Nanny State

California’s Foie Gras Ban Proves Once Again That Prohibition Doesn’t Work

Foie Gras

California became famous, or infamous depending on your point of view, a few weeks ago when it became the first state to ban the traditional method of producing foie gras, the fatty substance dervice from duck and goose liver that is considering something of a gourmet delicacy.

The reason for the ban had nothing to do with the health arguments that have been made in recent years about foie gras, but because animal rights advocates contended that the method of production, which involves feeding the animals large amounts of food in a short period of time, was cruel. There are other methods of producing foie gras, but it’s generally accepted that these alternative methods produce a vastly inferior product. As a result, some California restaurants have resorted to creative legal arguments to allow them to keep making the product available, while other Californians are engaging in a practice that is reminiscent of the era when alcohol was banned in the United States:

Prostrate at the Feet of Our Nanny-State Masters

“Find out just what people will submit to and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them…The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.” ~ Fredrick Douglass, Freed Slave and leader of the abolitionist movement

Having already made a name for himself nationwide with a crackdown on crime in the nation’s largest city, New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani made his place in history permanent just over a decade ago with his inspiring and firm handling of the Muslim terrorist attacks of 9/11. In the aftermath of that attack, Giuliani brought a city and a nation together, refusing to allow bloodthirsty madmen the satisfaction ofour surrender. True, they dealt a devastating blow, but it was a sneak attack in a long war, and like Pearl Harbor, it would be answered with overwhelming force.

A decade later, third-term NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg has taken up the mantle of leadership from the retired Giuliani, and also works diligently to protect the citizens of New York City. Admittedly, I have been highly critical of Bloomberg in the past, as when he accused the Times Square Bomber of being a disgruntled TEA Party member angry at the ObamaCare bill (as it turned out, it was an angry practitioner of Islam, the Pakistani-born Faisal Shahzad…but in Bloomberg’s defense, what were the odds that the bomber would turn out to be an angry Muslim? I’d say the odds were no more than 9.95 out of ten at best).

Conservatism versus the Charlatans of Sophistry

Today, the level of political animus and vitriol seems to be on a nearly vertical trajectory, with both sides pulling out all rhetorical stops in an effort to win converts to their ideology. For a time this seemed to be just a partisan war, but I am beginning to believe that it is much, much deeper than that. I believe we are at one of those great crossroads in our nation’s history where we must assess who we are and what values we hold before we can come to agreement on policies that reflect those beliefs. On the ideological left is a philosophy which elevates the state above the individual, which says we as individuals can’t be trusted to make correct decisions and must therefore be governed by a technocrat oligarchy of (theoretically) unbiased bureaucrats. These are the intellectuals and the scientific “experts” who are smarter than the rest of us and will therefore make wise decisions that we are forced to accept now, and at some distant point in the future we will pay homage as beneficiaries of that wisdom.

This philosophy can be seen in efforts to ban the incandescent light bulb, regulate salt and sugar intake in our diets along with the use of trans-fats; in the use of the tax and regulatory codes to force us into smaller, more fuel efficient cars. It can be seen in attempts to ban all public expressions of religious belief and in the rigging of the free market in favor of “renewable” energy sources by providing taxpayer subsidies that hide the true cost.

On the ideological right is a philosophy that holds the individual above the collective, that sees government as a necessary evil to be kept under tight constraints and against which we must jealously guard our liberties from the encroachment and expansion of government power.

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.

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