Soda Bans Coming to Los Angeles, Cambridge?

Cities across the country seem to be following NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg's lead. Officials in LA and Cambridge proposed partial soda bans this week.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposal to ban the sale of large sodas has stirred up a lot of angry vitriol, but that hasn’t stopped officials in other cities from following his lead. Earlier this month, the mayor of Philadelphia said that Bloomberg’s proposal is “worth evaluating.” Then, this week, a Los Angeles city council member proposed that sodas be banned from vending machines in parks and libraries, and Cambridge’s mayor asked the city council to think about limiting the sizes of sugary drinks in restaurants. Considering the backlash against Bloomberg, why are these city officials jumping to take up his cause?
The simple answer is that sodas really are a public health concern. Childhood obesity in the United States has tripled since 1980, and more than 35 percent of American adults are obese. In Los Angeles County, more than half of adults are overweight or obese. You hardly need a scientist to tell you that sodas are “a key contributor to the epidemic of overweight and obesity.”
Now, a quick reality check: Bloomberg’s proposal is riddled with loopholes and probably won’t even work, so if these other cities end up with proposals anything like his, then soda isn’t going anywhere, at least not any time soon. Even if cities did start developing well-designed plans to reduce soda consumption, they’d have to confront legitimate questions about how far government can go to restrict personal behavior in the name of the public good.
Even if no soda bans are ever implemented, maybe these cities will make some of us reevaluate our choices, just by sparking a conversation about sugary beverages. In other words, next time you want a large soda with your lunch, maybe you’ll take a moment to be grateful that you have the option—and then decide to pour yourself a cup of water instead.
Photo via Wikimedia Commons\n

In the category of "claims to fame nobody wants," the United States can now add "exporter of white supremacist ideology" to its repertoire. Super.

Russell Travers, acting director of the National Counterterrorism Center, made this claim in a briefing at The Washington Institute in Washington, D.C. "For almost two decades, the United States has pointed abroad at countries who are exporters of extreme Islamist ideology," Travers said. "We are now being seen as the exporter of white supremacist ideology. That's a reality with which we are going to have to deal."

Keep Reading Show less

Since the International Whaling Commission banned commercial whaling in 1986, whale populations have been steadily recovering. However, whales in the wild still face other dangers. In the summer of 2018, four Russian companies that supply aquariums with marine animals captured almost 100 beluga whales and killer whales (aka orcas). After a public outcry, those whales are swimming free as the last of the captive whales have been released, the first time this many captured whales have been released back into the wild.

In late 2018 and early 2019, a drone captured footage of 11 orcas and 87 beluga whales crammed into holding pens in the Srednyaya Bay. The so-called "whale jail" made headlines, and authorities began to investigate their potentially illegal capture.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet

An anonymous White House official claims President Trump cruelly limited Hispanic immigrants in their new book, "A Warning."

The book, to be released on November 19, gives an alleged insider account of the Trump White House and paints a picture of the president as a chaotic man who lacks the mental and moral acumen required for the job.

The anonymous staffer says that Trump once feigned a Hispanic accent and made fun of women attempting to immigrate to the U.S.

Keep Reading Show less
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

The 2020 election is a year away, but Donald Trump has some serious ground to cover if he doesn't want it to be a historical blowout.

A Washington Post- ABC News poll released Tuesday shows that Trump loses by double digits to the top Democratic contenders.

Vice President Joe Biden (56%-39%); Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts (54%-39%); Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont (56%-39%); South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg (52%-41%); and Sen. Kamala Harris of California (52%-41%) all have big leads over the president.

Keep Reading Show less
Yad Vashem

Since 1992, the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous has been holding reunion ceremonies between Holocaust survivors and rescuers once a year. But the tradition is coming to an end, as many have died or are too frail to travel. What might be the last reunion of its kind took place when a 92-year-old woman met up with the two surviving family members that she helped hide during the Holocaust, and their descendants.

Sarah Yanai and Yossi Mor introduced Melpomeni Dina (nee Gianopoulou) to their almost 40 family members, all decedents of the Mordechai family, the family of seven that Dina and her two sisters hid during WWII. "There are no words to describe this feeling," Dina told the Jeruselum Post. "It is very emotional for us to be together again."

Keep Reading Show less