David Kirkpatrick

October 15, 2009

Nanny state in action — Cali-style (yet again)

This time California is looking to ban big screen televisions that eat too much power. There’s some competition out there, but California remains the champion of nanny states in the U.S.

From the link:

Reporting from Sacramento – The influential lobby group Consumer Electronics Assn. is fighting what appears to be a losing battle to dissuade California regulators from passing the nation’s first ban on energy-hungry big-screen televisions.

On Tuesday, executives and consultants for the Arlington, Va., trade group asked members of the California Energy Commission to instead let consumers use their wallets to decide whether they want to buy the most energy-saving new models of liquid-crystal display and plasma high-definition TVs.

“Voluntary efforts are succeeding without regulations,” said Doug Johnson, the association’s senior director for technology policy. Too much government interference could hamstring industry innovation and prove expensive to manufacturers and consumers, he warned.

But those pleas didn’t appear to elicit much support from commissioners at a public hearing on the proposed rules that would set maximum energy-consumption standards for televisions to be phased in over two years beginning in January 2011. A vote could come as early as Nov. 4.

April 9, 2009

Tim Egan v. 2nd Amendment

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:26 am

This is one insipid op-ed piece at the New York Times. Raw emotional appeal, no argument and a whole lot of nanny state dreamin’.

From the (very weak) link:

We hear about these sketches of carnage between market updates and basketball scores — and shrug. We’re the frogs slow-boiling in the pot, taking it all in incrementally until we can’t feel a thing. We shrug because that’s the deal, right? That’s the pact we made, the price of Amendment number two to the Constitution, right after freedom of speech.

March 31, 2009

This is why the left scares me …

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:23 am

… and ought to concern any freedom-loving American.

This link is a post from Michelle Cottle at the New Republic’s Plank blog. I like the Plank. I have it in my blogroll, but sometimes it reminds why the mindset of the political left really frightens me. (Not unlike how say, the Corner, does the same thing for me from the right.)

Cottle’s post is about the concept of banning fast-food restaurants within 500 feet of public schools, well more specifically on a study that hopes to achieve something along those lines. Cottle doesn’t totally agree with the idea but then this graf appears in the blog post:

I can, of course, already hear the logical response from objectors: Sure this move isn’t The Answer, but where is the harm in trying to make it An Answer. Like all political quests, tackling childhood obesity must be looked at in terms of strategic prioritizing. From a purely legalistic perspective, I can’t imagine that there wouldn’t be complicated, costly, time-consuming law suits (not to mention potential PR problems) if the government moved from controlling what takes place on public school grounds to dictating where private companies who products are in no way proscribed for use by minors can peddle their wares. I’m not saying it couldn’t be done. But whenever we’re talking about imposing new nanny-state limitations on private individuals and/or institutions, there should be serious cost-benefit anlyses conducted beforehand. I have to think there are more obvious, more useful, and less intrusive avenues to be attempted.
(boldemphasis mine)

I reiterate, Cottle isn’t going along with the left-wing groupthink here, but it’s just second nature for her to think (rightly I might add) the political left sees no problem with throwing government action — nanny-state bans in this case — at a “problem” regardless whether the cure might work, or if it’s even curing an actual problem facing our society. And any of the above is nothing more than very, very bad policy and ridiculous government overreach.

Hypothetical clowns like Cottle tacitly describes here were the only reservation I had in voting for Obama. The idea this mindset might feel some sense of entitlement to actual policy decision making was stomach churning. That churning was easily forgotten by simply thinking about “President Palin” and all the fail that reality would entail. (Also.)

March 9, 2009

Nanny state in action — UK-style

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:33 pm

From the Cato Institute, civil liberties in the UK are withering along with economic prospects.

From the link:

Warning to tourists – it is now illegal to take a photo of a London bobby (policeman). The time-honored tradition of tourists having their pictures taken with London cops is being dealt a silly death blow by those who control the British nanny-state. The British are not only losing their economic prosperity, but their civil liberties as well.

Also from the link:

Civil libertarians on both the left and right are increasingly concerned that Britain is drifting toward becoming a police state. The government has been trying to obtain the right to detain anyone up to 42 days without bringing charges, which would severely undermine the centuries’ old right of habeas corpus. Police monitoring cameras in London are more pervasive than in any other city in the world. Public demonstrations near Parliament and other government buildings are restricted more and more. British libel laws are much more restrictive than those in the United States and have effectively make it increasingly difficult to charge public officials with wrongdoing.

January 24, 2009

Nanny state in legislation — South Carolina

This’ll never go anywhere and is just political posturing, but it’s still sickening to think a public official would even want to make a point by attempting to gut the First Amendment.

From the link:

State Senator Robert Ford is hoping to outlaw lewd language and is pushing for a bill that would prohibit profanity.

Under the pre-filed bill, profanity could land you in jail for up to 5 years and/or cost you up to $5,000 in fines.

Which words are exactly considered profane is still unclear, but the bill does have a list of qualifications for profanity including words or actions that are lewd, vulgar or indecent in nature.

We spoke to Debra Gammons with the Charleston School of Law about freedom of speech.

She reminds that the First Amendment is not absolute. You cannot say whatever you want whenever you want to.

Courts will usually look at where the words were said and who heard them. Children are usually protected.

Er, Debra you might not want to take that argument to the Supreme Court. Fire in a theater, okay that’s a public safety issue. Salty language at the mall? Not so much. No threat to anyone other than the easily offended. Maybe not too couth, but definitely not criminal.

January 12, 2009

Nanny state in action — New York-style

Filed under: et.al., Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:07 pm

All I can say is man. Really.

From the link:

Can taxing junk food solve the obesity crisis? This controversial idea has never been given a real-world tryout, but the combination of a budget busting fiscal crisis and a citizenry that keeps getting fatter is causing legislators and executives around the world to give a so-called “obesity tax” serious consideration. New York Governor David Paterson is the most serious of all, proposing in his 2009 state budget that an 18% sales tax be levied on non-diet soda and sugary juice drinks. Such a tax, he says, would raise $404 million in the fiscal year starting in April, and $539 million in the year after that—all to be earmarked for obesity-fighting public health programs.

July 25, 2008

Nanny state — actually State this time — California style

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 10:54 pm

Cali gets this post for banning trans fats. Can’t wait to see the next “health” crusade from the government overlords who know better than you or me what to put into our bodies.

Really all the rampant statism all over the US these days is ridiculous. And un-American. Good job, Arnie.

From the link:

 California, a national trendsetter in all matters edible, became the first state to ban trans fats in restaurants when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill Friday to phase out their use.

Under the new law, trans fats, long linked to health problems, must be excised from restaurant products beginning in 2010, and from all retail baked goods by 2011. Packaged foods will be exempt.

New York City adopted a similar ban in 2006 — it became fully effective on July 1 — and Philadelphia, Stamford, Conn., and Montgomery County, Md., have done so as well.

June 27, 2008

Nanny state in action — UK style

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:31 am

Really there’s so much to choose from when writing about nanny statism in the United Kingdom, but this story is pretty special. Insane government overreach? Check. Outlandish fines? Check. Mind-numbingly vapid and inane target for the regulation? Check.

From the article:

The citizens of Whitehaven try, really they do. They separate out their cans, their paper, their cardboard and their glass, and they recycle them all. They compost. They jump up and down on their trash to cram it into their government-issued garbage cans, and they put the trash out for collection at exactly 7 a.m., twice a month.

But when Gareth Corkhill, a bus driver, was fined $215 — and given a further $225 fine and a criminal record when he failed to pay — for leaving his garbage can lid slightly ajar this spring, Whitehaven’s residents banded together in dismay. They raised the money to pay the fine, and they began to complain.

 

May 8, 2008

Nanny state in action — the US government

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:25 pm

An interesting story at Reason on the REAL ID. The article comes from a bipartisan Cato Institute event.

From the link (the quotes are from South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford and Montana Senator Jon Tester):

“Outside of the liberty component, outside of the security standpoint, if you care about spending you’d ought to care about REAL ID.”

On the time it’d take to assign people their IDs: “Two hours is a lot of time on earth. You can spend it with friends, you can spend it with family, or you can spend it in a DMV line.”

Sanford rattles off a list of information abuses, like the passport file breaches of the presidential candidates. “One-stop shopping for every computer hacker around the world is not a good idea for our security.”

Tester gets up to speak and tosses down the gauntlet. “When our rights get trampled upon, the terrorists win.”

Tester calls the application of the law-“cringe”-worthy, especially the “arbitrary deadline” that states were given to comply. DHS is “using federal resources to bully states to go with the program.” He points out that full agreement with the Act isn’t mandated until 2017.

“Creating a national ID — make no mistake, that’s what REAL ID is — will create countless opportunities to access our information in a way we have not agreed to.”

March 15, 2008

Nanny state in decline — Dallas-style

Filed under: et.al., Politics, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:07 pm

It looks like my hometown, Dallas, is scaling back its use of red-light cameras because they work too good. People are running fewer red lights, so the city isn’t getting the revenue expected from the devices.

From the linked article:

Dallas City Hall has idled more than one-fourth of the 62 cameras that monitor busy intersections because many of them are failing to generate enough red-light-running fines to justify their operational costs, according to city documents.

Initial gross revenue estimates for the red light camera system during Dallas’ 2007-08 fiscal year were $14.8 million, according to city records. The latest estimate? About $6.2 million. City Manager Mary Suhm on Friday estimated net revenue will fall $4.1 million under initial estimates.

That leaves Dallas government with a conundrum. Its red-light camera system has been an effective deterrent to motorists running red lights – some monitored intersections have experienced a more than 50 percent reduction. But decreased revenue from red light-running violations means significantly less revenue to maintain the camera program and otherwise fuel the city’s general fund.

And more:

The results of Dallas’ 2-year-old red-light camera system are mixed blessings for City Hall, Mayor Tom Leppert said.

“The good news is it’s having the effect everyone in this community wants: fewer red lights being run. The goal was not to make money on this,” Mr. Leppert said. “But these are numbers and realities we’ll have to deal with.”

The mayor added that under no circumstances does he expect a decrease in red-light camera revenue to affect the city’s public safety budget, although the overall budget may not enjoy as much revenue, perhaps resulting in the city streamlining other items.

Council member Angela Hunt, long skeptical of the reasoning behind such camera systems, says she’s not surprised Dallas is faced with altering its efforts to reduce red-light running.

“The idea of the red-light cameras is that they’ll be used as a revenue generator instead of being implemented for public safety purposes. It’s imperative that the council review this program, especially when the results don’t align with the initial performance projections,” Ms. Hunt said.

She cited national statistics suggesting that the cameras increase rear-end collisions.

March 6, 2008

Nanny state — er city — in action Chicago-style

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:50 am

It looks like Chicago is going to ban self-sealing plastic bags under two inches in height or width. A Chicago drug and gang unit commanding officer described the bags as “Marketing 101 for the drug dealers.”

Here’s the best part of the linked article:

Prior to the final vote, Ald. Walter Burnett (27th) expressed concern about arresting innocent people. He noted that extra buttons that come with suits, shirts and blouses — and jewelry that’s been repaired — come in similar plastic bags.

Burnett was reassured by language that states “one reasonably should know that such items will be or are being used” to package, transfer, deliver or store a controlled substance. Violators would be punished by a $1,500 fine.

Because we all know authorities always use great judgement when determining how an item may, or may not, be intended for use. Hopefully for Burnett’s sake no mall cops search his bag after picking up a few new shirts. I’m guessing he’d be in possession of not only some tiny bags, but possibly powdered drugs cleverly formed to mimic buttons.

I know that example is over-the-top, but any law that criminalizes a common item when used a “certain” way and leaves the usage determination up to street level enforcement, the potential for abuse is huge. And I seriously doubt this new regulation is going to have any effect whatsoever on the availability of small quantities of illicit drugs on the streets of Chicago.

February 24, 2008

Nanny state in action Oregon-style

Filed under: et.al., Media, Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:47 pm

Okay, this is more an offshoot of nanny-statism — minimum sentencing laws. This poor woman faces six years behind bars for a non-crime.

From the linked editorial:

An appeal last week to the state Supreme Court may be the final chance for justice for a former Boys and Girls Club staffer, found guilty of sexual assault in a case one ex-cop calls the worst travesty of justice he’s seen in 20 years as an investigator.

If the court refuses to take up the case or rules against 27-year-old Veronica Rodriguez, she’ll go to prison for five more years, after already serving one year for a crime she denies committing.

“I feel like a fountain overflowing on this. I feel as strongly about Veronica’s innocence as anything I have ever investigated in my life, and I am a very seasoned investigator,” says Michael Hintz, a former Tigard police detective who worked for Rodriguez’s defense team.

A Washington County jury found Rodriguez guilty in 2005 of first-degree sexual assault after police accused her of running her hands through a 13-year-old boy’s hair and pulling the back of his head against her covered chest in the middle of a crowded game room at the Boys and Girls Club in Hillsboro.

Under Measure 11, a 1994 voter-approved ballot initiative setting mandatory minimum sentences, Rodriguez faced six years and three months in prison. But Circuit Judge Nancy Campbell gave her 16 months instead, saying the Measure 11 sentence would violate the state constitution as cruel and unusual punishment.

(Hat tip: Fark)

Update 7/27/08 — This update comes courtesy of Chip Shields who since 2005 has been the Oregon State Representative for District 43.

From the link:

Should juries know the likely sentence when deciding guilt?

In the run up to the primary election, you may have missed this important criminal-justice story. On May 9, the Oregon Supreme Court decided it will consider whether, in the words of James Pitkin at Willamette Week, grazing a boy’s head with your breasts should get you over six years in the slammer. The case is State v. Veronica Rodriguez. Pitkin says, “The jury voted 10-2 to convict Rodriguez for allegedly pulling the back of the boy’s head against her chest.” She is facing a six year and three months sentence for Sex Abuse I under Measure 11, the 1994 voter-approved ballot measure penned by Kevin Mannix.

Judge Nancy Campbell, now retired, set aside the Measure 11 sentence and instead sentenced her to 16 months using the state’s sentencing guidelines. She stated that applying Measure 11 in this case would violate the Oregon constitution’s cruel and unusual punishment clause. The Court of Appeals overruled her and reinstated the six year-three month mandatory minimum sentence and in May the Oregon Supreme Court agreed to take up the case.

Click here and here for Willamette Week coverage of the case. The Oregonian covers it here.

January 11, 2008

Nanny state in action Cali style

Filed under: et.al., Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:40 am

I actually found this via Samizdata. This American Thinker post covers a legislative movement in California to gain control over the thermostats in private residences.

Wow. Nanny statism out of control. I can’t see something like this making it into law, but I’m not in California. Just wow.