Michael P. Ackley has worked more than three decades as a journalist, the majority of that time at the Sacramento Union. His experience includes reporting, editing and writing commentary. He retired from teaching journalism for California State University at Hayward.More ↓Less ↑
Editor’s note: Michael Ackley’s columns may include satire and parody based on current events, and thus mix fact with fiction. He assumes informed readers will be able to tell the difference.
Doroteo Arango is a bit overweight. You might say “heavy.” “Plump” might be the correct term, maybe “chubby” or “roly-poly.” Let’s face it. He’s fat.
He’s fat because he can’t eat just one cheeseburger; he never orders a small order of fries; to him, a pizza is an hors d’oeuvre. And he likes to wash such delicacies down with large, sugary sodas.
In fact, he likes to sip sodas between meals, when driving in his car and when strolling down the street.
He was doing the latter the other day, when he was seized by the elbows by a couple of New York’s finest and hustled to a squad car.
“That soda is more than 16 ounces,” they explained.
“But, the courts have ruled Mayor (Michael) Bloomberg’s soda ban is illegal!” said Doroteo.
“That’s true,” replied one of the officers, “but His Honor has a new program, ‘Stop Unsightly Corpulence.’ It’s illegal now to possess a soft drink of over 16 ounces if your body mass index is higher than 25. So, you’re under arrest for violating the SUC ordinance.”
When Doroteo asked how the officers knew his BMI, they just looked him up and down and rolled their eyes.
“Well, you’d better lay off the doughnuts yourself,” spat Doroteo as he was stuffed into the car and hustled to a precinct lockup.
Later, Amy Handleman, one of Michael Bloomberg’s press aides, explained, “Mr. Arango is fat. He had an extra-large soft drink, which would make him fatter. Fat people are unhealthy; unhealthy people cost society money.
“We may not be able to ban large drinks, but we can keep writing ordinances to stay ahead of the courts.”
President Obama said last week he was fed up with “phony scandals.”
Asked to explain, Howard Bashford, White House deputy associate auxiliary undersecretary for media affairs, said, “The president was referring to such made up controversies as the charge that the family dog, Bo, needed a bath.
“It’s outrageous,” he lamented. “As if we didn’t have enough real scandals, like Benghazi, Fast and Furious, IRS political targeting and NSA snooping!”
Asked about expensive trips taken by the first lady and the Obama children, Bashford said, “Yeah, those, too! Anyway, we’re going to be starting a new program, ‘Scandals Under Control,’ SUC, patterned after Mayor Bloomberg’s ground-breaking SUC program in New York City.”
Asked how that might work, Bashford sneered, “You’ll see.”
Fox News revealed the White House wants to assemble a “Behavioral Insights Team” to “nudge” citizens toward positive attitudes and actions. It has not been decided where the team will be headquartered, but the Ministry of Propaganda has been mentioned prominently.
“The ministry already is doing a great job, telling citizens how to eat, how to parent, how to save energy,” said Jill Poke, an aide to First Lady Michelle Obama. “We’re thinking it would be a natural place for the Insights Team. After all, the hardware and software already are in place there.
“Once it is up and running, we can move on to the Enforcement Division – called “Stopping Unconstructive Cognizance”– modeled after Mayor Bloomberg’s SUC program in New York City.”
Asked how they expected to get such a thing through Congress, Poke laughed, “Haven’t you ever heard of an executive order?
All these developments might lead one to the conclusion that with folks like Bloomberg and Obama in charge, a future that SUCs is in store for us.