Monday, April 22, 2013

Colonel Benjamin Church Hypocrisy Hall of Shame Award

Awarded to: Mayor Michael Bloomberg       GOLD RANK

Awarded for: Proclaiming himself as a champion of the public's health while trying to deny any mandatory paid sick days for workers in New York City."

Other Hall of Shame Members:

St. Louis Health Director     GOLD RANK
Attorney General of Florida  SILVER RANK

National Anti-smoking Organization  GOLD RANK

Mayor of New York City        BLUE RANK

U.S. Senator, New Jersey   BRONZE RANK

New York State Senator         DIAMOND RANK

Today, I am announcing the 8th induction into the Colonel Benjamin Church Hypocrisy Hall of Shame.

Today's inductee - Mayor Michael Bloomberg - is actually being inducted into the Hall for a second time.  

Bloomberg was first inducted into the Hypocrisy Hall of Shame on June 12, 2012 when, just after proposing to ban the sale of sodas larger than 16 ounces, he spoke at the weigh-in ceremony for the 2011 Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest and proclaimed: "It is a moment for all New Yorkers and all Americans to celebrate the inalienable rights bestowed on us by our forefathers: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. For the contestants assembled here, that includes consuming as many hot dogs as humanly possible."

Mayor Bloomberg's comments praising the blatant over-consumption of hot dogs were not only witnessed by the 400,000 people at the event, but by an ESPN television viewing audience of 1.95 million viewers.

The winner of the 2011 hot dog eating contest consumed 62 hot dogs and buns in just 10 minutes. In the female competition, the winner consumed 50 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes.

A single Nathan's hot dog has 297 calories and 18 grams of fat. The bun contains an additional 120 calories. Thus, a single serving delivers 417 calories and 18 grams of fat. This means that the winner of the hot dog eating contest consumed 25,854 calories and 1,116 grams of fat within 10 minutes.

Thus, Mayor Bloomberg participated in a ceremony that glamorized and promoted the over-consumption of already calorie- and fat-laden food to literally millions of people, including about half a million New Yorkers.

 Moreover, while Bloomberg was busy banning super size sodas, he was also busy declaring "New York City Donut Day." His proclamation established a day on which donuts were given out free throughout the city. Ironically, the donut give-away came just a day after Bloomberg's announcement that he wanted to ban super size sodas.

And this is the guy who proclaimed himself to be a public health champion by virtue of his wanting to limit soda consumption to 16 ounces.

In achieving his second induction into the Colonel Benjamin Church Hypocrisy Hall of Shame, Bloomberg moves up from a Blue Rank to the prestigious Gold Rank.

The Rest of the Story

The reason for Mayor Bloomberg's second induction into the Hall of Hypocrisy? While proclaiming himself a champion of the protection of the public's health, he opposed a simple measure that would have required medium and large-size employers in the city to provide full-time employees with a minimum of five paid sick days per year. According to advocates, this ordinance would provide paid sick leave for one million workers who do not have this benefit. 

According to an article in the New York Times: "New York City is poised to mandate that thousands of companies provide paid time off for sick employees, bolstering a national movement that has been resisted by wary business leaders. A legislative compromise reached on Thursday night represents a raw display of political muscle by a coalition of labor unions and liberal activists who overcame fierce objections from New York’s business-minded mayor, Michael R. Bloomberg, and his allies in the corporate world.

The legislation would also prohibit companies from firing workers who take a day off because they are sick.

How can anyone who proclaims to be a public health leader oppose a law to prohibit companies from firing workers for taking a sick day? And how could he oppose a measly five sick days a year? Clearly, what Bloomberg is protecting are corporate interests, not the public's health. He is therefore fully deserving of a second induction into the Colonel Benjamin Church Hypocrisy Hall of Shame.

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