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Lawmakers look to trim the fat

There's nothing quite as irresistible to a Massachusetts lawmaker as a chance to expand the "nanny state" that is Massachusetts. Especially if it doesn't require any original thought, just stealing someone else's idea.

Such is the case developing now.

Recently, New York City banned trans fats from restaurants and the like. One Massachusetts legislator, still sore from the beating he got when he tried to ban Fluffernutter sandwiches from schools, saw that idea and figured it might be fun to try it in the Bay State.

It's an old joke -- that, eventually, in a true "nanny state," everything not forbidden will be mandatory. But Representative Koutoujian seems to be trying to make that joke a reality.

Now, I don't know anyone who is interested in defending trans fats as particularly healthy or recommended. But there is a principle at stake here: do we, as individuals, have the right to make choices that can be harmful for ourselves? Or does the state have a compelling interest in protecting us from ourselves?

That's a very dangerous slippery slope. OK, we can't have trans fats. What will be next? I wouldn't mind seeing tobacco go away entirely.

But what about alcohol? That stuff is pure poison -- it's only safe in small quantities, and even then its effects can kill you in dozens of indirect ways.

Skydiving? Bunjee jumping? Surfing? Mountain biking? They'll all kill you a hell of a lot faster than trans fats will.

Hiking? That just killed some people out on Mount Hood.

Hey, here's a good one. Driving! Who thinks that people ought to be able to climb into a hunk of steel weighing one to three tons and hurtling around at a mile a minute -- or faster? Now there's an activity that needs to be curtailed, and fast.

One of the most fundamental rights, I have always believed, is the right to be wrong. To make mistakes. To be given a chance to choose poorly, and to live with the consequences of that choice.

Because that is one of the best ways we learn. And if we can't learn what are bad choices, what sorts of things make decisions and options wrong, then we will keep making the same wrong choices over and over and over -- and sooner or later, the state won't be able to protect us from ourselves.

And then, we'll all be like so many of today's children who are protected all their lives from failing, from losing, from learning how to deal with defeat when they finally run into something that Mommy and Daddy can't fix for them.

Keeping the baby in the crib is a wonderful way of keeping them safe. But they must eventually leave it, or they will be smothered.

Representative Koutoujian wants to keep the people of Massachusetts safe in that crib, away from those icky trans fats and fluffer nutters and all sorts of nasty things. Because heaven forfend that they should have the choice about eating healthily, or eating what they want and enjoy -- and choose wrongly.

This is a perfect example of why I could never live in Massachusetts. I make my own choices, and I live with them -- right or wrong. Because that's what free, mature, adults do.

Something that Representative Koutoujian -- and, by extension, a good chunk of the government of Massachusetts -- apparently fears.

Then again, the people of Massachusetts keep re-electing these people, constantly re-empowering Big Nanny, so maybe they're just getting what they want and what they apparently deserve.


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Comments (28)

unfortunately for you, the ... (Below threshold)

unfortunately for you, the idiots from this state (MA) are immigrating to NH and changing it into a copy of MA. Quite an assembly of Dems "ruling" your state right now.

Please don't remind me of t... (Below threshold)

Please don't remind me of that, Judith. It's too early to start drinking.


Hum, maybe windsurfing shou... (Below threshold)

Hum, maybe windsurfing should be illegal. That's it, make windsurfing illegal, and retroactively arrest those who did it.

Step right up folks, line u... (Below threshold)

Step right up folks, line up to get your state-mandated tofu and bean sprouts.

Of course, alcohol will be banned, except the law will be written to exempt all residents by the name of Kennedy.

Banning trans fats make the... (Below threshold)

Banning trans fats make the cost of cooking some foods go up too. Be prepared to pay even more for a meal in a restaurant. We tried to use an oil with 0 trans fats in our restaurant. The oil breaks quickly and has to be replaced with fresh oil at least twice a day. The cost was already higher for the 0 trans fat oil and then doubled because we had to use twice as much. So we went with an oil that had "minimal" trans fats. The key here is that we did it voluntarily - without a government mandate. I have to wonder what cooking oil industry lobbyist is involved in this one and which elected officials have stock in such companies.

How much you want to bet that in five years they find that trans fats aren't as bad as they thought and totally eliminating them from our diets will cause some other health issue?

The libs in the House are j... (Below threshold)

The libs in the House are just sore because they haven't made any progress with their legislation to outlaw discrimination against fat people (which was filed 20 years ago and has never made it out of committee).

Can I take from your postin... (Below threshold)
civil behavior:

Can I take from your posting that you are pro choice for women?

I mean if one of our "fundamental rights" in your estimation"is the right to be wrong" then I can be assured you believe that women too have that "fundamental right", right?

...."to be given that chance to choose poorly, and to live with the consequences of that choice".

I suppose all your fellow neocons feel the same way?

cb, a couple points:<... (Below threshold)

cb, a couple points:

1) I speak for myself, and no one else. Others can, after the fact, state that they agree with me, but that's it.

2) I've said before, on several occasions, that I'm "squishily" pro-choice. Just do a search of the word "squishily" and you'll spot several examples.

3) Before you get your knickers in a twist, cb, let me also toss in that I've argued in favor of gay marriage several times, and might again soon.

You can try and stereotype me all you want, cb, but it's just your own dishonesty talking.


"fellow neo-cons" ?<... (Below threshold)

"fellow neo-cons" ?

I'm a conservative and a Catholic, cb. I hope you're not useing "neo-con" as a synonym for "Jew," as so many on your side do.

In any event - abortion is murder. I realize the left thinks jamming scissors into a baby's head at the moment of birth to vacuum out its brains is one of those fundamental human rights that Madison happened to leave out of the Constitution, but it isn't.

There is no "right" to gay "marriage." None at all. All marriage is, at base, an economic contract whose goals (visitation rights, division of property, &c.) can be achived through current legal means.

But since you seem to think you've made a point about conservative hypocrisy in the matter of choices, let me ask you - do you believe in school vouchers? The right to open carry? The removal of "affirmative action" set-asides? Where does your embrace of "the chance to choose poorly" run right up against the uncontrollable leftie urge to dictate behavior?

And Communist Behavior chim... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

And Communist Behavior chimes in to remind us the only choice that the left believes the public should have is the choice to kill inconvient people. That's it. Their pro choice on 1 issue (genocide) and anti-choice on pretty much every other issue.

"What will be next?"<... (Below threshold)

"What will be next?"

Well, if it is taxed it will NOT go away, so that should trim the list down a bit

Maybe somebody from MA shou... (Below threshold)

Maybe somebody from MA should convinve a legislator (might require a hefty tip) to tax the trans-fatty acids that restaurants use instead of banning them. That would give the state an incentive to make sure that people keep using/eating trans-fatty acids. They could use the money generated for health care and education about the dangers of trans-fatty acids.

I'd wager that it would be as succesful as the anti-tobacco programs/taxes that most states are inflicting.

Thank you cmd. It's what I... (Below threshold)

Thank you cmd. It's what I would also like to ask cb.

Jay, Squishly, say... (Below threshold)
civil behavior:


Squishly, says it all. Does it mean when the trend goes one way you're for it and if the trend goes another you're against it?

Just asking.......You seem to have at least one of the more tempered voices here although your stand on issues seems pretty willing to support this present atrocity of an administration.


So in other words you prefer to legislate against the choice to make poor decisions? Of course that would be inclusive of the definition of what "Poor" is, right? I'm sure you could define that. It's a slippery slope those "poor" decisions isn't it? Some but not all? Yours but not mine? Mine but not yours?

Pay mind to your own poor decisions until it affects me. Then I say legislate.


You choose what you want, I'll choose what I want. As long as it does no harm to any living breathing species who lives on earth it's your conscience, not mine. When it comes to sending kids off to a war based on manipulated intelligence to die for a "convenience" that we seem unable to make even the smallest sacrifice for in our daily lives then it's a poor choice and one in which I take a stand.

Troops home now.......not one more body bag.

CB,Oh I get it, it... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:


Oh I get it, it has to be breathing. Ok. If they don't "breath" it's o.k. to kill 40 million inconventient members of your own species. Right...

"As long as it does no harm to any living breathing species who lives on earth"

Well I hope you only eat raw inorganic chemicals, because if you eat anything that was a living animal OR PLANT that thing you just ate (harmed) was a living breathing species.

The pro-terrorist part of your comments isn't even worth a reply.

It IS important for civil b... (Below threshold)

It IS important for civil behavior and his ilk for us to LOSE in Iraq. They have too much invested in our loss there. Our winning would be devastating to them.

40 million babies dead...no problem there for the left.

"Your rights end where my n... (Below threshold)
USMC Pilot:

"Your rights end where my nose begins"!

The right to eat shit is my choice, if I want to.

The right to kill someone else is not yours!

You knew this was coming as... (Below threshold)

You knew this was coming as soon as they tried to take the lead out of our drinking water.

Damn that slippery slope!

"3) Before you get your kni... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

"3) Before you get your knickers in a twist, cb,.."

Too late, Jay. It's a permanent feature. He's just here to be disagreeable and take the topic off on a tangent, as usual.

CB-Although I do n... (Below threshold)
Brian the Adequate:


Although I do not speak for JT, if you actually look at what he writes, as opposed to the straw man you have constructed, you are not going to find much if any politician like gauging of the winds. One can most certainly have an internally consistent, but not straight pro-choice or pro-life, strong opinion on abortion.

I firmly believe that all elective abortion, with only the exception of the rare circumstance where the choice is truly the babies life or the mothers, is morally reprehensible. However, I do not believe that what I find morally reprehensible and what should be illegal in a free society are overlapping sets.

Trans fats occur naturally ... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Trans fats occur naturally in the milk and body fat of cows, sheep and other animals at a level of 2-5% of total fat. Does a ban on trans fats prevent a restaurant from serving foods that contain these naturally occurring trans fats such milk, cheese, and cuts of beef? If not, then it seems the trans fat ban is rooted in feel good politics rather then in science.

The largest source of trans fats occurs as a side-effect of partially hydrogenating unsaturated plant fats such as vegetable oils. There are a number of benefits to using such oils including longer shelf life of products, but there's more to it than that. Baking requires semi-solid fats and the only real alternatives to partially hydrogenated oils (vegetable shortening) is butter and lard. Not only is the health benefit of substituting butter and lard for vegetable shortening unclear, strict vegetarians and those requiring kosher foods won't be able to eat any baked goods without knowing if butter or lard was used rather then vegetable shortening.

Robert,Actually th... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:


Actually there are a lot of areas in this country where there is still a lot of lead in the drinking water. These areas are easy to identify as they show up as blue on the county by county electoral vote map.

". . .pay mind to your o... (Below threshold)

". . .pay mind to your own poor decisions until it affects me. Then I say legislate."

Ah, cb, but the problem is your side has constantly shifting definitions of what "affects" you. The "secondhand smoke" cult. The "global warming" religion. Now it's the evil trans fats (which, I suspect, the left imagines are created in a super-secret lab in Roswell by a team of Zionist Exxon-Halliburton employees). What's next? I would have more respect for your position if what "affects" you didn't appear to be merely an ever-lengthening list of things that just irk you because you're too poor / angry / fat / thin / diseased / whatever to enjoy them.

The rest of your incoherent moonbattery about the war and your morally bankrupt attempt to justify wholesale murder I leave to stronger stomachs to fisk.

cmd,You left out S... (Below threshold)


You left out Saddam's WMDs and Muslims from your list of bogeymen.

As a Virginian who has to t... (Below threshold)

As a Virginian who has to travel to MA (Boston in particular) several times a year I am going to go against my the-government-needs-to-get-its-nose-out-of-peoples-business principles and say I think any law that removes Bostonians from driving is an overall net Good Thing.


Oh, and before I'm sterotyp... (Below threshold)

Oh, and before I'm sterotyped. I'm not a Christian or even religious (if you get the reference of my handle you'll have a decent idea of my religious beliefs). I think capitalism is great and socialism to be one of the worst evils visted upon mankind. I'm not white (I'm Hispanic) and grew up officially in poverty but do well now. I am a veteran of the USAF where I flew the F-16.

I cannot stand fundamentalist Christians thumping their Bible at me--but I don't fear them. I do fear fundamentalist Islamic fanaticals thumping the Koran and believe you are idiot if you bury your head int he sand hoping they won't hurt you.

I'm pro gay marriage and pro choice.

However, I'm against Roe v Wade because it's a bad law based on a case of lies. I think it should be left up to the states and it's citizens to decide whether they want to outlaw it.

I am pro right to bear arms, taught my children to the proper safety, care and respect for guns.

I'm generally in favor of the actions in the Middle East though I may have some differences of opinion on the tactical execution. I lived and visited there enough to know the fallacy of believing that if we abandon Israel and leave the region all will be well. I know that the only thing that will change will be that instead of a few soldiers getting attacked in Baghdad it will National Guardsmen and American citizens in downtown New York, or Chicago etc. I prefer we fight the battle on their turf not ours.

I am against high taxes and wealth re-distribution-neither which have ever accomplished what they claim to do. I find hard-lined extreme right conservatives to be out of touch, but fixed to their beliefs. I find most leftists to be completely unguided--willing to say or do anything to gain power in the belief they know what's best for everyone else because they are overly conceited and condescending. Amazingly, I also find a good number of them to be mind-numbingly ignorant of facts and too reliant on "feelings".

I'm also betting there are a lot more people like me than either extreme portion of either political party is capable of understanding.

hey Faith,damn....... (Below threshold)

hey Faith,

damn....where's the sign up sheet for your political party. other than the Air Force background, you just described me to a T. i agree that there are a lot more like us out there than either the far right or the far left would want to believe.


wow.. faith+1 seems like a ... (Below threshold)

wow.. faith+1 seems like a Libertarian to me...

"any law that removes Bostonians from driving is an overall net Good Thing.

HEY.... I resemble that remark!!!! lmao

This is the "NANNY" state at it's best...and YES the people of mASS get what they deserve. Any houses for sale in a nice RED state??






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