I usually check once or twice a day at Memeorandum to see what the important news of the day is, to get an idea of what America is talking about, to take America’s pulse, to check the barometer of public opinion, to… Well, you get the idea.

When I checked Memeorandum around 7 p.m., the headlines (around 40 of them) were all about soda, sugar and “big cups.”

Some were as short as CNN’s “SODA BAN SETBACK,” some as long as the U.K Daily Mail’s “New York City to send out health inspectors armed with 17-ounce cups to make sure eateries aren’t selling oversized sugary beverages,” and everything in between.

Many of the reputable, major news media were talking about how the “Judge Halts New York City Soda Ban”(the Wall Street Journal), how the “Judge Blocks New York City’s Limits on Big Sugary Drinks” (The New York Times) and , how “Judge tosses Mayor Bloomberg’s ban on large sugary sodas one day before it goes into effect.

Even Reuters was reporting on how “Judge blocks New York City large-soda ban [and] Mayor Bloomberg vows fight.”

Several news organizations and blogs view this soda cup issue as an epic struggle against a “Leviathan” state, as a “Separation of Powers” issue and the Judge’s overturning the soda ban as “One Small Blow for Freedom.

Perhaps.

But talking about freedom, I wrote over the weekend about our Defense Secretary’s visit to a country where 68,000 of our men and women are still fighting and where many of them are dying, supposedly for that country’s freedom.

During the same weekend, I was angered when I read how the President of that country insulted and accused those same troops, and our country, of colluding with the Taliban to sow fears in order to prolong the presence of international troops in Afghanistan.

This morning I was shocked to read that two more of our service members were killed and 10 wounded in another appalling “green-on-blue” incident in Afghanistan’s Wardak province, when an individual wearing an Afghan national security forces uniform turned a weapon on U.S. and Afghan forces.

According to DOD:

This is the third fatal insider attack this year. A British soldier was killed Jan. 7, and an American contract employee was killed March 8.

These attacks escalated last year, with 62 ISAF service members killed in 46 separate attacks. Insider attacks conducted in 2012 killed 35 Americans.

And later this morning I was saddened to receive in my e-mailbox another one of those dreaded “DOD Identifies Casualty” announcements:

The Department of Defense announced today the death of an airman who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Tech. Sgt. Larry D. Bunn, 43, of Bossier City, La., died March 7 as a result of a non-combat incident at an undisclosed base in Southwest Asia. He was assigned to the 307th Maintenance Squadron, Barksdale Air Force Base, La.

If my sources are right, this would make the 2,158th American service member to die in support of “Operation Enduring Freedom,” hopefully in support of freedom and rights above and beyond a l6-oz. cup of soda.

And yes, Memeorandum did cover this.

Way down, at the bottom right hand corner of the blog page, well “below-the-fold,” there was one news item on this other kind of freedom: “2 U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan insider attack.”

I want to believe that Americans are interested in what goes on in Afghanistan — some disgusted with our continued involvement there, many angered by the antics of the Afghan leaders, most of us frustrated, but all of us saddened by the latest events there.

And I know that the soda cup issue is just symbolic of what many sincerely believe is a case of government overreach and of infringement upon consumers’ personal liberty — of the “Nanny State syndrome.”

After this weekend’s and this morning’s news from Afghanistan, and considering all the other events in the world, I felt that today we just did not have our priorities straight. But that’s just me.

And, finally, I am very frustrated, too. That’s why I use words such as “hopefully” and “supposedly” when referring to our efforts in support of “freedom” in Afghanistan.

Dorian de Wind, Military Affairs Columnist
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zephyr
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zephyr
3 years 6 months ago

Dorian, maybe one of the reasons people take breaks from talking about war is because they seem so endless. That doesn’t make them any less important, but when average people have so little control over decisions to go to war or their outcomes, then burnout after years and years of them is to be expected. I suppose the soda controversy provides one of those breaks.

brcarthey
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brcarthey
3 years 6 months ago
Yeah, it’s very true. But, then ever since the Bush took us into these wars, we’ve never really been asked to sacrifice and reflect on our soldiers’ sacrifices. They return to a society that barely knows they were over there outside their family and community. It’s like, Person 1: “Wow, I haven’t seen you around lately. Where ya been?” Soldier: “For the last six months I’ve been in the mountains of Afghanistan freezing and fighting Taliban soldiers.” Person 1: “That’ll be $13.73. Thank you.” Person 2: “Do you want any ketchup with your order? Okay, then, here you go.” Soldier:… Read more »
dduck
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dduck
3 years 6 months ago
Perhaps you have heard of the other war: the War On Obesity. MO has and has she joined MB on the big gulp issue? I don’t know, but I hope she did/does. Of all the freedoms we may have lost (think wire taps, etc), the right NOT to have to juggle a 32oz sugar filled cup of crap should be our last complaint. I know, next they will want to pry candy bars from our dead hands. Diabetes and the strain on the heart are two consequences of this beloved drinking activity. And, does it cost the victims any pain… Read more »
brcarthey
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brcarthey
3 years 6 months ago
Hey Duckie (I hope you don’t mind if I call you that since your name reminds me of Duckie from “Pretty in Pink” played by Jon Cryer, a closet moderate Republican), I understand the concern by Mayor Bloomberg banning these sizes, but I think it’s really flawed in its implementation, not the least of which is letting people make their own choice. My wife and I, both fairly liberal physicians (well, soon to be in my case), but we disagree with this law because it one does go against the freedom of choice, but more importantly, it doesn’t really address… Read more »
dduck
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dduck
3 years 6 months ago

I was born at Bellvue and have been a NYer for all my life. We disagree cause the big drinks, yes perhaps the diet ones as well, are a good start. Why because they are big. Poor implementation goes with 99% of laws/regulations/guidelines/etc.
BTW: let all the education and “healthier foods” ALSO commence, the two plans are not mutually exclusive.

brcarthey
Guest
brcarthey
3 years 6 months ago
I hear you and I’m not suggesting the two are mutually exclusive. The whole “super size” phenomenon that started with McD’s back in the late 80s has really hurt our health. One would think that companies would charge the same (or slightly less…yeah right!) and give us smaller portions. The size that we truly only need per meal. For instance, a typical Olive Garden pasta dish is enough for 3-4 servings. That’s crazy IMO! While I think the general public does need help in many areas, we can’t always legislate personal responsibility to them. I’m not saying we shouldn’t do… Read more »
dduck
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dduck
3 years 6 months ago

OK, we agree.
BTW, re ducks. If you have any sense of humor, check out Duckman on You Tube.

zusa1
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zusa1
3 years 6 months ago
“I’m starting to have second thoughts about drones, not because of their role in collateral damage, but because how much they impersonalize the enemy making it that much easier to kill them by removing the humanity of their target.” I’ve been thinking about this side of the issue as well. I thought that perhaps the use of drones may lesson the PTSD of our solders. The reality of the humanity of the target is concentrated in the person doing the killing. I would be interested in knowing if drone operators suffer less. I am concerned about escalation of war with… Read more »
dduck
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dduck
3 years 6 months ago

Splat.

brcarthey
Guest
brcarthey
3 years 6 months ago
Just saw the news DDW!! That’s really good news. In response, to your reply about aerial bombardments, you’re right. The dehumanization did start with that during WWII. However, there was still a small measure of human connection to the battle because you were directly overhead and bomber pilots had to worry about their own lives and the lives of their crew. Whereas now, pilots are sitting in an air-conditioned room in a pseudo la-z-boy recliner thousands of miles away watching a tv monitor. It has the look and feel of a video game or an interactive movie. The most they… Read more »
brcarthey
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brcarthey
3 years 6 months ago
@DDW, Yup. I knew that (which is why I mentioned it b/c I figured you’d get it :)). Back in the late 90s when I was learning web design one of my profs had done his post-doc in Organic Chemistry at the Los Alamos labs and gave me all kinds of information about the old ARPAnet starting back in the 60s until it was handed off to the academic establishment sometime in the 80s IIRC. A couple years ago, I had heard that the DOD (along with MIT and Cal-Berkley, I believe) were looking into a parallel internet that would… Read more »
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