Friday, April 21, 2006

High Fructose Corn Syrup Madness!

A look at the front page of the Harford Courant, April 21, 2026.

Senate Passes Sweetened Beverage Control Act
The soda industry lost their latest battle against state control and regulation of the sweetened beverage market today. The Senate bill, passed 22-10, would put drinks such as soda and sports drinks in the same category as alcohol and tobacco. Key components of the bill include the ban of soda sales through vending machines and the criminalizing of possession of such beverages if a minor. It is already illegal to sell soft drinks to a minor, or to misrepresent your age in order to purchase soft drinks.

A similar House bill, which included the creating of a Soft Drink License law that would create restrictions similar to those of the sale of alcohol, failed last year amidst intense debate.
Senate President Pro Tem Anthony Soprano, D-Waterbury, has been the chief proponent of the bill in this legislative session.

"Connecticut children are buying over five million soft drinks a year from vending machines," said Sen. Soprano. "How can we ensure our children lead healthy lives if we don't ensure it is slightly more inconveinent for teenagers to get their hands on these dangerous products."

Governer N. Jordan Fisher has said he will probably sign the bill as it is now. Governer's Fisher's was re-elected in a landslide last year, with many people approving of his signing of the ban on violent videogames, but his ratings have plummeted after a teenage student shot three of his classmates with an AK-47 before killing himself. The Governer hopes to appear tough on teenage miscreants with the signing of this bill.

"The fact of the matter is, the lobby of people with way too much time on their hands is one of the strongest out there," said political analyst Professor George O'Malley. "Parents aren't the driving force behind this bill, its busybodies. Let's face it, old maids vote in higher numbers than any other demographic."

Trinity Flat Broke
Trinity College will eliminate janitorial staff, cut the Economics Department, and even close the student lunchroom in order to fix a financial squeeze caused by years of overspending, President Carl C. Carlson said today.

The college's endowment has almost been completely wiped out for costly projects such as a new community social center and the financing of a Major League football stadium. "The state wasn't going to shell out to get the Pats in town, so we kinda took things into our own hands," said President Carlson.

Special Advertisement
Paid for by the Coca-Cola Company:

The Coca-Cola Company supports a single, consistent public health message on the role of the consumption of soft drinks in the development of disease. (As required by the ruling in State of Connecticut vs. Coca-Cola)

Soft Drinkers are far more likely to develop serious diseases such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, premature aging, and Stunted Growth Disorder.

There is no such thing as a "safe" soft drink. Soft drinks labeled "diet" or other low calorie beverages should not be assumed to be better for health.

The Coca-Cola Company agrees with the overwhelming political consensus that self-righteous crusading gets you the votes.


This bill is just plain silly. High Schoolers, Eighteen year olds, can't buy a soda at school?

The general trend, however, of imposing state restriction and rules on the raising of teenagers concerns me. Driving curfews, going after parents who let kids drink in a private home... its not telling parents how to raise their kids, its persecuting parents and children who don't toe the line.

34 comments:

narz said...

Students can still bring soda and any other unhealthy snacks that they want to school.

What the state is doing is setting an example for children. The state should not be selling unhealthy food to kids. Parents have every right to have their kids eat and drink whatever they want, and under this bill they are still allowed to send their kids to school with twinkies and Coke in their backpacks.

But if we as a state are going to teach the children in health classes about what foods are unhealthy for you, then shouldn't we as a state also not sell those very same products?

Nobody's being persecuted here. Bring all the Ding Dongs to school that you want. But we as a state should not be selling these products to kids.

disgruntled_republican said...

Quinn-

Great post...couldn't agree more.

ctkeith said...

It's 11 yr old kids too.My son is in 5th grade and there are Coke Machines at almost every entrance to the school.
Water fountains were fine when I as in 5th grade and should be fine today too.

If a parent wants their kid to have a soda in school they can put it in their bacpack.

disgruntled_republican said...

ctkeith-

Perhaps you could take the issue to your local BOE with a nice grassroots effort and have them address the issue.

BRubenstein said...

when i was in highschool in the late 60's we had water fountains in the hallways if we were thirsty and in the bathrooms we had either cigerettes or marajuana if we desired a smoke.

ctkeith said...

I talk to my Board of Ed members often.

It seems that Republican parents would sell their kids health down the tubes as long as the property Tax on their McMansions is lowered by a couple of bucks a year but we are having the discussion on how to get the Soda machines out.

turfgrrl said...

Great post Quinn, especially its not telling parents how to raise their kids, its persecuting parents and children who don't toe the line. Seinfeld had the soup nazi, and we have the soda nazi legislatures. People can't afford to live in the towns they grew up in, and the soda nazi's want to restrict local school boards from deciding what alternative revenue streams.

Aldon Hynes said...

Yeah, I guess you're right. I've always thought that the schools should set a positive example, instead of profiting off of children by encouraging behavior that may not be beneficial for them.

But recognizing the wisdom of profits over children's health, maybe the nurses office should start selling condoms or even providing abortions. School districts could make a lot of money that way.

Also, recognizing that what schools do should be the domain of local boards of education and not some wider authority, I do hope everyone here is working hard to get No Child Left Behind repealed.

cgg said...

Anyone have any data on how profitable these deals actually are? It seems like the Snapple deal didn't work out so well for the NYC public school system.

I couldn't care less about what the schools are or aren't doing to fight obesity, but marketing product in a public school really bothers me. We send kids to school to learn, not to develop brand loyalty.

turfgrrl said...

Aldon,

If only the schools were run profitably. It's precisely because we have NCLB, an unfunded federal mandate, that schools have to cut back on the phys ed stuff amongst other cultural and enriching subjects. How individual schools choose to met expenses or restore programs is something that should be a local issue. You can remove soda on a local level all you want, but keep it out of the hands of the state or the feds. These actions are enabling that slippery slope.

turfgrrl said...

narz,

How about the state setting an example and fully funding its pension obligations, and reducing spending and eliminating soda from all state buildings. The state does not run the schools, the local school boards do, that's where this issue belongs.

ctkeith said...

turfgrrl,

Our public schools are the most profitable investment in US history in terms of return on investment.

Local comtrol ended with Brown v Board of Education.

Some of us still think that was a good decision.

DeanFan84 said...

CGG wrote:Anyone have any data on how profitable these deals actually are?

CGG, Above the table, or below a table?

A concessionaire in the vending industry is always willing to pay for the exclusive rights to sell their products to a captive audience. Depending on what and where, a concession can be highly lucrative. (ever paid $10 for a hot dog and coke at a ball game?)

Sometimes the companies come in and offer money, above-board, for concession rights. Other times side deals are worked out, and money is exchanged under the table and off the books.

Anyway, the profits from the sale of concession rights are the reason something like this should be legislated at the state level. Outside of the payoffs, I can't imagine many school boards thinking this is a bad law.

KerryGuy said...

Apparently, Fairfield will lose out on $275,000 if they lose the ability to sell junk food and soda.

ctkeith said...

The Fairfield Education budget is over 120 Million.

If 2 kids are kept from becoming diebetic by leading by example and teaching kids each can of pepsi has 5 teaspons of sugar in it instead of promoting brand loyalty on unsuspecting kids 275 grand is chump change.

turfgrrl said...

ctkeith,

Maybe you might want to check out this amazing concept called the school board and see that you have elected people who actually vote on something called a budget, which is what we are talking about when we have the state ban a revenue source.

MikeCT said...

Porn, alcohol, tobacco and weed could prove to be far more lucrative products for Connecticut schools to shill to kids. Why not branch out into new profit streams and help to further reinforce parental authority?

Wolcottboy said...

ctkeith-

Its good to know that you speak to your School Board members often. So what's the verdict?

Are there vending machines in your schools? What's being sold in the cafeteria?
And is your SCHOOL BOARD SETTING AN EXAMPLE FOR OTHER SCHOOL BOARDS?

That's how the pay-for-play programs started. One school thought of it and took off with it. That's how other ideas spread - even in reversal like this.

Quinn- awesome post.

ctkeith said...

Turfgrrl,

Educating our kids is not a buisness.The only 'revenue sources" for education between K-12 is and should be Taxes.

I believe this country is FINALLY beginning to realize that the entire concept of using Buisness practices as a model for Government has been an utter failure.
Are you happy with the 2 top CEOs as President and VP?
America has finally figured out They're not.

BRubenstein said...

if the schools had condom machines and the money went for the local town...they could lower the property taxes for everyone....

The kids are smoking marajuana and cigerettes anyway...we shouod tax those items and our state deficit would disappear !!!!!!!!!!

Chris MC said...

Now there's an idea libertarians of every stripe can get behind.

Legalize it, to regulate the private behavior of adults, and with the money we save on all that go "cold turkey" and break the school system's addiction to the corporate tax dollars kicked back to them as, er, "revenue sharing".

How about that for a compromise, turfgrrl?

cgg said...

Running any sort of non-profit as a business is generally a bad idea, and that includes schools and the government. A non-profit will be held to more financial scrutiny. They need to have less overhead than a business, and the ethical standards should be higher. We need to get over this concept that everything should be run like a business.

Corporate partnerships can be a good thing. Using the schools to market to a captive audience isn't the way to accomplish that. School boards can, and do find corporate partnerships that don't involve simply hawking junk to kids. There are tax advantages for companies that do this in addition to it being good PR for them.

turfgrrl said...

ctkieth and cgg,

Schools have relied on all sorts of fundraising initiatives to supplement taxes for decades. What you are saying is just silly. But let's take a real word example. Friday night football games, no soda. The concession revenues offset the operation of the football program. The football program generates community interest and support whenever local taxes need to be raised. If football is not your cup of tea, then how about the bands? Or how about the plays? Unintended consequences are just one of those business things that applies in the world of non profits and government too.

Some school systems run continuing education classes at night. That generates revenue too. The students are mostly adult. You will now no longer be able to sell soda to them either. School fields are used by sports leagues all the time. No vending machines there either.

See, the local boards somehow manage to get mixed use out of the public investment in the schools, but I suppose you want them to get out of the for-profit activities that enable schools to fund extracurricular activities, activities btw, which contribute more to reducing obesity than soda does to contribute to it.

Lastly, I admire smart business practices in government. Locally, look at how Dan Malloy has managed Stamford for an example of innovative use of usage fees in lieu of taxes, streamlined governmental operations and debt reduction. You can try to bash business all you want, but when Robert Rubin was Treasury Secretary he was setting sound monetary and economic policy precisely because he was a business guy.

You would do well to get off limited liberal talking points and actually dig into the policy points instead of accepting hand-me-down positions that were cooked up in the 60's and no longer apply.

Smart government is a healthy mix of operational policies that bring the maximum benefit for the majority of people with the least cost. Sometimes the smart policy is done through taxation, to build a school for example. Sometimes its through user fees, sewage and waste disposal as examples.

The flexibility in determining what that mix is, should be at the local level. If the town of Fairfield wants to ban sales of soda at all school facilities, they can. But not at the cost of what Westport can choose to do.

MightyMouse1 said...

Anthony Soprano lives in Waterbury? I thought he was from West Haven.

BRubenstein said...

anytime the "state" regulates private consensoul behavior..its a bad idea..

let all victimless crimes like marajuana,prostitution etc. be legalized and taxed...there would be no deficits.

If the state can tell you what to eat then the next thing will be that they can tell you who to love or whom to marry.

cgg said...

I'm not repeating talking points. Non-profit consulting is what I do, and some of that work involves partnerships with schools. Silly is going with the status quo because that's how things have always been done up to now. There is a place for corporate America in schools, but not through sales reps.

You want practicality? Soda sales in America have been in decline for years now. Why do you think Coke and Pepsi are diversifying into bottled water and juice? It makes no sense for schools to continue to rely on soda sales anyway.

ctkeith said...

Wolcottboy,

I spoke today to a board member and was informed that the soda machine are "locked" during shool hours now and will be removed as the contracts expire.

As far as I'm concerned thats GREAT NEWS even if my property Taxes must be raised a couple of bucks.

As a Democrat I believe in The Greater Good over The Corperate Good in almost all of government Functions.I believe thats THE major difference beween Rs and Ds.

truth squad said...

Senate Finance reports are on-line. interesting to note that the greenwich millionaire rasied approx $340k of individual contributions, gave approx $370k of his own money and spent a ridiculous amount of approx $340k AND has a a debt of approx $200k. yikes. and for bruce, tommy d'amore was on the expenditure list to the tune of $7500.

ctkeith said...

Truthy,

Whats even more interesting is Liebermans Campaign notifying the press (Norwich Bulliten) of the public Meeting in Waterford tommorrow but NOT the one scheduled earlier in the day in Norwich for Delegates.

You guys scared of what the Delegates are going to say or you going to allow the press in the Norwich event too because they know about it now.

Frank Krasicki said...

This law affects a lot more than just soda sales. All kinds of snacks including brownie sales at various school events are being targeted.

It is also affecting what teachers can eat at school and, yes, it includes what foods are allowed on school grounds.

These State and Federal Education mandates are wholly out of control and both parties bear responsibility. And the issue transcends the nutrition nazis.

NCLB is an experiment in social engineering that is as malicious a social experiment as any conducted on American soil.

Many years ago. Allan Watts said that the difference people had about eating meat vs. vegetables was that "Vegetables don't scream". Likewise, this government gets away with its mean-spirited social experimentation because kids can't vote.

And local BOE are as likely to exascerbate the problem as remedy it. The hubris and inane reactionary arguments that elevate these issues likewise propel them.

Frank Krasicki, Region 19 BOE
http://region19.blogspot.com/

BRubenstein said...

truthsquad....thank you for the report on the finances...

Chris MC said...

Yikes, it's a bad idea to get too ambitious with the html tags in blogger.

What I meant to post that was cut out was "Legalize it [stop asking the judicial system to] regulate the ..."

If you are serious about this argument, start with adult behavior, don't pretend peddling soda pop to kids is really about civil liberties.

Wolcottboy said...

ctkeith-

Good to hear. I'd rather see other schoolboards taking such initiative as well. Or, if they want to keep a contract they can keep the machines unlocked for after school use, etc.

One question - do diabetics sometimes use soda as a quick-fix if their sugar drops? At least until they can eat some longer-lasting sucrose and carbs?

Kate said...
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