear, is an emotional reaction.

    The only thing really within a human’s control is their reactions so either 1) you’re not in control of yourself or 2) that your feeling of guilt is justified by some action of your own.

    By the way, that I use propagandist’s tools against them?

    Not exactly a secret around here.

    So you keep floating your “fast food/no education” balloon and I’ll keep popping it. My toolbox has lots of pointy and sharp objects designed for deconstruction as well as construction.

  77. Buddha,

    I know … the switch from cheap toys to cheap guilt was really a master stroke in attracting even more adults to the product … McDonald’s 1, government zip. Now we get to see how guilt solved the obesity problem, you know … since the toy has been removed …

    Ludicrous

  78. “Of course, you feel free to go ahead raise your kids to eat crap food. While you’re at it, why not give them a carton of Winston and a ashtray for their 10th birthday.”

    and that is the point, they are your children. But a carton of cigarettes is not the same as a hamburger and fries. The problem is that some do not like McDonalds. Probably because of animal rights. It has nothing to do with children or junk food but about trying to mold people to a certain way of thinking.

    When the molding doesn’t take they rely on government to do their “molding” for them. And little by little our liberties slip away.

    The logical outcome of this type of nonsense is to ban everything that might be bad for us, chocolate, red meat, cigars, beer, wine, etc. As Cigar Dave says, the pleasure police are out in force. We can think for ourselves, we don’t need some health Nazi to force us into submission using government.

    I will say though, feeding your child McDonalds hamburgers and fries on a daily basis is tantamount to child abuse. But then so is feeding your child mac and cheese everyday.

  79. Nathan,

    Did I say ban the food?

    No. I don’t think anyone else did either.

    Did I mention animal rights?

    Not once nor did anyone else.

    Thus those assertions of yours are pure bullshit.

    I said ban the advertising aimed at minors for an inherently dangerous product. Tobacco causes cancer, heart disease and emphysema. Fast food causes a whole spectrum of health problems including heart disease and diabetes. That has everything to do with children . . . unless you like sick children who grow up to be sick adults and create yet more costs to society.

    Parents being stupid is one thing. It’s well established being stupid isn’t against the law. If it was, the Bush family wouldn’t be allowed to breed any further down the George/Barb lineage. Letting a corporation profit off the health of any segment of society – children or not – is another matter. It’s predatory. That it’s a “business practice” in no way changes the nature of the activity. In this case, it’s an activity that preys on children. Just like a pedophile, only this damage leaves generally more physical damage than psychological, but damage to a child’s health in any sense is still damage to a child’s health. And all so McMoney and toy makers and Hollywood can profit. A motive no less appalling than a Priest looking to get his rocks off. Last time I checked, the health of children was more important than corporate profits. Unless you’re a fascist of course in which case it’s profit uber alles.

    Restricting the advertising of a corporation? That doesn’t impinge your liberties one damn bit unless you’re McDonald’s Inc. and despite what Scalia thinks, corporations are not real people. They are a legal fiction misused for profit by sociopaths and there is no more sociopathic behavior than preying upon children no matter what your damn motive is. If you as an adult want to eat swill or smoke or drink or do drugs? That’s your choice. Forcing the habits bad minors via advertising doesn’t afford children that same luxury. They are children and ergo inherently have limited reasoning, limited information and limited willpower to resist advertising/propaganda of any sort. Children often trust adults when they shouldn’t. Trust, like respect, is earned, not simply due. Advertising a product that harms children violates that trust and deserves no respect as a consequence. This is a case where toys are used as bait for a dangerous product being sold by adults to children.

    Just like flavored cigarettes were. Only RJR’s lawyers were smart enough to know when they were caught red-handed and pulled the products instead of facing another wave of lawsuits. McMoney’s arrogance is in thinking that because they have the audacity to call what they sell “food” that it should get a free pass on preying upon the very weakest members of society – children.

    It’s that simple.

  80. What you are supporting is a ban on individual rights. You want to make people behave in a certain way that fits your idea of what is right and wrong. Don’t use children as cover for your desire to force individuals to your way of thinking.

    Adults are in control of children or at least should be. The fact that an adult cannot stop a child from going to McDonalds is a sad commentary on parenting in this country.

    Just say no. I tell my children no all the time, I have them trained to not even ask. What is so hard about saying no to a child wanting to go to McDonalds? And why do we need a prohibition on legal advertising?

  81. Nathan,

    A corporation isn’t a real person ergo no one’s individual rights are impinged.

    You can try to distort it any other way you please, corporatist apologist.

    Being wrong is your right too.

  82. BIL, “I said ban the advertising aimed at minors for an inherently dangerous product.”

    Is it the toy or the meal that you consider to be the “the inherently dangerous product”? If it is the toy, how does it compare to other toys so as to make it inherently dangerous? If it is the meal, what ingedient(s) in the meal make it inherently dangerous?

    Or is it just inherently dangerous for a child to consume any product produced by a corporation?

  83. Fats-cholesterol, salt, and sugar.

    In overabundance these are key drivers in obesity and key to McDonald’s appeal. They taste good because thousands of years ago when we were still on the Savannah those ingredients are high energy content foods (except salt which is a required mineral in small amounts, but lethal in large amounts to your vascular system) although they have dubious long term effects on health when over consumed. We are wired to crave them though. Some of that unfortunate evolutionary baggage we carry as a species. But today isn’t then and today fats and sugar and salt are in abundance, not rare treats like our primitive ancestors dealt with. Craving creates desire, desire creates addiction. Just like nicotine preys upon the dopamine receptors in the brain, so do fats and sugar. This is why McFries secret to their success is that they are sprayed with sugar – that’s why they crisp up the way they do.

    As far as processed foods go? Almost all of them have too much of either or all fats, sugars and salts because they are cheap, add flavor and play to the pleasure centers of the brain like other addictive substances. Since it’s not your mom making them, but corporations, yeah there is a problem with corporate food. However, most processed food is marketed to adults and usually under the guise of convenience. The issue isn’t the healthfulness of the McSwill as it relates to adult consumption. Again, it’s not against the law to be a stupid adult. The issue is selling unhealthy food to children who don’t have the proper skills to evaluate the long term consequences of their dietary choices but instead are more interested in the “Avatar” or whatever toy in the cardboard box of fatty, salty, sugary poison. The toys, absent the cases of manufacturers defects of which there are also many cases, are no more dangerous than any other toy. But the toy proper isn’t the issue, but rather what it is being used for:

    Bait for a poisoned trap.

  84. BBB,

    The meal. It isn’t any one ingredient, but the combination of fat, salt, and calories. The healthfulness of food is a continuum, so where you draw the line and say “This is dangerously unhealthy” is always going to be a bit arbitrary; but you can’t deny that McDonalds french fries are far down into the unhealthy side of the scale.

    You may say, “Well, don’t eat it then” or “It’s not that bad if you only eat it twice a year”. Lots of people make those types of arguments. The problem is that the food is designed to make you want more of it. Our brains our hardwired to want that combination of fat, salt, and calories. McDonalds spends many millions of dollars a year on advertising, trying to make us want to eat their food. They shouldn’t be able to then turn around and argue, “well, you shouldn’t have eaten it” or “Well, you should have just had a little”. They are doing everything in their power to get as many people eating as much of their food as possible.

    I don’t think we should restrict their ability to sell unhealthy food, but I’m firmly in favor of restricting their marketing, particularly when it is aimed at children.

  85. Here’s a test you can conduct in your own home.

    If you are a soda drinker, compare any major brand with the no sodium Diet Rite.

    Drink your regular soda for a week and measure the time between finishing the it and when you feel thirsty again.

    Now do the same with Diet Rite.

    The lack of sodium (which doesn’t affect the flavor in sodas much) guarantees longer satiation times with a non-sodium soda than a sodium laced soda. Salt not only enhances flavor, it dehydrates, thus creating a craving for another drink sooner than a salt free drink would. A similar effect happens with alcohol.

  86. BIL,

    I agree (to a point). It’s not the french fry, or even the jumbo serving of french fries that presents the problem. It is the consumption in excess that causes the problem. Micky D’s 10 times a week; that’s a problem. Mickey D’s once every few weeks; not so much.

    It’s not the craving, but the access, that is responsible for the problem. My kids only had access to McD when I provided it for them.

    I has been my experience that frustrated children eat more. Food fills the void. When parents are unwilling to say “no” (usually because of some need to be the child’s friend first/parent last) the child is missing the limits that the child needs. Those boundaries/limits are vital to the childs sense of well-being. The hardest thing is to explain to a parent who gives their child a lot of love and attention, that being a “big meanie” can be one of the most loving things they can do for their child. In fact, it’s key to solving a lot of problems.

  87. BBB,

    I agree, but especially with “The hardest thing is to explain to a parent who gives their child a lot of love and attention, that being a ‘big meanie’ can be one of the most loving things they can do for their child. In fact, it’s key to solving a lot of problems.”

  88. This BBC article is very germane to the conversation:

    Developing world warned of ‘obesity epidemic’

    From the article:

    “The report recommends that these countries act now to slow the increase, with media campaigns promoting healthier lifestyles, taxes and subsidies to improve diets, tighter government regulation of food labelling and restrictions on food advertising.

    Its authors calculate that doing this would add one million years of ‘life in good health’ to India’s population, and four million to China over the next 20 years.

    The cost would be considerable but the OECD insists that the strategy would pay for itself in terms of reduced health care costs, becoming cost-effective at worst within 15 years.

    Michele Cecchini, one of the report’s authors, said: ‘A multiple intervention strategy would achieve substantially larger health gains than individual programmes, with better cost-effectiveness.’

    She suggested that specific action be taken to target childhood obesity.”

  89. Stupid parents are raising obese kids. How ever do we stop stupid parents from raising obese kids? We eliminate toys from fast-food children’s meals. Yeah … problem solved!

    Stupid parents will no longer buy fast food meals for their children because nobody, no matter how stupid, eats fast food if there is no toy that comes with it!

    Whatever would we do without all these smart politicians who come up with these brilliant laws?

    Wait a minute … the Mayor of San Fransisco is going to veto the new law. Oh my god … she must be pro stupid parents. Oh wait … whew, the law is veto-proof. Yeah! Stupid parents lose!

    The law takes effect in Dec.of 2011 which means that by Dec. of 2012 the instances of obesity in San Fransisco’s children will be greatly reduced.

    Now if only politicians could come up with a law banning stupidity from politics …

  90. Blouise,

    Problem not solved, but eliminating the practice of hunting using a baited field will decrease the pressure parents get from kids who are more concerned with getting a toy than eating real food. Read the BBC article. The report cited specifically suggests a multi-tiered approach to the problem with one of those tiers being regulation of advertising.

  91. BIL,

    Didn’t you know that if you can’t solve the entire problem immediately, you aren’t allowed to do anything at all? For shame!

  92. I see, fats, sugars and salt are a problem. Lets see, beef has fat in it, so does salmon and venison as well as buffalo, elk and antelope. Apples have sugar as do nuts, wheat, barley, rice, corn, pears, peaches, and just about every other fruit on the market. Our ancestors ate a good deal of it as well as fat.

    Salt is in every living creature that I am aware of. Sugar cane juice is healthy. Salt is necessary for life, fat is necessary for nerve function and nerve development in children. Sugars are what our brains use for energy.

    McDonalds a couple times a week or a month is not the problem but people who want to force their will on others for the good of the children is. A far greater threat to human life as well I might add than sugar, salt and fat.

    The cure for eating too much McDonalds is education not over reaching legislation. But then I am just a simple liberal with no grand plans for foisting my views on others.

    We should ban advertising for Lil Debbie, Hostess, Bob Evans, Sarah Lee, Burger King, Mrs. Smith, Marrs, Hershey, Arizona Iced Tea, Snapple, Genrl Mills, Kellogg’s, Jimmy Dean and hundreds of others as well if this is the standard. Why single out McDonalds?

    Because it isn’t about children it is about control of our lives. I guess if abortion was found to have health problems attached, it would be made illegal as well?

    This is a bad idea and thankfully only a bunch of kooks in one city have gotten on board this kool aid train.

    Sometimes the poison is in the dose. And if you are worried about salt, go eat a banana. I believe potassium is good for high blood pressure.

  93. Buddha: “I said ban the advertising aimed at minors for an inherently dangerous product. Tobacco causes cancer, heart disease and emphysema. Fast food causes a whole spectrum of health problems including heart disease and diabetes.”

    Simply because food is categorized as ‘fast food’ it does not follow that it necessarily causes heart disease and diabetes.

    Your rush to make sweeping generalizations is severely impairing your reasoning skills.

    Where are your campaigns to ban advertising for such things as macaroni & cheese, grilled cheese & bacon, chips ahoy, oreos, etc., etc.

    http://www.menshealth.com/20worst/worstkids.html

    Face it Buddha, you’re not the catcher in the rye. You’re just trampling on the rights of individuals out of a liberal fear of guilt.

  94. What rights of individuals? Maybe this is the root of our disagreement. What individual rights are being trampled by banning this advertising strategy? You can still buy your kids McDonalds. You can still buy your kids cheap toys. McDonalds simply can’t use cheap toys to sell kids unhealthy food.

  95. Buddha Is Laughing
    1, November 13, 2010 at 3:17 pm
    Blouise,

    Problem not solved, but eliminating the practice of hunting using a baited field will decrease the pressure parents get from kids who are more concerned with getting a toy than eating real food. Read the BBC article. The report cited specifically suggests a multi-tiered approach to the problem with one of those tiers being regulation of advertising.

    =======================================================

    We usually agree on most matters but not on this one.(I read the study) Children apply pressure all the time in all sorts of areas … the baited field in fast food isn’t really one of them.

    Fast food on a regular basis isn’t good for anyone so why does the industry continue to grow? Cost used to be a factor but that is not really the case anymore as fast food, once you add up the tab, ain’t all that cheap. I would suggest that ease of procuring is probably the biggest draw … working parents find it a lot easier to drive up to the window and then get home with dinner in a bag. No muss, little fuss, and no dishes to do.

    I live in an upscale town and I know several sets of parents who contend they are varying their children’s diets because one night they get McDonald’s, the next it’s Taco Bell, then Wendy’s or Burger King and, of course, one or two nights it’s pizza. Venture out any one of the 5 workdays at around 5-6pm and the lines of cars at all the fast food joints are backed up and onto the streets. Hey, a few parents manage to throw together a salad to go with the fast food… some even offer an apple.

    Most of these parents don’t even know how to cook. They can prepare one or two dinners and that’s it. Their parents both worked and they were raised on fast food. Their stoves have to dusted by the cleaning lady and they complain if she forgets! The main kitchen appliance they use … the microwave … it makes popcorn and heats up TV dinners.

    Now their children have been sitting at home with an after school babysitter or alone, depending on their ages, usually in front of the TV watching a program or playing a video game or at the computer. Many 6 year olds have their own iPad and come home from school to sit down with that device. The ones who have babysitters sometimes go out to play but the older ones who don’t have sitters aren’t allowed to do so until mom or dad get home.

    After a quick dinner, everybody is off to whatever activity the parents have enrolled the kids in … sports, music lessons etc. Busy, busy parents who both work to pay for the big house, the cars, the lessons, the vacations … too tired and too busy to actually cook a real meal even one night a week.

    A cheap toy in a meal isn’t the reason parents are feeding their kids so much fast food. And eliminating that toy isn’t going to change one damn thing. I’ve raised two kids from scratch and 6 grandkids part-time. I’ve interacted with hundreds of parents over the years. Our house was a mecca for kids because there was always a parent home and because the kids got actual meals. My daughters used to have slumber parties all the time and they always started at 5pm because dinner was a draw. I’ve had kids in my home who had never eaten at their dinning room table except on holidays … they were amazed that we sat down to dinner every night in the dinning room … together! You know one of the biggest mystery foods to serve a kid … scalloped potatoes … most of them have no idea what they are.

    The new law in San Fransisco gives the appearance of doing something without actually doing anything. Obesity in our youth is a symptom of something very wrong within our society that has nothing what-so-ever to do with a cheap toy in a fast food kid’s meal. Now, if our politicians want to talk about that, I’ll listen.

  96. Nathan,

    Nice job, apologist. It is about children in this case no matter what you say because if I was arguing for control over people’s lives? 1) Hell would have frozen over and 2) CORPORATIONS AREN’T REAL PEOPLE (read that repeatedly until it seeps through your thick skull). The “they’re all doing it” defense doesn’t work either. The issue isn’t “them”, it’s McDonald’s and their predatory marketing practices. Like I said, it’s your right to be wrong. But you be sure to keep advocating the protect the corporatists and their profits instead of children’s health. It shows exactly where your loyalties lay.

    Have I mentioned venal people suck?
    ____

    Bob,

    Face it, Bob. On this particular issue, your Feces Meter is reading “full”. Unless you’re now going to side with Scalia now in thinking a corporation is a real person, no one’s speech rights are being impaired nor is restricting advertising an overreaching application of the Commerce Clause like outright banning the sale of Happy Meals (even sans toys) would be.

    Fast food’s good for you though, eh?

    Consider in addition to the proven medical links between fat, salt and sugar to obesity and the associated health problems they lead to, the case of Morgan Spurlock. In his documentary film Super Size Me he demonstrated the negative health effects of McDonald’s food by eating nothing but McDonald’s three times a day, every day, for a month. After his McBender, he went on a detox diet where all caffeine, sugar, and processed food were cut out. His response to the dietary change? He went through massive withdrawal like a drug addict, including DT’s, that lasted 3 days. His body had grown so accustomed to a high energy density (from fats and sugars) diet, eating a more natural diet made him sick until his body could readjust.

    But fast food is good for you – let alone marketing it to children who lack – what is that again Bob? Lack capacity to grant consent – informed or otherwise – ring a bell? Because, to use Kant’s term, children lack the ability to use “practical reason”. Diminished capacity is also why the law restricts their ability to contract too. But we should let fake people sell them what-the-Hell-ever by whatever means gets their little unformed minds in the door and makes a buck, eh?

    That’s what’s known as being spectacularly full of shit, Bob.

    The categorical imperative is something a person must be in possession of practical reason to not only understand but apply and children, by definition, lack practical reason. Unless you think Hudson’s exclamation about the kid from Aliens to the effect of “That’s just great! Why don’t you put her in charge!” is a sane option.

    As to liberal guilt? Well, I mean this in the nicest way possible . . .

    Screw you, Bob. :)

    I don’t indulge in “social guilt” and you – better than many – should know this by now. Guilt? More like “entertained by entropy” or “outraged by myopic stupidity”, but any guilt I feel (which isn’t much if at all) would be strictly personal and related to my personal failings past, not societies failings. Everything is transitory. You know this is a core tenet of my philosophical outlook. I have no guilt about others killing the world in incremental steps – the world is as transitory as smoke in cosmological terms as well as philosophical, but I will decline to help them. Besides, social failings give me material. But that makes me far from feeling guilty. More like “happy in a detached way”. So put that in your Kant and smoke it.

  97. … too tired and too busy to actually cook a real meal even one night a week. Don’t forget that the ability to cook dinner at home means one has to have actual raw food in the house which requires meal planning and grocery shopping … these are also time consuming activities for parents who have very little time to spare.

  98. Blouise,

    You are simply pointing to the obvious, however, the obviousness you point to goes to marketing corporatized food to adults – convenience. It’s work to not only cook, but to learn how to cook. This doesn’t change appearances are indeed important as more substantive actions, especially in dealing with what is a societal problem – actions like subsidies, better labeling and education as the report suggested in conjunction with restricting advertising. Toys are pure advertising in this application. An inducement. I will stipulate that any one of these actions alone is insufficient to address the issue, but you have to start eating that elephant one piece at a time. This ban doesn’t go far enough, but Gavin Newsome is a pants load in his reasoning for a veto.

    “Parents, not politicians, should decide what their children eat, especially when it comes to spending their own money,” said Newsom. That’s okay. But he continues to blather on . . .

    “Despite its good intentions, I cannot support this unwise and unprecedented governmental intrusion into parental responsibilities and private choices.”

    Unprecedented governmental intrusion into parental responsibilities and private choices?

    Bullshit.

    It’s a governmental intrusion into commercial speech that impacts a corporation and their profits as they relate to marketing strategy, not banning the food outright which would indeed be a direct impact on parental responsibilities and private choices. I’ve said before you cannot control what humans consume as an operation of human nature, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t educate them so they make better choices and protect those incapable of rational decision making from being harmed by creating a want disguised as a need through the inducements of advertising.

  99. Buddha,

    Perhaps to you and me my point is obvious but the San Fransisco law is oblivious to the obvious. (Ha, how’dja like that one!)

    The mayor is an idiot but the new law is idiotic. McDonald’s is probably glad to have an excuse to get rid of the damn toys … too many law suits over defective toys over the last 30 years of Happy Meal history.

    The politicians who wrote the law are simply pretending to do something but in actuality have done nothing to tackle the real problem. Pressure from kids to buy fast food because of the presence of a toy is not the problem … never was and never will be. Parents from all levels of income buy the fast food and permit their children to consume it because it is easier on the parents than planning, shopping for, and preparing dinner.

    Parents are the problem and the kids are showing the symptoms of how deep seated their parents’ problems are.

    Now it’s going to take one brave politician to tell parents, “Hey your kids are fat because you are too busy, or too lazy, or too stupid to feed your child properly.” Politicians aren’t that brave so instead they tell parents, “Your kids are fat because you let them pressure you into buying fast food so they could have a toy … and we are going to solve the problem for you by removing the toy … be sure and remember to vote for us again.”

    It is the useless rhetoric disguised as doing good that bothers me.

  100. A 60 year old PSA, which like most PSA’s of the time has about as much relationship to reality as an episode of “Leave It To Beaver”, and was apparently brought to us by “canned Southern-style Barbecue” – an abomination in itself on par with Paris Hilton.

    Hmmmm.

    “Canned” and “barbecue” are words that should never, ever be used in the same sentence. I bet that product was not only good for you but tasty as well. If by “tasty” I mean, “appalling and revolting”.

    I think I hear Arthur Bryant rolling over in his grave right now.

  101. Blouise,

    Like I said, just one piece of the puzzle and like you I fully expect the pols to do nothing further of substance as long as corporate graft pays their campaign bills, but here’s where we disagree most.

    “Pressure from kids to buy fast food because of the presence of a toy is not the problem … never was and never will be.”

    You must have exceptional kids in your sample space.

    I’ve seen kids (more than once, in different towns, with people’s kids I both knew and didn’t know) throw absolute tantrums because they wanted McDonald’s and nothing else based partly or in whole on a toy prize. The food, which they wolfed down, was simply something to get through so they could play with their toy. I’ve even seen siblings argue over which fast food they wanted because of the toy choices between franchises. If that’s not pressuring the parents I’m not sure what is. Where did the kids get that idea though? Commercials. Commercials that offer you a toy with your burger. Is it a superficial change? Perhaps, but in conjunction with other actions, actions I will agree pols are likely not to have the spine to take, it is at least a step in the right direction. However, legally, it’s not impacting any individual citizen’s rights negatively – the food is still for sale – so even if it’s a faux pas in the true meaning of the word faux, it’s not one that harms individual citizens.

    In re liability? Do I have to say “insurance” again? I’m sure someone at McD’s Inc. wouldn’t mind seeing them go for that reason, but they obviously aren’t the ones making the call since it’s still toy after toy. Pressure from marketing don’t you know. Got to get those cross-branding ad dollars! And nothing – NOTHING – screws up an organization faster than letting marketing make strategic decisions. That’s how you end up with monstrosities like Sprint where marketing oversells and changes their mind on an almost weekly basis that results in customers pissed off at bad service and a terrible work environment. Targeting kids with ads (and the associated toys) is just another form of overselling that has real substantive consequences later in life not just to the kids but to society in the form of increased health care costs. Limiting such advertising and promotions by itself may not eliminate the obesity problem, but it sure won’t hurt it any either.

  102. Nathan,

    You know what, you’re right. What’s more, coffee and battery acid are both acidic.

    Of course there are differences in types of fats, as well as different types of sugars. Which in turn means that your body handles those different types of fat and sugars… (wait for it)… differently. Especially sugars.

    By the way, Elk is venison, as is moose, reindeer, and pretty much any other member of the family Cervidae. It’s not a huge deal, but I thought you’d want to know.

    Blouise,

    I’m not sure I understand your logic, are you saying “This problem is too large to be addressed on multiple fronts?” Because that’s how I boil down your argument. I honestly can’t see something as large as a society’s relationship to food coming about without some sort of legal involvement.

    Does that mean it’s the only answer? Of course not, but just because something doesn’t solve everything at once doesn’t mean it doesn’t solve something.

  103. Buddha,

    I don’t feed my kids fast food so I’ve never experienced a Happy Meal tantrum and therefore, not patronizing fast food establishments, I’ve also never seen one.

    Tantrums as a manipulative behavior in any setting is the cause for immediate removal from said setting and quarantine in car or restroom till calm returns. I have abandoned half filled shopping carts in grocery aisles and full carts in check-out lines. I have left half-eaten dinners on restaurant tables and full coffee cups at cafes. I don’t yell, I definitely don’t use corporal punishment and I wait calmly till the tears have stopped. I then resume the task I had left undone. It takes a few times but the child learns self-control and finds a more acceptable mode of manipulation. :)

    Children are always manipulating, the goal is to teach them how to do it properly. And to also teach them that sometimes, no matter what ploy is used … no means no.

    A toy in a Happy Meal? … child’s play … just wait till the 16 year old decides she really needs a convertible.

  104. As I said, I have 2 kids and 6 grandkids … only boy is a grandson. The person who should be talking about manipulation is my husband. Out of a total of 8 kids, 7 of them are girls … he’s been manipulated from here to eternity!

  105. Blouise,

    My parents used a similar strategy until they realized I was an above average manipulator. Just about the 10th time I “got lost” in a big store (I don’t get lost easily, never have) and ended up with either a free toy or free food but always from the prettiest shop gal I could find. I think it was the constant chain of pretty women that finally clued them in I was running a con. Beyond that, well, let’s just say they tried anything they could against my machinations. Muahahahaha! My poor parents! I do love them so. I wasn’t an evil kid, but I certainly qualified as “trouble”. :)

  106. Gyges,

    “Blouise,

    I’m not sure I understand your logic, are you saying “This problem is too large to be addressed on multiple fronts?” Because that’s how I boil down your argument. I honestly can’t see something as large as a society’s relationship to food coming about without some sort of legal involvement. (emphasis added. mine)

    Does that mean it’s the only answer? Of course not, but just because something doesn’t solve everything at once doesn’t mean it doesn’t solve something.

    ==========================================================

    What? “This problem is too large to be addressed on multiple fronts?” What?

    No, that is not at all, in any way, shape, or form, what I am saying, implying, or thinking.

    I am saying that the San Fransisco law does not address the problem at all. Thus when I wrote:
    The politicians who wrote the law are simply pretending to do something but in actuality have done nothing to tackle the real problem. I meant exactly that.

    When I wrote:
    Now it’s going to take one brave politician to tell parents, “Hey your kids are fat because you are too busy, or too lazy, or too stupid to feed your child properly.” Politicians aren’t that brave so instead they tell parents, “Your kids are fat because you let them pressure you into buying fast food so they could have a toy … and we are going to solve the problem for you by removing the toy … be sure and remember to vote for us again.” I meant exactly that.

    I don’t see this as society’s relationship to food. I see this as parental responsibility to their children.

    So I will say it again: Children are fat because their parents are either too busy, too lazy, or too stupid to feed them properly. Removing toys from Happy Meals isn’t going to do squat … parents are still going to buy them because it’s a lot easier to satisfy a kid’s hunger with a Happy Meal than it is to go to the store and buy the ingredients to take home and take the time to prepare dinner. Parents that can’t handle the pressure of a toy in a fast food meal are going to be in a whole lot of pain when the pressures of “I want” start coming fast and furious in the teenage years.

    I’m beginning to think that the desire to blame the toy rather than assign the responsibility to the adult who is purchasing the meal is indicative of even deeper problems.

    For cryin’ out loud … kids throw temper tantrums at checkout counters all the time because they want the candy bar out of the rack. The fact that some parents buy that candy bar to shut the kid up means all candy bars should be removed from check out lines to save children from too much sugar?

  107. James M.: “What rights of individuals? Maybe this is the root of our disagreement. What individual rights are being trampled by banning this advertising strategy? You can still buy your kids McDonalds. You can still buy your kids cheap toys. McDonalds simply can’t use cheap toys to sell kids unhealthy food.”

    The government is doing the deciding/parenting for the parents while placing a restriction on the company under the pretense that IT and its toys are solely responsible for childhood obesity.

    It is the reasoning process employed here that is beyond flawed.

  108. Bob,

    Where did someone use the word “solely”? Nowhere I saw. In fact, the bulk of Blouise’s conversation with me has revolved around how regulating advertising could only be part of a larger more distributed solution.

    And as far as government deciding for parents goes? Where did they say they were banning McDonald’s food or it’s sale to children in toto? That would be “deciding for parents”. As long as lil’ Timmy can get Big Mac, no individual citizen – child or otherwise – has had their decision making capacity removed from them. The only net negative impact is removing a marketing tool from a corporation and a decreased sale in cheap Chinese made junk toys.

  109. Buddha (Holden),

    I’ll finish my reply to you later as I’m late for a night out with my friends at a local pub; wherein we will be imbibing ourselves with that demon (single malt scotch) whiskey and perhaps some deep fried cheese sticks.

    While I’m gone, it would be greatly appreciated if you refrained from petitioning my local government in some dumb-ass scheme to save me from myself.

    Your courtesies in connection with this matter are greatly appreciated.

    Bob,
    Founder and member of The Ninth Amendment Preservation Society.

  110. Buddha Is Laughing
    1, November 13, 2010 at 7:12 pm
    Blouise,

    My parents used a similar strategy until they realized I was an above average manipulator. Just about the 10th time I “got lost” in a big store (I don’t get lost easily, never have) and ended up with either a free toy or free food but always from the prettiest shop gal I could find. I think it was the constant chain of pretty women that finally clued them in I was running a con. Beyond that, well, let’s just say they tried anything they could against my machinations. Muahahahaha! My poor parents! I do love them so. I wasn’t an evil kid, but I certainly qualified as “trouble”.

    =========================================================

    You would have been a challenge that I would have enjoyed. Did you try these tactics with your grandfather?

    Boys, remembering I had several brothers and numerous young men coming and going from my house as they attempted to impress me so that they could date my daughters, all had a particular ploy … they would duck their heads and then look up at me with puppy dog eyes while making some request or another … grown teenagers trying to look like innocent little boys … something I’m certain always worked on their mothers and never worked on me. I would usually slap them upside the head and tell them to stop it!

    One of my daughter’s girlfriends, while standing in our living room with 4 other girls as they were all getting ready to go out together, looked at my husband, who was listening to my daughter’s newest request, and remarked to me, “Poor Mr. (name withheld to protect the innocent), he just sits quietly in his chair and passes out money.” I laughed all evening over that one. He didn’t find it the least bit funny.

  111. Bob, Esq:

    Your statement that, “The government is doing the deciding/parenting for the parents while placing a restriction on the company under the pretense that IT and its toys are solely responsible for childhood obesity,” is flawed. The ordinance is not saying that McDonalds’ Restaurants and its toy inducements are “soley responsible for childhood obesity.” It’s saying that marketing nutritionally bad food to children by means of toy inducements is PART of the childhood obesity problem, and that this particular legislation is addressing that specific issue. Because one can’t do everything in one piece of legislation doesn’t mean it can’t do something.

    You are setting up straw men to knock down with your extreme characterizations. It is a false dichotomy to suggest the choice is between being completely paternalistic and doing absolutely nothing at all about this universally acknowledged problem. There are a range of options in the middle that comport with both constitutional law and common sense.

    The fundamental question is do you believe the government has any role to play in protecting children from the harmful effects of advertising? If not, your position is consistent, if not morally defensible. If so, you reside in James M’s camp with me, disagreeing only in degree.

  112. Bob,

    Enjoy your demon(s). Unless you’re a child with the associated diminished capacity, I don’t give a damn if your local government saves you from yourself . . . unless you pass out with a lit cigarette and set the house on fire then it would be nice if the FD showed up in time to keep you from being a crispy. However, self-destruction remains your right as an adult. You know damn well how I feel about regulation of personal behavior for adults especially in re consumables. This isn’t about regulating consumables for adults. It’s about predatory advertising against the weak lacking capacity that results in a significant social cost later.

    And if call me Holden again, I’m going to start calling you Emma.

    Salut!

  113. Bob,Esq.
    1, November 13, 2010 at 8:05 pm
    Buddha (Holden),

    I’ll finish my reply to you later as I’m late for a night out with my friends at a local pub; wherein we will be imbibing ourselves with that demon (single malt scotch) whiskey and perhaps some deep fried cheese sticks.

    While I’m gone, it would be greatly appreciated if you refrained from petitioning my local government in some dumb-ass scheme to save me from myself.

    Your courtesies in connection with this matter are greatly appreciated.

    Bob,
    Founder and member of The Ninth Amendment Preservation Society.

    ======================================================

    Damn … Bob is actually funny! I laughed out loud … and still am.

    Quick … write out a petition … I don’t know something that requires him to stay home on Saturday nights and drink cheap whiskey whilst reading Ralph Nader quotes.

  114. Blouise,

    “Did you try these tactics with your grandfather?”

    Not only no, but Hell no.

    You had to get up day before yesterday to even try to pull one over on him.

    mespo,

    Seconded. (pst! Hey, I’m in the camp too, dude. I’m the green guy sitting on the cooler.)

    I suspect Bob is doing what he likes to do – be a gadfly – although any man who mixed single malt and fried cheese is capable of ethically dubious actions.

  115. Blouise,

    To further address your teen boy comment:

    I had the advantage of angelic blue eyes, a trust inducing smile and dimples you can drive a Jeep down, but I always relied upon my gift of gab. I liked to show up purposefully early to chat up “Mom”. I had three sets of ploys too: mom, dad, or mom and dad together. But I always left them with the impression their daughter was safe with me . . . and then me and their progeny would go suck face and play “Where’s My Hand?” at an undisclosed location.

  116. Mespo,

    “The fundamental question is do you believe the government has any role to play in protecting children from the harmful effects of advertising?”

    =======================================================

    I admit I’m having a problem with this as I usually agree with you and Buddha and I don’t agree with you all on this. I have to figure this out.

    I do believe that the government has a role to play in protecting children from the harmful effects of advertising but I do not agree that a toy in a Happy Meal (using that term to represent all fast food meals/toys)is harmful.

  117. Buddha,

    ” But I always left them with the impression their daughter was safe with me”

    Now there’s a truth in advertising the government should sink its teeth into!

  118. *blush*

    Enjoy the club and the wine, but remember! If the wine stops breathing, mouth to mouth resuscitation works but it can be hard on the first responder the next day.

  119. Way too late to wade into this thread. Having said this, I caught the following on NPR this morning, as I was rushing to work:

    Scott Simon

    San Francisco Orders Up An Angry Meal

    http://www.npr.org/2010/11/13/131290865/san-francisco-orders-up-an-angry-meal?ft=1&f=1053

    Cute song at the end by Fred Mollin and the Blue Sea Band.

    =======

    I used to buy the toys and serve them with something else — the toys can be purchased without the Happy Meal itself.

    With regard to the larger issue, I’m in agreement with Julia Child: “Moderation. Small helpings. Sample a little bit of everything. These are the secrets of happiness and good health.” (I once heard her say how much she enjoyed the fries at McDonalds, FWIW)

    (Thanks for the thought-provoking exchange of ideas.)

  120. I think BIL has already responded better than I would have. I hope everyone enjoys their evenings.

    I’ll just add this to Bob,Esq.:

    The government is doing the deciding/parenting for the parents

    No. It’s not. You can still buy a child sized McDonald’s meal for your kid. No decision is being taken away from the parent. No parenting duty is being usurped. All that changes is that McDonalds can no longer include a plastic toy.

    Are you seriously arguing that there is a constitutional or natural right to buy a cheap plastic toy along with a fast food dinner?

    That must be what you were arguing for when you said the law was “trampling on the rights of individuals”.

    Or is there some other right that I’m not seeing?

  121. Blouise:

    “I do believe that the government has a role to play in protecting children from the harmful effects of advertising but I do not agree that a toy in a Happy Meal (using that term to represent all fast food meals/toys)is harmful.”

    ****************

    The research says otherwise:

    “Experts say that children don’t understand persuasive intent until they are eight or nine years old and that it is unethical to advertise to them before then.[40] According to Karpatkin and Holmes from the Consumers Union, “Young children, in particular, have difficulty in distinguishing between advertising and reality in ads, and ads can distort their view of the world.”[41] Additionally children are unable to evaluate advertising claims.

    At the same time, Richard Mizerski, an Australian professor of marketing, observes; “their cognitive structures are beginning to form and they are most sensitive to external influences.”[42] This is especially a problem when advertisements appear on school walls and posters and book covers and gain legitimacy from the supposed endorsement of the school so that children think they must be true.[43]

    One study by Roy Fox, Associate Professor of English Education at the University of Missouri-Columbia, found that children watching athletes in television commercials thought that the athletes paid to be in the advertisements to promote themselves rather than the products. They believed children in advertisements were real rather than paid actors and they often confused advertisements with news items. Generally they did not understand the commercial intent and manipulation behind advertisements.[44]

    Older children pay less attention to advertisements and are more able to differentiate between the ads and TV programs[45] but they are also easy prey for advertisers. Around puberty, in their early teens, children are forming their own identities and they are “highly vulnerable to pressure to conform to group standards and mores.”[46] At this age they feel insecure and want to feel that they belong to their peer group. Advertising manipulates them through their insecurities, seeking to define normality for them; influencing the way they “view and obtain appropriate models for the adult world;” and undermining “fundamental human values in the development of the identity of children.”[47] Advertisements actively encourage them to seek happiness and esteem through consumption.

    It is for these reasons that marketing to children should be carefully restricted. In particular advertisements aimed at children under the age of 9 years old, including on the internet and during children’s television programmes, should be banned. Such advertising subsidises the cost of these services at the cost of our children’s values, sense of well-being, health and integrity. Moreover the future of the planet is at stake if we allow advertisers and marketers to turn children into hyper consumers of the future.”

    –Sharon Beder, ‘A Community View’, Caring for Children in the Media Age, Papers from a national conference, edited by John Squires and Tracy Newlands, New College Institute for Values Research, Sydney, 1998, pp. 101-111.

    http://www.uow.edu.au/~sharonb/children.html#RTFToC4

  122. “Advertisements actively encourage them to seek happiness and esteem through consumption.”

    Consumerism is a form of slavery.

    Great post, mespo.

  123. mespo,

    Book Club has gone home and I read the first link but am only on page 4 of the second … my eyes are drooping and I find myself having to read the same paragraph over and over so I’d best stop and get myself to bed.

    I will finish the report tomorrow evening and respond.

    Keep in mind that I don’t consume hardly any fast food and don’t permit children to do so, so, to tell you the truth, I don’t even know what a Happy Meal looks like or what is in it. Back in ’79 when Happy Meals were introduced I remember looking at them and deciding that there was no nutritional value for my 7 and 2 year old. I believe the enclosed toy was a crayon and a pad of paper with figures to color … haven’t seen one since.

    It is quite possible that my ignorance of the product extends to an ignorance of the overall effect the advertising of the product has on the population. If that is the case then the second link you provided should fill in the blanks and perhaps change my mind.

    Also keep in mind that my profession as a musician was one of dealing in illusions. The illusion of joy, sorrow, love, anger all performed on a stage covered with illusions (sets). I was paid and willingly accepted a great deal of money to create and sell an audience an illusion that transported them out of their day to day lives. I will have to explore the possibility that I resist the idea of government interference in the field of advertising because, sub-consciously, I am defensive about the whole creation-of-illusion field … a blind spot.

  124. Junk food giants weighing in on government food policy, which shouldn’t come as a surprise:

    McDonald’s, Pepsi, KFC Tapped To Help Write UK Obesity, Alcohol Policy

    First Posted: 11-13-10 06:09 PM

    “The Department of Health is putting the fast food companies McDonald’s and KFC and processed food and drink manufacturers such as PepsiCo, Kellogg’s, Unilever, Mars and Diageo at the heart of writing government policy on obesity, alcohol and diet-related disease, the Guardian has learned.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/13/mcdonalds-pepsi-kfc-uk-obesity-policy_n_783175.html

  125. Buddha: “Face it, Bob. On this particular issue, your Feces Meter is reading “full”. Unless you’re now going to side with Scalia now in thinking a corporation is a real person, no one’s speech rights are being impaired nor is restricting advertising an overreaching application of the Commerce Clause like outright banning the sale of Happy Meals (even sans toys) would be.”

    This has nothing to do with Scalia or corporations and you know it. This is simply another salvo in the ‘WE know what’s good for you’ legal war.

    Buddha: “Fast food’s good for you though, eh?”

    No better than some greasy spoon diner or any other sugary product pushed by cartoon characters.

    Buddha: “Consider in addition to the proven medical links between fat, salt and sugar to obesity and the associated health problems they lead to, the case of Morgan Spurlock.”

    Consider your anemic reasoning here. Fast food restaurants do not have a monopoly on fat, salt and sugar; yet you argue as if they were the PRIME SOURCES of such. This is where your grand plan runs afoul of the rational relation test.

    Buddha: “In his documentary film Super Size Me he demonstrated the negative health effects of McDonald’s food by eating nothing but McDonald’s three times a day, every day, for a month.”

    And what if you ate only pizza or Chinese food every day for a month?

    Buddha: “After his McBender, he went on a detox diet where all caffeine, sugar, and processed food were cut out. His response to the dietary change? He went through massive withdrawal like a drug addict, including DT’s, that lasted 3 days. His body had grown so accustomed to a high energy density (from fats and sugars) diet, eating a more natural diet made him sick until his body could readjust.”

    And how many mothers are doing this to their children; and dare I say how many kids were enticed into eating nothing but Happy Meals for a month due to those sinister alluring toys?

    Buddha: “But fast food is good for you – let alone marketing it to children who lack – what is that again Bob? Lack capacity to grant consent – informed or otherwise – ring a bell?”

    Seriously?

    Show me where the kid (aged 6-10) has the capacity to act on your suggestive advertising. The advertising is directed at the children ONLY to the extent that they nag their parents to relent. And I dare you to show me a kid who rides his bike to a McDonald’s to buy a Happy Meal and isn’t laughed at by his friends.

    Buddha: “Because, to use Kant’s term, children lack the ability to use “practical reason”. Diminished capacity is also why the law restricts their ability to contract too. But we should let fake people sell them what-the-Hell-ever by whatever means gets their little unformed minds in the door and makes a buck, eh?

    That’s what’s known as being spectacularly full of shit, Bob.”

    I’m full of shit? Where are all these kids getting all this money and free time to buy three Happy Meals day for months at a time? What’s the weather like on your planet?

    Buddha: “The categorical imperative is something a person must be in possession of practical reason to not only understand but apply and children, by definition, lack practical reason.”

    Show me the maxim that you would will to become a universal law in this case Buddha. I’m full of shit? You’re not even close to formulating a practical rule; much less a universal maxim. You can’t even establish a practical nexus between your coveted law and the alleged end you desire.

  126. Bob,

    1) “This has nothing to do with Scalia or corporations and you know it. This is simply another salvo in the ‘WE know what’s good for you’ legal war.”

    Don’t tell me what I know let alone attribute what I say to a group motive. This is about corporate commercial speech that targets children, children who by nature and legal maxim lack capacity for formulation of rational agreements. Nothing more, nothing less. For the rest, see mespo’s research and answer above concerning ads targeting children and their cognitive abilities.

    2) “Consider your anemic reasoning here. Fast food restaurants do not have a monopoly on fat, salt and sugar; yet you argue as if they were the PRIME SOURCES of such. This is where your grand plan runs afoul of the rational relation test.”

    Don’t insert premises into my argument – your favorite accusation against Slarti. I have NOT ONCE said this was a case of “PRIME SOURCES” or solely or any other words of singular refinement to describe this issue. I have in fact said this is gloss if not coupled with other tactics to reduce the societal costs (primarily medical) of high energy/caloric imbalanced foods, but that limiting commercial speech doesn’t impact individual rights or choice.

    If that’s your straw man? Get a better one. That’s weak and you’re capable of better.

    3) The rest of that drivel? You’re still spectacularly full of shit. If it took a night of drinking to formulate that answer? I suggest getting more sleep.

    Not once have I advocated NOT SELLING THE FOOD – which would be a case such as you suggest of nanny state regulation.
    Answer the question as framed by mespo: “The fundamental question is do you believe the government has any role to play in protecting children from the harmful effects of advertising? If not, your position is consistent, if not morally defensible. If so, you reside in James M’s camp with me, disagreeing only in degree.”

    Because that’s what this is about, not your imaginary “WE know better than you”. I don’t care if you have a kid and want to feed them a diet of sugar cane, bacon and salt licks, but I don’t want some corporate profit motive trying to disguise itself as a free speech issue when a) corporations are not people and b) no individual has been prohibited from buying or consuming a damn thing – only how and to whom that item is marketed. Just. Like. Smokes and booze.

    Have you recently suffered a blow to the head? Because you’re arguing this like someone with a concussion.

  127. Was Justice Scalia on the Court back in the 70s?
    OK. So not being able to remember the 70s does present a problem. :)

    The Court determined that First Amendment Rights extend to commercial speech back to the 70s. http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0425_0748_ZS.html

    In 1980 the Supreme Court established a 4-part test to see if the speech is protected.
    http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0447_0557_ZS.html

    Subsequent cases have helped to refine the application of that test, but have always held firm in the direction of protecting that speech.

    Does the San Francisco ban meet the test? Is the ban lawful?
    Regardless of where you stand on the question of marketing to children (which should also include the marketing of everything from Disney movies, to Hannah Montana, and Girl Scout Cookies), if challenged, is the proposed ban lawful?

  128. BBB:

    Here’s the test. You tell me:

    “Although the Constitution accords a lesser protection to commercial speech than to other constitutionally guaranteed expression, nevertheless the First Amendment protects commercial speech from unwarranted governmental regulation. For commercial speech to come within the First Amendment,(1) it at least must concern lawful activity and not be misleading. (2)Next, it must be determined whether the asserted governmental interest to be served by the restriction on commercial speech is substantial. If both inquiries yield positive answers, (3)it must then be decided whether the regulation directly advances the governmental interest asserted, and (4)whether it is not more extensive than is necessary to serve that interest.” [numbers added to the syllabus except]

  129. BBB,

    In re: Central Hudson Gas

    1. Is the expression protected by the First Amendment? For speech to come within that provision it must concern lawful activity and not be misleading.

    No. Advertising to children for a product with inherent risks by using an inducement not related to the qualities of the product can be characterized as misleading as a form of fraud in inducement.

    2. Is the asserted governmental interest substantial?

    Yes. Health care provision and costs are a substantial interest. “Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have.” – Winston Churchill

    3. Does the regulation directly advance the governmental interest asserted?

    Yes, by removing a motivation for an unhealthy choice advertising foists upon children.

    4. Is the regulation more extensive than is necessary to serve that interest?

    No. In fact, merely limiting advertising is about as minimal a step that can be taken.

    If challenged, given that other types of commercial speech is regulated for similar reasons, it is likely lawful, but in the post-Citizen’s United (a manifestly unconstitutional and fascist decision by the Roberts court), nothing is certain with the currently compromised SCOTUS.

  130. “No. Advertising to children for a product with inherent risks by using an inducement not related to the qualities of the product can be characterized as misleading as a form of fraud in inducement.”

    I strongly disagree! Further, if such could be characterized as fraud, there would be no need for the ban. We already have (constitutional) laws on the books that defend the general public against fraud.

    “2. Is the asserted governmental interest substantial?

    Yes. Health care provision and costs are a substantial interest. “Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have.” – Winston Churchill”

    Then ban the product! You can’t, because the product has not been determined to be dangerous unless abused. If we are to accept your premise we should ban all products or activities that are unhealthy. Nintendo results in sedentary children, which results in obesity. Ban most television. Ban reading!!!

    Mespo,

    Do you agree with Buddha’s analysis of the first two tests?

  131. BBB,

    You are failing to recognize

    1) The test is “concern lawful activity and not be misleading.” While advertising in general is lawful, the practice of marketing to children in this way is inherently misleading – an inducement to purchase unrelated to the true nature of the product. Disagree all you like. Being wrong is your right. The test is the test and the test says “misleading”. “Here’s a toy! Eat this crap.” is certainly misleading to a child. We aren’t talking about adults with capacity here.

    2) “Substantial interest” doesn’t equate to draconian reductio ad absurdum. Specious reasoning at best. Accepting my reasoning in no way requires banning all unhealthy products let alone reading and video games, merely accept that marketing unhealthy products to children – be they food, tobacco, alcohol or drugs – is inappropriate as children a) have diminished capacity and b) are the weakest members of any society and protecting the weak and defenseless is an appropriate function of government and c) that health care is a substantial interest – including preventative health care.

  132. BBB,

    It doesn’t have to be fraudulent, just misleading. I think you’ll find that when you’re directly targeting your ads at young children, the standard for what is misleading can be fairly broad (see mespo’s links, above). I think this definitely qualifies.

    Then ban the product!

    Why does it have to be all or nothing? We want to curtail advertising aimed at kids as a first step in addressing how people interact with food. We don’t want to dictate what people can eat. Can you really not see a difference? From your perspective is one really just as bad as the other?

  133. BIL and James M.,

    Here’s a Happy Meal commercial. Please establish your case. Demonstrate how you find it to be misleading.

    If you don’t find that commercial satisfactory to support your claim, feel free to submit your own.

  134. If the government wants to establish laws relating to the nutritional content of what can be marketed as a “meal”, I don’t think I would have a problem with that. However, restrictions on how it can be marketed is another story.

    Do you think this commercial had children as the intended audience, or do you think it was directed at those who are the real problem (parents who think Yes is more important than No)?

    (embedding was disabled)

  135. Although I haven’t as yet had the time to finish reading the 2nd link mespo presented and am thus not ready to cast a vote … reading the latest posts has brought to mind a few remembrances:

    1. I don’t recall exactly what age other than I was younger than 6 years of age (late ’40’s/early 50’s), I remember quite clearly sitting at the kitchen table trying hard to keep my excitement under control as my mother opened a small package that had come in the mail and was addressed to me. Inside that package were three figures that I had saved box tops towards acquiring. Over the preceding months my brothers and I had consumed a ton of Rice Krispies in order to get enough box tops to send off to the manufacturer. In the package my mother was opening were the magical figures of “Snap, Krackle, and Pop”. one figure for each of my two brothers and I. (brother #3 had not yet been conceived). For the next 6 months “Snap”, my favorite, sat by my breakfast place-mat every morning. I no longer eat Rice Krispies except as an ingredient in baked goods, but my loyalty to Kellogg’s is firm … proof positive that marketing to children works.

    2. A scene from the movie “A Christmas Story” next comes to mind. Ralphie has waited weeks for his “Little Orphan Annie Decoder Pin” only to find that it is nothing more than an advertisement for “Ovaltine”. ( At the time Ovaltine was manufactured by a company in Switzerland.) It’s a nostalgic scene for most adults as we’ve all experienced the childhood disappointment of false advertising.

  136. Or need I repeat that old pedophile trope, “Want some candy, Little Girl?”

    Variation of the same mechanic.

    Shiny object + hidden costs + child + diminished capacity =

    Misleading

  137. Blouise,

    How is a society’s dietary habits anything but a facet of it’s relationship to food? You say the parents are too lazy\busy\whatever. That they consider food as a nuisance that they have to make time for is telling.

    On a larger scale, the fact that they think going to a McDonald’s faster and easier than making a PB&J sandwich shows you just how effective the advertising is, it’s been drilled into their heads since they were kids. Heck, I used to fairly frequently say, “I’m running late, better just pick up a burger on the way.” In fact, stopping at a drive-through almost always adds 7 or 8 min. and making the sandwich adds 2-3.

    Not advertising to kid’s won’t solve the obesity problem anymore than not gearing tobacco products to kids solved the COPD problem. It WILL however work in favor of raising a generation who has a healthy relationship with food. Which is part of what needs to happen if we’re going to fight the obesity problem

    That being said, I’m not sure this law will be effective, but placing the burden solely on the parents forgets exactly why it is they have the attitude that they do. It might be to late for them, but their children aren’t set in their ways yet.

    I think the best point that’s been made got lost; If the toys weren’t effective in getting costumers in the door, why would they corporation use them?

    Blouise and Buddha,

    I had a completely different strategy, I was nice to the grandparents and younger siblings. Nothing wins parental trust like taking the little brother with for mini-golf once in awhile.

    Bob,

    One further aside, THIS is the most Huxlean thing that’s been said so far.

    “Consumerism is a form of slavery.”

  138. BBB,

    I have a very low threshold for advertising claims, so I’d hold that the phrase “You can use the force” and R2D2 showing up in your kitchen are both misleading to children, irrespective of anything else.

    However, the bigger issue isn’t that any specific phrase in a commercial is misleading, it’s that the practice itself misleads children by making them want unhealthy foods because of the association with a beloved movie or character. It blurs the line between fantasy and reality.

    I see BIL has beaten me to the punch, while I was up prepping dinner, so I’ll wrap this up. The bottom line is that it’s misleading because it’s selling the kid Star Wars, not food, and children physiologically can’t make the distinction until their brains have developed past a certain point.

  139. BIL,

    You seem to have a problem distiguishing between lawful and unlawful activity. Can you provide an analogy that includes enticement to participate in lawful activity?

    Toy +child (stipulated to have diminished capacity) +read 5 pages of a book; a parent who employs such should be jailed!

    According to your premise, all advertising, when directed at children, is misleading; based simply on the recognition of their diminished capacity.

    If diminished capacity is the problem, why not just prevent the sale of Happy Meals to those 13 years of age and younger. Isn’t that how we prevent those with a diminished capacity from buying a product?

    Maybe we should just prevent the sale of all products to those with a diminished capacity?

    This is nothing more than a local government’s attempt to parent for those who have a “diminished capacity” when it comes to parenting. I pity the parent whose child has decided to throw a tantrum due to the pirate on the Captain Morgan’s bottle having enticed the child into wanting a bottle or rum. (Have you ever tried to maneuver a car while your child was screaming that he wanted rum? Yes. That was a friendly poke at Mespo. :)

  140. Buddha,

    I just quickly checked back in before the Jets/Browns game and had to clarify a few things.

    I said: “Consider your anemic reasoning here. Fast food restaurants do not have a monopoly on fat, salt and sugar; yet you argue as if they were the PRIME SOURCES of such. This is where your grand plan runs afoul of the rational relation test.”

    Buddha: “Don’t insert premises into my argument – your favorite accusation against Slarti. I have NOT ONCE said this was a case of “PRIME SOURCES” or solely or any other words of singular refinement to describe this issue.

    Again, I said you ‘argue AS IF they were the PRIME SOURCES of such.’ Thus the reason your argument runs afoul of the rational relation test. That does not constitute inserting any premise into your argument. An apology would be nice.

    Buddha: “I have in fact said this is gloss if not coupled with other tactics to reduce the societal costs”

    Banning toys from fast food meals is rationally related to reducing societal costs how? Do you see the gaping hole in procedural reasoning you’re opening with this tripe? This isn’t a commercial speech issue so much as spreading the cancer of irrationality in the law. Can’t you see how this cancerous reasoning can spread to serving as justification for the passage of laws based on whim and caprice?

    Buddha: “If that’s your straw man? Get a better one. That’s weak and you’re capable of better.”

    Waiting for that apology.

    Buddha: “The rest of that drivel? You’re still spectacularly full of shit. If it took a night of drinking to formulate that answer? I suggest getting more sleep.”

    Actually, that was just me thoroughly dehydrated.

    Buddha: “Not once have I advocated NOT SELLING THE FOOD – which would be a case such as you suggest of nanny state regulation.”

    Yet such an approach would be far more rationally related to your stated goals; assuming of course that the product is as inherently dangerous as you say children cannot comprehend.

    Buddha: Answer the question as framed by mespo: “The fundamental question is do you believe the government has any role to play in protecting children from the harmful effects of advertising?”

    Not if it’s framed in the same fashion as a bill of attainder. If you’re going to claim that purveyors of foodstuffs should not use toys, cartoon characters, etc., to sell children non-essential foods, THEN YOU MUST DO IT ACROSS THE BOARD. Cookies, cereals, canned pastas, all their cartoon spokesmen and TV tie-ins, you name it.

    What are you advocating? Outlawing the presentation of one particular genre of foodstuff. Why? Well, reasonable minds want to know.

    Halftime’s over.

    Back to the Jets/Browns….

  141. “I have a very low threshold for advertising claims, so I’d hold that the phrase “You can use the force” and R2D2 showing up in your kitchen are both misleading to children, irrespective of anything else.”

    The determination of being “misleading” must be based on the numerous complaints made by children after they realized that they couldn’t “use the force” or that R2D2 never appeared.

    So your argument is that the ad causes your children to live in a fantasy world? But, somehow, all this “fantasy world” television that they’re watching doesn’t produce the same effect, because it’s not associated with food that tastes good?

    “However, the bigger issue isn’t that any specific phrase in a commercial is misleading, it’s that the practice itself misleads children by making them want unhealthy foods because of the association with a beloved movie or character.”

    Under your premise, when a toy is included with a healthy meal, isn’t it just as misleading? Doesn’t it cause the child to associate food with their “beloved movie or character”?

    “It blurs the line between fantasy and reality.”
    I sure am glad that Sesame Street hasn’t crossed that line. :)

  142. Gyges,

    “That they consider food as a nuisance that they have to make time for is telling.” Nope … that was not my contention.

    Mine was far harsher … it is not the preparation of the food that is the nuisance, it is the preparation of the proper food for the child that is the nuisance (the child is the nuisance). Advertising is the handy excuse for said behavior, not the reason for it.

    I can write out five recipes right now for homemade soups These soups would contain almost all the required percentage of nutrients when coupled with a glass of milk, an apple or applesauce, and crackers or bread that a growing child’s body needs. These soups could all be prepared at the same time and from start to finish, including shopping for ingredients, would require no more than three hours total (not each … total meaning all 5) and at least 1 1/2 hours of that time would be the simmering process requiring only an occasional stirring. And … they taste great. Transferred from pot to freezer container … viola la … dinner in minutes all week. (don’t confuse these soups with canned soup … these are thick and substantial and “stick-to-the-ribs)

    Advertising doesn’t keep a parent from doing this … but it certainly is handy as an excuse for parents not doing this.

    Now … that being said, I still have to finish reading the link mespo provided as to the real harm advertising to children may cause.

  143. Forgot to give the names of the 5 soups:

    beef/vegetable, turkey or chicken noodle, tomato (milk base) rice, split-pea with kielbasi, bean with ham

    Many, many other variations but these are the 5 most children will eat without a fuss

  144. Bob,

    as if? Your misconceptions are your problem. Especially since you’ve insisted on putting words in my mouth.

    If you’re waiting for an apology?

    Pack warm because Hell will have frozen solid.

    As to my abilities to distinguish lawful from unlawful?

    Just as good as your, sport.

    You’re inability to pull your head out of Kant’s ass and recognize that children are not adults and that exploiting them for profit at the expense of their health by using toys as bait is ethically indefensible compared to censure of commercial speech directed at them by a fiction would be your problem. “If you’re going to claim that purveyors of foodstuffs should not use toys, cartoon characters, etc., to sell children non-essential foods, THEN YOU MUST DO IT ACROSS THE BOARD. Cookies, cereals, canned pastas, all their cartoon spokesmen and TV tie-ins, you name it.” And I’d also have no issue with that restriction on commercial speech either. It’s not only the logical extension of the argument, but an even more substantive step to addressing the issue: don’t target children for food ads just like we don’t allow targeting them for tobacco and booze and instead leave the totality of the decision about what to feed a child to the parent without some company whispering sweet nothings in a child’s ear. We have myriad laws – good ones too – designed to protect children from adult predation. That a lot of bad laws have been enacted in that same name is irrelevant.

    Or you can refuse to answer the question again.

    In this thread, you have displayed every single bad habit you’ve accused Slarti (and others) of in the past.

    Straw men.

    False dichotomies.

    Inserting premises into others statements.

    Being evasive of question you don’t like.

    You’ve done yourself proud.

    You should drink more often.

  145. “just like we don’t allow targeting them for tobacco and booze”

    Both of which are not legally for sale to minors. Make the sale of a Happy Meal or any of its contents, illegal, and I’ll gladly consent to a ban on advertisement of that product. To make the comparison when the product being sold is a lawful activity is comparing burgers to booze.

    “As to my abilities to distinguish lawful from unlawful?”

    That came from me, not Bob Esq., and I can’t help but stand by it when I see the same repeated (above).

  146. Buddha: “as if? Your misconceptions are your problem. Especially since you’ve insisted on putting words in my mouth.”

    No misconception and no insertion of my premises into your argument. I made a statement describing how narrow your reasoning was to your apparent goal. To legislate only against fast food child advertising is to act as if fast food has a monopoly on advertising non-nutritious food to children via toys and gimmicks.

    Buddha: “As to my abilities to distinguish lawful from unlawful?”

    No; I asked you if you saw the procedural problems you’re opening up with this type of legal ‘reasoning.’ This is why we have a rational relation test.

    Buddha: “You’re inability to pull your head out of Kant’s ass and recognize that children are not adults and that exploiting them for profit at the expense of their health by using toys as bait is ethically indefensible compared to censure of commercial speech directed at them by a fiction would be your problem.”

    You sound like Helen Lovejoy of the Simpsons: “Won’t somebody please think of the children!” Children don’t have power of the purse or any say as to how their parents will bring them up. Please refrain from getting hysterical at the mere mention of children in the equation.

    Furthermore, as I said before, if you want to get on that high horse with a scintilla of integrity, then you’ll have to set your sights on ALL ADVERTISING THAT PIMPS PRODUCTS, WHICH IF CONSUMED IN EXCESS CAN BE UNHEALTHFUL, TO CHILDREN WITH TOYS AND CARTOON CHARACTERS. You know, adopt a maxim that you would will to become a universal law.

    Me: “If you’re going to claim that purveyors of foodstuffs should not use toys, cartoon characters, etc., to sell children non-essential foods, THEN YOU MUST DO IT ACROSS THE BOARD. Cookies, cereals, canned pastas, all their cartoon spokesmen and TV tie-ins, you name it.”

    Buddha: “And I’d also have no issue with that restriction on commercial speech either. It’s not only the logical extension of the argument, but an even more substantive step to addressing the issue: don’t target children for food ads just like we don’t allow targeting them for tobacco and booze and instead leave the totality of the decision about what to feed a child to the parent without some company whispering sweet nothings in a child’s ear.”

    The logical extension of your argument is illogical because your base argument is illogical to begin with. Just like your argument, you’re rife with contradiction. One minute you’re saying that the food is inherently dangerous while equating it with tobacco and alcohol as you did above. The next you’re saying that you never advocated not selling the food to children. And you wonder why I have problems with the reasons given in suport of this law?

    Buddha: “We have myriad laws – good ones too – designed to protect children from adult predation. That a lot of bad laws have been enacted in that same name is irrelevant.”

    How does the foregoing justify your reasoning in this case? You have yet to establish a rational relation between the law as passed and your allegedly legitimate objective. Why, because the passage of this ridiculously specific law necessitates a resultant ‘objective’ that is so narrow in scope as to strain credulity as to how it would ever pass muster under the rational relation test.

    Buddha: “In this thread, you have displayed every single bad habit you’ve accused Slarti (and others) of in the past.”

    Really?

    Buddha: “Straw men. False dichotomies. Inserting premises into others statements. Being evasive of question you don’t like.”

    As I’ve shown, I did not insert any premises (straw men) into your argument; I merely made fair comment as to its narrowness. Further, reminding you that laws should be promulgated with the categorical imperative in mind is hardly a false dichotomy.

    Again: To legislate only against fast food child advertising is to act as if fast food has a monopoly on advertising non-nutritious food to children via toys and gimmicks. Not very rational.

  147. Bob,Esq.,

    Your own personal penchant for universal maxims is not a constitutional requirement. I’d be in favor of that type of blanket ban on advertising aimed at children, but supporting such a total ban isn’t necessary for supporting this particular reform. It certainly isn’t required in implementing it.

    If you’d like to make a legal argument about the validity of the ban, I’d be happy to respond. I don’t feel the need to defend why this step should be the first to be taken until you do so, however, because there honestly are several that could have been the first. That this bill doesn’t address the whole problem is clear, and irrelevant.

  148. Bob,

    Didn’t put words my mouth? Words like “prime”? And the all or nothing false dichotomies?

    Lie to yourself much?

    Again, but this time, not so nicely – screw you.

    I could give a damn at this point about your assessment of my logic.

    If you want to take this up further, we should take it offline, but for now?

    I stand by my assessment you’re full of shit on this topic, Bob.

    You got a problem with that? That would be your problem.

  149. Mespo,

    Sorry for the delay.

    Mespo: “Your statement that, “The government is doing the deciding/parenting for the parents while placing a restriction on the company under the pretense that IT and its toys are solely responsible for childhood obesity,” is flawed. The ordinance is not saying that McDonalds’ Restaurants and its toy inducements are “soley responsible for childhood obesity.” It’s saying that marketing nutritionally bad food to children by means of toy inducements is PART of the childhood obesity problem, and that this particular legislation is addressing that specific issue. Because one can’t do everything in one piece of legislation doesn’t mean it can’t do something.”

    No Mespo, as I stated before, if you’re going to make the claim that this type of advertising is ‘part of the problem’ then you must legislate as such. That means you legislate against the advertising as it applies to all foodstuffs. Anything less is a contradiction of your allegedly legitimate objective.

    Mespo: You are setting up straw men to knock down with your extreme characterizations. It is a false dichotomy to suggest the choice is between being completely paternalistic and doing absolutely nothing at all about this universally acknowledged problem.”

    I didn’t set up such a dichotomy. However you just set up one right there and attributed it to me; how ironic.

    I said there’s no rational relation between the law and its allegedly legitimate objective.

    Mespo: “The fundamental question is do you believe the government has any role to play in protecting children from the harmful effects of advertising?”

    Of course; witness the banning of Joe Camel. However, cigarettes, unlike fast food, are an inherently dangerous product.

    Mespo: “If not, your position is consistent, if not morally defensible. If so, you reside in James M’s camp with me, disagreeing only in degree.”

    Not sure I follow.

  150. James M.: “That this bill doesn’t address the whole problem is clear, and irrelevant.”

    Ready?

    If the bill doesn’t fit its allegedly legitimate objective then it fails the the rational relation test.

  151. Fails the rational relation test?

    Offering a child a toy with X is not an inducement?

    You really are pants load today, Bob.

  152. Here you go:

    The goal is to remove incentives to eat junk food.

    Offering a child a toy with anything is an inducement.

    In this instance, the toy is an inducement to eat junk food.

    Ergo removing the toys from the marketing equation removes the incentive to eat junk food to the child.

    Does single malt always after your basic logic this badly?

  153. Buddha: “Offering a child a toy with X is not an inducement?”

    Spell it out so you hear yourself.

    What is your legitimate objective?

    Every objective you’ve hinted at has been global in nature; but your legislation targets fast food purveyors only as if they were the only ones using advertising to target children to eat their ‘unhealthy’ food.

    You mean to tell me you don’t see any due process or equal protection problems here?

    Tell me again how full of shit I am; it’s such a convincing counter-argument.

  154. Buddha: “Offering a child a toy with anything is an inducement.”

    So the fuck what.

    Buddha: “In this instance, the toy is an inducement to eat junk food.”

    Junk food? You mean like toys in cereal boxes? How fair and even of you.

    Buddha: “Ergo removing the toys from the marketing equation removes the incentive to eat junk food to the child.”

    Again, state the legitimate objective. The foregoing suggests that you deem the state has a legitimate objective in keeping children from eating junk food. Thus why else ban the advertising?

    Buddha: “Does single malt always after your basic logic this badly?”

    Show me the flaw in my logic; i.e. without simply resorting to insults.

  155. Legitimate objective? Reducing health care costs and encouraging good health via removing incentives to eat junk as a matter of public policy are both legitimate objectives.

    I see zero due process issues and tangential equal protection issues here, Bob.

    We’re talking about regulation of corporate speech, not private speech, and in the context of advertising. If we were talking about private speech, there might be equal protection issues concerning regulation of speech, but we’re not talking about private speech. We are talking about advertising – commercial speech that, while protected, is indeed regulated. And as long as equal protection is brought up, how is protecting children from predatory marketing practices any different than protecting any other consumer from predatory practices? It’s not, but it is an equal protection issue if you aren’t protecting the children simply because they are children.

    And I’ll keep calling you full of shit as long as you keep acting like you’re full of shit. Or have you forgotten the experience of the 9/11 threads? I will call them like I see them whether you (or anyone else) like(s) it or not. You have yet to construct an argument that’s persuasive either legally or as a matter of public policy. Wordy, sure, but persuasive no, and in common parlance that means you’re still a pant load on this one.

  156. Bob,

    The flaw in your logic is your all or nothing approach. It’s a global problem but that doesn’t mean you can’t address it with multiplexed incremental solutions. You seem to think all global problems require global solutions and that, Dear Pants Load, is a fallacy of composition.

    Some global problems require global solutions, but not all global problems require global solutions and indeed the very nature of some problems discourages global solutions . . . just like this problem.

    Therein also lies your false dichotomy. “All or nothing” is by it’s very nature a false dichotomy. Reality isn’t binary, but analog. Extremes are called extremes for a reason – they are rarely the real world solutions. Ergo all or nothing solutions are the exception not the norm. This is an analog problem and as such requires an analog solution. The efficacy of the solutions in toto is another issue, but efficacy should be maximized in seeking solutions to any problem (keeping in mind the constraints against perfection inherent in mathematics). If you can’t maximize in one fell swoop? You maximize in smaller steps.

    The goal is legitimate. The regulation is reasonable if not all inclusive. Today? It’s removing toys from junk meals served in fast food restaurants. Tomorrow? Kellog’s can start to worry. Then Continental Bakeries. And so on.

    Addressing this problem is like eating a large meal in itself: it will have to be done one bite at a time.

  157. Buddha: “Legitimate objective? Reducing health care costs and encouraging good health via removing incentives to eat junk as a matter of public policy are both legitimate objectives.”

    First, assuming the legitimacy of the aforesaid objective, just how is the current legislation rationally related to achieving that objective? Banning the sale of toys with fast food isn’t a tad short of achieving that objective? Every other company peddling their form of malnutrition gets a pass except for fast food restaurants? Why? Because you saw a movie called “Super Size Me?”

    Buddha: “I see zero due process issues and tangential equal protection issues here, Bob.”

    So I’m high on the same Kool-Aid that J.T.’s bee drinking?

    Buddha: We’re talking about regulation of corporate speech, not private speech, and in the context of advertising.

    Let’s not forget that the law banned the product; not its advertisement. And yes, the toy is part of the product. Furthermore, even if the topic was simply commercial speech, the law must be applied evenhandedly; not just on the companies you don’t like.

    Buddha: If we were talking about private speech, there might be equal protection issues concerning regulation of speech, but we’re not talking about private speech.

    Come again? So the state may gag one corporation from engaging in advertising its product while allowing another corporation to advertise the same type of product in the same fashion–because we’re not ‘talking about private speech?’

    No Equal Protection problem there; right?

    Buddha: “And as long as equal protection is brought up, how is protecting children from predatory marketing practices any different than protecting any other consumer from predatory practices?”

    Is that what Equal Protection means? Really?

    Funny, here I am thinking the Equal Protection clause ensures that states must apply the law equally; you know, without giving preference to one person or class of persons over another.

    Silly me.

    Buddha: “And I’ll keep calling you full of shit as long as you keep acting like you’re full of shit.”

    Lovely.

  158. Buddha: “The goal is legitimate. The regulation is reasonable if not all inclusive. Today? It’s removing toys from junk meals served in fast food restaurants. Tomorrow? Kellog’s can start to worry. Then Continental Bakeries. And so on.

    Addressing this problem is like eating a large meal in itself: it will have to be done one bite at a time.”

    And there it is.

    Welcome to the desert of the real.

  159. Bob,

    First – See the second response. Your illogic is addressed there. As to equal protection, you’ll see how that’s addressed – piecemeal . . . at least until someone or some state sues the FDA and/or the FTC to force the issue of marketing food to kids globally. Rome wasn’t built in a day. The largest storms issue from the flapping of butterfly wings. Every journey begins with one step. Blah blah blah. And just because a company can challenge something? It doesn’t mean they’ll win.

    Second – Kool-aid is tasty. It’s also not good for you.

    Finally, as to the lovely?

    Hey, you’ve earned it by putting words in my mouth. That annoys the Hell out of me coming from people who should know better. In case you forget, I jumped Slarti for doing that exact same thing on the 9/11 threads. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Consider it a reflection of equal protection in a operation.

  160. Gyges
    1, November 14, 2010 at 4:34 pm
    Blouise,

    How do the parents eat? Your conclusion only makes sense if the parents eat differently than the children.
    ===========================================================

    I honestly have no idea what you mean by that. First, I thought we were discussing poor nutrition and obesity in children and the manner in which advertisers contribute to the problem.

    The suggestion that parents can easily prepare nutritious meals for their children makes perfect sense whether those parents decide to eat with the kids or not … yes, Virginia, even the too busy, lazy, and stupid can make a pot of soup.

  161. Blouise,

    Say we have two Fathers going to the beach. Father A puts sunscreen on himself and not his kid. It makes sense to assume that the lack of sunscreen on the kid has something to do with his attitude towards his kid. Father B doesn’t put sunscreen on himself or his kid. Would you really say “it is not the application of the sunscreen that is the nuisance, it is the application of the sunscreen on the child that is the nuisance (the child is the nuisance)” about Father B?

    If not, then why would you say “it is not the preparation of the food that is the nuisance, it is the preparation of the proper food for the child that is the nuisance (the child is the nuisance)” about a father that eats the same food as his kid?

  162. Bob,Esq.,

    You mean to tell me you don’t see any due process or equal protection problems here?

    The law is not just targeting McDonalds, it applies to all fast food restaurants, including McDonalds, Burger King, Wendys, Arbys, and Hardee’s (who all have toys with kids meals). Having it apply to some similarly situated companies and not others, would allow for a legal challenge, but that isn’t the case here.

  163. James,

    I just said almost that exact thing in an e-mail to Bob, ergo seconded.

    Here, I’ll share that part of the text:

    “I have no unwillingness to believe what you argue [. . .] I just simply don’t in this instance. While I’ll stipulate it invites equal protection questions, I do think they would be resolved in a segment by segment manner at least initially. Now if this legislation targeted ONLY Micky D’s, I’d be on board with the equal protection argument right now, but it doesn’t. It applies to all fast food vendors in the area. A food distributor/manufacturer like a cereal company, although they sell food, is not the same as a prepared food vendor. Healthfulness of food depends on preparation and serving as much as ingredients. The legislation would almost by the nature of the differences in the businesses models and mode of delivery have to be done in a segment by segment manner until a critical mass was reached to raise the issue of globally targeting kids with food advertising. Home service of food to a child always offers more opportunities for parental control than restaurant dining because a parent can control not just portion size but accoutrement to offset any nutritional deficiencies. In the long run, I think what I’ve said will lead to more parental control, but I also think it’s these very differences in the businesses themselves that you are not taking into account in your “all or none” scenario. The reality is one rock is needed to be rolled to start an avalanche. In this case, the rock is the fast food vendor business segment. I’m all for personal liberties and you know this, but I don’t see how restricting advertising – not sales – impacts personal liberties. [. . .] Like I said, a parent can choose to serve the kids a diet of bacon, salt licks and sugar cane, but targeting a kid with ads for a ‘Happy Sweet & Salty Pig Meal’ with free Star Wars toys is putting pressure on the kids to ask for or demand that diet. We aren’t talking removing the items from circulation or consumption by parental choice, just not allowing advertising to encourage bad choices by citizens you’ve stipulated have reduced capacity. It’s mitigation, not remedy, but it can be part of a remedy coupled with other tactics. I hope that clarifies what I’ve been saying.”

  164. Bob,Esq:

    “No Mespo, as I stated before, if you’re going to make the claim that this type of advertising is ‘part of the problem’ then you must legislate as such. That means you legislate against the advertising as it applies to all foodstuffs.”

    **********************

    This really is unfathomable to me. We were discussing the scourge of advertising to children, which you admit is fair game for government regulation, at least with respect to inherently dangerous goods. The SF ordinance you criticize is applied equally to all vendors of fast food, which in the context of our national childhood obesity crisis could qualify as an inherently dangerous good. Notwithstanding that factual determination, if you want to make a broader application to other products marketed to children, I’m with you in that endeavor as the research I posited suggests. My problem is I don’t see how it follows that you must legislate against advertising applied to all foodstuffs, presumably even those marketed to adults. I have no problem if Moet wants to shrink wrap a Christmas ornament to a bottle of champagne since that item is not marketed to children. The SF ordinance is tailored to the problem it addresses — predatory marketing to children of unhealthy foods.

    Again, I think Buddha hits the nail. You’ve adopted an all or nothing approach when an incremental approach will do nicely — and lawfully.
    Nowhere is there a requirement that a piece of legislation address every facet of a problem (Should we repeal usury laws because they don’t address every facet of financial exploitation of the poor?), merely that it be fairly and equally applied and have a compelling rational basis for its prohibition when measured against the commercial interest at stake.

    Surely this process involves legislative value judgments and the courts will, on First Amendment grounds, require compliance with the 4 part test, but to suggest that all food must be so regulated under notions of due process or equal protection turns those concepts on their heads.

  165. Blouise/Gyges,

    Also soups lend themselves well (generally) to freezing, thus allowing another efficiency if you make larger batches.

  166. Gyges,

    I responded to your assertion that I was saying something much milder than what I actually said:

    “That they consider food as a nuisance that they have to make time for is telling.” (Gyges assertion as to what I said)

    “Nope … that was not my contention.

    Mine was far harsher … it is not the preparation of the food that is the nuisance, it is the preparation of the proper food for the child that is the nuisance (the child is the nuisance). Advertising is the handy excuse for said behavior, not the reason for it.” (What I actually said)

    Gyges you are arguing a point about society’s relationship to food (your post November 14, 2010 at 2:36 pm) and trying to fit my points about advertising to children, children’s obesity, and parent’s responsibility to counter that advertising thus improving nutrition for their kids and relieving obesity into your argument. It doesn’t fit.

    Now I could argue society’s relationship to food by countering with the popularity of the Food Network and shows like Rachael Ray’s 30 minute meals and other similar programs. I would suggest that the parents who watch these sorts of shows and buy the cookbooks are not the ones sitting in line every night at the fast food joints.

    I would further suggest that those parent’s children aren’t the ones throwing temper tantrums over Happy Meals because fast food is probably something they only get occasionally. Preparing proper meals for their children is not a nuisance, taking proper care of their children is not a nuisance … ie the kids are not seen as a nuisance. That’s what I would say if I were arguing about society’s relationship to food … but I’m not so I won’t.

    I still haven’t finished reading mespo’s link (’cause you keep interrupting me!) so I’m not 100% certain that these same children I’m not talking about have not been adversely affected by the advertising directed at them by corporations.

    Now, as to society’s relationship to sunscreen … I have no opinion other than to say sunscreen is probably a good idea for everybody unless of course it isn’t. If it is a good thing and manufacturers advertise it to children as something that will make them super heroes thus causing those children to throw temper tantrums in stores and forcing their parents to buy and apply said sunscreen to their young bodies … is advertising directed at children then a good thing … even though the child never reaches super hero status? (IMO, in your example Father A and Father B are both putzes and should be thrown in the lake … I give you Father C who puts sunscreen on his kid but not himself or the best Father, Father D who puts sunscreen on himself and his kid.)

  167. Oh, and by the way … those kids that I’m not talking about … you know, the ones whose parents buy a Happy Meal for them occasionally as a treat and the toy is part of the treat … they’re the ones who will be madder than hell at a government that is once again dumbing everybody down to the lowest common denominator.

    But I have to finish mespo’s link before I can state that with authority because after reading, I may see the sense in what mespo and Buddha are supporting.

  168. Buddha,

    The smart cook doubles the soup recipes which adds about 15 minutes to the prep time and gets enough for 2 weeks meaning that on the Saturday (I’m assuming the cooking is done on a Saturday) after the soup prep Saturday the cook can spend three hours doing meat loaf, tuna cassarole, spaghetti sauce, beef stew, and chili … freeze and have, depending on the amounts prepared, dinners for an additional 5 to 10 nights. The following two Saturdays are free from cooking because the month is taken care of.

  169. BBB:

    “(Have you ever tried to maneuver a car while your child was screaming that he wanted rum? Yes. That was a friendly poke at Mespo. :)”

    **************

    Would that include my fraternity brother?

  170. BBB:

    “Mespo,

    Do you agree with Buddha’s analysis of the first two tests?”

    *******************

    In the main, I agree with Buddha’s analysis but I disagree with his conclusion that the first prong has not been met. While predatory marketing to children is pernicious, I do not think it is yet unlawful and it is not misleading in a legal sense. Certainly, in a broad sense anything that superficially prompts a person to do one thing but actually seeks another action is misleading. In a legal context the word means “deceptive or likely to deceive” though. It’s a close call, but I part company with Buddha here, and believe that the frame of reference is whether the practice would deceive a reasonably prudent adult and not a child. Thus I agree with you that the practice likely has First Amendment implications as a threshold inquiry and is not active fraud which is never protected by the First Amendment. I do agree with Buddha, however, that the ordinance meets the requirements of the three other prongs and is constitutionally permissible.

  171. mespo and Buddha,

    Ok, I read the Executive Summary – Food Marketing to Children and Youth and I paid particular attention to the following due to the subject of this thread:

    Recommendation 4: The food, beverage, restaurant, and marketing industries should work with government, scientific, public health, and consumer groups to establish and enforce the highest standards for the marketing of foods, beverages, and meals to children and youth. (Assure that licensed characters are used only for the promotion of foods and beverages that support healthful diets for children and youth.)

    This recommendation, along with others not quoted here, was developed from the data available for children ages 2-11. I found the following to be of interest:

    The family is the first socializing agent, as parents and older siblings act as sources of information and provide social support and pressure that affect children’s behaviors.

    Virtually all children ages 2–18 years now live in households with a television, and more than half of today’s children and youth report that their families have no rules for television viewing.

    Concern about young children’s limited ability to comprehend the nature and purpose of advertising, and about the appropriateness or impact of food marketing to which younger children might be exposed, led to a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rulemaking process in the late 1970s on the question of whether advertising to young children should be restricted or banned as a protective measure. Congress eventually intervened, and the FTC terminated the rulemaking in 1981.

    I completely agree with the following:

    Parents and families remain the central influence on children’s attitudes and behaviors, and social marketing efforts that aim to improve children’s and youths’ diets therefore must be tied directly to that influence. (Although children’s choices are strongly influenced by their parents and siblings, they are increasingly making decisions at younger ages in the marketplace, either in ways that are independent of parental guidance, or as agents influencing the choices and purchasing decisions of their parents and caregivers.)

    I better understand the concern about the marketing practices directed towards children and the desire to modify these practices especially as it pertains to healthy foods. I did find one suggestion that healthy foods be given prominent placement on grocery shelves a direct invitation to battle. My neighbor works in this field, Product Placement, and he had a really good laugh when I asked him for his impression on this one issue.

    I suppose that eliminating the toy from a Happy Meal sends a message but shouldn’t playgrounds on the premises also be outlawed? McDonald’s deals in hamburgers, French fries and milkshakes … there isn’t too much that can be done to increase the nutritional value of those three items. Potato Chips have no real nutritional value, either do pretzels or popsicles or popcorn or certain ice creams or marshmallows or candy bars or syrups or … the list of those not permitted to market their product to children will be huge. (Remember what happened in 1981)

    In the end, I’m going to go with “Parents and families remain the central influence on children’s attitudes and behaviors, and social marketing efforts that aim to improve children’s and youths’ diets therefore must be tied directly to that influence.

    Does anyone honestly believe Congress will do anything that restricts the ability of businesses to make money? That’s whistling in the wind. So why not do something that may actually work … huge, on going ad campaign that educates adults and kids about the harmful effect a steady diet of these foods. Repeat, repeat, repeat … month after month, year after year … put supreme effort and tons of tax dollars into the program, and advertise on all mediums constantly.

    Remove the toys, eliminate the playgrounds, stock the shelves accordingly, restrict the advertising, but put the real pressure on the parents and the family for in the end it is their responsibility to nurture healthy children.

  172. Blouise,

    “but put the real pressure on the parents and the family for in the end it is their responsibility to nurture healthy children.”

    That’s where subsidies for healthier food and/or taxes on unhealthy food come into play, both from the consumer and the seller/manufacturer standpoints.

  173. Buddha,

    My idea for financing could start a lot sooner than that … allow the tax break for the wealthy to expire and use that money … anyone who objects is anti healthy American children.

  174. Kilgore: Smell that? You smell that?

    Lance: What?

    Kilgore: [Political corruption], son. Nothing else in the world smells like that.

    (kneels)

    Kilgore: I love the smell of [political corruption] in the morning. You know, one time we had a hill bombed, for 12 hours. When it was all over, I walked up. We didn’t find one of ’em, not one stinkin’ dink body. The smell, you know that [porcine] smell, the whole hill. Smelled like

    (sniffing, pondering)

    Kilgore: [Washington and rancid bacon]. Someday this war’s gonna end…

  175. Mespo: “This really is unfathomable to me. We were discussing the scourge of advertising to children, which you admit is fair game for government regulation, at least with respect to inherently dangerous goods.”

    Three words: legitimate state interest.

    Mespo: “The SF ordinance you criticize is applied equally to all vendors of fast food, which in the context of our national childhood obesity crisis could qualify as an inherently dangerous good.”

    Laws must be rationally related to a legitimate state interest.

    Your allegedly legitimate state interest is to curb the childhood obesity crisis in this country.

    Is there a rational relation between your objective and the law as promulgated? Let’s see. Is fast food the sole, primary, main or significant cause of childhood obesity? Assuming you could outlaw the advertising AND the food, what of lack of exercise and the ingestion of all those excess calories that are not fast food? The rational relation seems to be missing here. In fact the only connection between the law and your alleged legitimate objective is that it expresses a moral disapproval of fast food.

    Equal Protection problem? You bet. Just as “moral disapproval is [not] a legitimate state interest to justify by itself a statute that bans homosexual sodomy, but not heterosexual sodomy” (Lawrence v. Texas) so to that moral disapproval of fast food using toys to market their food of questionable nutritional value while failing to punish other food vendors using the same tactics to peddle their brand of allegedly ‘childhood obesity inducing fare’ is not a legitimate state interest.

  176. Blouise,

    I know what your saying. You’ll notice I addressed the clarification of your views rather than my flawed interpretation. I even quoted it directly. I correct myself when I’m wrong, and did so in this case.

    I just believe you haven’t thought your condemnation through. I could be wrong, which is why I asked the questions you deflected rather than answering. Would you say that the issue with Father B is that he’s too lazy to put sunscreen on the child? If not, why would you apply that to cooking for the child? If sunscreen is a big stumbling block for you, we can change it: a coat before going on a walk on a chilly day would work just as well. If there’s no difference between how the man treats himself and his child, why would you assume that the child is the issue. It just makes no sense to me.

    Now if you have any questions for me I’ll gladly answer them. I’m more then willing to clarify my points, or provide evidence for them. I don’t presume to tell you what you think, please extend me the same level of respect.

    As a sign of good faith:
    There are two related questions here, Why would a parent choose to go out to eat and why do they choose a particular restaurant? The law addresses the second, we’ve been discussing the first.

    Now, how would the changing the second change the first? People can get trained to go places, then they rationalize why they go there. Let’s say I’m trained to go to McDonald’s by my kids (plus we all get hooked on grease and sugar). Rational wise I’ve got a problem, the food’s terrible, it’s not all that cheap, and few people ever admit to being manipulated by whiny kids. Thanks to all those cookbook\shows that you mentioned early as well as countless kitchen gadgets, marketing for junk food, frozen dinners, etc. we all think that food should be convenient as possible. I naturally hit on Convince as my justification.

    Now if my kid never starts begging to go there to get the toy, I don’t get trained to go there, and I no longer have to rely so heavily on convenience as my motivation. As a result my kid (hopefully) no longer grows up thinking of convenience as a primary consideration in food choice, and perhaps part of the cycle of poor eating habits (which I think we’d agree is part of the problem in regards to the obesity epidemic in the US) is broken.

  177. My son used to go to McDonalds for lunch once awhile after pre-school with a group because they had a large playground there. Sometimes the kids get exercise after they eat the happy meal. I cooked elaborate meals from scratch for dinner. Both of my kids refused to eat soup when they were young, Blouise. My daughter didn’t want McDonalds. She begged for bagel dogs. I tried not to be rigid with the kids and their food. One can go too far, and the kids can develop eating disorders especially the girls. Chipotle has pretty healthy food if you want to eat fast food.

  178. Why didn’t the city attempt to ban the sale of “kid’s meals” that failed to meet an established nutritional standard? Had they done so, I could not foresee any legitimate legal challenge. It would have been entirely within the authority (or by charter should have been) to create such an ordinance.

    Is there a way to achieve the objective without attempting to regulate commercial speech? The answer is definitely yes (if the objective is to restrict the sale of a product that is perceived to be inherently dangerous).

    This ordinance is meant to control how an unrestricted product is marketed. It does not address to whom it is marketed, but how it is marketed. (Don’t tell me I can’t find a way to effectively market to children without the need to include a toy. The ordinance itself permits/promotes giving away online play time (additional sedentary time), while it ignores the possibility of including a toy that would promote increased cardiovascular activity (i.e. a bouncing ball)) If we permit the unrestricted sale of a product, we must also permit that product to be marketed in a way that permits the seller to achieve maximum sales, as long as such marketing does not include misrepresentation, while conforming to any mandated warnings. It must always fall on responsible parents to prevent the child from consuming so much of the product that it becomes a health issue.

    Too many of these ordinances are created as if no parental supervision is necessary. Imagine all the products readily available to children in which a lack of parental control/supervision would make them dangerous. What protects the child from these products? Parents.

    Bans, like the one proposed in San Francisco, are the legislative acceptance of parental neglect. Parents who fail to provide their children with proper nourishment (while having the means to do so) are guilty of neglect. Having the money to spend on the Happy Meal should be sufficient evidence of having the means. Abuse (too many of these unhealthy meals) should be recognized as parental neglect. This is just one more example of society who refuses to accept personal responsibility. The “they made me do it” attitude of the parent will surely become the “I couldn’t help myself” of the next generation.

    It’s the commercial! Turn off the TV, parent. If, for some reason, that is conceived to be beyond your authority or capability, maybe you should attend the next watcher-teacher conference. It’s more than just biology or legal standing. It’s about accepting the responsibility of raising a child. Your child!

    Other than when it is the result of a medical condition, obesity starts at home. Reasonable portions in the proper environment is the first step to combating the obesity problem.

    I still, more often than not, find the major contributor to childhood obesity to be an unstable environment. One in which the parents just don’t want to hurt their child’s feelings by saying NO. When the parent is taught how to say NO, the result (from what I have seen) is a happier child. When that happens, many of the child’s other problems would seem to magically disappear too.

    Kids are often turned off by the name or appearance of food. Sometimes the smell of it cooking is enough to turn the child away. Change the name and try again. Hamburger (yes, I have a nephew who didn’t like hamburgers) can be called a “Bob the Builder Burger”. Don’t ask if they want one. Ask how many. Years ago, my nephews didn’t want anything to do with a ham, salami, and cheese sandwich. That quickly changed when presented with a “Hammy-Slammy-Sammy”. And we wonder why kids have a desire to consume the “Happy Meal”? Creative marketing can work at home too.

  179. BBB,

    I’m sure after you tell the parents to just turn the TV off and raise their kids right, the problem will go away. Good job!

  180. Gyges,

    Ah, I see … it is my particular condemnation of parents who feed junk food to their kids on a regular basis that you take issue with. Ok, I honestly didn’t understand that that was the point of your argument. I thought you were telling me that they couldn’t help it because of society’s relationship to food. I was not disrespecting your views or trying to evade the clarification … (I still think Father A and B are putzes)

    Alright, I have chosen a sentence from your post as the jumping off point and hopefully I will be able to adequately explain my condemnation of parents who feed junk food to their kids on a regular basis.

    “If there’s no difference between how the man treats himself and his child, why would you assume that the child is the issue.” Because there should be a difference between how an adult treats himself/herself and how they treat a child if we are talking about treatment that is bad for the child.

    I leave the adult to determine for himself whether or not he wishes to eat junk food all the time, go without a coat in cold weather, or not wear sunscreen. The adult is full grown and should be fully aware of the chances he is taking with his own health. The child does not know to put on a coat, eat healthy food or apply sunscreen. The child does not have the means to go and purchase these items even if he has learned from some other source that these things are good for him. The child looks to the parent for proper care.

    It is the parent’s responsibility to provide for the child’s real needs … to be aware of what they are and to make the proper choices for the child until the child is able, in all ways, to make them for himself … even if the parent doesn’t doesn’t make those same choices for himself. Thus the age old saying: “do as I say, not as I do.”

    Now to my condemnation of the parent who does not provide that which the child needs. (I am going to assume for the sake of this argument that the parent knows a steady diet of junk food is not good for a growing child and that the child should wear a coat when it’s cold and that sunscreen should be applied and that the parent has the means to provide these things, simply chooses not to.)

    Why would any parent who knows that the child should wear a coat, eat healthy, and wear sunscreen choose to not provide those things and insist the child wear/eat them? Too busy, too lazy, too stupid? Perhaps, but also totally unconcerned for the child’s welfare … it is a nuisance (an annoyance, a bother, an inconvenience) to take the time necessary to properly meet the needs of the child … if taking the time to properly provide for the child is a nuisance then the child himself is a nuisance … to that parent.

    I had a girl scout troop for 6 years (4th through 9th grade) … the same kids who never had a permission slip signed, never brought cookies on their assigned treat day, never were on time for events, never had the right equipment packed for camping, never had a ride home were also the ones who were always sick, never went to the dentist, took months to get their broken glasses fixed, considered fast food to be regular food rather than a treat, and whose parents never volunteered as chaperons. Were said parents too busy, too lazy, too stupid? Perhaps, but really … doing for their kids was a bother, an inconvenience … a nuisance … and the kids knew it and viewed themselves in exactly that light. They saw themselves as a nuisance. (These kids and parents were not poor.)

    Now, if you find flawed logic in that explanation then we will have to agree to disagree.

  181. Swarthmore mom,

    Soup was one of the first foods introduced to my kids after babyhood. Interestingly enough both girls keep a pot of soup on the stove today. One son-in-law eats anything while the other only eats meat and potatoes. The oldest granddaughter got a soup pot for Christmas last year … it was the only thing she requested.

    Variety is the ticket as far as I’m concerned. My youngest daughter had her first baby a couple years ago and her OBGYN told her to eat a variety of foods throughout the pregnancy as studies had shown that babies are less picky eaters if the mother has varied her diet during pregnancy. That was the first time I’d ever heard that one. Her daughter will eat anything.

    My grown daughters and grandkids don’t eat fast food … unless you count pizza … they never really developed a taste for it and now they don’t want the calories.

  182. BBB,

    Here’s where you fall . . . “if the objective is to restrict the sale of a product that is perceived to be inherently dangerous”.

    Faulty premise.

    The object isn’t to restrict the sale, but rather the advertising: the incentive/inducement to children to want a bad choice compared to the alternatives. Removing choice isn’t object, but rather encouraging better choices by both parents and children by removing incentive for sale targeting children that result in a net savings to later health care costs by encouraging healthier citizens.

  183. Buddha,

    And if one were to pair the toy with healthy foods? Marketing a product to children would still be a factor, but that’s ubiquitous. Your thoughts?

  184. Blouise My kids both live in cities where the restaurants serve mainly organic food. They don’t have to eat in chain restaurants. They have both turned into very good cooks. They shop at farmer’s markets, co-ops, and the whole foods. What I am saying is a little fast food does not necessarily ruin one’s dietary habits for life. I ate McDonald’s as a teenager now I try to only eat organic. San Francisco is the land of Alice Waters. That is a good thing, but not everyone can live like that. Some mothers are so exhausted that all they can do after a hard days work is drive the kid through on the way to soccer practice.

  185. It seems like the underlying issue is obesity and kids with poor diets. I wonder how many Happy Meals a family buys in a week/month.
    As far as regular eating habits are concerned, how much of a role does growth hormones play that are injected into animals in order to bring them to slaughter sooner. I think you’ll find that this is one of the primary causes of obesity. That and all u can eat Chinese Buffet, Golden Coral and the likes. As the twinkie diet shows it’s all about the calories. Heh row, how r u ? sweet tea?

  186. I looked up the calories in a happy meal hamburger with fries. It has 500 calories if the child has a diet soda or 550 with a skim milk. bdaman Hormone free chicken,eggs,beef,milk are all important. Chipotle is a fast food place that serves hormone free and organic products. The salsas aren’t too bad either.

  187. James M Yes, it’s not fabulous Mexican food, but it is pretty good and they try to make it healthy. They are expanding rapidly.

  188. BBB,

    “Here’s where you fall . . . “if the objective is to restrict the sale of a product that is perceived to be inherently dangerous”.

    Faulty premise.

    The object isn’t to restrict the sale, but rather the advertising”

    I guess I fail as well, I thought restricting advertising would restrict sales. Isn’t advertising used to increase sales? So wouldn’t a restriction on advertising reduce sales? If it didn’t I think a good many Madison Ave. types would be looking for other means of employment.

    So I think you are correct, the ultimate goal is to restrict the sale of fast food by restricting advertising.

    I think maybe we ought to limit advertising for cars and airlines, they are definitely inherently dangerous and swimming pools as well as doctors.

    The more you think about it, the more farcical it becomes. Pretty soon we will outlaw advertising for bananas because you might sell one to child who leaves the peel on the floor and slips on it.

  189. Blouise,

    The fault is that you ascribe motives based on what you think people should and shouldn’t do and know. People behave against their own goals and self interest all the time.

    I don’t buy the rational and informed actor when we’re talking about economics and I don’t buy it when we’re talking about choosing what’s for dinner. To paraphrase: we’re not a race of rational tool makers, we’re a race of after dinner rationalizers.

    Should parents feed their kids well? Absolutely. Does their failure to do so mean they view their kids as a nuisance? I doubt it. All you do by insisting otherwise is come across as self righteous as everyone else who insists that people who don’t raise their kids “The right way” don’t really love them.

  190. BIL,

    As the Court stated in Fla. Bar v. Went For It, Inc. (515 U.S. 618)

    “[the legislating body’s burden] is not satisfied by mere speculation or conjecture; rather, a governmental body seeking to sustain a restriction on commercial speech must demonstrate that the harms it recites are real and that its restriction will in fact alleviate them to a material degree.”

    I don’t think San Fran can meet that burden.

    The toy will still be marketed to children. The benefit of going to McDonalds will still be marketed to the children. You see, children don’t read the fine print or pay attention to exactly what food is used in the commercial. They see Toy – McDonald’s –Happy Meal. They miss the part that says “Only included with healthy meals”. Once they are there, it will be the parent who submits to the will of the child and purchases the meal the child wants. The only difference being (I suspect) is that the unhealthy meal will sell for 50 cents less, and the toy will cost 50 cents. (status quo maintained)

    It is pure flight of the imagination to think the parent who wasn’t willing to provide direction before the ban will discover some new-found capability just because the toy wasn’t included in the meal that the child desires. I admit that the toy provides an inducement, but that incentive is not removed when the toy is still available for purchase. It just means that the parent will have to purchase it separately.

    Parents take their children to McDonalds because they know the child will eat the meal. They do so because they know it tends to avoid the mealtime fight. Ask Mespo what it will be like when you try to explain to Little Johnny (age 4) that his meal of choice doesn’t come with the toy, but his sister’s does. Result: Little Johnny gets the meal he desires, and the toy is purchased separately.

    In short, what the proposed San Francisco ban does (for sure) is regulate commercial speech (in hopes) of achieving a desired effect. I think that falls far short of the burden established in “Went for it”. There is no proof that the goal of reducing the consumption of unhealthy food by children is accomplished by this regulation.

  191. Gyges,

    Pardon my intrusion.

    You said to Blouise “Should parents feed their kids well? Absolutely. Does their failure to do so mean they view their kids as a nuisance? I doubt it. All you do by insisting otherwise is come across as self righteous as everyone else who insists that people who don’t raise their kids “The right way” don’t really love them.”

    What do you call it when parents (who have the means) consistently fail to feed their kids meals that meet minimum nutritional standards? I call them negligent. The reason(s) behind the negligence are varied, and not necessarily nefarious, but negligent nonetheless.

    I don’t think it’s self-righteous to insist on minimum standards. Loving parents can and do, do the wrong thing when it comes to their child. When doing the wrong thing endangers the child’s welfare, society has a duty to step in…but not before.

  192. BBB,

    So the nanny state making sure you’re not feeding your children too much junk food is fine, but stopping pernicious advertising that tries its damnedest to lure Americans into making unhealthy choices? Das ist verboten!

  193. “Should parents feed their kids well? Absolutely. Does their failure to do so mean they view their kids as a nuisance? I doubt it. All you do by insisting otherwise is come across as self righteous as everyone else who insists that people who don’t raise their kids “The right way” don’t really love them.” (Gyges)

    =========================================================

    So be it.

  194. Swarthmore mom,

    Luckily I didn’t have that problem (exhaustion)so fast food wasn’t a necessity at any time. Perhaps the children missed something by my not taking them to McDonald’s but I don’t really think so. I wouldn’t let them watch MTV either until they were old enough to understand the difference between lyrics and reality.

    I don’t see any harm in occasional fast food, even though we never ate it … if the kids could get themselves there and were willing to pay for it out of their own pocket, they could go. It never became a habit for them. And thus the subject of this thread, toys in Happy Meals, was never an issue.

    It was the advertising to children that I had never really considered and now have.

  195. Gyges,

    So be it means I won’t argue with you further but do not think from that comment that I accept your characterization of me as self-righteous.

    I fully accept that that is how you see me.

    Over and out … I have to go polish my smugly moralistic glasses so that I may look at the world from a lofty yet narrow-minded viewpoint.

  196. BBB,

    “I don’t think San Fran can meet that burden.”

    Okay. You’re wrong. But okay.

    1) harms it recites are real

    I’m not going to argue the medical evidence against a high fat/sugar/salt diet and I don’t think you would either. I’ll mark that “stipulated” but feel free to object.

    2) and that its restriction will in fact alleviate them to a material degree.

    The above evidence combined with the rational extrapolation of the research mespo relayed about the psychology of advertising in children can be argued as a remedial step in mitigating demand for junk food by children by removing the enticement of advertising from the flow of information – psychological input – they are exposed to as matter of the sheer volume of exposure in the information age. Material is a matter of degree and efficacy solely by removing the advertising is a moot point since the state can provide evidence that it also has other programs in place to combat obesity in combination with policies like the testing of anti-obesity programs by Stanford Stanford’s Girls’ Health Enrichment Multisite Studies and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger push to fund and cooperate with DHS in a comprehensive anti-obesity initiative that is also underway (for starters but I’m sure there are more examples as well of state sponsored health initiatives that could be rolled into this argument). The removal of the advertising has a rational relationship to the goals of the DHS and other program(s) and in fact is designed to operate as a component of the state strategy to reduce obesity ergo the removal of the advertising is aiding in the material reduction of obesity be removing incentives for consuming junk food shouldn’t be the ad bans material effect in a vacuum but rather as part of the whole strategy.

  197. BBB: As the Court stated in Fla. Bar v. Went For It, Inc. (515 U.S. 618) “[the legislating body’s burden] is not satisfied by mere speculation or conjecture; rather, a governmental body seeking to sustain a restriction on commercial speech must demonstrate that the harms it recites are real and that its restriction will in fact alleviate them to a material degree.”

    I don’t think San Fran can meet that burden.”

    You’re absolutely right. The lack of any nexus whatsoever between the legislation and the alleged legitimate state interest is also why it fails the rational relation test.

    Banning the advertising does NOTHING to alleviate the problem (of childhood obesity) addressed because Happy Meals are not even a drop in the bucket to all the actual causes of said problem–and that assumes you can make the argument that the state has a legitimate interest in dictating the lifestyles of its citizens.

  198. Bob,

    “assumes you can make the argument that the state has a legitimate interest in dictating the lifestyles of its citizens.”

    The state interest isn’t in dictating lifestyles. It’s in reduction of percentage of GDP/state budgets spent on health care. “Dictating” is not the same as encouraging or discouraging certain behaviors. Or do you have a problem with the “sin taxes”? Activities with a higher social cost should carry a higher transactional cost as a consequence as a matter of equity. It would be both dictatorial and inequitable to ban the lifestyle in question – which no body has called for. It’s not dictatorial to discourage bad habits and promote good habits any more than it is to tax transactions in a rational manner related to their associated costs. Food and water safety are a legitimate state interest as well. Encouraging a healthy diet is no more onerous to personal liberties than promoting exercise – long established governmental practice. It’s a suggestion, not a command. People aren’t being told they can’t eat something. Companies are being told they have to modify their marketing strategy to comply with legitimate state interests both as a matter of promoting the general welfare and via the Commerce Clause in way that isn’t overreaching into personal liberties.

  199. Buddha: “The state interest isn’t in dictating lifestyles. It’s in reduction of percentage of GDP/state budgets spent on health care.”

    Okay, I’ll put the lifestyle legislation on the back burner and ask you …

    Show me the rational relation between banning the advertising of happy meals, or as San Francisco has, the banning of Happy Meals entirely, and “reducing the percentage of GDP/state budgets spent on health care.”

    Buddha: “Dictating” is not the same as encouraging or discouraging certain behaviors.”

    Depends on the type of discouragement employed.

    Buddha: “Or do you have a problem with the “sin taxes”? Activities with a higher social cost should carry a higher transactional cost as a consequence as a matter of equity.”

    Those are fine; seeing how they are indeed rationally related to the stated goal.

    Buddha: “It would be both dictatorial and inequitable to ban the lifestyle in question – which no body has called for. It’s not dictatorial to discourage bad habits and promote good habits any more than it is to tax transactions in a rational manner related to their associated costs.”

    This is what I’ve been warning you about. When you pass laws with a zero nexus to the problem they allege to be addressing, you open the doors to that dictatorial society; wherein laws can be passed that do indeed dictate the lifestyles of the citizens under the guise of a state interest that isn’t even addressed by the law!

    Buddha: “Food and water safety are a legitimate state interest as well. Encouraging a healthy diet is no more onerous to personal liberties than promoting exercise – long established governmental practice. It’s a suggestion, not a command.”

    Hint: “Laws provide, as much as is possible, that the goods and health of subjects be not injured by the fraud and violence of others; they do not guard them from the negligence or ill-husbandry of the possessors themselves.”

    If the fast food companies are not engaged in fraud or any other type of trespass to the citizenry, where and how does the government get the power to ban them from doing what they’re doing? The power to legislate and regulate does not flow from good intentions alone.

    Buddha: People aren’t being told they can’t eat something. Companies are being told they have to modify their marketing strategy to comply with legitimate state interests both as a matter of promoting the general welfare and via the Commerce Clause in way that isn’t overreaching into personal liberties.”

    Promoting the general welfare?! Banning Happy Meal advertising promotes the general welfare how?

    And when exactly did the general welfare clause become a grant of power? It’s a condition on the taxing power; not an independent source of power that you can appeal to while legislating the body politic to the extreme right or left.

  200. “banning Happy Meals”

    Mischacterization. Yes, because a Happy Meal is composed of individual items on the McDonald’s menu – still on their menu – packaged in a specific manner. Since the items are still for sale, only their packaging and other inducements used in advertising are banned. You can still buy your kid a cheese burger, fries and a Coke. It just won’t come with a pretty box and a toy.

    “Depends on the type of discouragement employed.”

    Don’t act as if we both don’t know the difference between “discouragement” and “coercion”.

    Rational relationship? Medicare actuaries say 2010 was this highest percentage of GDP spent on health care since 1960 at 17.3% yet quality of health in decline. As these transactions are taxed, there is a manifestly rational relationship to state interests in making that transaction more efficient as a matter of promoting the general welfare.

    “When you pass laws with a zero nexus to the problem they allege to be addressing, you open the doors to that dictatorial society”

    Your inability to see the nexus between diet and health care costs doesn’t mean it isn’t there, only that you don’t see it, Bob. As is your inability to see a nexus between advertising and consumption. This isn’t a slipper slope issue as individual choices and freedoms are not impaired, only commercial speech and only commercial speech that is designed to encourage a consumption with a built-in societal cost that isn’t born solely by fast food chains but by us all in the form of increased health care costs.

  201. Buddha: “Mischacterization. Yes, because a Happy Meal is composed of individual items on the McDonald’s menu – still on their menu – packaged in a specific manner. Since the items are still for sale, only their packaging and other inducements used in advertising are banned. You can still buy your kid a cheese burger, fries and a Coke. It just won’t come with a pretty box and a toy.”

    Okay, then once again: Show me the rational relation between banning the advertising of happy meals, or banning the “pretty box and a toy” and “reducing the percentage of GDP/state budgets spent on health care.”

    Buddha: “Rational relationship? Medicare actuaries say 2010 was this highest percentage of GDP spent on health care since 1960 at 17.3% yet quality of health in decline. As these transactions are taxed, there is a manifestly rational relationship to state interests in making that transaction more efficient as a matter of promoting the general welfare.”

    Again, how does banning a pretty box and toy achieve your objective proximately or in fact? The foregoing is as far from an answer as an engine without a drive shaft; spinning endlessly and going nowhere. Show us where the rubber hits the road.

    Buddha: “Your inability to see the nexus between diet and health care costs doesn’t mean it isn’t there, only that you don’t see it, Bob.”

    I know there’s a nexus between diet and health care costs. Type II diabetes can get incredibly expensive. However the existence of that problem does not empower the state to ban the advertising of happy meals no more than it empowers it to ban the advertising of candy on television.

    Buddha: “As is your inability to see a nexus between advertising and consumption. This isn’t a slipper slope issue as individual choices and freedoms are not impaired, only commercial speech and only commercial speech that is designed to encourage a consumption with a built-in societal cost that isn’t born solely by fast food chains but by us all in the form of increased health care costs.”

    Again, I see the nexus between advertising and consumption; I’ve yet to be shown the rational relation between the happy meal law and a legitimate objective. And the reason for that is your inability to specify your objective so that it connects with the law as promulgated. We don’t get to any slope until you show us the nexus between your law and the desired objective.

    Furthermore, expanding your alleged legitimate objective to “reducing the percentage of GDP/state budgets spent on health care” only makes your case worse. But even if you focused on the childhood obesity problem, the law still fails the rational relation test.

    As I said earlier to Mespo:

    “Is there a rational relation between your objective and the law as promulgated? Let’s see. Is fast food the sole, primary, main or significant cause of childhood obesity? Assuming you could outlaw the advertising AND the food, what of lack of exercise and the ingestion of all those excess calories that are not fast food? The rational relation seems to be missing here. In fact the only connection between the law and your alleged legitimate objective is that it expresses a moral disapproval of fast food.

    Just as “moral disapproval is [not] a legitimate state interest to justify by itself a statute that bans homosexual sodomy, but not heterosexual sodomy” (Lawrence v. Texas) so too that moral disapproval of fast food using toys to market their food of questionable nutritional value while failing to punish other food vendors using the same tactics to peddle their brand of allegedly ‘childhood obesity inducing fare’ is not a legitimate state interest.”

    You really think you can pass any law you like because commercial speech is less protected than personal speech? Seriously?

  202. Buddha and Bob,Esq.,

    You are not going to believe this. I just hung up from a call placed by a “young” mother. She told me that a group of like minded “moms” have gotten together and are planning to petition City Council to make certain they don’t follow San Fransisco’s lead.

    To quote her as close to accurate as I am able since I didn’t actually record her words, “We don’t want the damn government telling us what we may and may feed our kids and whether or not a toy can come with that food. If McDonald’s wants to put a toy in the meal and we, the consumers, want a toy with the meal, they, the government, can just butt out! Would you be willing to sign our petition?”

    Having been newly sensitized to the problems of marketing to children I tried my best to introduce the subject to her. She was having none of it.

    This is a matter of government over-reaching and the group she belongs to intends to put a stop to it before it gets started here.

    I asked her to stop by the house after Thanksgiving and we’d talk about it. She asked if she could bring a couple friends with her and I agreed to no more than 4. We set a date and time.

    I live in a small town and there are 4 fast food restaurants that include a toy in their children’s meal (according to the young mother who called me).

    I can almost guarantee, knowing each of the councilman personally, that these mothers will have no problem getting their way with Council.

    She even mentioned doing an initiative on the next ballot (our Charter allows for such citizen action)that would prohibit the City from doing anything like San Fransisco did. These women are serious.

    This San Fransisco thing just may have legs.

  203. Blouise,

    That is far more than weird. That borders on C.G. Jung Synchronicity.

    Regarding the notion that the ‘government butt out,’ this is starting point for the split between benevolent socialism and benevolent fascism.

    Both the left and the right has their own ideas of what laws they want to pass to mold the society in their best images.

    And it’s at this point that you need to go back to the creation of the social compact and ask yourself the hypothetical question of whether you left the state of nature and entered into society for laws like these.

  204. Bob,Esq.,

    The law is not based on moral disapproval. Just because you’re blind to the obvious connection between advertising and consumption doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Can you imagine the absurd position McDonalds would be in if they argued that there’s no link between advertising and consumption? They spend more than three quarters of a BILLION dollars every year on advertising. Why would they do that if they really thought it didn’t directly lead to increased sales?

    And when exactly did the general welfare clause become a grant of power? It’s a condition on the taxing power; not an independent source of power that you can appeal to while legislating the body politic to the extreme right or left.

    This isn’t the federal government (who could do the same thing through the commerce clause). States have police powers which let them . . . *drumroll* . . . legislate for the general welfare, health, and safety! I don’t know anything about how California organizes its cities, so I can’t complete the argument that SF has been delegated the relevant police powers, but your argument is completely misguided because this is not the federal government which is acting.

  205. Bob,Esq,

    I doubt these moms will be able to put an initiative on the ballot as the legal wording and possibility of coming in conflict with State General Law, let alone the number of signatures required, is huge. I will talk to them about that.

    As far as a petition to Council … they get those all the time from all sorts of “start-up” groups … they will listen politely and each member will comment and the moms will leave feeling that they have made their point. I doubt Council will feel any need to create an Ordinance on this matter. However, the moms will have been heard, the little town paper will report on it, and Council will move to the next item on the agenda. Democracy in small town America.

    I am, however, furiously copying and pasting points made by yourself, Buddha, mespo, and others. I plan to give the appearance of intelligence when I welcome these young moms into my home.

  206. James M.: “The law is not based on moral disapproval. Just because you’re blind to the obvious connection between advertising and consumption doesn’t mean it isn’t there.”

    You can’t specify your ‘legitimate objective’ because it’s so vague. Yet you can specify who you want to target first; fast food purveyors. If that’s not moral disapproval, then explain the discrepancy between your broadly stated vague interest and your incredibly specific target. You know, explain how the law passes the rational relation test.

    Furthermore, telling me I’m “blind to the obvious connection between advertising and consumption” is both false and abusive and has no place in an argument.

    James M.: “Can you imagine the absurd position McDonalds would be in if they argued that there’s no link between advertising and consumption? They spend more than three quarters of a BILLION dollars every year on advertising. Why would they do that if they really thought it didn’t directly lead to increased sales?”

    That’s your non sequitor premise being reduced to absurdity. The LEGAL question is whether the law is rationally related to a legitimate state interest. Talking about a “link between advertising and consumption” addresses nothing.

    Bob,Esq.: And when exactly did the general welfare clause become a grant of power? It’s a condition on the taxing power; not an independent source of power that you can appeal to while legislating the body politic to the extreme right or left.

    James M.: “This isn’t the federal government (who could do the same thing through the commerce clause). States have police powers which let them . . . *drumroll* . . . legislate for the general welfare, health, and safety! I don’t know anything about how California organizes its cities, so I can’t complete the argument that SF has been delegated the relevant police powers, but your argument is completely misguided because this is not the federal government which is acting.”

    While you do raise a cogent point about states powers, my argument was addressed to Buddha’s remarks which invoked the Fed constitution and thus was not misguided.

    Nonetheless, under the incorporation doctrine, the state laws must pass muster under the 5th and 14th amendments to the fed constitution as well; rendering your objection above moot.

  207. Blouise,

    To the extent that the council can reassure all parties involved that the state will not ‘invade their personal space’ with nonsensical legislation like a Happy Meal law, then so much the better.

  208. “1) harms it recites are real

    I’m not going to argue the medical evidence against a high fat/sugar/salt diet and I don’t think you would either. I’ll mark that “stipulated” but feel free to object.”

    I’ll stipulate to a lot of things, but that doesn’t make them harmful. A regular diet that is high in fat, sugar, and salt, may be harmful, but that doesn’t mean that occasional/reasonable use of the products is harmful. (Notice I didn’t say “intended”. That has yet to be established. Common sense would dictate that abuse is not the intended use.) The harm would only occur if the product is abused. The child, in almost all scenarios, lacks the ability to make the purchase. Therefore, the child is not the consumer. The commercial encourages the child to become a secondary advertiser. Even if the child is unwittingly (due to diminished capacity), drawn into that role, the purchasing power, and ultimately the responsibility, still lies with the parent. Hence, it is not the product or the marketing that is directly responsible for the child’s poor eating habits, which contribute to obesity; it is the parent or guardian.

    The risks (as you point out), high fat, sugar and salt, are known. It is the parent or guardian, not the child, who provides the child with the product. It is also the parent who permits the abuse of the product. Even the Framers recognized that he who controls the purse ultimately controls the power.

    Further, the commercial speech does not (from the commercials that I have viewed) recommend one product (the unhealthy one) over the other (the unhealthy one). That is left to the discretion of the parent. As long as the nutritional value of the meal is made readily available to the parent, the choice of what meal is purchased must be reasonable accepted to be the choice of the parent.

    “2) and that its restriction will in fact alleviate them to a material degree.”

    The material degree must be able to be established without assistance, or at the very least be necessary to achieve the objective. Is the impairment of commercial speech necessary to achieve the city’s objective? If so, it should be able to be demonstrated. By itself, the ban cannot be seen to accomplish anything more than reduce the inclination of the child to act as a secondary advertiser for the product.

    “Material is a matter of degree and efficacy solely by removing the advertising is a moot point since the state can provide evidence that it also has other programs in place to combat obesity in combination with policies like the testing of anti-obesity programs by Stanford Stanford’s Girls’ Health Enrichment Multisite Studies and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger push to fund and cooperate with DHS in a comprehensive anti-obesity initiative that is also underway (for starters but I’m sure there are more examples as well of state sponsored health initiatives that could be rolled into this argument).”

    I don’t have a problem with the state promoting a healthy lifestyle.

    How many unhealthy Happy Meals does the child need to consume before they can be identified as a significant contributor to poor health? Once a month? Once a week? Three times a week? Has the city/state attempted to inform parents as to the frequency in which consumption would present a health hazard?

    Doe anyone know the disposition of Pelman v. McDonalds? Last I heard was that class action certification was denied, but the lower court didn’t seem inclined to hold McDonald’s liable.

  209. “We don’t want the damn government telling us what we may and may feed our kids and whether or not a toy can come with that food. If McDonald’s wants to put a toy in the meal and we, the consumers, want a toy with the meal, they, the government, can just butt out! Would you be willing to sign our petition?”

    *******************

    One wonders why they fight so hard to ensure that their kids are subjected to all manner of corporate manipulation that works a direct detriment to their kids’ health. They fail to see any kind of totalitarianism except the political kind, when a similar threat is corporate oligarchy. In their demand for political freedom, they have become corporate stooges. They remind me of petulant children demanding “what we want, when we want it, because we want it” — the risk be damned. Have it your own way and were I a member of the Town Council I’d give ’em their way too. There is no dealing with crazies who can vote. Ask the Repubs.

  210. BBB,

    I call it bad parenting. The disagreement was about the motivation, not the result.

    Blouise,

    Don’t tell me I need to give you the “I choose my words carefully” speech.

    “All you do by insisting otherwise is come across as self righteous…”

    If I wanted to call you self righteous I would have saved myself the work of typing a good half of that phrase.

  211. Disagree with the breadth of application of the Commerce Clause or not, you cannot deny that very breadth in appliaction.

    We will be disagreeing on this issue.

    Considering how many subjects we have agreed upon in the past, it was bound to happen sooner or later.

  212. Mespo: “One wonders why they fight so hard to ensure that their kids are subjected to all manner of corporate manipulation that works a direct detriment to their kids’ health. They fail to see any kind of totalitarianism except the political kind, when a similar threat is corporate oligarchy. In their demand for political freedom, they have become corporate stooges. They remind me of petulant children demanding “what we want, when we want it, because we want it” — the risk be damned.”

    There you go again. If you were able to establish a rational relation between Happy Meals/Happy Meal advertising and your allusions to ‘a direct detriment to their kids’ health’ we wouldn’t have a problem.

    But alas, you somehow remain smug knowing full well your law fails the rational relation test.

  213. Buddha,

    Even laws that rely on the commerce clause are subject to the rational relation test.

    But agreeing to disagree is fine by me.

  214. Mespo,

    I usually have a lot of respect for your opinions. This is definitely not one of those times.

    “One wonders why they fight so hard to ensure that their kids are subjected to all manner of corporate manipulation that works a direct detriment to their kids’ health.”

    Who invited them in? I’d have to say you (the parent). You did so when you permitted your child to watch commercial television. Then you (you again) drove them to McDonalds, and then you purchased the item (that you consider objectionable due to health risks of which you are aware) for them. I see an awful lot of you(s) here; any one of which should have caused you to exercise your discretionary power to eliminate “them” (the corporate influence).

    In the past you may have had an excuse. At present, you are aware of the commercial influence and the associated risk of frequent consumption. If you decide to ignore that information (for whatever reason) the blame for any subsequent harm associated should be placed on you.

    If you received a citation for excessive speed; how do you think it would play out when you told the judge that your kid had been watching “Speed Racer”, and that while knowing full-well that it would encourage your child to want to go faster, you let him watch it. And then while in the car, your kid started screaming that he wanted to go faster, so you did? Do you think the judge would be any more sympathetic there than I am being here? Or do you think the judge would give you a lecture on accepting personal responsibility? I have yet to see “the child made me do it, because the corporate influence caused him to tell me what to do” as a successful affirmative defense.

  215. Bob,Esq.:

    The argument is extremely straight forward, but I will humor you, and spell it out:

    Overall Objective: Reduce the incidence of obesity

    Current Objective: Reduce the future incidence of obesity among children

    Goal: Reduce the incidence of children craving, asking for, and eating unhealthy fast food, which is high in calories and known to contribute to obesity.

    Mechanism: Stop fast food restaurants from including toys with unhealthy meals.

    Why will that help? Fast food restaurants spend billions of dollars a year on advertising, often using toy “tie-ins” to major movie franchises. Stopping the toys from being included in unhealthy meals is designed to do either of two things: (1) stop children from requesting fast food specifically to receive the toy, or (2) to encourage them to request a healthy meal at the fast food restaurant, so that they can receive the advertised toy. Doing so will have the immediate effect of reducing the number of calories children consume at fast food restaurants and the hoped for byproduct of instilling healthier habits in them later in life.

    Now, since I’ve answered you, will you please show me the same respect and answer this question:

    How does restricting this form of fast food advertising differ from restricting advertising for cigarettes?

    I’ll also throw in, based on some of your previous comments, that we ban TV advertisements for cigarettes, but not print ones, which belies your insistence on an all or nothing approach.

  216. BBB,

    You did so when you permitted your child to watch commercial television.

    So we can’t regulate the advertising on TV because by watching TV we’ve agreed to let advertisers try to sell us on unhealthy lifestyles? Our only option is to never watch TV if we think that type of advertising is contributing to a major health crisis in the country?

  217. BBB:

    “I usually have a lot of respect for your opinions. This is definitely not one of those times.”

    **************************

    Well, not even Babe Ruth batted .1000.

    This momma’s revolt is the hazard of direct democracy. Upset folks with very little training or experience leaning on small town government to pass a law to prevent a law, and all of it based on some unformed, nebulous attitude that the government is somehow pushing them around. Oh, not their own government, mind you, but someone eles’s 3000 miles away.

    Ours is a republican form of government wherein we rely on the judgment and experience of elected officials aided by competent staff to handle law making functions. This “popular uprising” to insure that San Francisco-style laws don’t take effect in their jurisdiction (by popular fiat mind you) is the craziest thing I’ve seen.

    Call me crazy too, because I don’t think parents have an unfettered right to have manipulative advertising thrust upon their kids to encourage poor eating habits that will inevitably lead to poor health and more burden on the public exchequer. Exploding health care costs are everyone’s business and, as we’ve said, ad nauseum, the Bill of Rights is not a suicide pact. It takes some folks longer to realize this than others.

    The fundamental virtue of democracy is that everyone has a vote; the fundamental flaw of democracy is that everyone has a vote.

  218. mespo,

    Sean over on the polygamy thread has a vote that counts just as much as mine. That’s a real kick in the ass.

  219. Bob,Esq.:

    “There you go again. If you were able to establish a rational relation between Happy Meals/Happy Meal advertising and your allusions to ‘a direct detriment to their kids’ health’ we wouldn’t have a problem.”

    ****************

    I’ve already provided research demonstrating the hazards of advertising to children. The harm of fat laden, fast foods to children’s health seems axiomatic but is supported here with research:

    http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/113/1/112

    and here:

    http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/113/1/132

    The Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity has its report on the very issue you describe here:

    http://www.fastfoodmarketing.org/researchers.aspx

  220. James M.,

    “So we can’t regulate the advertising on TV because by watching TV we’ve agreed to let advertisers try to sell us on unhealthy lifestyles?”

    For the most part, Yes.

    Advertising (commercial speech) on TV is regulated. However, there are limits to which commercial speech can be regulated/restricted. While not to the degree of which individual speech is protected, commercial speech is nonetheless protected.

    “Our only option is to never watch TV if we think that type of advertising is contributing to a major health crisis in the country?”

    If the programming or advertisements present information which you find to be objectionable, you have the choice to turn it off, change the channel, use your DVR at skip the commercials, or pop in a video.

    The watching of TV is probably the largest contributor to the obesity problem in this country; regardless of programming or commercial content. As bdaman pointed out, the second may very well be growth hormones.

    At what frequency of ingestion does the most unhealthy Happy Meal become a significant health hazard for children ages 2-7?

  221. James M.: “Overall Objective: Reduce the incidence of obesity.”

    And this is a legitimate state interest how? Obesity is the result of the individual’s lack of virtue. Show me how the state is empowered to enforce a duty of virtue as if it were a duty of right without engaging in tyranny.

    James M.: “Current Objective: Reduce the future incidence of obesity among children”

    You’ve just changed your allegedly legitimate state interest.

    James M. “Goal: Reduce the incidence of children craving, asking for, and eating unhealthy fast food, which is high in calories and known to contribute to obesity.”

    You just did it again. Do you even know what the rational relation test is? So far you’ve blurred your allegedly legitimate state interest by offering three different versions.

    What you’re trying to say is that the state has a legitimate interest in reducing the incidence of childhood obesity.

    Assuming the interest is legitimate, i.e. ignoring all four corners of the social contract, you now say that your law banning the advertising (and in the case of SF, banning the sale) of fast food meals for kids that include toys (aka Happy Meals) is rationally related to the furtherance of said interest.

    To use your words, how is stopping “fast food restaurants from including toys with [fast food] meals” rationally related to your alleged legitimate objective?

    A quick wiki-overview of the causes of childhood obesity includes the following:

    * 3.1 Dietary
    * 3.2 Sedentary lifestyle
    * 3.3 Genetics
    * 3.4 Home environment
    * 3.5 Developmental factors
    * 3.6 Medical illness
    * 3.7 Psychological factors

    Again, explain the discrepancy between your broadly stated vague interest and your incredibly specific target. You’re doing nothing but expressing a moral disapproval of fast food in particular; and as such your law is not rationally related to your extremely broadly defined state interest.

    Once again: “Just as “moral disapproval is [not] a legitimate state interest to justify by itself a statute that bans homosexual sodomy, but not heterosexual sodomy” (Lawrence v. Texas) so too that moral disapproval of fast food using toys to market their food of questionable nutritional value while failing to punish other food vendors using the same tactics to peddle their brand of allegedly ‘childhood obesity inducing fare’ is not a legitimate state interest.”

    If the Court accepted your brand of reasoning in this case, what’s to stop the state of Texas from making the (inane) argument that it has a legitimate interest in stopping the spread of HIV and since HIV is spread via sodomy then the state has a legitimate interest in (‘currently’) criminalizing homosexual sodomy?

    That’s the skeletal pattern of your argument. There is no more rational relation between curbing childhood obesity by banning the advertising (or sale) of Happy Meals than there is between stopping the spread of HIV by criminalizing homosexual sodomy.

    James M.: How does restricting this form of fast food advertising differ from restricting advertising for cigarettes?

    Cigarettes, unlike fast food meals, are inherently dangerous products. There is a direct link between the product in itself and the harms caused; e.g. emphysema, lung cancer, etc.

    The inherent danger of the product itself satisfies the rational relation test.

  222. Mespo: “One wonders why they fight so hard to ensure that their kids are subjected to all manner of corporate manipulation that works a direct detriment to their kids’ health. They fail to see any kind of totalitarianism except the political kind, when a similar threat is corporate oligarchy. In their demand for political freedom, they have become corporate stooges.”

    Speaking of corporate stooges, tell me again how corporations left the state of nature and formed a social compact; retaining their unfettered right of political speech.

  223. “Well, not even Babe Ruth batted .1000.”

    Though most fans would have liked to see him do so. :)

    “This momma’s revolt is the hazard of direct democracy. Upset folks with very little training or experience leaning on small town government to pass a law to prevent a law, and all of it based on some unformed, nebulous attitude that the government is somehow pushing them around. Oh, not their own government, mind you, but someone eles’s 3000 miles away.”

    “The best defense against usurpatory government is an assertive citizenry.” —William F. Buckley

    Last I checked, it was just as difficult to repeal a law as it was to enact it in the first place. I have no problem with an assertive citizenry. A collective voice is always more effectively heard than that of an individual.

    You call them “uninformed”. Then I think it only fair to present you with the same question that I submitted to James M.: At what frequency of ingestion does the most unhealthy Happy Meal become a significant health hazard for children ages 2-7?

    Lest we forget this old adage: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” ~Ben Franklin

    “Ours is a republican form of government wherein we rely on the judgment and experience of elected officials aided by competent staff to handle law making functions.”

    With all due respect; That’s a load of crap. Our elected officials, more often than not, are aided more by special interest groups, funded by those who have discovered a new way to make a buck, than anything else. The voice with money too often drowns out the voice of the electorate.

    “This “popular uprising” to insure that San Francisco-style laws don’t take effect in their jurisdiction (by popular fiat mind you) is the craziest thing I’ve seen.”

    You mean like a New Jersey judge relying Sharia Law? God forbid the good citizens take an active role in the form of prevention instead using their hard earned money to battle it out in court.

    “Call me crazy too, because I don’t think parents have an unfettered right to have manipulative advertising thrust upon their kids to encourage poor eating habits that will inevitably lead to poor health and more burden on the public exchequer.”

    It’s called the “OFF” button. Even when I was a child, my parents controlled what I watched. If I didn’t like what the babysitter is teaching my children, I’d fire the babysitter.

    “Exploding health care costs are everyone’s business and, as we’ve said, ad nauseum, the Bill of Rights is not a suicide pact. It takes some folks longer to realize this than others.”

    Funny you should choose “the Bill of Rights is not a suicide pact” instead of “The Constitution is not a suicide pact” as it has most often been attributed to Lincoln instead of Justice Robert H. Jackson, who, coincidentally used it in his dissenting opinion in a free speech case. The commercials you dislike do not, IMO, suggest abuse, but encourage use. It is a parent who fails their child by permitting abuse.

  224. “One wonders why they fight so hard to ensure that their kids are subjected to all manner of corporate manipulation that works a direct detriment to their kids’ health. They fail to see any kind of totalitarianism except the political kind, when a similar threat is corporate oligarchy. In their demand for political freedom, they have become corporate stooges. They remind me of petulant children demanding “what we want, when we want it, because we want it” — the risk be damned. Have it your own way and were I a member of the Town Council I’d give ‘em their way too. There is no dealing with crazies who can vote. Ask the Repubs.” (mespo)

    =========================================================

    You are insightful … I didn’t need to tell you that the greater majority of registered voters in my small town are republican.

    I will impart my newfound information on marketing to children but I don’t expect to have much impact … however, you and Buddha caused me to sit back and think so perhaps I might be able to give pause to at least one of the moms.

    These are good people and some of their “start-up” groups have brought good to the community … they managed to create a park that remains a “nature preserve” of sorts and saved a couple of historic sites.

    But I suspect this particular action will result in little more than just talk. However, I’m not going to state that with 100% assurance … this is an activist kind of place.

  225. Bob,Esq.,

    (1) I was stepping you through the logic, from broadest goal, to most narrow goal. I wasn’t “changing” my state interest, but showing you the logic from the huge, macro goal to the practical step the legislation tries to take. That’s how things work in the real world, where you are tackling a small part of a large problem.

    (2) Yes, I know what the rational basis test is. Do you? I don’t know what kind of test you think you’re applying, but just chanting “No connection, no connection, no connection” in the face of contrary evidence is not one I’m familiar with. Most lawyers look on rational basis as a rubber stamp because it’s very easy for the government to satisfy.

    (3) State police powers allow for laws that benefit the public health. Obesity is a public health issue. QED, the state can attempt to reduce obesity. I object strongly to your characterization of obesity as a “lack of virtue” and attempts to combat it as engaging in tyranny. Your comments are ill-founded, scientifically unsound, and ignorant.

    (4) You completely ignored the critical paragraph of my reply (titled “Why will that help?”) which gives you the explanation you’ve been demanding, and which you apparently refused to even glance at.

    To wit: “Stopping the toys from being included in unhealthy meals is designed to do either of two things: (1) stop children from requesting fast food specifically to receive the toy, or (2) to encourage them to request a healthy meal at the fast food restaurant, so that they can receive the advertised toy. Doing so will have the immediate effect of reducing the number of calories children consume at fast food restaurants and the hoped for byproduct of instilling healthier habits in them later in life.”

    I have no interest in getting into the type of thousand post argument that you and Slarti seem to enjoy, so I’m not going to drag this out much longer. I had hoped that since I took the time to give you the explanation you wanted, you could ease up a little and discuss it in a civil tone.

  226. Cigarettes, unlike fast food meals, are inherently dangerous products. There is a direct link between the product in itself and the harms caused; e.g. emphysema, lung cancer, etc.

    There’s also a direct link between regular consumption of fast food and obesity.

  227. James M.: State police powers allow for laws that benefit the public health. Obesity is a public health issue. QED, the state can attempt to reduce obesity.

    Genius.

    James M.: I object strongly to your characterization of obesity as a “lack of virtue” and attempts to combat it as engaging in tyranny. Your comments are ill-founded, scientifically unsound, and ignorant.

    Really.

    “All duties are either duties of right, that is, juridical duties (officia juris), or duties of virtue, that is, ethical duties (officia virtutis s. ethica). Juridical duties are such as may be promulgated by external legislation; ethical duties are those for which such legislation is not possible. The reason why the latter cannot be properly made the subject of external legislation is because they relate to an end or final purpose, which is itself, at the same time, embraced in these duties, and which it is a duty for the individual to have as such. But no external legislation can cause any one to adopt a particular intention, or to propose to himself a certain purpose; for this depends upon an internal condition or act of the mind itself. However, external actions conducive to such a mental condition may be commanded, without its being implied that the individual will of necessity make them an end to himself.”

    http://www.constitution.org/kant/ntrometa.htm

    James, since fast food is just one factor in the incredibly larger equation that is childhood obesity, you have offered no reason for targeting fast food restaurants other than your own moral disapproval of them.

    Prohibiting fast food restaurants from using toys to market their food while failing to punish other food vendors using the same tactics to peddle their brand of allegedly ‘childhood obesity inducing fare’ is not a legitimate state interest.”

    That’s not an ‘all or nothing’ approach; that’s due process and equal protection.

  228. James M.: “There’s also a direct link between regular consumption of fast food and obesity.”

    And what of the regular consumption of cookies and sugary breakfast cereal pimped out by cartoon characters?

    And what of the video games children sit for hours playing while stuffing their faces?

    Unlike cigarettes, fast food is not the prime cause of any harm you’re allegedly addressing.

  229. “With all due respect; That’s a load of crap. Our elected officials, more often than not, are aided more by special interest groups, funded by those who have discovered a new way to make a buck, than anything else. The voice with money too often drowns out the voice of the electorate.”

    ************

    Interest groups or factions are nothing new as a casual stroll through Federalist 10 will confirm. Madison certainly thought we had a republican form of government.

  230. James M.,

    “There’s also a direct link between regular consumption of fast food and obesity.”

    Regularly eating fast food, may increase the risk of obesity, However, it is not a cause of obesity. That means that you could eat fast food on a regular basis and not become obese. In fact, you can even lose weight while eating fast food. This, however, requires knowledge of not only how many calories you are burning on a daily basis, but also the calories in the food that you are eating.

    Over the past 20 years, physical activity has been replaced by more time in front of computers and the television.

  231. And in case you’re wondering, when the state promulgates a law that converts a duty of virtue into a duty of right, that is a per se exercise of power beyond right which no one has a right to.

    There’s a word for that…

  232. You still haven’t addressed the paragraph where I lay out the link. The difference between gaining and maintaining or losing weight is often just a few hundred calories a day. Cutting out three or four hundred calories from fast food once a week could make real differences in children’s lives. Picking the healthy meal so they get the Pixar or Disney toy could make that difference.

    Perhaps I just overlooked the article in the constitution that incorporates Kantian ethics and the social contract.

    I don’t have moral disapproval of fast food restaurants, so I don’t know why you keep attributing that to me. Your Lawrence v. Texas analogy is ridiculous.

    I think leaving the conversation at me being fine with this as a first step and you thinking that it’s somehow a due process or EP violation is fine. At this point it would come down to a factual issue on whether or not there is a link.

  233. Mespo: “Interest groups or factions are nothing new as a casual stroll through Federalist 10 will confirm. Madison certainly thought we had a republican form of government.”

    And a casual stroll through Federalist 84 tells you where you can stuff your paternalistic legislation.

  234. Bob,Esq:

    “Speaking of corporate stooges, tell me again how corporations left the state of nature and formed a social compact; retaining their unfettered right of political speech.”

    *****************

    Of course, they didn’t. We made them. Now, they make us because we allow them to be masks for individual or small group avarice. There’s reason we call it “piercing the corporate veil.” Considering them worthy of what was once thought of a purely human rights, allows them to place distance between their greedy ownership and the perpetrator of the mischief needed to satisfy the greed. No body’s at fault, you see. Corporations are now our version of prostitutes to greed pimping for the institutional and large stockholder interests.

  235. Bob,Esq.:

    “And a casual stroll through Federalist 84 tells you where you can stuff your paternalistic legislation.”

    **********************

    As I and a few others have noted you’ve become increasingly bellicose and provocative when challenged. Your logic has likewise suffered from this infusion of unneeded emotional overlay. He who throws dirt loses ground–especially around here with the regulars.

  236. BBB:

    You’ve fallen prey to the false dichotomy fallacy. It’s not either the parents job or the government’s job, it’s both. Promoting the general welfare is still the realm of governmental prerogative. Specific welfare belongs to the parents alone.

  237. James M.: “You still haven’t addressed the paragraph where I lay out the link. The difference between gaining and maintaining or losing weight is often just a few hundred calories a day. Cutting out three or four hundred calories from fast food once a week could make real differences in children’s lives. Picking the healthy meal so they get the Pixar or Disney toy could make that difference.”

    Once again, I addressed your argument in toto; not the minute portion you ‘currently’ want to target. Look at all the assumptions have to make just to get your desired result. Why do all the other contributors to childhood obesity get a free ride?

    James M.: Perhaps I just overlooked the article in the constitution that incorporates Kantian ethics and the social contract.

    Perhaps its due in no small part to you overlooking the social contract in furtherance of your ‘health agenda.’ Perhaps you should also review Fed 84 before you get any more cocky about this incredible power you think you yield.

    James M.: I don’t have moral disapproval of fast food restaurants, so I don’t know why you keep attributing that to me. Your Lawrence v. Texas analogy is ridiculous.”

    Given that you’ve provided no logical foundation for singling out fast food among ALL the other contributing factors to childhood obesity, your moral disapproval of fast food is all that’s left. Further, your capricious application of law to achieve your alleged legitimate interest is EXACTLY the same form of argument peddled by Texas in Lawrence.

    James M.: I think leaving the conversation at me being fine with this as a first step and you thinking that it’s somehow a due process or EP violation is fine. At this point it would come down to a factual issue on whether or not there is a link.”

    You can link teaspoons of sugar to childhood obesity…

    Great.

  238. Mespo,

    Citing Fed 84 in the face of paternalism is bellicose?

    Pardon me for channeling the ghost of Alexander Hamilton.

  239. BBB:

    “At what frequency of ingestion does the most unhealthy Happy Meal become a significant health hazard for children ages 2-7?”

    *******************

    According to Rudd:

    “Eighty-four percent of parents reported taking their child to a fast food restaurant at least once a week; 66% reported going to McDonald’s in the past week.

    Forty percent of parents reported that their child asks to go to McDonald’s at least once a week; 15% of preschoolers ask to go every day.”

    Given the extent of the problem, it appears that taking them no more than once per week is problematic for their health even if the universe of food choices includes both healthy and unhealthy choices when they get there.

  240. Bob,Esq.,

    Your whole objection is that there isn’t a link. You can’t ignore the part of my argument where I argue what the link is. Doing so and claiming you are responding “in toto” amounts to a blanket “Nuh-uh!”

    I’m past the point where I’m interested in discussing it with you, so let’s just drop it.

  241. The issue, in the commercial speech analysis and the rational relation test is not whether you can show a link, but “whether the ‘restriction’ will in fact alleviate [the alleged harms] to a material degree.”

    Having defined the alleged harm so globally, an arbitrary micro-cosmic restriction can hardly be said to be rationally related to achieving the globally defined interest.

  242. Mespo,

    By the way, bravo on avoiding every substantive argument I’ve made by simply labeling me as illogical.

    Classy.

  243. Bob,Esq.:

    Funny this comes up in the context of an advertising debate, since, after all, Hamilton’s purpose in Fed 84 was a classic “sell job.*” Being an ardent strong central government supporter, Hamilton feared a Bill of Rights. At the time of the writing of the essay, the Convention had voted down such amendments. Now Hamilton was faced with a dilemma, how does one sell limited government without specific limitations (which,of course, suited Hamilton quite well). The answer is obvious. Tell the New Yorkers that the entire document is a “Bill of Rights,” and they are protected because no where does the Constitution say that the new government may pass ex post facto laws, pass bills of attainder, suspend Habeas Corpus, etc. In fact, he reasoned they are already prohibited because the Constitution never had the power to promulgate these things or any other usurpation of liberty.

    Jefferson, Madison, and Mason, as lawyers and logicians, knew better. If a document prohibits an entity from doing something, it follows that it had the power to do so in the first place. Why else would you prohibit the specifics unless it possessed the power generally to issue them? That is why the Bill of Rights was necessary, because those lawyers knew that what is not prohibited specifically to the federal government is permitted generally.

    Fed 84 is bad legal analysis, but good salesmanship that went for naught as Madison et als tacked on the pesky 10 anyway.

    *Like most salesmen he wouldn’t even call it what is was — a plea to pass the Constitution without its key feature — but rather disarmingly referred to it as, “Certain General and Miscellaneous Objections to the Constitution Considered and Answered.”

  244. Bob, Esq.

    “By the way, bravo on avoiding every substantive argument I’ve made by simply labeling me as illogical.

    Classy.”

    **********************

    Thank you Bob, but your definition of “substantive” and mine sorely differ. I limit my definition to relevant assertions. Citing Kant in the context of a prohibition on advertising seems silly to me.

  245. Mespo,

    “Forty percent of parents reported that their child asks to go to McDonald’s at least once a week; 15% of preschoolers ask to go every day.”

    I think they lied. My experience tells me that kids will request fast food more than once a week. Parents ask children “What do you want for dinner”. The most common response is “McDonalds”.

    Did the study say how many wanted the unhealthy meal vs. the healthy meal? Upon arrival the parents usually ask (unless they know their child doesn’t like one or the other) “Do you want a hamburger or chicken?” (most commonly referred to as “ticken”.) :)

    “Given the extent of the problem, it appears that taking them no more than once per week is problematic for their health even if the universe of food choices includes both healthy and unhealthy choices when they get there.”

    I think the unhealthy meal is being made the scapegoat. I think frequency and home diet, when combined with abundant sedentary time has the greatest effect.

  246. I consider reliance on any Federalist Paper after #77 to be useless.

    Madison stated; “[a]s a guide in expounding and applying the provisions of the Constitution . . . the legitimate meaning of the Instrument must be derived from the text itself; or if a key is to be sought elsewhere, it must be not in the opinions or intentions of the Body which planned & proposed the Constitution, but in the sense attached to it by the people in their respective State Conventions where it received all the authority which it possesses” (Farrand, IV, 447-48)

    Federalist 78 wasn’t published until June 14, 1788. By that time, all but three states had ratified the Constitution.

  247. BBB,

    I’ll take a study that supports any of your response to Mespo’s citations.

    “In my experience” isn’t really a good way to refute scientific studies.

  248. Gyges,

    Could you be a little more specific? i.e. point out a specific instance in which Mespo provided a citation, and you found my response to be inadequate because it was not accompanied by supporting evidence.

  249. Mespo: “Jefferson, Madison, and Mason, as lawyers and logicians, knew better. If a document prohibits an entity from doing something, it follows that it had the power to do so in the first place. Why else would you prohibit the specifics unless it possessed the power generally to issue them? That is why the Bill of Rights was necessary, because those lawyers knew that what is not prohibited specifically to the federal government is permitted generally.”

    So you’re saying that Hamilton was wrong when he wrote:

    “I go further, and affirm that bills of rights, in the sense and to the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed Constitution, but would even be dangerous. They would contain various exceptions to powers not granted; and, on this very account, would afford a colorable pretext to claim more than were granted. For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? Why, for instance, should it be said that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed? I will not contend that such a provision would confer a regulating power; but it is evident that it would furnish, to men disposed to usurp, a plausible pretense for claiming that power. They might urge with a semblance of reason, that the Constitution ought not to be charged with the absurdity of providing against the abuse of an authority which was not given, and that the provision against restraining the liberty of the press afforded a clear implication, that a power to prescribe proper regulations concerning it was intended to be vested in the national government. This may serve as a specimen of the numerous handles which would be given to the doctrine of constructive powers, by the indulgence of an injudicious zeal for bills of rights.” Fed 84

    And you’re saying that Madison knew Hamilton was wrong when he said in reference to the foregoing that:

    “It has been objected also against a bill of rights, that, by enumerating particular exceptions to the grant of power, it would disparage those rights which were not placed in that enumeration; and it might follow by implication, that those rights which were not singled out, were intended to be assigned into the hands of the General Government, and were consequently insecure. This is one of the most plausible arguments I have ever heard urged against the admission of a bill of rights into this system; but, I conceive, that it may be guarded against. I have attempted it, as gentlemen may see by turning to the last clause of the fourth resolution [the Ninth Amendment].”
    James Madison, House of Representatives, 8 June 1789, Annals 1:439

    Mespo: “If a document prohibits an entity from doing something, it follows that it had the power to do so in the first place. Why else would you prohibit the specifics unless it possessed the power generally to issue them?”

    So contradictory to what Hamilton and Madison were discussing above, you contend that the power of the document confers rights in lieu of rights conferring power. Fascinating. So according to you there is no social compact; and for that matter, we are not Citizens of the United States but Property Of The United States.

    Mespo: “Fed 84 is bad legal analysis”

    If this is your idea of a joke; it’s not funny at all.

  250. Mespo: “Thank you Bob, but your definition of “substantive” and mine sorely differ. I limit my definition to relevant assertions. Citing Kant in the context of a prohibition on advertising seems silly to me.”

    Yeah; that’s all I did.

  251. Bob Esq:

    now you are talking, that is exactly how Mespo727272 and Buddha is Laughing view the citizens of the US. They may not understand it as such but that is the logical extension of what I have seen written by them on this blog. And many others for that matter.

  252. Lurker,

    While everyone is entitled to form their own opinion of others, I think you are arrived at a rather extreme conclusion based on extremely limited evidence.

    You would not be the first to rush to judgment after seeing what someone writes on a blog. However, it has been my experience, that most people who take the time to share their thoughts do so because they care for their fellow citizens. This becomes even more evident when you consider that they are doing so for free.

  253. “Given the extent of the problem, it appears that taking them no more than once per week is problematic for their health even if the universe of food choices includes both healthy and unhealthy choices when they get there.” (mespo)

    I knew this back in 1979 which was long before any studies were published … sometimes I’m so damned smart it scares me … though I seem to get dumber as I age …

  254. Mespo,

    “Hamilton’s purpose in Fed 84 was a classic “sell job.*”” … that entire discourse on 84 was worth the price of this entire thread … thank you

  255. Mespo,

    “Hamilton’s purpose in Fed 84 was a classic “sell job.*”” … that entire discourse on 84 was worth the price of this entire thread … thank you
    ================================================

    And I also thank Bob,Esq.

  256. BBB:

    maybe so, but certain actions have certain outcomes. And certain ideas have certain outcomes in reality.

    Actions, at least in the political realm, based on ideas have outcomes that are either malignant or beneficent. Just as we see on this thread with the 2 camps, one willing to ban advertising and one in opposition to that ban.

    What is the end result of said ban? Is it a less restrictive state or a more restrictive state? What is the natural state for human beings? Is it freedom or bondage?

    Which ideas increase what is good and which ideas increase what is bad?

    There are some things the government has no business being involved with and which lead to more control over our lives. We give up some control, as Bob Esq. mentions, because of the social compact but the social compact is not a license for tyranny by those we allow to govern over our affairs.

    There are some people in this world who seek power for the sake of power over others, they are not good people. They do not have the best interest of their fellow citizens at heart.

    I am not saying that mespo727272 and Buddha is Laughing are bad people just that some of their ideas would lead to tyranny if taken to their logical conclusion. They probably havent even thought about where those ideas would lead.

  257. “I am not saying that mespo727272 and Buddha is Laughing are bad people just that some of their ideas would lead to tyranny if taken to their logical conclusion. They probably havent even thought about where those ideas would lead.”

    That would be incorrect, both about application and forethought. Letting companies do whatever the Hell they want without restriction is fascist tyranny but you keep on dreaming that because it’s a business, they are looking out for societies best interests when their only motive is profit. Government and business are NOT the same nor do they have the same operating parameters. The function of business is profit. The function of government is manifold but all geared (when not under the influence of graft) toward the common goods of social stability (through laws and building of infrastructure) and justice (that thing corporations are ever seeking to a avoid – the liability of taking responsibility for their actions).

    I haven’t thought about where censoring commercial speech leads? It leads to a world where corporations are put back in their proper place: as legal fictions meant to be a tool for business development by providing limited liability, not an absolute shield from criminal and civil liability – which is what they have become. And it will only get worse under Citizen’s United as corporations get more and more rights formerly reserved to natural people. Giving corporations extended personality that turns their proper function into a social liability or superior personality as compared to citizens is an abomination before the Constitution and the DOI no matter what those fascist asshats Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas and Kennedy have to say.

    Yeah, there’s some monkeys around here who haven’t thought restricting commercial speech through alright, but it sure as Hell isn’t me or mespo.

  258. Buddha: “And it will only get worse under Citizen’s United as corporations get more and more rights formerly reserved to natural people. … Yeah, there’s some monkeys around here who haven’t thought restricting commercial speech through alright, but it sure as Hell isn’t me or mespo.”

    Not for nothing, but you and Mespo are on opposite sides of the Citizen’s United issue. Mespo’s broken some new ground in re-writing the social compact (in furtherance of that view); unless that last post of his regarding Fed 84 was just his idea of a joke.

  259. If we’re lucky, bdaman. The recent trend of mass food poisonings in this country stem from the FDA being 1) out of date structurally for efficiency [especially on the drug approval end], 2) being under-staffed on inspectors and 3) lobbyists ever getting their customers exemptions from inspections or the number of inspections required reduced.

    The best thing to improve food and drug safety would be to split the organization into discrete organizations, one for food safety, one for drug safety. The missions of both those functions of the FDA has grown in complexity since their formation, meriting separation as a matter of reducing their organizational complexity (efficiency through simplification of processes and refocusing of scope(s)), and the restoration and proper funding of food inspectors to enable them to do their job: making sure food processors and manufacturers aren’t going to kill citizens through negligence or from cutting corners.

    Food safety is a very valid state interest as is drug safety. Being against improving the FDA is not only corporatist and against your best interests as a citizen, it’s manifestly stupid.

  260. Bob,

    mespo and I have differing opinions and ideas on lots of subjects. I have it on good authority we’ve both been individuals our entire lives.

  261. Except for that brief time in the 70’s where I had Rosie Greir’s head sewn onto my shoulder.

    Other than that, we’ve both been individuals our entire lives.

  262. BIL,

    Are you sure you aren’t permitting your expressed hatred of corporations to cloud your judgment?

    When I see Citizens United (a corporate speech case) brought up in a discussion about commercial speech (which could involve anything from a sole proprietorship to a multinational conglomerate), it gives me reason to consider your position in support of the San Francisco ban to be more of a “Take that, bitch” (specifically directed at the corporate entity) than anything else.

    I happen to think that Citizens United was correctly decided, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think corporate speech shouldn’t be limited. It just means that I don’t think our current laws operate to impose the desired restrictions.

    Consider this: An acquaintance of mine owns and operates an ice cream truck. During the summer, he drives around the neighborhoods with music playing that not only helps to announce his arrival, but also helps to attract children. I’m pretty sure that most of his fare would be considered “unhealthy”.

    Should he be told that he can’t play the music because it markets unhealthy products to children?

  263. Should he be told that he can’t play the music because it markets unhealthy products to children?

    Ultimately, yes. I don’t think it’s a top priority, however.

  264. Lurker,

    You’re really willing to stand by the premise that all political ideas lead to actions that are either categorically good, because they lead to less restriction (“freedom”), or bad, because they lead to more restriction (“bondage”)?

    Sign me up for team things-aren’t-always-black-and-white please. If that puts me with mespo and BIL, I’ll consider myself in good company.

  265. James M:

    I absolutely will stand by that statement. Can a woman be sort of pregnant?

    Would you drink water with a small amount of poison in it?

    The law in San Francisco is ridiculous as would be banning the ice cream man’s tune. If there is a decibel restriction on the books then he needs to tone it down but to protect children from a bomb pop? As John Stossel says “Give me a break”.

    All these types of laws seem to also take away some one’s rights. Like this one, it takes away the right of the company to advertise.

  266. James:

    “Nearly all commercial speech is corporate speech.”

    And who owns corporations? I believe it is individuals, shareholders, owners (in regards to a s-corp), bond holders, partners, etc.

    So ultimately a restriction on corporate speech is a restriction on individual speech.

    Individuals create these entities.

  267. Lurker,

    The criminal code is full of restrictions (“less freedom”) that any sane person would think are just dandy and conducive to a civil society. Also, how about restrictions on food safety? There’s tons of good and necessary restrictions on “freedom”.

  268. James:

    do you really think I think a restriction on murder is a bad idea or somehow restricts freedom? That is just silly.

    As far as food safety goes, I am not so sure the FDA is up to the task.

    Part of the problem is we have too many restrictions that are way beyond protecting people and cross over into limitations on personal actions. This happy meal thread is an example.

  269. Lurker,

    As I stated earlier, I agree with the holding in Citizens United, but I think our laws need to be changed in order to level the playing field. Political speech by corporations, just like trade unions, is so powerful that it has the effect of silencing the individual (or at least giving them twice the voice).

    Corporate profit should not be permitted to influence lawmakers anymore than union dues. It should be spent to improve the future of the corporation or union, or it should be divided among the shareholders and union members, at which time they (within established limits) can use it to fund a campaign (if they wish).

    I’m tired of seeing that “golden rule” (the one where he who has the most gold makes the rules) prevail. Every citizen, of voting age, should have the same ability to influence our future.

  270. BBB,

    Forgive me if this comes across wrong, but are you sure you know what the holding of Citizens United is? Or are you talking about passing a constitutional amendment? It sounded to me like the type of law you’re describing is unconstitutional under Citizens United.

  271. James M.,

    Yes. I am suggesting a constitutional amendment. As I stated earlier, I think Citizens United was correctly decided. That would mean that the current law protects that form of corporate speech. Given that interpretation of the First Amendment, the only possible method of correction would be by amendment.

  272. James:

    “Also, the restriction on murder does restrict freedom. It’s just a good restriction.”

    no, the restriction on murder does not limit freedom. The restriction on murder limits murder. Murder is not a right.

    Why is murder not a right? Why is stealing not a right?
    See my point?

  273. Buddha Is Laughing
    1, November 17, 2010 at 9:25 am
    Except for that brief time in the 70′s where I had Rosie Greir’s head sewn onto my shoulder.

    =======================================================

    Rosie Grier was a good friend of my father’s … he was constantly visiting us … thus a nostalgic moment just occurred for me.

    The original Fearsome Foursome’s Ernie Ladd introduced him to the family … you want to talk huge … Ladd was the biggest football player I ever met. My parents bought a special chair just for him.

    There were certain players we (the kids) were not allowed to be around but Mr. Ladd and Mr. Grier were always mindful of a child’s presence.

    Thanks for the moment, Buddha, … sorry for going off topic

  274. BBB: “I’m tired of seeing that “golden rule” (the one where he who has the most gold makes the rules) prevail. Every citizen, of voting age, should have the same ability to influence our future.”

    I agree absolutely; however I fail to comprehend why you think you need a constitutional amendment to achieve that end.

    Simple legislation would suffice to put things back where they were since the mid 1940’s.

  275. To all lawyers who contribute to this thread (blog):

    Last evening during a quiet time I was thinking of something BBB posted to lurker:

    “BBB
    1, November 16, 2010 at 10:30 pm
    Lurker,

    While everyone is entitled to form their own opinion of others, I think you are arrived at a rather extreme conclusion based on extremely limited evidence.

    You would not be the first to rush to judgment after seeing what someone writes on a blog. However, it has been my experience, that most people who take the time to share their thoughts do so because they care for their fellow citizens. This becomes even more evident when you consider that they are doing so for free.”

    I’m going to take a moment as a non-lawyer who has been reading your individual posts for over a year to thank each of you for the free education.

    Even when you disagree with each other and call each other names, the give and take is priceless and leads anyone, especially me, to think deeply about the subject and your individual words, premises, opinions, etc.

    This is a simple and sincere thank you … now have back at it.

  276. Clarification: While an Amendment or another Obama appointee to SCOTUS would do the trick, there is nothing to stop congress from exercising its law making power in crafting legislation that would level the political playing field in such a way as to avoid another conflict with SCOTUS.

    Example: A new law restricting the use of the legal fiction of corporate person-hood in matters relating to the electorate.

  277. James M:

    All mankind… being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions.

    John Locke

    Every man has a property in his own person. This nobody has a right to, but himself.

    John Locke

    Where does it stop? There are many products that are unhealthy. People have responsibility for what they put into their bodies.

    Your assumption is that our bodies do not belong to us so government has a “right”/”duty” to limit and control what we eat. I imagine you are for the right to die? If you are, why the dichotomy/contradiction?

  278. Lurker: “Every man has a property in his own person. This nobody has a right to, but himself.”

    Lest we forget that “as usurpation is the exercise of power, which another hath a right to; so tyranny is the exercise of power beyond right, which no body can have a right to.”

    What folks like James M. conveniently forget is that the only thing keeping this social compact from becoming purely illusory is the distinction between usurpation and tyranny.

    While I’ve been accused of being ‘silly’ by bringing up Kant’s distinction between Duties of Virtue and Duties of Right, it just so happens that his analysis adequately describes the line where the State may exercise power and where it is prohibited from doing so.

    To put it in quick property law form, Duties of Virtue are the essential sticks in the bundle of self-ownership rights (see Kaiser v. Aetna) that cannot be compelled by external legislation without the state engaging in tyranny per se.

    N.B. Citizen of; not Property of.

  279. Lurker,

    My point was that you are engaging in line drawing about when restrictions on unfettered freedom are needed (murder, property ownership), and when they are tyrannical. Quoting John Locke doesn’t change that fact. But by claiming that all restrictions on freedom are tyranny, you were bypassing the whole discussion about whether bans on advertising for unhealthy products are a good restriction or a bad one.

    Also, I am not in favor of the government controlling what is available for sale — I think that that would be a step towards tyranny. I don’t think you can honestly say the same for restrictions on advertising for foods with too many calories, and too much fat, salt, and cholesterol.

  280. Bob,Esq.,

    I look to the Constitution to determine the limits on governmental power, not Kant. I would be interested what Kant said in an abstract discussion about the proper limits of government, or about whether we should amend the constitution in some structural way. It has no weight in a discussion about the legality of a governmental action.

  281. James M:

    Murder is not a right, nor is stealing. Therefor they cannot be considered when defining freedom.

    So you think the basic right of property ownership is on par with murder?

    Please explain how you come to that conclusion.

  282. James M:

    what do you think our founders were doing when they came up with our Constitution? They were taking abstract principles/ideas and applying them to self government.

    I don’t know anything about Kant but I do know most of our founders were well educated men and relied heavily on abstract thought as well as concrete examples to come up with our system of government.

    Bob Esq is trying to explain to you that the law is first based in abstract ideas as to how men should treat other men. Thus his mentioning of Kant and Locke. The quotes I made above and the one quote that Bob Esq made could be used to govern a society.

  283. Murder is not a right, nor is stealing. Therefor they cannot be considered when defining freedom.

    Of course they can. You aren’t free to murder someone, so a limitation on murder is a part of the definition of freedom.

    Also, you’re presuming again — what defines what our rights are?

    So you think the basic right of property ownership is on par with murder?

    What?

  284. James M.,

    There’s more to analyzing the architecture of the constitution than simply holding it up and declaring what you think should be the law based on what you ‘feel’ is right.

    Clarifying the moral nature of the actions under consideration for legislation is a necessity for those showing true deference to the principles underlying the document. What was ‘self-evident’ to the founders seems to have been lost in (loose) translation by later generations. Given the parameters of our social compact, distinguishing between duties of virtue and duties of right brings the murky problem of the proper boundaries between the government and the individual into specific relief.

    Your disinclination to this line of analysis has no bearing on its constitutional relevance.

  285. Lurker,

    Which is why I said I’d be interested in a discussion about amending the Constitution. They could be used, but they aren’t in our system of laws.

  286. Bob Esq.,

    I think any legislation would be subject to the same train of thought used as the basis for the Court’s holding in Citizens United.

    How would the legislation you suggest not interfere with the Court’s holding; “If the First Amendment has any force, it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech”?

    Further, I don’t see any change happening unless it comes from a grassroots movement. Out elected representatives are just too reliant on corporate and union funding.

  287. Gyges,

    Sometimes all I have is my own opinion. Though it is based on undocumented life experience, it is and should be view as my opinion. Any weight given to my opinion would be up to the reader.

    Studies and polls are too often performed in such a way as to achieve a desired outcome. Sometimes questions are not asked, or are worded in such a way as to influence the desired response. Sometimes the answers that do not conform to the desired result are discarded so as to not appear in the resulting analysis.

    When parents were asked how often the child asks to go to McDonalds, I would be interested in knowing if that was a spontaneous request or the result of the parent asking “What do you want for dinner?”. I’d also like to know if the parent usually selected the meal for the child or if it was left up to the child.

    I looked around but was unable to find anything that would tell me which Happy Meal was the best seller over the past couple of years. I think that information should be a starting point to deciding how to approach the problem.

  288. Gyges1, November 17, 2010 at 2:33 pm
    BBB,
    http://jonathanturley.org/2010/11/12/san-francisco-bans-happy-meals-and-other-fast-food-meals-served-with-toys/#comment-174326
    Like I said “in my experience” is a poor rebuttal to a study. I agree with part of what you said, particularly the last sentence, I’d just like to see if you have anything other than your experience to justify thinking the study results are flawed.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    BBB 1.November 16, 2010 at 7:19 pm
    Mespo,
    “Forty percent of parents reported that their child asks to go to McDonald’s at least once a week; 15% of preschoolers ask to go every day.”
    I think they lied. My experience tells me that kids will request fast food more than once a week. Parents ask children “What do you want for dinner”. The most common response is “McDonalds”.
    Did the study say how many wanted the unhealthy meal vs. the healthy meal? Upon arrival the parents usually ask (unless they know their child doesn’t like one or the other) “Do you want a hamburger or chicken?” (most commonly referred to as “ticken”.)
    “Given the extent of the problem, it appears that taking them no more than once per week is problematic for their health even if the universe of food choices includes both healthy and unhealthy choices when they get there.”
    I think the unhealthy meal is being made the scapegoat. I think frequency and home diet, when combined with abundant sedentary time has the greatest effect.

    ***********************************************

    Gyges expresses the opinion that BBB’s experience without a study to back it up is poor rebuttal to a study. Yet experience is the basis of BBB’s opinion that the study may be flawed. However, in Gyges’ opinion, in order for BBB to use experience to express the opinion about the study, BBB must first have a study to back up the experience upon which the opinion is based.

    Gyges may express the opinion that BBB needs a study in order to express an opinion about a study but that is nothing more than Gyges’ opinion.

    In the opinion of this reader, Gyges is nit picking.

  289. James M.,

    There is no restriction of freedom that prevents me from murdering someone. There is no restriction of freedom that stops me from stealing my neighbor’s property. There is only the loss of freedom as a consequence that discourages most people from performing the act.

  290. Occasional Commenter:

    “In the opinion of this reader, Gyges is nit picking.”

    did you do a study to come to your opinion/conclusion? :)

  291. BBB,

    Consider Article III, section 2: “In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.”

    As I alluded to earlier, corporate person-hood is nothing more than a legal fiction.

    Assuming your grass roots movement made its way into congress, why couldn’t it pass a law barring the existence of corporate person-hood in matters relating to the electorate while removing the Court’s appellate jurisdiction to hear matters regarding corporate person-hood solely in matters relating to the electorate.

    Just a quick thought.

  292. James M:

    individual life is what makes rights possible in the first place. So we have laws to protect individuals from other individuals.

    Because murder deprives an individual of his life it cannot be considered a “freedom”. That would make no sense whatsoever. Stealing is the same.

  293. Bob Esq.,

    I think your interpretation of Article III, Section 2 would present us with an extremely dangerous scenario. It effectively removes the third branch of government from the equation. It is a direct attack on our system of checks and balances, and demolishes the Separation of Powers Doctrine. If the legislature removes the Court, it becomes, in reality, the Court.

    The intent of Article II, Section 2 is to balance the load between the Supreme Court and the courts created by Congress. I can’t go along with an interpretation that intends to remove the Court just because one branch doesn’t like what the other is going to say.

    Further, the holding in Citizens United was not limited to corporations. It identified “associations of citizens” as being protected. I think any Act that is created with the intent of restricting the speech of any association of citizens (incorporated or not) would be ruled unconstitutional.

  294. BBB,

    Fair enough. Like I said, I was curious.

    Occasional,

    In my opinion BBB made a poor rebuttal. He can base his opinion on anything he likes, he just can’t expect me to find it convincing.

    Just like you can be as wordy as you like, you just can’t expect it to make sense.

  295. The law removing jurisdiction would itself have to undergo EP, due process, and separation of powers review, which it would likely fail.

  296. The intent of Article II, Section 2 SB The intent of Article III, Section 2.

    Why doesn’t spell check know which Article I am referring to? :)

  297. Lurker,

    You keep just asserting things. How do you define freedom?

    I also asked before, “what defines what our rights are?”

    You and I are clearly not on the same page about what is obvious, so getting into definitions is the only way I see to keep having a conversation.

    I’d define freedom as the ability to do what you want without outside interference. Society is set up in such a way that we have traded the ability to murder people, for the assurance that we won’t get murdered ourselves, and so on. As such, there’s lots of restrictions on our freedom, but most of them are beneficial, either to us personally or to society as a whole. It’s when restrictions on freedom don’t benefit us or society, but only a small class of people that we have tyranny.

  298. Gyges:

    Do you have a study to back up your opinion about the wordiness of the description ‘nit picking’?

    nit picking – Minute, trivial, unnecessary, and unjustified criticism or faultfinding

    Without such a study your opinion is a poor refutation, in my opinion.

  299. James M.,

    “Society is set up in such a way that we have traded the ability to murder people, for the assurance that we won’t get murdered ourselves, and so on.”

    I must not live in the same country. I still have the ability to murder someone, and I have no assurance that I won’t get murdered.
    Even in prison, people have the ability to murder (though their choices become much more limited, based on availability).

  300. BBB,

    If you’re going to look at it like that, there are almost no restrictions on anyone.

    I meant, “Without repercussions from the State”

  301. BBB:

    “There is no proof that the goal of reducing the consumption of unhealthy food by children is accomplished by this regulation.”

    ******************

    Some things are simply a priori. There is likewise no proof that laws against larceny or murder reduce instances of those crimes. How could we “prove” that a person, after consideration of existing criminal law, refrains from an act? We accept a priori that they do.

  302. James M:

    happy meals today, vegetable gardens tomorrow:

    http://www.naturalnews.com/030418_Food_Safety_Modernization_Act_seeds.html

    http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s111-510&tab=summary

    “Senate Bill 510, the Food Safety Modernization Act, has been called “the most dangerous bill in the history of the United States of America.” It would grant the U.S. government new authority over the public’s right to grow, trade and transport any foods. This would give Big brother the power to regulate the tomato plants in your backyard. It would grant them the power to arrest and imprison people selling cucumbers at farmer’s markets.”

    So James M. do you see where your restrictions could lead. This bill is being introduced to protect “human health” but it could be used to regulate my backyard garden and turn me into a criminal for giving tomatoes to my neighbor.

    This type of thing is nonsense, it may have good intentions but it is nothing but a power grab by government and big business. Fascism is alive and well in the United States. Any senator who votes for this should be voted out of office.

  303. Mespo,

    As the Court stated in Fla. Bar v. Went For It, Inc. (515 U.S. 618) “[the legislating body’s burden] is not satisfied by mere speculation or conjecture; rather, a governmental body seeking to sustain a restriction on commercial speech must demonstrate that the harms it recites are real and that its restriction will in fact alleviate them to a material degree.”

    So, “San Francisco”, will your restriction in fact alleviate the obesity problem to a material degree? That is your stated objective; is it not?

    Mespo (representing San Francisco) “Some things are simply a priori.”

    Good luck selling that one. :)

  304. Bob, Esq.:

    I contend that Hamilton never wanted a Bill of Rights, and that Madison grudgingly included one to enhance chances of ratification feeling personally that they were ‘unimportant,” but “salutary.” Both men were wrong as history has shown.

    Here is an important excerpt from Madison’s speech introducing the BOR:

    “The first of these amendments relates to what may be called a bill of rights. I will own that I never considered this provision so essential to the federal constitution, as to make it improper to ratify it, until such an amendment was added; at the same time, I always conceived, that in a certain form, and to a certain extent, such a provision was neither improper nor altogether useless. I am aware, that a great number of the most respectable friends to the Government, and champions for republican liberty, have thought such a provision, not only unnecessary, but even improper; nay, I believe some have gone so far as to think it even dangerous. Some policy has been made use of, perhaps, by gentlemen on both sides of the question: I acknowledge the ingenuity of those arguments which were drawn against the constitution, by a comparison with the policy of Great Britain, in establishing a declaration of rights; but there is too great a difference in the case to warrant the comparison: therefore, the arguments drawn from that source were in a great measure inapplicable. In the declaration of rights which that country has established, the truth is, they have gone no farther than to raise a barrier against the power of the Crown; the power of the Legislature is left altogether indefinite. Although I know whenever the great rights, the trial by jury, freedom of the press, or liberty of conscience, come in question in that body, the invasion of them is resisted by able advocates, yet their Magna Charta does not contain any one provision for the security of those rights, respecting which the people of America are most alarmed. The freedom of the press and rights of conscience, those choicest privileges of the people, are unguarded in the British constitution.

    But although the case may be widely different, and it may not be thought necessary to provide limits for the legislative power in that country, yet a different opinion prevails in the United States. The people of many States have thought it necessary to raise barriers against power in all forms and departments of Government, and I am inclined to believe, if once bills of rights are established in all the States as well as the federal constitution, we shall find that although some of them are rather unimportant, yet, upon the whole, they will have a salutary tendency.”

  305. BBB:

    Bottom line, BBB, is that we can only measure effect of the legislation, not deterrence in the mind of the affected citizen. If childhood obesity declines in SF we will have our “proof.” Until then it seem axiomatic that reducing the solicitation of children to eat obesity-causing foods will have the desired effect.

  306. BBB,

    Congress controls the jurisdiction of the courts.

    Separation of powers is not an issue, since the document itself is clear as to said congressional power to control the appellate jurisdiction of SCOTUS.

    If there is a separation of powers problem, apparently the Court didn’t see it in Ex parte McCardle.

  307. Mespo,

    The inability to measure the effect is exactly why I think the proposed ban would fail to meet with the Court’s criteria needed to create it. The Court’s holding in “Went for it” was meant to prevent government from affecting commercial speech simply because they think their “experiment” may have some positive effect.

  308. Bob Esq.,

    I think Ex parte McCardle goes against the intent of the Framers.
    Law, Yes. Good law; absolutely not.

    Do you agree with Justice Scalia’s dissenting opinion in Hamden v Rumsfeld?

  309. Bob,Esq.,

    But Congress can’t use its jurisdiction over the courts to try to keep an unconstitutional law from being reviewed. Doing so would be tantamount to amending the constitution with a simple majority vote in both Houses. That’s what I meant when I said that the law taking away jurisdiction would itself need to be reviewed.

  310. BBB: “I think Ex parte McCardle goes against the intent of the Framers. Law, Yes. Good law; absolutely not.”

    Was it the intent of the Framers to allow SCOTUS to re-draft Article III giving itself the power of judicial review — so that it may later legalize the auctioning off of the franchise to corporations?

    NY Ratifying Convention: “That the Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of the United States, or of any other Court to be instituted by the Congress, is not in any case to be encreased enlarged or extended by any Fiction Collusion or mere suggestion”

    So, if we were balancing the equities in light of the intent of the Framers, I’d say Ex parte McCardle is looking real good right now. McCardle also follows the letter of the constitution and not in a repugnant way like Dred Scott.

    BBB: “Do you agree with Justice Scalia’s dissenting opinion in Hamden v Rumsfeld?”

    It’s been years since I read the opinion. After a quick review of a summary, I’d say my first problem is with the statute he’s relying on for claiming the Court lacked jurisdiction. I have a hard time accepting that an act of congress is capable of trumping a specific prohibition written into the constitution; i.e. the Suspension clause.

  311. James M.: “But Congress can’t use its jurisdiction over the courts to try to keep an unconstitutional law from being reviewed. Doing so would be tantamount to amending the constitution with a simple majority vote in both Houses. That’s what I meant when I said that the law taking away jurisdiction would itself need to be reviewed.”

    You need to read Ex parte McCardle

  312. Bob Esq.,

    “Was it the intent of the Framers to allow SCOTUS to re-draft Article III giving itself the power of judicial review…”?

    The Court didn’t give the power of judicial review to itself. Congress, by the Twenty-Fifth Section of the Judiciary Act of 1789 granted it to the Court by specifically granting the Court appellate jurisdiction. The Supremacy Clause did the rest.

    When a court, whose opinions are controlling upon all lower courts, refuses to give the law any force or effect because it finds the law to be repugnant to the Constitution, Laws (blah, blah, blah), it has the effect of repealing the law without actually doing so. If you read my comments on the other thread, you’d see that I only have a problem with lower courts exercise the same power (or enjoin other branches of government so as to have the same effect).

    “so that it may later legalize the auctioning off of the franchise to corporations?”

    Absolutely not.

    “NY Ratifying Convention: “That the Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of the United States, or of any other Court to be instituted by the Congress, is not in any case to be encreased enlarged or extended by any Fiction Collusion or mere suggestion”.

    The states were worried about creating a Court that would claim jurisdiction over state issues.

    Unless I’m reading it wrong (which is possible while going in many directions), McCardle, a civilian U.S. Citizen, was prosecuted and adjudicated both by the military, and he was then refused appeal because the law that provided him a path for appeal was repealed. That’s disgusting! Suspension pretty much has the same effect.

  313. Bob,Esq.,

    Congress cannot amend the Constitution by a simple majority vote. Your combination of passing a law at odds with Supreme Court precedent and removing the ability of the Supreme Court to hear challenges to the law has the effect of interfering with separation of powers and amending the Constitution. As such, I think the Court would find that Congress had overstepped its constitutional limits, Ex Parte McCardle notwithstanding. Note that in McCardle, there was no dispute about whether the law rescinding jurisdiction was constitutional, just whether it applied in the case before the Court.

  314. BBB,

    Just in light of the Scalia dissent you pointed me to, seems to me that the McCardle tactic per reversing Citizens United would be embraced by the judicial realism of the progressives and pushed over the top by Scalia.

    Like I was saying, you wouldn’t need an amendment.

  315. James M.: Curtailing SCOTUS jurisdiction is constitutional. Furthermore, passing a law stating that a creature of statute can no longer rely on the legal fiction that it is a person in regards to the electorate also does not conflict with the original plan.

    Regardless, working within the rules as they exist is constitutional par excellance.

    What is not constitutional is legislation or executive orders that boldly states it will be ignoring entire sections of the constitution; e.g. warrantless wiretapping, suspending habeas corpus, executive assassination orders, etc.

  316. James M.:

    a new item for legislation. This has national security implications due to the possibility of reduced birth rates.

    Have at it James.

    “BPA destroys sperm
    Talk about a kick in the you-know-where: A new study finds that a common chemical can destroy sperm.

    And you’re exposed to this chemical nearly every day. In fact, there’s probably far too much of it inside you right now, as you read this.

    It’s bisphenol A, or BPA, the hormone-like chemical used in plastics and can linings, and researchers say men exposed to it have a higher risk of problems with their contribution to the baby-making process.

    In the new study, researchers examined urine and semen samples provided by 218 Chinese factory workers over a five-year period.

    When compared to men with no detectable levels of BPA in their urine, the workers who had detectable levels of the chemical had a dramatically higher risk of sperm problems, including:
    • Four times the risk of a lower sperm count;
    • Triple the risk of lowered sperm concentration;
    • Triple the risk of lower sperm vitality; and
    • Double the risk of lower sperm motility.
    On the bright side, BPA didn’t seem to have an impact on sperm shape or volume, according to the study in the journal Fertility and Sterility.

    And that’s not the only bad news on BPA. Studies have also linked the estrogen-like chemical to other sexual problems, diabetes, heart disease, developmental issues and much, much more.

    Despite all that, the Food and Drug Administration passed on a chance to take action on BPA earlier this year. They said they want to see more research.

    But while the feds dither, others are taking action.

    The Canadian government recently declared BPA to be toxic to humans and the environment, a move that will enable them to place tighter controls on the chemical, or ban it outright.

    But for now, the best way to protect yourself and your sperm from BPA is by avoiding anything in a plastic container or a metal can–and that’s good advice no matter where you live.

    And for maximum defense for your sperm, skip the soda too. One study earlier this year out of Denmark found that young men who drank a quart of soda each day averaged 35 million sperm per milliliter of semen… while those who drank little to no soda averaged 50 million.

    Since Coca-Cola says its cans are lined with BPA and they have no intent to change them, maybe there’s a connection.

    And for more reasons to skip soda, stay tuned later this week–I’ll tell you about a frightening new link between sugar-sweetened drinks and diabetes, even among people who aren’t overweight.

    But for now, let’s get back to saving your sperm–because for many men, it’s as easy as making some careful, healthy choices. A diet rich in selenium, zinc and folic acid, or a supplement that can boost those nutrients, can help improve sperm quality and quantity.”

    Oh there is a way to offset the harm done? So we don’t need legislation after all? Just like with the happy meals, the correct application of exercise on the little lard asses will cure childhood obesity. As it would with obesity in general.

    So lets have legislation that requires every man, woman and child 15 pounds or more over weight to engage in physical exercise 2 times per day, 5 am and 7 pm for 45 minutes each time. Wouldn’t want to have to worry about extra costs with obesity once national health care kicks in. Cost savings are important.

    We can also legislate what they need to wear for the exercise and to make sure they do it, we can have their yards and their houses hooked up to cameras so the government can make sure they are doing their exercise. With the Internet it will be easy.

  317. Lurker,

    You can keep attributing random positions to me that have no relationship to my actual views all you like, but I hope you understand why I don’t feel the need to respond substantively.

  318. Bob Esq.,

    “Just in light of the Scalia dissent you pointed me to, seems to me that the McCardle tactic per reversing Citizens United would be embraced by the judicial realism of the progressives and pushed over the top by Scalia.”

    Scary!

    “Like I was saying, you wouldn’t need an amendment.”

    It would if they wanted me to support it. :)

  319. UPDATE:

    SF approves healthier kids’ meals ordinance

    San Francisco lawmakers have voted to override Mayor Gavin Newsom’s veto and to pass a law prohibiting fast-food restaurants from including toys with children’s meals that do not meet nutritional guidelines.

    The city’s Board of Supervisors gave the measure final approval with an 8-3 vote on Tuesday. It goes into effect in December 2011.

  320. Bob/BBB/James M.,

    You may find this interesting too in light of how the conservation turned . . .

    Voters Strongly Back Amending Constitution To Restrict Corporate Political Spending

    “By a double-digit margin, voters want Congress to amend the Constitution to overturn the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United that allows unlimited corporate spending on elections, a new poll paid for by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee has found.

    Nearly a fifth of voters remain undecided on an issue that has only been live since the Supreme Court overturned a century of legislation and precedent in a 5-4 ruling whose effect was visible to anybody with a television through the months of September and October. Of those who have an opinion, 46 percent said that ‘Congress should consider drastic measures such as a constitutional amendment overturning the recent Supreme Court decision allowing unlimited corporate spending in elections,’ while 36 percent disagreed.”

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