The other day Virginia announced a pro-choice license plate to balance out the pro-life plate we've had for years.
On it's face, that's great news. Especially given the retro-grade troglodytes we have for governor and AG now.
But at a deeper level, the pro-choice and pro-life plates just shows how stupid it is to have these kinds of plates at all.
Bumper Stickers Are Cheap
If you want to express yourself on the back of your car, buy a bumper sticker. They cost a buck and even the smallest car on the market has room for a dozen of them.
Government should play absolutely no role in deciding what is and isn't an acceptable message for your rear end. Having state sanctioned license plates for and against causes and organizations puts the state in the business of deciding which causes are allowed to have plates. That's dangerous territory and it's something the government simply shouldn't do.
BTW, that goes for vanity plates too. You want a plate that says "KNOW GOD"? No problem. I wanted a plate that says "NO GOD"? No way.
Just for fun, here are some other things government shouldn't be doing.
The Overhead Bin
If you don't want to pay Spirit $45 for a carry on bag, don't fly Spirit. No need to make a Federal case out of it.
This latest fee crosses the line and is a slap in the face to travelers. Our legislation will rein in the airlines and keep air travelers from being gouged every time they board a plane.
Sen. Chuck Schumer - NY
Thanks for the thought, Senator, but I'm pretty confident that so many travelers are going to say "That's just obnoxious" that Spirit will drop the fee all by themselves. You can go legislate on some other important issue.
But what if travelers accept the fee? That just means some people like the lower base fare and will put up with the fees. If that's the case, what business is it of yours?
Interestingly, all the rhetoric behind the regulation is about keeping airlines from "gouging" families:
It seems that air carriers are crossing a line that will end of pricing middle class families right out of being able to fly, and that's not right. While airlines have a right to set prices, families should have the right to bring a change of clothes with them and not be gouged for it.
Sen. Robert Menendez - NJ
But the legislation outlawing these fees amends the tax code. Could it be because the base fare is taxed at 7.5% and fees on "non-essential" services aren't taxed at all?
Snuff-chewing Baseball Players
Skoal is a legal product. Baseball players are adults. Professional baseball is a legal business. So why should Congress be sticking it's nose into smokeless tobacco use by baseball players?
Is it because of baseball's hundred year old anti-trust exemption? Congress gave MLB an incredibly profitable cartel, so Congress gets to haul owners and players in to show-boat and express moral outrage every few years? If that's the justification, please revoke the exemption and let C-SPAN get back to serious subjects.
Maybe it's because kids idolize and emulate baseball players. In that case, the right answer would be to raise smarter kids who don't mindlessly ape the deadly habits of entertainers.
Too bad that requires a smarter breed of grown-ups. Grown-ups who don't worship the jocks who used to beat them up in gym class and realize that being able to perform brain surgery is more important than being able to throw a ball.
It would also be nice if the grown-ups figured out that billionaire sports team owners don't need taxpayer funding to build stadiums for their billion dollar enterprises.
Want to know where the bad schools are? Ask a Real Estate Agent.
Why does the Federal Government have any role in picking good and bad schools? I have never in my life heard someone say, "We'd fix the bad schools, if only Washington would tell us which ones are bad."
Local governments already know which schools are bad. Parents already know which schools are bad, for god's sake. You can tell the good and the bad schools just by driving past them.
The Federal government, and maybe even the State government, have no better knowledge of school performance then the parents and local officials do.
The Feds have no better ways to find out and no better incentives to find out. They do, OTOH, have an incentive to reward donors in the testing and test prep industry.
Don't Hassle The Babysitter
Big thanks to Colorado is the Shiznit for finding the link.
A couple of weeks ago Last year Michigan's Department of Human Services shut down an illegal day-care operation. The offender wasn't keeping children in cages. She didn't have blocked fire exists or broken toilets. She wasn't even feeding them unapproved sugary snacks.
She was just watching the neighbor's kids before school. She was a stay-at-home mom. A couple of neighbors who worked outside the house would drop their kids off at her apartment in the morning. The kids would play together, then SAH mom would take them all to the bus stop.
Total time the kids were in "day-care"? 10 minutes.
The WO moms would give SAH mom a couple of bucks a week for her trouble.
For that, SAH mom got a visit from Child Services and a warning to shut down her illegal "day-care" or face fines and jail time. All for doing a favor for some neighbors.
I lost the link to this particular story, but that doesn't really matter. You read that exact same story, from all over the country, every couple of months.
I'm not saying we shouldn't investigate day-care facilities when there is reason to believe there is something wrong with them, like evidence of crimes or health threats. But when officials fail epically to use common sense, adopt moronic zero tolerance policies or ban hugging and high-fives you've got to ask yourself why these people even have jobs, let alone are allowed to make decisions about other people's kids.
Keep Your Nose Out Of My Food, Please
I'm sure you saw this one. New York state senator wants to ban salt in restaurant cooking.
Why? Why? Why? There's no such thing as second-hand salt. Someone else's salt doesn't make my clothes stink. I've never gotten into a cab that reeked because the last passenger ate too much salt.
So why should someone else's salt intake be my concern? That should be between him, his chef and his cardiologist.
The justification is, of course, that some one who uses too much salt will strain the public health system. Salt can cause high blood pressure and heart disease and those are expensive to treat.
True enough, but if that justifies regulating salt use in commercial kitchens where is the limit? As long as there is a salt shaker on the table, I can always add more salt if the government approved food isn't tasty. Better ban salt shakers in restaurants.
Then there's salty snacks and the salt shaker at home. Ban them too, in the name of public health. Maybe we should force everyone to take a monthly blood test and allocate a salt allotment based on their blood pressure and other health indications.
Too much TV cause high blood pressure (as does too much blogging for that matter). Should we install sensors in people's pants to make sure they don't sit too much? Your 4 hour a day Pooties habit could be putting a strain on the public health system.
Slippery slope arguments aside (though it's always fun to slide down a slippery slope), the NY salt ban is just stupid. It's trivial for people to get around, it's intrusive beyond any justifiable reason and it won't accomplish anything.