When all hope for beverage freedom in America’s largest city seemed lost — when Nanny Bloomberg’s soft drink Prohibition seemed imminent — word came from the courthouse: New York’s “administrative Leviathan” — the judge’s words, not ours — was dead (pending the Mayor’s vowed appeal). In a scathing but detailed 37-page ruling, New York State Supreme Court (New York’s lower courts are called Supreme Courts) Judge Milton A. Tingling found that Bloomberg’s handpicked health bureaucrats had overstepped their authority by trying to “limit or ban a legal item under the guise of ‘controlling chronic disease.’”
As we told the Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times: “New Yorkers should celebrate this victory by taking a big gulp of freedom.” We pity the reveler on the New York Post’s cover, who spilled some of his.
The New York Times reports, “Many New Yorkers said good riddance on Monday to the giant-soda ban that almost was.” The New York Post editors cheered, noting, “Bloomberg’s attempt to dictate diets never made much sense. Even worse is that it lacked the consent of the governed: New Yorkers resented it, and the City Council refused to OK it.” And the New York Daily News front-page headline writer and Photoshop department had a field day. Others called the ruling “a clarion call for the liberty — and adulthood — of New Yorkers.”
The city’s “betters” on cable news — whom one social commentator derided as a self-appointed “priest class” — were somewhat less happy with Judge Tingling’s ruling. Bloomberg was especially petulant at an evening press conference at which he demanded that restaurants follow a “voluntary” ban pending his office’s appeal. Apparent Venti latte loophole partisan Mika Brzezinski just about lost it on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, unleashing a food police buzzword bingo trifecta claiming that soda is an “addictive” “poison” that is “killing our children.” (All of that is, of course, bunk.) On the other hand, her co-host’s deadpan rejection of Brzezinski’s thesis and wise words about physical activity were refreshing. CNN’s resident Briton Piers Morgan also scrambled in defense of Bloomberg. (New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Morgan’s guest, was far more skeptical.)
Beyond the rest of the country, “This Stuff’s Made in New York City” isn’t always a selling point (as a famous television spot once said). Fearing renegade food-police nanny-mayors might someday settle down South, the state of Mississippi is set to pass a bill explicitly forbidding such haphazard local rulemaking by massive bi-partisan majorities.
And for today at least, to the victors go the colas.