Judge Tingling found the Board of Health's mission is to protect New Yorkers by providing regulations that prevent and protect against diseases. Those powers, he argued, don't include the authority to "limit or ban a legal item under the guise of 'controlling chronic disease.' "But a malicious part of me really wishes this had gone ahead. The ban looked to be an intractable nightmare that New York, having elected Bloomberg, really deserved to endure. They could have served as example unto others. Instead, the lesson is that judges will bat back things that are entirely too crazy, so there's no harm in electing Bloombergs. Sometimes, the electorate does deserve to get what it wants, and that right hard.
The board may supervise and regulate the city's food supply when it affects public health, but the City Charter clearly outlines when such steps may be taken: According to Judge Tingling, the city must face imminent danger due to disease.
"That has not been demonstrated," he wrote.
Judge Tingling also suggested that Mr. Bloomberg overstepped his powers by bringing the sugary drink rules before the Board of Health, which is solely appointed by him. The City Council, he wrote, is the legislative body "and it alone has the authority to legislate as the board seeks to do here."
Item the Second: Rasmussen polls show 36% of Americans think it's at least somewhat likely that Fukushima radiation "did significant harm to the United States." I would bet that a survey of scientists specialising in radiation would find no more than 1-2% thinking it did significant harm to the US, and those would be saying that the negative effects were through reduced public acceptance of nuclear power. I really really wish that polls of this sort, where there is a right scientific answer, or at least a likely strong consensus among scientists, would mention it. The survey doesn't mean that there's a 36% chance that it did harm, it means that 36% of Americans are scientifically illiterate.