House OKs Ban on Fast Food Obesity Suits

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by DavisBAnimal, Mar 10, 2004.

  1. DavisBAnimal macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    #1
    http://www.fredericksburg.com/News/apmethods/apstory?urlfeed=D817QPA81.xml

    I'm generally against frivilous litigation, but I really wonder about this. Maybe someone can help me out, but how come we can't blame McDonald's for selling harmful foods but we can blame drug dealers for selling harmful drugs? Obesity's about to be set as the number killer in the US - fast food kills when taken without restraint, there's no question about it. How come it's legal to sell fattening cheeseburgers to an overweight public, but illegal to sell marijuana? I mean, sure, people need to take responsibilities for their actions and can't blame others for being fat, and fast-food is safe in small quantities, but replace "being fat" with "doing drugs" and "fast-food" for "drugs" and I feel like you still have a true statement.

    If we are right now putting drug dealers into jail for their role in the promotion of drug culture in our cities and suburbs, then why aren't we putting crap-food makers like McDonalds into jail for their role in the promotion of obesity? Fast-food induced obesity kills a whole lot more people in the US than marijuana does, that's for sure.

    Someone please point out the difference.

    Davis
     
  2. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2002
    Location:
    Yahooville S.C.
    #2
    Same reason you cant blame a gun maker for killing someone, or how about a hammer maker. People have to take responsiblity for their own actions. if i go in Mcdonalds and eat 20 burgers a day is it My fault or theirs? Its my fault and the law suites are crazy and will cost each one of us for trying to blame everyone but the person doing the stupid thing. This is a good law. Yeah blame everyone but yourself for why you are a fat!
     
  3. DavisBAnimal thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    #3
    Oh no, I agree with you - but I just fail to see how this isn't hypocritical when it comes to our approach to legislation against drug dealers. How come we can blame the pot dealer for his roll in providing the gateway (if you subscribe to the "gateway drug" theory) into the world of drug addiction?

    Davis
     
  4. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #4
    drug dealers need a lobby
     
  5. DavisBAnimal thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    #5
    Haha, that's probably true.

    And I know you were joking, but I think that actually gets to the heart of hypocrisy. Long story short, drug dealers get locked up while gun makers and McDonalds go free because drug dealers are black and gun makers/fast-food makers are white. Just more cultural lag of the racist motivations of the drug-law system.

    Davis
     
  6. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    #6
    Guns and fat, yay... :rolleyes:
     

    Attached Files:

  7. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2004
    Location:
    Reality
    #7
    I don't think the legislative branch should be in the business of telling us what we can and can't sue for. That's probably not even constitutional.

    Yeah, a lot of lawsuits are complete b.s., but if somebody wants to waste their money hiring a lawyer to present a case that's going to get thrown out of the first court they take it to, that's their business. We hear about the most infamous cases that make it through to the higher courts, but in reality, a lot of this stuff never makes it that far.

    I'd rather trust a judge to determine what is or is not a frivilous suit, rather than have Congress decide that for me.
     
  8. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2003
    Location:
    Colly-fornia
    #8
    "Hamburgers don't kill people, people kill people." :D
     
  9. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #9
    Nobody's in favor of "frivolous lawsuits," not even the lawyers who file product liability claims. Like everything else in national politics these days, you have to look for the code within the words. In this case, protecting against "frivolous lawsuits" is code for carving out an exception in the law for a favored industry.
     
  10. yahooz macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2004
    #10
    Do you actually believe that statement or are you just trying to start a flame war? Where do you draw your conclusions from? I agree that people should not be able to sue fast food chains as it is unfair for companies to lose money over people's laziness... However I believe gun makers have a responsibility to ensure that the owners of guns are safe to use them and will in turn not misuse them.

    As for drug dealers being locked up just because they are black, the very idea is ridiculous. Perhaps it is because selling drugs is illegal, hmm, maybe thats why they are arrested? What study shows only black drug dealers are arrested, while their white counterparts' activities go unchecked?

    I hope you arent just touting some campaign slogan dogma; there's no reason to make illogical statements like drug dealers are locked up only for their race.

    :eek:
     
  11. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #11
    being able to sue and winning are two different things. i don't think people should win lawsuits against, say, McD, for being fat. however, whether or not the justice system allows the suit in the first place is an entirely different matter.

    are you sure? every study i've seen points to a built-in racial bias in the justice system. someone here keeps close track of that stuff, i forget who. IJReilly, is it you?
     
  12. DavisBAnimal thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    #12
    I'm not stupid, I don't think you understood what I was saying. I know drug dealers go to jail cause it's illegal - that's a no-brainer. I'm wondering WHY is it illegal? Why is drug dealing illegal and frowned upon when fattening-food dealing is legal and rewarded, even though fattening-food kills more people than drugs? The only explanation I can see is that the drug laws were created in more racist days, with racist motivations, and despite the possible end to the literal racism of the old days, racism is still, nevertheless, fully institutionalized. And this hipocrisy is example numero uno. I can see absolutely no other reason behind this baltant hipocricy. Maybe you have a better, more plausible idea, but I wasn't starting a flame war, my statements were completely logically if read correctly, and I don't know any campaign out there that is right now centered around the empowerment of drug dealers.

    How come if I sell some pot to a stoner I can get tossed in jail for life, yet if I sell a Double-Quater Pounder with Cheese to an obese man on the verge of a heart-attack I get $1.65 and a law written by the US Congress to proect me?

    Davis
     
  13. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Jobs' Spare Liver Jar
    #13
    The House is just protecting the new light manufacturing base.
     
  14. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #14
    Not me, though I remember discussing this in a long ago far away thread.
     
  15. wwworry macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2002
    #15
    I have seen studies that show the justice system does have a racial bias and definitly an economic bias.
    But to say drug dealers are black is too much. I know of a few white drug dealers. I know a lot of black people who are not drug dealers and who would be incenced with the claim that drug dealers are black.

    Maybe you just miswrote. You could point out that the penalties for the possesion of crack cocaine (the cheap stuff) are a lot higher than the penalties for the possesion of cocaine (the expensive stuff). And that wealthy people are given lesser sentences for possesion of the same drug.

    Suing McDonalds because it is fattening is kind of crazy. How can you sue a company for selling a product that does not harm people when used in moderation? You could take any product available in the grocery store and if you injest enough of it, it would kill you. I agree that fast food lifestyles are killing the planet but the answer is education not litigation. But litigation does call attention to the problem which is good but wastes a lot of people's time which is bad.

    I do not think congress should be involved in lawsuits against specific industries. Let the courts do what the courts do. It's the separation of powers thing.
     
  16. numediaman macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago (by way of SF)
    #16
    From Mike Luckovich:
     

    Attached Files:

  17. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2003
    Location:
    Colly-fornia
    #17
    Hey Davis, wern't you the one admonishing me not to be too antagonistic to our conservative friends here?
     
  18. applebum macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2003
    Location:
    SC
    #18
    Ok - tell me just exactly which food is fattening. Dr. Atkins says it is the Carbs (the bun of the Cheeseburger). He has plenty of case studies that support this. Dr. Ornish says it is the Fat (the cheese and the beef of the Cheeseburger). He has plenty of case studies that support his opinion. Dr. Schwartzbein says it is not necessarily either of these but just white carbs and non-nutritive foods (chips, cake, etc). Again her personal case studies will support this. Weight Watchers says you can eat anything - just in moderation. Plenty of Dr's say that it is total calories and portion sizes that matter, not the specific food. Ask any runner, and they will tell you they can eat anything - they just burn it off. So, it actually may not be the food at all, but our own laziness/idleness that makes us fat. In fact, maybe Apple computers make us fat when we actually sit in front of our computer instead of going outside and getting some exercise.

    So, you can't put people in jail that sell food, because there is no proof that any one food item by itself makes you fat. However, we do know that exact side effects of Heroine, Cocaine, Opium, Crystal Meth, etc. We do know how addictive they are. Now, this is not a comment on whether these things should be illegal or not. I am just pointing out one of the differences.
     
  19. DavisBAnimal thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    #19
    I realize I may have gotten a little defensive, but I wasn't trying to be antagonistic. I really am wondering if there is a better theory out there for the hypocrisy (and maybe he has an idea), because I admittedly don't have any historical context to bring to the issue, or any statistical knowledge.

    Looking back on my original post, though, I can see how it could be misread - I wasn't being clear. And I realize I was making a generalization, and obviously not all drug dealers are black and not all black people are drug dealers, but I've always heard that while the majority of drug users are white the majority of drug dealers are black, that drug dealing is a bigger issue in inner cities in poor and black neighborhoods than it is in other neighborhoods, even though drug use is widespread across all racial and socio-economic boundaries, and that, at the very least, the judicial system is constructed in such a way as to be tainted by a number of racial disparities in regards to drug prosecution.

    All I am saying is that so long as it is illegal to sell drugs, it should be illegal to sell ridiculously unhealthy foods, like those found at McDonalds. Taking both is the choice of the consummer, and both are fine in moderation though dangerous once they become a part of a destructive and consumming lifestyle. And I am proposing that the reason why one is illegal while the other is a legitimate business practice soon to be protected against litigation by law (if this passes the Senate) is the result of racial disparity. And I am legitimately curious as to another explanation.

    Davis
     
  20. DavisBAnimal thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    #20
    Those are all good points. Although I don't think there is any debate as to whether or not a Big Mac is unhealthy, and potentially quite dangerous if not eaten in moderation, same as cocaine. But food addiction is obviously more controversial and not as accepted as drug addiction, so addiction is a good thing to bring up.

    And I think this would be a good example getting beyond the racial disparity if it wasn't for the Tobacco industry. Tobacco is just as addictive as many of those drugs, and kills more people than anything but....obesity (which just passed tobacco as the number one killer). Why is Tobacco legal still? Probably because they have an active, white lobby, and have historically been a practice of wealthy white business persons, whereas pot (for example) came over brought by Mexican immigrants and popularized by lower-income Mexians and Blacks in the early 20th century.

    If the drug laws are set-up to protect the American populace from an unhealthy and addictive lifestyle, then there should logically be laws against what kind of foods, portion size, on and on, should be allowed to be sold - then it should be illegal to sell a cheeseburger to a fat man similar to the way it's illegal to sell alcohol to a drunk man.

    And obviously this is riduculous, because people should take responsibility for their own actions. So, really, if we want to have that attitude about these substances (which is still a debatable argument) then drugs (at least drugs without the potential to kill when used in moderation) should fall under the same type of libertarian attitude.

    All this and I've never even smoked pot!

    Davis
     
  21. applebum macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2003
    Location:
    SC
    #21
    Actually alcohol, like most drugs, causes impairment. By selling booze to you after you are drunk, I can be held responsible if you wind up hurting someone in your impaired state. Cheeseburgers do not cause impairment. If I sell a fat man 20 cheeseburgers, he is not any more likely to be in a car wreck (unless of course he is trying to eat all 20 while driving :D ). I tend to think most drug laws are there due to the impairment factor as opposed to the addiction factor. Impaired people do stupid things - how many crimes are committed because of someone being impaired. While cigarettes are extremely addictive, they don't tend to impair a smoker to a point that they are likely to make stupid decisions and hurt someone else. I think the true hypocricy in America is alcohol. It is by far as addictive as any illegal drug, plus the impairment factor is just as high. Unfortunately, we have already proven in America that making it illegal simply leads to more crime and violence.
     
  22. DavisBAnimal thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    #22
    Yeah, very good point - which would make you think we'd realize the amount of crime and violence that gets created through the illegalization of drugs.
     
  23. parrothead macrumors 6502a

    parrothead

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2003
    Location:
    Edmonds, WA
    #23

    Exactly, people have to learn to take responsibility for their own actions. It is not like Macdonalds has forced us all to eat there.
     
  24. DavisBAnimal thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    #24
    That's true, but to play devils advocate, I still think McDonalds, as a US corporation, should in some ways take into consideration the affect that their product and business dealing have on the American population. I don't think these suits should ever win, but by outlawing them outright you close off that form of speech against the McDonalds corporation for what amounts to questionable business ethics. There's no question that Mickey-D's has played a big role in the fattening of America, so frankly, I'm happy there has been negative attention given to McDonalds through these suits (all have which have lost, I'm pretty sure) such that McDonalds has now started to make it's menu a bit more healthy. I'm not saying that the suits themselves single handidly did this - there's a variety of factors, a change in the market away from fatty foods being one - but the suits nonetheless were a great way to get attention to the role McDonalds has played in getting us fat.

    People are ultimately responsible for their own decisions, but I don't think it's ok for US coporation to be able to hide the ill-effects of their business practices behind the profit motive. There needs to be more social responsibility encouraged within these corporations, and I would much rather that responsibility come from the potential threat of class-action lawsuit than from coercive laws dictating what a restaurant can or cannot serve (and we all know it ain't gonna come from within).

    Davis
     
  25. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Jobs' Spare Liver Jar
    #25
    No one is saying the execs of fast food restaurants should go to jail. This is about civil lawsuits, where they're held financially liable for their actions.
     

Share This Page