Posts Tagged ‘Nanny State’

TAKE THAT BIG BROTHER – Texas Woman Stops Smart Meter Installation and Assault with Gun

[youtube][/youtube]A Harris County woman pulled a gun on a CenterPoint Energy worker to prevent the installation of a smart meter in a confrontation that highlights concerns about the devices being used to spy on Americans’ energy use, as well as possible health impacts.

55-year-old Thelma Taormina has signs posted on her front gate warning utility employees not to trespass on her land, as well as another that reads, “No smart meters are to be installed on this property.”

However, that didn’t stop a CenterPoint Energy worker from attempting to replace Taormina’s old electricity meter with a new device that wirelessly beams back information on each home’s energy use to a central hub.

When the worker began physically pushing Taormina out of the way in an effort to install the smart meter, Taormina drew her gun and demanded the worker leave the property .

“Our constitution allows us not to have that kind of intrusion on our personal privacy,” Taormina told KHOU 11 News. “They’ll be able to tell if you are running your computer, air conditioner, whatever it is.”

Obesity is Caused by Government Intervention, Not Big Gulps

Now that we’ve had the weekend to contemplate “soda jerk” Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s decree that 16 ounce soft drinks are illegal in the City of New York, let’s consider how government intervention in food production and prices has done more than the Big Gulp to drive Americans’ widening waistlines.

We’ll begin with the prime culprit: corn subsidies.

Since 1994, the federal government has supported corn producers to the tune of $6 billion per year. Although federal agricultural subsidies began as temporary programs administered by the states during famine or war-time, corn growers became so accustomed to them they eventually became a mainstay.

Over the years, much of the subsidized corn ended up corroding our gas tanks as ethanol, but a lot more found its way into our stomachs as high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). At its peak in 1999, Americans consumed around 45 lbs. of HFCS yearly in everything from Coca-Cola to cereal.

By subsidizing corn production, government makes it less expensive than its alternatives. Subsidies not only distort the choices consumers make, but also distort the choices food manufacturers make when formulating processed food products.

We’re not just talking corn chips. When it comes to sweeteners, the combination of cheap corn with highly-priced American cane sugar (also supported by taxpayer money) makes it easier for food companies to sweeten their products with HFCS instead of real sugar. Recent science suggests although HFCS is similar chemically to cane sugar, the fact that it is so processed means it is easier to digest, and therefore more fattening.

Although subsidies for corn ethanol production expired at the end of last year, the federal government still makes direct payments to farmers to produce the edible variety of corn. Recipients of this free money haven’t just been mom and pop farms in Nebraska, but big multinational farming corporations such as Cargill, Monsanto, Archer Daniels Midland.

As the U.S. Senate begins work this week on a bill that would end direct subsidies to farmers, expect those companies to be on the front lines with cries that ending their gravy train will threaten “food security” and otherwise herald the end of the American farmer.

These cries won’t be anything new. The Corn Refiners Association has sensed threats to its members’ government checks for a few years. Not only did the lobbying group air widely-mocked commercials that challenged HFCS’s souring reputation, but also, just last week, they failed to convince the FDA to allow them to market HFCS by a new name: “corn sugar.”

But the FDA’s decision could have gone as easily the other way. As government’s role in food production and prices has expanded, special agricultural interest groups such as the Corn Refiners Association have captured the regulatory process. If you pay taxes, you’ve already paid partially for any product that includes corn, dairy, soy, and sugar. And as much as politicians toe the anti-smoking line, they continue to send our money to tobacco farmers every year, whether you smoke or not.

It’s easy to see how this has happened. The more a government intervenes in anything, the more opportunities there emerge for special interests to benefit at public expense. $6 billion to corn producers isn’t an outrageous sum of money in an era where the federal government is running trillion dollar deficits, so it’s easy for lobbyists to nudge it into appropriations bills with barely a peep. The amount of energy special interest groups spend on keeping their benefits is gigantic compared to the few phone calls congressional offices get demanding an end to agricultural subsidies.

As if paying for the privilege of eating unhealthy foods weren’t bad enough, there are other ways government intervention in food influences what we eat. Remember the food pyramid? It was recently replaced, but it used to recommend a grain-based, low-fat diet with lots of dairy, some meat, and a few fruits and vegetables for good measure. Today, however, food science shows low-fat isn’t always the right way to go, and too many grains – such as corn – really pack on the pounds.

Government misleads eaters in other ways. Besides soft drinks, Mayor Bloomberg’s other culinary mission has been to reduce his citizens’ salt consumption. But new research suggests salt may not be the villain it appears. A column in Sunday’s New York Times entitled ‘Salt, We Misjudged You’ raises questions about the common assumption that Americans consume too much of the stuff.

Confusing common wisdom even more, another recent piece in the New York Times suggests exercise may not be healthy for everyone, and may actually impact some people’s health negatively.

Will there soon be a government program advocating that Americans should exercise only sparingly?

Probably not, but the point is government tends to respond well to special interest lobbying that cites favorable science as the justification for free money. That science may shift 180 degrees tomorrow, but, once implemented, government transfer programs are difficult to dismantle because they give relatively large sums of money to some by taking teeny-tiny amounts from everyone.

AMC Theaters and 7-11s don’t stand to lose anything from Mayor Bloomberg’s most recent quest against giant-sized soft drinks. In fact, because thirsty consumers now must buy two large drinks to fulfill their taste for 16 ounces of soda, resellers are poised to make even more money on a product that already has super-high profit margins.

Mayor Bloomberg’s arbitrary decision to ban large soft drinks is yet another in a long string of government moves that mean well but create a cascade of unintended consequences. Rather than placing more limits on the food choices people can make, reformers should examine how public policies have helped to lead us into major problems such as obesity. Perhaps not every problem is a market failure, but may sometimes be a government failure that has incentivized bad behavior for everyone through the force of law.

19 Signs That America Has Become A Crazy Control Freak Nation Where Almost Everything Is Illegal

[youtube][/youtube]Do you think that you are free? Most Americans would still probably answer “yes” to that question, but is that really the case?

In the film Edge of Darkness, Mel Gibson stated that “everything is illegal in Massachusetts”. Well, the same could pretty much be said for the United States as a whole.

Our lives are governed by millions of laws, rules and regulations and more are being piled on all the time. In fact, 40,000 new laws just went into effect in January.

Every single new law restricts your freedom just a little bit more. The truth is that America has become a crazy control freak nation where virtually everything that we do is highly regulated. You have probably broken multiple laws today that you don’t even know exist.

We have all become criminals and lawbreakers because almost everything is illegal at this point. Our politicians are convinced that they are “making life better” by piling gigantic mountains of laws onto our backs, and law enforcement authorities are convinced that they are helping society by “cracking down on crime”, but the reality is that our liberties and our freedoms are being strangled by all of this government oppression. This is not the way that America is supposed to work.

Yes, every society needs laws. But the laws should be short enough and simple enough that everybody can read them and understand them.

In America today, there is no possible way that any of us could ever read all of the laws that apply to us. Most of us just live our daily lives and try to do the “right” thing. But there is no guarantee that men with guns will not show up at your door one evening because of some obscure regulation that you have broken.

The following are 19 signs that America has become a crazy control freak nation where almost everything is illegal.

#1 One California town is actually considering making it illegal to smoke in your own backyard.

#2 In Louisiana, a church was recently ordered to stop giving out water because it did not have a permit to do so.

#3 In the United States it is illegal to operate a train that does not have an “F” painted on the front. Apparently without that “F” we all might not know where the front of the train is.

#4 In many U.S. states is it now illegal to collect rain that falls from the sky on to your own property.

#5 In America today it is illegal to milk your cow and sell the milk to your neighbor. If you do this, there is a good chance that federal agents will raid your home at the crack of dawn.

#6 In Washington D.C. it is illegal not to recycle cat litter.

#7 It is illegal to give a tour of the monuments in Washington D.C.without a license.

#8 In the United States it is illegal to sell natural cures for cancer – even if they work.

#9 In the state of Massachusetts it is illegal to deface a milk carton.

#10 In the state of Alabama, bear wrestling is completely illegal.

#11 In Fairbanks, Alaska it is illegal to give alcoholic beverages to a moose.

#12 In Lake Elmo, Minnesota it is illegal to sell pumpkins or Christmas trees that are grown outside city limits.

#13 There is a federal law that makes it illegal to be “annoying” on the Internet.

#14 If you register with a false name on MySpace or Facebook you could potentially “spend five years in federal prison“.

#15 In Hazelwood, Missouri it is illegal for little girls to sell girl scout cookies in the front yards of their own homes.

#16 All over the United States lemonade stands run by children are being shut down because they do not have the proper permits.

#17 In Florida, it is illegal to bring a plastic butter knife to school.

#18 In San Juan Capistrano, California it is illegal to hold a home Bible study without a “conditional use permit“.

#19 In the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania it is illegal to make even a single dollar from a blog unless you buy a $300 business license.

Sadly, this list of crazy laws and ridiculous regulations could be thousands long.

We are a nation run by a bunch of control freaks who do not care about our liberties and our freedoms.

Every once in a while, John Stossel does some really great reporting. An example of this is posted below. In this 40-minute video, Stossel goes into great detail about how almost everything is illegal in America today. In particular, the first 20 minutes are absolutely excellent. If you have not seen this yet, I highly encourage you to check it out.

Parents of seven told: Your children are too fat, so you will never see them again

Four obese children are on the brink of being permanently removed from their family by social workers after their parents failed to bring their weight under control.
In the first case of its kind, their mother and father now face what they call the ‘unbearable’ likelihood of never seeing them again.
Their three daughters, aged 11, seven and one, and five-year-old son, will either be ‘fostered without contact’ or adopted.

The couple, who have been married for nearly 20 years and are not being named to protect their children’s identities, were given a ‘draconian’ ultimatum three years ago – as reported at the time by The Mail on Sunday.
Warned that the children must slim or be placed in care, the family spent two years living in a council-funded ‘Big Brother’ house in which they were constantly supervised and the food they ate monitored.

But despite subjecting them to intense scrutiny, social workers did not impose rules on what food the children should eat, and there was apparently little or no improvement.
News of the decision to remove them was broken to the couple, from Dundee, on Tuesday. Critics called it a disgraceful breach of human rights and a chilling example of the power of the State to meddle in family life.
In an emotional interview, the 42-year-old mother said: ‘We might not be the perfect parents, but we love our children with all our hearts. To face a future where we will never see them again is unbearable.
‘They picked on us because of our size to start with and they just haven’t let go, despite the fact we’ve done everything to lose weight and meet their demands. We’re going to fight this to the bitter end. It feels like even prisoners have more human rights than we do.’
The couple have not committed any crime and are not accused of deliberate cruelty or abuse. Their solicitor, Joe Myles, said there was ‘nothing sinister lurking in the background’ and accused social workers of failing to act in the family’s best interests.
‘Dundee social services department appear to have locked horns with this couple and won’t let go,’ he said, adding that the monitoring project caused more problems than it solved. ‘The parents were constantly being accused of bad parenting and made to live under a microscope.

‘We have tried very hard to do everything that was asked of us. My wife has cooked healthy foods like home-made spaghetti bolognese and mince and potatoes; but nothing we’ve done has ever been enough’

The couple have three older children who are all distraught and angry at the ruling.
Speaking through tears, their 15-year-old daughter said: ‘The social workers should hang their heads in shame. A person’s weight is their own business and only we can do anything about it, not them. My parents are good people and they love us all. The four little ones don’t know what is about to happen to them.’
Social workers became aware of the family in early 2008 after one of the sons accused his father of hitting him on the forehead. In truth, he had fallen and hit his head on a radiator – a fact he later admitted. However, the allegation opened the door to the obesity investigation.
While the couple admit experiencing what their lawyer calls ‘low grade’ parenting problems, which would have merited support, they were aghast when the issue of weight was seized on as a major concern.
A council report at the time said: ‘With the exception of [one of the names], the children are all overweight. Advice has been given regarding diet but there has been no improvement. Appointments with the dietician have been missed.’

Investigation: The family have been subject to an obesity probe – at meal times social workers took notes and children met with dieticians (picture posed by model)
At that point their then 12-year-old son weighed 16 stone; his 11-year-old sister weighed 12 stone; and his three-year-old sister weighed four stone. It is not known how much the four younger children weigh now.
The couple were ordered to send their children to dance and football lessons and were given a three-month deadline to bring down their weight. When that failed, the children were placed in foster homes but were allowed to visit their parents.
After the couple objected to this arrangement, the council agreed to move them into a two-bedroom flat in a supported unit run by the Dundee Families Project. They insisted on the couple living with only three of their children at a time.
At meal times, a social worker stood in the room taking notes. Doctors raised concerns that the children put on weight whenever they spent time with their parents, a claim they vehemently denied.
The couple and their children also had to adhere to a strict 11pm curfew. This involved ‘clocking’ in and out by filling in a sheet held by an employee who lived on site.
Although the children’s weight was the major concern, other allegations were included in a report. It showed that social workers were worried when the youngest child was found crawling unsupervised. The parents point out they were never far away and the flat had no stairs.
They also found her ‘attempting to put dangerous objects’ in her mouth. The family say this is natural in toddlers and she was never successful.

To have a social worker stand and watch you eat is intolerable. I want other families to know what can happen once social workers become involved. We will fight them to the end to get our beloved children back.
Social workers were further worried when she crawled through the contents of an upturned ashtray – an ‘unfortunate one-off incident’, claim the parents. All the concerns were dismissed by the family’s legal team as ‘low grade’ problems.
It is understood the father crumbled under the strain of being so closely monitored in January this year and moved into a council flat elsewhere in the city.
In the next few months, the mother breached the lunch and dinner meal observations, by her own admission, on ‘several’ occasions while taking the children to see their father.
She personally never broke the 11pm curfew but once allowed her seven-year-old daughter to remain at her father’s flat after she fell asleep. She did not want to disturb her and argued the child had ‘two parents, not one’ and was in ‘good hands’.
These breaches led staff to declare the trial a failure and the mother was asked to leave the unit in April this year. She moved in to her husband’s flat but the children were then handed over to foster parents.
Her solicitor said he planned to use independent experts to prove that the children want to live with their parents and have been damaged by the social workers’ intervention. He added: ‘We may ultimately look towards human rights laws.’
The father, aged 56, said: ‘We have tried very hard to do everything that was asked of us. My wife has cooked healthy foods like home-made spaghetti bolognese and mince and potatoes; we’ve cut out snacks and only ever allowed the kids sweets on a Saturday. But nothing we’ve done has ever been enough.
‘The pressure of living in the family unit would have broken anyone. We were being treated like children and cut off from the outside world. To have a social worker stand and watch you eat is intolerable. I want other families to know what can happen once social workers become involved. We will fight them to the end to get our beloved children back.’

It is estimated 26 million British adults will be obese by 2030, with obesity levels running at an all-time high among children. Official statistics show those who are overweight spend 50 per cent more time in hospital, placing extra strain on the NHS.

Tam Fry, honorary chairman of the Child Growth Foundation, said: ‘This is a disgrace. These parents have clearly attempted to comply. They have, if you like, played Dundee City Council’s game and yet they are still losing their children.’

Dundee City Council said: ‘The council always acts in the best interests of children, with their welfare and safety in mind.’


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Liberal Hypocrisy

One of the complaints lodged against conservatives by liberals, often even by libertarians, is that in matters such as abortion, drug laws, and marriage laws “you can’t legislate morality,” they claim that though they personally oppose one or all these things, it really comes down to a personal choice of the individual and the government should stay out of it. But their hypocrisy is exposed when you talk about some of the things they want to legislate, such as requiring all to pay into government “charity” in the form of welfare, limiting access to firearms, dictating what type of medical insurance you can or must have, what kind of food your children can have, and a myriad of other “nanny state” doctrines.

This liberal ideology forces people to do and/or pay for things that they are opposed to, and takes away their personal choice. So how do they justify this? By saying it is “right,” “just,”, “fair,” meaning of course, moral. So they are perfectly willing to legislate morality, as long as it is their brand of morality. I have even heard a Christian liberal in my church say that these things are all in alignment with Christ’s command to love others and to care for them. I guess he doesn’t mind that forced charity is not charity at all, or that free will was endorsed by Christ, or that there are better ways of doing this than having the government do it.

My libertarian friends on the other hand would tend to agree with the liberals on the items in the first paragraph, and with me on the items in the second paragraph. And that is good in that it is at least consistent. However, libertarianism is pretty much “anarchy-lite;” it is basically opposed nearly all laws and to anything that presumes to define what is acceptable or unacceptable in society.

A conservative looks at all laws and taxes with a critical eye, yet they recognize that to have civil society requires some laws and the taxes to support them. All but a true anarchist agree that laws are needed to protect against violence, define protected property rights, provide for honest commerce, and protect against government abuse of personal rights. Conservatives recognize that there are legitimate reasons to have other civil laws, such as highway standards, building codes, professional certification, and traffic laws.

The real hypocrisy of saying that you can’t legislate morality is the simple fact that any law that protects people from the rule of the strongest is in fact a legislation of morality. Morality is the core basis of civilization.

The Obama Socialist Regime Wants to Change the Way Farmers Farm

Posted on August 18, 2011 by Cowboy Byte

The Obama regime wants to change the way farmers farm. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, part of the Department of Transportation, has proposed reclassifying all farm vehicles as Commercial Motor Vehicles. Farmers would be required to obtain Commercial Drivers Licenses” for their tractors and their combines out in the fields, not on public property. “If the rule goes into effect, anybody who operates any motorized farm equipment will have to pass the same rigorous tests that semi drivers do. They’ll have to fill out the same, highly detailed forms and daily logs. American farmers would have to keep track of how many hours they work and sleep, how many miles their vehicles travel.

They’d have to display Department of Transportation numbers — and, of course, they’d have to pay the government fees for all these new burdens. In one fell swoop, the regime would have more regulatory control over farmers and their 800,000 vehicles.

Obama ‘s “Internet Provider czar” wants felony charges for illegal Web streaming

By Nate Anderson


The Obama administration wants to make sure that the illegal streaming of music and movies over the Internet is a felony, and it also wants to give the federal government wiretap authority in copyright cases.

Victoria Espinel, the Obama administration’s IP Enforcement Coordinator, today released her long-awaited wish list (PDF) of intellectual property law changes. Most focus on counterfeit drugs and economic espionage, but the list does contain three suggestions more likely to have some effect on home Internet users.

Streaming: The government wants to make sure that, as online piracy moves increasingly to streaming, the law keeps up with the activity. Currently, “reproducing” and “distributing” copyrighted works are felony charges, and they cover peer-to-peer file-sharing. But streaming seems more like a “public performance”—and holding a public performance without a proper license is not a felony.

As Espinel’s paper notes, “questions have arisen” about this distinction, and those questions “have impaired the criminal enforcement of copyright laws.” She wants Congress to “clarify that infringement by streaming, or by means of other similar new technology, is a felony in appropriate circumstances.”

Wiretaps: The FBI and other federal agencies can tap phones and Internet connections for a whole host of serious crimes, but criminal copyright and trademark cases are not among them. Espinel wants to change this situation.

“Wiretap authority for these intellectual property crimes, subject to the existing legal protections that apply to wiretaps for other types of crimes, would assist US law enforcement agencies to effectively investigate those offenses, including targeting organized crime and the leaders and organizers of criminal enterprises,” says the new whitepaper.

Radio: Radio stations currently pay cash to songwriters for the music they play, but the stations don’t have to pay the actual bands who recorded the material. That’s because the US lacks a public performance right for recorded music played by radio stations, unlike most other nations (a situation which means that most other countries won’t pay US artists, either, until we pay their artists).

Espinel suggests the creation of public performance rights for music on the radio, which the US already has for satellite broadcasting and webcasting. But the broadcasting lobby has opposed the move ferociously, claiming that its unique exemption from payment is because radio has such promotional force for artists.

Less contentious

The list largely avoids big controversies—Web censorship, “three strikes” rules—in favor of a focus on health, safety, and serious criminal activity. Even Public Knowledge, a group not known for its embrace of increased IP enforcement, called the document a positive step.

“The recommendations largely address important areas of intellectual property enforcement that are often overlooked in more contentious debates at the edges of these issues,” said president Gigi Sohn. “While there may be room for disagreement on specific methods of implementation, Victoria Espinel has compiled a thoughtful list of targeted recommendations for enforcement.”




President Obama is planning to hand the U.S. Commerce Department authority over a forthcoming cyber security effort to create an Internet ID for Americans, a White House official said here today.

It’s “the absolute perfect spot in the U.S. government” to centralize efforts toward creating an “identity ecosystem” for the Internet, White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt said.that news, first reported by CNET, effectively pushes the department to the forefront of the issue, beating out other potential candidates, including the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. The move also is likely to please privacy and civil-liberties groups that have raised concerns in the past over the dual roles of police and intelligence agencies.

The announcement came at an event today at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, where U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Schmidt spoke.

The Obama administration is currently drafting what it’s calling the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, which Locke said will be released by the president in the next few months. (An early version was publicly released last summer.)

“We are not talking about a national ID card,” Locke said at the Stanford event. “We are not talking about a government-controlled system. What we are talking about is enhancing online security and privacy, and reducing and perhaps even eliminating the need to memorize a dozen passwords, through creation and use of more trusted digital identities.”

The Commerce Department will be setting up a national program office to work on this project, Locke said.

Details about the “trusted identity” project are remarkably scarce. Last year’s announcement referenced a possible forthcoming smart card or digital certificate that would prove that online users are who they say they are. These digital IDs would be offered to consumers by online vendors for financial transactions.

Schmidt stressed today that anonymity and pseudonymity will remain possible on the Internet. “I don’t have to get a credential, if I don’t want to,” he said. There’s no chance that “a centralized database will emerge,” and “we need the private sector to lead the implementation of this,” he said.

Jim Dempsey of the Center for Democracy and Technology, who spoke later at the event, said any Internet ID must be created by the private sector–and also voluntary and competitive.

“The government cannot create that identity infrastructure,” Dempsey said. “If it tried to, it wouldn’t be trusted.”

Inter-agency rivalries to claim authority over cybersecurity have existed ever since many responsibilities were centralized in the Department of Homeland Security as part of its creation nine years ago. Three years ago, proposals were circulating in Washington to transfer authority to the secretive NSA, which is part of the U.S. Defense Department.

In March 2009, Rod Beckström, director of Homeland Security’s National Cybersecurity Center, resigned through a letter that gave a rare public glimpse into the competition for budgetary dollars and cybersecurity authority. Beckstrom said at the time that the NSA “effectively controls DHS cyberefforts through detailees, technology insertions,” and has proposed moving some functions to the agency’s Fort Meade, Md., headquarters.

One of the NSA’s missions is, of course, information assurance. But its normally lustrous star in the political firmament has dimmed a bit due to Wikileaks-related revelations.

Bradley Manning, the U.S. Army private who is accused of liberating hundreds of thousands of confidential government documents from military networks and sending them to Wikileaks, apparently joked about the NSA’s incompetence in an online chat last spring.

“I even asked the NSA guy if he could find any suspicious activity coming out of local networks,” Manning reportedly said in a chat transcript provided by ex-hacker Adrian Lamo. “He shrugged and said, ‘It’s not a priority.


Californians are Getting 725 New Laws in 2011
Californians will welcome 725 new laws on Jan. 1. Here’s a glance at some of the laws taking effect when you ring in the new year:

 AB 119 prevents insurance companies from charging different rates for men and women for identical coverage.
 SB 782 prevents landlords from evicting tenants who are victims of domestic or sexual abuse or stalking.
 AB 1844—informally known as Chelsea’s Law and authored by local Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher—will increase penalties, parole provisions and oversight of sex offenders, including a “one-strike, life-without-parole penalty” for some.
 AB 1871 allows people to lease out their cars when they are not being used—alleviating the need to purchase additional insurance.
 AB 537 will make food stamps an acceptable form of payment at farmers markets through an EBT process.
 SB 1411 makes it a misdemeanor to maliciously impersonate someone via a social media outlet or through e-mails.
 SB 1317 allows the state to slap parents with a $2,000 fine if their K-8 child misses more than 10 percent of the school year without a valid excuse. It also allows the state to punish parents with up to a year in prison for the misdemeanor.
 AB 715 makes a change to the California Green Building Standards code. The change will require new California buildings to be energy efficient.
 SB 1449 makes the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana an infraction with a penalty of a $100 fine.
 AB 12 allows foster youth to acquire state services until the age of 21.
 SB 1399 allows California to medically parole state prison inmates with physical incapacitating conditions and ultimately shifts some of the cost of care to the federal government.
 AB 97 bans the use of trans-fats in food facilities.

Time for a Shower (Before It’s Too Late) – NANNY, NANNY NANNY

THE professor, like any patri­otic American, always enjoys those European Union anecdotes that show up occasionally in the news: You know, the ones about the Italian-born bureaucrat in Brussels who fines a neighborhood butcher in Cornwall for not preparing Cornish hens according to EU specifications. Nothing like that would ever happen in these United States.

Unless, of course, you find your­self in your bathroom, and look around. Over there is the federally mandated toilet which, in compli­ance with the Energy Policy Act (1992), flushes—or attempts to flush—its meager supply of 1.6 gal­lons of water. And in the shower, it is possible (although statistically unlikely) that you are one of those lucky Americans who has recently installed a “luxury” shower fixture that features a wide head and multi­ple nozzles that spray and squirt and otherwise bathe you in a therapeutic avalanche of H20.

If so, you might want to consult your lawyer. For the U.S. Depart­ment of Energy, in its newfound zeal to persuade citizens to conserve water, is enforcing the provision of the aforementioned Energy Policy and Conservation Act which requires that a showerhead deliver no more than 2.5 gallons of water per min­ute at a flowing water pressure of 80 pounds per square inch. Got that? Until recently, manufacturers under­stood “showerhead” to mean a device that showers water onto a bather, and each nozzle was considered to be a separate component in compliance with the 2.5-gallon requirement .but the Obama Energy Department, and its general counsel, Scott Blake Harris, have decided otherwise, and are levying substantial civil penal­ties on manufacturers of “luxury” showerheads.

So far, the heavy hand of the DOE has fallen on manufacturers only. But just as it is a violation of feder­al law for a homeowner to install a 3.5-gallon, pre-Al Gore toilet in the bathroom of his private home, The Scrapbook assumes that the Obama administration will soon require citi­zens to bathe in compliance with its mandatory showerhead regulations. Or face prosecution. “Did Congress limit consumer choice?” asks Mr. Harris in the Wall Street Journal. “Absolutely. When you waste water, you waste energy.”

If all of this sounds vaguely ri­diculous, that is because it is. The Scrapbook is all in favor of volun­tary conservation, and our idea of a luxurious shower is one where the showerhead actually functions prop­erly. But the fact is that the number of Americans who possess “luxury” showerheads is estimated to be some­where between 1 and 4 percent of the populace—not exactly a tidal wave of environmental arrogance—and a certain number of those are people who benefit from such devices for medical reasons.

It may seem trivial to look askance at government regulations about bathroom fixtures, and a senior bu­reaucrat who revels in limiting con­sumer choice. But when federal law governs the way we flush toilets and take a shower—and threatens pun­ishment for defiance—there is good reason to worry about the next par­ticle of freedom on the progressive hit list.                                                                                                                            ♦