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Give me a Big Gulp or give me death
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Who ever thought drinking a 32-ounce Big Gulp could one day constitute an act of civil disobedience?

New York City is pursuing a plan to outlaw the sale of any sugary drink larger than 16 ounces.

The decree - if adopted - would apply to any venue regulated by that city’s health department. However, vending machines would not be covered.

Mayor turned commissar Michael Bloomberg says it is all being done in the name of people who lack the discipline not to be fat.

But what if people get refills or buy two 16-ounce drinks for themselves instead of one? No problem, says Bloomberg, at least for now, anyway. Packing two 16-ounce Mountain Dews could one day be viewed as much as a crime as carrying around an ounce of marijuana in the Big Apple.

Bloomberg only is taking aim at people indulging in sugary soft drinks who happen to become fat. Those who develop beer guts are still golden. They can buy brews bigger than 16 ounces.

What’s next on Big Brother Bloomberg’s list of what he and the powers that be deem as bad, self-destructive habits? Maybe they’ll regulate the size of slices of New York-style pizza that can be sold in the city. A cheese version of an average sized slice is 400 calories compared to 16 calories for a Pepsi. While there may be more significantly more nutritional value in pizza, it still isn’t exactly health food.

It’s more than ironic that the city that portrays itself as being in the forefront in the battle for America’s freedoms since the terrorist attacks is imposing its will on individual’s lives in ways that would make the Taliban envious.

What better way to control people than to dictate their diets?

The mayor’s previous effort to severely restrict soda sales by imposing a massive sales tax was rejected by lawmakers in Albany. His effort to ban the use of food stamps to buy soda was blocked by federal regulators.

Bloomberg now believes the city’s health department through the act of protecting the public’s heath via the inspection of establishments that sell food has the power and right to restrict what they sell as well.

That - as they say - is a slippery slope.

Red meat eaten in large quantities is considered to be a health problem. Perhaps Bloomberg will ban Double Big Mac sales next.

Ounce for ounce, candy can’t be good either when it comes to packing on the pounds. Perhaps Bloomberg can require anyone who wants to eat candy to pay the city $10 per two-ounce treat for ration tickets that allow them to make a legal purchase within the boundaries of New York City.

There is no end to how intrusive the government can get into our lives.

It’s ironic that those who celebrate getting the government out of your bedroom now want to use the same powers that for years tried to regulate what went on behind closed doors to control what you eat and drink down to the portion size.

The Founding Fathers would be aghast that more Americans today have the physique of an elderly Benjamin Franklin and not the slim cut of George Washington. Those who laid the foundation for individuals to be free of government tyranny would be even more shocked at where some are taking government powers these days.

What Bloomberg is doing is more about diminishing personal liberty than anything else.

To paraphrase Patrick Henry, “give me a Big Gulp or give me death.”

This column is the opinion of managing editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA.  He can be contacted at or 209-249-3519.