Posted onJuly 31, 2012|Comments Off on Regulation of the Day 225: Boobie Pillows
Kern County, California’s government takes morality very seriously. Chapter 9.12.010 of the County Code states that “No vendor shall vend stuffed articles depicting the female breasts (sold as “boobie pillows”) within one thousand (1,000) feet of any county highway.” The punishment for each offense is a fine of up to $500 and/or up to 90 days in jail. Worse, “Each day of violation shall constitute a separate offense.”
The purpose of the boobie pillow ban, according to the Finding of Fact Leading to Enactment that accompanies the text, is to prevent children on their way to church from seeing such adult-themed merchandise.
Strangely, boobie pillows are the only adult-themed merchandise subject to the ban. So, according to the law, purveyors of smut can still set up shop almost anywhere they please. They just can’t sell “stuffed articles depicting the female breasts.”
In other news, Kern County is currently running a budget deficit in the $25-30 million range. If the county liberalized its strict boobie pillow policy, it could increase its sales tax revenue and tame its deficit.
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Posted onMarch 19, 2012|Comments Off on Regulation of the Day 213: Dying
Falciano del Massico, a small town in Italy, has banned its 4,000 residents from dying because the local cemetery is completely full. Mayor Giulio Cesare Fava’s ordinance reads, in part, “It is forbidden for residents to go beyond the boundaries of earthly life, and go into the afterlife.”
An ongoing feud with a neighboring town has made it difficult to fix the problem.
Interviewed by the BBC, Mayor Fava pleaded with a straight face: “Citizens, while we await the construction of the new cemetery, I order you not to die, so we don’t have any problems.”
While this writer is often skeptical of the power of regulation, I sincerely hope that Mayor Fava’s death ban succeeds. If it does, Falciano del Massico might be just the place for my wife and I to spend our retirement years.
Posted onJanuary 10, 2012|Comments Off on Regulation of the Day 205: Singing the National Anthem
Francis Scott Key wrote the national anthem in 1814. He set his lyrics to an old English drinking song with an intentionally difficult melody. The range spans roughly an octave and a half, which is a challenge for any singer. Revelers in pubs would challenge each other to sing the melody without screwing it up; punishments for mistakes would often involve beer.
Even professional singers can’t always get through “The Star-Spangled Banner” unscathed, as Christina Aguilera found out at last year’s Super Bowl.
We’ll never know what Key would have thought of contemporary singers’ habit of improvising and embellishing his song with their own touches. But we do know that Indiana state Sen. Vaneta Baker, an Evansville Republican, is not a fan.
Sen. Baker introduced a bill that would require singers “to sign a contract agreeing to follow the guidelines and would set a possible $25 fine for violators.” It only affects performances at the state’s public schools and universities, as well as private schools that receive state funds. If her bill passes, it would not affect this year’s Super Bowl, which will be played in Indianapolis.
Singing out of key does not violate the terms of the contract. Not singing it “the way that we normally have it sung or heard throughout most of our state and our country” would. The bill would let schools set their own standards. But they will also be required to keep archives of every national anthem performance going back at least two years.
Given the amount of paperwork schools already have to deal with, this is just a bad idea. Surely Sen. Baker has better things to worry about in these troubled economic times.
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