Nanny State Update: Killer Plastic Bag Bans, More Sin Taxes, and Elementary Thoughtcrime

When comedians involve themselves in politics to support removing your Constitutional rights because “the President and the First Lady are kinda like the Mom and the Dad of the country. And when your Dad says something you listen”, you can be sure that good news for freedom will be frustratingly rare. Unfortunately, this week’s first tale of government interference in your life is a killer..

Is ‘saving the environment’ bad for your health?: Only if you don’t like food poisoning. A recent report  from law professors from the University of Pennsylvania Law and George Mason University confirms something we’ve suspected for a while - the unintended consequences of paternalistic plastic bag bans are deadly.  The pair found that emergency room visits resulting from E. coli, salmonella, and other bacterial infections increased in San Francisco and other areas after plastic bags were banned – but not in nearby counties who let stores and customers decide whether and how to use plastic bags. This comes from reusable bags allowing bacteria to flourish, since 97 percent of people do not wash theirs. Even worse, the ban resulted in a 5.5 person increase in foodborne illness deaths each year in San Francisco – a 46 percent increase. These bans were meant to save (animal) lives, not end (human) lives – but the nanny statists are only interested in saving people if it can be attempted through regulation.

Blame games: The cost of leisure may be about to rise in Connecticut, after state representative DebraLee Hovey (R) submitted a bill that would create a 10 percent sin tax on M rated videogames. Rep. Hovey blames videogames for “glorifying violence” and considers them a “danger.” As any good nanny stater knows, claiming the funds will go towards a common cause is part of selling pernicious policy, so Rep. Hovey claims the revenue will be used for “developing informational materials to educate families on the warning signs of video game addiction and antisocial behavior.” Those of us who are now subject to a sin tax on bags in the District of Columbia to “pay for” a clean-up effort for the Anacostia River aren’t going to be holding our breaths (and going swimming) any time soon.

Suspend your imagination/disbelief: The latest story of overzealous nanny state school districts comes from Loveland, CO, where an elementary school suspended a 7 year old for ‘throwing’ an imaginary grenade. Mandie Watkins said the Mary Blair Elementary principal phoned her on a Friday to alert her to her son Alex’s suspension for violating an absolute ban on “weapons (real or play)”. There are no reports of harm resulting from the children’s display, which Alex says was directed at an imaginary box containing “something evil.” A spokesman for the district told reporters that the situation is a “much more complicated issue than has been portrayed.” We wonder – is throwing an actual baseball considered less dangerous than an imaginary object? As far as we can tell, baseballs are still a permissible schoolyard plaything in Loveland. Perhaps, however, not for long…

Paris’s fashionably late equality update: There’s not a lot of good news for freedom and deregulation at home this week, but the land of cheese and surrender has gotten rid of some seriously silly rules after finally repealing a centuries-old law banning women from wearing trousers. Yes, trousers. This may have seemed like a sensible law when the French enacted it in 1799, but luckily it hasn’t been enforced in decades.

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