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.

A Nanny State Idiocracy: When the Government Thinks It Knows Best.  For instance, an animal welfare bill introduced in the Florida state Legislature would ban the sale of rabbits in March and April, prohibit cat owners from declawing their pets, make it illegal for dogs to stick their heads out of car windows, force owners to place dogs in a harness or in a pet seatbelt when traveling in a car, and require police to create a public list of convicted animal abusers.  A Massachusetts law prohibits drivers from letting their cars idle for more than five minutes on penalty of a $100 fine ($500 for repeat offenders), even in the winter.  You can also be fined $20 or a month in jail for scaring pigeons.  This overbearing Nanny State despotism is what happens when government representatives (those elected and appointed to work for us) adopt the authoritarian notion that the government knows best and therefore must control, regulate and dictate almost everything about the citizenry's public, private and professional lives.  The government's bureaucratic attempts at muscle-flexing by way of overregulation and overcriminalization have reached such outrageous limits that federal and state governments now require on penalty of a fine that individuals apply for permission before they can grow exotic orchids, host elaborate dinner parties, gather friends in one's home for Bible studies, give coffee to the homeless, let their kids manage a lemonade stand, keep chickens as pets, or braid someone's hair, as ludicrous as that may seem.

What about addictive cartoons on TV that reduce a kid's attention span to a few seconds?
NY Gov. Kathy Hochul signs bill banning 'addictive' social media feeds for kids, the first in the nation.  New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed landmark legislation Thursday barring social media companies from bombarding children with "addictive" feeds — something she said was the first step in a new push to restrict schoolkids' smartphone usage.  The first-in-the nation "SAFE for Kids Act" cracks down on apps — such as TikTok and Instagram — that use algorithms to keep children glued to their phones and then profit off that data.  "We will save lives with this, my friends," Hochul told a crowd gathered at the United Federation of Teachers union headquarters in Manhattan for the bill signing.

Americans remain sour on electric vehicles.  The out-of-touch elites who want us all to give up our gasoline-powered cars also carry a tendency to want to control how the rest of us live our lives.  They want us to abide by their ridiculous edicts:  Buy this type of car.  Use this type of lightbulb.  Eat this kind of food.  Replace your household appliances with what we think you should have.  Their penchant for micromanaging knows no bounds.  I think they have gone too far.  It is one thing to insist that someone use an LED lightbulb rather than an incandescent lightbulb.  In the grand scheme, this is but a small inconvenience.  However, it is quite concerning when those in positions of power demand that we stop driving gasoline-powered cars in favor of unproven, expensive, and unreliable EVs.

Welcome To The Future, Where Your Tools Become Your Masters.  There are few driving experiences more irritating than having a drama queen in your passenger seat.  She (and it's always a she) doesn't even have to say anything.  Clutching the grab handle as you take the on-ramp, sharply inhaling as you beat a red light, glancing nervously out the window as you change lanes — these subtle critiques are enough to enrage even a patient man.  And if California has its way, soon you'll have an automated scold riding shotgun at all times, even when you're driving alone.  [Advertisement]  A new bill, "which passed its first vote in the state Senate on Tuesday," would require that "all new cars sold in the state by 2032 to beep at drivers when they exceed the speed limit by at least 10 mph," The Associated Press explains.  The proposed "one-time visual and audio signal" works by comparing the car's speedometer reading and GPS coordinates to a database of speed limit data in real time.  And because California accounts for such a large share of the U.S. market, automakers would end up adding this feature to every single car that rolls off the line.  [Tweet]

Why Children Need Risk, Fear, and Excitement in Play.  We parents are caught in a paradox.  We desperately want to keep our children safe and ensure their success.  We are also often terrified that they will get hurt and that they will fail — so we do everything we can to prevent that from happening.  Yet many of those very efforts to manage our fears have paradoxically reduced our children's safety and their odds of success.  For over two decades, I have researched children's development, injury prevention, and outdoor risky play.  I have learned that when we prioritize children's play (especially the kind of play that involves some risk and lack of supervision) and the freedom to play how they choose, we help create environments where children and youth thrive.  When we don't, the consequences can be dire.

California Bill Calls for Tech to Make New Cars Unable to Speed.  Someday in the not too distant future, it might no longer be possible to drive a brand-new car faster than 80 mph in California.  That's because state senator Scott Wiener earlier this week proposed a new bill that aims to prevent certain new vehicles from going more than 10 mph over the speed limit.  In California, the maximum posted speed limit is 70 mph, meaning anything north of 80 mph would be off limits.  The Speeding and Fatality Emergency Reduction on California Streets — or SAFER California Streets, for short — is a package of bills that includes SB 961 that was published Tuesday, which essentially calls for speed governors on new cars and trucks built or sold in California starting with the 2027 model year.  These vehicles would be required to have an "intelligent speed limiter system" that electronically prevents the driver from speeding above the aforementioned threshold.

The Editor says...
Will a police car have such a limiter?  Of course not.  What about the governor's car?  How about Nancy Pelosi's car?  The new rules, just like the old rules, apply only to us, not to them.

The federal government solves problems that don't exist.
Say Goodbye to Funny Road Signs Thanks to Humorless Federal Bureacrats.  Here is the latest episode featuring government bureaucrats imposing meaningless rules under the guise of keeping people safe.  The Federal Highway Administration (FHA) has employed a rule prohibiting highway signs that display humorous messages.  Why?  Because using humor to convey important messages related to commuting on the highways and byways somehow threatens the safety of American motorists.  The rules are expected to be in effect within two years.

Biden's alcohol czar warns Americans could soon be told to limit themselves to just two beers per Week.  Americans could be urged by officials to drink no more than two beers a week as part of strict new alcohol guidelines.  Biden's health czar told the USDA could revise its alcohol advice to match Canada's, where people are advised to have just two drinks per week.  Dr George Koob — who admits enjoying a couple of glasses of Chardonnay a week — said he was watching Canada's 'big experiment' with interest.

Biden administration proposes tighter efficiency rule for new home water heaters.  The Biden administration on Friday proposed tightening an efficiency standard for new residential water heaters — a move that it said would both save consumers money and combat climate change.  The draft rule would require that, in order to become more efficient, most common-size electric water heaters use heat pump technology and gas-powered heaters use condensing technology.  The proposal from the Energy Department would cut 501 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions over 30 years, the department said.  That's the equivalent of the emissions of 134 coal-fired power plants in one year.

The Editor says...
First of all, nobody has provided any reason to avoid the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and even if such a reason exists, India and China are ignoring it.  Second, any assertion that this new rule will "save consumers money and combat climate change" is a lie.  Competition and free markets save the consumers money.  The consumers will decide what kind of technology suits them.  Capitalism works great, for everybody but the government bureaucrats.  No rule or law will "combat climate change."  All the laws in the world will not stop "cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night."*  Any time the federal government wants to mandate some technology that is not already widely popular, it means the technology will be less efficient, more costly, more inconvenient, and less reliable.  Why?  Because if everybody switched over to heat pumps and really liked them, the rest of us would have already bought heat pumps by now.  If nobody liked natural gas stoves, the market would have phased them out by now.  Always assume that the politician who is gung ho about solar-powered doorstops (or something equally stupid) is a politician whose brother-in-law is in that business.

Biden Admin: Chocolate Milk is Too Dangerous for Kids but Puberty Blockers Are Fine.  As if President Joe Biden and his administration haven't already done enough to make life more difficult and usher in more hardship for the American people, his band of merry muck-ups are now setting their sights on school lunches and toying around with a ban on chocolate milk — as well as strawberry milk and other flavor alternatives — over concerns about added sugars.  Yes, the same administration that called it "outrageous" and "immoral" to prevent children from taking life-altering hormones to prevent puberty for the purpose of "transitioning" is worried that milk provided at school might have ill effects on their health.  This potentially devastating news for America's students came courtesy of a scoop in The Wall Street Journal this week on what the United States Department of Agriculture is weighing as it works on revamping federal standards for school-provided meals.

How to Cross the Street.  When you want to walk across a street, you make your way to the corner where there might be a traffic light.  If there is a signal (you know, those old-fashioned ones with the red, yellow, and green lights), you wait for the green.  If there is no signal, you wait until traffic clears, look both ways, then, when it is safe, you cross the street.  I can even recall public service announcements on TV:  "Walk on the green and not in between."  Perfectly simple!  Of course, that's not good enough anymore, and the nanny state has, little by little, taken away our responsibility to look after ourselves. [...] Now we have signs telling drivers to stop if they see a pedestrian who might even be thinking about crossing.  We even have signs with flashing Christmas lights that can be manually or automatically activated, the so-called "demand" crosswalks.  These are bad for both pedestrians and drivers. [...] These things break down all the time.  They sometimes flash constantly with nobody around!

Speed Is No Issue Unless It's About How Fast Our Liberty Is Being Lost.  In what remains a striking illustration of an edict issued by a government at once oblivious and overreaching, September 1, 1979 saw automakers forced to equip cars for the American market with speedometers that would instantly transform motorists into caring, genteel drivers.  They would see the new gauges with their highlighted 55-miles-per-hour notch and their maximum marked speed of 85 miles per hour, the thinking went, and instantly realize that they needed to comply with the then-national speed limit in order to save gas and avoid the danger caused by high speeds.  It's been called a "folly" and rightly so.  It was — in that best tradition of government — forcing drivers to accept something with the claim that it was for their own good while in the background lurked a subtle implication that they were stupid, unconcerned or both and therefore unable to drive carefully unless coerced into doing so.  For more than one reason, the 85-miles-per-hour speedometer was a failure and in 1981, its end was in sight.

After receiving complaints from probably NOBODY:
Biden Administration Considers Banning Gas Stoves over Health Concerns.  A federal agency may look to ban gas stoves over concern about the release of pollutants that can cause health and respiratory problems, according to a new report.  The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is set to open public comment on the dangers of gas stoves sometime this winter.  The commission could set standards on emissions from the gas stoves, or even look to ban the manufacture or import of the appliances, commissioner Richard Trumka Jr. told Bloomberg News.  "This is a hidden hazard," Trumka told the outlet.  "Any option is on the table.  Products that can't be made safe can be banned."

The Editor says...
The government is really good at solving problems nobody has.  If gas appliances are unsafe, when did that start?  We had gas appliances when I was a little kid (in the 1960s), and they never hurt anybody.  Back then, my perception was that only the wealthy could afford all-electric homes, and that did not include us!

NTSB wants all new vehicles to check drivers for alcohol use.  The National Transportation Safety Board is recommending that all new vehicles in the U.S. be equipped with blood alcohol monitoring systems that can stop an intoxicated person from driving.  The recommendation, if enacted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, could reduce the number of alcohol-related crashes, one of the biggest causes of highway deaths in the U.S.

Norway launches new monitoring scheme to track all food purchases of private citizens.  Statistics Norway (SSB), which operates the Nordic country's data collection operations, now has a new task that involves tracking the food purchasing habits of Norwegians.  According to reports, the SSB will force all private companies — not just public ones — to hand over data on what foods people in Norway are buying, and in what quantities.  NRK says that the SSB, which collects, produces and communicates statistics related to the Norwegian economy at the national, regional and local levels, will essentially become a Big Brother entity to surveil, track and report on what Norwegians are doing at the grocery store.  "In Norway every citizen is linked to their fødselnummer (birth number), and thus the SSB is well-informed about what individuals earn, their taxes due and their criminal records," reports Free West Media.

Proposed Safety Rules Would Give Feds More Control Over Your Car.  Federal regulators are considering new vehicle safety features and requesting public comments about the immediate changes, but it's the agency's future proposals under development that could give pause to consumers who are concerned about privacy.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regulates the auto industry in numerous ways, including the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP), which provides consumer information on the safety performance of new vehicles through a star rating system found on the manufacturer's window sticker.  The new features under consideration for NCAP include blind spot detection, blind spot intervention, lane-keeping support, and pedestrian automatic emergency braking.  NHTSA is accepting public comments about the changes through June 8.  But in the supplemental material included in the public comment document, NHTSA also revealed several smart technology features that the agency is developing for future NCAP updates.

Swimming with Dolphins Ban - Regulatory Overreach?  Who decides whether you may or may not swim with dolphins?  You may think this is determined by some environment-related law, made by elected representatives who constitute the legislature.  But the generalities of law are often translated into the specifics of practice through rules and regulations made and enforced by officials.  Not all these officials answer to the checks and balances of the democratic process.  Therein lies the scope for them to further political agendas or the interests of pressure groups unsanctified by the ballot, which alone represents the will of the people of America.  It is for this reason that a landmark lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of an arbitrary ban on human-dolphin interactions in Hawaii gains importance.

A Golden Gate Bridge suicide barrier is nanny-state government writ large.  A report about the endlessly rising costs of a suicide barrier for the Golden Gate Bridge connecting San Francisco and Marin perfectly illustrates why it's questionable whether the government should take it upon itself to swaddle its citizens in an effort to protect them from all physical harm. [...] While it's known that some people are seized by an impulse to jump when they're on the bridge and while some will not contemplate suicide in a method other than a jump from that iconic site, it's also certain that a sizable number of suicidal people, if they cannot achieve their sad goal by one method will find another.  So stopping all suicides will never happen.

The Hidden Agenda Behind Biden's Insane Gas Mileage Requirements.  The Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday that all new cars that aren't electric must average 55 miles per gallon by 2026.  This amounts to a Great Leap Forward of almost 20 miles per gallon from the currently ordered 36 miles per gallon that all new cars must achieve, else their manufacturers be punished for making them via "gas guzzler" fines applied to them.  Which are then passed on to the people who buy them.  Which makes it progressively more difficult to afford them.  That being the point of the fines, you understand.  The Biden administration considers it their right and duty to punish you for buying the car you want if it doesn't do what they like.  The free market being an intolerable affront to them.

Congress approves alcohol monitors in all new cars to stop drunk driving in Biden's new $1.2T in infrastructure package.  Congress is requiring in its $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that automakers install monitoring systems in their cars to stop drivers from operating their vehicles while intoxicated.  The bipartisan package, which is on its way to the president's desk after passing the House on Friday, allocates around $17 billion for the road safety programs.  Monitoring systems to stop drunk drivers would roll out in all new vehicles as early as 2026, according to the new legislation.  First, however, the Transportation Department would have to assess what the best form of technology is and give automakers ample time to comply.

Prohibition Was Always a Progressive Experiment.  Perhaps the most impressive feat of political misdirection by American progressives, rivaling the apocryphal Democrat/Republican "great flip," was characterizing drug prohibition as a conservative project.  It's superficially logical.  Prohibition is enforced by police and courts.  Conservatives support law and order.  Progressives focus on social influences over individual responsibility.  But using law enforcement to "improve" the lower classes' unseemly behavior was a late 19th-century progressive project.  Early progressive targets included porn, gambling, prostitution, birth control, and alcohol.  Opium wasn't an initial priority.

Oregon health officials say you can kiss on dates — if both vaccinated.  If you're vaccinated and looking for a smooch, now might be the time to visit Oregon.  The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) on Wednesday [9/22/2021] revised its position on safe-dating practices during the COVID-19 pandemic and now says it is OK to get intimate with your date — as long as you've both been vaccinated.  "If you're both vaccinated and taking COVID-19 precautions, intimacy is likely to be safe," OHA wrote on Facebook.  It was a striking change to the beginning of the pandemic last year when OHA released previous advice for daters in the time of COVID-19.

The Editor says...
There's no point in issuing toothless "guidelines" if they carry no legal weight and, even if they did, there is no possibility they could be enforced.

The Freedom to Be Left Alone.  [Scroll down]  One driver of this is socialism.  The systematic corruption of Christian charity into social welfare programs started with good intentions, but before long the tragedy of the commons kicked in and attitudes changed.  Once everyone is on the hook for everyone's lifestyle choices, then your choices become community property.  Everyone now feels they have an economic claim against your choices in life.  What start off as complaints about paying for the fat guy's health care soon become a demand that the government put the fat guy on a diet.  The former mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, claimed he had a duty to watch your salt intake because of health-care costs.  He banned certain sugary drinks on the grounds that he had a duty to mind your business for your own good.

Senate Infrastructure Bill Seeks to Make Breathalyzers, Interior Cameras Mandatory.  The U.S. Senate is currently considering a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that's primarily targeting the ailing highway system, with tens of billions left over to spend on advancing the nation's EV charging infrastructure and incorporating more eco-friendly modes of public transportation.  But there's also some really kooky shit that you need to be made aware of before this passes into law.  Along with new regulations that would mandate the inclusion of collision detection systems and automatic emergency braking, where the car calls your bluff and applies the wheel-stoppers independently of your actions, provisions have been made that would also require some kind of in-car breathalyzer.  The stated aim is to reduce incidents of drunk driving.  However, the proposed system may also include driver-monitoring cameras, totally undermining any nobility the cause might otherwise have had.  Complaining about regulatory overreach is kind of my beat and the last few years have kept me truly busy.  But this is on a whole other level as the nanny state runs amok — and we're just getting started.

That Senate Infrastructure Bill Shreds Privacy in the Sanctuary of Your Own Car and Blows Up the Budget.  The U.S. Senate plans to take a vote on the infrastructure bill on Saturday, according to the best available reports for you late-to-the-party fact-checkers.  The bill as it's currently written is fiscally disastrous, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), and removes what's left of any vestige of privacy in your own private vehicle. [...] That "mass surveillance" is part of a system to keep track of where and how much you drive, as if that's any of their beeswax.  But they'll use it against you eventually.  No doubt it would have Fourth Amendment implications. [...] The bill requires that breathalyzers — which detect too much alcohol but not weed or other substances — be installed in all vehicles. [...] But look at what has to happen for it to "work."  Cockpit cameras check to make sure your sober buddy isn't blowing into the contraption for you, and facial recognition software will "track face and eye movements in case you're planning to get drunk while driving."

Society, Not Socialism.  The global ecosystem has inestimable "pathways" to naturally remedy any perturbation.  To believe that our four-and-a-half-billion-year-old planet is incapable of surviving without Karen from down the street becoming a Prius-leasing vegetarian abstaining from air-conditioning or having children is the height of human hubris.  Build Back Better is really about building dummies who have neither the education nor the curiosity to question the 1%'s power.  In contrast to the profound capabilities of our global ecosystem to naturally rebalance and self-heal, our social system is far less resilient.

Senate's trillion-dollar infrastructure bill would require alcohol monitors in all cars to prevent drunk driving and back seat alerts to stop hot car child deaths.  With health and safety provisions like alcohol monitors and technology to curb hot car child deaths, the Senate's 2,700-page infrastructure bill details extensive reforms beyond repairs to the country's roads and bridges.  The $1.2 trillion piece of legislation states that 'advanced drunk and impaired driving prevention technology must be standard equipment in all new passenger motor vehicles,' and that vehicles should be able to 'prevent or limit' operation if a driver is impaired.  It calls for a window of five to six years for the new standard to go into effect.  About 28 people die in the US every day in drunk driving crashes, according to the NHTSA — one person every 52 minutes.

The Editor says...
Drunk driving is a problem.  Tyranny is a bigger problem.

Soon, no one in California will be able to bring home the bacon.  In just five months, California may well be the first state in America that effectively bans any pork products.  This is because, back in 2018, voters approved an animal welfare proposition setting out space requirements standards for those who breed pigs, egg-laying chickens, and veal calves.  While chicken farmers and veal producers across America have mostly met those standards, it seems the hog farmers have had a harder time.  This is an interesting story because it touches upon the laws of unintended consequences and the effect a state like California has on the rest of America.

The Editor says...
Once again, Democrat voters have failed to look down the road before voting.  Once they get tired of the impending bacon shortage, there will be another vote, and the anti-bacon law will be repealed.  The lefties could have saved themselves a lot of trouble (which they have yet to experience) by thinking ahead.

HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra Decrees "it is absolutely the government's business" to Know Who Has and Has Not Been Vaccinated.  The same political voices who said the Census Bureau was not allowed to ask about the citizenship status of U.S. residents are now saying HHS has the right to know if you have been vaccinated or not.  This is not hypocrisy, this is the ideological mindset of totalitarian elites who will tell you what is, and is not, permitted behavior.  We The People are insignificant gnats; the power elites will tell us what we are allowed to do, even what they will teach our children in schools.  Hopefully people wake up soon and realize this will not end well.  Having previously announced the government will go door-to-door asking about vaccination compliance, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra declared Thursday that "it is absolutely the government's business" to know people's vaccination status, arguing the federal government has a vested interest in keeping Americans safe.

Several cities have adopted a sugary drink tax; Rhode Island aims to be the first state.  There is no shortage of activity inside the Little Rhody Foods just outside Providence, Rhode Island.  Every day, the food distribution center is bustling with activity as workers move as quickly as they can to pack and ship containers of drinks to all across New England.  But after making it through the pandemic, owner Eli Berkowitz was recently hit with another surprise:  Rhode Island, where this business is located, was looking at the idea of taxing sugary drinks.

FDA moves to ban menthol cigarettes, flavored cigars.  The Biden administration moved Thursday to ban menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, fulfilling a key goal of anti-smoking groups who say the products harm minorities while sparking a debate about government overreach and the potential creation of an underground market.  Health Secretary Xavier Becerra said the Food and Drug Administration's decision to kickstart the removal will help "our most marginalized communities" and accelerate the decrease in overall tobacco use.  "Tobacco-related death and disease must become a part of America's past.  These public health measures will save lives," he said.  "Banning menthol in cigarettes and flavors in cigars will decrease the appeal of these tobacco products and strengthen health equity.  Together, these actions represent powerful, science-based approaches that over time will help end the cycle of children becoming the next generation of smokers and eliminate long-perpetuated health disparities."

Biden Pitches Vision of America on Training Wheels — Forever.  President Joe Biden used his first joint address to Congress to call for a set of policies aimed at fundamentally transforming and enlarging the government's role in the lives of American families.  Biden pitched to the American people a vision of a society dominated by a centralized government, unfettered by counterweights or competing sources of security or authority.  In Biden's America, the youngest children will attend government pre-k, the government will deliver their parents child-rearing checks, subsidized child care, and offer tuition-free community college.  It's an America where the guiding hand of big government is everywhere from the cradle through the diploma. [...] Underlying this is a philosophical rejection of the idea that ordinary Americans can produce prosperity through their own efforts and ingenuity.

The nanny state is not your friend.  If you think our current nanny state is there to look out for you and make sure you are safe, you've got a problem.  The actual message of our helicoptering elite is that we are not to be trusted; we are unreliable, discountable, and our "nannies" know better.  We're simply naive children who must be led, watched over, and protected — from ourselves.  We must cede self-determination, and everything's gonna be okay.  We may not have anything anymore if we give up things like our self-respect, a way to earn a living, and our sovereign country, but it'll be worth it because they'll take care of us all.  There are many ways this warped relationship manifests.  All cancel culture would come under the umbrella that the nanny (in this case a combo of state, media, and tech oligarchy) knows best.  Our delicate eyes and ears can't be trusted to assess what we see and hear and come to the "correct" conclusions; they must do it for us, leading lead us by the nose ring, as it were.

Bureaucrats Try Limiting Us to Just One Drink a Day — After Everything They've Put Us Through?  Unsatisfied with regulating all those other things that once made up a normal life, our betters in Washington are shifting their all-knowing minds to your and my little daily life choices.  And yet again, they're doing it without the facts being on their side.  Despite the overwhelming scientific consensus being against them, they're now targeting grown men's booze.  Are we adults in this country anymore or not?

Newsom's office tells Californians to wear masks 'in between bites' of food when dining with members from same household in public.  Gov. Gavin Newsom's office told California residents they should wear masks "in between bites" of food while dining in public spaces with people from the same household.  "Going out to eat with members of your household this weekend?  Don't forget to keep your mask on in between bites," the office of the governor tweeted over the weekend.  "Do your part to keep those around you healthy," the tweet added.

The Editor says...
Fortunately, a tweet is not a law.

Child well-being check initiative withdrawn after uproar in Tennessee.  The Tennessee Department of Education has withdrawn a $1 million initiative to conduct well-being checks for all children in Tennessee from birth to age 18 after the program sparked uproar this week, with critics calling it a big-brother government overreach.  Gov. Bill Lee and Education Commissioner Dr. Penny Schwinn released the Child Wellbeing Check Toolkit during a news conference Tuesday.  As originally published, the initiative recommended well-being checks for all children in the state to verify well-being as school closures have left gaps for nutrition, health, and abuse reporting services amid the coronavirus pandemic.  Guidelines for the initiative were a collaborative effort of the 38-member Child Wellbeing Task Force, created by Lee in June in response to the pandemic.

New York shampoo assistant bill is dripping with special interests.  A state bureaucrat wants to mandate 500 hours of training for anyone who shampoos hair at a beauty salon or barbershop — but something about her push for the bizarre new requirement just doesn't wash.  That's because she is also a beauty school owner, The [New York] Post has found, as is a second member of the state board that licenses salon workers.  A third person on the panel runs a membership and lobbying group for the cosmetology school industry.  That's out of four total board members.

The petty tyrants in your shower.  The story of how Washington got into our showers started in 1992, but the real action took place in 2010.  A Democratic Congress passed and Republican President George H.W. Bush signed the Energy Policy Act of 1992, which dictated the maximum flow rates on "showerheads, faucets, water closets, and urinals."  The law banned any shower head that allowed water to flow out at a greater rate than 2.5 gallons per minute (which comes out to 5.3 ounces per second) "when measured at a flowing water pressure of 80 pounds per square inch."  This was an overreach.  People pay for their own water.  If a family wants a lower water bill, it can always buy a low-flow shower head.  Why Congress thinks it has the authority to make showers weak is a question each "aye" vote back in 1992 should have to answer for.  But even this intrusion into the most personal moments of a person's day was not enough for Obama.  He wanted to make sure that no showers, including those with more than one shower head, ever spat out more than that congressionally mandated 5.3 ounces per second.

Word Salad in the Time of Coronavirus.  [Scroll down]  The China virus has struck us in our Achilles heel.  I refer not just to our manufacturing supply chains, our healthcare system, or our bureaucratic CDC — though the virus certainly has exposed weaknesses in all of these.  It's also exposed a dangerous ideology infecting our society — safetyism.  Safetyism tells us that with the right technology, the right upbringing, and the right experts in charge we can have a perfectly risk-free society — and that this is not only achievable it's desirable.  Rather than seeing risk as an inevitable feature of life, something that helps us grow stronger in the overcoming, safetyism tells us risk is a bug that can (and should) be eradicated entirely.

No Matter Who Biden Picks, His Running Mate Will Be A 'Karen'.  Applying "Karen" as a pejorative is not as fresh as it might seem.  Some uses of the name to describe a spiteful, unpleasant woman go back maybe as far as three decades.  But the name has been more widely used as a cultural meme in recent months.  With apologies to those named Karen but aren't "Karens," a "Karen" in 2020 is, "an entitled, obnoxious, middle-aged white woman," says  Wikipedia says a Karen "displays aggressive behavior when she is obstructed from getting her way."  She often wants to "speak to the manager" because it's her nature to complain, hector, and rage.  During the pandemic, we've seen Karens all over, screeching and nagging about masks, social distancing (both for and against it and on occasion taking both sides simultaneously), and any conduct she doesn't agree with.  A Karen is a tattletale and a snob, mean girl who got older but didn't grow up.  And her defining traits, bullying, a desire to subjugate others, and rank hypocrisy, fit snugly with progressive-left politics.

NJ Governor Will Still Ban Self-Serve Gas Pumps Despite Virus Threat.  New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy may have caved on closing all the gun stores during the pandemic, but there's one place where he's drawing a bright red line in the sand.  You people simply can not be trusted to pump your own gas.  This has been a bone of contention in New Jersey for ages, and some proponents of doing things the way that virtually the entire rest of the country does it hoped that the current, dire conditions might move the Governor to reconsider.  One such group is the New Jersey Gasoline, Convenience, Automotive Association (NJGCA). [...] Everyone arguing in favor of lifting the ban is citing the state of Oregon.  Half of the state has a similar ban in place but on Friday they temporarily suspended the rule, allowing gas stations to offer self serve if they wished to do so.

Cities Interfere in Free Market by Restricting Dollar Stores.  Adam Smith famously described the power of the free market's "invisible hand" in his monumental tome, The Wealth of Nations.  In it, Smith said that the butcher does not provide us our supper for our benefit, but in the process of acting in his own self-interest, he does provide us with our supper.  Apparently, the Oklahoma City Council — joining several such cities across the country, including Tulsa, Fort Worth, Birmingham, and DeKalb County in Georgia — has little regard for Smith's "invisible hand" (presuming they have ever even heard of it).  This week, the Oklahoma City Council passed restrictions on the establishment of "dollar stores" in areas of the city that are statistically less healthy.

Nannied from Dawn to Dusk.  Last fall, the United Kingdom's outgoing Chief Medical Officer, Sally Davies, published a report on childhood obesity.  Among her proposals for "bold action" were measures to "allow children to grow up free from marketing signals and incentives to consume unhealthy food and drinks," including the suggestion that the government "prohibit eating and drinking on urban public transport, except fresh water, breastfeeding and for medical conditions."  Such intrusiveness into everyday life, and its tenuous justification — that adults must not set a bad example for children by, say, snacking on the go — made the announcement a watershed in the growing British habit of taxing, banning, and tut-tutting an ever-longer list of perfectly ordinary activities.  In 2016, the government announced a nationwide tax on sugary soft drinks.  London's Mayor Sadiq Khan has banned junk-food advertising on public transport in the capital.

Unjust Deserts.  About 20 years ago, academic researchers began describing poor urban neighborhoods without supermarkets as "food deserts."  The term captured the attention of elected officials, activists, and the media.  They mapped these nutritional wastelands, blamed them on the rise of suburban shopping centers and the decline of mass transit, linked them to chronic health problems suffered by the poor, and encouraged government subsidies to lure food stores to these communities.  Despite these efforts, which led to hundreds of new stores opening around the country, community health outcomes haven't changed significantly, and activists think that they know why.  The culprits, they say, are the dollar-discount stores in poor neighborhoods that — or so they claim — drive out supermarkets and sell junk food. [...] Behind the sudden disdain for these retailers — typically discount variety stores smaller than 10,000 square feet — are claims by advocacy groups that they saturate poor neighborhoods with cheap, over-processed food, undercutting other retailers and lowering the quality of offerings in poorer communities.

The Editor says...
I see.  The "activists" and "advocacy groups," also known as agitators, want discount stores to offer high-quality fresh food, just like supermarkets, at rock-bottom prices, and they want the stores to accept the responsibility for the health and longevity of the neighborhood residents, even though many of those residents are likely to hold up the store someday and take all the profits.  That only works if there are no other stores in the neighborhood that sell junk food, candy, lottery tickets, and cigarettes.  In reality, stores are located where the demand is, and stocked with the items that the customers are most likely to buy.  Gas stations sell incidental retail items because customers buy whatever their hunger or their greed tells them to buy.

Don't throw food in the trash in Vermont, or ask about salary history in New Jersey.  Here are 7 state law changes for 2020.  A slew of state laws take effect in 2020 — ranging from mandatory composting to child abuse registries to access to diaper changing stations.  One state will even begin banning expiration dates for gift certificates.

Seven Silly Laws That Shred Our Personal Freedom.  [#3] In a small village within Westchester County, New York, you cannot idle your car longer than one minute, including on your own private property.  Otherwise you'll face a fine.  This is two minutes more restrictive — or more "progressive," as one community leader put it — than Westchester County itself, which has a three-minute anti-idling law.  "No person shall allow or permit the engine of a motor vehicle to idle for more than three consecutive minutes when the motor vehicle is not in motion," that law states.  There are some exemptions, including for first responder vehicles, for hybrid-electric vehicles that are recharging, and during freezing weather conditions.

The Editor says...
[#1] A car that is idling emits the same pollution as a car that is in motion; probably less.  [#2] I have owned more than one vehicle that was difficult to get started, and I'd be reluctant to shut down the engine just to keep from wrecking the earth.  [#3] Does every traffic signal have an extra feature now, to let you know you'll be stopped there for more than a minute?  Otherwise, how would you know?  [#4] All you have to do is drive forward an inch every 59 seconds to get around this law when you're out in public.  [#5] What about all the airplanes at the airport?  Many of those engines are idling, as the planes wait for takeoff or wait for a gate to open up.  And each of those engines burns a lot more gas than your car.

Wausau Wisconsin Outlaws Throwing Snowballs — 'In the interest of public safety'.  Who doesn't remember growing up and throwing snowballs at one another?  Could someone get hurt, well in a word, yes.  But as I demonstrated above, there are a lot of things that could cause injury.  That in no way means that these things should be banned.

What the Elites Think Americans 'Need' Has Nothing to Do with Individual Rights.  You may have noticed that all advocates of federal gun control are arguing for the same end result, which is federal limitations upon the individual right to own firearms.  But the underlying arguments as to why they believe that the federal government should be allowed to do so can vary, and often pretty wildly. [...] But in the end, all these arguments boil down to one thing — what gun control advocates think Americans "need."

How Bureaucrats Ruin Everything From Dishwashers To Gas Cans To Cars.  [Scroll down]  One car designer noted that "I know of at least one vehicle ... that was discontinued entirely because changing curtain airbag regulations would have meant the entire shape of the vehicle had to be redesigned."  There are plenty of other examples like this of regulators making products worse.  Toilets that don't flush, showerheads that don't allow sufficient water flow, and other modern product failures, are courtesy of the nanny state.  And all of this, mind you, is just the tip of the regulatory pyramid, with decades upon decades of rules, mandates, and regulations now affecting nearly every aspect of our economy.  Has this monstrous regulatory state improved the quality of our lives?  If the above is any indication, the answer is most likely no.

Cops Strip-Searched a 4-Year-Old After Mom's Errand Took Too Long.  A mom who let her six children wait ten minutes in the car while she ran in to get them muffins at a local Kentucky cafe is the focus of this oped I co-authored in The Washington Post.  Perhaps you can guess what happened next to the mom, Holly Curry.  In fact, I'll bet you can.  Though it was 67 degrees and partly cloudy, and though it is statistically safer to let kids wait in the car than drag them across a parking lot — the heart-wrenching stories of kids who die in cars almost always involve children forgotten there for hours, not simply waiting out an errand — Curry found herself in trouble with the police.

Oregon Could Become the First State to Require In-Home Surveillance of Newborn Babies.  If Oregon Governor Kate Brown has her way, the Beaver State will become the first to require universal home visits for newborn children in the care of their own parents.  Senate Bill 526, introduced this month in the Oregon Legislative Assembly as part of Brown's budget, orders the Oregon Health Authority to "study home visiting by licensed health care providers."  Lawmakers went so far as to declare that SB 526 is an "emergency" measure — one that requires a resolution by the end of the year.

City Council bill would require chains to post warnings for sugary foods.  Fast-food fans are going to have to slow down to read all the warning labels on the menu if legislation introduced Wednesday in the City Council becomes law.  A bill authored by Councilmember Mark Levine would require chain restaurants to post warning notices next to each food item that contains more than 12 grams of added sugar.  That's in addition to the postings already on the books for high sodium content and calorie counts.  "No city has done this yet, but New York is backsliding in the fight against obesity and diabetes, and helping people improve their diet is key to getting those trends moving in the right direction," said Levine (D-Manhattan), who chairs the council's Health Committee.

Say No To Nanny Bloomberg.  [Michael] Bloomberg champions the party of Do As I Say, Not As I Do-ism.  He crusades for public transportation from the back seat of a plush SUV.  He battles against climate change while flying to Davos and Paris in private jets.  He rails against junk food for everyone else while scarfing down Cheez-Its during media interviews about his trans-fat ban.

Weak passwords banned in California from 2020.  Default passwords such as "admin" and "password" will be illegal for electronics firms to use in California from 2020.  The state has passed a law that sets higher security standards for net-connected devices made or sold in the region.  It demands that each gadget be given a unique password when it is made.

Just Another Word for Nothing Left to Lose.  [Scroll down]  It's easy to roll one's eyes at San Francisco, but a bill that would forbid restaurants from handing out plastic straws unless requested by the customer has just landed on the governor's desk.  Furthermore, a second bill that just landed on his desk requires fast-food restaurants to offer water or milk as the default option on any children's meals.  Advocates for the latter see it as a strike against childhood obesity, but it's really just a means to meddle in parents' minor life decisions.  Parents can still order soda for their kids, but restaurants could face $500 fines for providing a soda with the meal.  This is an almost literal example of the "nanny state."

Mom investigated for letting 8-year-old walk dog around the block.  Just after returning home from a walk around the block with her dog, Marshmallow, an 8-year-old Wilmette girl expected a visit from a playmate.  Instead, police officers arrived at the family's door.  An anonymous caller had contacted police after seeing the girl walking the dog alone, said her mother, Corey Widen.  While police never pursued charges, the seemingly common activity launched an Illinois Department of Children and Family Services investigation to see if Widen was neglecting her children, she said.

'We Have to Regulate Every Aspect of People's Lives'.  A Santa Barbara city councilman inadvertently let slip the primary purpose of progressivism in 21st century America.  The city recently criminalized the use of plastic straws.  Speaking to that issue, Councilman Jesse Dominguez said, "Unfortunately, common sense is just not common.  We have to regulate every aspect of people's lives."  Got that?  "We" are smarter than you and know what's best for you better than you do.  Perhaps realizing that his comment revealed a fundamental truth of progressive thought, Dominguez tried to walk back his gaffe: [...]

Baltimore restaurants banned from including sodas, sugary drinks on kids' menus.  Restaurants in Baltimore are now officially barred from including sodas and other sugary drinks on kids' menus, according to a city ordinance that went into effect Wednesday [7/18/2018].

California governor signs soda tax ban into law.  California cities and counties are banned from taxing sodas and other sugary drinks for the next 12 years under a bill signed into law by Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown.  The deal was rushed through the legislature and to the governor's desk on Thursday.  In exchange for the law, the nonalcoholic beverage industry is withdrawing a ballot measure that had been slated for November.  It would have raised the voter threshold to approve local sales tax increases on any item, not just soda taxes, from a majority vote to a supermajority vote.  Signatures were gathered for the ballot through a campaign funded by the beverage industry.

Look What California Thinks is an Emergency Bill.  California is a Socialist nightmare with oppressive government regulations and high taxes killing the middle class.  Housing is so costly that it's greatly adding to the number of homeless.  The open borders and sanctuary cities policies have allowed killers, perverts, and drug dealers to get protection everywhere in the state.  With all the problems they have, they rushed through a bill that could make you laugh.  According to the Washington Examiner, the oh-so-urgent bill that had to be rushed through bans California cities and counties from taxing sodas and other sugary drinks for 12 years.  Are you surprised that a nanny state banned taxes?  Don't be.  The reason they did it was to keep high taxes on everything else!

FDA's pitiful, politicized press to pull baby teething meds from market.  The Food and Drug Administration issued parents some stern warnings about teething medicines for their babies, and simultaneously told manufacturers and retailers that if they didn't "voluntarily" stop selling the product to the tiny toddler demographic, they would face legal action from the feds.  Voluntary compliance — gotta love the federal definition of that, yes?  But the bigger question with this FDA message to consumers is this:  Why now?  And the bigger theme, of course, would be this:  Shouldn't parents, rather than government, be the final deciders of what's best for their babies?

Feds studying adding warning labels to soda.  The National Institutes of Health is spending over $150,000 to study adding warning labels to soda.  The University of California, Davis, is conducting the study, which will test warning labels akin to those found on cigarettes at the campus cafeteria.  The study aims to determine whether the warning labels can "'nudge' consumers toward healthier dietary choices."

California's latest contradictions — Welcoming criminals but warning about 'dangerous' coffee.  Imagine a state that passes a law welcoming, embracing and protecting criminals, directly endangering citizens.  Then imagine that same state passing laws, and judges issuing orders that make no sense except to micromanage people's lives in the name of keeping them safe.  A contradiction indeed, and especially ripe in California.  The same week that a number of cities and counties in California sued their own state over the dangerous law making the state a "sanctuary" for illegal alien criminals, a judge issued a ruling to save Californians from themselves and their coffee-drinking habit.

Having solved all other problems...
California Considers $1,000 Fine for Waiters Offering Unsolicited Plastic Straws.  Ian Calderon wants restaurateurs to think long and hard before giving you a straw.  Calderon, the Democratic majority leader in California's lower house, has introduced a bill to stop sit-down restaurants from offering customers straws with their beverages unless they specifically request one.  Under Calderon's law, a waiter who serves a drink with an unrequested straw in it would face up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

Judge Overrules State's Seizure of Child from Couple It Deemed Not Smart Enough to Be Parents.  A holiday happiness story to share:  The Oregon couple who had their two children taken away because the state determined they weren't smart enough to be parents has gotten one of them back.  As I highlighted in July, Oregon's Department of Health Services put Amy Fabbrini and Eric Ziegler's boys — one 4 years old and one now 10 months old — in foster homes, not because the parents were abusing or neglecting their kids, but because the state determined that they would be poor parents due to their hampered cognitive skills.  Fabbrini and Ziegler both have I.Q.s well below average — 66 and 72 — and their learning struggles were used as justification to take the children away as a preventative measure rather than as a response to actual harm the children had suffered.

City officials rip Burke idea to fine pedestrians using cellphones in intersections.  A pair of key Chicago aldermen want to fine pedestrians up to $500 if they're caught texting or using a cellphone while walking through an intersection, an idea that quickly drew skepticism from city transportation officials and a noncommittal response from Mayor Rahm Emanuel.  The proposed ordinance, which would still have to pass the full City Council, calls for fines of $90 to $500 for each incident of using a mobile device while crossing a street or highway.

Forget homicides, Chicago focuses on the menace of crosswalk texters.  The Windy City's population is falling again this year as nearly two residents per day are blown away by gunfire or carved to death by knives.  But as Rahm Emanuel is famous for saying in his Obama White House days, never let a good crisis go to waste.  So Mayor Emanuel's machine City Council is focused on another critical urban issue:  Pedestrians texting while crossing the street.  Also talking on cells.

How the Administrative State Serves Clients and Hurts Citizens:  The Case of the Non-Organic, Organic Food.  The late economist and Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman used to say that only in government, when a program or project fails dismally, the instinctive response is to make it bigger. [...] We're seeing Friedman's observation validated yet again in the congressional response to an exposé of the pervasive dishonesty in the organic agriculture industry.  Following a scathing report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's inspector general that details fraud, mismanagement, and negligence throughout the global organic agriculture/food supply chain, Congress wants to throw yet more money at the problem.

The Progressive Machine Takes a Big Hit in Cook Country, Illinois.  Here, in essence, is the recipe that progs have used to grab power over the rest of us:  [#1] Declare a problem that urgently needs to be solved.  In the soda tax case, the problem is the "obesity epidemic" (an expression that invokes a public health rationale for exerting extraordinary controls that otherwise would be unconstitutional — think quarantining, for instance).  [#2] Gin up "studies" that cast blame on a convenient target, which is then demonized as "greedy" or "uncaring" or some other quality that progs imagine they alone lack.  [#3] As the target becomes unpopular thanks to the propaganda campaign, move to implement a tax that is justified as punishing the evildoers, while guiding the rest of us into behavior that supposedly will solve the problem.

Rest Easy, America, The FDA Is Keeping 'Love' Off Our Food Labels.  Bloomberg reports that an artisan baker in Massachusetts got a warning letter from the FDA last Tuesday complaining, among other thing, about an ingredient listed on the label of a bag of its granola.  "Your Nashoba Granola label lists ingredient 'Love,'" the letter reads.  It goes on to inform the baker that "Ingredients required to be declared on the label or labeling of food must be listed by their common or usual name (21 CFR 101.4(a)(1)).  'Love' is not a common or usual name of an ingredient, and is considered to be intervening material because it is not part of the common or usual name of the ingredient."  Translation:  Your attempt at light humor isn't funny to us rule-enforcing bureaucrats down in the bowels of some dreary federal building.

FDA Delays New Nutrition Facts Label Unveiled by Michelle Obama.  The Trump administration is delaying a regulation championed by former first lady Michelle Obama to redesign the Nutrition Facts label.  The Food and Drug Administration on Friday issued a rule delaying until 2020 the compliance date for regulations that will make listed calories on food larger in an attempt to fight obesity.  Mrs. Obama unveiled the new label in May 2016 as part of her anti-obesity "Let's Move" campaign.  Aside from increasing the font size of calories and the addition of "added sugars" on the label, the regulations even dealt with how to label dinner mints.  The regulations will cost food manufacturers an estimated $640 million.

Tire Tyranny.  You visit the tire shop to buy a new set.  Used to be that you'd either tell the guy behind the counter which tires you wanted or discuss options with him.  Then you'd buy them and he'd install them.  Now the guy behind the counter will scan your car's VIN — which is tied to the DMV — and first find out all kinds of things about you and your car.  Then he will tell you which tires you're allowed to buy.  Yes, really.

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, 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" — things 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 © 2024 by Andrew K. Dart

Peanut allergies

This section is now located here.

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.

Big Tobacco and the Psychiatric Drug Industry.  The psychiatric drug industry and Big Tobacco share striking similarities in their tactics, particularly when it comes to downplaying the risks associated with their products and targeting vulnerable populations like youths.  The psychiatric community has gotten away with pretending it is based in science and medicine to sell its snake oil, whereas the tobacco industry wasn't so lucky.  A key difference lies in the government's stance — whereas tobacco companies face increasing regulations and warnings, the psychiatric drug industry enjoys substantial government support and promotion despite the existence of black box warnings on many of its medications.  Both industries have a history of misleading marketing practices and minimizing potential harms.  Big tobacco companies notoriously concealed for decades evidence linking smoking to lung cancer and other diseases.  Similarly, psychiatric drug manufacturers have been accused of selectively publishing favorable trial data and underreporting adverse effects.

The FDA can't get its story straight about reducing tobacco-related dangers.  FDA Commissioner Robert Califf recently faced a grueling hearing before members of the House Oversight Committee.  From contraceptives and baby formula to COVID-19 remedies and regulatory actions by the Center for Tobacco Products, the session covered a wide array of FDA actions — or mainly the lack thereof.  It may have been a long afternoon for the FDA commissioner, but for the tens of millions of American adults who smoke and are unable or unwilling to quit, it has been an even longer wait for the agency to acknowledge and approve the crucial role of "tobacco harm reduction," or THR.  The idea is to lower the health risks of smoking by cutting back or switching to nontobacco nicotine products, such as nicotine patches or e-cigarettes.

Joe Biden Puts Off Banning of Menthol Cigarettes Until After the Election.  The last time we checked in on Joe Biden's planned ban on menthol cigarettes, he was considering postponing the effort because his campaign and Democrats are worried about angering black voters.  Now it pretty much confirmed that Biden is not going to try to put the ban in effect before the election, proving once and for all that all they really care about is votes.  If Biden wins in November, this ban will take effect in the months that follow and you can take that to the bank.

A risk-free life is not worth living.  Given that Rishi Sunak's smoking ban enjoys majority popular support, most Britons clearly regard it as harmless, if not laudable.  The Tobacco and Vapes Bill, which passed its first reading in the House of Commons earlier this week, makes it illegal for anyone born after 1 January 2009 to buy tobacco products for the rest of their lives.  It is intended to raise this and all subsequent generations as tobacco-free.  Who could object to that?  I could.  We already disallow minors from buying cigarettes.  It's an entirely different matter for the law to follow children into adulthood and make decisions for them in realms that should become their business.  Pragmatically, this law will prove a nightmare to enforce, and will surely hold the law up to mockery. [...] If we embrace this principle of generational discrimination, there's no end to the aspects of younger people's lives that the state can control, since the underaged can't object through the ballot box.  Let's say they can't drive petrol-fuelled cars.  Or they can't drive cars at all.  They can't take aeroplanes — too much carbon emission.  They can't buy crisps or biscuits.  Maybe we can force them to run twice around a football pitch before they're allowed to order an all-plant-sourced lunch.  They certainly can't gamble or purchase alcohol.

Liberty is dying under the Tories.  It seems political consensus isn't dead.  It's simply been hibernating, waiting for a kind of crackdown on personal liberty that is so popular that it brings everyone together.  That moment came this evening, when MPs voted on the second reading of the government's Tobacco and Vapes Bill, which will not only ban whatever flavoured vapes ministers deem too fun, but will also ban anyone born after January 2009 from ever legally buying cigarettes and other tobacco-based products in the UK.  A total of 383 voted in favour of the Bill, with 67 voting against.  The overwhelming consensus for the Bill is set to usher in a new system of consumer rights in Britain: adults, born days apart, will not be allowed to be sold the same products.  Aged 18, 48, or 98, some adults will be able to purchase tobacco based products, while their peers will not.  The UK is now the first, and only, to push forward with this system of tiered rights, after New Zealand's Conservative coalition abandoned the policy almost immediately after winning office.  Still, there's no denying that this absurd policy is a popular one.

President Biden's FDA Is Delaying Menthol Ban Until After the Election Amid Dwindling Black Support.  Remember when the Biden administration announced that it would place a ban on menthol cigarettes?  Well, it appears the White House could be close to making such a prohibition a reality.  The ban is supposedly, and racistly, intended to save black people from themselves, given that menthol cigarettes are popular among African American smokers.  However, there are reasons to speculate that President Joe Biden could be slow-walking the process for political reasons.  The proposed prohibition on menthol smokes was introduced about two years ago and was met with criticism from folks on the left and the right.

Biden delays menthol ban amid 2024 concerns over black support.  A two-year-old proposal to ban menthol cigarettes may be delayed until after the 2024 election as President Joe Biden weighs a move that could risk eroding his support within the black community.  The Food and Drug Administration first proposed banning menthols and flavored cigars in April 2022, but has since missed two deadlines for finalizing the rule, the second of which expired at the end of March. [...] But some observers say other priorities are behind the delay, namely the lack of support for the idea as the election sharpens into view.  Biden's menthol ban has received praise from public health advocates who say it can save hundreds of thousands of lives.  The tobacco industry is also accused of disproportionately targeting the black community with its marketing of menthol cigarettes.

The Editor says...
Those who smoke cigarettes are well aware of the health risks.  The same is true of those who smoke marijuana, or those who go snow skiing, sky diving, riding a zip line, or any of several recreational activities that are all legal.  Let the people decide for themselves what's safe and what's not.

Court upholds town bylaw banning anyone born in 21st century from buying tobacco products.  A Massachusetts town that adopted an unusual ordinance banning the sale of tobacco to anyone born in the 21st century is being looked at as a possible model for other cities and towns hoping to further clamp down on cigarettes and tobacco products.  The bylaw — the first of its kind in the country — was adopted by Brookline in 2020 and last week was upheld by the state's highest court, opening the door for other communities to adopt similar bans that will, decades from now, eventually bar all future generations from buying tobacco.  The rule, which bans the sale of tobacco to anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 2000, went into effect in 2021 in the town of about 60,000 next to Boston.

The Editor says...
Can-of-worms alert!  There was no Year Zero, so the 21st century began on January 1, 2001.  And there are plenty of lawyers in Massachusetts who know this already.

Increasing cigarette taxes doesn't make sense.  While there are many good reforms currently under consideration in the Legislature, Nebraskans are right to reject higher sales taxes.  The cigarette tax increase is especially egregious.  Not only would the tax hike disproportionately harm lower-income Nebraskans (who are more likely to purchase cigarettes), it's also fiscally unwise.  Dramatically raising cigarette taxes will incentivize folks to either buy cigarettes that have been smuggled in or cross the state border themselves to purchase them.  As such, it fails to provide a good revenue substitute for property taxes, which are less easily evaded.

New Zealand scraps its world-first cigarette ban which was copied by Britain, so will UK follow suit?  New Zealand will repeal on Tuesday a world-first law banning tobacco sales for future generations, the government said.  Set to take effect [in] July, the toughest anti-tobacco rules in the world would have banned sales to those born after January 1, 2009, cut nicotine content in smoked tobacco products and reduced the number of tobacco retailers by more than 90%.  The new coalition government elected in October confirmed the repeal will happen on Tuesday as a matter of urgency, enabling it to scrap the law without seeking public comment, in line with previously announced plans.

The Distortion of Science To Support the Globalists' Climate Change Agenda.  Starting in the mid-20th century, companies began distorting and manpulating science to favor specific commercial interests.  Big tobacco is both the developer and the poster child of this strategy.  When strong evidence that smoking caused lung cancer emerged in the 1950s, the tobacco industry began a campaign to obscure this fact.  The tobacco industry scientific disinformation campaign sought to disrupt and delay further studies, as well as to cast scientific doubt on the link between cigarette smoking and harms.  This campaign lasted for almost 50 years, and was extremely successful — until it wasn't.  This tobacco industry's strategic brilliance lay in the use of a marketing and advertising campaign (otherwise known as propaganda) to create scientific uncertainty and sow doubts in the minds of the general public.  This, combined with legislative "lobbying" and strategic campaign "donations" undermined public health efforts and regulatory interventions to inform the public about the harms of smoking and the regulation of tobacco products.

New Zealand government scraps world-first smoking ban.  New Zealand's plan to repeal what would have been some of the world's toughest tobacco laws has attracted widespread criticism from health experts.  The country's new centre-right coalition will scrap the laws introduced by former prime minister Jacinda Ardern, according to coalition agreements published on Friday.  The raft of measures, which were meant to begin from July 2024, would have seen bans on selling tobacco to anyone born after January 1, 2009.  It would have also reduced the amount of nicotine allowed in smoked tobacco products and cut the number of retailers able to sell tobacco by more than 90 percent.  A ban on smoking for future generations was subsequently proposed in the United Kingdom, and raised in Australia.

Incoming New Zealand Conservative Government Stubs out Smoking Ban.  Smoke 'em if you got 'em.  That's the message from New Zealand's incoming conservative coalition government which has vowed to scrap the nation's smoking ban to fund tax cuts across the broader community and stem any possibility of starting a black market.  The legislation, introduced under the previous left-wing Jacinda Ardern-led government, would have banned cigarette sales next year to anyone born after 2008, as Breitbart News reported.

When Will Politicians Learn Banning Cigarettes Will Never Work?  One of the most enduring lessons of American history is that the banning of liquor sales and consumption ("the noble experiment") was a colossal failure. [...] I was reminded of this when I saw recently that the Biden administration's Food and Drug Administration wants to ban menthol cigarettes.  Menthol flavorings account for approximately 37% of cigarette sales.  That demand will not disappear but it will be driven underground, creating more significant risks to consumers.  Ninety years after the failure of Prohibition, we are going to try it again with smokers.  Ironically, many of the same liberals who campaigned for three decades for the legalization of marijuana and other soft drugs (something I generally support) now want to effectively ban smoking.  The FDA's proposed rule would "prohibit menthol as a characterizing flavor in cigarettes and all characterizing flavors (other than tobacco) in cigars."  The government justifies its action because it has "the potential to significantly reduce disease and death from combusted tobacco product use."

Straining at a gnat while swallowing a camel.
Joe Biden Moves to Ban Menthol Cigarettes While Pushing Safe Crack Pipes and Marijuana Reform.  President Joe Biden's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is pushing to ban menthol cigarettes after it has pressed for safe crack pipe distribution and marijuana reform.  The FDA has pushed its long-awaited ban on menthol cigarettes, which some public health groups believe could help improve black communities and prevent young Americans from smoking cigarettes.  Menthol cigarettes are viewed as more addictive than traditional cigarettes.

The Tories' smoking plans are nanny state nonsense.  Rishi Sunak, fresh from his man-of-the-people speech on net zero, has turned his attention to a different kind of dirty air.  Rumours are swirling in Westminster that the Government is considering adopting New Zealand's gradual, but total, ban on smoking.  Under new regulations, Kiwis born after 2009 have no hope of enjoying a legal smoke — as the age limit will be gradually increased to eventually ban cigarettes altogether.  Bringing such legislation to the UK statute books would perhaps finally draw the red line between the ersatz-libertarianism of the Johnson age, and the technocratic managerialism of Sunak.  But it's bad news for all of us — smokers or otherwise.  At this point, even Kaspar Hauser would know that smoking is bad for you.  From endless public-health campaigns to the anecdotal realities of lung cancer and ill health felt by long-term smokers, the dangers of smoking pretty much raise awareness by themselves.

Pot OK, but no cigars!  In recent days, Oregon senator Jeff Merkley, a Democrat, joined by several colleagues, penned a letter to the Food and Drug Administration pressing the agency to ban, or at a minimum heavily regulate, flavored cigar sales.  In response, the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products said it will likely take action in the coming weeks.  The agency purports to be concerned that teenagers are smoking these cigars, and are at risk of becoming addicted. [...] Contrast our government representatives' actions and FDA concern about cigars to their almost unquestioning, wholesale sanctioning of increased marijuana usage.  Bizarre doesn't begin to describe this dichotomy.  Illogical?  Insane might be more appropriate.  Many people who smoke cigars don't (deliberately) inhale the smoke.  The whole point of smoking pot is to inhale — and hold the smoke in your lungs deeply and for as long as possible, to achieve the high.  Moreover, higher combustion temperatures are reached when smoking pot because it is typically smoked to a shorter butt, which leads to a carboxyhemoglobin concentration that is five times higher than tobacco.  Also, roughly three times more tar is inhaled when smoking marijuana as opposed to tobacco.

NY Republicans move to ban public pot smoking over its 'pungent odor'.  A pair of GOP state lawmakers are pushing to ban public pot puffing in a longshot effort to clear the air of "pungent" clouds of funky smoke.  State Sen. George Borrello, from upstate Jamestown, joined Brooklyn Assemblyman Michael Novakhov this week to sponsor a bill that would prohibit the public use of cannabis unless a city or town specifically permits it.  Novakhov, a freshman Republican who won an upset victory in 2022 in a district centered on Gravesend, introduced the measure back in May and modeled it on existing laws banning the open consumption of alcohol.  Borrello signed on after receiving a stream of complaints from constituents who "are now regularly assailed with the pungent odor of marijuana on public sidewalks, in parking lots and other public spaces," he said Thursday.

Moral and ethical confusion reign.  According to The New York Post, the Hochul administration is trying to gin up support for a complete ban on the sale of all tobacco products in the state within ten years.  To that end, the Empire State's state Health Department commissioned a new survey aimed at gauging support for an all-out prohibition.  Ironically, New York has done everything it can to legalize — and encourage — the use of today's ultra-potent THC-laced marijuana, a substance containing more carcinogens than most tobacco products, and one that, unlike tobacco, is mind-altering and can cause paranoia.  The Big Apple fairly reeks of marijuana today.  It has literally gone to pot.

NY Gov. Kathy Hochul 'test-marketing' a ban on all tobacco sales.  The pro-legal weed Hochul administration is quietly trying to fire up support for a complete ban on the sale of tobacco products in New York, The [New York] Post has learned.  The state Health Department commissioned a new survey aimed at gauging support for an all-out prohibition — despite Gov. Hochul's failure to secure support from state legislators to include a ban on menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products in the yet-to-be-approved state budget.  "What is your opinion about a policy that would end the sale of all tobacco products in New York within 10 years?" were among the questions asked last week in the "New York Local Opinion Leaders Survey," examined by the Post.  Another asks:  "What is your opinion about a policy that would ban the sale of all tobacco products to those born after a certain date?  For example, those born after the year 2010 or later would never be sold tobacco."

The Editor says...
Cigarettes are nasty and smelly, and nobody should ever buy them or smoke them.  But cigarettes have always been a legal product, and the decision of whether or not to purchase them has always been left to the consumer.

NY gov quietly test-markets 'bizarre' plan to ban the sale of all tobacco products.  New Yorkers have been on edge in recent years.  And why wouldn't they be?  Crime is soaring, the streets are filthy, and local shop owners are struggling to keep their doors open.  It is apparently the perfect time, in Governor Kathy Hochul's world, to test-run a plan to completely prohibit the sale of tobacco products in her state, because nothing says "leadership" like inserting yourself in the lives of anxious residents and robbing them of their cigarettes.

Biden declares war on nicotine while giving addicts crack pipes.  As Americans grapple with sky-high prices at the pump, the worst rate of inflation in more than four decades, increasing crime, a wide-open southern border, a surge in fentanyl deaths, a baby formula shortage, a looming food crisis, a plunging stock market, rolling brownouts, and many other pressing problems, the Biden administration has set its sights on waging war on nicotine.  This week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it "plans to develop a proposed product standard that would establish a maximum nicotine level to reduce the addictiveness of cigarettes and certain other combusted tobacco products" and that it has "issued marketing denial orders (MDOs) to JUUL Labs Inc. for all of their products currently marketed in the United States."  For those keeping track, these anti-nicotine measures follow the Biden administration's proposal to ban menthol cigarettes, which was announced by the FDA in April.

Biden's war on smoking:  Administration plans to introduce new rules slashing amount of nicotine in cigarettes to 'nonaddictive' levels.  The Biden administration is planning to push a policy that would require tobacco companies to reduce the level of nicotine in cigarettes sold in the U.S.  The policy would see the amount of nicotine reduced to 'nonaddictive levels'.  Although it would likely not come into force for several years, the move would likely disrupt the entire tobacco industry.

The Editor says...
Unlike the Democrats, I have the ability to think ahead and predict where their ideas will lead.  When reduced-nicotine cigarettes hit the market, several things will happen:  [#1] Smuggling full-strength cigarettes from Mexico and Canada will become a booming business.  [#2] The hopelessly-addicted hoi polloi will smoke a lot more cigarettes and the price per pack will not go down.  Cigarette smokers will get even meaner and more inconsiderate than they already are.  [#3] Most Americans will take it in stride, rather than actively voting against the tyrants who ruined cigarettes forever, who are the same tyrants who mandated low-flow toilets and shower heads to "save the earth."  The Democrats keep getting re-elected no matter what they do to their constituents.

Light up a joint anywhere you want — but menthol cigarettes are another matter.
NYC Mayor Adams vows to not be 'heavy-handed' on illicit weed sales: 'Enjoy yourself, light up'.  It's a green new day for weed dealers in the Big Apple.  Mayor Adams promised Friday to not take a "heavy-handed" approach toward those who sell marijuana illicitly in the city and gave New Yorkers his blessing to smoke more pot.  While New York legalized recreational weed use last year, the licensing system that's supposed to regulate cannabis sales isn't expected to kick off until late 2022 — and Adams said Friday afternoon [6/3/2022] that he doesn't see a need for cracking down on anyone caught dealing ganja out of stores or on the street in the interim.

Why a Federal Ban on Menthols Is a Minefield for Biden.  In the era of Black Lives Matter, does the Biden administration really want to take on prominent activists like Al Sharpton and Ben Crump -- and make lives potentially harder for Black men, all because the government says it's in their best interest?  There is a cost-benefit analysis to be had between good public health policy and the dynamics of criminal justice reform as Democrats weigh the FDA's proposed ban on menthol cigarettes, which will disproportionately affect the Black community.  The question is whether the Biden administration can successfully perform this balancing act -- and win over Black Democratic skeptics.

FDA writes rules to prohibit menthol cigs.  The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday issued rules that will prohibit menthol-flavored cigarettes and any flavor other than tobacco in cigars.  The administration said the ban was necessary because the minty flavor of menthol ameliorates the harsh edge of tobacco and appeals to young people.  There is also a heavy racial component to the debate, with government data showing 85% of Black smokers use menthol cigarettes, compared to about 30% of white smokers.  "The proposed rules would help prevent children from becoming the next generation of smokers and help adult smokers quit," Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said.  "Additionally, the proposed rules represent an important step to advance health equity by significantly reducing tobacco-related health disparities."

Biden's menthol cigarette prohibition is so obviously stupid and wrong it boggles the mind.  Joe Biden clearly hasn't learned a thing from the failed and immoral War on Drugs — a disaster that he played a huge part in creating.  The president on Thursday [4/29/2021] ordered the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban menthol cigarettes, a plan first reported on Wednesday by the Washington Post.  Since it's a regulatory change, Congress has no say in the matter.  Anti-smoking advocates have lobbied for the ban for years, arguing correctly that the tobacco industry has targeted menthol sales at young people and Black communities.  Let's be clear:  Big Tobacco is a callous, lying cabal that exists to profit off addicting people to a deadly product.  But cigarettes aren't going to be made illegal overnight, just a certain flavor of cigarettes.  The ban will make menthol a prized commodity, a sought-after product whose artificial scarcity will inevitably drive up its price on non-legal markets.

NY county tries to ban smoking — in your own home.  Suffolk County, located on Long Island, is on a self-described mission to be the "most progressive county in the state."  (And since we're talking about New York, there's some stiff competition for the title.)  With that in mind, county legislators are now considering a new ban on smoking cigarettes and other tobacco products.  While it's already forbidden to smoke in most public places, the new effort would apply to smoking in your own home.  If that sounds a bit too intrusive to you, you're probably not alone.  But the author of the bill insists that his reasoning is sound.

President Trump approves raising legal smoking age to 21.  By signing the $738 billion Defense Spending Bill, on Friday [12/20/2019], President Donald Trump has raised the legal age for smoking to 21 nationwide — news that went largely unnoticed.  The new rules include cigarettes and e-cigarettes.  The smoking age hike had bipartisan support in the Senate, and was co-authored by Democrats Brian Schatz and Dick Durbin, and Republicans Mitt Romney and Todd Young, CNN reported.  Now that Trump's signature is on the bill, the Food and Drug Administration has 180 days to update its regulations — and the new age requirement will go into effect 90 days later, ABC News reported.

The Editor says...
What does smoking have to do with national defense?

Critics: Al Sharpton, Corey Johnson holding up menthol-cig ban.  A bill to ban menthol-cigarette sales in the city has garnered overwhelming support in the council, yet Johnson refuses to bring it to a vote on the floor — because of concerns pushed by the Rev. Al Sharpton, whose organization rakes in dough from the top-selling US menthol-cigarette manufacturer.  Sharpton and his powerful National Action Network have lobbied that a menthol ban could potentially lead to more black residents being harassed by cops for possessing illegal cigarettes.

E-cigarettes: Why some health risks are publicized over others.  As many Americans know, there has recently been a fairly sudden and very public effort to draw attention to the health risks of e-cigarettes.  This includes the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issuing weekly tallies of injuries and the states where they occur.  Among the highlights: most injuries are occurring in males under age 35.  Contrast this effort to spread the word about e-cigarettes, with other health risks that seem to be kept largely under wraps.  This includes the CDC's refusal for many months to disclose the number of victims state-by-state when it comes to a mysterious virus and a possibly related mysterious polio-like paralysis that's been hitting American children since 2014.  Thousands of children have been impacted by the virus and paralysis.  Yet CDC issued few public alerts, would not grant interviews when I asked, and initially claimed it could not give a list of the states where the paralysis occurred for "patient privacy" reasons.

[New York] City Council's effort to ban menthol cigarette sales gains support.  Sales of menthol-flavored cigarettes in the Big Apple could soon be going up in smoke.  A Bronx councilman who sponsored legislation to ban the sale of menthol- and other minty-flavored cigarettes says he's gotten enough support from colleagues to ultimately have it become law.  Only 25 of the 51 members have signed on to the bill sponsored in January by Fernando Cabrera, but the Bronx Democrat told The [New York] Post he believes he has more than enough votes lined up for the majority needed to put it over the top.

San Fran's New Prohibitionists.  San Francisco politicians and civic leaders love to think of themselves as cutting-edge free spirits who are so much more tolerant than the rubes found in America's hinterlands.  Hey, we have San Francisco values.  We aren't foolish Puritans when it comes to sexual behavior, substance use, and you name it. [...] I recall the time I walked down the sidewalk smoking a cigar.  I was far from any other human being and close to the world's biggest air filter (the Pacific Ocean), and yet someone hectored me.  Had I been smoking weed, no one would have dared to say a word — nor should they have, given that marijuana is appropriately legal here.  Welcome to tolerant San Francisco, where you have every right to live as you please as long as you choose only to do the things that are socially acceptable.

New Hope man charged with possessing untaxed tobacco products.  The Washington County Attorney's Office has charged Amjad Mustafa Salem, a New Hope resident, with one felony count of possessing untaxed tobacco products.  A release from the Minnesota Department of Revenue states Salem was pulled over due to erratic driving, which is when officers allegedly noticed a large amount of tobacco products in his vehicle.  He reportedly claimed to be transporting the products to a retail location in Illinois, however the release claims Salem could not provide a valid invoice for the tobacco and admitted to not being a licensed tobacco distributor in Minnesota.

Mitch McConnell Saves America by Raising the Age to Buy Cigarettes.  The Senate majority leader wants to raise the minimum age for buying tobacco products to twenty-one.  Since he does not advocate a ban on tobacco sales, he is not trying to eliminate tobacco use.  He obviously feels that a person under the age of twenty-one is not mature enough to be capable of making an informed and rational decision about using tobacco.  In half the American states, a twelve-year-old girl can legally decide to get an abortion.  She does not need her parents' permission.  She is held to be mature enough to make that decision, but McConnell believes that we can't let her buy a cigarette.  Her eighteen-year-old brother can join the Army, be issued an automatic weapon, and be expected to make split-second decisions, in the chaos of battle about whether to kill a human being.  But we can't let him buy a cigarette.  In every state, eighteen-year-old men and women vote and elect the most powerful leaders in the world, leaders expected to make monumental decisions that could affect millions of human beings.  But we can't let them buy a cigarette.

More Common Sense, Less Nanny in New FDA Commissioner.  Last week Scott Gottlieb announced his resignation as commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.  Unfortunately and unexpectedly, Gottlieb's reign was a departure from lessening of government regulations so prevalent in other areas of the Trump Administration.  His tenure culminated in siding with so-called and self-appointed public health experts who have ginned up hysteria about e-cigarettes and vaping.  As a result, just yesterday the FDA moved to effectively ban flavored e-cigarettes from being sold in gas station and convenience stores, a policy that could actually harm public health.  Go figure.  Vaping — smoking e-cigarettes — allows users to inhale nicotine without all of the carcinogens in cigarettes.  Vaping is not harmless, of course.  E-cigarettes also contain hazardous chemicals, but nowhere near as many as traditional cigarettes.  Research shows that smokers who switch from cigarettes to e-cigarettes dramatically reduce the risks to their health.

Hawaii State Bill Would Raise Smoking Age to 100 by 2024.  Legislative attempts to restrict access to tobacco usually come with some overheated rhetoric.  But nothing comes close to the language in a Hawaii bill that would raise the state's smoking age to 100, effectively banning the sale of cigarettes.  "The cigarette is considered the deadliest artifact in human history," declares HB 1509.  The product, it continues, has "killed one hundred million people in the twentieth century and is likely to kill one billion people in the twenty-first century," giving the tobacco industry roughly the same body count as global communism.  The bill, introduced by Rep. Richard Creagan (D-South Kona/Ka'u), aims to halt this menace by raising the legal age for buying cigarettes to 30 in 2020, rising from there to 60 in 2023 and 100 in 2024.  Retailers who sell cigarettes to underage Medicare recipients would be subject to fines of $500 per violation.

Next Tobacco Fight Set:  FDA To Ban Menthol Cigarettes.  [T]he Food and Drug Administration has decided that menthol cigarettes and cigars should not be for anybody in this country, especially young people who like the flavors and think it looks cool.  The regulators are moving to ban both of them, which would remove about a third of the 250 billion cigarettes incinerated in this country each year.  The FDA is also moving over the next few months to restrict the availability of the popular flavored e-cigarettes to youths.  It might not surprise you to learn that menthol cigarette makers do not like the idea.  "A total ban on menthol cigarettes or flavored cigars would be an extreme measure not supported by the science and evidence," said one.

The Science-Based Community and E-Cigarettes.  Government agencies populated with scientists people are pleased to call "experts" are often thought to be above the ordinary give-and-take of politics and, especially, immune to the clarion calls of activists and pressure of public opinion.  Scientific experts, or "the science-based community," is supposed to be driven by data and evidence, not the naked pressure of agenda driven interests.  As we will see in the case of the Food and Drug Administration's relationship to e-cigarette regulation, these assumptions about the impartiality of scientists don't always hold water.  The FDA is readying a new action plan to be announced soon concerning e-cigarettes.  Nobody knows what the agency will do.  But it really shouldn't be so complicated.

US regulators vow to ban menthol cigarettes.  Officials at the US Food and Drug Administration told the Wall Street Journal that menthol cigarettes are known for being harder to quit, likely because the flavor soothes the throat while injecting a hit of addictive nicotine.  Combustible cigarettes have taken a backseat as the FDA carries out a vendetta on e-cigarettes, which are soaring among popularity among young people, rather than adults trying to quit, who were supposed to be the target market.  But this week, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has revealed a number of strategies he plans to explore to crack down harder on smoking in every group.

Rising cigarette prices spark increase in 'buttlegging'.  Buttleggers love New York.  That's because it is fertile ground for their illegal activities, since it is now more expensive than ever to buy smokes in the Big Apple.  New York has "the worst smuggling problem in America," said Scott Drenkard, with the Tax Foundation.  The least one can now legally pay for a pack in New York City is $13, which was recently raised from $10.50.  "For someone who smokes cigarettes regularly, cigarettes [for a month] can cost as much as two months' worth of groceries, family cell phone bills for a year, or a vacation," according to Dr. Mary Travis Bassett, New York City Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner.

In Singapore:
Cameras to be deployed to detect illegal smoking.  High-resolution IR cameras positioned to detect smokers in prohibited areas supplemented with visual facial recognition matching to ID offenders.  Another example of surveillance sensor fusion to find and fine scofflaws.  Singapore's governance model, an example of benign authoritarianism, emphasizes civil order.  Suppressing second-hand smoke exposure is a hot enforcement priority for public health initiatives.

Smoking in public housing to be banned nationwide.  By the end of July, two years after a rule was issued, a nationwide ban on smoking in public housing will be in effect.  As of July 31, the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department will forbid the use of cigars, pipes and cigarettes in all public housing and common areas in addition to any outdoor area that comes within 25 feet of public housing property.  While the ban does not include e-cigarettes, chewing tobacco and snuff, there could be restrictions on these products in some areas.

Temporary D.C. court injunction stops larger warning labels on cigar boxes.  New tobacco regulations ordered by the Food and Drug Administration were close, but no cigar.  By Aug. 10, premium cigars were to be packaged in boxes with new, larger health warnings.  The cigar industry says this is costly and ruins boxes considered works of art.  But on July 5, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia placed a temporary injunction on the regulation.  In Tampa, known as Cigar City for its history as an industry epicenter, the injunction was celebrated.

Minneapolis City Council Votes to Raise Age for Tobacco Sales to 21.  By a vote of 13-0, the Minneapolis City Council approved a resolution Friday morning [5/25/2018] that will raise the age of tobacco sales in the city to 21.  The resolution will go into effect on Oct. 1.  The current legal age to purchase tobacco in Minneapolis is 18.

Driver in Virginia Beach given $100 ticket for smoking in a vehicle with a child.  A person in Virginia Beach has been ticketed $100 for allegedly smoking with a child in the car with them.  According to the citation, which was tweeted out by Virginia Beach Police Department Traffic Safety, the violation happened on Monday [5/7/2018] around 8:30 a.m.  The official charge on the citation was smoking in a vehicle with a minor present.

Scammed by a Black, a Woman, and Now a 17-Year-Old.  The tactic is called incrementalism.  Incrementally, we went from smoking sections to even tobacco-less vapor cigarettes being banned practically everywhere.  I heard a new movie promoted on the radio.  The announcer warned that the movie contained "historic smoking," as though seeing people smoking in buildings could be traumatic for viewers.

New Jersey could be first state to ban menthol cigarettes.  Legislation banning the cigarettes was approved Monday [1/29/2018] by the state Assembly's Health and Senior Services Committee and now heads to the Appropriations Committee for further consideration.

NY's futile fight against illegal cigarettes.  State authorities set a record in 2017 by seizing $6.6 million worth of illegal tobacco products, a $1 million jump over 2016.  The 2016 seizures, in turn, marked a increase from the year before.  Indeed, for each of the past three years, the state has steadily boosted inspections — and wound up grabbing more illegal products.  Included in the 2017 haul were 47,000 cartons of illegal cigarettes, 1.5 million cigars, 134,000 counterfeit tax stamps and $445,000 in cash.  Investigators also arrested 85 alleged tobacco smugglers.

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  "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, 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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Updated June 21, 2024.

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