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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

"Food police" -- not just an expression any more

Let the original "city that works" show its anemic West Coast cousin how it's done. The Chicago city council is getting ready to ban trans fats in restaurants throughout the Windy City.

Fireman Randy, you're the big canola man -- what are we waiting for? This one's easy. I'd be for it. Seriously.

Comments (1)

ya thats what we need.....more social engineering by a fire fighter...... talk of the blind leading the blind...

Posted by: jocoze at July 18, 2006 05:18 PM

Heck, lets just make a law that curbs every negative statistic we can drum up. How about banning all vehicles with 4 cyliders or less because their passengers are more likely to be a fatality in an accident?

Posted by: tscrib at July 18, 2006 06:43 PM

You're kidding -- that you're for it -- right? I mean ... side by side with a post that snorts at quixotic socialist moves?

Banning transfats in Chicago does sound a mite like banning ... not gambling, maybe just sex shows in Vegas.

Posted by: Sally at July 18, 2006 07:06 PM

Look for a change in the meaning and taste of "Chicago-style pizza."

Posted by: Isaac Laquedem at July 18, 2006 07:10 PM

Not to defend this individual policy, but as has been stated by others here before, cities and states are picking up the neglected policies of the federal government. Apparently, the feds saw it important enough to require food manufacturers to label Trans fats on their packaging (that this concession to consumers happened on the Bush administration's watch shows how grave it is) ... people don't have the luxury of that sort of discolosure at a restaurant. This is social engineering??

Probably the same reason cities and states have decided to comply with Kyoto even though Bush has refused...

Posted by: TKrueg at July 18, 2006 07:30 PM

Portland City Council should follow suit but make necessary Portlandy improvements.

I propose the City ban trans-fats sold in Portland but require replacing those trans-fats with solid ethanol. Mmm...I can't believe it's not margarinol! Plus our citizens' gas will be much better for the air.

Posted by: Anahit at July 18, 2006 07:33 PM

Yes, it was sarcasm. More of the 'nanny state' policies of extreme liberals. Heck, if the concern is rising health care costs for the rest of us who don't eat trans-fats, maybe Chicago should ban African Americans from living there because they have a higher rate of heart disease (yes, people, I'm being very sarcastic here).

Posted by: tscrib at July 18, 2006 08:05 PM

If dead people can vote, you'd think the living could eat french fries.

Maybe Randy Leonard will require 10% soy milk in all of Starbucks Lattes?

Posted by: Mister T at July 18, 2006 08:17 PM

I'm sure the outcry over Dow's maiming chemical cloud in Vietnam was derided as 'librul' whining at some point too. Or DDT. Or asbestos. Or...

The government has been spun as a roadblock to business, and any regulation should always be viewed as BAD. Of course, it is indeed the only possible body with enough teeth to hold businesses accountable for their actions. We're not a vaccum, and the free market isn't really free outside of one. When there's millions/billions of dollars at stake, you can be sure it's a priority to lobby the Feds to look the other way. It's like the GOP spin machine is trying to convince us self-serving corporations, while inanimate, deserve their worth in votes... it stuffs the ballot box so our individual votes don't matter anymore. And no one seems to really get it. We've all been pacified by our mass media, as if to expect 'anything goes!' on this big gravy train.

Cry 'librul' all you want, but liberal policies have done more to protect our rights, and our right to exist, than any GOP corporate puppet has...

Posted by: TKrueg at July 18, 2006 08:41 PM

Portland's reputation goes far and wide. This was a comment found on Reason magazine's blog on this very issue:

Wow. Seems like the Chicago City Council is almost nuttier than San Fran's. Or Portland's.

Quite an accomplishment.

Posted by: Hinckley at July 18, 2006 09:33 PM

"...that this concession to consumers happened on the Bush administration's watch..."

You got to be kidding. It's a long reach to believe President Bush or any other politician forced some trans fat down your throat. Only thing getting shoved down our throat is the socialist views that "the government know best about everything." Can I ask you and every other socialist, "who makes the decisions?" Obviously, people.

So who says today's "trans fat" issue isn't tomorrows "get rid of old people because their quality of life issue is diminished..." (or is this too close to reality...)

Why can't we just keep the "Warning Labels" and "Contents Include" on the container. I'll decide if I want to eat "trans fat" or not.

Posted by: Carol at July 18, 2006 09:40 PM

no carol, we have to be good little sheep here in portland. we have no ability to make our own decisions we are not randy smart, quit resisiting, take randies hand, trust him to guide you safely thru life.. now isnt this better? cradle to grave we never have to think or take responsibility for any of our actions.. no ones to blame, no judgements, no icky fats in our diet...baaaa baaaaa

Posted by: jocoze at July 18, 2006 10:17 PM

Personally, I don't want trans fats in the food I'm served. Any more than I want lead in my chocolate.

Posted by: Allan L. at July 18, 2006 10:31 PM


That I'm a socialist is news to me, but then I consider the source failed reading comprehension in school. Read my quote that you cited again, hon.

My point was not that Bush pushed trans fats down our throats, but that in the corporate-cozy BushCo. and GOP government, it's friggin' amazing a consumer protection was even put in place.

Perhaps Carol you realize that most of our best allies happen to be socialist governments, others just seem so in comparison. Notice that's not Communist or its bastard son, Communist Dictatorship. You throw 'socialist' around like it's no different. these words around like they have this implied weight of evil. These allies enjoy relatively low crime, capitalist economies, paid-for college and health care. Evil, all of it, I know. And their annual budgets combined would be overshadowed by the GOP pork explosion since Bush took office.

And yet Carol, Bush will reach for the veto pen FOR THE FIRST TIME, to strike down Stem-Cell research. Does he know that 66% think that's nuts? Your beloved GOP has created a government more bloated than any predictions or fears you've had about an unchecked Leftist government. Only a dittohead would vote against his/her best interests... and clearly you haven't yet realized the laundry list of Rightist contradictions and blunders in recent memory. Ones that you have blindly sanctioned with your vote, no doubt.

Posted by: TKrueg at July 18, 2006 10:49 PM

I would argue for designating Christmas Fruitcake our official Portland food, and mandate that Black Walnuts (Black Gold) be included in the recipe. It is apparently a fruit, a drupe, and not a nut. But rather than stop with calling it a mere resolution we can make consumption of the official Portland food mandatory, at least for city employees.

Posted by: Ron Ledbury at July 18, 2006 11:05 PM

"...who says today's "trans fat" issue isn't tomorrows "get rid of old people..."

This seems like a bit of a jump to me.

I can imagine the writings of the future . . . First they came for the trans-fat, but I did not speak out, because I was not a trans-fat. Enough silliness, I suppose.

Nevertheless, I don't see the harm in society regulating the food supply. We make laws against slaughtering dead cows for human consumption, we establish health departments to ensure restaurants don't promote disease, and we prohibit chemicals which harm humans and animals. And, I don't have a problem with any of that.

Societies and governments have a responsibility to act in the best interest of those they serve. Keeping people from eating things that will kill them seems pretty basic to me. Nobody complains about not being fed dead cows or DDT.

If something will kill you does it matter whether it acts fast or slow? Eating a diseased cow might kill you fast, whereas DDT & trans-fat kill you slow. Perhaps the difference is that I can't see the trans-fat, but it's so tasty!!! Just one more hit. I can handle it. :-)

Posted by: Dan Clay at July 18, 2006 11:07 PM

Why not put it to a test of utilarianism.

The postives far outweigh the negatives.

I would hardly feel violated if CITIZENS supported a resolution or a government action to ban heart- disease-encouraging artery clogging transfats.

I didn't mind the seat belt rule too much. Doesn't phase me. And who knows may be one day that fear of getting a ticket will have saved my life because I buckled up.

We are government.

Besides, if we go with the ban, it'll cost us tax payers less 10 years down the road ... at which time the middle class will have evolved brains with enough sense to vote for national single payer health care.

Go ahead ban transfats, make my day. By a long shot, the greatest common good will have been served.

It would also be a small victory against corporate social engineering which in recent times has been incrementally far stronger than anything done incrementally and independently by government.

For a bit of info ...

Posted by: No one at July 18, 2006 11:55 PM

No One,

A forced march of five miles every day would, in aggregate, be beneficial to health. This is a truism.

Yet, can that be the end of the inquiry? Consult John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, for a broader view. I eat sleep and breath Liberty.

Posted by: Ron Ledbury at July 19, 2006 02:16 AM

Icant believe how we lived standing up in the front seat of that 65 pontiac mom loved us just as much

Posted by: ace at July 19, 2006 02:21 AM

Societies and governments have a responsibility to act in the best interest of those they serve. Keeping people from eating things that will kill them seems pretty basic to me.

Well then they better just ban all processed foods (you know, like that crap they serve kids at school), sugary candies, soda, and make sure we only eat fresh, local, unmolested vegetables.
Vegan diets for everyone! Beef will be the new crack, or meth. Turn in your neighbor for barbecuing, that kind of stuff.

Posted by: Jon at July 19, 2006 08:07 AM

"...who says today's "trans fat" issue isn't tomorrows "get rid of old people..."

This seems like a bit of a jump to me.

You really think so? In the pioneering state for "death with dignity"?

Posted by: Jon at July 19, 2006 08:17 AM

In your morph of American Gothic that look on the womans face almost looks like that famous pouting Sten photograph.

Posted by: tom at July 19, 2006 08:56 AM

"You really think so?"

You really question that?

Posted by: Allan L. at July 19, 2006 10:41 AM

Hey, extremists at both ends of the spectrum desire to micromanage (legislate) all aspects of choice in line with their preferences. I totally agree with the concept of letting people choose to be healthy or not, Godless or not, promiscuous or not, reality based or not, gay and married or not, socially conscious or self centered, greedy or generous, etc. In short, when it comes to legislation, cut the paternalistic crap. Now!

Posted by: genop at July 19, 2006 11:34 AM

What a crock.

Next they'll ban stairs and bathtubs.

How about mountain climbing, hiking and parachuting?


Rap music and hip-hop clothing?

Anything with refined sugar?

Pornography and obscene language?


How about computers and televisions?

Maybe we can all become human batteries who's only purpose is to serve the nanny state (ala The Matrix)?

Posted by: Chris McMullen at July 19, 2006 11:42 AM

"You really think so? In the pioneering state for 'death with dignity'?"

You have the logic in reverse, Jon. The point of "death with dignity" is to let (terminally-ill) individuals make those choices for themselves. They ask only for a small one-time key to an alcove of the drug kingdom.

Thus, the "pioneering state for 'death with dignity'" should be more, not less, likely to entrust at least adults with their own decisions on what sort of dietary fats to eat -- or not.

Posted by: Sally at July 19, 2006 12:27 PM

You have the logic in reverse, Jon. The point of "death with dignity" is to let (terminally-ill) individuals make those choices for themselves. They ask only for a small one-time key to an alcove of the drug kingdom.

In a couple EU countries, they can euthanize children if it appears they wont have a perfect that next here?

Posted by: Jon at July 19, 2006 12:54 PM

yeah, Wesley J. Smith's book, "Forced Exit" explores how the "right to die" can become the "duty to die" for those who put a crimp in their caregivers' style.

Regarding "isms", whether socialism, capitalism, progressivism, "liberalism" or another, it seems to be that they tend to deginerate toward name-calling instead of nuanced discussion of issues. I certainly agree with TKrueg and others that liberalism is a great tradition, but part of that tradition is free speech and respect for intellectual pursuit. What seems to be happening in Portland is that we sometimes define it by a groupthink mindset so that what we really are talking about is a kind of mob rule. An example is what is likely to happen tonight at the hearing about Linnton and whether or not Homer and friends get to build a planned community there. A mob of "the people" is likely to descend defeating the "evil" industrialists. There is one particular lawyer who put on a "reely big shew" in Portland for years who is particularly adept at this tactic. So we will have a victory for "the people" declared without a chance to really talk about the need for industrial jobs and zoning. Those of us who care about the whole picture get declared "enemies of the people". What Ibsenesque irony!

Posted by: Cynthia at July 19, 2006 01:23 PM

Those of us who care about the whole picture get declared "enemies of the people". What Ibsenesque irony!

Dr Stockman! favorite play of all time, though my version, published in 1900 --I read it at least once a year-- is titled "An Enemy of Society." (I suspect the "Enemy of the People" stuff started after the Soviet Union influence...)

What I don't get about Linnton...OK, if the availability of industrial land is so important, que pasa South Waterfront? I mean, the Tram's being built next to a crane used to move ships around for disassembly? This is, uh, land ON the waterfront.

If "Industrial Sanctuary" is so important... why'd the City Council just re-zone the huge Fred Meyer property just off Powell and my neighborhood from "industrial" to allow redevelopment with offices? (Which our neighborhood association opposed to no avail.)

It gets harder and harder to figure out what the real "vision" is here.

Posted by: Frank Dufay at July 19, 2006 06:14 PM

"In a couple EU countries, they can euthanize children if it appears they wont have a perfect that next here?"

A logic reversal and a presumptive leap. If you can assume that allowing a terminally ill person in the last stage of disease to take an overdose of barbiturates (under rather severe strictures) will lead to state-sanctioned, other-directed killing, I can certainly assume, by no reversal and a much smaller leap, that the banning of certain dietary substances will quickly lead to state mandate of not just food but even lifestyle.

Bah. To both.

Posted by: Sally at July 20, 2006 10:29 AM


While "slippery slopes" are out of fashion in the logic world and there is a reason for that, I think there is plenty to talk about when it comes to assisted suicide: Lots and lots of people are afraid of being a burden to their children, and given the self-centeredness of many baby boomers, this is a point to ponder. I have seen it: someone screaming at her infirm mother to "die so I can get on with my life". Also, our Oregon AG came out with an opinion allowing disabled people "reasonable accomodation" under the ADA to exercise the "right to die". You think this is not likely to be abused? Guardianships and conservatorships are routinely abused.

Frank, its been years since I've read Ibsen, but that play stays with me. I gotta crack it out again. I think the "vision" in Portland is to give Goldschmidt's friends what they want because they are so much better and brighter than the rest of us and scr*ew everyone else; it's the Mean Machine and it controls Oregon until and unless we take it back.

Posted by: Cynthia at July 20, 2006 05:23 PM

p.s. There is also this mindset about a service economy that is fashionable with the PSU crowd. I think it is short-sighted and what has led to all the phDs working in bookstores and restaurants (not that there is anything wrong with that), but only Phil Knight gets to do really big things (after all, his cousin is the senior partner of a major law firm).

Posted by: Cynthia at July 20, 2006 05:42 PM

Frank, its been years since I've read Ibsen, but that play stays with me. I gotta crack it out again.

That play should be required school and every bureaucratic organization. It covers it, corruption, the innate goodness of humanity, the strength of the "strongest man is the man who stands alone."

Of course Dr. Stockton says that to his loving, supportive family...

An amazing, amazing piece of work. Thanks for giving me the excuse, Cynthia, to pull it out of my library and read it again. (My 106 year old copy has hand-scribbled liner notes, one of which is: "...(in a different book read by whatever class this was) attempts at reform were superficial while in this it is the earnest endeavor of a whole souled man."

To be a whole souled man...

Posted by: Frank Dufay at July 20, 2006 07:26 PM

The original American Gothic is actually at the Art Institute in Chicago, so that's appropo.' Doesn't quite look like this though.

Will the ban apply to the food at Wrigley Field and Comiskey Park?

Posted by: Robert Ted Hinds at July 25, 2006 02:29 PM

[Posted as indicated; restored later.]


As a lawyer/blogger, I get
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