- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Maryland House of Delegates has decided to study whether trans fats should be banned in restaurants, as if to add suspense to an issue that already has been settled by those who believe in the nanny state.

Next up in the People’s Republic of Maryland: a study to determine whether Ben & Jerry’s ice cream should be banned in grocery stores. If not an outright ban, the state ought to require Ben & Jerry’s, along with all ice-cream makers, to put warning labels on their cartons.

As you know, ice cream clogs the arteries of its victims and leads to incredible weight gains. Studies show that ice cream snuffs out 1 million lives a year, a shocking statistic certain to prompt action from our lawmakers one of these years.

No warning label is too stupid. You can tell from the warning label affixed to a lawn mower that reads: “Removing chunks of grass from the blade area is probably not good for your hand if the engine is operating.” Until the makers of Drano stuck a warning label on their product, health-conscious consumers routinely put a teaspoon of the crystals in their orange juice to unclog their arteries. This led to a strain on our health care system and motivated the svelte Michael Moore to implore the U.S. to adopt Cuba’s wonderful health care system, because every American, plus an estimated 20 million illegal immigrants, has a right to “free” health care.

Of course, you are what you eat and mainline, which is why the most enlightened lawmakers champion clean-needle programs. This stems the spread of hepatitis and HIV among drug users who often do not have health insurance. And it is a fact they would have health insurance if it were only “free.”

Maryland’s lawmakers also should consider the artery-clogging propensity of pizza, loaded as it is with cheese that ends up as so much gunk around your heart. Cheese is one of the leading killers in America, along with buttered popcorn, Buffalo wings, bacon, eggs, sausage, hamburgers, steaks, shellfish, doughnuts and anything fried in Crisco.

The ever-increasing waistlines of Americans have reached epidemic proportions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Marlon Brando-built Al Gore is only the tip of the nearly melted iceberg that is raising our oceans by 100 feet an hour.

Data gathered from all 50 states and the District show that most Americans are either fat or fatter, excluding those Hollywood starlets who subscribe to the prisoner-of-war diet. All the fatties are stressing the health care system even further until Barack Obama or Hillary Rodham Clinton is able to implement a “free” health care system.

Not that there is anything wrong with being 2 tons of fun. It certainly beats being Client No. 9 or his wife, who, miraculously, has not scratched out his eyes or accidentally taken a baseball bat to his head.

No one ever said our lawmakers were perfect or even in good physical condition, regardless of their views on trans fats. Alas, once Maryland lawmakers get around to banning trans fats in restaurants, they should remain true to the health principle and endeavor to further improve the eating habits of Marylanders with more legislation.

It serves no purpose to remove trans fat from a restaurant kitchen that otherwise serves its patrons all kinds of artery-clogging dishes and features all-you-can-eat buffets at lunchtime. Perhaps no sight is more unnerving to a restaurant owner than the 300-pound fellow waiting his sixth turn in the $9.95 all-you-can-eat buffet line.

Maryland lawmakers should ask themselves this: Should it be against the law for a 5-foot-10, 300-pound man to order the $9.95 all-you-can-eat buffet? And if it is, would the lawmakers then require restaurants to weigh and measure the height of all their patrons before serving them? These are just a few of the questions Maryland’s lawmakers should entertain while examining the trans-fat scourge.

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