Thursday, August 13, 2009

What about Free Speech?

Here's a "news of the week"-type story that hits me. Dr. Jason Newsom, an Iraq-veteran MD serving as head of Bay County Health Department in Pensacola, Florida, put up an electronic sign outside his offices with message such as:
  • Hamburger = Spare Tire
  • Sweet Tea = Liquid Sugar
  • French Fries = Thunder Thighs
Everything was going fine until he took on Dunkin Donuts. When he programmed the sign to read:
  • America Dies on Dunkin'
Well, that cut it for a county commissioner who owns a doughnut shop and two lawyers who own a new Dunkin' Donuts on Panama City Beach. They got him fired; his bosses at the state Health Department told him that his leadership wasn't wanted and that he could be fired or resign. He chose to resign May 8 but has reapplied for the job.

This is outrageous. The man's job description not only included but revolved around educating the public about health issues. What could possibly be more on-point for this job than telling people that the crap that they eat is killing them?

Newsom said,
I picked on doughnuts because those things are ubiquitous in this county. Everywhere I went, there were two dozen doughnuts on the back table. At church, there were always doughnuts on the back table at Sunday school. It is social expectation thing.
I am so with this guy. How can people put garbage in their mouths and not be aware of its effect on them? And WHOSE JOB IS IT to educate the public? Obesity, diabetes, hypertension, I'm told these are all epidemic in our society, and the cost is enormous. I hope Newsom wins his job back and if he doesn't, I hope he sues. This is injustice of the most heinous kind.

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