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Chefs whining about trans fat ban


paulraphael
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For the record, I would actually advocate making the most-used illegal drugs legal, but I'm in the minority ...

So would I.

In general I'm against unecessary regulation, and so I'm one of the nuts who thinks most of the drug laws cause much worse problems than they solve (witness little episodes in history like prohibition ...)

Count me in favor of drug law reform too.

I see the trans fat issue as different, and in fact somewhat unique. They're insidious, because they're invisible. .  .

Labelling would solve the invisbility problem, as was already pointed out, and you haven't explained why we should want to jump straight to an outright ban. Trans fats are no more "insidious" or "invisible" than any other nutritional ingredients were prior to their being labelled, or prior to educational campaigns intended to raise awareness about those ingredients.

. .  .abstract (difficult to explain to anyone lacking education and a specific interest in them)

That statement seems nonsensical and, frankly, condescending. The dangers of trans fats are no harder to understand or explain that those of, say, saturated fats, illegal drugs, or nutritional villains other than fats.

In the end, I see many potential benefits to doing away with them, and precious little harm.

If it stops with trans fats, there will be precious little harm, except maybe to the principle that we have the right to eat what we want at a restaurant without government interference. Thus far, however, no one has explained why the slope isn't indeed slippery.

Edited by Patrick S (log)

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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I've got some bad news for those who are worried about a slippery slope: we're already two thirds of the way down that slope, without brakes, accelerating at 32 feet per second per second and the slope happens to be a cliff.

If regulators can muster even mediocre evidence that something is unhealthy (whatever that means), they can regulate it. And people are in favor of that. Anne, I'm sorry to say that in the case of the trans fat ban, there was little meaningful opposition. . . . .

A summary of all comments, including lists of those in support or opposition, is available online at http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/...ts-response.pdf. A total of 2,340 written comments were received (including 53 people who spoke at the October 30 public hearing). Overall, 2,266 (95%) comments supported the proposal and 74 were in opposition. Unqualified support for the proposed changes came from numerous leading national and local professional societies, academic institutions, and local hospitals and advocacy groups, including the American Medical Association (AMA), National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA), American College of Cardiology (ACC), American Cancer Society (ACS), American Diabetes Association (ADA), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), New York Academy of Medicine, Columbia University Medical Center, Harvard University, New York University, Institute for Urban Family Health, and Northern Manhattan Perinatal Partnership.

http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/pr2006/pr114-06.shtml

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I've got some bad news for those who are worried about a slippery slope: we're already two thirds of the way down that slope, without brakes, accelerating at 32 feet per second per second and the slope happens to be a cliff.

If regulators can muster even mediocre evidence that something is unhealthy (whatever that means), they can regulate it. And people are in favor of that. Anne, I'm sorry to say that in the case of the trans fat ban, there was little meaningful opposition. . . . .

A summary of all comments, including lists of those in support or opposition, is available online at http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/...ts-response.pdf. A total of 2,340 written comments were received (including 53 people who spoke at the October 30 public hearing). Overall, 2,266 (95%) comments supported the proposal and 74 were in opposition. Unqualified support for the proposed changes came from numerous leading national and local professional societies, academic institutions, and local hospitals and advocacy groups, including the American Medical Association (AMA), National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA), American College of Cardiology (ACC), American Cancer Society (ACS), American Diabetes Association (ADA), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), New York Academy of Medicine, Columbia University Medical Center, Harvard University, New York University, Institute for Urban Family Health, and Northern Manhattan Perinatal Partnership.

http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/pr2006/pr114-06.shtml

A cursory examination of those in support of the trans fat ban, also expressed concern that sat fats would be substituted, and concluded that would be bad. It wasn't an all encompassing endorsement of the ban, sorry to say.

Are you really endorsing a world without fat?

Your defeatist attitude upon infringement of personal liberty ("the slope is already there, so hang on to the bobsled" mentality) belies your support of the ban, I assume. How do you propose to ban naturally occuring trans fat? How do you figure that this is going to be enforced? How would you explain the lengenthing of life expectancy over the last 100 years during the time that trans fats have become a small component of daily intake of fats? Why do you think giving the state the right to approve or dissapprove of fats is a good thing, and of what benefit will that give the residents of the state?

There are other activities with much more inherent health risks, including walking in the rain and eating foie gras.

I think it is more of a case of special interests infringing upon the rights of individuals, and the fat cats in their government jobs justifying thier existance.

All, In My Humble Opinion.

Edited by annecros (log)
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Your defeatist attitude upon infringement of personal liberty ("the slope is already there, so hang on to the bobsled" mentality) belies your support of the ban, I assume.

You assume incorrectly. But in New York City you're going to get about as far in the trans fat debate with libertarian arguments as you'd get by showing up at a Klan meeting and defending the Jews. We'll always have New Jersey, though.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I think it is cut and dried and not vague a bit. Attorneys are successful, and not that many are truth be told, when they have the skills to make a convincing argument regardless.

Of course, many of them aren't. And it's also true that many laws are specific. I however, still feel that the "general welfare" clause is vague. What are the limits to that?

I think that the trans-fat ban is very different from the ban of drugs, because drugs are mind-imparing.

People need to take the responsability of reading food-labels so that they know what it in the food that they are eating. They also must extend this responsability to ensure that their children are eating healthfully. This really isn't something that should be done by law.

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There are some "freedom from" and "freedom to" issues here as well. We should be free to eat what we want so long as the production does not destroy a shared environment or another's private property, violate accepted ethical standards, etc. However, we should have a freedom from not knowing what we are eating, in what quantity, and what the deleterious health effects might be. The more slippery freedom from concerns higher heath care costs and lower productivity that may result from cardiovascular disease and obesity. At the very least I am with the folks who advocate (in my mind aggressive) labeling and education.

I am, however, dubious that there are some hand ringing "fat cats" who are sitting in a back room somewhere dreaming or more regulations (most bureaucrats can't handle enforcing the regulations as they currently exist), although annecros's point is well taken concerning special interests who have a wide range of motives and varying qualities of verifiable evidence to support their positions.

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Your defeatist attitude upon infringement of personal liberty ("the slope is already there, so hang on to the bobsled" mentality) belies your support of the ban, I assume.

You assume incorrectly. But in New York City you're going to get about as far in the trans fat debate with libertarian arguments as you'd get by showing up at a Klan meeting and defending the Jews. We'll always have New Jersey, though.

My apologies for my bad assumption.

I've seen New York change in a multitude of ways, in many different directions over the years. Even the Klan is not a power broker in the south these days.

I will respectfully hold out hope for the populace! "My" libertarian arguments are simply arguments, and will stand on their own merits.

:smile:

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I am, however, dubious that there are some hand ringing "fat cats" who are sitting in a back room somewhere dreaming or more regulations (most bureaucrats can't handle enforcing the regulations as they currently exist), although annecros's point is well taken concerning special interests who have a wide range of motives and varying qualities of verifiable evidence to support their positions.

Who would have thought that there were hand wringing "fat cats" in New York who have a problem with two tablespoons of crisco in a pie crust in the first place? But, here ya have it.

Not being able to enforce regulations has never stopped bureaucrat's from creating new ones. It is called "budgeting for next year" and those additional dollars have to come from somewhere, and be justified somehow.

Special interests also have budgets to defend, and have to show concrete results to donors.

I am a proposal writer for government contracts in my spare time. Interesting work, and an amazing way to gain insight into the mentality of a typical civil service worker (contracting officers in my case) - you wouldn't believe.

Edited by annecros (log)
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[...]Public health regulators are quite aware of all this, which is why they don't see labeling as a real solution to anything. They don't see their jobs as providing information. They want to be in the business of getting results. And they don't really acknowledge personal choice as legitimate, because to them any choice that harms health has a public cost in terms of government-funded medical care, lost productivity, etc.

That argument has its own logic, and is really the communitarian counterpoint to the libertarian viewpoint.

Edited by Pan (log)

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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That is the role they are meant to fulfill as far as concern for the welfare of the public. They aren't doctors, for goodness sake.

Plenty of them are medical doctors, and their mandate is broad. Here's a brief organizational overview of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene:

#

Division of Health Promotion & Disease Prevention

# • Tobacco Control

# • Chronic Disease Prevention

# • District Public Health Offices

# • The Asthma Initiative

# • Clinical Systems Improvement

# • Workplace Wellness

# • School Health

# • Maternal, Infant & Reproductive Health

# • Day Care

#

Division of Disease Control

# • Emergency Management

# • Communicable Disease Control

# • Public Health Laboratory

# • Immunization

# • HIV/AIDS

# • Sexually Transmitted Disease Prevention & Control

# • Tuberculosis Control

#

Division of Mental Hygiene

# • Early Intervention

# • Planning, Evaluation & Quality Improvement

# • Program Services – Mental Health

# • Project Liberty

# • Mental Health Disaster Preparedness & Response

# • Community Liaison & Training

#

Division of Environmental Health

# • Environmental Disease Prevention

# • Food Safety & Community Sanitation

# • Poison Control

# • Veterinary & Pest Control Services

# • Environmental Sciences & Engineering

#

Division of Epidemiology

# • Epidemiology Services

# • Surveillance

# • Injury Epidemiology

# • Public Health Training

# • Vital Statistics

#

Division of Health Care Access & Improvement

# • Health Insurance Services & Medicaid Managed Care

# • Oral Health

# • Correctional Health

THIS is the problem and you have illustrated it perfectly! Jacks of all trades, and masters of none.

Big, bloated, overreaching, inefficient Bureaucracy. I cannot believe that this is what the founding fathers had in mind.

No, because in the 18th century, this was a low-population agrarian country with no railways, airlines, etc., etc., etc. The genius of the Constitution was that the framers made it flexible enough to grow and change with the country, as considered necessary by a super-majority of society.

I am more than a little bit uncomfortable with your summary dismissal of all public servants dealing with health. Should we do a search on their credentials in order to prove that some of them are highly distinguished specialists? I think that it's very possible to generally criticize bureaucracy and over-regulation without launching a generalized ad hominem attack on the entire civil service. Please concede that there are public servants who are motivated by professionalism and a desire to serve the public as diligently as possible. And if you can't remember any such examples, how about C. Everett Koop, the Surgeon General under President Reagan?

Edited by Pan (log)

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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I am, however, dubious that there are some hand ringing "fat cats" who are sitting in a back room somewhere dreaming or more regulations (most bureaucrats can't handle enforcing the regulations as they currently exist), although annecros's point is well taken concerning special interests who have a wide range of motives and varying qualities of verifiable evidence to support their positions.

Who would have thought that there were hand wringing "fat cats" in New York who have a problem with two tablespoons of crisco in a pie crust in the first place? But, here ya have it.

Not being able to enforce regulations has never stopped bureaucrat's from creating new ones. It is called "budgeting for next year" and those additional dollars have to come from somewhere, and be justified somehow.

Special interests also have budgets to defend, and have to show concrete results to donors.

I am a proposal writer for government contracts in my spare time. Interesting work, and an amazing way to gain insight into the mentality of a typical civil service worker (contracting officers in my case) - you wouldn't believe.

Bureaucrats rarely make up their own rules only procedures, elected officials usually make the rules.

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No, because in the 18th century, this was a low-population agrarian country with no railways, airlines, etc., etc., etc. The genius of the Constitution was that the framers made it flexible enough to grow and change with the country, as considered necessary by a super-majority of society.

I am more than a little bit uncomfortable with your summary dismissal of all public servants dealing with health. Should we do a search on their credentials in order to prove that some of them are highly distinguished specialists? I think that it's very possible to generally criticize bureaucracy and over-regulation without launching a generalized ad hominem attack on the entire civil service. Please concede that there are public servants who are motivated by professionalism and a desire to serve the public as diligently as possible. And if you can't remember any such examples, how about C. Everett Koop, the Surgeon General under President Reagan?

Oh, I do not dismiss them all. Quite the contrary. I think I have expressly stated my support of the immunization program clearly, and my hopeful encouragement that they spend time eradicating rodent hair, bug parts and human/animal feces from the food supply. More power to them in such persuits, and objectively those are tax dollars well spent.

As a sufferer of a progressive, chronic illness - I have more respect for the medical profession in general than you would believe. I have had the priviledge of knowing some remarkable doctors who do an amazing job.

I just don't want them in my pantry and fridge confiscating anything they deem inappropriate, especially if they are 20 or 30 layers removed from my individual case. And quite frankly, the best doctors out there have better things to do. Also, the general consensus is among the majority of doctors is well, ya gotta live too. Something about the day to day morbidity they face makes them pragmatists, I think.

I'm not real big on the "living, breathing" constitution thing. Literalist here. I guess you can tell!

:biggrin:

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I am, however, dubious that there are some hand ringing "fat cats" who are sitting in a back room somewhere dreaming or more regulations (most bureaucrats can't handle enforcing the regulations as they currently exist), although annecros's point is well taken concerning special interests who have a wide range of motives and varying qualities of verifiable evidence to support their positions.

Who would have thought that there were hand wringing "fat cats" in New York who have a problem with two tablespoons of crisco in a pie crust in the first place? But, here ya have it.

Not being able to enforce regulations has never stopped bureaucrat's from creating new ones. It is called "budgeting for next year" and those additional dollars have to come from somewhere, and be justified somehow.

Special interests also have budgets to defend, and have to show concrete results to donors.

I am a proposal writer for government contracts in my spare time. Interesting work, and an amazing way to gain insight into the mentality of a typical civil service worker (contracting officers in my case) - you wouldn't believe.

Bureaucrats rarely make up their own rules only procedures, elected officials usually make the rules.

Tell that to the unelected panel that banned trans fats in NYC.

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I am, however, dubious that there are some hand ringing "fat cats" who are sitting in a back room somewhere dreaming or more regulations (most bureaucrats can't handle enforcing the regulations as they currently exist), although annecros's point is well taken concerning special interests who have a wide range of motives and varying qualities of verifiable evidence to support their positions.

Who would have thought that there were hand wringing "fat cats" in New York who have a problem with two tablespoons of crisco in a pie crust in the first place? But, here ya have it.

Not being able to enforce regulations has never stopped bureaucrat's from creating new ones. It is called "budgeting for next year" and those additional dollars have to come from somewhere, and be justified somehow.

Special interests also have budgets to defend, and have to show concrete results to donors.

I am a proposal writer for government contracts in my spare time. Interesting work, and an amazing way to gain insight into the mentality of a typical civil service worker (contracting officers in my case) - you wouldn't believe.

Bureaucrats rarely make up their own rules only procedures, elected officials usually make the rules.

Tell that to the unelected panel that banned trans fats in NYC.

Point taken, but that is why I said usually. I know it is not the same thing, but these boards are usually appointed by elected officials.

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No, because in the 18th century, this was a low-population agrarian country with no railways, airlines, etc., etc., etc. The genius of the Constitution was that the framers made it flexible enough to grow and change with the country, as considered necessary by a super-majority of society.

I am more than a little bit uncomfortable with your summary dismissal of all public servants dealing with health. Should we do a search on their credentials in order to prove that some of them are highly distinguished specialists? I think that it's very possible to generally criticize bureaucracy and over-regulation without launching a generalized ad hominem attack on the entire civil service. Please concede that there are public servants who are motivated by professionalism and a desire to serve the public as diligently as possible. And if you can't remember any such examples, how about C. Everett Koop, the Surgeon General under President Reagan?

Oh, I do not dismiss them all. Quite the contrary. I think I have expressly stated my support of the immunization program clearly, and my hopeful encouragement that they spend time eradicating rodent hair, bug parts and human/animal feces from the food supply. More power to them in such persuits, and objectively those are tax dollars well spent.

As a sufferer of a progressive, chronic illness - I have more respect for the medical profession in general than you would believe. I have had the priviledge of knowing some remarkable doctors who do an amazing job.

I just don't want them in my pantry and fridge confiscating anything they deem inappropriate, especially if they are 20 or 30 layers removed from my individual case. And quite frankly, the best doctors out there have better things to do. Also, the general consensus is among the majority of doctors is well, ya gotta live too. Something about the day to day morbidity they face makes them pragmatists, I think.

I'm not real big on the "living, breathing" constitution thing. Literalist here. I guess you can tell!

:biggrin:

I decline to get into an argument over literalism and what that should consist of, if anything, and how every later amendment would fit into such a philosophy. That goes to legal philosophy and the investigation and interpretation of history. But your not wanting civil servants enforcing bans on foodstuffs is a disagreement on policy, not a question of whether all the civil servants dealing with food policy are all non-specialists or somehow otherwise of questionable competence ("jacks of all trades, and masters of none"). I continue not to see the need to attack the entire staff of a bunch of government agencies, because you would rather they were not employed to do the particular jobs they have been hired to perform. Doesn't it make more sense to attack the higher-ups who are responsible for creating the policies you so strongly oppose? Even in the case of this particular ban, elected officials such as Mayor Bloomberg, with the allowance of the courts and higher-level governments, are ultimately responsible.

Very sorry about the chronic illness! And of course there are good and bad doctors, as there are good and bad civil servants, good and bad cooks, etc., etc.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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No, because in the 18th century, this was a low-population agrarian country with no railways, airlines, etc., etc., etc. The genius of the Constitution was that the framers made it flexible enough to grow and change with the country, as considered necessary by a super-majority of society.

I am more than a little bit uncomfortable with your summary dismissal of all public servants dealing with health. Should we do a search on their credentials in order to prove that some of them are highly distinguished specialists? I think that it's very possible to generally criticize bureaucracy and over-regulation without launching a generalized ad hominem attack on the entire civil service. Please concede that there are public servants who are motivated by professionalism and a desire to serve the public as diligently as possible. And if you can't remember any such examples, how about C. Everett Koop, the Surgeon General under President Reagan?

Oh, I do not dismiss them all. Quite the contrary. I think I have expressly stated my support of the immunization program clearly, and my hopeful encouragement that they spend time eradicating rodent hair, bug parts and human/animal feces from the food supply. More power to them in such persuits, and objectively those are tax dollars well spent.

As a sufferer of a progressive, chronic illness - I have more respect for the medical profession in general than you would believe. I have had the priviledge of knowing some remarkable doctors who do an amazing job.

I just don't want them in my pantry and fridge confiscating anything they deem inappropriate, especially if they are 20 or 30 layers removed from my individual case. And quite frankly, the best doctors out there have better things to do. Also, the general consensus is among the majority of doctors is well, ya gotta live too. Something about the day to day morbidity they face makes them pragmatists, I think.

I'm not real big on the "living, breathing" constitution thing. Literalist here. I guess you can tell!

:biggrin:

I decline to get into an argument over literalism and what that should consist of, if anything, and how every later amendment would fit into such a philosophy. That goes to legal philosophy and the investigation and interpretation of history. But your not wanting civil servants enforcing bans on foodstuffs is a disagreement on policy, not a question of whether all the civil servants dealing with food policy are all non-specialists or somehow otherwise of questionable competence ("jacks of all trades, and masters of none"). I continue not to see the need to attack the entire staff of a bunch of government agencies, because you would rather they were not employed to do the particular jobs they have been hired to perform. Doesn't it make more sense to attack the higher-ups who are responsible for creating the policies you so strongly oppose? Even in the case of this particular ban, elected officials such as Mayor Bloomberg, with the allowance of the courts and higher-level governments, are ultimately responsible.

Very sorry about the chronic illness! And of course there are good and bad doctors, as there are good and bad civil servants, good and bad cooks, etc., etc.

Oh, I agree wholeheartedly that the buck stops with Bloomberg. I am sorry that I gave you the impression that I hate all civil servants, because I don't.

I strongly dislike big government - and my point is, they have much bigger fish to fry that fall within the parameters of the job they were hired to do.

Honestly, trans fats are already disappearing on their own, through market demand. People are choosing on their own. I find the whole concept that a government entity is regulating food stuffs intrusive and disturbing. I find it condescending and rather insulting that a panel plans to discipline the eating habits of citizens "for their own good" - and quite frankly, really don't see anything positive being accomplished after gazillions of dollars are spent. An exercise in futility.

But I feel that way about a lot of things that don't belong in this discussion.

:biggrin:

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Point taken, but that is why I said usually. I know it is not the same thing, but these boards are usually appointed by elected officials.

Right. The members of the New York City Board of Health are not elected directly, but they are appointed by the mayor, an elected official, and confirmed by the City Council, also elected officials. This is similar to the way federal judges are appointed and confirmed (I'd have to look up whether there's a term of service for the Board of Health or if you just stay on it forever). Regarding a point that was raised earlier, most members of the Board of Health are either MDs, MPHs or PhDs, though I believe there may be one uncredentialed hospital administrator on it. The Board of Health was created in 1866, actually, so it's nothing new (it has changed a bit since then, but it's similar).

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Point taken, but that is why I said usually. I know it is not the same thing, but these boards are usually appointed by elected officials.

Right. The members of the New York City Board of Health are not elected directly, but they are appointed by the mayor, an elected official, and confirmed by the City Council, also elected officials. This is similar to the way federal judges are appointed and confirmed (I'd have to look up whether there's a term of service for the Board of Health or if you just stay on it forever). Regarding a point that was raised earlier, most members of the Board of Health are either MDs, MPHs or PhDs, though I believe there may be one uncredentialed hospital administrator on it. The Board of Health was created in 1866, actually, so it's nothing new (it has changed a bit since then, but it's similar).

on

Appointed or not, elected or not, PhD or MD or MPH or not, there are much bigger risks to the public health on the streets of NYC than a tiny bit of trans fat in a cookie in the window. The stuff floating around in the hot dog water and the mud puddles, crack and heroin and unprotected sex, malnourished children, the stuff on the floorboard in the back of a cab - all come to mind. Why are trans fats a priority, and couldn't those brilliant minds be put to work resolving much more important issues?

All those resources running around the city snooping in the back kitchen for a bit of trans fat. It would be funny, if it were not so pathetic.

I doubt that in 1866 when the Board of Health was formed, that it was envisioned fir the purpose of policing crisco in the city. Call me a skeptic.

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You're a skeptic. <<highfive!>>

I think the trans fat ban should be enacted with a heavy hand albeit second on the list. A sugar ban should be first because after all sugar is addicting unlike trans fats. Enacted as soon as the lion lays down with the lamb*.

*aka, peace on earth

Umm, Zurich Switzerland wishes that it did not legalize street drugs.

As far as kids being the recipients of the bountiful blessings of a trans fat ban, trans fat free products are now crowding store shelves. There's an abundance of 'safe' junk food now. Hmm, wonder what's more dangerous, trans fat laden junk food or 'safe' junk food, hmmm. However, this is the argument in favor of ban-be-gone, the market polices itself, kinda asorta.

C'mon, remember when apples were the target? Coffee?? Et cetera....

Edited by K8memphis (log)
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Oh, I agree wholeheartedly that the buck stops with Bloomberg. I am sorry that I gave you the impression that I hate all civil servants, because I don't.

I strongly dislike big government - and my point is, they have much bigger fish to fry that fall within the parameters of the job they were hired to do.

Honestly, trans fats are already disappearing on their own, through market demand. People are choosing on their own.[...]

All of these points are well taken, Anne. But the thing is, civil servants for the most part are there to execute and not make policy, and therefore don't get to decide which fish they're going to fry. I'm definitely sympathetic to the argument that there are much more important health issues than an effort to ban trans fats (except from schools below college level, which act in loco parentis toward minor students), but I can't blame the rank-and-file civil servants for doing the jobs they've been asked to do. The credit or blame rests higher up.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Oh, I agree wholeheartedly that the buck stops with Bloomberg. I am sorry that I gave you the impression that I hate all civil servants, because I don't.

I strongly dislike big government - and my point is, they have much bigger fish to fry that fall within the parameters of the job they were hired to do.

Honestly, trans fats are already disappearing on their own, through market demand. People are choosing on their own.[...]

All of these points are well taken, Anne. But the thing is, civil servants for the most part are there to execute and not make policy, and therefore don't get to decide which fish they're going to fry. I'm definitely sympathetic to the argument that there are much more important health issues than an effort to ban trans fats (except from schools below college level, which act in loco parentis toward minor students), but I can't blame the rank-and-file civil servants for doing the jobs they've been asked to do. The credit or blame rests higher up.

The credit or blame lies with the policy makers and deciders who are on the panel, who ARE civil service workers, and who determined what the regulations would be. Nothing about this ban was legislated and it is not the "will of people" as the people were not consulted. I think you may have a different picture of civil servants than I do and that's understandable, but I work with contracting officers who play politics within a huge government agency on a regular basis. It's not pretty.

I've really enjoyed this topic, and thank you for your insights. I do value and appreciate your opinion.

I do agree that trans fats do not belong in the public school system, but honestly the crap the kids are fed there is sometimes worse on any given day.

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The credit or blame lies with the policy makers and deciders who are on the panel, who ARE civil service workers, and who determined what the regulations would be. Nothing about this ban was legislated and it is not the "will of people" as the people were not consulted. I think you may have a different picture of civil servants than I do and that's understandable, but I work with contracting officers who play politics within a huge government agency on a regular basis. It's not pretty.

I've really enjoyed this topic, and thank you for your insights. I do value and appreciate your opinion.

I do agree that trans fats do not belong in the public school system, but honestly the crap the kids are fed there is sometimes worse on any given day.

Are the ones who made these decisions career civil service personnel or political appointees?

Anyway, though, part of the reason I probably have a different take on civil servants is that, as a city employee (Brooklyn College), I am a type of civil servant, and so were my parents, who were both full-time professors in the CUNY system (my mother still is). I'm not a bureaucrat, though, thank goodness (that kind of work would bore me to death, and I surely don't disagree that there's a lot of red tape that does no-one any good).

I agree about institutional food. The solution for me was for my mother to make a bag lunch for me, and when I got a bit older, for me to make my own sandwich (though I think my mother still saw to it that she packed fruit, juice, milk, a few raw vegetables and, yes, a cookie or two).

Edited by Pan (log)

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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The credit or blame lies with the policy makers and deciders who are on the panel, who ARE civil service workers, and who determined what the regulations would be. Nothing about this ban was legislated and it is not the "will of people" as the people were not consulted. I think you may have a different picture of civil servants than I do and that's understandable, but I work with contracting officers who play politics within a huge government agency on a regular basis. It's not pretty.

I've really enjoyed this topic, and thank you for your insights. I do value and appreciate your opinion.

I do agree that trans fats do not belong in the public school system, but honestly the crap the kids are fed there is sometimes worse on any given day.

Are the ones who made these decisions career civil service personnel or political appointees?

Anyway, though, part of the reason I probably have a different take on civil servants is that, as a city employee (Brooklyn College), I am a type of civil servant, and so were my parents, who were both full-time professors in the CUNY system (my mother still is). I'm not a bureaucrat, though, thank goodness (that kind of work would bore me to death, and I surely don't disagree that there's a lot of red tape that does no-one any good).

I agree about institutional food. The solution for me was for my mother to make a bag lunch for me, and when I got a bit older, for me to make my own sandwich (though I think my mother still saw to it that she packed fruit, juice, milk, a few raw vegetables and, yes, a cookie or two).

I understand your position much better now. Honestly, I have a lot of contact with the people who do the real work in the particular agency (a subagency of the DoD) I specialize in, and have nothing but admiration for them.

Yes, career civil servants are making decisions that impact the welfare of literally millions and millions of people, and base their decisions depending upon the whims of appointees who are appointed by appointees of elected people. I could save the Government so much money and deliver higher quality any day of the week, and because a lot of the proposal work I do is tied to DoD benefits, I see on a regular basis situations in which people who are in a cash strapped situation are not getting what they deserve, and who could be living a higher quality of life. And there is nothing I can do about it because the GS-9 wants to keep an appointee happy so they can finish doing their time. The only thing worse is when a high level civil servant retires and decides its time to parlay contacts and influence into a second career.

If you want to see real waste, fraud and abuse then appoint a panel. The foregone conclusion that was reached before the panel was organized is always reached in the end. It works every time, regardless of the facts.

I do the best I can though, both for my clients but more importantly for those who need the benefit. I play the game, and try to get the best deal I can. Every now and then I am even successful, and am proud of that.

I better shut up on the subject now.

Edited by annecros (log)
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I won't go into the politics but I will say transfats have made processed American foods from crackers to cookies to whatever taste like crap. They last a lifetime but they taste nasty.

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Now I will grant you that there is a floodgate open mindlessly pumping out inordinate amounts of nasty tasting food products, or rather tasteless food products. However, trans fats, Campbell soup, cake mix, umm, cheez whiz, velveeta, et al whatever food substance there is that grates your nerves to their frazzled foodie core,

these same products placed in the Master's hands:

A. You would never ever detect, trust me :biggrin:

B. You would humbly bow your head and hopefully mumble "More, Sir" as Oliver of old. Trying hard not to drool.

Edited by K8memphis (log)
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