Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Another editorialist Jeff Jacoby reply

Food Fables: I follow Jeff Jacby's pearls of wisdom. I BELIEVE I heard him on NPR. He was talking against the latest Massachusetts Governor's initiative which would have calories posted at restaurants. So called conservatives are so loath to have government control anything except maybe bombs or sexuality and oh yes, they LOVE to overhear our salacious conversations. Somehow in the conservative mind the government is so bad EXCEPT when they think it isn't. The truth is when conservatives so please they are MORE than happy to have government intervene and when they don't all of a sudden government is the pariah and their laissez faire credo screams for attention. If it has to do with sex or snooping sure conservatives are chaffing at the bit to use government to control it but guns, tobacco or food no way.

If conservatives have to put "compassionate" as an adjective to conservative then conservatives REALLY are NOT compassionate. IF it were up to conservatives I have no doubt there would be NO warning labels on cigarette packages, no tax on cigarettes, the government would have halted efforts to show how poisonous tobacco is and they would simply aver the tobacco companies are just selling a product and the individual has his right to make that choice for himself. Tobacco is so perfect an example. Putting heavy restrictions, labels and taxes in addition to HUGE civil actions against it has kept that poisonous leaf from killing even more than it kills today. Recent statistics suggest simply limiting smoking even outdoors is making the death from lung cancer drop. Outlawing a parent smoking in a car with their children will save lives .. kids lives...maybe even YOUR kid's lives. Many in my family of prior generations at a young age have a grave somewhere due to the effects of smoking. Thank God the government took the action it did. The Surgeon General's report on the effects of smoking in the 1960's began this hard fought campaign to educate about a product which the glorious tobacco corporation and ALL the political hacks associated with it were perfectly happy to sell and LOATHE to regulate. Government worked. Smoking rates have gone down throughout the years and deaths have gone down with it. I would still be smoking today and maybe even dead if I were not bombarded by the 1980's with medical government sponsored studies which made the realities of that disgusting product hit home.

Likewise, labeling of food products has been the best thing for me since (if you'll pardon the pun) sliced bread. The swill that the lovely corporations try to sell us in the guise of food is legion. From high fructose corn syrup to artery clogging hydrogenated oils, they take the BEST like whole grain out of food and give us the worst. Why? It is easy, tasty, has a longer shelf life and is cheaper to make. The public be damned. When my cholesterol in 1988 hit a high of 285 the understanding of nutrition was in its infancy and my eating habits started to change because of it. I read EVERY single label now and want to know the contents and calories of everything I put into my hallowed body. Think of how much money I'm saving the insurance companies and the state the longer I stay out of the emergency ward. They don't have to pay for my hospitalizations due to stroke, heart attack, a host of cancers and God knows what else. At least at 60 I am trying to avoid that. So far so good and I have the labeling and the government to thank for its monitoring of food (with the exception of course of that thing who was in the White House for the past eight years). Government CAN work for the good of the individual and yes, often to the cost of corporations. Tough. So the CEO in some corporation makes 50 million a year instead of 100 million. Makes my heart break.

In addition, I like places in which I decide to spend my scarce money to give me an option to look at ingredients and calories. Not everyone is computer savvy or has one to look up restaurant menus and calorie counts. It can't hurt and it just may help AND if they don't want to look DON'T cover the menu up or turn your head away.

I think you are dead (pardon the pun again) wrong the individual OFTEN is not savvy enough, does not have enough time and is too besieged by other things in their life to know what is quality to eat and what isn't. We are getting fatter by the second. My family has a significant history of obesity and diabetes. My mother, most of my aunts uncles and many other of my close relatives were and are obese. Numbers had heart attacks, strokes and othercardio issues. One cousin died several years ago of obesity related diabetes and I KNOW others will follow. So far I am 110 lbs because I am the healthiest eater in my family. I have the numbers to prove it. If an enumeration is not on the menu when I eat out I ask. Since I had polio it is a damn good thing I keep my weight off as I have had three fractures of my polio affected leg so the older more disabled a person is the more he/she MUST keep weight in control and how nice it is that we will be able to monitor the calories of that which we eat. So many who have Chinese food, for example, have NO idea the sauce is LOADED with sugar and often coconut saturated fat oils. They don't ask and the restaurant surely does not tell. Now they won't have to ask they will be able to see. I say GREAT!

Too bad it's costing companies money. Let them absorb it. There IS a place for government. In the long run I predict it will be well worth it for everyone. Health care will save money AND the individual might just be helped, a life saved and a quality of life maintained in the process. So what's so wrong with a little government intervention and TRUE compassion. I'll forgo THAT freedom if government gives up tapping phones and denying habeus corpus. Now that is TRUE government intervention. Truth is some humane government intervention WORKS often for all of us and may will even work for you and your family too!