http-equiv='refresh'/> Consfearacynewz: Big Brother is Micromanaging All Of Us

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Big Brother is Micromanaging All Of Us

Swedish Left Party Chapter Wants To Make Urinating While Standing Illegal For Men

Soda Ban: Could Movie-Theater Popcorn Be Outlawed, Too?

Should This Milk Be Legal?


 If there is one thing we can all do without, it is an overreaching intrusive federal government which goes to great lengths to protect us from ourselves — at our expense.  Nor do we need a micromanaging, nit-picking Big Brother to prohibit everything that isn't mandatory.

Note:  The material about RFID chips has been moved to another page.

You may also be interested in The Invasion of the Food Police.

There is now a smoking section for all the information about the government's efforts to get people to stop smoking.

And be sure to check out this material about closed captioning — a simple courtesy that gradually turned into an inalienable right.

There is a special subsection about Texas Governor Perry's vaccination mandate on this page.

 New!   The U.S. government recently outlawed the incandescent bulb!  The environmental lobbyists insist that we use fluorescent bulbs, whether we like them or not.

It's Official: New Yorkers Are Slaves of the State.  New York City monarch Michael Bloomberg will propose a ban on the sale, by certain vendors, of large sugary sodas.  This, of course, is done in the name of "public health" and "fighting" the "epidemic of obesity."  Following the nanny-state tradition of declaring war on inanimate or abstract things, Bloomberg has already launched blitzkriegs on cigarettes, salt, and trans fats, and even proposed to limit alcohol sales in the city — all in the name of protecting people from themselves.

With crime tamed, New York Mayor Bloomberg now turns to soda pop.  With crime eradicated and every New Yorker fully employed, the three-term gazillionaire city executive has been focusing recently on government-enforced health edicts to help his taxpayers live longer.  Bloomberg's fought salty foods and bad fats.  He's cracking down on pedestrians texting.  Now comes soda pop containing sugar.

Ohio has one of lowest rates of injury-related deaths in U.S..  Ohio has one of the lowest injury-related death rates in the country even though it has fewer injury prevention laws and programs than most other states, according to a national report released Tuesday [5/22/2012].

Armed environmental police shut down ice cream stand.  Armed environmental police officers shut down a popular long-running ice cream stand in Massachusetts over the weekend and stood guard to make sure potential customers were turned away.  The officers claimed that the operator had failed to secure construction permits to make improvements to the stand.  But operator Mark Duffy, who has leased the property from the state for 26 years, says that he has never been required to get permits to make improvements.

Davis High fined for soda sales violation.  Davis High School has been fined $15,000 after they were caught selling soda pop during lunch hour, which is a violation of federal law. [...] "Before lunch you can come and buy a carbonated beverage.  You can take it into the cafeteria and eat your lunch, but you can't first go buy school lunch then come out in the hallway and buy a drink," said Davis High Principal Dee Burton.

The Editor says... From this experience the students will learn about hair-splitting big-government legalism and litle else.

School fined $15K for selling soda.  The $15K to pay the fine will come from funds normally used for the school's music program, art department and sports.  That should make for some better, more well rounded students, eh?

Apparently We're Too Stupid To Run Our Own Lives.  A young mother I know recently said, "When I saw the president on TV telling us how to wash our hands, I knew this country was coming to an end.  I'm 30 years old and I don't need the government to tell me how to wash up or what foods are good for me."  For that matter, I told her, how about those light bulbs we're supposed to buy — the ones that are more expensive; made in China and require a hazmat team to clean up if they break?

The Feds' Intrusions Into American Farms and Families.  According to The Raleigh Telegram, "the rule would have prevented children younger than 16 from doing 'agricultural work with animals and in pesticide handling, timber operations, manure pits and storage bins' while also forbidding them from using 'power-driven equipment' and working in the 'cultivation, harvesting and curing of tobacco.'"  Can you imagine?  What's next?  The feds' crackdown making it illegal for kids to wash dishes, because a knife might cut them?

House overturns school bake sale ban.  State lawmakers overturned a controversial ban on school bake sales this afternoon after a fierce public outcry over school nutrition guidelines that also prohibited pizza, white bread and 2 percent milk.  "That is the stupidest thing I've seen in my career," state Rep. Cory Atkins (D-Concord), moments after the House unanimously voted to ease the statewide cupcake crackdown.  "Talk about hitting the nerve of government reaching far into people's lives."

Obama administration scraps child labor restrictions for farms.  The Labor Department withdrew a proposed rule Thursday [4/26/2012] that would have limited the work that children can perform on farms.  The proposal drew heavy criticism from rural-state lawmakers and agricultural leaders, who cast the rule as government overreach that would erode the traditional American family.  Others in Congress supported the rule, and unions argued it was needed to make farm work safer for young adults.

Fed driver distraction guidelines make navigation unusable.  The recently issued National Highway Transportation Safety Agency guidelines for automakers to minimize distraction for in-vehicle electronics included few surprises, except for the proposal to freeze maps on navigation systems.

Bloomberg Bans Home-Cooked Meals for the Homeless.  Hey homeless people, no soup for you.  So says New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has banned private food contributions to homeless shelters because he's afraid they won't meet his exacting nutritional standards.

Children of the State.  At least two parents have come forward with stories of federal agents inspecting the bag lunches of their small children, pronouncing them nutritionally unfit, and compelling the parents to pay for government-approved school lunches instead.  One of the kids got her hands on a signed memo from the school principal, discussing the USDA requirements for acceptable bag lunches, and clearly stating that "students who do not bring a healthy lunch will be offered the missing portions, which may result in a fee from the cafeteria."  In essence, this boils down to treating the parents as if they were wayward children.

Democrats sneak Uncle Sam into your bedroom.  [Scroll down]  Politicians are like drug dealers.  Once you're addicted to freebies, you suddenly realize the free lunch is not so free.  Like the drug dealers, the politicians want your money, to be sure, but what they really covet is your submission.  They love telling you what to do and they always claim it's for your own good.

How One Bureaucrat Almost Succeeded in Banning Car Radios.  [Transportation Secretary Ray] LaHood's latest attempt to revise the rules of the road in response to hysterical fears about in-car technology is nothing new.  The proliferation of the cellular phone in the late 1990s was met with a similar response, as was the advent of the car phone in the preceding decade.  In fact, the state's attempt to engineer the ideal driving experience — during which the automobilist's hands are always at 10 and 2, his eyes glued to the road, his ears pricked only for the sounds of emergency vehicles and the laughter of children bouncing their balls too close to the street — dates back to 1930s Massachusetts, and a man named George A. Parker.

"Put down the iCarly lunchbox and back away slowly!"  [This story is] not about whether chicken nuggets from a school cafeteria are more or less healthy than whatever parents choose to feed their kids.  It's not about whether a homemade lunch meets a government agency's "necessary guidelines."  It's about the fact that there are "necessary guidelines" in the first place, and now they're even sending agents around to enforce them.  It's about yet another busybody government bureaucracy intruding into yet another aspect of our daily lives.

More about this story on the school lunches page.

CA says mobile food vending trucks a 'threat' to kids.  The California legislature continues to act as the hard left's petri dish for testing totalitarian policies.  AB 1678, introduced last Tuesday [2/14/2012], would ban mobile food and beverage trucks within 1,500 feet of elementary and secondary schools.

Permission slips for school cookies.  The West Virginia Legislature continues to be a marvel of bureaucratic bullying.  Lawmakers plan to make possession of Sudafed without a prescription a felony worth up to 10 years in prison.  Now Democratic Delegate Ralph Rodighiero of Logan County wants to regulate Christmas cookies at school — along with Halloween candy and peeps at Easter.  Delegate Rodighiero introduced House Bill 2191 without co-sponsors.  It would restrict "parents or the school to serve sweets during the holidays if the school receives parental or guardian consent."

Government hasn't the faintest clue how much you should weigh.  Would Americans truly be better off if they slimmed down?  Does government really know how much people should weigh?

Is Michelle Obama Trying to Kill Me?  One person's apples are another's poison.  Are regulators and perhaps Michelle Obama trying to kill me with their "good intentions"?

Pelosi: 'My Work in Politics' Is 'An Extension of My Role as a Mom'.  House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said that she views her role in politics as an extension of her role as a mother. ... Pelosi said, "Look, I am a mom and a grandmother.  I view my work in politics as an extension of my role as a mom.  There are things we want to do for our children that are simply beyond us."

Colorado day-care center proposal:  Dolls must represent at least three different races.

Day Care Centers Mandate Milk and Race Of Dolls.  Day care centers in Colorado may have to meet new rules that regulate everything from the race of dolls to how much TV kids can watch. ... [For example,] Children over 2 years old shall be served 1 percent, 2 percent or skim milk (unless directed in writing by a child's health care provider).

Top 10 Most Egregious Government Regulations.  [#10]  Multicultural doll mandate:  The Colorado Department of Human Services is proposing new rules to require all day care centers in the state to have dolls available that represent the three different races.  The guideline is part of a 98-page document that sets new rules for child care that include what kids can drink, how long they can watch TV, and mandates for field trips and sunscreen use.  One wonders how the state, which has been working on the measure since 2006, will go about enforcing the law.

Tobacco-style food regulations?  The federal government has a growing interest in the eating habits of Americans for the same reason it has an interest in tobacco consumption, said Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.  The reason is money, because three-quarters of medical-spending is driven by chronic diseases, such as obesity and tobacco-related diseases, she said.

I Don't Care If You're Fat.  I don't care if you're fat.  I don't care if your kids are fat.  It's none of my business.  If you want to lose some weight, be my guest.  Or, like Michelle Obama, if you just want to have a juicy hamburger, some fries, and a chocolate shake, that's fine, too. ... I don't care.  It is none of my business if you're fat.  It is surely not the government's business if you're fat.

Feds want us to live like children.  We spend the first part of our lives trying to grow up, and, apparently, millions of us spend the rest of our lives hoping to live like children.  How else to explain the desire to "save" Social Security and Medicare?  Since 1935 for Social Security and 1965 for Medicare, older Americans have expected government to take care of them, as if they are children incapable of taking care of themselves.  Nanny state, indeed.

Emergency Alert System to Be Announced in NYC.  A new national emergency alert system that will send messages to cell phones during disasters will be launched in New York City by the end of the year.

Emergency alert system set to launch.  If you get an urgent message on your cell phone from President Obama later this year, it's not a prank.  Under a new emergency notification system being announced tomorrow by Mayor Bloomberg and federal officials, anyone carrying an "enabled" mobile device within range of a cell phone tower would be alerted what to do in case of emergency.

Washington Invents an Anti-Bullying Law.  There's no federal law against bullying or homophobia.  So the Department of Education recently decided to invent one.

No need to vote on this — the mayor knows what's best for you. Menino Bans Sugary Drink Sales On Boston City Property.  Mayor Tom Menino issued an executive order to ban the sale of sugary drinks on Boston city property on Thursday.  "I want to make this a healthier choice, the easier choice in people's daily lives, whether it's the schools, the work sites or other places in the community," Menino said.

Menino expands sugary drink ban.  Mayor Thomas M. Menino said yesterday [4/7/2011] that he is expanding his ban on sugar-sweetened drinks in schools to include all city properties and functions, a sweeping restriction that means that calorie-laden soft drinks, juices with added sugar, and sports drinks like Gatorade will no longer be offered in vending machines, concession stands, and city-run meetings, programs and events.

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino KOs Soda, OKs Alcohol.  Boston Mayor Thomas Menino has banned soda, sports drinks and sweetened ice teas from city property, according to a recent government press release.  In an attempt to reduce the city's rising obesity rates, Menino has banned all sugary drinks from city vending machines, cafeterias and concession stands, just one day after reaching an agreement with the Boston Red Sox that allows the team to sell mixed drinks at its ballpark.

School Lunch Madness.  About one third of American kids are now overweight, and poorer children are the most likely to be in that category.  So, educators are correct to be concerned about the nutritional welfare of their students.  Every school should be encouraging good health, right?  But forcing parents to buy school food is going too far.  This is nanny state stuff.  I know that under President Obama the nation is heading in that direction, but it is now time to pause and smell the meatloaf.

Our tax dollars at mealtime.  How did our ancestors survive without the government telling them what and how to eat?

Feds lead charge for alcohol detector.  A quick-check alcohol detector designed to stop drunks from driving off was hailed yesterday [1/28/2011] by U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood as a jump forward in the war against drunken driving, while also raising concerns about nanny-state intrusions.

When Agencies Rule Our Lives.  Am I the only one becoming increasingly concerned about the amount of power federal agencies have over every aspect of our lives?  Everywhere we turn it seems some agency is telling Americans what they can and can't do, whether it's the health care we need, the technology we use, the financial decisions we make, the food we eat or the air we breathe.

It takes a vittle: First lady engineers government takeover of children's food.  The Obama administration is committed to bringing more government into the lives of Americans.  First lady Michelle Obama grabbed the spotlight Monday at the District's Harriet Tubman Elementary School to promote an anti-obesity initiative in service of this goal.  She seeks to shift responsibility for feeding America's children away from parents and into the hands of Washington bureaucrats.  Declaring childhood breakfast, lunch and dinner menu options an issue of national security, Mrs. Obama asserted, "We can't just leave it up to the parents."

Michelle's free lunch:  This free lunch bill, is not quite the free lunch it appears to be; it is paid for by reductions in funding for food stamps where people can actually select what food to buy for their kids, say potatoes or potato chips, in their food desserts.  And why do so many kids get "half their daily calories from school meals"?  This is another area of responsibility removed from the parent(s) and handed over to the government; parents don't even have to make their kids lunch to take to school.

Should We Ban Walking While Wired?  You've had the experience of walking along and negotiating around someone who is walking slowly, weaving, or bumping into other pedestrians for an obvious reason:  He or she is talking on a cell phone, listening to an iPod, or texting on a Blackberry.  And you've had the natural, inevitable response to this annoyance:  demanding a law to prevent it.

Distracted while strolling.  I'm too old to need a crossing guard to look after me at public intersections, and if I did, I wouldn't pick New York state senator Carl Kruger (D-Brooklyn) to do the job.  Kruger's the guy who wants to ban "distracted walking" by pedestrians on public roadways.  According to The New York Times, the bill he's introduced in Albany "would ban the use of mobile phones, iPods or other electronic devices while crossing streets."

Pennsylvania builders unhappy with state-imposed sprinkler mandate.  While many Pennsylvanians celebrated the arrival of 2011 on New Year's Eve, home builders in the state likely did not blow their bugles and pop their poppers with quite as much exuberance.  That is because this year marks the beginning of a new government mandate in Pennsylvania requiring that all new one- and two-family homes have an automatic fire sprinkler system — a feature that costs thousands of dollars.

The Political Assassination of a Prescription Drug.  After use of Avandia for years by millions of patients, objective evaluation of its long-term effectiveness and safety has been taken out of the hands of physicians.  Instead we must rely on the verdict of politicians.  Medical decisions by agents of government, like the FDA, inevitably and necessarily become political decisions.  We cannot remove the politicians from these decisions without first removing the FDA.

Department of Transportation new rules will make cars more expensive.  Thought that new car was expensive now?  Wait till the Department of Transportation implements its latest plan to protect Americans from themselves.  Last week, the department announced regulations that would require all new vehicles to install video cameras on their back bumpers.  The idea is to make backing up safer, and it's not optional.

Helmet laws make absolutely no sense.  If you have a strong disregard for your own health and safety, you are free to express it in all sorts of ways.  You can smoke cigarettes.  You can gorge on fast food five times a day.  You can go live among bears in Alaska.  You can stagger through the worst part of town at 2 a.m.  You can become a trapeze artist.  You can join the Marine Corps.  But if federal regulators get their way, you will not be able to ride a motorcycle without a helmet.

Ray LaHood: Obama's Power-Mad Cell Phone Czar.  America is in debt past its eyeballs.  Unemployment remains stuck near double digits.  Small and large businesses, unions and insurers are clamoring for Obamacare waivers in droves.  Jihadists are making a mockery of homeland security.  And border chaos reigns.  So, what's one of the Obama administration's top domestic policy agenda items this month?  Combating distracted drivers.

Transportation Secretary is out of control.  Ever since assuming his Transportation post early in 2009, [Transportation Secretary Ray] LaHood has been hell-bent to use the power of that position as a launching pad from which to target cell phone use in vehicles.  And he is serious about it; efforts by his subordinates to downplay his words to the contrary notwithstanding.  Facts and the Constitution pose no speed bumps for this effort to restrict the liberty of those who drive America's roads in privately-owned vehicles.  A study published earlier this year by the Highway Loss Data Institute, for example, shows that cell phone bans in three states did not lead to fewer car accidents.

The Unfriendly Skies.  We take risks each and every time we step out of our homes and don't need the government to decide for us which risks are acceptable.  So why, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, must our seats be in their original and upright position as we begin our descent, a full 20 minutes before we land?  What are the actual risks to unclipping our seat belts seconds before the plane has come to a full and complete stop?  Why can't we use our cell phones while taxiing at LAX, but can do so at Heathrow?

Big brother in the backseat.  It's classic bait and switch.  Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) claims that his ROADS SAFE Act — which authorizes a $60 million taxpayer investment in a government program to further develop sophisticated in-vehicle technology that would keep a car from starting if the driver's Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) level was above a pre-set limit — is all about stopping drunk drivers. ... That's the bait.  Here's the switch:  This taxpayer-funded federal program, known as DADSS (Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety), is actually developing alcohol detection technology to come as standard equipment in all cars.

San Francisco pol wants to take the joy out of a Happy Meal.  Toys that have been synonymous with kids' meals at fast-food restaurants could soon be banned in San Francisco under a new law proposed Tuesday [8/10/2010] if the food contains too much fat, sugar or salt.  Earlier this year, Santa Clara County became the first local government in the nation to adopt such a law, but it only applies to unincorporated areas and affects a handful of restaurants.

Michelle Obama to women planning a pregnancy:  'No fatties'.  You might think you were doing a pretty good job of running your own life before you'd ever even heard of Michelle Obama, but she knows better than that.  Your kids are big fat pigs and so are you, says the First Lady of the United States.

Obama puts his cook in charge of your diet. Obama's personal cook made Senior Policy Advisor.  President Barack Obama (D) is treating his multi gazillion dollar spend our way out of debt and unemployment stimulus as his own private make work program, tossing taxpayer dollars to favored constituents, such as unions, and to favored areas, such as his home city of Chicago.  And now he's making it even more private, choosing his family's personal cook, Sam Kass, imported from Chicago, as... Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives.

A Food Czar?  Really?  You may laugh about the White House assistant chef being appointed "Senior Policy Adviser."  You'll stop laughing when you realize that those in power really do want to tell you what to eat.

Bill Would Require Government to Track Body Mass of American Children.  A bill introduced this month in Congress would put the federal and state governments in the business of tracking how fat, or skinny, American children are.  States receiving federal grants provided for in the bill would be required to annually track the Body Mass Index of all children ages 2 through 18.

FDA Trying to Save People From Themselves.  The Food and Drug Administration finds it necessary to warn the American public that swallowing an over-the-counter medication meant to be rubbed on the skin can have harmful effects.

No Pop for the Poor.  New York City's mayor wants the federal government to say food stamps can't be used to buy soda — a story that is less about the technicalities of welfare and more about political paternalism.  Now, there's a strong argument to be made that if the government is setting the table and preparing the dinner, it should be able to choose the menu.

NY seeks to ban sugary drinks from food stamp buys.  New Yorkers on food stamps would not be allowed to spend them on sugar-sweetened drinks under an obesity-fighting proposal being floated by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Gov. David Paterson.

Federal War on Salt Could Spoil Country Hams.  If the food police get their way, North Carolinians can kiss their country hams, bacon, and fresh Bright Leaf hot dogs goodbye.  These Southern specialties might not disappear altogether, but, if the health agency's crusade against salt is successful, they never would taste the same again.

It's A Gateway Spice:  FDA Wants To Regulate Salt.  The Food and Drug Administration is planning an unprecedented effort to gradually reduce the salt consumed each day by Americans, saying that less sodium in everything from soup to nuts would prevent thousands of deaths from hypertension and heart disease.  The initiative, to be launched this year, would eventually lead to the first legal limits on the amount of salt allowed in food products.

The Editor says... I'd rather take my chances with too much salt than with too much government.

More about the Food Police.

America's Spirit of Enterprise Must Not Be Replaced By a Nanny State.  The greatness of America will cease with the continuance of a "nanny state."  America was not built with her hand out.  America was built with her hands at work.

Big Brother Becomes Big Bully.  The government in the Age of Obama has gone beyond the big brother that watches out and cares for us.  Instead, it has becomes the big brother that torments and bullies us and then takes what is rightfully ours:  our savings, our freedom, and our futures.  Liberals are often labeled as wanting to bring out the nanny state (the feminine version of a big brother).  This is wrong.  A nanny cares for her wards so that they can mature into responsible adults able to take care of themselves.  But a bully has other desires.

Behavioral economics — the governing theory of Obama's nanny state.  Just as Obama is a liberal Democrat who, his admirers insist, isn't really a liberal Democrat, behavioral economics proposes government regulation that, behavioral economists insist, isn't really regulation.  Under the influence of libertarian paternalism, regulators abandon their old roles as mini-commissars and become "choice architects," arranging the everyday choices that members of the public face in such a way that they'll naturally do the right thing — eat well, conserve energy, save more, drive safely, floss.

New law to require home carbon monoxide detectors.  California homeowners will be required to install carbon monoxide detectors starting in July 2011 under a bill signed Friday [5/7/2010] by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger that is aimed at preventing deaths and injuries caused by poisoning from the odorless, colorless gas.

The Editor says... Carbon monoxide is dangerous, but so is government intrusion.  Yes, you should have a carbon monoxide detector and a smoke detector in your house.  But the purchase should be your choice — not the state's.

The Left Squashes Life's Little Pleasures.  [Scroll down]  If this were isolated, it would be worth mentioning only in the context of wondering why people who run mental health — and most other activist — organizations seem to have little common sense. ... But the Left has problems with much else as well:  smoking (including cigars and pipes); virtually all kids games that can make a kid feel at all bad or get hurt; wood-burning fireplaces; cars; most jokes or any flirting in the workplace; incandescent light bulbs; cool homes in summer; and more.

It's the Contempt.  Perhaps Obama and the Democrats are in denial.  But I think it's more properly seen as contempt.  They simply don't care what voters think, for they know best. That's the entire premise of ObamaCare.  Voters who may be young and healthy can't be trusted to decide to self-insure or buy cheap, high-deductible plans.  Employers can't be trusted to balance health care, salary, and other employee benefits in deciding how to compensate their employees.

Egg Panels.  The first thing you notice are the lines.  A line to get your ID bracelet.  A line to pass through the metal detector.  A line to enter the South Lawn.  A line for the bathroom.  Even a line to escape.  The White House Easter Egg Roll on Monday was a revealing look at the Obama administration's love of social engineering — and a chilling glimpse of what fate may befall the American people if they fail to rise up against it.

Nanny state will turn U.S. into Europe.  Throughout the health care battle, President Barack Obama asked, if European nations can deliver expansive universal health care to every citizen, why can't the United States do the same.  The president, an ardent Europhile, poses that question about everything from high-speed rail to cheap college tuition.  The answer is that we can — if we're willing to live a European lifestyle.

Whose Body Is It?  Who owns you, and who should control what you put into your body?  In what sense are you free if you can't decide what medicines you will take?

"Mama Government" Treats Americans Like Small Children.  We now live in a country where the government educates us, gives us food stamps and school lunch programs when we're hungry, gives us money when we lose our jobs, frets constantly about differences in free market salaries, orders home loans to be given to people who can't afford them, bails out failing companies, and provides for our retirement.

Obama's nanny care insults the American spirit.  You are victims.  You are helpless against the wiles of big corporations and insurance companies and you need protection.  You need the government to take over and do things you cannot do for yourself.  That is the thinking of what David Brooks calls "the educated class" that favors the Democrats' health care bills.

5 Ways Liberals Misjudge the American People:  [Scroll down slowly]  Why would anyone need a SUV or a gun?  You don't REALLY need those things.  Also, liberals know what your salary should be, how your children should be taught, and what words you should be allowed to use without hurting anyone else's feelings.  Oh, you want to pick your own lightbulb?  Nonsense:  You might do it wrong!  Let liberals tell you which one you need.  There's just something about liberalism that turns most of its practitioners, no matter how dumb or incompetent they may be, into finger wagging professors who want to lecture the rest of the country about how to live their lives.

New Tooth Brushing Regulations To Take Effect.  A new mandate in Massachusetts will require day care providers to help children brush their teeth after a meal.

Who's going to check? Feb. 18 is deadline for bedroom smoke detectors.  City residents who don't have smoke detectors in their bedrooms will have to get their tools out soon.  An amendment to the city housing code will require residents to install smoke detectors in their bedrooms by Feb. 18.

The Editor says... Whatever happened to the people who wanted to keep the government out of our bedrooms?

Obama wants school vending machine changes.  The Obama administration will ask Congress to improve childhood nutrition by ridding school vending machines of sugary snacks and drinks and giving school lunch and breakfast to more kids.

Child Obesity in the Nanny State:  Good intentions aside, a presidential task force isn't going to do what millions of American parents already don't do — namely, pull the plug on the 68 percent of kids with televisions in their bedrooms, or on the average 53 hours per week that "Generations M's" (8-to-18-year-olds) spend engaged with electronic media.  Nor will the task force change the way most families eat.

New 2010 laws:  Cooking to texting.  From same-sex marriage in New Hampshire to payday loans in Kentucky, new state laws taking effect on New Year's Day will change the way people live.  California becomes the first state to bar restaurants from cooking with trans fat — partially hydrogenated oils that have been linked to strokes and heart disease.

Stop Me Before I Call Again.  Gavin Newsom is at it again.  The San Francisco mayor's latest foray into annoying nanny statism is a proposal, reported in The Chronicle last week, to require the city's cell phone retailers to post the radiation levels of their products. ... Newsom wants to require cell phone companies to post warnings for an ostensible cancer threat that has not been established.

More about cell phones.

Michelle:  $373 million in stimulus money for better vending machine food.  First Lady Michelle Obama visited the headquarters of the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington Tuesday [10/13/2009].  She devoted much of her talk to "the growing threat of obesity, particularly childhood obesity" in the United States, and she touted HHS's recently-announced plan to spend $373 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on plans to, among other things, improve the healthfulness of foods in vending machines.

New Government Policy Imposes Strict Standards on Garage Sales Nationwide.  Americans who slap $1 pricetags on their used possessions at garage sales or bazaar events risk being slapped with fines of up to $15 million, thanks to a new government campaign.  The "Resale Round-up," launched by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, enforces new limits on lead in children's products and makes it illegal to sell any items that don't meet those limits or have been recalled for any other reason.

NyQuil Survives Nanny State Police, For Now.  It was touch and go for NyQuil's manufacturer, Procter & Gamble, yesterday [6/30/2009] while a panel of experts met to decide its fate.  The panel was considering whether to recommend the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) pull the popular, over-the-counter cold medicine from the market because a relatively small number of consumers ingest too much of the product which contains the pain medicine, acetaminophen.

The Editor says... It is not the government's responsibility to protect us from ourselves, especially when only a few people are misusing a legal product.  I've heard that Indians drink Aqua Velva [1] [2] [3], but that's no reason to outlaw it.

Obama's new financial regs — worse than we imagined.  Hey kids!  Let's create a brand, spanking, new federal bureaucracy to protect consumers of mortgages, credit cards, and other financial instruments from their own stupidity!  That's just one of the nanny state goodie being proposed by the Obama administration to address what they say were the causes of the financial meltdown. ... Surely some loans were made by criminals.  The laws are already in place to deal with them.  But how can you close a "gap" in the stupidity of the borrower?  Never fear, the government is here!

Restaurants sizzling over city tax on frying oil.  During some recent restaurant industry audits, the city [of Denver] has claimed separate sales tax on frying oil, claiming that the oil is a separate product because it is not absorbed into the product.  Try telling that to a cardiologist who wants you to cut down on French fries.

FDA Takes Cheerios to Task for Boastful Labels.  President Obama isn't just rewriting rules regulating the environment and the financial markets — he is also going after the food industry.  Target and example No. 1:  Cheerios.  "Based on claims made on your product's label," the FDA said in a letter to manufacturer General Mills, "we have determined (Cheerios) is promoted for conditions that cause it to be a drug because the product is intended for use in the prevention, mitigation and treatment of disease."  If the government's enforcement action against Cheerios were to hold up, the cereal would be pulled from grocery shelves and consumers would need a prescription to buy a box of those little oats.

Uh-oh, Cheerios.  The latest verdict from the Food and Drug Administration is that Cheerios is a drug.  Parents, then, must be drug pushers.  The FDA sent a warning to Cheerios maker General Mills Inc. that it is in serious violation of federal rules.

Soft tyranny:  Tocqueville envisioned a ruling power that would be "absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild.  It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood...

Motor industry slams speed-curbing trial.  [Scroll down]  It is linked to a GPS navigation system and sounds a chime if the car exceeds the limit.  It can cut fuel supply to the engine, reducing speed, if the driver fails to slow down.

Euroamericans?  What worries me about Obama is not the specifics of the nationalization of GM and Chrysler, the government rescue of the United Auto Workers, the effort to take over college financing, proposed universal health care, massive deficits and tax increases, although they are worrisome and only the beginning, but the attendant culture of 'inflate your tires' and 'wash your hands' paternalism.  I think we are entering an age in which the federal government will increasingly guide our thoughts into what is deemed correct — the sort of car we must drive, the type of salary we should make, the sort of job we should have, even the type of thoughts we are to express, and all in the name of collective brotherhood.

Taking a bite out of crime... Pennsylvania Pie Fight:  State Cracks Down on Baked Goods.  On the first Friday of Lent, an elderly female parishioner of St. Cecilia Catholic Church began unwrapping pies at the church.  That's when the trouble started.  A state inspector, there for an annual checkup on the church's kitchen, spied the desserts.  After it was determined that the pies were home-baked, the inspector decreed they couldn't be sold.

The Fed's Plan is More Scary Than the Bird Flu.  Like many Americans, I have been mildly interested, if not amused, watching the parade of warnings — some quite dire — about the possibility of a bird flu pandemic.  The feds have spent billions of dollars preparing for a pandemic that most experts predict will not occur.

The Repugnance of Socialism:  No fully-grown human being with a single ounce of self-respect ever wants to be taken care of by others.  No person with dignity will tolerate being told what to do, what to think, how to work or how to be an "acceptable" person.  No free man or woman will tolerate the loss of liberty in exchange for material comfort.

Watch Those Calories, City Tells Subway Riders.  These days, the New York City subways seem to be filled with advertisements carrying prominent, unmissable public-service messages:  Watch out for second-hand smoke.  Call 311 if you see a homeless person who needs help.  Be on the lookout for signs of child abuse.  Don't harass women.  Now the authorities have a new message for subway riders: Watch those calories.

Free lunch "safety":  Some people can die from eating ordinary wholesome foods like salmon or peanut butter.  If the government banned every food that was fatal to someone, we might all die of malnutrition.  If a drug is not safe, neither is the illness for which the drug is prescribed.  Nor are alternative drugs likely to be perfectly safe, since nothing else is.  Life involves weighing alternative risks, whether in football, pharmaceutical drugs, or a thousand other things.

Taking liberties:  In New York City, where Mayor Michael Bloomberg has become a champion of a supposedly new "post-partisan" movement of for-your-own-good-government, trans fats are off the menu.  Smoking has become the ceremony of heretics and outlaws.  In 2006 alone, New York City banned — or attempted to ban — pit bulls; trans fats; aluminum baseball bats; the purchase of tobacco by 18- to 20-year-olds; foie gras; pedicabs in parks; new fast-food restaurants (but only in poor neighborhoods); lobbyists from the floor of council chambers; vehicles in Central and Prospect parks; cellphones in upscale restaurants; the sale of pork products made in a processing plant in Tar Heel, N.C.; mail-order pharmaceutical plans; candy-flavored cigarettes; the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus; and Wal-Mart.

New York State Bans Insect Foggers.  New York has become the first state in the nation to force the removal of insect foggers — often known as bug bombs — from store shelves and require the devices be operated only by certified pesticide professionals.  For the average homeowner facing cockroach or other insect problems, that means a simple, effective, and inexpensive treatment option is no longer available.

Creating the Great American Potato Famine?  McDonald's just agreed to pursue pesticide-free potatoes for its restaurants.  The anti-technology zealots pushing this organic move had better hope the company drags its feet — or we risk having the first McDonald's in history with no French fries.  Less than a decade ago, the Danish government's high-level Bichel technical committee concluded that an organic-only mandate would cut Danish potato production by 80 percent.

Crackberry Crunch:  Techno "addiction" is plainly becoming both a social phenomena and a growing social problem in our age.  As such, it can only be a matter of time before nanny-governments — it being none of their business — insist on manufacturers devising warnings or even spamming us to that effect.

The Credit Card Congress.  The House voted mostly along party lines late last month to pass something called the Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights.  Given the current financial turmoil, the last thing Congress should do is undercut access to credit and increase its price.  This bill would do both.  The legislation, sponsored by New York Democrat Carolyn Maloney, is intended to address supposedly unfair and deceptive credit card practices.

Some recent laws seen as protecting Dallas residents from themselves.  At the decade's dawn, Dallasites could smoke in restaurants, walk their dogs without carrying a pooper-scooper and stroll through downtown or South Dallas without being monitored by police video cameras.  Children, meanwhile, were free to run through parks playing with their toy six-shooters.  Homeless people could beg for money at will.  Today, no more — the Dallas City Council has since deemed such actions illegal and subject to stiff fines.

The Lawnmower Men:  Al Gore blew into Washington on Thursday, warning that "our very way of life" is imperiled if the U.S. doesn't end "the carbon age" within 10 years.  No one seriously believes such a goal is even remotely plausible.  But if you want to know what he and his acolytes think this means in practice, the Environmental Protection Agency has just published the instruction manual.  Get ready for the lawnmower inspector near you.

Anti-DWI interlocks considered for ALL driversThe New York Times [10/21/2007], in an article that may not have been widely noticed because it was buried in the Automotive section, reports that automakers and researchers, with U.S. government funding, are working on anti-drunk-driving interlocks that ALL drivers will have to pass in order to drive their cars, whether or not they have a record for DWI.

Activists Battle Mental Health Screening Law.  Two years after a new law was passed in Illinois creating the framework for schools to screen students for mental health disorders, the state has saved more than $44 million in hospital costs, according to a report released in early October.  But some groups say the alleged cost savings do not justify a program under which schools are overstepping their authority.  They also say it imposes a mandatory, universal plan to screen all children from birth through 18.

Nanny State Makes a Poor Babysitter for Americans.  Recently, the Economist ran a cover story on what the magazine called "soft paternalism."  The article focused on the emerging idea among some public policy thinkers that too many Americans make "bad" decisions.  Thus, we need government to nudge us in the right direction, be it through sin or vice taxes, public relations campaigns, or in some cases, outright prohibitions.

Nanny State.  Frontpage Interview's guest today is David Harsanyi, an award-winning columnist at The Denver Post. … He is the author of the new book, Nanny State:  How Food Fascists, Teetotaling Do-Gooders, Priggish Moralists, and other Boneheaded Bureaucrats are Turning America into a Nation of Children.

Peanut allergies

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A New Declaration of Independence
.  We don't want other people's dough and we don't want other people taking ours.  We want to start our own businesses without being overregulated and overtaxed.  We want to educate our kids where and how we see fit.  Whereas the Takers are trying to turn America into France — where most everybody is dependent on government in one way or another — we Leave-Us-Aloners believe what our Founders believed.  We believe that government should handle the basics, then butt out….
Portion Control:  It's What's (Left) For Dinner
.  Worried you haven't been hearing enough bad ideas lately?  Be sure to check out the Food and Drug Administration's new report on food and obesity.  Chief among the report's recommendations is that restaurants should adopt portion controls on what they serve to customers.

Why Are Americans Giving Up Their Freedom?
  Dispensing with the idea of limited government in realm of benefits has meant dispensing with the idea of any limits to government power at all.  Once we accept the notion that government should ensure that our pursuit of happiness succeeds, we have accepted the notion that government has the right to define what a happy life should look like.  We can call this trend the encroachment of the "nanny state," which it is, or the spread of "liberal fascism," which it also is.  But it is also the inevitable result of Americans' increasing desire to have government guarantee that more and more aspects of our lives turn out all right.

Safety first
.  The safety first movement has begun its attack on school playgrounds.  Their first target:  Swing sets.  Yes, Plano Independent School District (in an upper class suburb of Dallas) has been convinced to remove swing sets from playgrounds at all 40 local elementary schools.  The move, Plano ISD says, will make recess safer. The Editor says... This situation is probably the result of an overabundance of ambulance-chasing lawyers, not just overprotective liberal do-gooders.

Pin the Tail on the Donkey Deemed 'Safety Risk'
.  The traditional children's party game pin the tail on the donkey is under threat because parents consider it a health and safety risk.  The claim comes from retailers and parenting experts who say mothers and fathers are increasingly reluctant to put pins into the hands of youngsters. The Editor says... I'm so glad there weren't any "parenting experts" around when I was a kid, and only a few lawyers.

Alcohol Nanny Breathalyzers
:  Maybe we ought to think twice before adopting similar measures when it comes to traffic law.  Specifically, when it comes to an idea floated by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) to require that all new cars be fitted with an ignition interlock that can detect alcohol in the driver's system — and shut the car down if it does.

Zero Tolerance or Unneccessary Legislation?
  In New York the trademark jingle of the iconic ice cream truck has been silenced.  In Sacramento you have to use your inside voice on a thrill ride called the Screamer.  And in Murpheesboro, Tenn., the city council implemented a body odor ban on its workers.  Forget your deodorant and you could be breaking the law. … With more and more schools and local governments telling people what they can't do these days, some say America has become a nation of bans.

The British government says Santa Claus is too scary for children
.  "For very young children, Father Christmas can be terrifying, and if you are planning a visit from Santa, you'll need to make sure that fearful children are near an exit." … Children should give "experiences" instead of Christmas presents and stop sending cards to cut waste, according to government advice. Also in the U.K. ... Family life faces State 'invasion'.  Government surveillance of all children, including information on whether they eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, will be condemned tomorrow [6/27/2006] as a Big Brother system.  Experts say it is the biggest state intrusion in history into the role of parents.

Protecting us from the good things?
  Most people think government keeps us safe.  It's why the Food and Drug Administration is regarded as absolutely necessary.  It protects us from snake-oil sellers.  Who could argue with that?  I will, because years of consumer reporting have taught me that the regulators, by protecting us from bad things, protect us from good things, too.

What's the alternative?
  Without an FDA, how would doctors and patients know which drugs were safe and effective?  The same way we know which computers and restaurants are good — through newspapers, magazines and word of mouth.  In a free, open society, competition gets the information out, and that protects consumers better than government command and control.

FDA:  Friend or Foe?
  Should a drug be disapproved whenever it poses a health risk to some people but a benefit to others?  To do so would eliminate most drugs, including aspirin, because all drugs pose a health risk to some people.

Autism crusade plagued by incaution, illusions
.  The recently launched crusade to have every child tested for autism before the age of two has as its reason an opportunity for "early intervention" to treat the condition. … But the dangers of false diagnoses of toddlers and preschoolers have been pointed out by Professor Stephen Camarata of Vanderbilt University, who has tested and treated children with autism for more than 20 years and has encountered many cases of inaccurate diagnoses.

Michigan close to mandating HPV vaccine
.  First-in-the-nation legislation requiring HPV vaccinations for girls entering the sixth grade is headed for a final vote in the Michigan House of Representatives, where a committee approved the two related bills last week.  The Senate already passed the measure.

Warning:  Products Ahead
.  Hide the children:  Commercial products are visible on network television.  That's the urgent message from a clatch of public interest groups who wrote to the Federal Communications Commission last week demanding an end to "advertainment." … This conspiratorial view of advertising goes back to Vance Packard and the "Hidden Persuaders," the book unmasking the supposed media manipulation of the 1950s.

Hiring the Nanny State
.  With his book "Nanny State," Denver Post columnist David Harsanyi has thrown a conservative-libertarian rope around a disturbing political and cultural trend — the nannification of America by moral busybodies and nitpicking maternalists who use government power to micromanage our personal lives and protect us from ourselves.

Pie menace averted
.  Members of the Community Advent Christian Church in Norwalk, Ct. wanted to bake pies this Thanksgiving and donate them to the city's emergency shelter, but were told that under a state regulation home-baked pies cannot be donated to the shelter and that any pies that get donated anyway are thrown out, reports the Norwalk Hour.

Big Brother Prescribes:  Are mandatory aerobics classes in your future?
  "When anyone dies at an early age from a preventable cause in New York City, it's my fault," New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden declared recently.  In his campaign to make sure that no New Yorker dies before his or her time, Frieden has adopted an expansive notion of public health. … Safeguarding people from the risks potentially imposed on them by third parties is no longer enough — Frieden now wants to protect people from themselves.

Twinkies, Smokes, and Fries:  The Fallacies of Sin Taxes
.  The search for government revenue in fiscally tight times tempts legislators to raise revenue by imposing unusually high excise taxes on cigarettes, liquor, gambling, and so on.  Recently, we've seen new and creative measures aimed at fatty snacks, fast food, and soft drinks — proposals familiarly known as "Twinkie" taxes.  This type of charge, often called a "sin tax," appeals to voters who view them as a way of discouraging consumption of certain objectionable products.  Yet the temptation to impose sin taxes is one that should be resisted for both economic and moral reasons.

Aluminum Bats May Go Way of Trans Fat
.  The [New York] City Council, already one of the nation's leaders in the attempt to ban trans fats in restaurants, may be first in the country to ban another potential safety hazard — aluminum baseball bats.  On Monday, the City Council will hold a hearing on legislation that would allow only wooden bats be used at high school baseball games. Book review Hazardous to our Health?  FDA Regulation of Health Care Products.  In this book, four outstanding scholars examine how the FDA accumulated its enormous power and what effects it has had on the public.  It also explores who actually benefits and loses from FDA actions, and whether alternatives exist to safeguard the health of Americans.  This book raise serious questions about the wisdom of giving policing power with little oversight or appeal process to scientists, as the FDA currently does.  It also argues forcefully that the FDA unnecessarily delays beneficial medicines and medical devices, many of which are routinely available in Europe, from being available to Americans.

Protecting us from sunscreen?
  People are happily protecting themselves with Mexoryl in South America, Europe, Australia and Canada, but in the USA you are forbidden to use it.  The FDA won't approve it.  It won't even say why.

Nanny's guide to being nice
:  Good manners abroad, like good manners anywhere, are good, of course.  But the government just can't help being the nanny.  Good manners start at home, and you can't take with you what you haven't packed.

The Nanny State's Work Is Never Done
.  The British government is designing plastic glasses for use in pubs because glass is "too dangerous."  What's next?

Nanny-state nonsense from the country that once ruled half the world
.  England used to be a world power.  Now it it morphing into a caricature of political correctness.  A government proposal to ban TV advertising for "junk food" makes a mockery of the principles of freedom and individual responsibility.

New Nanny State Push in Britain
.  As if they don't have enough to worry about already, Britons are being told by their government to stop smoking, stop eating so much, be more patriotic, drink less wine and — oh, yes — be more polite.  Beginning in July, a sweeping smoking ban comes into effect throughout Britain, making it illegal to smoke in restaurants, pubs or any public place under threat of an instant fine of around $100.
"One of the greatest delusions in the world is the hope that the evils in this world are to be cured by legislation."
Thomas Reed, 1886.    

The tyranny of visions
.  Visions are powerful things.  For some people, visions make facts unnecessary and can even over-ride facts to the contrary.  Even in democratic nations, there are people who can impose their vision on other people, with no consequences for being wrong and no requirement that they prove themselves right.  Social workers have for years tried to stop white couples from adopting orphans from minority groups because that goes against their vision.  They don't need a speck of evidence to back up their preconceptions.

The tyranny of visions:  part II
.  California has long had more than its fair share of busybodies with a vision of the world in which it is necessary for them to force other people to do Good Things.  One of the latest examples is a recent ruling by one of the many busybody commissions in California that people who build houses, or just remodel their homes, will in the future have to have more fluorescent lights and even install motion sensors to control lights – all in the name of saving energy.

The tyranny of visions:  part III
.  Nowhere is the tyranny of visions more absolute than with issues involving safety.  Attempts to talk about costs, trade-offs or diminishing returns are only likely to provoke safety zealots to respond with something like, "If it saves just one human life, it is worth it!"  That immediately establishes the safety zealot as being on a higher moral plane than those who stoop to consider crass materialistic costs.  And being on a higher plane is what a great deal of zealotry is all about.

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission Takes a Bite Out of Crime

Undercover agents target drunks in Texas bars
.  In one operation in a Dallas suburb, agents from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission visited 36 bars and arrested 30 people for intoxication.  Carolyn Beck, the commission's spokesman, said the arrests were designed to detain drunks before they left bars and behaved in dangerous ways, such as driving. The Editor says... The TABC is doing this despite two important facts:
        1.  The inside of a bar is private property, not public.  Private intoxication is not illegal.
        2.  People sitting in a bar are not driving; therefore, they are not drunk drivers.

Sometimes common sense eludes public officials.

Texas Arrests Drunk People in Bars
.  Some stories are just too stupid to make up and this is one of them.  The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is arresting drunk people in bars to prevent drunk driving.

Public intoxication stings catch 2,200 in Texas bars
.  The arrests included people who were drunk in bars, who sold alcohol to a drunk person, or a drunk employee on the premises of a bar or restaurant with a license to sell alcohol, said Carolyn Beck, a spokeswoman for the TABC. … Part of the problem with enforcing the state's code regulating alcohol sales is "people still think that a bar is place to go get drunk," Beck said.

There's a shocking revelation — people go to bars to get drunk!

TABC Patrolling Bars For Public Intoxication
.  If you have a drink in an Austin bar or restaurant, and you do something out of the ordinary, you could go to jail.  The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission says they can spot people who've had too much to drink, just by looking at them. … TABC busts are up 95 percent over the last year.  Legal experts say there's a reason for that.  "TABC is trying to justify their existence.  They think that it is a politically popular thing to get out there and arrest folks," defense attorney Ken Gibson said.

Lawmakers To Review Bar Busts
.  Lawmakers plan to review a state drinking crackdown that uses undercover agents to arrest drunk people in bars. … Legislators who oversee the commission said they agree with the emphasis on public safety, but the program should be reviewed to check for abuses and to measure its effectiveness.

Texas Attempting To Become A Dry State?
  [For example,] How about the three most ridiculous arrests, just from my tiny bar in a Houston suburb?
  • We've had our bartender arrested for serving one person two drinks.  One was for the customer's boyfriend, and they attested to this fact at the time.  Neither were "falling down drunk."
  • We had a patron arrested for playing trivia and drinking diet coke.  No alcohol — just caught up in the sting.
  • While walking from the bar to a cab that he called, a customer was arrested for public intoxication.
And all of it is absurd, especially "saving people from themselves."

Exploding the Fireworks Safety "Threat"
:  Though about 70 million of us live in states that allow all sorts of fireworks and firecracker use, 50 million other Americans who live in nine states, including New York and Arkansas, need a permit to even light a sparkler. … Safety is the major concern of those who ban our celebratory backyard light and noise shows, but their fears are overblown.  In fact, banning personal use of fireworks may actually result in more accidental fires because some of those who try to avoid getting caught set them off in remote fields, causing fires that take longer to discover.

Judge allows San Diego Fourth of July fireworks
.  A judge says San Diego can go ahead with an oceanfront fireworks display on the Fourth of July, a decision that also temporarily spares tens of thousands of other local festivities from rigorous environmental reviews.

Freedom Means Never Having to Take Down Your Fuzzy Dice
.  About two-dozen states across the country passed laws micromanaging transportation, education, business, alcohol, and social issues, while a few struck blows for personal freedom.  Freedom means having personal responsibility and the ability to make certain choices about everyday living that should not be dictated by the government.  It is not the job of the state to make sure people are happier, healthier, and more productive by making decisions for them. In Canada... Scrap the nanny state and return our cash.  For the most part, we ought to have our money given back to us and be allowed to spend it on whatever we like.  We may make bad choices or good choices -- but choice, so we are told by the left, is a basic human right.  There are the obvious areas of tax abuse, such as tendentious and political arts funding, competing public broadcasters and government corruption and inefficiency, all of which should go.

Air Bag Safety Coverup
:  Americans ought to be free to choose to have air bags or not.  After all the additional safety benefit air bags provide, for seatbelt wearing passengers, is virtually zero.

Death by Government
. Even after it became known that air bags could kill children and smaller adults the government continued to insist that they be used, propagandized in favor of their use, and refused to make them optional.  The regulators finally caved in and allowed switch-off devices in 1995, but it is nearly impossible to find an automotive service center that will install one because of their liability fears.

Mandatory seatbelt measure defeated
.  New Hampshire will remain the only state in the nation not to require adult drivers and passengers to buckle up.  The state Senate, in a bipartisan 16-8 vote, killed a House-passed bill that would have made failure to wear a seatbelt a primary offense. … While proponents called the bill a life-saving measure, opponents framed it as a debate about government intrusion on personal freedom — a case of what one senator termed "nanny state" legislation.

Facts About State Mandatory Seat Belt Harness Laws
:  While the use of a seat belt has saved some people in certain kinds of traffic accidents, there is ample proof that in other kinds, some people have been more seriously injured and even killed only because of forced seat belt use. … The public is denied the right to know there is a legitimate contrary side to the seat belt law controversy.  At one time, it was the same with air bags until one investigative reporter decided to start printing the truth about air bag dangers in certain kinds of traffic accidents.

Big Brother
There's a web site about this specific issue: Seat Belt Choice dot com.  There is a concerted effort from Washington through the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration to pressure every state in America to enact a primary seat belt law and make everyone buckle up or lose federal transportation money.  A primary law means you can be stopped solely if you or someone else in your vehicle is not wearing a seat belt.  And if you are stopped, you may be ticketed, fined and perhaps even arrested.

The truth about seat belts
:  When we read the instructions to police officers and emergency personnel for filling out the FARS data forms, we learn that all persons who fell off the bed of a pickup truck or fell off a snowmobile or a three-wheel or four-wheel ATV or from a go-cart are to be listed as having been "ejected".  Moreover, there is no evidence to prove that all the persons who are listed as having been "ejected" actually were. … When we look at the actual data we find that most of these data points are coded as "9" which is the FARS code in this category for "unknown".  In other words, all they really know in most cases is that the victims was outside the vehicle when they arrived on the scene.

Seat belt laws
:  Primary seat belt laws give law enforcement agents a virtual carte blanche to conduct traffic stops.  Nevada's recent experience proves states don't need more intrusive statutes to persuade more people to buckle up. The cops aren't always wearing seat belts themselves. No seat belts in 42% of fatal police car crashes.  The study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which analyzed 733 crashes from 1980 through 2008, comes less than a week after a separate report found that fatal traffic incidents in 2010 were the leading cause of officer deaths for the 13th straight year. ... Some officers resist wearing seat belts because the restraints slow their movement in and out of the cars, Floyd says.  Others complain that the straps get tangled in utility and gun belts.

Liberty Versus Socialism
:  [Scroll down] Similar justification was used for laws requiring helmets for motorcyclists and bicyclists.  After all, if one exercises his liberty to ride without a helmet, and has an accident and becomes a vegetable, society has to bear the expense of taking care of him.  The fact that an obese person becomes ill, or a cyclist has an accident, and becomes a burden on taxpayers who must bear the expense of taking care of him, is not a problem of liberty.  It's a problem of socialism where one person is forced to take care of another.  There is no moral argument that justifies using the coercive powers of government to force one person to bear the expense of taking care of another.

"Protecting" Kids Right off the Playground
:  Safety bureaucracies and consumer activist groups routinely invent or exaggerate dangers to maintain their budgets and inflate their apparent worth.  And nothing works better than saving children who are already safe.

Obesity is now an illness
, and it can be covered by Medicare.  Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson announced [7/15/2004] the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services would remove language in Medicare's coverage manual that states obesity is not an illness.

Why the State Hates Cholesterol
:  Cholesterol is found in every cell of the body.  This fascinating molecule, found in rich abundance in the tastiest of foods, is the most critical component of mental function — surely one reason the State has waged its historical role on this vilified yet truly magnificent molecule, independent thought being the primary threat to its existence.

Nanny State Pushes Prohibition
.  Yet another scientific report was released recently detailing the health benefits of moderate alcohol consumption.  That's right, the benefits of moderate drinking.  But don't expect to hear about this good news from Budweiser or Bacardi.  The Federal Trade Commission prohibits brewers, vintners and distillers from communicating to consumers any factual information regarding the health benefits of their legal products.  The only health-related information the sellers of alcohol products are allowed by the government to communicate to their customers is those scary warning labels about potentially negative consequences of drinking. This has "unintended consequences" written all over it... Governor joins students in Jericho to sign bus idling law.  Gov. Jim Douglas used six pens Friday to sign his name to a bill that will ban school buses from running their engines while parked on school grounds, except under special circumstances.

Get-Tough Politics
:  Joe Lieberman wants nutritional labels placed on the food wrappers at fast-food joints.  He wants the government to impose nutritional standards on the food sold in vending machines in schools.  He wants this, he wants that, he wants the other.  Let's get clear on one thing.  This isn't about junk food.  It's about junk politics.  It's about controlling every single last itty bitty detail of everything anybody ever does.

Under 8? Use a booster seat
.  Parents will have to strap their kids into backseat car booster seats until they are eight years old or reach a certain height if Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signs a bill the Legislature sent to him Thursday [8/24/2006]. The Editor says... Why eight?  Why not twelve?  Why not 16?

Compare child restraint laws in other states.

See also Texas Occupant Restraint Laws.

"Click It or Ticket"
  History knows of no totalitarianism agenda where noble goals weren't used as justification.  Health and safety have become the American justification for attacks on liberty.  Whether seatbelt usage is a good idea is beside the point, for daily exercise, nutritious meals, eight hours sleep, and cultural and intellectual enrichment might also be good ideas.  The point is whether government has a right to coerce us into taking care of ourselves.

Click it or ticket - Part II
.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an office within the U.S. Department of Transportation, just finished its annual campaign to get us to wear our seatbelts under a program called "Click It or Ticket."  States receive federal subsidies to ticket drivers if they or their passengers are not buckled up.  Some states, such as Maryland, are so eager that they've equipped their officers with night vision goggles….

Victims of Over-Zealous Police Officers
:  No one disputes the fact that seat belts save lives.  Most states, therefore, have buckle-up laws that make it a misdemeanor to drive with being properly belted.  However, in Texas, the Transportation Code not only permits a police officer to stop a driver for the non-use of seat belts, it also permits the officer to arrest the driver for violating that law.  Gail Atwater was one of those unfortunate Texans.

Hillary Clinton Joins Fight for National Seatbelt Law
.  Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) has joined Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) in sponsoring a bill that would establish a national seatbelt law.

Dangerous Changes in Seat Belt Law
:  Primary enforcement allows the police to freely go on a "fishing" expedition to find sometime wrong under the pretense of not using a seat belt.  Primary enforcement resuscitates the once dreaded "general warrants" of King George III of colonial America against motorists.

Congress Should Repeal V-chip Requirements
.  Imagine a law that required printers to encode on the spines of books a bar code that could be used to record ratings for violent content.  If, within a year, publishers and authors had not come up with a rating system for book violence, a federal agency would be empowered to craft guidelines on their behalf.  Publishers would be required to attach a rating to all the books they published.  No one would pretend for a moment that such a system was voluntary.

Forbidden Fruit:  When Prohibition Increases the Harm It Is Supposed to Reduce
.  An exhaustive essay on the misguided and farcical attempts of lawgivers to keep people from temptation.

  Originally, a license was required for Citizens' Band radio, but masses of people simply broke the law and operated without a license until the FCC was forced to bow to reality.  Citizens' Band radio became popular because of widespread resistance to another example of regulatory overreach:  the unpopular 55-mile-per-hour speed limit.

One Bad Limit
:  I'm all in favor of limits, especially term limits.  But some limits are bad.  For example, the 55-mile-an-hour federal speed limit.  It was always a dubious claim that it made the highways safer.  Most drivers, no matter how law-abiding, didn't really abide by the 55 mph limit.  What they did was worry about whether there was a cop around.

Safe at any speed in Virginia
.  The most concrete achievement in the early days of the Republican congressional takeover of 1995 was, arguably, the elimination of the hated 55 mph national speed limit.  Millions across the country experienced firsthand the benefit of moving beyond the "Washington knows best" mentality that had gripped transportation policy since the 1970s.

None Dare Call It Fascism
.  If problems were actually solved, all these government programs and bureaucrats wouldn't be needed.  Thus, the crises must be perpetual, never solved, always requiring another program, another intervention, more taxpayers' money, more authorities granted, etc.  The game is not to solve the problems but to use them to control people through regulations and subsidies, increasing their dependency upon the people writing and enforcing the regulations and providing the handouts.  People who are dependent upon you are people who vote for you.

It's Time to Roast the Pig
.  The CPSC (US Consumer Product Safety Commission) created in 1972 by Congress, received a budget of $55,200,000 for the year of 2002.  The CPSC spends its time on important issues like having 8,000 "Bottle Cap Bear" key chains recalled because of the possible "choking hazard to young children."  This is typical government; they don't think you are capable of deciding what is safe and what isn't for your own children.

FTC Outlaws Freedom in the Ice Cream Market
.  The FTC is taking what should be a free bargaining process between producer and consumer and is stacking it in favor of the consumer.  Why are people who make ice cream less entitled to equal protection under the law than people who eat ice cream?

Same story:  Life, Liberty, and the Bureau of Competition:  The Federal Trade Commission set a new low when it announced plans to block a merger between Nestle Holdings, Inc. and Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream, Inc., two of the world's largest ice cream makers.

The Rise of the Nanny State
  examines the origins, goals, and activities of the modern consumer movement — a movement that, in the words of Tom Holt, "does not address the needs of consumers.  Instead, it serves the bureaucratic interests of governing elites and the ideological and organizational interests of the movement itself."

 Excellent:   We made it.  Whenever someone says that this or that government program is absolutely necessary, I always wonder, "What did people do and how did they survive before the program?"

The Feds Want To Bus Everyone In Yosemite
.  The National Park Service wants to make your family vacation a huge hassle by forcing you to take a bus to Yosemite.

California Makes Cars Less Affordable
:  California today became the first state in the nation to restrict automobile emissions of carbon dioxide, the same gas humans exhale.  The auto industry pointed out, to no avail, that the measure would make cars even more expensive and pressure people to buy death traps they don't feel safe driving.

Q: What should I do if I find a rock in a bag of potatoes?
A: Simply return the rock to your grocer, who will give you the rock's weight in potatoes.
— from a USDA booklet, "How to Buy Potatoes"   
quoted in Stupid Quotations    

Protecting Us Out of Our Rights
:  It is nobody's business whether I eat eggs sunny side up, drive without wearing seat belts or pig out on hamburgers and French fries.

Protecting Us Out of Our Rights - Part II
:  Some New Jersey localities have a ban on people pumping their own gasoline.  Policemen issue citations for driving without a seatbelt.  By law, new cars must be equipped with air bags.  Federal law mandates that all new toilets flush using a paltry 1.6 gallons of water.

The Government Says You're Fat
.  As if the government isn't trying to control every aspect of your life, it has now launched a program to determine what and how much you eat.

States consider raising beer taxes to help balance the budget
:  With cash tight and bills looming, legislators around the country are turning to neighborhood pubs to help them drown their sorrows:  At least 19 states are considering plans to boost beer taxes.

The Sin of "Sin Taxes"
:  Taxation is not a proper venue for government officials to engage in half-baked social engineering programs.  One of the major impediments towards true tax reform in this country is the inability of almost all politicians — Democrats and Republicans alike — to divorce themselves from the use of tax policy to indulge their personal whims.

Big Nanny Takes a Bath
:  How parents bathe their children should be no one's business — and no one else's responsibility — but their own.  But thanks to pressure from Big Nanny liberals like New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, the government has torn down the shower curtain and belly-flopped into our bathwater.  In an attempt to rescue inattentive parents from themselves and their children, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) voted unanimously last week [mid-2001] to regulate baby-bath seats.

Death by Regulation
:  Many government programs increase the death rate among certain groups of people, although it often takes careful statistical analysis to reveal the connection.  Regulations motivated by political correctness are killing Americans.  It's time to face this reality and scrap the regulations.  People should be allowed to choose which risks they wish to assume, which risks to protect themselves against, and how best to do it.

The Crisis du Jour:  Phoneless in America!  Texas is #1 in phonelessness.

Do American Voters Need Speech Nannies?
  Many incumbent members of Congress are eager to provide America's voters with a new government service — a federal law to protect them from messages about politicians that may "manipulate" simple-minded voters, especially those communications that are "negative" in tone, or that will result in "unhealthy" debate.

Personal Health and Safety:  Whose Business Is It?
  Whose business is it if I don't adequately plan for retirement or save money for my child's education?  If I don't wear a seatbelt while driving or a helmet while biking, whose business is it?

The Moon opens for business
:  The first private Moon landing has finally been given the green light by the US government.

 Editor's Note:   What unmitigated audacity!  The US government presumes to own the Moon.  Why stop there?  Why not just print a nice-looking deed and sell the Moon to the highest bidder?  Or how about raising money by selling lunar acreage?

The "For Your Own Good" Police Are Coming ... After You
.  By turning away from rule of law and constitutional government, Americans are following in the footsteps of the decent Germans, who during the 1920s and '30s built the Trojan Horse that enabled Hitler to take over.

How Many Gun Laws Are There? Study Disputes 20,000 Number
.  Why pass more gun laws, when there are 20,000 of them on the books that should be enforced?  Many gun owners use that argument in the effort to stop gun-control groups from infringing on their Second Amendment rights.

Paved With Good Intentions
: Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has introduced Federal legislation that would prohibit schools from selling soft drinks or "foods of minimal nutritional value" (read: snacks) during times when breakfast and lunch are served.  It would also give the US Department of Agriculture the power to ban sodas and snacks outright on school grounds.

The Green Taliban Of America
:  The hubris of the Greens has allowed them to dictate to everyone just how we should conduct our lives for decades.  That is why you can't build a home, an office building, a factory, a hospital or a school, without an "environmental" study.  That is why Americans have been steadily deprived of pesticides, many used safely for decades, to protect us against the diseases spread by insect and rodent pests.  That's why millions of acres of our national forests burned this year because Greens won't let them be managed through selective logging or to allow roads to be built into those forests.  The list goes on and on because the Greens have been responsible for one third of every law and regulation in the Federal Register today.

Totally Committed
:  What would we do without the California Legislature?  How could we survive without the guidance of environmentalists?  Oh how our lives would be meaningless without the Legislature taking care of our every need.  Who else can protect us from ourselves?

Cell Phone Regulation Federalizes Traffic Law
:  Just when you thought there was nothing left for Congress to federalize, along comes a bill by Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-NY, and Sen. Jon Corzine, D-NJ, that would regulate how Americans use their cell phones while driving.  Apparently no human action is too small or parochial for the federal government to police.  So now Congress wants to play the role of local traffic cop, too.

California Governor Signs Bill Banning Hand-Held Cell Phones While Driving
.  The measure will take effect July 1st, 2008 and will make it an infraction to use a hand-held cell phone while driving except to make a call to an emergency service provider.  A first offense will be punishable by a $20 fine.  Subsequent violations will carry $50 fines.  It's similar to laws in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Washington DC. The Editor says... It is unfortunate that so many cell phone users have made this kind of legislation necessary through their irresponsibility and narcissism.  But it is also worth noting that laws of this sort have been created first in the "blue" states, where Democrats predominate.

The War on Margarine
:  This year marks the 116th anniversary of the Federal Margarine Act of 1886, part of an 80-year war on butter's toughest competitor.  The Act was the capstone of a movement to prevent consumers from enjoying the cheaper spread, which was introduced in 1874.

They Messed With Texas
:  The fight to regulate personal food choices has infected Texas.  That state, always rightly proud of its spirit of self-determination and independence, will now restrict sales of so-called "junk foods" at all public schools, usurping the role of parents in deciding what their children should and should not eat.

Zero-Tolerance Policy Applied to Snacks
:  Controlling kids has become a national priority for schools.  Zero tolerance is the catch phrase for no lenience on students found with drugs, guns, and now candy and soft drinks.

Foreign Policy and Foreign Wars
:  Once a government sets itself the task of trying to rectify the errors and choices of its own citizens, it soon begins sliding down a slippery slope in which the end result is state supervision and regulation of all of its citizens' activities, and all in the name of a higher "social good."

The people who tried to mandate 1.6 gallon toilets are now pushing politically correct washing machines:  The Libertarian Party says the Department of Energy wants to make American consumers pay up to $800 more for new "environmentally friendly" washing machines that may not work as well as older models.

Tell Big Brother To Get Out Of Our Washing Machines
:  In a back room deal without consumers or taxpayers present, the Clinton-Gore environmentalists conspired with industry to mandate the manufacture of only front-loading, instead of top-loading, washing machines.  The mandate requires elimination of the agitator which is the element that washes our clothes.  Front-loading washers are available now but they make up less than 12 percent of sales.  So Big Brother's attitude is, let's force people to buy front-loading washers.

US Rep. Joe Knollenberg fights 1.6 gallon toilets

Flush Congress
.  Every time I flush the toilet, I think of Congress.  Well, that's not quite right.  Every time I have to flush twice, I think of Congress.  It's been over a decade now that Americans have had to put up with ineffective toilets, toilets that don't flush properly.  In 1992, supposedly to save water, Congress mandated that all newly manufactured home toilets flush with less water than the industry had previously set as standard.  Instead of flushing with over three gallons of rushing water, toilets were mandated to flush with no more than 1.6 gallons.  And, with this, American frustration with their toilets began in earnest.

Should the Government Choose What Kind of Car You Should Drive?
  As a simple matter of personal freedom and consumer choice, it should not be up to the government to determine how many miles my car can travel on a gallon of gasoline.

Too Much Safety?
  You can't put a price on human life.  That's a frequently heard response to safety issues, often accompanied by:  If it saves one life, it's worth it.  Walter Williams questions this assumption.

The Smoking Section:

I've never smoked a cigarette in my life, and I certainly would not recommend cigarettes to anyone -- even someone who is looking for a costly, destructive and deadly habit.  Nevertheless, tobacco is a legal product.  It is one of this country's major exports.  The decision to light up a cigarette is voluntary, at least at first.  After that, of course, it becomes a matter of addiction.

Of course
it's a nasty, smelly habit.  Even the smokers themselves will say so.  But passing laws that prohibit smoking is, in my opinion, just a method used by public officials to flex their muscles and get the public used to accepting more and more intrusive regulations.  Just as with seat belt laws, it's not about public health and safety, it's about control.  It's also about bureaucrats who need to find something to do, in order to perpetuate their jobs.

And it's also about taxes.

Americans Have Become Compliant
.  Tobacco zealots started out with "reasonable" demands, such as the surgeon general's warning on cigarette packs.  Then they demanded nonsmoking sections on airplanes.  Emboldened by that success, they demanded no smoking at all on airplanes and then airports and then restaurants and then workplaces — all in the name of health.  Seeing the compliant nature of smokers, they've moved to ban smoking on beaches, in parks and on sidewalks in some cities.  Now they're calling for higher health insurance premiums for smokers. Buckle up laws were just the beginning. Unsafe at Any Smoke.  A study just released by the CDC characterizes second-hand smoke as the latest threat to "safety" — and of course, "the children."  It urges what you'd expect:  That it be made illegal to smoke in your own car, at least, if "the children" are present and possibly even if they're not.  For as any smoker knows — as anyone who has shopped for used cars knows — any car that has been smoked in retains the essence of the Marlboro Man for years, even decades after the last butt was crumpled in the ashtray.

Rules to spare kids smoky cars urged
.  In the first national estimate of its kind, a report from government researchers says more than 1 in 5 high school students and middle schoolers ride in cars while others are smoking. The Editor says... Any time the government wants to take away another little piece of your freedom, it is done "for the children".  You will no longer be free to smoke or not smoke in your own car, because Big Brother owns your kids.  Here's a simpler solution:  Why not just require smoking drivers to roll down the windows?

President Obama's top 10 constitutional violations
.  [#9] Graphic tobacco warnings:  Late last year, the FDA issued regulations requiring cigarette manufacturers to display graphic warnings on all packs of cigarettes that must cover at least 50% of the packaging and graphically portray tobacco-related illnesses.  These warnings violate the First Amendment because the government is compelling the cigarette manufacturers to discourage their customers from buying their lawful products.

Big Government Gets Ugly
.  The Food and Drug Administration finds it intolerable that despite all the efforts to stamp out smoking — through tobacco taxes, advertising restrictions, educational campaigns and smoking bans — nearly 50 million Americans continue to puff away.  The hope is that repeated assaults with nauseating photos will kill the urge.

FDA warning photos faked
.  Tobacco peddlers will soon be forced to emblazon every package of their product with graphic new warnings that show what the government says will happen to you if you smoke cigarettes. ... There is only one problem with the federal government's great campaign of graphic images aimed at combating the deceit of tobacco companies and rescuing us from our stupid selves.  The images are fabricated.

No More Smoking For Florida Prisoners
.  In an effort to reduce healthcare costs at state prisons the Florida Department of Corrections is moving to make sure their facilities are smoke-free by September. ... "Inmate smoking and second-hand smoking is costing millions in healthcare costs each year," said Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Edwin Buss. The Editor says... It's only a matter of time before this smoking ban faces a court challenge based on the Eighth Amendment.  But in the meantime, it's a step in the right direction, as far as I'm concerned -- not because I'm opposed to other people smoking, but because prisons should be made as uncomfortable as legally possible, so the threat of prison time will act as a deterrent to crime.

Surgeon General Jumps the Shark
.  Let's all thank Surgeon General Regina Benjamin for demonstrating beyond all doubt last week that nannyism is more dangerous than smoking.  The Office of the Surgeon General just released a report claiming that a single puff of a cigarette or a single inhalation of second hand smoke can permanently damage one's health and perhaps lead to death.  Now we know what all those blindfolded condemned men given one last puff as they stood before firing squads really died from. The Editor says... Wow, they must sell some really potent cigarettes in Regina Benjamin's neighborhood.

Tobacco Report Called 'Unscientific and Potentially Unethical'
.  The U.S. Surgeon-General's report that even a single cigarette can harm a person's health is unscientific and potentially unethical, a cigar and pipe trade group says.  According to the report released on Dec. 9 by Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, "there is no risk-free level of exposure to tobacco smoke."  In announcing the report, Benjamin said exposure to tobacco smoke — even occasional smoking or secondhand smoke — "causes immediate damage to your body that can lead to serious illness or death."

Cigarette Warning Labels, Now With More Pictures of Corpses
.  The nanny-state moves into its self-parody phase.  Behold these (very real, I'm afraid) "larger and more noticeable textual warning statements and color graphic images depicting the negative health consequences" of smoking, now being proposed by the Department of Health and Human Services.

The War on Cigarettes
.  [Scroll down]  Just last month in Virginia, for example, a contraband cigarette smuggler pleaded guilty in court of hiring a hit man to murder two people that he suspected of stealing his bootleg cigarettes.  According to media reports, the man's gang was hoping to make a cool $1 million by selling nearly 400,000 cartons of cigarettes in New York City — where taxes alone on a pack of smokes are $4.25.  Amazingly, New York lawmakers are seeking to add another $1 to this already obscene amount, an increase which will only fuel additional bootlegging — and additional violence.

City Council Readies New Smoking Ban
.  Attention Times Square denizens and those out for a stroll in Central Park:  It will soon be time to put out your smokes — forever.  The New York City Council is slated Wednesday afternoon [2/2/2011] to approve a ban on smoking in parks, beaches, marinas, boardwalks and pedestrian plazas like Times Square. This could happen here, too. Doctors banned from smoking.  Doctors in the Philippines have been banned from smoking by the country's medical association to make sure they set a good example to their patients, the group said on Saturday [9/25/2010].

Assembly approves smoking ban at state parks and beaches
.  State lawmakers adopted one of the nation's most far-reaching regulations of tobacco use Monday, approving a bill to outlaw smoking at 278 state parks and beaches.  Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has not said publicly whether he will sign the measure, which would allow a fine of up to $100 for smoking at a state beach or in a designated section of a state park.  Smoking would still be allowed in many parking lots and campgrounds.

Mayor Bloomberg vows to snuff out smoking in parks, beaches
.  Mayor Bloomberg says he's pushing ahead with a controversial plan to ban smoking at city parks and beaches, after earlier saying it needed more study. The Editor says... You can't smoke on the beach?  Have you ever been to a beach where the air was so stuffy that you could smell someone else's cigarette?  Every time I've been to the beach in the last 40 years, there has been plenty of fresh air.  Maybe New York beaches are different.

Senate Passes FDA Tobacco Law
.  The Senate overwhelmingly passed historic legislation Thursday [6/11/2009] that puts the tobacco industry under the regulation of the Food and Drug Administration.  Companies are weighing the impact of the bill, which they say also puts severe, perhaps unconstitutional, restrictions on advertising and packaging.

Cigarette Control and Thought Control
.  What motivates advocates of stricter tobacco regulation is the unassailable assurance that they are not only completely right but that their opponents are a) wrong and b) evil.  This invigorating certitude makes it possible to justify almost anything that punishes cigarette companies, even if it does no actual good — or does actual harm.  One of the main purposes of the new law is to reduce the number of smokers in the name of improving "public health."  This is a skillful use of language to confuse rather than enlighten.

Tobacco and the Rule of Law
:  On the one hand, DOJ promoted its novel lawsuit against cigarette makers.  On the other hand, the same watchdog agency stood idly by while tobacco companies and state attorneys general teamed up to violate the antitrust laws.  The multistate tobacco settlement, a cunning and deceitful bargain between the industry and the states, allows the tobacco giants to monopolize cigarette sales and foist the cost onto smokers.

Anti-Tobacco Crusaders Boldly Go into Smokers' Homes
.  During Prohibition, making and selling liquor was illegal, but drinking it was not.  With tobacco, we are moving toward the opposite situation, where it will be legal to make and sell cigarettes but not to smoke them.

Congress Aims to Put Out Cigarettes
.  Congress is taking new whacks at the cigarette industry, banning tobacco sales in Senate buildings and — more importantly — seeking a significant federal tax increase on cigarettes.  The industry, once a lobbying behemoth, is quietly working against the tax bill.  But it lacks the clout it once wielded.

Bill to Regulate Tobacco Moves Forward
.  The House Energy and Commerce Committee approved a bill Wednesday [4/2/2008] that would give the Food and Drug Administration sweeping regulatory authority over the tobacco industry, clearing the way for a House floor vote on the legislation, which has long been sought by anti-tobacco activists.  If adopted, the bill is expected to dramatically reduce tobacco marketing, to ban many flavored cigarettes, and to prohibit the labeling of cigarettes as "light" or "low-tar."

FDA-Approved Cancer Sticks
.  A consumer protection bill that reduced competition, raised prices, restricted choice, blocked information, and made products more hazardous could not really be counted as a success.  Yet the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which has broad support in both houses of Congress, promises to do all these things in an effort to discourage consumption.

Cigarette Tax Burnout
.  Politicians in Annapolis are scratching their heads wondering what happened to all those chain smokers who were supposed to help balance Maryland's budget.  Last year the legislature doubled the cigarette tax to $2 a pack to pay for expanded health-care coverage.  Eight months later, cigarette sales have plunged 25% and the state is in fiscal distress again.

Judge Strikes Louisville Smoking Ban
.  When Democrats took control of Congress last January after more than a decade of Republican dominance, their leaders and supporters talked as if anything was possible:  They'd end the Iraq war, boost spending for neglected domestic programs, even roll back some of President Bush's tax cuts.  Nearly a year later, they've confronted a bitter reality.

It's Official — Belmont Bans Smoking In Some Homes
.  Thought to be the first of its kind in California, the ordinance declares secondhand smoke a public nuisance and extends the city's current smoking ban to include multi-unit, multi-story residences.  Though Belmont and some other California cities already restrict smoking in multi-unit common areas, Belmont is the first city to extend secondhand smoke regulation to the inside of individual apartment units.

Phony Science Begets Phony Public Policy
.  Many Americans find tobacco smoke to be a nuisance. … But how successful would anti-smokers have been in a court of law, or public opinion, in achieving the kind of success they've achieved based on tobacco smoke being a nuisance?  A serious public health threat had to be manufactured, and in 1993 the Environmental Protection Agency stepped in to the rescue with their bogus environmental tobacco smoke study that says secondhand tobacco smoke is a class A carcinogen.

Nanny State, USA
.  City governments go from banning smoking in city buildings one day to banning smoking on the sidewalks the next.  Several states are working on bans that prohibit driving while smoking if anyone under 18 is in the car.  There's no question that secondhand smoke is harmful, but where is the appropriate limit for governmental intrusion into an individual's privacy?

Cannabis bigger cancer risk than cigarettes:  study
.  Smoking a joint is equivalent to 20 cigarettes in terms of lung cancer risk, scientists in New Zealand have found, as they warned of an "epidemic" of lung cancers linked to cannabis.  Studies in the past have demonstrated that cannabis can cause cancer, but few have established a strong link between cannabis use and the actual incidence of lung cancer.

Manure drastically reduces development of lung cancer
.  Working with manure can drastically reduce chances of developing lung cancer, scientists have discovered.  Dairy farmers are five times less likely than the general populace to develop the disease, New Scientist magazine reports.  The study found farmers typically breathed in dust that consisted largely of dried manure, and all the bacteria that grew in it.  New Scientist said adults who had a greater exposure to germs than usual might build up a better resistance to bugs, including cancer. I've got a great idea... Why not just put manure in cigarette filters instead of activated charcoal?

Tobacco tax is overtaxation
.  The Legislature's proposal to increase the state's cigarette tax by another 50 cents per carton will give the State of Michigan the dubious honor of having the third highest cigarette tax in the country.  What is even more troubling is that the proposal would increase the tax on cigars, pipe tobacco and chewing tobacco by 100 percent.

Forgetting the Consequences of Totalitarianism
.  Last year Surgeon General Richard Carmona declared there is "no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke."  For effect he added, "I would not allow anyone in my family to stand in a room with someone smoking."  His opinion was supposedly based on 20 years of scientific evidence, and it has been cited as gospel by smoking ban supporters.

Killing the passive smoking debate
.  "Secondhand smoke debate 'over.'"  That's the message from the Surgeon General's office, delivered by a sycophantic media.  The claim is that the science has now overwhelmingly proved that smoke from others' cigarettes can kill you.  Actually, "debate over" simply means:  "If you have your doubts, shut up!"  But you definitely should have doubts over the new Surgeon General's report, a massive 727-page door stop.

See a Smoker in a Non-Smoking Area?  Call 911
.  If you catch someone smoking in a non-smoking area in Omaha, Neb., call the police.  The Omaha Police Department is encouraging city residents to call 911 in the wake of the citywide ban on smoking that went into effect on Oct. 2.

[Is that what the designers of the 9-1-1 system had in mind?]

Anti-smoking Efforts Go Too Far
.  How far has the anti-smoking movement come in just the past four years?  Much further than many of its most ardent activists would have dreamed of in the 1970s, when the notion of smoking bans first surfaced and was met largely with derision. … Of course, as with most limitations on personal freedom, California leads the way.

The Subjection of Smoking
:  Smoking, once a common habit in American society, has become a lightning rod for controversy in recent years.  Smoking sections in restaurants were rare 50 years ago, but now places like New York City have implemented blanket bans for indoor public places.  Some places have even extended bans to outdoor space.

Florida Companies Forbidding Smoking In Private Lives
.  A growing number of companies in Florida are forbidding their workers from smoking not only at work, but also in their private lives.  Westgate Resorts, the largest private employer in Central Florida, has banned smoking and won't budge from a policy of not hiring smokers and firing employees who do smoke.

Smoking ban concerns businesses in D.C.
.  Smokers are being forced out of bars and nightclubs in the District of Columbia beginning Tuesday [1/2/2007], and some businesses are worried about losing dollars to Virginia, which has strong ties to tobacco.  "A lot of people are just going to drive closer to home (in Virginia)," said Jody Taylor, manager of the Black Rooster Pub in downtown Washington.  "For a lot of people, it's hard to have that cold beer in one hand without a cigarette in the other."

The Last Gasp of a Smoke-Filled Room?
  When the District goes smoke-free Jan. 2, at least one nicotine haven will remain:  the U.S. Capitol.  Lawmakers, several of whom enjoy a good cigar, have exempted themselves from the city's smoking ban, not to mention rules that forbid lighting up in federal buildings across the country.  But winds of change may be blowing on the Hill.

The Lynching of Big Tobacco
.  The Florida Supreme Court is about to render final judgment in the Engle case, which ordered tobacco companies to pay $165 billion in immediate, punitive damages in the name of their alleged crimes against 700,000 Florida smokers.

Coalition Appeals Colorado Smoking Ban
.  A coalition of businesses and an El Paso County tavern owner today [11/22/2006] filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in their challenge to the constitutionality of Colorado's "Clean Indoor Air Act."  In October, a Colorado federal district court upheld the law's constitutionality.

Ban smokers from some surgery, says doctor
.  It is known to cause more heart complications, impair tissue healing and result in more post-operative infections.  Now a doctor is pushing for smoking to be a criterion that eliminates people from access to some elective surgery.

Some hospitals won't let smokers light up anywhere on grounds
.  Nationwide, hospitals are snuffing out tobacco on their campuses, spurred in part by state and local laws restricting the habit.  Half of King County's major hospitals have joined the movement.  Swedish Medical Center, the state's largest health-care provider, went smoke-free two weeks ago.  Valley Medical Center in Renton did so in March.  Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle was one of the first to ban smoking entirely, acting in 1994.

Propaganda from the Surgeon General
.  According to U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona, … only smoke-free buildings and public places "truly" protect us from the hazard of breathing in other people's tobacco smoke.  Separating smokers from nonsmokers and requiring air filtration systems are not enough.  Is this twenty-first century compassion or just another case of junk science run amok?

Is this the end of English literature?
  What do the following have in common:  Oscar Wilde, Henry James, Joseph Conrad, Virginia Woolf, T S Eliot, W B Yeats, Charles Dickens, William Makepeace Thackeray, Evelyn Waugh, Philip Larkin and Kingsley Amis?  The answer is, of course, that if they were to come back to life in Gordon Brown's Britain and wanted to go out to their club, or a restaurant or cafe, they would not be allowed to indulge in a habit which sustained them during the most creative phases of their lives.

Cigarette Nazi update
:  Since Carnival Cruise Lines banned smoking on its "Paradise" ship, 14 passengers and one employee have been put off at the nearest port.  One of the passengers was put off the ship after the steward simply found a pack of cigarettes.  According to Carnival, she was guilty of possession.

Laws prohibit smoking around children
.  Anti-tobacco forces are opening a new front in the war against smoking by banning it in private places such as homes and cars when children are present.  Starting Jan. 1, Texas will restrict smoking in foster parents' homes at all times and in cars when children are present, says Darrell Azar of the Department of Family and Protective Services.  Vermont, Washington and other states and counties already prohibit foster parents from smoking around children in their homes and cars.

[Awwww … "It's for the children" after all.  Who could be against that?  Once again, sentimental rhetoric prevails against individual liberty and personal responsibility.]

The surgeon general hypes the hazards of secondhand smoke
.  According to Surgeon General Richard Carmona, secondhand smoke is so dangerous that you'd be better off if you stopped going to smoky bars and started smoking instead.

The Hazards of a Smoke-Free Environment
:  The real threat is not cigarettes but the unfettered power of government.

Belgium can now picture the worst from smoking
.  Heavily taxed by governments, barred from smoking in offices, bars, restaurants and other public spaces, and now forced to carry around small anti-smoking billboards, European smokers are not happy.

Charge smokers for right to buy cigarettes
.  Smokers should be forced to apply for an annual £200 licence in order to purchase cigarettes, a Government advisor has suggested.  The scheme would ensure smokers had to make a conscious decision to continue the habit and require people to become "registered addicts".

Tobacco and firearms:  Preserving liberty in NH
.  Two issues sure to come up in the next legislative session are cigarette smoking and self-defense.  Really, they are two aspects of one larger issue:  personal freedom.  The petty tyrants who love to dictate the personal behavior of others nearly succeeded in banning smoking in all restaurants and bars in New Hampshire this past legislative session.  Make no mistake, this is not a health issue.  It's about control of private property.

A Secondhand Scare Campaign
:  Secondhand smoke is a dramatically diluted substance compared to what active smokers breathe in.  Spending an hour in a typical bar back in the 1970s was the equivalent of smoking only .004 cigarettes.  The level of smoke contaminants in today's bars is much lower, and several orders of magnitude less than OSHA indoor air quality standards.

Can we just cut to the chase about the great Baltimore smoking-ban debate of 2006?
  City Hall chambers were packed last week — packed, mind you — with hundreds of folks dying to weigh in on the topic of whether the City Council should ban smoking in restaurants and bars.  Many opposed the ban, claiming that some owners of bars and restaurants might suffer a loss of business.  Proponents of the bill pointed out the hazards of secondhand smoke.  But this issue isn't about secondhand smoke.  It's about firsthand stink.

Why I smoke (cigars)
.  There are few personal confessions more likely to alienate many Americans than to admit to smoking.  Singles ads are filled with people who will never even go on a first date with someone who smokes.  I strongly suspect that more women would date a millionaire who earned his money disreputably than a millionaire who smoked.

California City Says Secondhand Smoke is a Nuisance
.  Smokers, beware:  This bedroom community near San Francisco may soon put you in the same category as rodents, junk cars and weeds.

Anti-Tobacco Zealots
:  Tobacco executives have been accused of lying to Congress about their knowledge of tobacco's addictive nature.  Scientists have been analyzing the addictive qualities of nicotine since the late 1800s.  Hundreds of medical studies have shown nicotine to be addictive.  For a congressman to ask a tobacco company executive whether nicotine is addictive is just as intelligent as that congressman asking an astrophysicist whether the Earth revolves around the sun.  Tobacco executives fear liability suits and, therefore, deny addiction.

Tobacco foes to renew push for smoking ban
.  Anti-smoking advocates plan to renew their push in the Oregon Legislature for a ban on smoking in bars and taverns.

Menu madness
:  In the early stages of the anti-tobacco campaign, there were calls for "reasonable" measures such as nonsmoking sections on airplanes and health warnings on cigarette packs.  In the 1970s, no one would have ever believed such measures would have evolved into today's level of attack on smokers, which includes confiscatory cigarette taxes and bans on outdoor smoking.

A nation of sheeple
.  They started out calling for reasonable actions like no-smoking sections on airplanes.  Then it progressed to no smoking on airplanes altogether, then private establishments such as restaurants and businesses.  Emboldened by the timidity of smokers, in some jurisdictions there are ordinances banning smoking in outdoor places such as beaches and parks.  Then there are seatbelt and helmet laws that have sometimes been zealously enforced through the use of night vision goggles.  On top of this, Americans accept government edicts on where your child may ride in your car.

Mandatory helmets rejected by motorcyclists
.  They came by the hundreds Sunday afternoon [10/7/2007] to the Statehouse, on Harleys and Hondas, wearing jeans and leather, young and old, male and female, with one message for lawmakers:  Don't mandate helmets for adults.  "It's not the helmet we oppose," Jeff Coleman, state coordinator pro tem for ABATE, a motorcycle advocacy group, told those seated on the Statehouse steps, to sustained applause.  "It's the freedom of choice we defend."

.  The government is only too eager to attempt to regulate people's private personal decisions.  A few years ago, Montgomery County, Md. considered a law that would have made it illegal to smoke in your own home if neighbors complained.  And several states, including New York and California, have outlawed smoking in bars and restaurants.

U.S. Citizens Must Be Protected, Controlled, Regulated, And Intimidated For Their Own Good
.  The United States realizes that a citizen must be protected whether he wants to be or not—controlled, regulated, and intimidated in every aspect of everything he does, for his own good.  He must not be permitted to ride a bicycle without a helmet, smoke if he chooses, or go to a bar where smoking is permitted.  He cannot be trusted to run his life.

NY Mulls Extending Smoking Ban to Cars as Protests Mount
.  New York lawmakers are considering extending the state smoking ban to private automobiles even though smokers and bar and restaurant owners recently took to the streets to demonstrate against it.

Hill Eyes National Cig Curb
.  Hillary Clinton lavished praise on New York City's tough anti-smoking laws yesterday — and said she supports smoking bans in public places across the country.  Asked at an Iowa forum on cancer whether banning smoking in public places would be good for America, Clinton replied, "Well, personally, I think so.  And that's what a lot of local communities and states are starting to do." In Sweden... Woman banned from smoking in her own garden.  The Environmental Court in Växjö has banned a woman from smoking in her own garden, Sydsvenkan reports.  The 49-year-old single mother is enraged by the decision but says that she will obey the ruling to avoid having to pay a fine.

Officials in California Town Say Smoking Ban Is Working
.  Ten weeks after they enacted the most draconian smoking ban in the nation, city officials in Calabasas, Calif., say the rules are having the desired impact — reducing exposure to the secondhand smoke that can accumulate when smokers congregate outdoors and near building entrances.

Statement on the NIH 'Consensus' Report on Tobacco Harm Reduction
:  "The National Institutes of Health conference statement on tobacco use is only eight pages long, followed by another nine pages listing the M.D.s, M.P.H.s, R.N.s, etc. who participated in the process.  The report is typical government work, a statement of politically determined objectives followed by a superficial review of programs and research, ending with a call for 'more research,' 'more effective strategies,' 'more collaboration,' etc. … In short, this report is a virtually complete whitewash of the evidence and even the debate taking place on the use of smokeless tobacco products as smoking cessation aids.  All the distinguished scientists and doctors whose names appear on the document ought to be ashamed of themselves."

Thanks, but no thanks
.  The latest assault on common sense comes from no less than New York Assemblyman Alexander Grannis.  The Manhattan Democrat is a perfectly nice guy, with what seems a perfectly nice idea:  ban smoking in cars in which there are children. Editor's note: I do not recommend the use of tobacco; however, the following article provides an interesting overview of the history of tobacco use.  Evidently the recreational use of tobacco wasn't known to cause lung cancer and other diseases until matchbooks and lighters became available and people started smoking constantly.

WHO Document Relies on Half-Truths and Omissions
.  In recognition of World No Tobacco Day, May 31, 2006, the World Health Organization (WHO) published a lengthy document titled "Tobacco:  Deadly in Any Form or Disguise."  The publication misleads at least as much as it informs, and distorting the health risks of various modes of tobacco usage may cause more harm than it prevents.

Smoke-free crusaders may now be at your door
.  Fresh from their success winning a statewide smoking ban in bars and restaurants, Minnesota's anti-smoking advocates are ready to zero in on where you live.  One anti-smoking group will kick-start a campaign this week to encourage landlords to outlaw smoking in their buildings.

House Votes to Have FDA Regulate Tobacco
.  The bill doesn't give the FDA power to ban existing tobacco products but gives the agency power to restrict sales on safety grounds.  The FDA also would be able to stop companies from touting their brands as "low tar" and "mild" and restrict advertising to plain black-and-white ads.

A Bogus 'Anti-Cigarette' Bill
.  A law ordering the Food and Drug Administration to regulate cigarettes is moving through Congress — but is it truly good for public health?  Hint:  Cigarette maker Altria (formerly Philip Morris) is one of the bill's strongest supporters.  Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) has already gotten the measure passed in the House; Sen. Ted Kennedy is on track to get it through the Senate soon.

Not Even Tobacco Is Safe
.  The government's efforts to control and minimize tobacco could pick up more steam and begin to resemble elements of outright prohibition.

Et Tu, Big Business?
  This week, Philip Morris, the biggest of the Big Tobacco companies, supported and won passage of an "anti-tobacco" bill that will make it easier for Philip Morris (a subsidiary of Altria) to sell cigarettes by making it harder for smaller, more innovative firms to compete.  One way it will do that is by curtailing the First Amendment rights of tobacco companies, making it harder to advertise their products (including healthier alternatives to normal cigarettes).  Philip Morris, maker of Marlboro and other established brands, already controls 50 percent of the market.  That's why it lobbied government to keep it that way.

Sweet Lies About Kids and Smoking
.  At least since 1994, when seven tobacco executives testified before Congress that they didn't think cigarettes were addictive, the public has not put great trust in those who sell carcinogens for a living.  What Americans may not realize is that they also shouldn't believe the people who are supposed to protect us from tobacco.  When it comes to cigarettes, the federal government can blow smoke with the best of them.

Tobacco Truth Gets Smoked
.  Any smoker who gives up cigarettes for snuff is clearly doing his or her body a favor.  That's because most of the danger from tobacco actually comes from setting it afire and inhaling the smoke.  Omitting that step makes a huge difference. The Editor says... Let me reiterate that The Editor is not now, nor has he ever been, a cigarette smoker.  The Editor finds "smokeless tobacco to be every bit as disgusting and low-class as ordinary cigarettes, and does not recommend either one.  Nevertheless, both are legal products, and if there are self-destructive consumers waiting in line to buy these addictive products, the fools should be allowed to purchase them.

Smoking Ban Health Miracle Is a Myth
.  Restrictions on smoking around the world are claimed to have had a dramatic effect on heart attack rates.  It's not true.

Winston Churchill's cigar airbrushed from picture
.  In the well-known original image, Churchill makes a "V" shaped symbol with his fingers — while gripping a cigar in the corner of his mouth.  But in a reproduction of the picture, hanging over the main entrance to a London museum celebrating the wartime leader, he has been made into a non-smoker through the use of image-altering techniques. The Editor says... Of course, there was no literal airbrush used in this process.  It's an anachronism, like sending someone a carbon copy of an email message.

NYC to try banning smoking in parks and beaches
.  New York City is pursuing a tough new policy that would shoo smokers out of public parks, beaches and even the heart of Times Square -- one of the most ambitious outdoor anti-tobacco efforts in the nation.

Another page has information about the use of taxes to discourage smoking, or at least to take advantage of the people who are addicted to tobacco.

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.  It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies.  The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
— C. S. Lewis   

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