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1998 Nanny Awards - Printable Version

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- Guest Choice Network - 01-08-1999 08:50 AM

1998 Nanny Awards!
1998 was a momentous year for Nannies - that growing fraternity of food cops, health care enforcers, vegetarian activists and meddling bureaucrats who "know what's best for you."
While every nanny worked tirelessly this year to restrict our choices, a few have shown outstanding initiative, creativity and determination in their efforts to protect us from ourselves. To honor those particularly intrusive and meddlesome busybodies, we present the 1998 "Nanny of the Year" Awards.

"Nanny of the Year" Award - In a surprise decision, the judges have awarded their highest honor to new-kid-on-the-block.

Kelly Brownell - By calling for a "twinkie tax" on high-calorie food, Yale University professor Brownell simultaneously created a buzz for a new tax and reunited the Nanny nation, which was divided over what product they were going to attack after tobacco.

Honorable Mentions
* Michael Jacobson, Founder of the Center for Science in the Public Interest - The grand-Nanny of them all was edged out by Brownell, despite leading the charge against soda, coffee, alcohol, the Thanksgiving turkey, Olestra and the entire U.S. restaurant industry.
* The "Not Milk" Guy, Robert Cohen (as featured in TIME magazine) - For urging our kids via the Internet to dump their milk on the cafeteria floor and spray paint "Not milk!" on buildings.

"Public Disservice" Award
California State Sen. Diane Watson (D-Los Angeles), Chairman of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee - For refusing to consider a bill which would have lifted the state's ban on smoking in bars and taverns. The ban went into effect at the stroke of midnight, January 1, 1998, heralding in the "Year of the Nanny" on just the right restrictive note.

Honorable Mentions
* The South Dakota House Health and Human Services Committee - For considering a bill which would have made it felony child abuse for a pregnant woman to order a glass of wine in a restaurant without a doctor's prescription.
* The National Institute of Health - For redefining the "Body Mass Index," effectively making 33 million Americans "overweight" overnight.
* The U.S. Department of Transportation - For ordering commercial airlines to create "peanut-free buffer zones" to protect peanut-allergy sufferers, despite acknowledging that to suffer an allergic reaction, one must actually eat a peanut.

The "(Abuse of) Power of The Press" Award
The Nation Magazine - For their expose‚ on "soda barons" trying to hook young kids on "the new drug of choice" - caffeine.
"[E]xecutives at Coke and Pepsi... are pushing a drug on pre-adults, one that may have serious health consequences for a whole generation."

Honorable Mentions
* The Dallas Morning News - For warning Americans about the dangers of generous restaurant portions:
"When eating out, resist temptation to eat everything on your plate. Restaurants are notorious for serving too much food."
* US News & World Report - For calling Kelly Brownell's fat tax one of the "smart ideas to save the world." The magazine hailed the tax as "less bureaucratic and intrusive" than other "unabashed social engineering" efforts.
* ABC News Online - For reporting that perfumes can be "toxic to the liver and kidneys and that they may trigger . migraines and asthma in some people," without offering a shred of evidence. "In fact," they write, "there's so little science that your guess is as good as mine how widespread the health damage might be." Well, we guess there's no problem. End of story.
* The Chicago Tribune, Marshall Froker - For candidly admitting that the Tribune unquestioningly accepted the findings of the now-discredited EPA secondhand smoke study because, "If somebody is saying cigarette smoke is dangerous, we're unlikely to challenge that." And, he went on to confess, "If the tobacco industry comes out and says that's a bunch of hooey, we're probably not as likely to have that spur us into an investigation as [if some other industry was making the same charge]. And that's just the way it is."

"Sound Bites Over Sound Science" Award
MADD Board Member Ralph Hingson for 500 Imaginary Lives - In a three-page report, Hingson claimed that a lower drunk-driving arrest threshold would save 500 lives a year - something the entire U.S. Department of Transportation has been unable to prove in 15 years of research. Despite being thoroughly discredited by highway traffic safety experts, his research (and his sound bite) lives on.

Honorable Mentions
*CSPI for Their Soda Pop Fizzle - CSPI made quite a media splash by claiming that some teenagers get up to 25 percent of their calories from soda. Their admission one week later that they overstated that figure by 100 percent barely caused a ripple. That's media handling!

Special Recognition
*The Environmental Protection Agency for their "Secondhand Smoke" Report - Despite being refuted by the Congressional Research Service, contradicted by the World Health Organization and invalidated by a U.S. District Court as sloppy and biased research, this 1993 study is thriving in the current Nanny State.


- tomstevenson - 01-20-1999 01:42 PM

Gee Jerry, it makes me feel good to be English!


- Jerry D Mead - 01-20-1999 02:19 PM

Well, at least we still haven't got as crazy with the lowered BAC's as most of Europe, though admittedly, they're working on us. But as freedom for commerce in wine, it is shameful that there is little in the supposed "land of the free."

JDM