Filed Under: Food Police Soft Drinks

Fighting Bans In The Name Of Personal Responsibility

This week we caught wind of a battle emerging in California that has made-for-TV-movie written all over it. In it, a ragtag band of high schools students — led by the affable Rocky Slaughter (who would of course be played by washed-up C-list PETA celeb Edward Furlong) — grapples with the unstoppable robotic power of the state’s governor. You might think we’re laying out the plot of Terminator 4: Let’s Fight Some More Robots, but we’re not — a very real battle for the right to drink soda is unfolding in California.

Last year we covered the state’s new and ill-founded ban on sodas in public schools, driven by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Rocky Slaughter and his Student Union of California (impressive names both) have launched a campaign to allow schools to devote up to half their vending machine space to soft drinks.

I hope he enjoys his civics lesson,” cracked state Senator Martha Escutia, the author of the original ban. If that’s all it is, Slaughter is certainly getting one heck of a civics lesson, including an interview on national television last night. MSNBC’s Tucker Carlson brought Slaughter on The Situation to talk about his campaign:

CARLSON: Banning soda is a stupid idea. But you have taken to the streets on behalf of Mr. Pibb. Why have you done that?

SLAUGHTER: … the point that we’re trying to clear up is that we’re not for soda; we are against the soda ban. Because we actually believe that any time you put a ban on anything, it’s not going to be effective in fixing the problem. And the problem that they cited was the childhood obesity problem that’s going on in California high schools. And by placing this ban on them, they’re only masking the obesity problem and not trying to fix it.

In an op-ed published February 14th in the Redding Record Searchlight, Slaughter displays some further common sense:

One universally accepted method of fighting obesity is engaging in physical fitness programs. In this regard, the current ban has caused drastic cuts in revenue for athletic programs. This loss of revenue, which directly indicates fewer drink sales, is particularly perplexing since we cannot assume that students have become less thirsty as a result of the ban … Obesity does not crawl out the window with a change in drink choice. A 100-calorie “super healthy” drink will still build fat like a 100-calorie “illegal soda” if lifestyle habits remain the same.

To arm this young resistance fighter with some more facts, we’ve sent him a copy of our report, “Why Soda Bans Don’t Fight Childhood Obesity.” To learn where he’s coming from, download it for yourself today!

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