Duncan Hines, calling Kevin Smith

After a day last week when our faucets ran mud, I shouldn’t be complaining about new regulations. But I am astonished that local governments so strapped they’re cutting fire and police protection are rushing to put on nanny uniforms that will not and should not fit. NYC is apparently banning home-baked stuff from school bake sales, so kids will be protected from some strange mom’s bacon-chocolate chip cookies but be able to tear right into processed crap (yeah, go ahead and blame calorie counts, as if Big Food lists them accurately). Out in California, there’s a crackdown on cocktails made with booze infused with other ingredients — nice to think inspectors will be deployed in the consumer protection racket while students are freaking out over high tuition and fees in a college system that was once the country’s best and most accessible. After eight years of national anarchy, I’m half-happy to see “authorities” seizing the reins, but not behind the bar. In all other cases the best thing they could do to keep junk out of innocent mouths is very simple: Tax the junk. People adjusted to a nickel deposit on soda cans that most never redeem, judging by the recycle bins in our building. They could adapt to a few cents more for sugar water. Instead, confusion reigns. I heard an “expert” on Brian Lehrer the other day saying no kid ever got fat drinking pineapple juice. He was right that juice has nutrients that tax-ready soda does not. He was wrong about obesity. One of the earliest lessons when I spent a week studying “nutritional cuisine” at the CIA back in the last century was that juice poured like water was going to turn little kids into Fat Alberts. Given that Coke owns Minute Maid, it’s no wonder a product once rationed in special glasses is now a Big Gulp, and a protected one at that. If there is a hell, let’s hope it’s full of tiny airline seats.