business news in context, analysis with attitude

Regarding a soda tax on the ballots in Berkeley and San Francisco, California, one MNB user wrote:

If the “Soda Tax” does not pass in Berkeley and San Francisco (knowing these areas I will be shocked if it does not pass)  it won’t be because big business is fighting. It will be because the voters are fed up with government telling them what to and not to do. Soda, candy, cake, donuts, juice and even BREAD will make you fat! Everyone knows that. This is not a Sin Tax. Take responsibility for your actions and stop spending tax $’s on these worthless social issues. This tax is very clearly an encroachment on our liberties. I think someone made it very clear when he said “government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.”

I'm not a big fan of soda taxes, but I also think we have to be careful not to overstep in our zeal for "liberties."

You're absolutely right that government can be the problem. But when it comes to things like potholes and national defense, it also can be the solution.

MNB reader Brian Carpentier wrote:

The city of Berkley is certainly setting out to a big undertaking with the soda companies and a new tax. Allow me to offer them a compromise: Insure a certain percentage of the soda company offerings are of a sugar free variety. Again yesterday while traveling I tried to get a sugar & caffeine free option in a C-store that had many fountain drinks available. None were available and most were high caffeine. Education & options are usually the answer.

From another reader:

This Carbonated Soda issue is typical liberal selected outrage.   Wonder if Berkeley will ever be half concerned about the 700% increase of toxicity of pot smoking vs cigarettes?  Where is the outrage on that one?

On another subject, one MNB user wrote:

In my opinion the only thing that will get the NFL, Teams and individuals players to become accountable is ‘their pocketbooks’… just like you stated it’ll take pressure on sponsors ! And, I would add, individual people can vote with their own pocketbooks too….. quit buying tickets and see what discipline starts to take effect. We’ve been too willing to turn the other cheek over and over and continue to support this craziness.

This will be a hard one for a lot of people. Me, included. Mrs. Content Guy told me that since she's never been to an NFL game, she'd love tickets to a Jets game this fall for her birthday. I'd move heaven and earth to get her what she wants, but I'm conflicted.

From another reader:

A one game suspension for Adrian Peterson!!! If the facts are conclusive of child abuse the NFL may want to take a page out of the NCAA playbook so team owners deal with the situation appropriately and send a message to players and coaches that this type of conduct will not be tolerated. Perhaps loss of some draft picks for a few years, reduced roster for a few years and no playoff appearances for a few years.

And still another reader chimed in:

Even my 23-year old son made a comment this weekend about the perceived increase of thug-ishness among football players.

And my 80-year old mother is convinced the activity is steroid-related.

I’m not sure either of them is wrong.

We had a story the other day about Whole Foods making a deal with Instacart for a national home delivery program, and I expressed my usual concern about the outsourcing of such an important function. Which prompted one MNB reader to write:

It’s not completely an outsourcing thing … Instacart shoppers will be embedded in specific stores. They will be working with Whole Foods directly in their stores.

Okay. I'm willing to be proved wrong.

One quick note about an email we posted yesterday from a gentleman who expressed displeasure with four meals eaten at Olive Garden. I, like the wisenheimer I am, wondered why anyone would go there four times to be displeased.

Well, as several people pointed out to me, it was just one visit, with four people at the table.

Not my brightest moment, I concede.

Also yesterday, I engaged in a bit of a debate with a reader responding to my rave about John Oliver's "Last Week Tonight" on HBO. He originally wrote:

I watched the first three episodes before concluding it was the most intellectually dishonest show I'd ever seen. That wouldn't be so bad, if he were just trying to be funny. But, he fails at both comedy and edification. Needless to say, I don't watch any longer. Unfortunately, I now think less of you and MNB for heaping such high praise on such insipidity.

My response, essentially, was that I did not think less of him because he had a different opinion … and I suggested that this what's wrong with our political and cultural discourse - people who dismiss and condescend to those who have different opinions.

Well, this fellow was not happy with my response, and sent me another email:

For the record, I don't think less of you because you have a different opinion. It's because I think you showed poor judgment in both your assessment of the show and, more importantly, your desire to laud it on MNB.

Ted Geisel had it right... "as you partake of the world’s bill of fare... Do a lot of spitting out the hot air. And be careful what you swallow."

I don't want to turn this into more of an argument than it is, but ... I'm not sure what the difference is.  You say I showed poor judgment...but couldn't I say the same about you, if I were so inclined?  I think we just have different opinions and different judgments about the show, and different tastes in comedy.  And when you come right down to it, what is MNB if not a place for me to assess, judge, laud, criticize, and express opinions about anything I want to (from A&P and Supervalu to John Oliver and the designated hitter rule) ... and then allow other folks to express their opinions?  

To be perfectly honest,I think the way you are parsing your words - talking about judgment rather than opinion - is just a clever way to say that you are right and I am wrong, rather than that we simply have different tastes and opinions.  Which is neat trick, because it dismisses the opposing opinion rather than considers it.  But, dare I say, it also strikes me as intellectually dishonest and, dare I say, condescending.

But maybe we just have to agree to disagree. I'll go on watching John Oliver, and you can think less of my judgment.

I've had my judgment questioned for far more egregious things.
KC's View: