Government As Your Nanny Concept Marches On (long) : LUSENET : Unk's Troll-free Private Saloon : One Thread

This is the latest social engineering coup being attempted in Cali. Seems we need the State to keep Big Gulps away from our kids by penalizing soft drink consumers in the name of health but truly in the name of control. Don't scoff at this article. The tax is trivial compared to the invasion into your freedom to choose (is there an abortion tax? nevermind). They'll probably loose this one but their self ordained sense of just, just knowing what's best for us will be back.

New Soda Tax Idea Reignites an Old Debate Capitol: Bill raises the issue of using laws for social engineering. Sponsor cites state budget woes and a desire to cut childhood obesity.


SACRAMENTO -- Citing California's huge budget shortfall and its growing number of overweight children, a state lawmaker is proposing a new tax on soda to fight childhood obesity.

The idea is given little chance of passing, at least not in this election year, but it's reigniting an old debate at the Capitol about the proper role of tax policy as a social engineering tool.

The California Soda Tax Act by Sen. Deborah Ortiz (D-Sacramento) is seen as the leading edge of a broader initiative to tax or levy fees on a variety of eating and drinking habits. One lawmaker, in fact, has introduced a bill to study taxing a wider range of junk food to finance health programs for children. Another may try to impose a fee on retail sales of alcoholic beverages to bolster trauma rooms.

Assemblyman John Campbell (R-Irvine) described the soda proposal as the latest attempt to demonize a legal product to justify increasing taxes. Targets of so-called sin taxes have traditionally included tobacco, alcohol and gambling.

"Where will this ever stop?" asked Campbell, a self-described soda abstainer who handles budget matters for his caucus. "Are they going to tax the butter on my carrots because carrots are healthier without butter?

"I think if you ate too much tofu it's probably bad for you, so does that mean we should tax tofu in big jars?"

Ortiz's plan would impose a surtax on distributors of soda and other sweetened drinks--but not diet beverages--at a rate of about 2 cents per 12-ounce can. She said the tax could raise as much as $300 million a year.

A more traditional sin tax is also under consideration this year as state officials attempt to close a projected $17.5-billion budget shortfall. Ortiz wants to raise the state excise tax on a pack of cigarettes by 65 cents to $1.52, which would give California the highest tax of that variety in the nation.

But it's the soda tax that has ignited a lively discussion, as Ortiz hoped it would.

Reducing childhood obesity, she contends, should be one of the major policy objectives in California. She believes that the increased prevalence of the condition is being fueled by young people consuming more sweetened drinks and less milk.

"In this culture of the 'Big Gulp,' it's really quite alarming," said Ortiz, chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services and another soda abstainer. "I don't think there's any one staple of a child or teenager's diet that is so utterly devoid of any nutritional value as soda."

Sean McBride, a spokesman for the National Soft Drink Assn., countered, "It's overly simplistic to say if we eliminate soft drinks from the food supply that people will be healthy."

McBride offered an alternative to the big-government approach to diminishing childhood obesity: 30 minutes of exercise a day and a balanced diet.

He cited Arkansas, Washington and West Virginia as states that impose special or excise taxes on soft drinks. In California, only sales taxes are now applied to carbonated beverages.

Advocates of Ortiz's proposal cite a changing environment as cause for government intervention.

Children are spending too much time staring at video game, computer and television screens, they say. At the same time, young people are being bombarded by attractively packaged foods with poor nutritional quality.

"You can't just hold an individual responsible when we've created an environment that supports the genetic expression of obesity," said Joanne Ikeda, a nutrition specialist in UC Berkeley's department of nutritional sciences.

"The whole childhood obesity problem is based on the myth that just fat kids have problems," said Ikeda, an advisor to the National Assn. to Advance Fat Acceptance, a group dedicated to improving the quality of life for fat people.

"The truth of the matter is all children, regardless of their size and shape, are practicing poor lifestyles in terms of health."

In California, an estimated 30% of children are overweight or at risk of being overweight, with as many as half of all children in some school districts weighing too much, said Harold Goldstein, executive director of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy.

"What this means about future rates of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and stroke is staggering," he said. "We're sitting on a time bomb."

The soda tax idea builds on a junk-food bill by state Sen. Martha Escutia (D-Whittier), also proposed as a way to combat childhood obesity.

Approved by the Legislature last year, the measure mandates that foods sold at elementary and middle schools meet certain nutritional requirements, among other changes, by 2004.

Consumption Not Seen as Dropping Sharply

Ortiz said she does not expect a new tax on soda to drastically reduce its consumption in California. She said her key goal is to raise money to help get schools out of the business of selling soda and junk food to children to fund programs.

Money from the tax also would be used to teach children to care for their teeth as well as to treat and prevent obesity by educating them about nutrition and getting them involved in physical activities.

"They need labor-intensive programs that require them to learn new habits and include repeated visits," said Dr. Lynda K. Fisher, a pediatric endocrinologist at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles.

Ortiz has also drawn the ire of the tobacco industry for proposing the cigarette tax increase. She said that proposal could raise $800 million for tobacco education, cancer research and medical services for the working poor. The plan is supported by a variety of health groups.

"It would pour revenues to those programs that need to be done better," said Ortiz, a former smoker.

Brendan McCormick, a spokesman for Philip Morris USA, said tobacco taxes are not a long-term solution to the state's fiscal problems, particularly when it comes to health care programs. Using a declining revenue source to fund programs with increasing costs doesn't add up, he said.

"If programs are worth funding for the broader population, they should have a broader-based funding source, rather than singling out smokers," McCormick said.

Three states--Connecticut, New York and Utah--have raised state excise taxes on cigarettes this year, he said.

The tobacco and soda taxes are regressive, which means that lower-income families would bear a relatively higher share of the burden, said Jean Ross, executive director of the California Budget Project, a group that advocates for the poor during the budget process.

Still, Ross described Ortiz's proposals as a logical response to a politically difficult situation: trying to fund worthy programs in lean fiscal times.

Mustering the political will to raise taxes is considered a longshot around the Capitol because it is an election year and because Gov. Gray Davis, who is seeking a second term, has repeatedly said he will do his best to avoid tax increases.

Nonetheless, lawmakers are not stopping at soda and cigarettes as possible tax targets.

To address concerns that California students are struggling at school because they are sick, lawmakers led by Assemblywoman Wilma Chan (D-Alameda) are pushing a package of proposals to improve their health.

Chan has introduced a measure that would require the state to study the feasibility of taxing junk foods to pay for dental and health services for children.

Minnesota charges sales taxes on candy, chewing gum and ice cream, and Texas imposes them on candy, Goldstein said.

Californians, however, have not responded kindly to similar taxes. It took infuriated voters less than 15 months to repeal a so-called snack tax that state officials imposed on snack food, bottled water and candy. Revenues from the sales tax were used to help close a $14-billion state budget shortfall in 1991.

State Sen. Gloria Romero (D-Los Angeles) said she may try to impose a fee on the retail sale of alcoholic beverages to help fund trauma centers. To draw a nexus between alcohol consumption and trauma centers, she has cited a court ruling that fees imposed to mitigate harm done by sellers of a product are reasonable.

Not everyone buys the connection, however.

"I think it's an unfair tax," said Sy Fried, president of the Wine & Spirit Wholesalers of California. "Why should alcohol support a trauma caused by drugs?"

Larry McCarthy, president of the California Taxpayers Assn., said he does not believe that Romero's proposal bears any of the characteristics of a fee, which he contends should not finance a general government service that provide benefits to the broader community.

The thread that connects proposals by Chan, Ortiz and Romero, he said, is that they all send a chill through the state's business community.

"It sends a really damaging signal about California," McCarthy said. "That kind of signal scares investment away."

If you want other stories on this topic, search the Archives at For information about reprinting this article, go to

-- Carlos (, April 04, 2002


Maybe parents should just stop giving their kids so much goddamn soda, especially if they're already overweight. Duh.

-- (dum@de.dum.dum), April 04, 2002.

This is an easy no-brainer. Put INS officers inside of these fucked- up social centers, and you will find 90% of the customers being packed off to pointís south (as in TJ and beyond). Ashcroft is just about ready to overturn Clintonís 1996 directive and allow local police to arrest illegals on sight. Another no-brainer.

-- Send (mo@money.please), April 04, 2002.

California is soooooo far behind in its implementation of a progressive government. Does it have a "Gender Equality Ombudsman"? Norway does (for 20 year years). Shape-up. Uffda!

-- (, April 04, 2002.

Amazing! Yeah they'll collect the money but don't be fooled. No way will it go to "teach children to care for their teeth as well as to treat and prevent obesity by educating them about nutrition and getting them involved in physical activities". That can be done now with no additional expenditures in our school system.

"She believes that the increased prevalence of the condition is being fueled by young people consuming more sweetened drinks and less milk." And she knows this how? So based on this belief we need a tax. We need the government to collect money from those who choose to drink soda. HUH? Well, no one said that CA legislators were smart. Look what they did with their utilities company.

-- Maria (, April 04, 2002.

Heh! I came in from shopping and heard yells of "no pop". I told thwm to make juice, the little cans in the freezer that actually have some fruit juice in in, or drink water (not tap water these days-too much clorine since 9-11) but I get the big jugs of water. i even threatened to buy Tang ROFLMAO.

-- Cherri (, April 04, 2002.

Then of course there are the repugs, who prefer to drink the soda, get fat, and then take a tax deduction for going to a weight loss program!


-- (Dumbya's new policy @ let the healthy people. foot the bill), April 04, 2002.

Most of the kids in the upper elementary grades at our local school are overweight. It's not pop. It's the state-supplied milk and cheese program for the poor. They're pumping the cows full of growth hormones, and it's getting passed on to the kids.

-- helen (, April 04, 2002.

Helen I don't know if I agree with your slant on it. But fact of the matter is, there's too little info and too much info on nutritional needs of us human beings. It's almost like a faith based religion with not enough scientific evidence supporting any one view. I know as a kid I drank gobs of soda; during one study session I had 48 oz. My friend looked at me like I was nuts. I was also skinny as a toothpick. When you try to single out just one cause for *everyone's* body shape, it's absurd, too many variables in this. That's what makes this legislation even more wacko. The pinko commie hidden agenda when all they really want is extra money for more of their pinko commie programs.

-- Maria (, April 05, 2002.

There was a story in a local paper about two years ago, about rampant obesity among DC teenagers. The theory underlining the article was that it was caused by the fast food places the kids patronized. Some of the kids were pictured, obese as hell, and they did gobble down the burgers and fries like there was no tomorrow.

-- Peter Errington (, April 05, 2002.

Maybe they should have an extra tax on fast food!! Ha ha.

Really, if kids are getting obese on fast food then their parents should get them on a diet and exercise program. If their parents don't care, then I don't see why I should either.

-- (dum@de.dum.dum), April 05, 2002.

Dum dum, I agree with you. Sometimes I have to grab a meal at a fast food place, and I see no reason to pay extra in taxes.

-- Peter Errington (, April 05, 2002.

If there are high taxes on unhealthy/addictive products like cigarettes, booze, junk food, porn, gambling, etc this puts the government in the ironic position of being dependent on the public's consumption of these products. An example is state lotto, one of the most cynical taxes ever invented.

-- (, April 05, 2002.

It seems kinda ironic but once Americans stop spending money on these "sins", the government will find something else to tax. In the meantime pour me another drink.

-- Maria (, April 05, 2002.

Make mine a double and serve it after the baked Alaska.

-- Free (head@case.analysis), April 05, 2002.

Dum dum understands perfectly where responsibility AND authority belongs.

-- Carlos (, April 06, 2002.

Carlos, you apparently object to using laws for the purpose of social engineering. So please explain to me why it is OK to use multi-billion dollar advertising campaigns (i.e. both Coke and Pepsi, or alternatively, McDonalds) to "engineer" the behavior of society. Why should we permit this, either?

-- Little Nipper (, April 07, 2002.

Free enterprise versus government control?

-- Jack Booted Thug (, April 07, 2002.

Our thinking here is muddled. All addictive substances, products and services ranging from alcohol to narcotics to Prozac to gambling to porn to prostitution to caffein to cigarettes to Twinkies to Jerry Springer should be legalized but regulated and highly taxed by the Feds.

The Feds could then fund themselves in a painless manner by pandering to our weaknesses and could simultaneously claim the moral high ground by "regulating" the products so that only the finest quality drugs etc are on the market. Further, they could sponsor massive Addiction Treatment Programs to help us recover from the addictive products they have sold us. The production of all such products would remain in the private sector; the Feds could just skim the profits by taxing the bejesus out of them.

-- (, April 07, 2002.

Did I read that article correctly. They are not going to tax diet soda? Do you know how bad diet soda is for you? Makes regular soda look healthy by comparison. They shouldn't tax Mt. Dew as it contains so much caffiene, you'll burn off all it's calories anyway.

-- bogsworth (running@on.8cylinders), April 07, 2002.

JBT: "Free enterprise versus government control?"

This is merely an ideological cop-out instead of an answer. It doesn't address why, if social engineering is objectionable per se, then private social engineering is not also objectionable. I am sure Flint, were he inclined, could come up with something chewier, but I'm not sure he'd really come to grips with my question, either.

I will stipulate up front that, if social engineering is "bad", then publically-funded social engineering might be worse than privately-funded social engineering. But Carlos and others like him apparently think that privately-funded social engineering is NOT objectionable, since they never bother to object to it.

This begs the question of what is objectionable about social engineering in and of itself. If it is not objectionable in itself, then it is not objectionable if the government does it. If it is objectionable in itself, then it is opbjectionable when the Coca-Cola Corporation does it.

-- Little Nipper (, April 08, 2002.

The difference is simple LN.

When big bidness "social engineers" it does so without the use of a gun to your forehead. You have a choice re: participating.

Not so when government does it.

-- Uncle Deedah (, April 08, 2002.

I was going to make a similar point Unk. "Private social engineering" is an oxymoron. Coke may spend billions on advertising but there is no law that I must buy Coke. Yet.

-- (, April 08, 2002.

Unk, you fail to grasp my question. If your point is that holding a gun to your head to is always wrong, then you are arguing against all law enforcement. If you are not arguing that point, then the existance of a gun to your head does not, in and of itself, make the injunction being enforced a "bad" one.

To give you a slightly different take on this. You are a Christian. God has made certain laws concerning your behavior that you may choose to follow or to break. Chief among them is the rather "social engineering" injunction that you are to love your neighbor as yourself. While God does not employ a firearm in enforcing this law, He does hold a metaphorical gun to your head -- eternal damnation -- which, as a Chriatian, you may consider as a far worse threat than death.

The undeniable existance of this "gun to your head" does not make God's law bad or wrong, does it? If not, then there is nothing inherent in "holding a gun to one's head" that makes a law bad or wrong.

Lars, if "private social engineering" is truly an oxymoron, then "social engineering" is merely a synonym for "doing the public's business". In which case, all lawmaking is "social engineering". If all lawmaking and public business is bad and and wrong, then an objection to "social engineering" is just an appeal to the delights of pure anarchy.

So far, all the answers on offer are simple, false binaries based on ideology. No one is answering why "social engineering" is a bad thing, in itself.

-- Little Nipper (, April 08, 2002.

Tsk tsk tsk....

You asked why if social engineering is "bad" when done by government it is not also "bad" if done by huge billion dollar ad campaigns. I answered that question simply. So did Lars. Government social engineering is mandatory. Privately funded "social engineering" is voluntary, hence, it is not really "engineering" at all. It is merely persuasion.

Now I will answer your new question simply.

Yes, all laws are "social engineering". What makes for proper government sponsored "social engineering" are laws that protect us from the harmful actions of others who are intent on hurting us. Improper "social engineering" laws are laws that seek to save us from our own voluntary actions that do not hurt others, whether we wish to be saved or not.

-- Uncle Deedah (, April 08, 2002.

Social engineering takes place from the moment of birth. Parenting is social engineering reduced to the individual level. As you grow you try to conduct social engineering in your interpersonal relationships. When Unk goes to a bar and attempts to pick up a woman by plying her with strong drink and his overwhelming charm just so he can have his "way" with her, he is practicing social engineering on an individual level in that he is trying to influuence another person to behave in a manner that he wants them to. To someone who is outside of this "experiment" the process may seem immoral but that is THEIR perception of what social behavior should be and has no bearing on Unk's lascivious designs on the woman in his sights. As a private individual, Unk does not feel he needs the government to regulate his behavior or make him get a permit and pay a tax or fee just so he can try to get laid.

LN, I think that you are missing what everyone is trying to say here. Social engineering is not inherently bad, it is just that these people believe that social engineering by the government is bad. Social engineering in the private sector by private individuals or corporations trying to persuade private individuals would be acceptable as the CORRECT place for such activities. Of course you will get other individuals who believe that social engineering should be undertaken by government which is why we have these little debates and if taken to an extreme why we have civil wars.

Your analogy making use of one of the Ten Commandements while interesting really makes no differnce in the debate over whether government should practice social engineering. In the first place God is a private individual, or maybe Being is more proper, not a government and in the second place the ten commandments are part of religion which is wholly a private undertaking even though it may encompass many individuals. I would specul;ate that both Lars and even the immoral reprobate, Unk, would say that religion as a institution to practice social engineering is acceptable even though they might not agree with the concept of religion themselves. In fact isn't social engineering of behavior on of the basic goals of organized religion?

-- Jack Booted Thug (, April 08, 2002.

Unk, I would wholeheartedly agree with your excellent distinction in regard to outlawing activities that are private, personal and harmless to others, for example the laws prohibiting marijuana use. However, taxing an activity does not forbid it or outlaw it, so your distinction, however laudable and reasonable it may be, does not apply to the proposal under discussion.

Lars, it appears to me that you have grasped the nettle, somewhat. It is not a valid argument against an activity to label it "social engineering". Most of the activities we are taught to regard most highly are "social engineering".

My own point is simple enough. It isn't enough to label an activity as "social engineering" to prove it is bad. It isn't enough to say that a government is engaged in it to prove it is bad. Both of these arguments are irrelevant. A government may engage is good and bad social engineering and you have to look at each proposal on its own merits.

In my view, outlawing soda (diet or sugary) would be a heinous law. OTOH, taxing them for the purpose of reducing their consumption might be justifiable, so long as: 1) the harm to society is real and verifiable, 2) it rises to a signifigant level that merits government intervention, 3) the tax is not so high as to constitute a prohibition and 4) the proceeds of the tax are directed toward mitigating the harm to society.

I'm not sure the proposed tax meets all these tests. But labelling it as "social engineering" and dismissing it on that basis is shallow and stupid, IMO. It is just parking your mind in the yard and putting it up on blocks where it can rust in peace.

-- Little Nipper (, April 08, 2002.

A few things,

One, if outlawing a product [soda (diet or sugary)] would be a heinous law, would not taxing it be merely less heinous? In other words, if outlawing a particular product is heinous, how can taxing it disproportionately be a GOOD thing?

If, indeed, taxing a product at a higher rate (in order to influence behavior) is a good thing, why stop there? Why not give tax rebate to folks who eat four servings of veggies a day? In fact, since the big brains in government seem able to figure out how I should live my life better than I am able to figure it out, why not have the government script out my entire weekly meal plans, AND, while the big brains are at it, have my entire LIFE dictated to me? Would that then not be the very BEST thing of all?

-- Uncle Deedah (, April 08, 2002.

There now, big fella. You just haven't had your social behavior properly engineered lately...

-- helen leers (Blue@Hairs.faint), April 08, 2002.

I don't know what they have to say,
it makes no difference anyway -
whatever it is, I'm against it!
No matter what it is or who commenced it,
I'm against it!

Your proposition may be good,
but let's have one thing understood -
whatever it is, I'm against it!
And even when you've changed it or condensed it,
I'm against it!

-- Groucho Marx (, April 08, 2002.

Damn, I can't remember the name of that movie. Groucho as I recall plays a college Dean, something like that.

-- Peter Errington (, April 08, 2002.

Unk: "...if outlawing a product [soda (diet or sugary)] would be a heinous law, would not taxing it be merely less heinous?"

You are correct... up to a point.

In using the modifier "merely", it appears you are applying an extremely simplistic model to a very complex world. Most actions are a mixture of both good and bad, desirable and undesirable. In reality, making an action "less heinous" may allow its good features to become more prominent than its bad features, so that it doesn't merely become less heinous, but rather it becomes, in aggregate, more good than bad, where before it was more bad than good.

The tests I suggested would require a careful weighting of good versus bad in the outcome. It's pragmatism, Unk. Your attempt at a reductio ad absurdum fails because it reduces the wrong argument. There is nothing in my suggested four tests that would require such an absurd outcome as you envisioned. Your reaction was so far from proportionate as to sound (how should I say this?) hysterical.

-- Little Nipper (, April 08, 2002.

reductio ad absurdum

Look on your government issued money, it's printed on the back, albeit in very tiny print.

-- Uncle Deedah (, April 08, 2002.

The phrase "social engineering" has come to mean, in common usage,when the government does it, as against say "socialization" (when parents guide their children) or "moral guidance" (what churches try to do).

One has to rely on one's own judgement as to whether "social engineering" as commonly defined is justified or not depending on the particular situation.

For example, school desegregation was a massive example of social engineering. Justified, long overdue, had to be done IMHO. On the other hand, bussing to achieve racial balance stinks, in my also humble opinion.

As for the burning sodapop question, why should I, as a responsible sodapop consumer, be singled out to pay society for the costs of irresponsible overconsumption of that product?

-- Peter Errington (, April 09, 2002.

Social engineering, "as commonly defined", strikes me as little more than a buzzword, used solely by the opponents of some proposed government action. But, you raise a good question, Peter.

Assuming that the "irresponsible overconsumption of soda pop" does carry substantial social costs (an assumption I find rather dubious, at best), then those costs must be borne somehow and by somebody. Unassigned social costs tend to be distributed in highly capricious and wholly unjust ways.

A reasonable tax on soda pop might not reassign the cost solely to the irresponsible parties (the ideal solution), but it would reassign those costs much nearer to them and in ways that are both practical and recognizably more just than leaving those costs unassigned.

You have to remember, Peter, that in cases where the social cost is substantial, paying or not paying the cost is not an option. Someone is paying for it in every case. By shifting more of the cost to the drinkers of soda pop, both responsible and not, a fractional increase of justice results, because the costs have been reassigned away from a large number of people who are demonstrably not abusing soda pop. You, OTOH, could be a secret abuser. Who can say?

If you insist that the cost shifting be ideal or perfect before it is acceptable, you are not recognizing that the burden of paying the cost is already grossly unjust and the option of doing nothing is guaranteed to perpetuate an injustice worse than one you seek to avoid.

-- Little Nipper (, April 09, 2002.

LN, a great deal of the motivation for the sort of taxes we are talking about has nothing to do with saving society from costs. It has to do with saving people from themselves. And my patience with this sort of thing is limited. The DC teenagers in the story I referred to above knew perfectly well why they were such blobs, they just didn't have the gumption to do anything about it.

-- Peter Errington (, April 09, 2002.

Peter, I am not arguing in favor of this tax. Nor am I arguing in favor of letting the government substitute its judgement for mine in personal matters. So, we agree there.

I was arguing that when detractors label a proposal as "social engineering" and dismiss it as harmful or misguided, they have not said anything worth heeding. It must be judged in pragmatic terms and by other, more objective standards.

Taxing items or behaviors to reduce their instance and shift their costs away from society as a whole can be a wise and a just strategy - not to mention practical - without impinging unduly on personal freedoms. Calling it "social engineering" doesn't change this fact.

-- Little Nipper (, April 09, 2002.

How will the proposed tax money be spent? Medical costs for the obese? Boot camps for fat kids? Prolly not.

The overweight kids at the school are physically active. If it's a matter of simple over-consumption of calories, then it doesn't necessarily have anything to do with drinking pop or eating chips. WIC hands out milk, cheese, and peanut butter among other things -- high fat, high calorie foods. Carbohydrates are fattening, and tend to be cheap, so kids could gain weight on mac and cheese or spaghetti too.

-- helen (, April 09, 2002.

So what does that have to do with the subject...?

What I mean is, the problem being addressed by the government may not be the true problem. That's what I meant. So we're looking at having the nanny maybe screw up the problem definition in the first place, and automatically screwing up the "solution".

Meanwhile, Unk is looking at having to pay more taxes on his Cheese Whiz.

-- helen (sometimes@has.a.point), April 09, 2002.

BTW, in case I haven't been crystal clear about it: I think the burden of proof that drinking soda pop is signifigantly harmful to society (and not just to the individuals who drink it) is on the people who are proposing to tax it. As far as I can see, not only have they not proved their case, they are simply scapegoating rather than problem solving.

I just get so consarned fed up with political discourse that mires down at the level of dismissive labels and ideology-mongering that I just get cranky sometimes and try to inject something like critical thinking into the whole damn affair.

And, helen, you make some excellent points, unconnected to puffery, propaganda, or ideological drumbeating. I love you.

-- Little Nipper (, April 09, 2002.

Ooooh! I love you too, Nipper. :)

-- helen (takes@everything.offered.ASAP), April 09, 2002.

Nip: sorry for being late again.

"Why should we permit this either?...." U scaring me if you don't see the difference twixt a pepsi pitch and a government pusch.

-- Carlos (, April 10, 2002.

LN was trying "to inject something like critical thinking". I think this is an attempt to become our resident Flint, since Flint hasn't been posting. How's he doin'?

-- Maria (, April 10, 2002.

There is no Flint but Flint, and his prophet is Flint.

-- Little Nipper (, April 11, 2002.

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