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Friday, July 21, 2006


Coming Soon: Fat Cops

-By Warner Todd Huston

Now, wait a minute! This isn’t a screed against overweight cops. I am talking about cops that stop you from eating things that’ll make you fat! I envision them looking something like Mary Poppins but wearing jack-boots, guns and wielding a cookbook and a billie-club.

Yes, the Nanny State is gearing up for it’s next foray into cradle to the grave coddling. In Chicago, home of Mayor “King” Daley, dead voters and more crooked politicians than New Orleans, a city alderman wants to ban trans-fatty oils… not that he really knows what they are.

In fact, Chicago is on the road to becoming the city of culinary fascism, apparently. They have already banned smoking in restaurants and banned the dish foie gras from being served, so it isn’t surprising that Alderman Ed Burke is looking to the next victory over food choice and liberty in the Windy City.

According to Fran Spielman of the Chicago Sun-Times, Nanny Burke wants to “start a debate” about health. But, interestingly, he seems to imagine that a “debate” may be started with the iron boot of government stomping down on the necks of the owners of Chicago’s eateries telling them how to prepare their fare.

Burke’s proposal would “…mandate Chicago restaurants to take ‘artificial trans fats’ off their menu of ingredients. If they don't, they would pay through the nose -- with fines ranging from $200 to $1,000 a day.”

That’s a pretty expensive “debate”, there, Nanny Burke!

I am no fan of the Mayor of Chicago, “King” Daley, but at least even he made light of Burke’s bloviating. Daley joked that the city would be forced to a diet of carrots if Burke had his way, but that was gentle ribbing compared to what should be said of this meddling, nut Alderman’s proposal.

Ever eloquent, “King” Daley questioned Burke’s good sense with the trans-fatty oil ban.

“Everybody's conscious of their health. Everybody's conscious of eating and drinking. But how far can the City Council [go]? … Is the City Council going to plan our menus?" Daley said.

“… Let's talk about health. Let's talk about people working out. Let's talk about good eating habits. But not to start outlawing… We have to be very careful when we start telling everybody how to live their lives."

That was the most sense “King” Daley has made in a long time.

Burke wants Chicago to follow in the footsteps of food Nazi’s in cities and states like North Carolina, New York and California by banning trans-fatty oils. Defending his busy-bodying proposal, Burke said that we all “ought to be able to ban unhealthy oils … this is cruelty to human beings. Why not start here to talk about what government can do to keep people more healthy?"

No, Alderman Burke, let’s start talking about how to get government OUT of our lives, not IN them.

Still, if you want to start mandating what we get to eat, I’d like to put in a request. Could you mandate that I get a T-Bone steak, well-done, a nice baked potato with sour cream, butter and chives, a steaming serving of chopped spinach boiled in butter, some brewed iced tea (I think instant tea should be outlawed if you want to outlaw something), and a great slice of Chicago’s Ely’s chocolate chip cheesecake for desert.

Now THAT’S a law!!

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