Booze, Dope And Burgers

I went out running this morning — in what felt like 102% humidity and about 85 degrees — and fell into a muse over a couple of recent news items: a breathless opinion piece about a shareholder resolution asking McDonald’s to “assess the public health impact” of marketing fast food to kids, and a local editor (I have periodically been mistaken for him, but that’s another story) blinking in astonishment that the legal smoking age was raised from 16 to 18 in Virginia only two decades ago.

There are people who argue with their bare faces hanging out that it’s unacceptable to regulate food, even food sold to children, even food that has been solidly nailed as a cause of disease. “Personal responsibility” is the mantra invoked by the agribusiness and fast-food people, and their political beneficiaries allies put on their Libertarian haloes while agreeing.

Then some’a the same dumb ducks resist the decriminalization of marijuana with both heels dug in, chanting the slippery slope argument. Which may be starting to crumble, since the State of Washington is witnessing a campaign to legalize smoking rope for purely recreational reasons, the same way we legally, but with regulation, pop a beer. Sales would be licensed and taxed (Washington backers estimate revenue of $215 million; that’s how big the underground economy is.)

I think this is an idea whose time has come. I can’t stand even being around any kind of smoke, but I’d earn a thump on the head if I said that someone who wanted to get a little high in his own living room or a club licensed for the purpose differed in any substantial way from me and the Engineer enjoying a nightcap of single malt or a bottle of Single Humped Merlot. The flavor notes and the bouquet yes yes, I do not spend my money on Usher’s or Thunderbird, but undeniably, an attitude adjustment always accompanies those deftly blended aromas.

So I say we should meet in the middle and regulate Crap McFries the same way. Special taxes on any food averaging more than a day’s worth of calories in a meal, no sales to anyone under 12, none to anyone under 18 without a parent, and anyone found driving under the influence of a Big Mac oozing secret sauce over the car seat and slipperying up their grip on the steering wheel — well, first time is a warning. Courts could order people into a cessation program, and there would be stings in the drive-thru.

Just a thought. If I can find another political maniac, I might see if he’d be willing to run on it.


20 thoughts on “Booze, Dope And Burgers

    • We’ve had a hard enough time getting the damn soda dispensers out of the school itself. If I had been told when I was in school that there would be a Coke machine in the cafeteria one day, it would have blown my mind.

  1. You’d get my vote.

    No ‘soft’ drinks or sodas to be sold to under 12’s either – the amount of sugar in those things is shocking. Sugar is addictive and proven to have appalling consequences when consumed to excess, such as diabetes.

  2. Legalizing pot would sure help out the revenue side of the budget crisis. Off the record, count me in favor, but it wouldn’t be wise to run for office on it in my conservative neck of the woods.

    I’m just enough of a political maniac, though, that I’m half-seriously thinking of running to save Medicare. (and Social Security and Medicaid) What the heck, I’m really in full favor of single-payer universal health coverage, and you can quote me on that.

    • You could spin medical marijuana, at the very least, as a benefit to the aging population. There’s some accumulating data now on how many people in their sixties and seventies are using it for pain or degenerative disorders. “People who’ve made it to retirement aren’t using this drug because they’re shiftless bums, are they? Let’s not make them criminals.”

  3. It all sounds good to me. Like Woo, I really don’t understand why children are given so much bloody sugar all the time. When did that start being “normal”?

    • It’s a very Southern thing in the US. Which has just oozed. One side of my family harks back to southern Georgia and even in the 1960’s they seemed obsessed with finding as many ways as they could to prepare and eat sugar (and then complain about how fat they were getting). Candy, co’cola, cake, obligatory anytime anyone crossed your threshold, in the car, all day long. I really noticed when I was taken down there how preoccupied people were with food, and with trying to get you to eat it. It was weird.

  4. Secret marijuana use definitely an old folks thing. I have no numbers but I know my mom (83) has always been for it along with her friends, and my friend’s mom was toking up to combat arthritis all the way back when Nancy Reagan was saying we should just say no. No to what? To a few hours of pain cessation and appetite? There are also plenty of conservatives who think it should be legalized. I guess it depends what kind of conservative you are.

    • Conservatives who understand that proscribing this stuff makes little sense. Prohibition doesn’t achieve a thing. So try something more effective.

      • I’ve always felt that the term “conservative” got hijacked somewhere. In so many cases it seems to be a toxic stew of mismatched ingredients.

        I always appreciated Buckley for coming out for decriminalization. And got a chuckle from the way he went out beyond the three mile limit to smoke some on his yacht, so he would know what he was talking about.

  5. children of ALL ages have the obesity thing going on down here big time! You have to see it to believe it, but I guess all ignorant southern rural areas are like that. As far as adults go, I don’t think that there are more than about 1% of adults around here at what you would call normal size. That may be a slight exaggeration, but only slight…

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