The Improper Role of Government:
Your  Overprotective  Nanny

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.

The environmental lobbyists insist that we use fluorescent bulbs, whether we like them or not.

You can't be trusted to make your own choices, because liberals think you're stupid.



Our Government Spends Billions Promoting Itself.  Of course they do so under the cover of "public service."  In fact, the most recent data I could find was from Breitbart in 2015.  The report, obtained from OpentheBooks.com, states that the government spends, or wastes, $4.34 billion on public relations.  That was two years ago. [...] Much of that money spent promoting itself is via the Ad Council.  We've all heard and seen those wonderfully inspiring & heartfelt radio & TV ads.  They promote ways to help us manage our lives — because we can't manage on our own.

Mrs. Obama, We Are Not Your Kids.  Like many parents who are suddenly shocked at their child's teenage rebellion, Michelle Obama appears surprised to learn that her kids (the American public) have interests and ideas very different from her own.  For instance, some of her "kids" genuinely disliked being told how to eat and live.  Some bristled at having their choices limited and being forcefully nudged to eat this way or that.  Many balked when government bureaucrats told them how to parent their own kids; they slammed the door on all the unsolicited advice about their personal choices.  In fact, most Americans don't like the federal government treating them like children at all.

Why Is the Government Telling Us How to Raise Our Kids?  The headline says it all:  "Proposed Bill Would Expand Parents' Rights, but Critics Say It Goes Too Far."  What exactly is too far when it comes to parents' rights?  In the case of this story from Fort Worth, Texas, it means that "critics" think parents shouldn't have the right to know what their children are doing at school.  Opposing this belief is Texas state senator Konni Burton, who authored the legislation.  She believes that parents should be allowed access to their kids' personal information, rather than protecting their child's alleged right to privacy.  The fact that legislation is necessary to correct the imbalance between parents' rights and the separate, independent rights of their minor children is one of the defining characteristics of our current age, one in which the government at all levels has become involved in the private lives of families, dictating child-rearing standards and penalizing parents who do not follow the rules.

The feds are killing off seesaws now.  So long, seesaws.  You've had your ups and downs over the years, but today you're not only down, you're out.  Like smoking, chainsaw-juggling and dodgeball, you became too much of a public-health menace to be tolerated.  The federal government is knocking seesaws out of existence, according to the New York Times.  That's right, the same people who keep warning us about the childhood obesity epidemic that just happened to come along when childhood "play" was redefined from "running around madly" to "pressing sideways-pointing triangle on screen" are now removing one more piece of movement-based equipment from kids' lives.

The Intellectual Yet Idiot.  [T]hese self-described members of the "intelligenzia" can't find a coconut in Coconut Island, meaning they aren't intelligent enough to define intelligence hence fall into circularities — but their main skill is capacity to pass exams written by people like them. With psychology papers replicating less than 40%, dietary advice reversing after 30 years of fatphobia, macroeconomic analysis working worse than astrology, the appointment of Bernanke who was less than clueless of the risks, and pharmaceutical trials replicating at best only 1/3 of the time, people are perfectly entitled to rely on their own ancestral instinct and listen to their grandmothers (or Montaigne and such filtered classical knowledge) with a better track record than these policymaking goons.

Nanny State:  OK, everybody's foam toys, out of the pool.  After being absent from this space for a while, San Francisco makes a roaring comeback this week after the city's government passed the nation's most extensive ban on foam products.  The new rules take aim at food trays, disposable coffee cups and packing peanuts.  But all those things have been banned by other governments in other cities, so the progressive elites on the San Francisco City Council had to go one step farther to re-take their rightful place at the top of the Nanny State rankings.  So they banned pool toys, too.

Guns, gorillas and moon missions.  Once upon a time it was understood that a certain degree of skill was necessary to survive upon the earth and the role of society was provide people with those skills.  Today the emphasis is on reducing every possible source of danger so that people with greatly reduced skills can safely live upon it.  What may be unrecognized in the shift is the degree to which this supposed idiot proofing may contribute to actually increasing the total hazard.  By moving the burden of safe operation away from the operator almost entirely to the product advocates may be inadvertently creating greater dangers.

Now everyone is a gorilla expert.  [Scroll down]  An adult male silverback gorilla has one job, to protect his group.  He does this by bluffing or intimidating anything that he feels threatened by. [...] I keep hearing that the Gorilla was trying to protect the boy.  I do not find this to be true.  Harambe reaches for the boys hands and arms, but only to position the child better for his own displaying purposes.  Males do very elaborate displays when highly agitated, slamming and dragging things about.  Typically they would drag large branches, barrels and heavy weighted balls around to make as much noise as possible.  Not in an effort to hurt anyone or anything (usually) but just to intimidate.  It was clear to me that he was reacting to the screams coming from the gathering crowd.  Harambe was most likely not going to separate himself from that child without seriously hurting him first (again due to mere size and strength, not malicious intent).

Michelle Obama wins food fight.  Michelle Obama scored a major victory in her nutrition label crusade on Friday [5/20/2016].  In a major overhaul that has been years in the making, labels on packaged foods will now feature calories listed in bigger and bolder type, a new line for 'Added Sugars', and serving sizes that are more accurate and uniform among similar products.  The changes were proposed by the Food and Drug Administration two years ago and are the first major update of the labels since their creation in 1994.  The labels are now found on over 800,000 foods.

First Lady Michelle Obama: 'So Many Communities Are Becoming Play Deserts'.  At a summit by the Aspen Institute's Project Play, first lady Michelle Obama said Tuesday [5/17/2016] that some U.S. communities are "play deserts," because they don't have sufficient opportunities for kids to participate in sports and other outdoor activities, compared to wealthy communities.  "So many communities are becoming play deserts, but in wealthy communities, there is a wealth of resources.  You can be in field hockey, or you can learn how to swim.  There are aquatic centers and — I've seen the difference.  The disparities are amazing to me," she said.

The Editor says...
That's right, Michelle.  Lots of nice things happen in "wealthy communities" that don't happen in the slums.  C'est la vie.

Obama's true-life 'nanny' state.  As past is prologue, flash back to February of 2008. Way back then — even before Mr. Obama's first election — Michelle Obama said of her hubby, "Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed." [...] In retrospect of a more than seven transpired years of a largely dictatorial and ultra-constitutional ("I have a pen, I have a phone") presidency, this nebulous and foreboding nugget is now as clear as glass.  Mr. Obama's totalitarian promise of interference in the lives of average private citizens extends to truly remarkable and unprecedented lengths.

$10 Mil to End "Diaper Disparity" after Free Diaper Laws Fail Twice in Congress.  The multi-million-dollar initiative is being promoted by the White House as essential to eradicate a national "diaper divide" and the goal is to abolish "diaper disparity" by expanding access to affordable diapers for America's poorest families.  Behind this high-priced mission is Cecilia Muñoz, the White House Domestic Policy Director.  A renowned open borders lobbyist in Washington D.C., Muñoz was vice president of National Council of La Raza (NCLR) before Obama brought her on as White House Director of Intergovernmental Affairs.  A few years later the president promoted her to the more powerful and prestigious post of top advisor on domestic issues.  Muñoz wields tremendous power, coordinating the policy-making process and supervising the execution of domestic policy in the White House.  If she wants Uncle Sam to give poor families free diapers, it's safe to bet that it will happen even if Congress has twice nixed the scandalous idea.

House votes to ease calorie disclosure rules for pizzerias, delis, grocers.  The House voted Friday [2/12/2016] to make it easier for you to avoid the harsh truth of how many calories you're devouring as you scarf down that pizza.  House members voted 266-144 to gut a proposed Food and Drug Administration rule requiring chain pizzerias, delis, and convenience stores to list the calorie content of their meals on menus or menu boards prominently displayed on the premises.  Instead, takeout restaurants and grocers could choose to disclose calories only on their websites.  The White House opposes the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act, saying it will leave Americans — who consume a third of their calories away from home — with less information to make healthy choices.

The Editor says...
Common sense, indeed.  Common sense will tell you that if your goal is consistently healthy eating, you don't buy dinner at a pizza parlor or a convenience store, except on rare occasions.  And if you make an occasional excursion to a donut shop or an ice cream store, common sense will tell you that it shouldn't be a routine part of your diet.  You don't need the government to quantify the fat and calorie contents for you, especially since that information is available on demand in most restaurants.

Kentucky lawmaker's bill forces men to get note from wives before purchasing Viagra.  Tired of what she considers the government inserting itself into women's private lives, a Kentucky lawmaker has decided to return the favor.  Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, a Louisville Democrat, has introduced a bill that would force men who want to use erectile dysfunction drugs to jump through a series of humiliating hoops beforehand, such as visiting a doctor twice and getting notes from their wives.  "I want to protect these men from themselves," Marzian, who is a nurse, told the Courier-Journal.

The Editor says...
Here we have a monumental double standard.  It's hard to imagine the audacity required for a Democrat to introduce legislation that acts exclusively against the liberty of men, since it is the Democrats who — when speaking about late-term abortion — constantly say that health decisions should be made exclusively between a woman and her doctor.

'BMI is a waste of time': Measurement is WRONGLY branding millions of fat people unhealthy, experts claim.  The use of Body Mass Index to assess a person's health has led to millions of people incorrectly being labelled overweight or obese, researchers claim.  The measurement has been used by doctors for more than 150 years, but has come under increasing criticism for being a flawed marker of health.

On Guns, Democrats Have Nothing Left But Tears.  A free society can't function if its overriding purpose is to ensure that every single person enjoys a risk-free existence.  If Obama legitimately believes government has an obligation to try and save every single life, he would be calling for a 20-mile-per-hour speed limit on highways and a ban on trampolines, bathtubs, and skateboards.  The world gives us plenty to cry about, but free people innately (or otherwise) understand trade-offs.  We weigh rights, utility, and many other factors before coming to a consensus on policy decisions, even if lives are at risk.  Naturally, this doesn't exclude us from balancing those concerns and making life safer for children — we do it all the time.  But progressive utopianism doesn't offer that balance; it can be perpetual mission creep.

Obama's Gun-Control Plan Includes Gun-Ban For Some Social Security Beneficiaries.  The White House released a fact-sheet Jan. 4 which previews the executive gun control Obama will unveil Tuesday [1/5/2016] and one aspect of the new controls is the inclusion of "information from the Social Security Administration in the background check system about beneficiaries who are prohibited from possessing a firearm."  On July 18 Breitbart News reported on Obama's push to ban gun-possession for Social Security beneficiaries who are believed incapable of handling their own finances.

California will soon have toughest shower head requirements in nation.  The flow of water from shower heads and bathroom faucets in California will be sharply reduced under strict new limits approved Wednesday [8/12/2015] by the state Energy Commission.  Current rules, established in 1994 at the federal level, allow a maximum flow of 2.5 gallons per minute from a shower head.  Effective next July, the limit will fall to 2.0 gallons per minute and will be reduced again in July 2018, to 1.8 gallons, giving California the toughest standard of any U.S. state.

Feds spent $2 million to have wives nag men about chewing tobacco.  Since 2012 the government has spent nearly $2 million on a campaign to get women to nag the men in their lives to quit using smokeless tobacco.  The National Institutes of Health has sponsored a continuing grant for the Oregon Research Institute to "evaluate an innovative approach that encourages male smokeless tobacco users to quit by enlisting the support of their wives/partners, both to lead smokeless tobacco users to engage in treatment and to help them sustain abstinence."

The Trash Man Is Watching You.  Saving the planet can be a messy proposition.  This is indelibly clear to Ron Zanazzo, who spends mornings rifling through garbage bags, looking for envelopes or documents that can identify to whom the trash belongs.  "In the summer, it can be pretty disgusting," he told me, matter-of-factly.  "In the winter it's not as bad because it's not maggot-infested and all of that."  Zanazzo is a city employee in Malden, Massachusetts, which, as a part of a drive to be more environmentally friendly, now charges residents for their trash (one of many approaches that cities are trying out in order to cut down on trash).

How Obama screwed up Hillary's 'mommy party' strategy.  For decades, the Democratic Party has been considered the "mommy party," stressing expansive government as a provider of safety and social welfare.  The "mommy issues," therefore, consisted of health care, the environment, welfare and other poverty programs, education, and Medicare and other programs for the elderly.  The Republican Party, by contrast, has been viewed as the "daddy party," emphasizing limited government as a force for order and restraint, a mechanism to ensure rights, not engage in social engineering.  The "daddy issues," therefore, consisted of national security, illegal immigration, terrorism, law and order, and familial and societal breakdown.  If the "daddy party" is the enforcer, making individuals live up to their responsibilities and face tough realities, the "mommy party" is the overbearing, suffocating and invasive busybody.

The Soviet Union Never Died,.  It Just Moved to Florida

Parents Under Investigation After 11-Year-Old Plays Alone in Yard for 90 Minutes.  Child Protective Services is in the hot seat again — this time in Florida, where officials placed two brothers into foster care and then in the care of a relative after one, 11, was found playing basketball alone in his own yard. [...] The mom and dad, Cindy and Fred, were on their way home from running errands but were delayed by rain and traffic.  Meanwhile, their 11-year-old son had beaten them home and didn't have a house key, so he amused himself by shooting some hoops while he waited, for about 90 minutes.

"Free range" parents in Maryland win appeal with CPS.  The Meitivs got a surprise in the mail last week from Child Protective Services, and a more pleasant one than those they've received in the past from Maryland authorities.  CPS informed them that their previous finding of "unsubstantiated" child neglect in January of this year had been overturned, closing the case that put the Meitivs on the national radar as "free range parents."

Punishing parents who deviate from the government-enforced norm.  Controversies about "free-range parenting" illuminate today's scarred cultural landscape.  Neighbors summon police in response to parenting choices the neighbors disapprove.  Government extends its incompetence with an ever-broader mission of "child protection."  And these phenomena are related to campus hysteria about protecting infantilized undergraduates from various menaces, including uncongenial ideas.

Those Annoying, Stunningly Stupid Warning Labels.  It's everywhere.  The legalese.  The lawyers' gobbledygook.  The hocus-pocus and mumbo-jumbo from a generation dominated by the legal profession.  It's the fallout from our litigious society.  The warning labels and messages are everywhere:  on ladders, cigarettes, and lawnmowers, on prescription drugs and alcoholic beverages.  Most of these warnings are expected.  We hardly recognize them any more.  We've become jaded and mesmerized by them.

Let 'free range' kids roam home.  Two Sundays ago, Danielle and Alexander Meitiv of Montgomery County, Md., got a call from Child Protective Services.  Police had taken their two children, ages 10 and 6, into custody three hours earlier and were holding them at the crisis center.  Had the children been abused?  No.  Were they lost?  No.  So what prompted this extraordinary intervention?  A concerned pedestrian had seen the children walking alone and called 911.  It was the second time in four months that the Meitivs' children were reported to authorities as they walked home from parks about a mile away.

'Free range kids' and the dangers of an overprotective society.  [Scroll down]  In Sunday's event, the police lured the children into their car by telling them they would take them home from the park.  Instead, they were, in their mother's words, "confined to the back of a police car for almost three hours without any explanation of why they were being detained."  They were not fed and were unable to call or speak with their parents who were growing frantic with worry.

No More 'Speeding' for You!  Someday — and that day might be closer than you want to know — we'll look back fondly on speed traps. [...] Tomorrow, you may not be able to "speed" even if you wanted to.  Because your car will not allow you to.

LA's fast food ban didn't lower obesity in poor areas because people just went elsewhere for unhealthy food, study finds.  In 2008, a dietary ordinance targeted a 32-square-mile area south of Interstate 10 that struggles with high obesity rates and other health problems.  The ban went into effect in South Los Angeles and restricted the opening or expansion of standalone fast-food restaurants.  However, the law, believed to be the first effort of its kind by a major city to improve public health, did not ban new fast food restaurants in strip malls.

EPA wants to monitor how long hotel guests spend in the shower.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wants hotels to monitor how much time its guests spend in the shower.  The agency is spending $15,000 to create a wireless system that will track how much water a hotel guest uses to get them to "modify their behavior."  "Hotels consume a significant amount of water in the U.S. and around the world," an EPA grant to the University of Tulsa reads.  "Most hotels do not monitor individual guest water usage and as a result, millions of gallons of potable water are wasted every year by hotel guests."

The Editor says...
No sane person spends any more time in a hotel shower than is absolutely necessary.  But the EPA is to blame for low-volume shower heads in hotel rooms, which cause the guests to spend more time in the shower.  This results in near-zero water savings.  The amount of water "wasted" by hotel customers cannot be determined without a gross invasion of privacy.  In any event, the hotel guest pays in advance for the privilege of a long hot shower.

The Sasquatch carbon footprints of the sanctimonious environmentalists.  While the stars of former and present-day politics and religion get to burp carbon into the environment, the little guy is about to be spied upon by EPA when in the shower.  Not only does the EPA want to monitor how long hotel guests are spending in the shower, they have a $15,000 grant to create a device to "modify" guests behavior.

Parents who let their children walk home from the park found guilty of child neglect by the CPS.  A Maryland mother and father under investigation for letting their two young children walk a mile home from the park alone have been found responsible for 'unsubstantiated' child neglect.  Danielle and Alexander Meitiv, who believe in a so-called 'free-range' approach to parenting, were thrust into the national spotlight just before Christmas when police found Rafi, 10 and Dvora, six, wandering the sidewalk on their own.  The decision by Child Protective Services means that the CPS will keep a file on the Meitiv's open for at least five years but Danielle and Alexander Meitiv have said they will continue to bring up their own children as they see fit — whatever the consequences.

Adult Immunization Push: Medical Dictatorship.  Here are key quotes from the Plan: [...] "Increase the use of electronic health records (EHRs) and immunization information systems (IIS) to collect and track adult immunization data."  Translation:  expose confidential patient medical records to many doctors and government agencies, in order to discover all adults who aren't up to speed on their vaccinations — and therefore must get the shots.  Goodbye, privacy.  Goodbye, unencumbered free choice.

Feds Seeking 'Wearable Alcohol Biosensors' to Track How Much Americans Drink.  The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is offering up to $300,000 for the creation of bracelets that can track how much Americans drink.  The federal agency issued a challenge on Monday for individuals and businesses to invent a "wearable alcohol biosensor" that shows a person's blood alcohol level in real time.  The government envisions a device that can be worn by Americans "in the course of their daily lives."  "Current technologies for real time monitoring of alcohol consumption, used in criminal justice applications, have performed adequately, but have disadvantages for broader use," the NIH said in a notice announcing the challenge in the Federal Register.  The NIH's National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) said it wants a device that can store data on how much a person drinks.

The Editor says...
Oh, I see.  The government wants to monitor our alcohol consumption "in the course of [our] daily lives," using a sensor that we will (all) have to wear, presumably 24/7.  For our own good, of course.

10 Differences Between A Child Who Grew Up In The 70s Compared To Today.  The level of fear we currently exhibit as parents and as a society towards children is at an unprecedented level.  When comparing the two time periods, an element of certainty exists where we have now immersed our most precious assets into an toxic, overly hygienic, medicalized, obsessive compulsive, paranoid, anxious and at the very least, a "cowardice culture" where children are being trained and almost indoctrinated into a world where "the norm" is to fear everything and everyone.

10 Dangerous Things Every Kid Should Do.  I'm not sure when it happened, but sometime between 1989 and 2015 "the village" lost its mind.  It seems like every day there are reports of parents being arrested for simply letting their children play outside without hovering over them.  The things parents are being arrested for are the exact same things that we were allowed to do when we were kids.  As a result, neighborhood streets are empty and parents are terrified to allow free, unsupervised play.  These are not toddlers we are talking about but 8, 9, 10 and 11 year-olds who are being taught they have no right to play at the neighborhood parks without the ever watchful eyes of parents.

Jonathan Gruber: The Gift That Keeps On Giving.  Thought you'd heard the last of Jonathan Gruber, did you?  Check this out, from the end of a paper he delivered in 2010 to the National Institute for Health Care Management entitled "Taxing Sin to Modify Behavior and Raise Revenue": ["]Ultimately, what may be needed to address the obesity problem are direct taxes on body weight. [...]["]

The Northeast Nanny-Staters Who Are and the Blizzard That Never Was.  For the record, the total snowfall in Central Park, NYC was 5.5 inches.  And though it was heavier in some other areas, let's get something straight:  in a supposedly free country, you don't tell people they can't travel because of some snow.  (Good test run for martial law, though.)  Of course, this position finds plenty of opposition nowadays, conditioned as people are to be protected puppets of the state.

Connecticut Supreme Court Rules State Can Force Chemotherapy On Teen.  A Connecticut teenager will continue to receive chemotherapy against her will and her mother's wishes.  In an oral ruling, the state Supreme Court unanimously found Thursday that the question of whether Cassandra C., 17, of Windsor Locks, was legally competent or mature enough to reject life-saving treatment was sufficiently explored at two Superior Court hearings earlier this fall.

The CDC At A Glance.  The Ebola crisis shined the spotlight on the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  The agency is being criticized for mishandling the Ebola crisis but the CDC has been plagued with problems for years and its incompetence has been tied to its expanding mission. [...] For example, the CDC has programs addressing, chronic diseases such as obesity, environmental health, occupational health and of course infectious disease.  The CDC is also involved in behavioral issues including domestic violence, teen dating and bulling.  The agency also conducted studies on gun violence and alcohol.

You can keep your popcorn. Period.  Conservatives warned America that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was a merely a power grab by the federal bureaucracy?  We said you would not keep your doctor, you would not keep your plan, and you certainly would not save $2,500.  In fact, a record number of Americans can no longer afford health care because of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  It was all so predictable.  We were right.  Don't ever forget that.  Label every one of their power grabs "Obamacare."  Immigration reform is the Obamacare of border control.  Et cetera.  Having screwed up health care, now we learn Obamacare is screwing up movie theater popcorn.

FDA Unveils National Calorie Labeling Rules So You Can Now Feel Super Guilty About That Second Margarita.  The sort of nutritional information that has long been mandatory in New York City — and long-resisted by convenience stores, pizza chains, and grocery stores — will now be required at everything from fast food restaurants to movie theaters.

'Let them eat cake' updated for modern elitists.  Body type has become a class marker.  The fashionable upper classes starve themselves and work out at gyms.  Ectomorphs are the new natural aristocracy. For most of history, fat was fashionable, indicating wealth.  Now that humble folk can afford obesity, why the enlightened classes pursue the opposite.  And if others don't share their dietary preferences in the current fashion, why they are just stupid: [...]

Control Freaks want to run your life.  They call themselves "public servants."  But whether student council president, environmental bureaucrat or member of Congress, most believe they know how to run your life better than you do.

'Fizzy drinks are the new smoking'.  Experts have called for sugar-laden fizzy drinks to carry warning labels similar to those found on cigarette packets, in a bid to combat the adverse health effects.  New York assemblyman Karim Camara has introduced a bill that will require health warning labels on certain drinks with added sugar.

Berkeley to impose first soda 'sin' tax.  Voters in Berkeley, Calif., made history Tuesday [11/4/2014], approving the nation's first soda tax.  Berkeley's Measure D imposes a 1 cent per ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs)and flavored drinks for residents in this city of 117,000.  That will increase the price of a can of soda in Berkeley by 12 cents, and 68 cents for a 2-liter bottle.  A referendum in San Francisco on a 2 cent per ounce tax fizzled.

CDC multitasking hurts Ebola fight.  While we'd be better off if the CDC only had one job — you know, controlling disease — the CDC has taken on all sorts of jobs unrelated to that task.  Jobs that seem to have distracted its management and led to a performance that even the establishment calls "rocky." [...] These are problems that should have been thought of in advance — and maybe would have been, if the CDC actually had only one job.  But, in fact, the CDC has multiple jobs, having involved itself in everything from playground safety to smoking in subsidized housing.

Obama's USDA to Spend $31.5 Million on 'Healthy' Food Stamp Program.  The Department of Agriculture, the agency that administers the food stamp program, has announced that it will spend $31.5 million on a new program that will promote a healthy diet for recipients of the assistance.  The National Institute of Food and Agriculture, a division of the Department of Agriculture, is developing the program to urge recipients of the SNAP food stamp program to choose more fruits and fresh foods.

Feds Developing Technology to Detect Obesity from Your Picture.  The federal government is developing a body mass index (BMI) detector intended to be available to every American "anywhere and anytime," according to a grant awarded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).  The detector is expected to rely on the analysis of facial and body imagery.  The project has been awarded $200,113 thus far to create the system under the notion that too many obese individuals are unaware of their BMI.

DOT Proposes Mandating Cars Broadcast Location, Direction and Speed.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, part of the Department of Transportation, published last week an "advanced notice of proposed rulemaking" on "vehicle-to-vehicle communications."  What NHTSA is proposing could begin a transformation in the American transportation system that makes our lives better and freer — or gives government more power over where we go and when.  In announcing its proposed rulemaking, NHTSA is stressing its intention to protect the "privacy" of American drivers.

The Editor says...
[#1] I'd rather be free than safe.  [#2] The pencil-pushing do-gooders who come up with these wonderful ideas never seem to mention the cost or the feasibility of their projects.  [#3] There isn't enough available radio bandwidth for a system like this, unless the big-money broadcasters are willing to give up the band from 54 to 88 MHz, formerly known as TV channels 2 through 6; and even then, that band is not especially well suited for much of anything other than broadcasting, which is why it is currently somewhat of a wasteland.  [#4] This is not about safety, it's about surveillance and control.

In Australia:
School bans 'unsupervised cartwheels' on playground.  "All students have been advised that under no circumstances are they allowed to perform cart wheels, handstands or any other type of gymnastic move at school unless they are properly supervised by a trained PE teacher," according to the announcement.  "It would be appreciated if you could remind your children about the safety issues involved with these types of moves."  The news site reports the announcement "caused a stir and left many parents wondering what would be next on the 'ban' wagon."

Nanny Of The Week: The Out-Of-Control Trend of Arresting Non-Helicopter Moms.  A complete survey of news stories would be too long for this space, but here's a few prime examples.

Poll: Most Americans Want to Criminalize Pre-Teens Playing Unsupervised.  A whopping 68 percent of Americans think there should be a law that prohibits kids 9 and under from playing at the park unsupervised, despite the fact that most of them no doubt grew up doing just that.  What's more:  43 percent feel the same way about 12-year-olds.  They would like to criminalize all pre-teenagers playing outside on their own (and, I guess, arrest their no-good parents).  Those are the results of a Reason/Rupe poll confirming that we have not only lost all confidence in our kids and our communities — we have lost all touch with reality.

Nanny-State Mindset Leads to Police Brutality.  In Florida recently, police pulled up to a young boy playing in the park and asked where his mother lived.  According to a report on WPTV, the mom was then arrested for "allowing her son to go to the park alone."  Her son had a cellphone, and she would check in with him along the way.  The mom believes "he's old enough, but Port St. Lucie Police disagree."  There is a tendency to dismiss stories such as this as a silly mistake by an overzealous police officer, but sadly it's part of a larger problem.

USDA Suggests Changes to Grocery Stores to 'Nudge' Consumers to Eat Healthy.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is suggesting major changes to grocery stores to "nudge" Americans to purchase healthier foods when they shop.  The agency commissioned an "expert panel" to make recommendations on how to guide the more than 47 million Americans on food stamps into spending their benefits on fruits and vegetables.  The group released an 80-page report this month presenting their ideas, which include talking shopping carts and a marketing strategy for grocery chains that would feature better store lighting for healthier items.

All your children belong to us.  [A]s government grows bigger and more powerful, as politicians, bureaucrats and busybodies increasingly think they know best, American families constantly must fight interference in their most personal decisions and judgments.  Of all the threats to our freedoms — warrantless snooping, government secrecy, expanded police powers — none worries me more than the relentless march of the Nanny State, which not only assumes that all parents are unfit to raise children, but that parents themselves must be treated like children.

EPA doles out helpful, yet depressing summer safety tips.  "People with heart and lung disease, older adults and children are at greater risk from the presence of pollutants in the air and should closely monitor the air quality in their area," an EPA press release from Jennifer Colaizzi stated.  "AirNow's Air Quality Index (AQI) translates data into color categories so people can better understand what actions to take to protect their health."

The CPSC Takes on Sparklers.  This Fourth of July the federal government is issuing dire warnings to protect children from the menace of sparklers.  The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has released intense stick figure videos and posters warning that children should never be allowed to hold a sparkler, due to fire hazards.

Court Won't Reinstate New York City's Big-Soda Ban.  Guzzlers prevailed Thursday [6/26/2014] as New York's highest court refused to reinstate New York City's ban on the sale of big sodas, ruling that the city's health department overstepped its bounds when approved the 16-ounce cap on sugary beverages.

FDA decision puts cheese making in peril.  In what the agency called a clarification, the FDA declared that wooden racks similar to the one Vella [Cheese Co.] uses "cannot be adequately cleaned and sanitized."  That, in effect, would make [Gabe] Luddy's cheese impossible to sell.  While the FDA late Tuesday issued a statement indicating there is room for compromise, if the original clarification holds, it may affect more than Sonoma Jack.  The Parmesan you grate over your pasta might also be declared illegal.

Federal Dietary Guidelines Committee Criticized as Politically Motivated.  Experts criticized the federal government committee currently crafting the nation's dietary guidelines as politically motivated and said it was putting environmentalism over food science.  The Hudson Institute hosted a panel discussion on the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) on Capitol Hill Thursday, analyzing the incorporation of climate change and "sustainability" into the recommendations that are used to set standards for government food programs.

How Did We Survive Childhood Before the '90s Safety Nannies Came Along?  When our first son was born in 1991 we were told to lay him on his tummy at naptime — never, ever on his back because it would increase his risk of choking and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).  By the time our second child came along in 1994 the experts had decided that parents should never, ever let their children sleep on their stomachs because it increased the risk of choking and SIDS.  A month after he was born the experts told us that we needed to buy a wedge that forced our son to sleep on his side.  This would prevent choking and lower the risk of SIDS.  Thus was our introduction to our generation's obsession with hypervigilant parenting.

ObamaCare coming to vending machines, next to the chips and nuts.  It's already disrupted the health-care marketplace.  Now, the Affordable Care Act is infiltrating vending machines.  Yep, a provision in the Affordable Care Act requires vending machines to display the calorie content of all food items.  The FDA finalized the regulations April 3.  If you know the calorie content of an item, you might make a more healthy choice.  Or so the thinking goes.

If you're fat, stand-by for federal text messages to change your eating habits.  The federal Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee — these are the folks who brought us the carb-heavy food pyramid now deemed erroneous — is meeting these days to update nutritional guidelines to conform with new scientific evidence and with the determination of First Lady Michelle Obama to change America's eating habits.  Among new ideas under consideration are federal phone texts to obese citizens warning of their unhealthy eating behavior.  Seriously.

I'm Fighting to Restore a Free Society.  The central belief and fatal conceit of the current administration is that you are incapable of running your own life, but those in power are capable of running it for you.  This is the essence of big government and collectivism.  More than 200 years ago, Thomas Jefferson warned that this could happen.

Connecticut could be first state to curb loud movies.  The legislature's Public Safety and Security Committee is considering the bill, which would prevent theaters from showing a film or preview that exceeded 85 decibels.

Nanny State Has Become Government's Default Posture.  "Nanny State" barely begins to describe the unhealthy relationship between today's citizens and their government.  The term "Warden State" is more apt, especially under the Obama Administration.  The effects of this expansive government paternalism are not without cultural consequences, either.  As government discovers more and more areas in our private lives in which to insert itself under the guise of "Nanny knows best," people grow accustomed to — if not reliant on — its presence.

First lady Michelle Obama thinks you're too dumb to read a nutrition label.  First lady Michelle Obama unveiled a proposed new nutrition label Thursday, claiming the labels would make it easier for families to tell whether food is healthy.  Because math is hard, or something.  If your "nanny-state" radar is going off, it should.

Bad News for Obama's Antiobesity Effort.  With the obesity epidemic in full swing and millions of American living in neighborhoods where fruits and vegetables are hard to come by, the Obama administration thought it saw a solution:  fund stores that will stock fresh, affordable produce in these deprived areas.  But now, three years and $500 million into the federal Healthy Food Financing Initiative, there's a problem:  A study suggests it's not working.

40,000 new laws take effect in 2014.  In Illinois for example, teenagers will no longer get to use tanning beds without a doctor's note.  If you live in Delaware, visit the shark fin buffet while you can, a new law will make it illegal to own, sale, or distribute the controversial delicacy.  And in California, new laws take effect that will let students take part in school sports, or use bathrooms based on their gender identity, regardless of the gender noted in their birth certificates.

Obama's Budding Nanny State.  Thousands of books and websites offer suggestions for how to get kids to do homework or clean up their rooms.  But is it a mayor's job to motivate you to drink less soda?  Is it government's job to urge you to sign up for health care by way of schools stealthily sending messages home through your children?  Should bureaucrats find ways to change your mind about which washing machine you buy?  Whether you realize it or not, this so-called "nudging" of consumer choice, at the hand of government, is underway.

Why Liberalism Is On The Wrong Side Of History.  Liberals dream of one day seeing all Americans permanently locked in the smothering, cradle-to-grave death grip of the nanny state.  Nothing excites a liberal more than the idea of controlling where you go to school, regulating your work and play, deciding what type of health care you're going to have and then deciding when you get to retire and how much money you have when you do.  Even if you want to choose, you can't.  Even if you want to break free, you're stuck.  You're not allowed to make different choices because liberals have made it illegal.

America after Obama.  Obama has substantially enlarged the American "nanny state."  Government regulates more and more of our daily lives, and the central authority's control of even minuscule facets of our existence has been greatly expanded.  Consider, for example, the Food and Drug Administration's recent decision to ban polyunsaturated fats, claiming they constitute health risks.  First, where in the Constitution is the central government given such authority?  Second, the scientific evidence for the claim that transfats are harmful is dubious, at best.  Remember when we were told that polyunsaturated fats were safe to consume?

The war against achievement.  A friend recently sent me a link to an inspiring video about an upbeat young black man who was born without arms.  It showed him going to work — unlike the record number of people living on government payments for "disabilities" that are far less serious, if not fictitious. [...] The vision on which the all-encompassing and all-controlling welfare state was built is a vision of widespread helplessness, requiring ever more expanding big government.  Our "compassionate" statists would probably have wanted to take this young man without arms, early on, and put him in some government institution.  But to celebrate him in the mainstream media today would undermine a whole ideological vision of the world — and of the vast government bureaucracies built on that vision.

The tyranny of bureaucracy.  [Scroll down]  Do not millions of people owe their allegiance to the government for the privilege of receiving food stamps, unemployment insurance, welfare, business or individual tax credits, college loans, agricultural subsidies, and now even health insurance?  Is there any branch or even twig of life through which the sap of federal subsidies does not run?  No wonder the Tea Party, with its insistence on turning off the federal spigot, is being painted by progressives as a danger to the national well-being.  The national well-being, after all, is a state of stuporific addiction to entitlements and congressionally approved benefits spooned out by thousands of federal bureaus and agencies that prove their worth by keeping the populace in what de Tocqueville called "perpetual childhood."

ObamaCare Is Greatest Expansion Ever Of Entitlement State.  Why is it that Americans don't have the freedom to choose their own health insurance?  I just don't get it.  Why must the liberal nanny state make decisions for us?

Postal Service Destroys 'Just Move' Stamps Over Safety Concerns.  The stamps, which were aimed at getting children to be more active, featured kids cannonballing into a pool, skateboarding without kneepads, and performing a headstand without a helmet.

Michelle Obama to splash media with new issue: Drink more water.  After 4½ years of reminding Americans to eat their vegetables, Michelle Obama is turning her attention to what's in their glasses.  On Thursday [9/12/2013], she and her staff will begin to ask Americans to drink more water.

Michelle Obama turns her 'Let's Move!' health drive to 'Let's Drink!' (water).  Numerous companies like Brita, Dasani, Arrowhead, Deer Park, Ice Mountain, Zephyrhills, Ozarka and Poland Spring are joining in with logos and promotions to help out the water-drinking campaign for some reason.  Trying to figure out what they have in common.

Michelle Obama's water torture.  Just when you thought the Nanny State couldn't get anymore drunk with patronizing power over people, along comes Michelle Obama with a most urgent plea: Make sure you drink water!  Who knew?!  Apparently we now need the government to tell us to do the most basic of things. [...] It would not surprise me to see the First Lady begin to offer advice on how to dress ourselves.

Is Michelle Obama over-hyping hydration?  While water is inarguably essential to our long-term health (people do tend to die after a few days without it), the first lady may be going too far in touting the energy-giving properties of H20.  "The idea [that] drinking water increases energy, the word I've used to describe it is:  quixotic," kidney specialist Dr Stanley Goldfarb of the University of Pennsylvania told Politico.  Beyond hydration, he said, there's little evidence that water does anything for us at all.

Michelle Obama Launches Courageous New Program Urging People To Drink Water.  If there's one thing a country facing trillions of dollars in debt needs, it's a taxpayer funded campaign reminding people to drink water.

Michelle Obama and Other Hydration-Related Issues.  It used to be when a person felt hungry, they ate, and when their God-given internal water gauge indicated they were running low, they drank.  That's the old way.  Now we have Michelle Obama spending her time "nudging" us away from the soda aisle toward the water fountain.

Interior Secretary: We Benefit From 'Federal Gov't Encouraging the Right Kinds of Behavior'.  The "new energy future" will require the federal government to encourage "the right kinds of behavior," Interior Secretary Sally Jewell told a clean energy summit in Nevada on Tuesday.  "When you are getting into a new energy future, you really benefit from having the support of states — and the federal government encouraging the right kinds of behavior and encouraging those incentives (for solar panel installation), she said.  Jewell mentioned the "right" kind of behavior twice in her speech, without specifically saying what it means.

Bloomberg Pushing Stair Use in NYC Multi-Story Low-Income Housing Units.  As part of his ongoing campaign to transform New York City into what he calls "Fit City," Mayor Michael Bloomberg is promoting "active design" for low-income housing developments being built there, including plans to prompt residents to use the stairs and rooftop gardens for growing "healthy" foods.

Busybody Politics.  It is hard to read a newspaper, or watch a television newscast, without encountering someone who has come up with a new "solution" to society's "problems."  Sometimes it seems as if there are more solutions than there are problems.  On closer scrutiny, it turns out that many of today's problems are a result of yesterday's solutions.

The Orwellian government depends on a continuous state of emergency.
Warning Pollution.  The people in charge of preparing us for various emergencies (either natural or man-made) made a choice at some point that there is no such thing as too many warnings.  But that choice has left us overwhelmed with information that people simply can't process and don't need.  As a result, people have learned to tune out the warnings in airports, subways, and other public spaces.

Latest load of garbage from Mike's 'bully' pulpit.  Now that Mayor Bloomberg has decided we, all 8 million of us New Yorkers, should all go through our garbage to separate out the biodegradable stuff and "compost" it, the time has come to retire a favorite designation for him.  He's not Nanny Bloomberg, he's Bully Bloomberg.

Bowling Shoe Law Being Debated in State Legislature.  New York State Senator Patrick Gallivan (R-59th District) New York State Assemblyman Robin Schimminger (D-140th District) are sponsoring a bill that would cover bowling shoes.  The bill in the assembly is co-sponsored by Assembly members Brian Kolb, Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Jane Corwin.  It would require alley owners to post signs, warning keglers not to wear bowling shoes outside, lest they become wet and increase the likelihood that a bowler could slip and fall when they come inside[.]

The Candy Man Can't.  A soda fountain in St. Paul may be fined $500 by city inspectors for selling candy cigarettes.  Lynden's Soda Fountain opened a few months ago but was recently warned it was violating the city's ban on candy cigarettes, passed in 2009.  It said it won't keep selling the candy cigarettes or bubblegum cigars, but it is promoting the incident.  "Stop in and try a Soda at half price between now and the end of the year while sugar is still legal!" the store stated in a Facebook post.

Dodgeball Removed From Windham, NH Schools.  The classic gym class game has been a rite of passage for years, but dodgeball may have met its match in the form of the Windham School board, which at a recent meeting voted 4-1 to end dodgeball and other so-called "human target" activities, games with names like bombardment and slaughter.  "It's almost turning into a nanny state," said school board member Dennis Senibaldi, the one school board member who voted against the ban.

The Editor says...
Nobody, as far as I know, has ever been paralyzed for life playing dodge ball.  But that happens on a weekly basis in high school football, and football is allowed.  Not only allowed, it's encouraged.

New York is the Nanny State with the least freedoms: national study.  New York's big government — with its hands deep in taxpayers' pockets and regulations controlling everyone's lives — has made the Empire State the worst in the nation for personal liberty, a new study shows.  A war on sugary drinks is the least of freedom-loving New Yorkers' worries, according a report by George Mason University, which rated the state No. 50 for the level of freedom its residents enjoy.

The Manufactured Authority of the Nanny State.  Lately, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been the chief spokesman touting the merits and necessity of a Utopian nanny state.  In a moment of honesty, he said while making a recent appearance on NBC, "I do think there certain times when we should infringe on your freedom."  [Emphasis added]

Maryland school district outlaws hugging, homemade food, pushing kids on swings.  The Old Line State — where kids have been suspended for making guns with their fingers and with toaster pastries — now boasts a school district that prohibits hugging and homemade food in public elementary schools for anyone except a parent's own children.  Parents must also register to enter the playground and they can't push anyone except their own kids on the swings.

Smoke Gets in Your Rights.  One politician thinks he has the right to tell New Yorkers what they can put in their stomachs.  Another thinks he has the right to outlaw Californians smoking in the sanctity of their own homes.  These two must think they are gods or kings.  Or dictators.  They know what's best for you, so they feel free to force you to behave — for your own good.

Bloomberg's Soda Folly.  New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg's ban on large-size sugary drinks at certain establishments, colloquially known as the soda ban, is a lesson in how to make your cause look ridiculous.  Bloomberg hoped the ban would spark a nationwide crackdown on sugary beverages.  Instead, it became the subject of widespread mockery [...]

It Took A Judge, But NYC's Soda Nazi Is Stopped Flat.  In a ruling stunning in its strong language and moral censure, Judge Milton Tingling struck down the Big Apple's infamous ban on large sugary soft drinks on the brink of its implementation.  The judge declared Mayor Mike "Big Gulp" Bloomberg's soda diktat "unconstitutional," "arbitrary and capricious," and said it "would create an administrative Leviathan and violate the separation of powers doctrine."

Soda Ban and the Government Leviathan.  In recent decades, the judiciary has been at the forefront of efforts to expand the power of government and to restrict the rights of the individual citizen.  But today at least one judge has struck a blow against the nanny state and its billionaire advocate.

Judge halts mayor's soda ban, calls it 'arbitrary and capricious'.  A state judge today [3/11/2013] put a cork in City Hall's plans to ban Big Apple restaurants and other venues from selling large sugary drinks — a bubble-bursting defeat for Mayor Bloomberg, who has made public health a cornerstone of his tenure.

What if New York's Nanny Is Actually a Thug?  What if a dictator in America used the force of law to tell you what to eat?  What if the same dictator told you what to drink?  What if the dictator told you the sizes of the containers in which you could purchase a lawful beverage?  What if the dictator just made up the rules according to his own personal taste?  What if the product he regulated was lawful, sold nearly everywhere and consumed by nearly everyone?

Texting while walking? Nevada assemblyman moves to ban it.  Harvey Munford has heard a lot of talk about the dangers of texting while driving.  Now the Nevada assemblyman wants to focus on what he considers an equally perilous scourge: texting while walking, especially across a busy street.  Munford (D-Las Vegas) on Thursday introduced Assembly Bill 123, saying the new law could be applied not to just urban streets but to all state roads, even in residential neighborhoods.

Nevada Lawmaker Attempts Ban on Texting While Walking.  Last Thursday, Las Vegas Assemblyman Harvey Munford (D) received a committee hearing for Assembly Bill 123 to prohibit pedestrians from texting or reading cellular phones while crossing roads statewide, even in residential neighborhoods.  Those caught violating the proposed bill would receive a written warning for a first offense, followed by a $100 fine and a $250 fine for a third.

The Logic of Liberalism.  [Scroll down]  In sum, the liberal solution almost always involves more governmental intervention, more governmental interaction, and particularly more taxation.  Moreover, the liberal wants to be involved in everything; no issue is too unimportant for their watchful eyes. [...] One could justifiably argue that every proposed tax dollar increase is earmarked to be spent on three or more distinct venues.  This small, though paradoxically large, detail is never explained by anyone.

20 Reasons America Is Becoming An Increasingly Nonfunctional Society.  [#2]  Many people are becoming so childlike in their dependence on the government that they can't save for their own retirement, escape from an oncoming hurricane, or even purchase their own birth control without the government handling it for them.

'Dangerous Hairdryers' and Self-protective Cutting Shears.  Apparently, Mexican drug cartels entering the U.S. to buy illegal guns and Al Qaeda operatives infiltrating American soil are not the problem.  But hairdryers that "fail to have adequate immersion protection" — now that is a huge problem.

Gov't: Food allergies may be disability under law.  The Justice Department said in a recent settlement with a Massachusetts college that severe food allergies can be considered a disability under the law.

FDA proposes sweeping new food safety rules.  The rules, the most sweeping food safety guidelines in decades, would require farmers to take new precautions against contamination, to include making sure workers' hands are washed, irrigation water is clean, and that animals stay out of fields.

The Editor says...
How did any of us survive up to this point?  Farming is a dirty business, since food is grown in dirt, and even if all food is contaminated to some degree, that's what cooking is for.  It is my opinion that the country would be better off without the FDA and without the Agriculture Department micro-managing everybody's business.  (The same goes for the EPA, the Departments of Labor, Energy, HHS, and a few others.)

The Namby-Pamby State.  The namby-pamby state has enshrined the principle of bureaucratic supremacy ostensibly in the interest of its citizens' welfare.  On the one hand, it legislates down to the minor details of everyday life, which it punitively monitors and controls, everything from seat belts to Girl Scout cookies to recycling habits to school lunch guidelines to the shape of bananas.  On the other hand, it conceives of its citizens, especially if they are not wealthy or successful, as victims of a repressive politico-economic system who need to be coddled, catered to, subsidized, and provided with every service regardless of worthiness or contribution to society, thus rendering them feckless and dependent while convincing them of their right to favored treatment.

Obama's 2009 stimulus chief says taxes and rules on junk food are coming.  Larry Summers, chair of the White House National Economic Council when the 2009 stimulus was developed, suggested that President Obama will eventually tax and regulate junk food to drive people to eat more healthily — although he dinged First Lady Michelle Obama's healthy foods initiative.

The Mayor of East St. Louis is the New Baby Sitter.  A new restriction passed by Mayor Alvin Parks of East St. Louis has enacted a new curfew and dress code for the city's youth.  Anyone under 18 that is caught out of class during school hours, outside after 10pm or out of the house or school anytime without a parent or guardian, they will be arrested.  Additionally, the mayor decided that youth should also be prohibited from wearing any blue or red.

Michelle Obama Shares Her Supermarket Savvy.  [A]lthough Mrs. Obama's attempts at helping people to eat better and to make healthier food choices seem benign on the surface, it's offensive and condescending for her to imply — once again — that Americans need her to tell us how to go about feeding ourselves.  Supermarket Shopping 101 is just another example, even though no one asked her to, of Michelle Obama taking it upon herself to coach adults on the proper way she thinks we should live our lives.

Bottled Water Going the Way of the 20-ounce Soda.  New York City is raging against salt, large sodas, and baby formula, allegedly for health reasons.  San Francisco bans plastic grocery bags (as do many Eastern LI towns), they regulate Happy Meal toys for sustainability and they have their eye on halting circumcisions because they're crazy.  San Francisco is also the city that wants to install GPS in cars so they can monitor peoples' travel and then tax them for it.

Legislating self-control.  Too often, Americans are willing to cede control over their lives to politicians.  If the government can force us to use mercury-filled light bulbs, ban smoking in bars, outlaw plastic bags in grocery stores and even prohibit Happy Meals at McDonald's, it should come as no surprise that something as innocuous as a carbonated drink would be next on the list.  Feel-good proposals of this sort are evaluated according to the intentions of their proponents, not their likely result.  The public tends to give it a pass because it's a matter of health and safety.  Such busybody ventures never achieve their stated goals.

EPA's scary-air sniffers.  Americans on their way to work or school may soon be reaching for a new high-tech device as they head out the door — a personal air-quality monitor.  That's the vision of bureaucrats at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) who are trying to develop a portable sniffer that measures the body's reactions to pollution in the air.  It's bound to take fear-mongering to a new level.

The nanny state infects the Peach State.  Last year, the Republican-dominated Georgia General Assembly enacted a ban on texting while driving despite numerous studies, including a 2010 report from the Highway Loss Data Institute, showing that such legislation does little to prevent crashes on the road.  Peach State legislators have also enacted laws limiting the sale of over-the-counter cold medications that happen to contain pseudoephedine, an ingredient used by a small number of drug dealers to make methamphetamine.  Those same legislators also mandated the establishment of databases containing the names of purchasers of many such medications.  And, not content with seat-belt laws long on the books, Georgia legislators recently went so far as to mandate that children as old as eight sit in government-defined car seats.

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.

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.

This is an original compilation, Copyright © 2015 by Andrew K. Dart




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.

Convoy!  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.

NYC hikes price of pack of cigarettes to $13, highest in US.  New York City is boosting the price of a pack of cigarettes to $13 — the most expensive in the nation — in its ongoing crackdown on smoking.  The hike takes effect June 1, 2018, under new legislation that also reduces the number of places allowed to sell cigarettes.  "We are sending a loud and clear message that we will not let their greed kill any more New Yorkers without a fight," Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday in signing the bill into law at a Brooklyn hospital.  "These new laws will not only help reduce the number of smokers in our city, but also save lives."

The Editor says...
I doubt if anyone quits smoking because of incremental price increases.  Most smokers are hopelessly addicted and will only give up the habit if faced with career-threatening incentives, dire warnings from their doctors, or death.  Usually death.

FDA targets cigarettes in broadening of fight against addiction.  Eight years after it was given the power to meaningfully change smoking in America, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration moved to do so.  On Friday [7/28/2017], the FDA announced it would take advantage of powers in the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act — a law enacted under a Democratic Congress and then-President Obama — to cut the level of nicotine in cigarettes to nonaddictive levels.

Menthol Restrictions Up for Debate in Minneapolis City Hall.  A proposal to restrict the sale of menthol flavored tobacco drew dozens to Minneapolis City Hall Monday afternoon [7/24/2017].  While some said that the partial ban would reduce youth exposure to a harmful product, others made the case that the ordinance may hurt stores' bottom lines.  Convenience store owner Clay Lambert spoke out against the proposal, which would limit menthol sales to adult-only tobacco shops.  He said tobacco sales make up about 35 percent of his business at the Metro Petro on University Avenue.  Of those tobacco sales, Lambert said about half come from menthol flavored products.

AFSCME Pressuring Cook County Commissioners to Raise Sales, Alcohol, Parking and Cigarette Taxes.  AFSCME officials proposed seven tax increases for Cook County as a way to save union jobs, including an increase in the county sales tax, a new head tax and doubling the amusement tax to 6 percent, despite the county's local tax burden already being among the highest in the nation.

35 St. Louis-area convenience store owners indicted following federal raids.  A federal grand jury has indicted 35 store owners on federal conspiracy charges for trafficking contraband cigarettes, distributing controlled substances and money laundering.  According to reports, the suspects conspired for more than 2 years to buy contraband cigarettes in St. Louis, a low tax market, while transporting and distributing them in Chicago, Illinois, and New Jersey, which are high tax markets. [...] The list of defendants include [sic]:
    Mohammed Almuttan, aka Abu Ali, 35, St. Louis, MO
    Rami Almuttan, aka Abu Louay, 33, St. Louis, MO
    Hisham Mutan, aka Abu Mohamed, 41, St. Louis, MO
    Saddam Mutan, aka Abu Ali, 24, St. Louis, MO
    Mazin Abdelsalam, aka Abu Mohammad, 38, St. Louis, MO
    Najeh Muhana, aka Abu Yazan, 41, Fairview, NJ
    Fares Muhana, aka Abu Yamama, 40, Cliffside Park, NJ
    Ayoub Qaiymah, aka Abu Faysal, 23, Richmond, VA
    Naser Abid, 23, Chicago, IL
    [...]

Federal judge orders UPS to pay $247 million for illegally shipping cigarettes.  U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest handed down the penalty after finding the company liable in a civil case in federal court in Manhattan in March, saying the company ignored "red flags" that its brown trucks were being used to transport untaxed cigarettes from Indian reservations[.]

Fake Science Gets Smoked — and What It Means for Climate Change.  Cast your mind back to the late 1990s, when trial lawyers and state attorneys general were after the tobacco companies for what resulted in the "Master Settlement Agreement" by which the tobacco companies agreed to pay tribute of billions of dollars to the states for decades to come in exchange for relief from the uncertainty of endless private and public litigation.  I think it was a great deal for Big Tobacco (how do I know?  Just check tobacco stocks since the agreement was struck), and I teach this episode to students as an example of "how the sausage is made" in real politics in the U.S. [...] In the middle of all this political maneuvering, the Clinton EPA came out with a finding that "second-hand smoke" was nearly as bad for you as first hand smoke, which merely reinforced my view that you should always get your smoke first hand:  why take chances?

We Used Terrible Science to Justify Smoking Bans.  Despite the mounting evidence that transient exposure to secondhand smoke is more an annoyance than a mortal threat, smoking bans have become widespread and politically entrenched.  According to the latest update from Americans for Nonsmokers Rights, which publishes quarterly reports on anti-smoking laws, more than 80 percent of the American population now lives under smoking bans covering workplaces, restaurants, or bars.  An additional 3,400 jurisdictions ban smoking in outdoor areas such as parks, beaches, and stadiums.  More than 400 cities and counties restrict smoking while dining outdoors.  More than 1,700 college campuses are completely smoke-free.  Nearly 600 jurisdictions include e-cigarettes under their smoke-free laws.  Some jurisdictions make limited allowance for places such as cigar bars and hookah lounges, while in others these are completely forbidden or limited to businesses grandfathered in before ordinances took effect.  The cost of these policies falls almost entirely on people who smoke, an increasingly put-upon minority of the population.  Rarely are their preferences consulted.

California's Gift to Its Neighbors:  Expanded Cigarette Smuggling Opportunities.  For too many years, Arizona has led the pack — or at least taxed the hell out of it — with among the higher cigarette taxes in the West.  "A cigarette tax higher than in neighboring states and cheaper prices on American Indian reservations have helped fuel a growing black market for cigarettes in Arizona," the Cronkite News Service reported in 2014.  It's true that few of us actually paid that $2.00 per pack tariff for a pack of smokes; with every single state bordering us stealing less from smokers and a long, handy border with Mexico, half of all of the cigarettes sold in the state are smuggled from elsewhere, according to research by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy and the Tax Foundation.  Many Arizonans avoid getting mugged by enjoying life on the receiving end of smuggling routes.  But we could be benefiting by running goods in the other direction.

After Jan. 1, smoking banned in Hillsborough public housing; already the rule in Pinellas.  The ban on lit tobacco products was given final approval by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development last week.  It prohibits smoking in public housing units, indoor common areas, administrative offices and all outdoor areas within 25 feet of housing.  The ban will apply to 900,000 housing units nationwide.  Smoking is already banned by housing authorities in St. Petersburg and unincorporated Pinellas County.  The Tampa Housing Authority plans to start enforcing its ban at the start of next year.  Residents in its 1,550 public housing units will be required to sign a lease amendment requiring adherence.

FDA Clarifies That Ban On Cigar Donations To Troops Was Deliberate.  The Food and Drug Administration has finally confirmed that companies are banned from donating cigars to U.S. troops, according to an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal.  In early September, GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter, a Marine Corps reservist who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, wrote a letter to the FDA asking for clarification on a confusingly worded regulation that could be interpreted as a ban on companies donating cigars to troops.  Now, Ramesh Menon, acting supervisory congressional affairs specialist for the FDA, has cleared up the confusion in a response to Hunter's letter:  yes, companies are most definitely banned from donating cigars.

The FDA is coming for your premium cigars.  Do you, like me, enjoy the occasional (or not so occasional) cigar after a long day of work?  Well, thanks to the Food and Drug Administration, that simple pleasure could become much more expensive.  Your favorite cigar brand might even cease to exist.  That's because of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which was passed back in 2009 but is just starting to take effect.

Nebraska town considers banning smoking in apartments.  Some leaders in a blue-collar Nebraska suburb that's home to Offutt Air Force Base are borrowing an idea from a vastly more liberal state:  Ban apartment renters from smoking cigarettes and e-cigarettes inside.

Lawmaker lands job with company at center of vaping law.  A state lawmaker who supported legislation that made a single business the only one in Indiana that can certify companies to make the liquid used in e-cigarettes says he sees no conflict of interest in his taking a job with that business.

Black doctors call on Obama to ban sale of menthol products.  A group of African-American doctors is calling on President Obama to ban the sale of menthol-flavored cigarettes, which data shows are heavily favored among black smokers.  The African-American Tobacco Control Leadership Council sent a letter to the president in August, asking him to direct the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to remove the products from the marketplace.  "Young African-Americans die disproportionately from tobacco-related disease compared to other people in the population," Dr. Philip Gardiner, council co-chairman, told NBCNews.com.  "The punchline here about menthol is it allows the poisons in tobacco cigarettes to go down easier."

The Editor says...
If you think cigarettes contain poisons, then don't smoke them!  Self-control works better than prohibition.

Vape industry goes on attack against FDA over e-cigarettes.  Facing potential bankruptcy, the nation's 15,000 vaping and e-cigarette outlets are mounting a massive political campaign to win a congressional reversal of new and costly Food and Drug Administration rules that just went into effect.  The "Right to Vape" campaign plans to barnstorm through 15 battleground and politically influential states to pressure lawmakers up for re-election to promise to use the upcoming November lame-duck session to make changes to the regulations.

5 Times The Government Cure Was Worse Than The Disease.  [#2] In an effort to reduce smoking and increase tax revenue New York City has among the highest excise tax on cigarettes and tobacco.  With an average cost of about $12.50 in New York, and as little as $6 per pack in Virginia, there is no doubt people are capitalizing on these margins.  In February, a Staten Island man was apprehended for selling over 22,000 cartons of smuggled cigarettes, or the equivalent of $1.2 million in tax revenue alone.  The black market for cigarettes cost New York $525 Million in just 2011.  According to a 2009 Department of Justice study, contraband market shows no sign of abating;  "the incentive to profit by evading payment of taxes rises with each tax-rate hike imposed by federal, state, and local governments[.]"  Interestingly, a Dutch study found that smokers actually save the health care system money because they die earlier.

N.J. woman headed to prison for bootlegging millions of dollars in cigarettes.  A 37-year-old New Jersey woman faces up to 15 years in prison for buying cigarettes cheaply in Virginia and trying to illegally re-sell them as part of a multi-million dollar trafficking operation, according to a report.  A dual citizen of the United States and Jordan, Laila Alayat and a 39-year-old man purchased thousands of cartons of cigarettes from wholesale club stores in Virginia, taking advantage of the nation's second-lowest per carton tax, Roanoke.com said.  After paying only a $3 per carton tax in Virginia, Alayat and Eyad Salahedin arranged to have the cigarettes transported to New Jersey and New York City for resale, where the per carton tax is $27 and $58.50, respectively.

Hot Air:  Democrats Work With Big Tobacco and Big Pharma to Choke the Vaping Industry.  Meet the strange bedfellows against vaping:  drug and tobacco companies, health advocates and Democratic lawmakers.  A convergence of interests among these four lies behind the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) announcement on May 5 that e-cigarettes will be regulated as rigorously as tobacco beginning in August.  Vaping advocates say the cost of FDA approvals will bankrupt an industry that might vastly improve public health.  This spring, a major study from the Royal College of Physicians, the British equivalent of the Office of the Surgeon General, found e-cigarettes to be 95 percent less harmful than cigarettes.

Smokers Should Lose Custody Of Their Kids, Says Nation's Top Anti-Tobacco Lawyer.  Parents who smoke around their kids should be challenged for custody, according to the country's leading anti-tobacco lawyer.  John F. Banzhaf, a law professor at George Washington University Law School and founder of Action on Smoking and Health, touted the proposal at the North American Regional Conference of the International Society for Family Law Monday [5/23/2016].  Banzhaf also proposed requiring doctors to file complaints of child abuse against parents whose kids turn up at the emergency room with respiratory problems as a result of their parents' smoking.

The FDA's New E-Cigarette Rules Hand Big Tobacco A Big Win.  For decades, the federal government has been on a mission to create a "smoke-free society" — whether that involved stiff regulations, a massive lawsuit, or relentlessly higher taxes.  So what's the government's response when private industry comes up with a product that actually could produce a smoke-free society?  The government decides to regulate it to death.

Feds seek to ban smoking in public housing.  The Department of Housing and Urban Development is moving forward with regulations to ban smoking in public housing.  The agency issued a proposed rule Thursday that outlines a far-reaching ban that includes implementing costs of over $200 million.  The agency acknowledged that the rule could lead to eviction notices for poor, disabled smokers.  "This proposed rule would require each public housing agency (PHA) administering public housing to implement a smoke-free policy," a notice published in the Federal Register read.

Feds to Ban Smoking in Public Housing.  The Department of Housing and Urban Development is moving forward with regulations to ban smoking in public housing.  The agency issued a prosed rule Thursday that outlines a far-reaching ban that includes electrical closets of low-income housing complexes, and implementing costs of over $200 million.  The agency acknowledged that the rule could lead to eviction notices for poor, disabled smokers.

FDA bans the sale of 4 brands of cigarettes.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says four brands of cigarettes do not meet the national standards for public health and they can no longer be sold.  The R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company's brands are Camel Crush Bold, Pall Mall Deep Set Recessed Filter, Pall Mall Deep Set Recessed Filter Menthol and Vantage Tech 13, the agency announced Tuesday [9/15/2015].

NYC Mayor de Blasio moves to stop smokers from lighting up in homes.  New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is butting in to what city residents do in their homes, by pressing landlords and developers to ban smoking inside apartments, according to a report.  The mayor's administration is planning to pay four health-advocacy groups $9,000 apiece to press landlords and developers to prohibit lighting up in their apartment complexes so neighboring tenants don't breathe in secondhand smoke, according to the New York Post.  The city has already banned smoking in bars and restaurants, workplaces, sports venues and parks, but has not moved against smokers who practice their habit in the privacy of their own homes.  City health officials emphasized the initiative is voluntary — at least for now.

De Blasio continues crusade against smoking at home.  Mayor de Blasio is ramping up the city's war against smoking — at home, The [New York] Post has learned.  The administration is planning to select and pay four health-advocacy groups $9,000 apiece to pressure landlords and developers to prohibit smoking in their apartment complexes so neighboring tenants don't inhale secondhand smoke.  That means smokers would be barred from lighting up in one of their last sanctuaries: their own living quarters.  Smoking is already banned in public places, including bars and restaurants, workplaces, sports venues and parks.

How the government wasted tobacco's $200B windfall.  Back in 1998, the tobacco industry reached an agreement with 48 states.  Cigarette makers were to pay a guaranteed minimum of $206 billion over 25 years to cover the cost of health care for people who got sick smoking — along with other anti-smoking, public health-related programs.  As happens when politicians are involved, most of the money really didn't go to health programs.  It mostly went to special interest projects throughout the states.  That's bad enough, but the real disaster occurred when states like New York decided to take the money up front and run.

Tempe pushes forward ban on smoking with kids in cars.  The Tempe City Council continued to consider a proposed ordinance that would fine drivers $50 for a first offense and $100 for subsequent violations if they smoke while a child is in the car.  Smokers of all types, including e-cigarette smokers, could be punished under the proposed ordinance.  Tempe police cannot pull over a driver solely for smoking with a child in the car.  Instead, if drivers are stopped for speeding or running a red light, and have a lit cigarette with a minor present, the officer could cite them for each child in the vehicle.

Five Characters in Search of a Reason for New Orleans's Smoking Ban.  New Orleans's city council has unanimously approved a city-wide smoking ban in all bars and casinos, making it the latest big city to pass such a smoking ban without the courtesy of a popular vote.  The ban itself, like the others that came in cities before it, is purported to promote the public welfare.  Non-smokers, government officials argue, have the right to have their lungs be unafflicted by dangerous secondhand smoke if they choose to visit or work in any establishment.  In the case of New Orleans, teary-eyed city councilman James Gray II read aloud the names of people he knew who died of lung cancer, which "convinced" lawmakers to approve the smoking ban. [...] This is all about coerced behavior change and conformity to a government-approved lifestyle which is to be decided upon by our betters.

New Orleans Bans Smoking Pretty Much Everywhere.  New Orleans passed a far-reaching smoking ban on Thursday that prohibits lighting up in bars, casinos, private clubs — even in the car while waiting in line at a drive-thru.  Claiming there is no "constitutional right" to smoke, the New Orleans City Council unanimously voted to outlaw smoking and electronic cigarettes in indoor and outdoor public places.  The ordinance, which goes into effect in 90 days, applies to bars, casinos, parks, private clubs, any business establishment, recreational areas, sports arenas, theaters, and a host of other places.

De Blasio quietly filed untaxed cig suit the week of Garner decision.  Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered city lawyers to stay silent about a groundbreaking lawsuit to keep bootleg cigarettes out of the Big Apple — because it came as Hizzoner was downplaying the illegal cigarette sales that led to the ill-fated police arrest of Eric Garner, The [New York] Post has learned.  The city Law Department drafted the civil racketeering suit the same week that a Staten Island grand jury did not indict NYPD cop Daniel Pantaleo in Garner's chokehold death, and it was quietly filed in Brooklyn federal court on Dec. 9.

How New York City's Steep Cigarette Taxes Create Crime and Grow Big Government.  Thanks to New York's laughably high cigarette taxes ($4.35 state plus another $1.60 in the city) and higher prices generally, a pack of smokes in New York City costs $14 or more.  That creates a powerful incentive to smuggle smokes in from states such as Virginia, where you can buy a pack for a third of that price.  Fill a Ford Econoline van with a few hundred cartons and you can make a nice five-figure profit in a weekend.  Some people do.

Eric Garner death: Did cigarette taxes play a part?  "You want an all-encompassing state with the power to stop you from smoking? Well, don't complain about the Eric Garner case," writes the Hayride's Scott McKay.  "This is what big government looks like."  The Daily Caller's W James Antle says that while public outrage is focusing on the level of force employed by the New York police, "let's not let the people who write the laws off the hook".  "A man who is killed by government overreach, fueled by anti-tobacco fanaticism, is just as dead as one who smokes a carton of unfiltered Pall Malls every week for 30 years," he writes.

Eric Garner and the criminalization of everyday life.  The crime of selling "loosies" was not considered a serious one in the past.  Many corner stores in New York City once sold them quietly upon request.  But former Mayor Michael Bloomberg's cartoonish anti-tobacco crusade changed that and everything else.  Smoking in public places was banned.  Punitive taxes and a legal minimum price of $10.50 were imposed in an effort to push prices ever-upward, so that a brand-name pack of 20 cigarettes now costs as much as $14 in New York City.  As a result, the illicit sale of loose and untaxed cigarettes became more commonplace.  Lawmakers had turned every non-wealthy smoker into a criminal, and police made it a priority to curb this criminal creation of political meddling.

Yes, Stupid Laws Help Kill People.  Garner wasn't targeted for death because he was avoiding taxes, but nonetheless, prohibitive cigarette taxes unnecessarily create situations that make events like this possible.  We frame violent acts and unintended consequences in this way all the time.  When we discuss how illegal immigrant women can be the helpless victims of domestic violence, we also blame unreasonable laws for creating the situation.  When we talk about the Drug War and millions of non-violent criminals it creates and the violent tactics of the DEA and other agencies, we have little problem blaming underlying policy.  With good reason.

The Role that Obama's Runaway Bureaucracy Played in the Death of Eric Garner.  Garner starts off in the video showing anger that the police have confronted him repeatedly, over time, not just that day.  He does not appear to be threatening anyone, and according to reports had in fact just stopped a fight between other people.  So it's not clear why the police elected to use force on him.  A citation would probably have sufficed.  But a citation for what?  Garner was reportedly selling "loosies," individual cigarettes taken out of their original packaging.  That's a crime?  Yep.  Since 2010, that's a crime, sayeth the unaccountable bureaucrats at the Food and Drug Administration.

Massachusetts town's hearing on proposed tobacco ban ends abruptly after crowd gets rowdy.  The community of less than 8,000 residents is considering prohibiting the sale of tobacco products, which would apparently be the first such ban in the nation. Westminster residents gathered on Wednesday night to discuss the proposal, which would ban the sale of items such as cigarettes, chewing tobacco and electronic cigarettes.  The crowd grew so unruly that Andrea Crete, the town's Board of Health chairwoman, abruptly ended the event, according to the Boston Herald.  Just four people spoke, and opponents of the measure sang as the hearing shut down.  Crete left with a police escort, newspapers reported.

Massachusetts town seeks first-in-nation tobacco sale ban.  Health officials in Westminster, Mass., about an hour outside of Boston, have proposed officially banning the purchase and sale of all tobacco products within city limits.  The Board of Health says the ban would make it more difficult for young people to get their hands on tobacco, in turn curbing the number of young smokers and eventually helping to cut down on tobacco-related illnesses and deaths in the area.

No smoking ban applies to Illini tailgaters too.  The University of Illinois is reminding football fans that its new smoke-free campus policy applies to tailgaters in Memorial Stadium parking lots.  Signs were posted at entrances to all UI parking lots and the stadium in time for Saturday's season-opener against Youngstown State.  The campus went smoke-free on Jan. 1 after a student referendum.  Hundreds of other college campuses around the country have done the same.

The Feds Really Don't Want You to Smoke at Work.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is seeking to ban all tobacco use at every work place in the country, including businesses that operate primarily outdoors.  The agency published a Current Intelligence Bulletin (CIB) on Friday [8/22/2014] that would advise the few workplaces that still allow smoking to end the practice, specifically targeting blue-collar workers in the construction and mining industries.

Smokers need not apply, county says.  Pima County may soon refuse to hire anyone who smokes.  And puffers already on the payroll can expect even higher health insurance rates.  In a proposed expansion of the county's already-tough anti-tobacco rules, prospective employees would be tested for nicotine as part of the hiring process, according to a memo sent by County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry.  In the memo, Huckelberry referred to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that say smokers cost their employers about $3,400 a year in lost productivity and medical expenses.

Does This Widow Deserve $23 Billion?  Last week, a jury of her peers awarded a lone human, Cynthia Robinson, over $23.6 billion to punish a cigarette company for the death of her husband.  And poof, they were no longer her peers — that is, unless they happened to be the only jury in history to be composed entirely of multi-billionaires.

Oregon moves to ban smoking on beaches.  Oregon is taking steps to ban smoking on all 362 miles of Pacific coast beaches.

Without knowing much, Obama's FDA moves anyway to control e-cigs.  [T]hose who think they know best what foods Americans should consume how often in what quantities, what they should wear while riding bikes, when and how they can use cellphones and generally live their lives have been eager to light a fire under e-cigarettes, which in just six years has grown to a $2 billion-a-year industry.  The new regulations will additionally cover cigars and pipe tobacco.

Defense Secretary 'Looking' at Banning Tobacco Sales at Military Installations.  Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is "looking" at banning the sale of tobacco at military installations.  According to one military publication, Hagel appears to support it.  "As the Navy considers banning tobacco sales on all bases and ships, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel gave a strong endorsement of the review Monday, and suggested that he would be in favor of a ban," reports Stars and Stripes.

Main Line Health to stop hiring smokers.  Main Line Health and Thomas Jefferson University Hospital are the latest regional employers to announce plans to stop hiring smokers and to penalize current employees for lighting up. [...] Beginning May 1, job applicants must certify that they have not used such products in the previous 90 days, and will abstain during their employment.

ObamaCare slams smokers with sky-high premium costs, could backfire.  Unlike drug addicts, alcoholics, or the obese — all of whom represent higher-than-average medical costs — smokers are the only such group with a pre-existing condition that ObamaCare penalizes.  It allows insurance companies to charge smokers up to 50 percent more than non-smokers for an identical policy, depending on the state and any subsidies the person might qualify for.

A look at the evidence behind outdoor smoking bans.  Prohibition on smoking in parks and on beaches has three justifications, according to two Columbia University researchers, Ronald Bayer and Kathleen Bachynski.  Those are:  risk of secondhand smoke, pollution caused by cigarette butts and the risky role models smokers are to children.  "Our analysis of the evidence for these claims found it far from definitive and in some cases weak," the researchers wrote.  What they conclude is that what's behind the bans is an effort to "denormalize" smoking as part of an overall public health campaign.

Postmodern Prudes.  Two states have legalized marijuana, with more to come.  Yet social taboos against tobacco smoking make it nearly impossible to light up a cigarette in public places.  Marijuana, like alcohol, causes far greater short-term impairment than does nicotine.  But legal cigarette smoking is now seen as a corporate-sponsored, uncool and dirty habit that leads to long-term health costs for society at large — in a way homegrown, hip and mostly illegal pot smoking apparently does not.

Bloomberg Seeks End to Cheap Cigarettes.  Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg opened a new front in his antismoking campaign last week when he proposed new legislation that would require stores to keep tobacco products out of sight, making New York the first city in the nation to do so.

Mayor Bloomberg Is Trying to Create Prohibition Lite.  Bloomberg and his confederates have effectively nudged thousands of smokers and shopkeepers into criminal behavior.

Connecticut lawmaker mulls smoking ban in cars with children.  A Connecticut lawmaker is focusing on a law that would ban in-car smoking, even with the windows down, for drivers with underage passengers.  New York Assemblyman David Weprin previously introduced a similar bill that would have instated a $100 fine for smoking in cars with passengers under 14 years of age.

'Prohibition by Price' Drives Cigarette Smuggling in New York, Elsewhere.  Cigarette taxes have been in the news lately, and not just because politicians keep raising them.  What's new is that state and local levies have grown so onerous in some parts of the country that they almost could be called "prohibition by price."  And like other forms of prohibition, this one has led to a spike in smuggling-related criminal activity as smokers turn to illicit distribution channels.

Obama administration to push for eliminating smoking on college campuses.  President Barack Obama has already promised not to smoke cigarettes in the White House.  If his administration has its way, American college students will soon be required to follow suit while they're on campus.  Howard Koh, assistant secretary for health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will announce a national initiative Wednesday at the University of Michigan School of Public Health to stamp out tobacco use on college campuses.

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."

Intolerable.  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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