Thursday, February 7, 2008

Fat in Mississippi?

Alec and I were watching the news on Monday morning when a crazy story was announced. It seems that Mississippi legislators have proposed a state law to ban restaurants from serving fat people.

Alec immediately blogged about it: No mo fat

Here is some info from the article: Mississippi May Ban Restaurant Sales to the Obese - Most porcine state mulls drastic measures
by Mark Huffman ~ ConsumerAffairs.Com ~ February 4, 2008

Fattest state

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found a 61 percent increase in the number of Americans classified as obese between 1991 and 2000. It singled out Mississippi as having the highest rate.

An August 2007 study published by Trust for America's Health classified Mississippi as the heaviest state in the Union for the third year in a row, with 30 percent of its adult population obese.

Mississippi House Bill 282 is the work of Republicans W. T. Mayhall, Jr. and John Read, and Democrat Bobby Shows. It would aim to keep Whoppers and Big Macs out of the hands of fat people, by force of law.

"Any food establishment to which this section applies shall not be allowed to serve food to any person who is obese, based on criteria prescribed by the State Department of Health after consultation with the Mississippi Council on Obesity Prevention and Management," the bill states.

The measure would apply to any restaurant that holds a health department permit and has enclosed seating for five or more – a definition broad enough to cover almost every restaurant in the state, not just those that serve fast food. The bill does not spell out what penalties an eatery would face for violating the law.

See articles from Google news here and here.

Give me a break. Is this not an insane and ridiculous law?

When I looked it up online, I discovered that - horror of horrors! - this lead me to one website that was a surprise. This is actually something I agree with the John Birch Society about!

See this: Mississippi Fat Burning by Selwyn Duke on the John Birch Society website ~ 2008-02-04.

Its probably the only thing I agree with them on.

I guess it challenged my own personal biases and assumptions. Even conservative rightwing conspiracy theory folks like the Birchers who post things like this (from that page linked above)...

Godlessness at least partially explains why many people now adhere to health regimens. It is why private establishments are forced to both eliminate trans-fats and hire transsexuals. It is why the atheist worries more about smoking in this world than in the next. It is the cult of the body.

...can be health conscious.

But yikes!

This whole thing brought up an interesting flashback to when Alec and I lived in Hattiesburg, Mississippi in 1977-1988. There was a health food store on Hardy Street (the town's main drag from downtown to the part of town were the University of Southern Mississippi and the big medical center are), and it seemed strange to me that one of the things in the health food store was pamphlets from the John Birch Society. To my New York City / San Francisco leftwing-raised-progressive-addled-brain, raised by my mom who read Adelle Davis and ate health foods (and chocolate of course) - this seemed just a bit odd.

Now I have nothing against Mississippians. I married one and love him dearly. But I do love the response of my dear friend Carolyn Wagner in Arkansas. When I called her to be sure she was okay considering all the tornadoes and storms (and she is okay) I told her about this proposed law in Mississippi, and her response was "Thank god for Mississippi! They make Arkansas look good."

Of course that's what Alec says about Arkansas!

And the beat goes on...

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