Thursday, July 24, 2008

Freedom Is For The Rich

Poor people are like five-year-olds: they can’t be trusted to make their own food choices, but need a wiser, more mature person to make these choices for them.

That is the attitude of the Los Angeles city council, which has voted to impose a one-year moratorium on new fast-food joints in south-central L.A. That’s the poor part of town, where many residents stubbornly persist in gorging on unhealthy Big Macs rather than organic arugula salads. So the city council figures the best way to solve this problem is to make Big Macs unavailable to the poor folks in question.

There’s no limit to the number of fast-food joints that can be built in the more prosperous parts of the city, however.

Here are two questions I’d love to ask the councilmembers pushing this legislation through:

1. What is the minimum annual income a person must make before you think he can be trusted with a fast-food joint in his neighborhood?

2. Don’t you think people below that income minimum should be denied the right to vote? Seriously: if you sincerely believe a person is too stupid to even eat without government guidance, how can you possibly trust such a person to help make big, important decisions like “Who should be Commander In Chief of the most powerful nuclear-armed military in the world?”

Bad food choices can only lead to a fat ass and a high cholesterol level. Bad presidential choices can lead to the extinction of all life on earth. And if I can’t even trust you to feed yourself without causing damage, how can I possibly trust you to have any say in the laws and leaders under which I must live?


(Link shamelessly stolen from Radley Balko at Hit and Run.)

50 Comments:

Blogger Caveman Lawyer said...

As the snow flies
On a cold and gray L.A. mornin'
A poor black man wants a McGriddle
In the ghetto
And his woman cries
'cause if there's one thing that he don't need
it's another high cholesteral meal
In the ghetto

People, don't you understand
that man needs a helpin' hand
or he'll grow to be an fat old man some day
Take a look at you and me,
are we too blind to see,
do we simply turn our heads
and look the other way

Well the world turns
and a middle aged black man with too much HDL
goes to McDonnalds and gets another Supersized Big Mac meal
In the ghetto

And his arteries clog
so he sits on the couch at night
as he eats his Taco Grande
and his heart works too hard
In the ghetto

Then one night in a cold sweat
the old mans heart breaks down
He falls to the floor, cant catch his breath,
tries to crawl, but he don't get far
And his woman cries

As the paramedics gather 'round the dying old man
face down on the floor with a Steakhouse Burger meal in his hand
In the ghetto

As her old man dies,
on a cold and gray L.A. mornin',
her young son picks up a Big Mac
In the ghetto

5:07 PM  
Blogger Jennifer Abel said...

That was fucking brilliant.

5:09 PM  
Blogger Caveman Lawyer said...

Why thank you. I try to set a high bar for sarcasm wherever I go.

5:12 PM  
Anonymous Colon Gripper said...

That was pretty goddamn good.

I agree with that policy. Since most of the residents in poorer communities are on some kind of government assistance, I believe it's in the best interest to police what they eat. As my father used to say, As long as I'm buying the food you'll eat what I give you...

5:45 AM  
Blogger Caveman Lawyer said...

Perhaps we should take your idea a few steps further. Since they are receiving tax dollars they ought to do a number of things we think is in their best interests. Mandated birth control would be a good start. If that slips up then mandatory abortion. After all, children born into poverty are more likely to become criminals, we'd be taking a bite out of crime.

Perhaps we ought to mandate their diet a few steps further, not only no junk food but mandate their adherence to the Food Pyramid.

Perhaps we should mandate religious service attendance as well. After all, they've got plenty of time on their hands, why not get some of that old time religion to make them better people. Of course that might be at odds with the mandated abortion thing.

But why stop with personal welfare recipients? Lets expand this to cover corporate welfare recipients too. Mandate that they provide full medical coverage for all employees, two week vacations, a livable wage and no more outsourcing.

Why not use that big stick to fix all our problems, not just fat welfare queens.

6:33 AM  
Blogger NoStar said...

Caveman,
Dude! Spot on parody.
NS

10:51 AM  
Blogger Caveman Lawyer said...

"In the Ghetto" has to be my favorite one to use for any well meaning liberal crap. I've tossed off a half dozen parodies like that for all manner of things in the past.

The original is so pretentious and so over the top with a lyrical structure that already doesn't rhyme. It's so good for plugging in whatever you want.

11:25 AM  
Anonymous Colon Gripper said...

Caveman,
I know you were being sarcastic but
except for the mandated religious services, because that's just stupid, I couldn't agree more!

12:04 PM  
Blogger Jennifer Abel said...

See? Colon Gripper agrees with my central thesis, which I shall repeat here for y'all's edification: "Poor people are like five-year-olds; they can't be trusted to make their own food choices, but need someone wiser to make the choices for them."

The question remains, however: can they be trusted with the right to vote?

12:35 PM  
Blogger Caveman Lawyer said...

colon gripper, who's being sarcastic? Once we decide that some people are going to be less than full citizens based upon their ability to generate wealth why not try to change those people for the better? Who gets to decide on what is "better"? Well, the majority of course. And the majority of people are cross cultists. I think mandating religious services is more likley than mandating abortions.

6:00 PM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

Perhaps we should take your idea a few steps further. Since they are receiving tax dollars they ought to do a number of things we think is in their best interests.

Uh, Caveman, I hate to kind of cut you off at the knees, so to speak, but perhaps they should not be receiving tax dollars in the first place - not they and not the "corporate welfare recipients" either. That would seem to remove any need for the government to protect its "investment" - although it would probably find other ways to justify its nannyism and interference.

Many years ago I had a high school civics teacher who was something of an oddity for the times - she was a small government conservative in a profession whose members were largely "Liberal", socialistic, big government types. This was back before widespread federal aid to education, which was being debated at the time (if memory serves,) and we were discussing it in class. She used to drive home the point that anytime states, localities, or anyone else accepts money from Uncle Sugar it always comes with strings attached. It serves as a method for the federal government to extend its authority and reach, as well as its size. She was right, but what she didn't see was that the same is true when money is accepted even from state and/or local government. It expands those entities' size and their power in and over our lives.

11:50 PM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

The question remains, however: can they be trusted with the right to vote?

Sure, because it doesn't matter who they vote for anyway - all they'll get is something similar to Henry Ford's promise that people could order a Model T in any color they wanted - as long as it was basic black.

12:00 AM  
Blogger Caveman Lawyer said...

Smartass said "Uh, Caveman, I hate to kind of cut you off at the knees, so to speak, but perhaps they should not be receiving tax dollars in the first place - not they and not the 'corporate welfare recipients' either."

Oh come on. That idea is SO 19th century. Every man for himself, damn the consequences to social order and survival of the fit! We're in the 21st century now. We need to think like future people. More Star Trek than Star Wars doncha' know.

The political center has shifted to the left so far that JFK would be a Republican today. Even FDR, the father of American Socialism, would be a a right of center moderate these days.

Those who want limited government are so far off the charts that they may as well be monarchists. Out there calling for something that both sides of the current political spectrum refuse to accept.

The end is near. Therefore, make peace with your god, whatever you conceive him to be. Hairy thunderer, or cosmic muffin.

With all its hopes, dreams, promises and urban renewal, the world continues to deteriorate.

GIVE UP!

You are a fluke of the universe.
You have no right to be here. And whether you can hear it or not the universe is laughing behind your back.

9:36 AM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

You are a fluke of the universe.
You have no right to be here. And whether you can hear it or not the universe is laughing behind your back.


Let it laugh - because whether I am meant to be here or no, by a stroke of luck I am, and the joke is on the universe.

10:44 AM  
Blogger Caveman Lawyer said...

Talk about your delusions of grandeur.

But then, if you are going to have delusions why not go for the really satisfying ones.

4:06 PM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

Talk about your delusions of grandeur.

No delusions or illusions, and no grandeur particularly - just simple reality. I'm on an amusement park ride, enjoying the hell out of it while it lasts; and whether it ends today, tomorrow, or a hundred years from now, I get to ride that long. Not even Death can take that away. That's why the joke is on the universe and I can laugh my ass off at it, weisenheimer. ;-)

8:48 PM  
Blogger Jennifer Abel said...

You start with nothing, you go back to nothing. What have you lost? Nothing! Always look on the bright side of life.

9:47 PM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

Always look on the bright side of life.

♪♫♪ You might as well have a good time. ♪♫♪♪ ☺

11:22 PM  
Anonymous colon gripper said...

It's pretty simple really,
If I give you something, I have the right to attach conditions. If I am giving you foodstamps to buy food, I have the right to tell you what you can and cannot buy with them. If you don't agree with the conditions don't accept the handout. Most problems in our society can be solved by the application of the same basic common sense most of us use in our daily lives.

9:12 AM  
Blogger Jennifer Abel said...

If I am giving you foodstamps to buy food, I have the right to tell you what you can and cannot buy with them.

Fast-food restaurants don't accept food stamps anyway. This story is about fast-food restaurants being zoned out of a neighborhood solely based on the neighborhood's average income. So perhaps you could answer my original question: how much money do you think a person needs to make before he can be "allowed" to have a fast-food restaurant in his neighborhood?

9:32 AM  
Anonymous Colon Gripper said...

It should be based on the percentage of residents in that area receiving any kind of aid from the state. While I'm paying for their healthcare I'd like minimize how much shitty food they eat. We are the only country in the world where our average weight goes UP the POORER you are! I also think they should propose a ban on liquor stores and the sale of cigarettes. I know it goes against the very idea of Libertarianism, but doesn't handing out welfare checks to anyone who asks also contradict it?

12:21 PM  
Blogger Jennifer Abel said...

Ah, so you're saying that an individual's rights should be contingent upon the average wealth of his neighbors, then. If my neighbor is on welfare, then my rights should be diminished as well.

12:24 PM  
Blogger Caveman Lawyer said...

I do love how you jump to defend the indefensible Jennifer. I must remember to send you a copy of Don Quixote for Christmas. So many Libertarians are such die hard windmill tilters. I understand that Thomas Jefferson taught himself Spanish by reading Cervantes in his original tongue.

Ever hear of the idea "Ground not worth dying on"? Well defending the rights of poor people to make poor decisions is one of those things that have kept Libertarians out of the real world of politics for twenty years. Most people want to attach conditions to the money they are handing out. They just don't agree on what those conditions should be.

Personally I like the mandated birth control followed by mandatory abortions if the birth control fails. The think I hated most about working on Section 8 housing was the multi generational welfare families. When I saw a 36 year old woman praising her 16 year old daughter for getting knocked up so they can get even more money from the gubiment I got physically ill.

The whole trans-fat obsession that is the current fad in health circles isn't a bandwagon I'm ready to jump on. Eating at a Mac's Steakhouse or a Taco Juan's isn't in itself the problem. Sitting on ones fat ass for 18 hours a day and then going to bed is the problem. If obese welfare queens is your concern then mandating phys-ed for Section 8 housing would be a better plan.

4:59 PM  
Blogger Jennifer Abel said...

Oh, I agree that multigenerational welfare is an abomination, and I'd be quite happy to make birth control mandatory for welfare recipients. My complaint is in imposing paternalistic laws upon the honest working poor. My body's ability to handle the occasional hamburger has nothing to do with my income or lack thereof.

6:11 PM  
Blogger Caveman Lawyer said...

I agree that the burger joints are not the problem. However not everyone wants to approach the problem in the same way. Unfortunately it is true that poverty in America is not accompanied by low weight and malnutrition.

If anything, the fact that the poorest people are the fattest makes me wonder if the oligarchs who rule over us are in fact some kind of creatures that consume humans as food. Think about it. No one really misses the poor, even the Democrats only pander to them for easy votes. The poor get fattened up on food low in nutrients but high in materials that build yummy triglycerides. The same thing we do with cattle.

Makes you wonder... Ok, it makes ME wonder.

7:26 PM  
Blogger Jennifer Abel said...

I must remind you that "Soylent Green" was not a documentary.

8:11 PM  
Blogger Caveman Lawyer said...

Yet another case of Charlton Heston warning us of a dark future.... What's next? The ape revolution!?!

5:56 AM  
Anonymous Colon Gripper said...

Ah, so you're saying that an individual's rights should be contingent upon the average wealth of his neighbors, then. If my neighbor is on welfare, then my rights should be diminished as well.

No,
Only if the MAJORITY of your neighbors are on welfare. And only then, it just means you may have to drive a little farther for your Big Mac. The town were I grew up (Tolland, CT) voted against fast food restaurants because the residents didn't want to deal with the traffic issues created by drive thrus. Why weren't you speaking up for the residents who have the right to increased traffic?

6:37 AM  
Anonymous Colon gripper said...

Until we have a definition of 'Poor' it's difficult to address all this. In the USA even the poorest of us have plenty to eat, cable TV, access to public transportation, public library with free access to the internet, free healthcare (yes, they have healthcare) and just about everything else one needs to make a life for ones self. What we don't provide our poor is accountability. It would be one of the greatest gifts we could give them. It would lead to a little something called self respect. Something many of them have never had.

6:46 AM  
Blogger Jennifer Abel said...

And the way to increase self-respect is to say "We don't trust you in the vicinity of a McDonald's."

As for Tolland, that was the people themselves voting on it, wasn't it? Quite different from the council taking it upon themselves to say "The people in THIS part of town can have fast food restaurants, but not in THAT part."

10:21 AM  
Anonymous Colon Gripper said...

Exactly.

10:34 AM  
Blogger Jennifer Abel said...

Then why mention Tolland as though it has anything to do with the LA city council's decision?

10:51 AM  
Anonymous Colon Gripper said...

I look at it this way. A city council can vote for a factory to be built in an industrial park area because it is away from residential areas, playgrounds or a whole host of other good reasons. So I have so problem if a city council says there will be no fast food joints, gun shops, pawnshops etc built in an area where the population has shown they are incapable of making sound judgements. Is it silly and unfair? Hell yeah! But that's the world we've created for ourselves. I think your argument comes from the fact that you ACTUALLY believe these people have the ability to make rational, well thought out decisions for themselves. Well, I'm here to tell you... They don't. It's sad, but its true.

12:48 PM  
Blogger Jennifer Abel said...

So then please answer my question: how much money do they have to make before government should assume they CAN make rational well-thought-out decisions for themselves?

12:49 PM  
Blogger Caveman Lawyer said...

The question is not can they make rational or well thought out decisions. The fact that they are living on the wrong side of the tracks pretty much proves that they are not able to do that. The question is should a city council attempt social engineering based upon something as intellectually dishonest as the movie "Super Size Me".

It seems that city councils across the nation have been doing such things based upon such laughable sources as the Bible and Algore's "An Inconvenient Truth". I suppose it was inevitable.

Now, should a city council have such power? In a perfect world, no. But this world is far from perfect. Methinks this is proof of my Malevolent Designer Theory, but that's another post.

4:46 PM  
Blogger Jennifer Abel said...

The question is not can they make rational or well thought out decisions. The fact that they are living on the wrong side of the tracks pretty much proves that they are not able to do that.

The fact that they live on the wrong side of the tracks proves merely that they are poor. Granted, many poor folk get that way because of bad choices in life, but that doesn't mean every single poor person is an idiot who can't make his own decisions.

Having money is no guarantee of intelligence, and lacking money is no guarantee of stupidity.

4:55 PM  
Anonymous Colon Gripper said...

jennifer,
Its not a question of how much one makes,
It's a question of how much one RECEIVES.
In the US If you are poor you, by definition, are receiving some kind of handout in the form of healthcare, foodstamps, bus tokens etc. So I believe that if you choose to receive handouts, you relinquish some of your rights and privileges. (yes, that goes for rich people as well as corporations)

5:48 AM  
Blogger Jennifer Abel said...

If you are poor you, by definition, are receiving some kind of handout in the form of healthcare, foodstamps, bus tokens etc.

No, if you are poor then you, by definition, don't have a lot of money. Don't confuse the definition of "poor" with the definition of "welfare recipient."

10:52 AM  
Blogger Caveman Lawyer said...

Poverty is a result of one of two things. A series of bad choices made or by not being a winner of life's lottery. Which one do you like better?

If you get a passable education, acquire some saleable skills and don't take stupid risks the odds of being in a poverty stricken neighborhood are pretty darned slim.

If you blow off your time in school, delude yourself into thinking your basketball skills will make you a success and have premarital sex without birth control you have a real good shot at finding yourself on the wrong side of those tracks.

Certainly some folks make all the right choices and still, through no fault of their own, find themselves receiving a shit sammich from life. But they are rare. Most people in poverty were given a fair shot but squandered it for whatever foolish reasons.

I don't believe in superstitious concepts like luck. The odds of bad things happening to you are the same as for me. The question is how well have you prepared yourself for the possible downturns.

11:16 AM  
Blogger Jennifer Abel said...

Even if every single person in south-central LA falls into the "poverty due to stupidity" category, and even if every single one of their children is destined to repeat that cycle, that's still no justification for the city council to ban inexpensive restaurants from the area.

And if there were no welfare, and thus no legitimate excuse to say "Government should have some say in how these people live their lives," you know damned well this bill would've passed anyway.

If you really want to increase the health of the people in this neighborhood, do something about the gang warfare, not the McDonald's corporation.

11:32 AM  
Anonymous Colon Gripper said...

If you are poor you, by definition, are receiving some kind of handout in the form of healthcare, foodstamps, bus tokens etc.

No, if you are poor then you, by definition, don't have a lot of money. Don't confuse the definition of "poor" with the definition of "welfare recipient."

What's your definition of 'a lot'? .Like any good member of the media, You altered my quote to fit your argument. You left out the "in the US..."
Can we agree that if you fall below the poverty line recognized by your geographical area you are defined as poor? If so, in the United States if someone falls below the poverty line they AUTOMATICALLY qualify for handouts. That in itself is a handout.

12:50 PM  
Blogger Jennifer Abel said...

"Qualifying" for handouts is the same thing as "receiving" handouts? Wrong. I qualified for food stamps in college, but have never applied for nor received a food stamp in my life. I did, however, live in poor neighborhoods, so by your standards I couldn't possibly have been trusted to make my own decisions concerning what I did or did not eat.

12:54 PM  
Anonymous Colon Gripper said...

If you really want to increase the health of the people in this neighborhood, do something about the gang warfare, not the McDonald's corporation.

The police try, but then certain raven-haired bloggers who shall remain nameless named Feral Genius criticizes their tactics.

Are you starting to see a pattern?

12:58 PM  
Anonymous Colon Gripper said...

By the way, If you really want answers to the worlds problems, they all can be found in MY blog:

http://dougisagodking.blogspot.com/

1:01 PM  
Blogger Jennifer Abel said...

Referring to a redhead as "raven-haired?" Yes, I'm detecting a pattern of bad reading comprehension on your part. Not surprising from someone who thinks that "qualifying" for welfare is the exact same thing as "receiving" it, though.

1:02 PM  
Anonymous Colon Gripper said...

You used to have black hair.
That's how I'll always know you:)

6:08 AM  
Blogger Caveman Lawyer said...

If you really want to increase the health of the people in this neighborhood, do something about the gang warfare, not the McDonald's corporation.

I don't think the city council can end the war on (some) drugs which is about the only thing that will reduce the gang violence in the inner city areas. Besides, the new thing is the war on fatty foods. They hope that we will be too distracted by the new care-war that we will forget the abject failure the other care-wars were.

You know, instead of looking at the glass as half empty here you should see the half fullness of it. Think of the business opportunities for lipid-legging! Running fatty foods into the ghettos! Think of the profits!

11:25 AM  
Blogger Jennifer Abel said...

Ah, so CG knows me from the REAL world. I haven't had black hair since 2003.

And damn near got chemical burns having the black dye stripped out, but that's another story.

12:14 PM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

Ah, so CG knows me from the REAL world.

That...or he's an avid reader of your blog.

10:04 PM  
Anonymous smartass sob said...

That...or he's an avid reader of your blog.

As in here.

4:12 AM  

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