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On Other Blogs Today: Pop, Parks, and Mayoral Picks

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By Erica C. Barnett June 19, 2013



1. KOMO News reports that Mayor Mike McGinn has joined with several other mayors nationwide in proposing a ban on the use of food stamps to purchase soda. Pop, of course, has been a major target in the "war on obesity" in recent years, most recently with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's ban on large sodas in the city. 

Seems like a paternalistic slippery slope to me. Why are sodas worse than, say, a bag of Oreos, or a pack of Klondike bars (mmmmm), or one of those "family packs" of snack-size chips?

A far better way to get poor people to eat better (and, frankly, those making the decisions for those less fortunate than them ought to look more closely at their own diets) would be to double or triple benefits for fresh fruits and vegetables.

Removing soda from SNAP's eligibility list just tells low-income people that they aren't smart enough to make better food choices on their own; providing an incentive for better food choices makes it possible for them to actually make them. 

2. Yesterday, the U.S. House passed legislation(going nowhere in the Senate)  that would ban all abortion after 20 weeks' gestation, a clear violation of Roe v. Wade. (At the last minute, the bill's Republican backers agreed to include an exception for rape or incest, but only if the crime was reported to police).

Among those voting in favor of the anti-choice bill were Washington state's Republican delegation, including Reps. Dave Reichert (R-WA, 8), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA, 3), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA, 5), and Doc Hastings (R-WA, 4).

Liberal blog TPM has the the story.

Washington state Rep. Suzan DelBene, who adamantly spoke out against the legislation in committee earlier this month, issued a statement condemning the legislation again today:

H.R. 1797 is an extreme piece of legislation that places ideology over women’s health. Not once in this flawed legislation is there any mention of Congress’ role in protecting the health and lives of women. Rather than passing this dangerous legislation, Congress should be protecting and investing in programs that will help reduce unintended pregnancies, expand access to contraception, and ensure that all women, regardless of income or background, can access the healthcare they need.

3. The Stranger has a cheat sheet guide to the mayor's race. And no surprise for the paper that went all in for Mike McGinn in 2009, the roundup is notably more favorable to McGinn than the other candidates, praising his frankness, refusal to "kiss ass," and advocacy for light rail, while assigning him a support base that includes everyone from cops to environmentalists to "youths."

In comparison, the paper uses Peter Steinbrueck's "Greatest Strength" category for backhanded praise: "devotion of neighborhood activists who hope Steinbrueck will protect them from the scourge of density and a functional mass-transit system."

Ed Murray's supposed "strength"? Dirty campaigning. And the only supporters the paper lists for him are "wealthy homosexuals."

However, even though the piece also uses Murray's "Greatest Strength"—his self-professed knack for bringing people together—for some more backhanded snark ("In contrast, Mayor McGinn has never unified politicians around building freeways"), the Stranger could still conceivably get behind the liberal gay rights hero.

4. Every year, the Trust for Public Land ranks the "best" and "worst" cities for parks in the country, based on quality, quantity, dollars spent per resident, number of playgrounds, and a long list of other factors.

This year, Fast Company reports that Seattle ranked No. 10, with an overall "ParkScore" (methodology here) of 80 out of a possible 120. The overall winner was Minneapolis, and the three worst cities for parks were Indianapolis, Louisville, and Fresno.


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