Super-Sized Ego: Bloomberg Wants To Ban Large-Size Sugary Sodas

Calling critics of the plan “ridiculous,” New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is defending his proposed ban on large-size sugary sodas.  I have long been a critic of such measures, but this one is particularly presumptuous in my view.  People should have a choice as to what and how much they wish to eat and drink.  The ban is particularly illogical since it would simply require people to buy multiple cans of soda unless Bloomberg will next impose a drink limit for New Yorkers. You can have as many Manhattans as you want but do not reach for the super-sized soda.  I am waiting for the next bumper sticker: “If Big Gulps Are a Crime, Only Criminals Will Have Big Gulps.”

I agree with critics that this is the ultimate example of the “Nanny state” where the government dictates the the proper lifestyle choices and risks for adults. I have no problem with banning sodas in school as many district have done. However, Bloomberg has decided that educational programs and warnings are not enough because adults are not meeting the expectations of the government. Bloomberg is quoted as saying “I look across this country, and people are obese, and everybody wrings their hands, and nobody’s willing to do something about it.” The solution therefore is to take away choice and to dictate Dr. Bloomberg’s diet for all citizens.
The soda ban will be introduced on June 12 at a New York City Board of Health meeting. It is expected to pass.

However, Bloomberg insists that when you are told that you cannot have that soda, “Nobody is taking away any of your rights. This way, we’re just telling you ‘That’s a lot of soda.'” Really? Sounds a lot like “you can’t have that soda.”

Honestly, if prohibition did not work for alcohol, it is likely to be even less successful for sodas. What is unclear is why Bloomberg is not also banning french fries, onion rings, and other unhealthy foods eaten in excessive quantities. How about requiring proof that a large stuffed pizza has no fewer than four persons willing to sign for it? I think people have a right to an unhealthy lifestyle. This is not like second-hand smoke that harms others. You can be around someone with a large soda and remain perfectly healthy.

There must be something to occupy the Mayor’s time beyond soda drinkers like serial killers. Forcing people to buy two ten ounce sodas rather than one twenty ounce soda is hardly a public interest triumph. However, it is not the sheer stupidity but the sheer hubris that I find remarkable about this proposed ban. Perhaps the good Mayor should stop “looking across the country” like some stern Satrap and focus on those harms that people do to others from crime to pollution.

In the meantime, I will soon issue a new bumper sticker for the soda patriots: “You Can Pry My Big Gulp From My Cold Fat Fingers.”

Source: LA Times

132 thoughts on “Super-Sized Ego: Bloomberg Wants To Ban Large-Size Sugary Sodas”

  1. Bloomberg is probably driven everywhere he goes, and doesn’t expend as much energy walking around his city as most New Yorkers and visitors do. Wasn’t the problem the sugar content, not the size of the fluid created with it. New Yorkers burn more calories than anyone because there is no transportation except underground, forcing everyone to walk, or live underground like mice.

  2. anon,

    Sorry to take so long to reply, but I needed to do a little bit more work “under the hood” before I responded to your pitiful squalling…

    1, June 3, 2012 at 12:14 pm
    @??????? [who was really me using a different email address]

    Last Fall, mid September or so, it was revealed that in the Spring a group of the guest bloggers,

    Actually, it was a group that included no one that was a guest blogger at the time (spring of 2011).

    in conjunction with a non-guess blogger handled Slartibartfast (aka Kevin Kessler [sic]) in an attempt to stop what they perceived as a problem of sockpuppets

    Since defense contractor HB Gary was revealed to have persona management software capable of keeping track of multiple online identities, I don’t think it was just our perception…

    had written special software

    Special? What’s that supposed to mean? As opposed to ordinary software? How do you tell the difference?

    to exploit a WordPress privacy leak to create a database of all the users and be able to identify what users were using the same underlying email address, an email address whose field says “never made public”.

    Since the so-called “privacy leak” is something that WordPress is almost certainly exploiting themselves and clearly not concerned about in any case, nor does it result in any email addresses being made public, I’m curious as to why you think this statement is being violated…

    This is my recollection.

    I’m sure it is–I’m just not sure how much of the truth is left after it’s been filtered through your many obvious biases…

    The WordPress privacy leak makes a mathematical hash of that email address public. Which means that any time you use the same email address at any wordpress site, that the email address that wordpress says is not made public, can in fact be used to track you. WordPress refuses to fix this bug because they use it in their Gravatar product.

    Comments you make on the web can be correctly attributed to you–oh the horror!

    NOTE: You do not need to have a gravatar. The privacy leak is enabled whenever you type the same email address into the comment form. When I fill out the comment form, for email address, I use a very generic address, and then once every few days or so, I sprinkle random characters into it.

    Just out of curiosity, what is that supposed to accomplish? Except, of course, to provide me with some amusement regarding your complete tactical ineptitude. If that was your intent, good job!

    But that does not mean it is not a privacy leak.

    As I’ve asked before, whose privacy has been violated and how?

    So for instance, at this forum, right now, you have chosen the handle ???????, but you filled in the email address. Say you used either your real email, or a typical throwaway email, like, or ????? or even your real email.

    If you are a regular commenter, and you changed your handle for this one post to ???????, but you used your typical email address, you can be identified.

    I used a different email address (but valid–I like to subscribe to the threads, but I guess you can’t do that… *snort*)–otherwise you would have recognized my gravatar. I thought that was what you wanted–not to be able to tell if two different commenters are really the same person… Make up your mind.

    WordPress will take that email address and give it a (almost completely) unique mathematical identifier.

    What, pray tell, is a “mathematical” identifier? The correct way to say it “in math” is that they have a function from email addresses to alphanumeric character strings that is (nearly) a bijection.

    They will do this on every blog you ever use that email. Say at this blog you use that email address, which wordpress says will not be published, as a civil libertarian might, to anonymously complain about TSA, or complain about rendition, or GITMO, or the use of drones. Say at another blog you use that email address and your real name, to talk about what you did over the weekend with your kids. Those two blog posts can be correlated and your real email address and any other personally identifying information that you have published can be revealed if you have the software that Dr. Kevin Kessler wrote.

    Or you had the assets of an intelligence agency, defense contractor, or IT corporation–I’m sure none of those “people” use their data mining ability to try to find whistleblowers, though…

    I didn’t put the leak there, I’m just making use of the data I come across. You seem to be arguing that this is solely the province of corporations or intelligence agencies rather than anyone who wishes to take the time and effort to look at what is freely available. Since we know that the information is already out there and there is no reason to suspect it is not already being used by those with the wherewithal to collect and analyze it, it’s too bad there isn’t someone pointing out that this is possible so that any potential whistleblower would be more careful than the one you describe. Oh wait–that’s exactly what I’m doing!

    Do you think that my software is doing things that, say, the NSA is not capable of? That’s flattering but nowhere near the truth…

    And it’s made worse when the guest bloggers are acting in collusion with him to grant him access to the underlying wordpress registration data for each comment, which I believe they also did, in order to fight their scourge of sock puppets.

    No guest bloggers were involved in the project when this first arose (and there hasn’t really been any project since then… until now, of course 😉 ) and your allegation is completely baseless. Furthermore, since you clearly understand what I claim to have done, you must be aware that I could have accomplished everything I did by the methods that I’ve explained. So why are you making accusations that you have no evidence to support? Trying to smear innocent people by falsely accusing them–I think that says volumes about your character (or lack thereof).

    And it does not mean that bloggers themselves are to use that bug to identify, and then reveal publically, which comments were written by the same person.

    You really don’t understand anything, do you? This was a one-trick pony–once anyone knows that someone is watching in this way they can easily cover their tracks (unless they are as stupid as you apparently are). I didn’t write the software to exploit the gravatar leak, I wrote it as a tool and exploiting the leak was just something that the tool made it easy to do. I’m not the only one who has or can build this kind of tool…

    But it’s of course worse when this data is shared as the guest bloggers did, with a non guest blogger like Dr. Kevin Kessler.

    This is a complete and utter lie.

    Sockpuppets are annoying, but revealing who is writing what blog comments is dangerous, especially on a blog, written by a civil libertarian that discusses government malfeasance and details other whistle blower type actions.

    It seems to me that understanding what kind of information (and intelligence) can be developed from freely available information that most people are unaware that they are leaving is exactly the sort of thing that should be discussed on the blog of a civil libertarian. If you weren’t a fool, you’d see that I’ve been trying to raise discussion of this issue (and defend myself and others from your false charges, of course).

    And sockpuppets here weren’t that annoying, or that much worse than what appears at other blogs. It was just a capability they found they had, and so they chose to write special software to exploit it.

    A fine example of putting the cart before the horse.

    When it was discovered, the usual guest commentator fucktardery took over as they first denied it,

    Let’s see you try to prove that lie. I’ve been completely forthcoming about everything I’ve done–which is the only reason that you know about it in the first place.

    then they denied it was a privacy invasion,

    I denied that anyone’s email or IP addresses had been divulged–which was the truth.

    then they claimed it was somehow a feature, then they claimed they were doing privacy research, then they claimed that Professor Turley of all people would approve this behavior, then they all commended themselves for being such royal fuckfaces.

    Do you really think that the people that set up gravatar didn’t know about this (and likely intend to make use of it for their own profit all along)? Professor Turley may have expressed his disappointment to me in a private email, but he doesn’t seem to think this issue is important enough to comment on, so until someone can explain to me exactly how anyone is being hurt by my actions or why corporations have more rights than I do, I’ll be using my software and the information that it gathers however I see fit. (I can see you… Bwa-ha-ha-HA-ha!)

    You can read more about it in a couple of threads that this link should provide other links to.

    Oh, I think I know what they say… 😛

    Anyway, I would never have expected this sort of behavior from a group of lawyers guest blogging here, but this is exactly what they did.

    While, despite the fact that you should know exactly what went on since I explained it all, you were a little light on the facts and heavy on the false accusations…

    So keep that in mind when you post comments here, that all these lawyers and other fucktards are eager to hack your privacy behind your back even while to your face they are bragging about what elites they are.

    So, by revealing what went on when the matter first arose and explaining everything completely when a third party was attacked, I’m doing this “behind your back”? How, exactly, does that work?

    What’s especially amusing is than in January, Gene Howington, apparently one of the co-conspirators, wrote a blog post excoriating just this sort of privacy invasion when performed by the Government, but apparently, it’s okay when he does it.

    Co-conspirators? I hate to disappoint you (although I’m sure you wont believe me anyway, even though I’m telling the truth), but there really wasn’t any conspiring going on–I developed the software to help a friend with an idea he had about determining demographic information from comments on blogs, did all of the planning and programming myself and only involved other people to discuss the usefulness and ethics of the resultant information once I was getting data (or close to it). This whole kerfuffle is really beside the point, anyway–using gravatars to identify people posting with different handles and the same email isn’t what I’m interested in as there is much more interesting and revealing data that you continue to make available all the time–or am I not allowed to collect your words and analyze them according to your Byzantine rules?

    There is a real problem with the guest bloggers here. With the exception of Nal and I think Mike Appleton if he ever guest blogs here, the others are abusive idiots. And when I say idiots, I mean that literally.

    Well, let’s just say in a contest of intelligence, I’d pick any of the guest bloggers over you. You clearly have some sort of grudge against the guest bloggers (which makes it curious why you would spend so much time commenting on threads that they started and participate in if they are so horrible…), but while all of the guest bloggers have long histories of insightful contributions to discussions here, I have yet to see you participate in any discussion in good faith or display genuine insight of any kind.

    Just to give an example of what you seem to think is a violation of your privacy, I note that the handle anon has been used with 121 different email addresses (I’m guessing most, but not all, are you). How has imparting this knowledge injured you? Besides the fact that anyone who understands what is going on here is now having a laugh at your expense regarding your pointless countermeasures… Did you think them up all by yourself? I’d ask if you got your friends to help you, but I doubt you have any…

  3. Everyone knows sugary sodas are not healthy, but apparently everyone does not know that prohibition simply never has, does not and never will keep people from putting whatever they want into their bodies.
    A more important discussion, I think would focus on the sheer volume of responses this totally unimportant story has generated as well as the elevated level of ad hominem and non sequitur attacks provoked by and contained in those responses. Does this truly matter? How will your lives be affected? Who knew such a mundane piece of legislation could so polarize a populace? On one side you have the all-government-is-evil kooks screaming “nanny state” while on the other you have the you-must-be-protected-from-yourself crowd. There must be SOME happy medium here.
    I know! Lets leave the gargantuan sodas alone but pass legislation requiring all good citizens to point and laugh at anyone seen sucking one down.

  4. bfm,

    @matt “Big mac’s. Do you know why Ronald McDonald got put in jail?”

    I don’t have a clue. I am going to assume it was not for insider trading. If the question if raised on this blog I am going to guess it must be something like ‘he couldn’t keep his big mac to himself’, or he was just vising.
    Something like that.

  5. “You’ve just now connected something that I’ve said often?”

    I’ve known that for a long time from your writing. I’m just bringing others who don’t kow your crap up to speed.

  6. anon,

    So you’re saying that I should switch up my email addresses when I post? How do you like this one?

Comments are closed.