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I'll tell you what's ridiculous...

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By Steve Roush
HCP columnist

Ladies and gentlemen, during a quick business trip last week, fellow Highland County Press columnist Jim Thompson and I sat down and enjoyed a hot, sugary coffee beverage from a Starbucks in Murfreesboro, Tenn., before a morning conference.

We each ordered the “tall” size, which is really the “small” size (or 12 ounces). Back when I was a grad student at Ohio State more than a decade ago and began to frequent Starbucks cafés, the “tall” small threw me for a loop for a minute.

I quickly learned that, even though it’s not listed on the majority of the Starbucks' menus, you can order a “short” drink, which is 8 ounces, and then you have the “tall” (12 ounces), “grande” (16 ounces) and “venti” (20 ounces) sizes. The tall, grande and venti sizes are listed on the menus.

We decided on this bright, sunny morning to eschew the venti and go with the tall offering, but we could have gone with the 20-ouncer had we so chosen.

Uh, well … maybe not if we were on a business trip in New York City on or after March 12, 2013.

You may or may not have read or heard that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s ban of large, sugary drinks is scheduled to go into effect Tuesday, March 12 in NYC.

The mandate limits sugary drinks sold at restaurants, theaters and certain other places to 16 ounces. Yes, 16 ounces. Kaiser, I mean mayor, Bloomberg says this is a good thing because the new mandate combats obesity.

According to Business Insider, the New York Daily News and other media outlets, New York City will deploy a “Sugar Police,” armed with 17-ounce cups to enforce the sugar ban, running amok in search of evil establishments that dare to sell large, sugary drinks to folks who want to purchase them.

Folks, excuse me for a minute while I crack open an ice cold 20-ounce bottle of Coca-Cola. Ah, that’s better (I was thirsty).

OK, where were we? Oh, yes, Starbucks has stated it will not bow down and obey King Bloomberg’s decree. This, I guess, didn’t sit well with the monarch.

On “Face The Nation” this past Sunday, Emperor Bloomberg said that coffee chain is being “ridiculous” for not acquiescing to the commandment. Baron Bloomberg added that the chain “knows how to market things, knows how to package things. They can change instantly when it’s in their interest to do so.”

Czar Bloomberg chides that Starbucks and other peddlers of sugary drinks simply want “to maximize their profits. And what government is trying to do is inform you if you’re overweight and you have all these empty calories and you keep eating, that your health is going to suffer.”

AH, HA!!! (I’m proclaiming an exclamation of feigned surprise here, not referring to the American Holistic Health Association.)

So … what I’m getting here, Your Majesty, is the government is trying to inform us that if we’re overweight (or not), it’s not good to drink sugary beverages that are more than 16 ounces in size. And furthermore, you will not allow us to purchase sugary drinks that are more than 16 ounces in size at certain establishments.

OK. So what’s next?

“Sorry, sir, you can’t order bacon with that burger because I can tell you are too fat, and eating bacon with this burger might cause your health to suffer. Oh, and your buddy there, he’s too fat to even buy a burger. Sorry!”

“Ma’am, could you please step on this scale if you want those fries. You look a little heavy.”
“(Beep) Hmm, a pound of sugar. Let me check … OK, that’s the last sugar you can get here until June. Uh, what’s that? Yes, you can still get 16 more ounces of salt…”

“You’re seriously trying to buy that butter? Are you kidding me?!? Ridiculous!”

“Folks, it’s a sunny day and you’ve been at the beach here for an hour. I didn’t see you put on any sunscreen, either. Time to go…”



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“Nope, can’t buy that car, it’s got a V8 engine. You’re too old (or young) to drive a car with this much engine.”

“Nah. Don’t have any .22 long rifle ammo…” (Wait, that one’s already been uttered.)
So Sultan Bloomberg, you say that a certain coffee chain is ridiculous? I’ll tell you what’s ridiculous: You are – you and all these big-brother mandates.

I thought this was the United States of America, the land of the free and home of the brave. Today, we have freedom of choice in certain areas, but not in others. You can abort a living baby, but can’t legally buy a “venti” mocha latte in NYC? Now that’s ridiculous.

Here’s a fact: Our government is doing an incredibly lousy job (on both sides of the aisle) of taking care of itself. The national debt is pushing $17 trillion dollars – that’s with a “T” … and a trillion has 12 zeroes.

Our fearless commander in chief once said (in 2009, Google the following quote and pops up), “I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits – either now or in the future.” (By the way, the national debt was about $13.5 trillion then.)

Our president was referring to ObamaCare, which will add $6.2 trillion to the deficit, according to a February report from the Government Accountability Office. And to take the cake, Congress has (illegally) not passed a budget in nearly four years.

Clean up your own business, Big Brother, and stay out of ours. Please.

Steve Roush is a publisher and editor and a columnist and contributing writer for The Highland County Press.

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