Tag Archives: nanny state regulation

Regulation of the Day 161: Crossing the Street

Three states are proposing to make it illegal to listen to your iPod while crossing the street. Legislators in California, New York, and Oregon are leading the charge, citing increasing pedestrian deaths. A similar proposal in Arkansas was retracted after constituents mobbed the state legislator who wrote the bill with hate mail.

Pedestrian deaths did go slightly up last year. But pedestrian deaths have been trending down for two decades, despite the rise of iPods and smartphones. Turns out that most people have enough common sense to pay more attention to traffic than their phone while crossing the street.

Legislating common sense is at best redundant. But in this case, it’s actually harmful. Police departments only have so many resources to go around. All the time and manpower they spend watching people cross the street is time and manpower not spent on more serious crimes. This is a solution without a problem.

Caroline May has more over at the Daily Caller (I am also quoted).

Advertisements

Regulation of the Day 156: Happy Meals

With an 8-3 vote, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors banned the greatest menace facing it or any other city: happy meals.

Restaurants are no longer allowed to include a free toy with kid’s meals. “This is a challenge to the restaurant industry to think about children’s health first,” said the bill’s sponsor, Eric Mar. He was named Reason.tv’s Nanny of the Month for his troubles.

I’m guessing restaurants’ first thoughts about the ban are not printable on this blog.

There is a loophole, though. If a kid’s meal is under 600 calories, includes sufficient amounts of fruit and vegetables, and does not include a sugary drink, then restaurants may include a toy.

Children’s reactions are said to be less than positive. Hearing “no” now and again is an important part of not growing up spoiled; though parents are the ones who should be saying it. But who needs parents when the nanny state is here?

With an 8-3 vote, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors banned the greatest menace facing it or any other city: happy meals.

Regulation of the Day 138: Dwile Flonking

Britons sure do seem to have a lot of time on their hands. Take, for example, the colorfully-named pastime of dwile flonking. Players soak a rag in beer and put it on top of a pole. Then they use the pole to hurl the rag at other players.

A player who misses twice in a row is called a “flonker.” Flonkers are required to drink a beer before the opposing team can pass the errant rag all the way around him in a circle.

This year’s dwile flonking world championship was to be held in Norfolk. Then regulators got involved. As one can tell by the rules, dwile flonking is a drinking game. And drinking games are forbidden now. Legislation passed earlier this year banning them.

The American journalist H.L. Mencken defined Puritanism as “The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.” He may as well have been talking about regulators.

And thanks to the new Puritanism, we may never know who the world’s top dwile flonkers are.

Regulation of the Day 96: Health Warnings on Cell Phones

The state of Maine and the city of San Francisco are considering requiring warning labels for cell phones.

Perhaps some warning labels are in order. After all, few things are more annoying than people SPEAKING AS LOUDLY AS POSSIBLE INTO THEIR PHONE ABOUT WHAT’S FOR DINNER when a normal tone of voice will do.

But these warning labels have nothing to do with letting people know that their phones can make them look like jackasses.

No, the labels warn the credulous that their phones emit electromagnetic radiation. Otherwise known as light waves. Some people believe that this causes brain cancer.

Brain atrophy, maybe. But cancer? Most studies have found no correlation, let alone causation.

Something else to consider: the demographic group far and away most prone to brain cancer is also far and away the least likely to use cell phones – the elderly.

Hmm.

Regulation of the Day 77: Banning Toys in Happy Meals

Roberto Zabrido, a government official in Spain, is “adamant that the Happy Meal and its ilk pose a risk.”

The solution? Legislation that “would ban restaurants and food manufacturers from including toys and prizes with their products.”

If Happy Meals – Happy Meals! – are Spain’s most pressing national problem, then that country is either the most trouble-free place on Earth, or else busybodies such as Mr. Zabrido have too much money and power. My bet is on the latter.

(Hat tip: Jacob Grier)