April 23rd, 2013

Michael Bloomberg Is on the Case

In the aftermath of the Boston bombings, Michael Bloomberg tells us that we will “have to change” our interpretation of the United States Constitution in order to “allow for greater security” to prevent future terrorist attacks. This means “we’re going to have more cameras and that kind of stuff,” according to the mayor.

No word on whether the bombings also serve as more justification for limiting the size of New Yorkers’ fountain drinks, but I imagine that the mayor will find a way to link the two issues together. He’s nothing if not inventive.

March 11th, 2013

Bloomberg: Defeated

A blow against nannyism—and for personal autonomy—has been decisively struck:

A judge struck down New York’s limits on large sugary drinks on Monday, one day before they were to take effect, in a significant blow to one of the most ambitious and divisive initiatives of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s tenure.

In an unusually critical opinion, Justice Milton A. Tingling Jr. of State Supreme Court in Manhattan called the limits “arbitrary and capricious,” echoing the complaints of city business owners and consumers who had deemed the rules unworkable and unenforceable, with confusing loopholes and voluminous exemptions.

The decision comes at a sensitive time for Mr. Bloomberg, who is determined to burnish his legacy as he enters the final months of his career in City Hall, and his administration seemed caught off guard by the decision. Before the judge ruled, the mayor had called for the soda limits to be adopted by cities around the globe; he now faces the possibility that one of his most cherished endeavors will not come to fruition before he leaves office, if ever.

The mayor’s plan, which he pitched as a novel effort to combat obesity, aroused worldwide curiosity and debate — and the ire of the American soft-drink industry, which undertook a multimillion-dollar campaign to block it, flying banners from airplanes over Coney Island, plastering subway stations with advertisements and filing the lawsuit that led to the ruling.

Amazingly enough, Bloomberg actually wants to appeal the decision. One can only hope that it leads to a further legal humiliation for America’s Official Officious Meddler. And kudos to Judge Tingling, who pulled no punches in describing the soda ban as the misguided, overweening effort that it was.

March 9th, 2013

And While We’re Talking about Michael Bloomberg …

If he really wants to fix things and solve problems, why doesn’t he do something about New York’s atrocious school system?

It’s an education bombshell.

Nearly 80 percent of New York City high school graduates need to relearn basic skills before they can enter the City University’s community college system.

The number of kids behind the 8-ball is the highest in years, CBS 2′s Marcia Kramer reported Thursday.

When they graduated from city high schools, students in a special remedial program at the Borough of Manhattan Community College couldn’t make the grade.

They had to re-learn basic skills — reading, writing and math — first before they could begin college courses.

Officials told CBS 2′s Kramer that nearly 80 percent of those who graduate from city high schools arrived at City University’s community college system without having mastered the skills to do college-level work.

Why doesn’t Michael Bloomberg take on this problem? Why hasn’t he in the past? Could it be because taking on this problem would mean having to take on the teachers’ unions, and Bloomberg is too scared to do that?

UPDATE: I swear that I didn’t see this blog post before writing my own.

March 9th, 2013

Bloomberg. Again.

America’s most officious meddler mayor is back:

Now listen up, if you can.

Mayor Bloomberg — who has already cracked down on smoking, junk food, trans fats, salt and super-sized drinks — is embarking on a new crusade: preventing New Yorkers from going deaf.

Hizzoner’s health officials are planning a social-media campaign to warn young people about the risk of losing their hearing from listening to music at high volume on personal MP3 players, The Post has learned.

“With public and private support, a public-education campaign is being developed to raise awareness about safe use of personal music players … and risks of loud and long listening,” said Nancy Clark, the city Health Department’s assistant commissioner of environmental-disease prevention.

The campaign, which will cost $250,000, is being financed through a grant received from the Fund for Public Health, the Health Department’s fund-raising arm.

Of course, it’s plenty dumb to listen to extra loud music and podcasts, and risk losing one’s hearing as a consequence. But why must the mayor of New York once again play Metropolitan/National Nanny regarding the issue?

Bloomberg is weird in other ways as well, He seems to believe that homeless shelters in New York city are being overrun by rich people looking for a roof over their heads. Because of course, if you park your private jet in New York, the first thing you think of is not your favorite room at the Waldorf. No, the first thing you think of is securing your preferred spot at the homeless shelter of your choice.

To be fair to Bloomberg, he does have his virtues. For example, he accepts that government has no right whatsoever to force you to exercise.

At least, he accepts that for the moment.

February 24th, 2013

New York: Where Fun Comes to Die


Take a big gulp, New York: Hizzoner is about to give you a pop.

Nanny Bloomberg unleashes his ban on large sodas on March 12 — and there are some nasty surprises lurking for hardworking families.

Say goodbye to that 2-liter bottle of Coke with your pizza delivery, pitchers of soft drinks at your kid’s birthday party and some bottle-service mixers at your favorite nightclub.

They’d violate Mayor Bloomberg’s new rules, which prohibit eateries from serving or selling sugary drinks in containers larger than 16 ounces.

Bloomberg’s soda smackdown follows his attacks on salt, sugar, trans fat, smoking and even baby formula.


And consumers, especially families, will soon see how the rules will affect their wallets — forcing them to pay higher unit prices for smaller bottles.

Typically, a pizzeria charges $3 for a 2-liter bottle of Coke. But under the ban, customers would have to buy six 12-ounce cans at a total cost of $7.50 to get an equivalent amount of soda.

Because of course, people are utterly incapable of making these decisions on their own, right?

A new mayor cannot arrive on the scene in the Big Apple fast enough.

January 11th, 2013


I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV, but I have had loved ones go to the hospital to undergo significant surgical procedures. The aftermath of those surgeries presented said loved ones with significant rehabilitation demands which were made all the more daunting because of the post-operative pain involved.

When said loved ones—and any other patient, for that matter—experiences that pain, s/he is supposed to tell a doctor, who then adjusts pain medication accordingly. The rule set down by physicians is that you aren’t supposed to try to be a hero; if you are in pain, you are supposed to say so, and you are supposed to get the appropriate amount of medication for your pain as a consequence. That certainly was the rule when I had gum recession surgery this past October. I was instructed to take medication to proactively suppress the pain, not to chase pain by skimping on my medication—only to take it when I couldn’t bear the discomfort.

Of course, different people are differently medicated and need different doses of medication. I received a prescription for oxycodone when I had my procedure, but I didn’t have to take a single pill; ibuprofen was more than sufficient to do the job in managing whatever discomfort I felt. And of course, physicians are supposed to be careful about how and what they prescribe, since we don’t want to turn patients into addicts.

But it would be best to leave these kinds of decisions to the doctor and his/her patient. So when an officious, meddling busybody decides that he is in the best position to decide who gets painkillers and who doesn’t, and when said officious, meddling busybody declares that it is okay if some people “suffer” as a consequence of his decision, I tend to get more than a little upset. And you should get more than a little upset too.

Dealing with physical pain as the result of a particular ailment retards one’s ability to recover from that ailment. Michael Bloomberg ought to know that. Banning sixteen ounce soda sales was a stupid enough thing for him and his administration to do—especially since people could simply purchase two eight ounce sodas in order to get around the ban. But this decision is … well, look at the title of this post.

December 28th, 2012


China unveiled tighter Internet controls on Friday, legalizing the deletion of posts or pages which are deemed to contain “illegal” information and requiring service providers to hand over such information to the authorities for punishment.

The rules signal that the new leadership headed by Communist Party chief Xi Jinping will continue muzzling the often scathing, raucous online chatter in a country where the Internet offers a rare opportunity for debate.

The new regulations, announced by the official Xinhua news agency, also require Internet users to register with their real names when signing up with network providers, though, in reality, this already happens.

Chinese authorities and Internet companies such as Sina Corp have long since closely monitored and censored what people say online, but the government has now put measures such as deleting posts into law.”

Service providers are required to instantly stop the transmission of illegal information once it is spotted and take relevant measures, including removing the information and saving records, before reporting to supervisory authorities,” the rules state.

The restrictions follow a series of corruption scandals amongst lower-level officials exposed by Internet users, something the government has said it is trying to encourage.

READ ON: China tightens Internet controls, legalizes post deletion

We wait breathlessly for Thomas Friedman to either explain why this abridgment of personal liberties means that the Chinese are awesome, or to explain why this abridgment of personal liberties just serves to reinforce past Friedmanesque arguments in favor of a third-party presidential bid by Michael Bloomberg.

Reblogged from Reuters
June 1st, 2012


A Modest Proposal: New York Should Outlaw Bloomberg Terminals

Look at Mayor Michael Bloomberg, standing behind a podium, as he so often does in his job. It’s in that upright posture that he’s spoken about bans on smoking, trans-fats, and now large containers of sweetened liquid. Perhaps it is all an elaborate attempt to distract us from something even less healthy. For elsewhere in New York, countless workers toil at the machine that helped their namesake become a billionaire — the Bloomberg terminal, ubiquitous in finance. And get this: almost all of them are sitting down. 

Yes, they are seated.

And “over a lifetime, the unhealthful effects of sitting add up,” The New York Times Magazine reported last April in a story titled, “Is Sitting a Lethal Activity.” […]

Read more. [Image: Reuters]

Of course, we won’t hear a peep from Bloomberg about this.

Incidentally, if the mayor really thinks that he needs to amuse himself with the soda-drinking habits of others, then being a billionaire must not be nearly as fun as I thought it would be.

Reblogged from The Atlantic


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