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On our minds: Soda, WiFi and the Supreme Court

Newsday's editorial board spends all week striving to be a reasoned and pragmatic voice for Long Island and its values through our editorials and columns. We debate local, national and international issues and write on those we think will impact our readers.

Some topics come up that don't turn into longer pieces, but are part of the national conversation and worth bringing up. Here's how we're telling you about them.

Good riddance to the soda ban

A 32-ounce soda is filled at a Manhattan
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Mario Tama

A 32-ounce soda is filled at a Manhattan McDonald's on Sept. 13, 2012. There goes the last bit of fizz left in New York City's attempt to ban the sale on enormous sugary sodas.

The state's highest court has ruled that former Mayor Michael Bloomberg stepped way over the line in 2012 when he ordered the Health Department to ban the sale of sodas in containers of 16 ounces or more. While the court is correct that this is a matter for local legislatures to decide, obesity is a major public health problem and that sodas are a major culprit.

While Mayor Bill de Blasio also wants a ban, such a law is likely to run into trouble with the City Council. A better strategy for him and other municipalities around the state would be to ratchet up an ad campaign against the over consumption of sugary soft drinks.

Limited Wi-Fi is better than none

30 - That's how many minutes passengers at
Photo Credit: Uli Seit

30 - That's how many minutes passengers at Kennedy, La Guardia and Newark airports will get free Wi-Fi.

After that, it will cost $7.95 for a day of unlimited surfing. The Port Authority, operator of the airports, says a contract executed long ago with its telecom provider makes it too costly to offer a better deal. A half-hour of free Internet access is better than nothing, and it does makes our generally unwelcoming local airports a bit friendlier. But many airports both here and abroad offer unlimited access. We have to fly higher.

Supreme Court decisions coming Monday

Monday is the final day of U.S. Supreme
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Monday is the final day of U.S. Supreme Court term and two remaining cases on its docket have the potential to be blockbusters. The first involves the right of public-sector unions to collect dues. This case stems from home health care aides caring for a single patient who don't want to join the union. The implications are huge if a majority finds compulsory union support among public workers is unconstitutional.

The marquee case involves the owners of the Hobby Lobby stores who want an exemption of the section in the Affordable Care Act that requires employers that offer a health-care plan to include IUDs and morning-after pills as forms of contraception. The company wants a 1993 law protecting individuals from being coerced to act against their religious beliefs applied to a for-profit corporation.