News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists
SUNDAY, JULY 30, 2006


Government tries to save us from ourselves

Face it.

We can't be trusted with ourselves.

We ignore the scary warning from the surgeon general printed on cigarette packs.

Despite knowing better, we gobble down french fries until The Big One hits.

Ignoring the fact that speed kills, we climb aboard the 80 mph train on the interstate.

Knowledge may be empowering, but using it is a hassle.

The proof is as close as the nearest hospital. Look there and you'll see knowledgeable medical personnel, puffing cigarettes outside and waddling around in XXXL scrubs.

Will the government have to save us from ourselves?

In Chicago, the City Council is cracking down on everything from smoking to cooking oil.

The latest target, according to the Associated Press, is trans fat, found in some oils used to fry chicken, french fries and other foods.

A proposed ordinance would limit the use of trans fats by fast-food chains in the city. Yes, health experts warn that we should consume zero trans fats, but how far should government go to make sure we do it?

"Is the City Council going to plan our menus?" asked an angry Mayor Richard M. Daley.

Good question.

And how much responsibility does business have in this?

A paper place mat on the trays at one restaurant chain features a photo of two yummy-looking sausage, egg and cheese sandwiches.

Turn to the flip side, however, and the fine print is less appetizing. (I hope heaven is void of fine print.) The two sandwiches contain more than 1,100 calories, 3 grams of trans fats and 108 percent of the daily recommended intake of salt.

Maybe the photo side of the place mat should feature heart surgery.

We all know a struggle is brewing here.

The struggle for responsibility.

Who's going to be responsible for us?

Will it be government?

Will it be business?

Will it be us?

Scott Morris Scott Morris
DAILY City Editor

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