Nanny State

Law vs. Justice: Mother charged for jaywalking after child killed

Every day, there’s another lesson in why the government must be limited, restrained, put on a leash and forced to go on a massive diet. But some times, those lessons are more twisted and sick than others. Radley Balko fills us in:

On April 10, 2010, Raquel Nelson lost her 4-year-old son. Nelson was crossing a busy Marietta, Georgia, street with her son and his two siblings when they were struck by a hit-and-run driver. Police were able to track down the driver, Jerry Guy, who later admitted he had been drinking and had taken painkillers the night of the accident. He was also mostly blind in one eye. Guy had already been convicted of two prior hit-and-runs. He pleaded guilty, served six months of his five-year sentence, and was released last October.

If it ended there, this story would merely be tragic. But it gets worse. Last week Nelson herself was convicted on three charges related to her son’s death: reckless conduct, improperly crossing a roadway and second-degree homicide by vehicle. Each is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 12 months in prison. Nelson could spend up to six times as many months in jail as the man who struck her son and then fled the scene. Nelson’s crime: jaywalking.

That’s right, folks: a poor woman just lost her son, and now she’s going to jail because they weren’t in the crosswalk when they were hit. Three years in jail, to be exact. This brings up an important point: the distinction between law vs. justice.

Consumer Economics 1, Nanny State 0

Americans are fat. Many are getting fatter, as I type and you read this. Apparently, New York City solved all of its problems and turned their attention to what they can do to stop their citizens from increasing their waist sizes last year. The Board of Health decreed that all food service establishments with more than 15 locations change their menu signage to include caloric counts “prominently.” I will not harp on the added cost to the small (or large) business owners this affects, as the law passed and remains in effect over a year after its initial implementation. I do, however, want to draw your attention to a study conducted by professors at Yale and NYU.

The study includes tracking customer activity at four major-label quick service restaurants, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, and KFC, in poor neighborhoods among the NYC boroughs with high levels of obesity, comparing them with socioeconomically similar neighborhoods in Newark, New Jersey, an area without the menu-labeling requirement. On the surface, it seems that providing people with more information would guide consumers toward “healthier” choices when faced with a decision about what to order.

Judge Overrides Parental Rights

World Net Daily is reporting that a North Carolina judge has ordered that three homeschooled children must start attending public school in the fall, despite the fact that the children test well above grade level and appear to be well-adjusted socially.

The parents are going through a divorce, and though the children have been homeschooled for the past four years and, according to the judge, “thrived” in that setting, the judge has ruled in accordance with the wishes of the father, who believes that it’s time for the children to return to the public school system.

Winning the Youth Vote Through REAL Compassionate Conservatism

It has been observed that the up-and-coming generation of young people are more socially conscious than their spoiled Baby Boomer parents and their SUV-driving, yuppified older siblings.

This new generation is keyed into world affairs and world suffering and is doing something about it. They march against the War in Darfur; they do fund drives for AIDS Orphans; and they largely vote for candidates who pledge to recruit the government (i.e. the taxpayer) to solve these problems.

Increasingly, these young people are voting more and more Democratic. Of course, liberal Democrats have always enjoyed the majority of the youth vote - what little there was. But today’s socially conscious youth are making up an increasing percentage of the electorate and are going to play a larger role in certain elections.

Meet the Parents

Meet my new parents: the U.S. Government. The parallels are astonishing when you think about it. (Forgive my generalities… they are for illustration!)

1. Parents want their kids to be the best: Just like proud moms and dads show up at little league games and fight with other parents, help (or take over) fundraising activities so their kids will “win” by raising the most money, or argue with teachers about grades… we see the U.S. Government assert its authority all over the world - both economically and militarily - so that we can be the “greatest nation on earth”.

San Francisco’s big government nannies become first to micro-manage worker schedules

San Francisco Mall

Just when you thought big government nannies couldn’t interfere anymore in the employer-employee relationship, think again: San Francisco has become the first-in-the-nation jurisdiction to require chain stores with 20 or more locations worldwide and 20 or more employees within the city to give two weeks notice for any employee schedule changes or pay a “predictability pay” premium to the employee whose schedule is altered with less notice.

This is a particularly curious regulation, especially during the height of the holiday season when retailers must accommodate part-time employee schedules and an increase in customer traffic.

POLITICO has the report:

“We know that while the economy is doing well for some, there are too many workers and families struggling in low-wage jobs with unpredictable shifts,” said Supervisor David Chiu, who in September introduced the predictable scheduling measure as part of a “Retail Workers Bill of Rights.” In addition to limiting schedule changes, the bill requires employers to pay part-time employees the same starting hourly wage as full-time employees in the same position. Employers must also give part-time employees the same access to time off enjoyed by full-time workers, and equal eligibility for promotion.

Today in Liberty: Obama gives a middle finger to Congress on Iraq, GOP establishment may lose by winning in Mississippi

“I believe that every individual is naturally entitled to do as he pleases with himself and the fruits of his labor, so far as it in no way interferes with any other men’s rights.” — Abraham Lincoln

— What dystopian country does Obama think he runs?: President Barack Obama says he has constitutional authority to send American troops to Iraq without congressional approval. “This action is being undertaken in coordination with the Government of Iraq and has been directed consistent with my responsibility to protect U.S. citizens both at home and abroad, and in furtherance of U.S. national security and foreign policy interests, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive,” Obama wrote in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). “I am providing this report as part of my efforts to keep the Congress fully informed, consistent with the War Powers Resolution (Public Law 93-148). I appreciate the support of the Congress in these actions.” As a reminder, the War Powers Resolution doesn’t give a president carte blanche to bomb a country or deploy troops whenever he pleases. It lays out very specific conditions in 50 USC § 1541(c) under which the White House can utilize its powers: a declaration of war, specific statutory authorization, or a national emergency created by an attack on the United States. The 2002 Iraq war resolution is, basically, irrelevant in the current situation, meaning that President Obama should seek authorization before sending advisers or troops to Iraq or approving military strikes against ISIL.

Today in Liberty: Veterans die waiting for healthcare, Rand Paul touts school choice

“The difference between government and organized crime is that organized part.”Anonymous

— Veterans die while waiting for government-run healthcare: CNN’s Anderson Cooper touched on an outrageous, very serious problem with the government-run veterans’ healthcare system. “At least 40 U.S. veterans died waiting for appointments at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system, many of whom were placed on a secret waiting list,” CNN reports. “The secret list was part of an elaborate scheme designed by Veterans Affairs managers in Phoenix who were trying to hide that 1,400 to 1,600 sick veterans were forced to wait months to see a doctor, according to a recently retired top VA doctor and several high-level sources.”

— Rand Paul talks up school choice: Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) spoke to a crowd of Latino parents and students in Milwaukee yesterday about Wisconsin’s school voucher program. National Review notes that Paul hailed the city at the “home of school choice” and explained that the tax dollars used for voucher problems belong to parents, not bureaucrats. “The exact ways the programs are set up is more of a state issue,” Paul told National Review, ”but I think the more school choice the better, so I would really allow everybody to have school choice regardless of income. I think for political reasons it’s been easier just to start with some. What I see is it’s a great advantage for everybody that I’ve seen participating in it.”

Did you really think Bloomberg’s Mayors group was about safety?

In 2006, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg started a group called Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG). The group’s mission was ostensibly to keep America’s “communities safer by keeping illegal guns out of dangerous hands.”

Apparently MAIG’s definition of “dangerous hands” is “your hands.”

It comes as no surprise that the petty, pathetic, sniveling despot’s ultimate goal is not what it seems. Since Bloomberg ascended to his dictatorial throne, he’s been working to control the lives of every New York citizen. From trans fats, to salt (resulting in a ban on food donations to homeless shelters, because the hungry homeless are more concerned about sodium intake than… you know… STARVING TO DEATH!) to sugary drinks (a ban deemed unconstitutional by a court with just a little common sense), Michael Bloomberg became the anointed Prince of Peremptoriness in the city, taking it upon himself to “save” New Yorkers from themselves.

So it’s no surprise that he would want to ban guns – not just keep them out of dangerous hands, but ban them outright. It’s also not surprising that he would lie and obfuscate to legitimize his group of gun grabbers.

Lights out on the incandescent bulb

light bulb

Thanks to the 2007 energy bill, passed by a Democratic-controlled Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush, Americans will no longer be able to purchase 40- and 60-watt incandescent light bulbs at the beginning of 2014. These relatively cheap light bulbs will be phased out by year’s end in favor of pricier, energy efficient light bulbs.

Though supporters of the light bulb ban argue that energy efficient light bulbs will be cheaper in the long haul for energy consumers, the Heritage Foundation points out it’s just another example of government imposing its will on consumers by eliminating choice:

Proponents of government-imposed efficiency standards and regulations will say, “So what? There are still plenty of lighting options on the shelves at Home Depot; we’re saving families money; and we’re reducing harmful climate change emissions.”

The “so what” is that the federal government is taking decisions out of the hands of families and businesses, destroying jobs, and restricting consumer choice in the market. We all have a wide variety of preferences regarding light bulbs. It is not the role of the federal government to override those preferences with what it believes is in our best interest.

Families understand how energy costs impact their lives and make decisions accordingly. Energy efficiency has improved dramatically over the past six decades—long before any national energy efficiency mandates.

 


The views and opinions expressed by individual authors are not necessarily those of other authors, advertisers, developers or editors at United Liberty.