Monday, June 18, 2012

Big Gulp

By now, you've probably heard that New York City Mayor Bloomberg has pushed for a measure that will limit soda consumption in the city.  If the soda crackdown passes, restaurants, movie theaters, sports, arenas, food carts, and delis will all be banned from selling sodas larger than 16 ounces.  Of course, diet soda is exempt from the ban, illustrating the mayor's ongoing approval of consumption of mass quantities of sugar substitutes.  And, other loopholes abound, ensuring you can still get your 16+ ounces of sugary soda if need be.  

Is this measure the answer to our nation's expanding waistline?  New York City has already mandated posted calorie counts at many restaurants and banned the use of trans fats.  Banning soda seems to be the next logical step.  Supporters note that heavily taxing cigarettes in the NYC has led to significantly lower rates of smoking.  But are food-based "nanny state" tactics the solution?  What about the underlying questions of money and class?  In this week's New Yorker, Fran Lebowitz notes: "'These issues are class issues.  Soda is the recreation--the summer-house--of the poor.  It's an indulgence, and it's something they can indulge in.'"  Critics would argue that our tax dollar shouldn't go toward footing the (medical) bill for recreational indulgences.  But, the proposed soda bill begs the issue, where do we draw the line?  Sources have already revealed that milkshakes and movie theater popcorn may be up to bat next.   What about subsidizing fruits and vegetables, instead?  Is there a way to educate, not legislate? 

Wednesday, June 06, 2012


The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice --
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do --
determined to save
the only life you could save. 
 Mary Oliver