An obesity researcher who’s pushed for Twinkie taxes, marketing prohibitions, and even zoning laws to restrict where restaurants and convenience stores are located has received a fat check from the federal government. Once again the recipient of federal taxpayer dollars to regulate our eating habits, Tulane University’s Tom Farley has now been awarded $3.6 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to investigate “the environmental causes of obesity.”

What the heck are “environmental causes”? Writing in a 2001 issue of Washington Monthly, Farley explains: “The temptations of easily accessible food are too great. We don’t need another diet. We need a way to make healthy eating unavoidable.” It’s hard to see where the occasional birthday cake and ice cream fits into that draconian vision.

To combat the scourge of “easily accessible food,” Farley proposes:

Regulations: “We can’t ban junk food, but we can regulate it … We can limit the places in which it is available.”
Taxes: He endorsed “slapping a tax on soft drinks and junk food.”
Zoning restrictions: “There is no reason we can’t, through zoning and planning, regulate the location, density, or hours of junk-food outlets, especially around schools.”

In his quest to demonize foods he thinks should be out of reach, the government-funded Farley even stated in 2002: “I want to get to the point where people are in the hallway and see a vending machine and say, ‘That’s bad, that shouldn’t be there,’ in the same way as if they saw a cigarette vending machine.”