Wednesday, July 17, 2013


I can't exactly sat I love all of Mike Bloomberg's efforts at social engineering, but this seems pretty benign:
... City officials announced a new initiative this afternoon aimed at encouraging office workers to take the stairs instead of waiting for the elevator. Under legislation proposed by the mayor, all new buildings and buildings undergoing major renovation would be required to give occupants access to at least one stairwell, as well as post signs near elevators pointing to nearby stairs....

"Whether you're tall or short, fat or thin, you’ll be healthier and you'll live longer if you're more active. But the problem is we've been lulled into a sedentary lifestyle," said Department of Design and Construction Commissioner David Burney at a Manhattan press conference at The New School. In too many buildings, the stairs are hard to find, kept locked, armed with alarms, or dark and windowless -- making people afraid to use them, Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said. The programs are designed to change that, he said....

Mr. Bloomberg, who said he personally almost always uses the stairs -- and doesn't stand still when he’s on an escalator -- said that part of the challenge was to make being active hipper for young people across the city....
Yeah, laugh, but no one's being forced to skip the elevator, and the construction changes apply to new and significantly renovated buildings. So where's the harm?

Meredith Jessup at Glenn Beck's Blaze inadvertently or deliberately misreads this:

This whole Nanny State utopia Bloomberg’s setting up in New York has crossed the line.

Take away my freedom to drink large sodas? Fine, but I'll be damned if you think you can take away my right to be lazy....
Um, no. Once this takes effect, buildings will have accessible elevators and stairs. Freedom! Including the freedom to be lazy! (Which I think was going to be one of FDR's Five Freedoms, but Harry Hopkins told the president that four sounded better. But I'll have to confirm that.)

Allahpundit at Hot Air thinks New York is headed down a slippery slope to fascism, especially if Anthony Weiner succeeds Bloomberg:
The cumulative effect (and, I'd say, design) of Bloomberg's various initiatives is to make the public more comfortable with the idea of government micro-managing their health. These are baby steps, like San Francisco trying to ban Happy Meals. They might not stay so baby-ish. In fact, when I tweeted my point about how maybe Weiner's not so bad vis-a-vis Bloomy, James Poulos tweeted back, "I fear that Weiner will just expand to fill the enormous cavity that Bloomberg has created." Bingo. Why wouldn't he? What self-respecting liberal would cede back regulatory power grabbed by his predecessor in the name of "health," especially with the public increasingly aware of the dangers of obesity? This ratchet, like so many others, goes only one way.
Raise your hand if you really believe Anthony Weiner's focus as mayor would be, um, behavioral control.

Bloomberg is encouraging us to take the stairs because it's something he personally likes to do. Right-wingers see this as totalitarian. You know what link between a government official's personal preferences and other people's lives right-wingers didn't think was totalitarian? This:
In a December 2002 memo, Rumsfeld authorized ... the use of dogs to scare prisoners, forced removal of their clothing, marathon 20-hour interrogation sessions and forced standing for up to four hours at a time.

At the bottom of the memo approving the techniques, Rumsfeld, who works at a standing desk, wrote, "I stand for 8-10 hours a day. Why is standing limited to four hours? D.R."
This was not offering a range of options. But wingers thought it was just fine.


Tom Hilton said...

I used to work in a building with open stair access, and it was great. Unfortunately, where I work now I can't use the stairs at all (except in emergencies, and my employers would frown on my creating an emergency just to use the stairs).

Victor said...

When W was on his stupid mountain bike all of the time, riding through the woods with his Secret Service agents peddling-away along side him, the Freepers were fine with bikes.

But try to open bike lanes in urban/suburban areas, and they scream that the Liberal Fascists are building "Two-wheel Autobahns."

Philo Vaihinger said...

Gym class for adults, at work, is what we need.

America spends too much of its work day sitting on its ass.

Epidemic of obesity?

Oh, my, yes,

Think of the difference if Americans just added half a mile of walking every day.

Even broken up into two or more separate walks.

Philo Vaihinger said...

Bikes on city streets are a foolish traffic hazard.

The New York Crank said...

Sorry, but while Mayor Bloomberg talks a good case of behavior control in the name of public health, he's mighty selective about which dangerous behaviors he selects.

Take his Citibike program. He is not –repeat, NOT – requiring that riders of Citibikes wear helmets although statistics indicate that 90 percent of all bicycle accident fatalities are head injuries. He fears that requiring helmets might reduce the public enthusiasm for his "healthy" bicycle program.

I gotta tell you, one good whallop to one cyclist's head through the error of others or his/her own, and the emergency room and ICU costs will mount a heck of a lot faster than those cause by 500 dudes guzzling Big Gulps and then taking the elevator.

I'm for the bike program, but with sensible behavioral requirements, such as those the mayor insists on when we sip something or go upstairs to the office.

Very crankily yours,
The New York Crank