When a New York state Supreme Court justice on Monday invalidated a New York City law that prevented the “sale of sweetened drinks in containers larger than 16 ounces” at certain establishments, it came as no surprise that conservatives hailed the ruling as a victory “for liberty-loving soda drinkers.”
However, even as Mayor Michael Bloomberg promised to appeal judge Milton Tingling's ruling, several liberals joined the celebration, including the Teamsters, which declared the decision a “big victory” for the union, and CNN's John King, who mocked “Nanny Bloomberg” by tweeting a picture of a huge 52-ounce cup of soda.
King's photo drew immediate responses from actor Brennan Monaco, who tweeted that the photograph represented “52oz of freedom,” and Dylan Byers of Politico.com, who sarcastically demanded: “Arrest that man!”
Not to be outdone, conservative Tom Ziegmann posted: “I always knew I was a fan of John King.”
And the staff at Twichy.com joined the discussion by stating:
We bet Twitter users would round up bail money for you if Mayor Bloomberg tries to throw the nanny book at you! Keep being free and gulping the yummy soda, Mr. King.
The ruling by Tingling, a Democrat elected to the trial court bench in 2001, stated the reason the judge struck down the law:
It is arbitrary and capricious because it applies to some but not all food establishments in the city, it excludes other beverages that have significantly higher concentrations of sugar sweeteners and/or calories on suspect grounds, the loopholes inherent in the rule, including but not limited to limitations on re-fills, defeat and/or serve to gut the purpose of the rule.
Bloomberg didn't waste any time moving forward on the issue. On Tuesday, the city filed formal notice of its plan to appeal the ruling, and the mayor said that he is “confident” that the restrictions “will ultimately be upheld.”
The mayor's office tweeted that the city's board of health “has the legal authority and responsibility to tackle causes of the obesity epidemic, which kills 5,000 NYers a year.”
Over the past 10 years, we’ve adopted many groundbreaking and controversial public health policies, and they've helped NYers live longer. Life expectancy in NYC is now 3 years longer than it was in 2001 -- and more than 2 years longer than the national average.
However, “as far we’ve come, there is one public health crisis that has grown worse and worse over the years: obesity,” he noted. “If we’re serious about fighting obesity, we have to be honest about what causes it and have the courage to tackle it head-on.”
The mayor indicated that New York City “has long been ahead of the curve, whether it's requiring fluoride, calorie counts and restaurant grades, or banning trans fats.”
“Obesity kills,” Bloomberg stated. "People are dying every day. This is not a joke. This is about real lives."
That remark led to a caustic response from Sean Agnew, a conservative who tweeted: “Referring to gang violence, correct?”
As NewsBusters previously reported, NBC reporters have openly supported the soda ban; as did CNN's Soledad O'Brien, who stated she's been behind the measure for a long time; weeknight host Piers Morgan, who asked: “If a mayor can't do things to make his city's populace healthier -- what's the point of his job?” and Fortune editor Leigh Gallagher, who said: “Sometimes you have to take people by the hand.”
Despite all that support, Mayor Bloomberg stumbled seriously when he appeared on Monday night's edition of the “Late Show With David Letterman” and pointed out the one food he would never outlaw.
"As long as you don't ban Cheez-Its," he said. "Cheez-Its are OK. That's my addiction."
Something tells me he's going to regret making that remark.