When New York City passed a ban on cooking oils with trans fats for all restaurants, I was definitely against it, but since I haven't been to the Big Apple in over four years, I didn't let myself get worked up about it. But now, like a lot of bad ideas, it appears to be spreading like wildfire, including into my sometimes-stomping-ground, the city of Philadelphia. And now I'm pissed. There's a disturbing trend at the state and local government levels these days towards nanny state policies being put in place to protect people from themselves--my home state of Delaware has already banned smoking in just about every place you can think of. It's all in the name of good health, but it's at the cost of basic civil liberties--our own right to regulate what we put into our bodies (and before anyone comments about illegal drugs, no one has ever died from an acute overdose of cigarettes or fatty foods), and entrepreneurs' rights to run their business how they see fit (so long as they don't interfere with free and fair trade). Are trans fats bad for us? Probably. Do restaurants use more of them than they should (to save a few bucks from their lower cost and longer shelf life)? Again, probably. But the way to truly effect long term change in public health is to create educated consumers, and to legislate disclosure, rather than wielding the Hammer of Bureaucracy to ban products outright.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Like The Blowhard, I'm happy that the Yankees signed Andy Pettite. It was a move that I was against, until he signed a short-length contract. Is he overpaid for an aging, injury-prone pitcher? Probably, but not as much as some other members of the Yankees' staff (*cough*RandyJohnson*cough*), and not as much as they might have for the likes of Barry Zito. The Blowhard has a great analogy for the quality of free agent pitchers this year--go check out his latest post.
Also, the baseball writers are currently voting on players to be inducted into Cooperstown this month, and none other than Big Mac himself is eligible for induction for the first time. McGwire, of course, has been implicated as a steroid user in Jose Canseco's book Juiced. I've read this book (it was over in my Recent Experiences bar for a week or two--did you miss it?), and while I found it entertaining in the same way I found a crack-smoking vagrant's stories about Ara Parseghian and hitchhiking across Ohio with a shiv entertaining, there's not a whole lot of evidence there to back up his wild allegations. Come to think of it, that's a lot like the vagrant's stories too. Nonetheless, one way or another, the Hall of Fame voters will be sending a message this year. If McGwire is denied, they'll be showing current players that the integrity of the game does matter. If he's brought in as a first-ballot Hall of Famer, the message will be loud and clear: home runs and offensive production matter more than keeping the playing field level for everyone, and it's OK to cheat as long as you don't get caught. That sort of attitude is fine for Bobby the Brain, but it's got no place in Major League Baseball.
Posted by Beast at 2:33 PM
Friday, December 08, 2006
I went to go visit my friends in the Washington D.C. metro area last weekend, and actually took a day off from work to go do some touristy-type sightseeing. Unfortunately, I accidentally left my camera at home, dummy that I am. Fortunately, Faxman had his with him, and you can see his pictures from the weekend on his Flickr site, The Online Soul Repository.
Posted by Beast at 9:58 AM