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.
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.
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.
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 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”.
Nanny State regulators at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced late last week that it will require restaurants and other food makers to phase out the use of trans fats in their recipes, claiming that such a move will prevent heart attacks and deaths:
Heart-clogging trans fats were once a staple of the American diet, plentiful in baked goods, microwave popcorn and fried foods. Now, mindful of the health risks, the Food and Drug Administration is getting rid of what’s left of them for good.
Condemning artificial trans fats as a threat to public health, the FDA announced Thursday it will require the food industry to phase them out.
It won’t happen right away. The agency will collect comments for two months before determining a phase-out timetable. Different foods may have different schedules, depending how easy it is to find substitutes.
“We want to do it in a way that doesn’t unduly disrupt markets,” said Michael Taylor, FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods. Still, he says, the food “industry has demonstrated that it is, by and large, feasible to do.”
This ban managed to fly under the radar with all of the public focus on other stories, like the government shutdown and Obamacare, over the last month. There has been a public campaign for years to try to raise awareness to trans fats, which can be, if consumed often enough, hazardous to people’s health.
That apparently wasn’t enough for busybody regulators. The FDA contends that banning trans fats, thus eliminating public choice and personal responsibility, will prevent some 20,000 heart attacks each year and 7,000 deaths.
A Dairy Queen in Washington state had been making their own homemade sauces for customers. But because of ObamaCare’s menu-labeling requirements, a little publicized provision of the law, they’ve had to switch to a pre-packaged sauce or discontinue sauces.
“Due to the nutritional labeling requirements of ObamaCare, we have to serve pre-packaged, pre-made fry sauce,” said the franchisee in a letter, made available by The Quinton Report. “We can no longer make our own as we have done for many years. The additional cost to us is substantial, about $5,800 per year.”
“I regret to say, we are forced to pass the cost of pre-packaged fry sauce, for take-out, along to you the customer. We will serve pre-made bulk fry sauce in the lobby at no additional charge,” the letter continued. “It is for the same reason we have had to discontinue our Buffalo Sauce and Habanero Ketchup, which were made in-store.”
“Please be assured we are doing our very best to keep the cost to you, our customer, down while still maintaining the quality you have come to expect from us,” the letter added.
This provision of ObamaCare (Section 4205) requires restaurant chains with 20 or more locations to disclose the caloric content of menu items to their customers. It also applies to grocery and convenience store chains.
Although he wasn’t on the ballot anywhere last night, Michael Bloomberg, outgoing mayor of New York, anti-gun nut, “No Labels” doublespeaker, and everyone’s favorite Nanny-in-Chief, was handed several stinging defeats from his backyard in New York to the mountain west.
In the most direct challenge, Bill de Blasio, Democrat candidate for mayor in New York City, won a clear plurality and avoided a runoff with the #2 Democrat candidate, Bill Thompson. De Blasio ran as an outspoken “progressive alternative to the Bloomberg era.”
In the Republican primary, Bloomberg’s preferred candidate, Joe Lhota, did manage to win a majority and so also avoid a runoff. However, Lhota’s vote total (29,746 at this writing) was lower than that of the #5 Democrat candidate, Anthony Weiner (31,136 votes). In fact, the total vote in the Democrat primary (634,476) was eleven times larger than that of the Republican primary (56,584). If the general election runs anywhere close to these numbers, de Blasio will win in a landslide. A progressive Democrat becoming mayor of New York is certainly no victory for liberty, but it’s no victory for Bloombergism either.
Every time I think I’ve heard it all, some politician out there decides to up the ante and show me just how much farther they can push the Nanny State. The latest installment comes from Arkansas, the state than gave us Clinton. What are they seeking to protect us from?
Why, apparently, it’s important to stop us from getting certain kinds of tattoos.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Senate passed a bill on Tuesday that would ban non-traditional body art and skin implants.
The bill’s sponsor, Senator Missy Irvin of Mountain View, wants to limit body art procedures, particularly scarification and dermal implants.
Scarification uses heat to create “tattoos” out of scar tissue. In a way, it’s kind of like someone branding themselves. Dermal implants are where someone places “ornaments” under the skin.
Now, Arkansas has a 7.4 percent unemployment rate, according to the state’s Department of Workforce Services. That’s on par with the national average, which just about everyone agrees is too high. So State Sen. Irvin’s attempt to dictate what someone can and can’t do with their own bodies comes in the middle of the worst economy since the Great Depression.
I can’t really grasp Irvin’s thoughts here. After all, she voted for people in Arkansas to be able to purchase raw milk. The idea of people being able to make a decision about what to put into their bodies is a good one, and she should be applauded for that vote. However, I don’t see how she can reconcile that with voting against people being able to modify their bodies however they wish.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has already used the power of his office to target guns, cigarettes, salt, trans-fats, and sugary drinks in his crusade to protect his citizens from themselves. But he isn’t done. On Wednesday, Nanny Bloomberg unveiled a plan to encourage New Yorkers to get more physical activity during the day:
Bloomberg unveiled a new initiative that would encourage office workers to take the stairs instead of the elevator and promote the idea of “active design” in new and renovated buildings in the city, including open stairwells and floor plans that would force people to walk more during the day.
“Exercise is good for you,” Bloomberg declared at a press conference announcing the new design initiative.
The plan includes the creation of the Center for Active Design, a nonprofit group partly funded by the city that would suggest design changes in New York buildings and around the world to promote more physical activity.
For existing buildings, the mayor said he would also introduce legislation that would relax city codes that usually require doors leading to stairwells to be closed or locked in case of a fire. Officials suggested building owners could install a magnet that would hold a door open but automatically close it during an emergency.
“What we’ve got to do is just make it cool–if you will–or socially more the norm to exercise, and that’s what you see here,” Bloomberg said. “The whole idea is not to change what you have to do, but to give you the idea and the impetus to do something that is in your best interest.”