Friday, December 17, 2021

Mayor takes aim at your pudgy children

Barbara Kruger (Art Institute of Chicago)

     Pop quiz!
     Which has more calories, apple juice or Coca-Cola? Take your time. Weigh the options: pure, natural apple juice, pressed from God’s crunchy red ripe apples harvested from lovely orchards? Or carbon dioxide-infused, artificially colored, sugar-laden soda pop, concocted in dark, clangorous factories?
     Bzzzzzzzt, time’s up! Of course, the apple juice is far more fattening. Coca-Cola Classic has 140 calories for 12 ounces, while the same amount of Mott’s Apple Juice has 180 calories. About 28% more. Quite a lot really.
     Which is only the first reason to shake your head, sadly, after Mayor Lori Lightfoot introduced an ordinance at Wednesday’s City Council meeting — let’s call it the Make Our Kids Even Fatter law — requiring restaurants selling special meals to kids to favor apple juice over Coke.
     The worry, the mayor said at a news conference afterward, is that kids are “reflexively being given really high-caloric, or very high sugary drinks.”
     Her solution? Unhappy meals. Of course, the law is more complex than merely swapping juice and soda. There is a litany of city-approved beverages — sparkling water, 100% vegetable juice — that can go into children’s meals. The ordinance reads like the dietary laws in Deuteronomy.
     Conjuring up the specter of Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s notorious soda tax. You remember, the summer of 2017, when Preckwinkle told Cook County residents they were too fat, so she would be charging more for the sweet drinks they guzzle.
     Everyone recalls the tax was really a money grab disguised as good nutrition (making Lightfoot’s current stunt even worse, as it costs money to enforce and doesn’t collect any). The fiasco is part of the reason the snappish Lightfoot was able to crush the once-respected Preckwinkle in the 2019 mayoral election.
     Less remembered is that, besides being ineffectual and insulting, the soda tax was also a bookkeeping nightmare for grocery stores, which suddenly had to categorize every single can of beverage and weigh whether this new tax applies. Now, thanks to our mayor and clerk, every employee at Wendy’s is going to have to suss out what juice box they’re tucking in — is that Sunny D or orange juice? Because running a restaurant just isn’t complicated enough.

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  1. Good read! Kinda like a TV crime drama. The suspect has the means, opportunity, etc....Now all they need is a motive and they nail the culprit.

  2. Maybe she wants to lose?
    She is totally incompetent at the job.
    She is one of the finest or should it be, the worst example of the Peter Principle at work.

  3. I thought that the "once-respected Preckwinkle" jab seemed a little harsh, and then I got to "the g in gnome." This may be a poorly conceived initiative, I'll grant you that. But in the past, I've drunk enough gallons of full-calorie Coke to float a destroyer. There are worse things than the government pointing out why that might not be a good idea, though this ordinance obviously goes well beyond that.

    Frankly, her saying "When you’re serving a child, serve them something that’s healthy. Give ’em that as the first option." doesn't sound so bad to me, though I acknowledge that straight fruit juice would not tend to alleviate the obesity problem.

    That picture atop the blog! Shudder!

    1. I was in a harsh mood. Remember, Lightfoot's view of the press, and Trump's, are about the same. You can't expect us to like it. Or her. That's what informed today's column, more than the significance of her juice initiative.

    2. Fair enough. Politics ain't beanbag, after all, from what I've heard. Like Tate, I'm a disappointed Lightfoot voter. Her view of the press hadn't occurred to me as a possible source for the vitriol, though I can certainly understand that irking you.

      Personally, I just feel that, yes, she's thin-skinned and abrasive, an unfortunate combination. And Clark St.'s reference to the Peter Principle doesn't seem to be out-of-bounds, at this point. But I'm still given pause by the fact that, despite her shortcomings and temperament, she does seem to want to help people who need help and is on the "right" side of many issues. Which sets her apart from almost the entire group of office-holders in the Republican party at the moment. Which is not to say that she should get a pass because she's not as bad as a lot of them.

  4. Could it be possible that Richard J. Daley was a more polished executive than Lori Lightfoot? Or does she think that she can get away with ruling by fiat just because he and Rahm were able to do so? I voted for Lori and am impressed from time to time by her rhetoric, but I have to admit that she is not doing all that great a job as Mayor. God knows I wouldn't want the job or be able to handle it either. However, the "Fire Nagy" crowd might very well segue into "Fire Lori" any day now and I wouldn't complain.


  5. Lightfoot, Emanuel, Daley, both of them, Byrne, bad mayor's all of them.

    But we live in a great city. World class.
    So many wonderful people and institutions .

    How did that happen?

    Harold Washington?

    The city counsel?

    Somehow these inadequate hacks didn't ruin the place. They must be doing something right.

    Any suggestions on who might make a " good " mayor?

  6. I have found in the past that one perhaps neglected way of knocking the support from under someone's ludicrous argument is to focus squarely on their opening premise and less on all the handwaving that follows it. Thus, in this case, my first response to the Mayor's statement, if I was in a position to make some useful pushback, would be to say, "You do understand that apple juice is 25% higher in calories than Coca-Cola; right?"

    Leave that twisting in the wind for a while, ignore all the rest of the initial diatribe, and perhaps wait for a spluttering comeback, which is not going to be a simple Yes. ("That was just an example. The root problem is [some other thing that wasn't mentioned up front].")

    Listen politely, then come back for an acknowledgement: "So, you're clear now that that apple juice is 25% higher in calories than Coca-Cola; right? Are you still confident that everything else you've been saying is accurate?" Basically, I try to only debate a topic that I'm familiar with, and I will cheerfully cite sources for whatever it is I'm talking about, but if the other party is starting off on the wrong foot, I'm not going to dance.

  7. Good column as always. Mellow in regards what you could have said. But you appearance on the John Williams show today, way too short.

  8. Or maybe she was just tossing out a red herring to take our minds off other things like the rising COVID rates and what must happen next.

    1. Don't give her too much credit. Her press secretary send an explanation that, frankly, makes it worse. In essence: she did it because the state told her to and the Illinois Beverage Association approves.

  9. Maybe the focus should be on the food part of the meal first..

    6 Chicken Mcnuggets (1 serving) contains 16g total carbs, 15g net carbs, 16g fat, 15g protein, and 270 calories.

    Small Fries adds:

    McDonald's French Fries (1 small, serving) contains 27.7g total carbs, 24.7g net carbs, 11.4g fat, 2.7g protein, and 224 calories.


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