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Posts Tagged ‘nanny state’

Protecting the public from entrepreneurial snow-shovelers

Posted by Richard on February 14, 2015

The northeastern US is being pounded with yet another snowstorm this weekend, so it seems appropriate to call out the latest “Nanny of the Week” story at as a cautionary tale for any ambitious young entrepreneurs in that part of the country.

Matt Molinari and Eric Schnepf, both 18-year-olds from Bound Brook, N.J., were going door-to-door in their neighborhood Jan. 27, handing out homemade flyers that offered snow-shoveling services. School had already been canceled for the next day, when a winter storm was expected to bury their portion of the Garden State under several inches of cold white powder.

But their offer of a free exchange of services for cash caught the attention of the local police force.

According to local news reports, the cops told the kids they weren’t allowed to solicit business by going door-to-door without a permit from the local government.

To get a permit for door-to-door solicitation in Bound Brook, Molinari and Schnepf would have had to pay the borough $450 (and the government-issued permission slip is only good for 180 days at a time, which is fine if you’re trying to run a snow-shoveling business, but not so great if you’re trying to offer services year-round).

At that cost, they’d have little chance of making any profit — unless the fine folks of Bound Brook are willing to pay $100 to have their driveways and front walks cleared.

A similar incident was reported in the Philadelphia suburb of Lower Merion on Jan. 28 as the snow was falling up and down the east coast. Police reportedly told two men they were not allowed to engage in door-to-door solicitation of snow-shoveling services without permission from local officials.

Supposedly, such door-to-door solicitation rules protect people from scams, “distraction robberies,” and the like. But if that were true, then why not prohibit all door-to-door distribution of flyers (not just charge a permit fee) in order to protect people from dishonest roofers, driveway sealers, lawn aerators, assorted handymen, and fraudulent charities? I’m pretty sure a $450 fee won’t prevent roofing or home repair scams that bilk scores of people out of thousands of dollars each, but it sure puts the kibbosh on teens offering to shovel snow, rake leaves, or mow lawns.

For that matter, why don’t we just prohibit people from walking through their own neighborhoods between 9 AM and 3 PM, when most home burglaries occur? Think of how much safer we’d all be!

SMDH (shaking my damn head).

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Why aren’t THESE people in jail?

Posted by Richard on September 17, 2014

Throughout the country, moms who let their children play outside unsupervised, or supervised from more than a few feet away, have been subjected to investigation by social service agencies and often arrested and jailed. It happened just last month in Austin, Texas.  A cursory search turns up other recent cases in Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. To my mind, this is absurd and outrageous, a sad consequence of our society becoming almost pathologically risk-averse. Ultimately, I think it’s harmful to the kids,  and I encourage anyone with young children or intending to have children to look into  the book and blog Free-Range Kids.

The nanny-state nannies — Social Services, Human Services, Child Protective Services, whatever they’re called in your community — argue that kids aren’t as safe playing outside today as they were in the previous century (that’s simply not true). There could be a pedophile living just down the block (that’s always been true). So all those government nannies must be hyper-vigilant when it comes to the kids for whom they’re responsible, right?


John Ferrugia and the investigative team at KMGH-7News have broken several stories over the past few months about serious failings at the Denver Dept. of Human Services (DDHS) to take even the most basic steps to ensure the safety of children they’ve placed into homes. The most recent is perhaps the most shocking and unbelievable:

In October 2010, the department placed Tiercel Duerson’s son in his custody. Duerson had served time for sexually abusing the boy’s sibling in 2005 and completed parole and treatment just two months prior to the placement.

DDHS had removed the boy and his siblings from their mother’s home months before, when he was 12 and was showing signs of mental illness. Regina Garcia admits at the time, she couldn’t control her son, and was neglecting him, as well as the rest of her children.

The boy, age 12, was sent to a mental health treatment facility. After treatment, DDHS didn’t return the boy to his mother, but placed him with Tiercel Duerson, her ex-husband. And convicted child sex offender.

“They decided for him to be with his dad,” Garcia said. “I was saying I didn’t think it was a good idea for them to put him with his dad, knowing he’s a sex offender.”

Garcia said her older daughter, a victim of Duerson’s abuse, echoed her concerns in a meeting with DDHS.

“That he would be better off with Mom, because Dad is a child molestor, is what she said,” said Garcia.

But Garcia said DDHS employees didn’t listen.

“They’re like, ‘Well, he only did it one time, and he preferred little girls,'” she said.

Over the next year, there were numerous warning signs — reports from the boy’s school, his mother, and the boy himself — that all was not well in the Duerson home. Eventually, Duerson became unreachable and the caseworker was unable to see the boy. Yet DDHS left him there and continued telling the judge overseeing the case that everything was hunky-dory. It wasn’t until another county investigated reports of Duerson abusing other children in his home (he went back to jail) that the boy was removed. This is what that year with dad was like for him:

“The father’s predation involved him compelling both of his sons in the home, an older son and a younger son to both perform sex acts with the father and to perform sex acts with each other,” said Jordan Factor, an attorney with Denver law firm Allen & Vellone, who is representing Garcia and her son in a federal lawsuit against DDHS.

You may be thinking it’s an isolated case, there are a few bad apples in any agency, and at least now that caseworker and supervisor have been found out and given the heave-ho, right?

Wrong again!

The DDHS caseworker and supervisor responsible for placing Duerson’s son in his home are still with the department, and still making decisions about child placement. Sources familiar with DHS caseloads say the caseworker currently has a full caseload, and still reports to the same supervisor, along with four other caseworkers.

Moms go to jail for letting their kids play outside, and this caseworker and supervisor don’t even lose their jobs? They should not only be fired, they should face prosecution. For criminal negligence, if not for aiding and abetting. And the people responsible for letting them keep their jobs should be fired. I don’t understand why there aren’t angry parents in front of the DDHS offices with protest signs. Or tar and feathers.

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Government inspectors now control what moms can feed kids

Posted by Richard on February 14, 2012

At the behest of the First Lady, the federal government has been creating lots of new “guidelines” regarding school lunches. But did you know that these “guidelines” apply not just to the lunches that the schools serve, but to the lunches that the parents pack for the kids to bring to school? This shouldn’t be a surprise, since more than a year ago, Michelle Obama declared that “We can’t just leave it up to the parents” what their children eat.

In North Carolina, at least, the “guidelines” are more than just guidelines — there are state inspectors examining lunches from home to ensure compliance. Carolina Journal reports (emphasis added):

RAEFORD — A preschooler at West Hoke Elementary School ate three chicken nuggets for lunch Jan. 30 because a state employee told her the lunch her mother packed was not nutritious.

The girl’s turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, potato chips, and apple juice did not meet U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines, according to the interpretation of the agent who was inspecting all lunch boxes in her More at Four classroom that day.

The Division of Child Development and Early Education at the Department of Health and Human Services requires all lunches served in pre-kindergarten programs — including in-home day care centers — to meet USDA guidelines. That means lunches must consist of one serving of meat, one serving of milk, one serving of grain, and two servings of fruit or vegetables, even if the lunches are brought from home.

“What got me so mad is, number one, don’t tell my kid I’m not packing her lunch box properly,” the girl’s mother told CJ. “I pack her lunchbox according to what she eats. It always consists of a fruit. It never consists of a vegetable. She eats vegetables at home because I have to watch her because she doesn’t really care for vegetables.”When the girl came home with her lunch untouched, her mother wanted to know what she ate instead. Three chicken nuggets, the girl answered. Everything else on her cafeteria tray went to waste.

So, thanks to the government’s school lunch nazi, instead of eating a turkey sandwich and a banana, the kid ate chicken nuggets. But at least what was on her plate conformed to the government “guidelines.”

Rush Limbaugh called the USDA guidelines and enforcement program “Michelle’s ‘No Child’s Behind Left Alone’ program.”

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Harmful regulation video contest

Posted by Richard on April 20, 2010

Make a video showing how government regulations are causing harm, and you could win a prize. From Adam Bitely:

The EPA has decided to start a video contest, seeking to gather films promoting government regulations. The prize is $2,500 of stolen cash from the taxpayer.

Screw that.

Americans for Limited Government/NetRight Nation and the Fr33 Agents Network have announced that we will host our own contest. The reward is $2,500 not stolen from the tax payers.

Check out the rules and additional information, and then start making a video.

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Fascist medicine

Posted by Richard on August 20, 2009

Bob Bidinotto sees right through the Senate's "co-op alternative" to the much-reviled "public option":

Understand that the “co-op” would be funded by the government (i.e., the taxpayers). More importantly, to get admission into the co-op, insurers would have to abide by the new governmental regulations regarding coverage, treatments, premiums, etc.

… This is no liberal “retreat” from governmental health care. The new “co-op” is explicitly intended to be “a competitor to private insurers.” While ObamaCare would inject this new government entity into the healthcare marketplace, it simultaneously would:
1. Impose onerous, costly new mandates on private insurers

2. Mandate participation by unwilling individuals and small businesses, under penalty of whopping fines

3. Outlaw any private insurers that refused to adopt the new government-imposed rules

4. Compel taxpayers to fund the arrangement
Eventually, inevitably, the only private insurers that could survive this arrangement would have to operate like branch offices of the Medicare program — simply administering government “mandated” coverage, services, treatments, medicines, etc.

Rather than “single payer” socialized medicine, then, this would be more like fascist medicine: a merely nominal “private” system, in which a handful of big health care insurers and providers took their marching orders from the federal government.

The problem isn't the co-op, or even the public option. It's the rest of the bill. I've actually read most of H.R. 3200 (PDF) — admittedly, I skimmed much of the 1018 pages. I haven't seen any of the 3 or 4 Senate versions (no one has; only portions have been printed and released), but I suspect the fundamental features are the similar in all of them. 

The House bill strictly defines 3 levels of health insurance coverage and loosely defines a fourth, "premium plus" level, and these are the only policies that private insurers could legally offer. That's not just to get admission to the co-op, as Bidinotto believes, but to do business at all.

Every conceivable aspect of how health care is insured, provided, assessed, and reimbursed is mandated in excrutiating detail. All of that, and the 4 points Bidinotto listed above, would be there even if neither a "public option" nor a "co-op" were included. And Bidinotto's conclusion would still be the case. 

With or without a public option, with or without a co-op, with or without whatever other fillips they come up with or sops to squishy Republicans they propose, the Democrats' plan to "reform" health care will be an abomination, a monstrosity, an unmitigated evil that a free people cannot tolerate and must stop.

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Student faces expulsion for fake drill team guns

Posted by Richard on February 9, 2009

I saw this story broadcast on 9News the other night, shook my head in disgust, and went on about my business. Yet another good kid victimized by idiotic "zero tolerance" laws — this sort of thing seems to happen every other day, doesn't it? I'm sorry to say I'm so inured to this stuff that I barely notice these petty outrages anymore.

But Jed (who still isn't back up and running) thinks the blogosphere ought to take note, so I'm happy to oblige:

Marie Morrow, a 17-year-old senior at Cherokee Trail High School in Aurora, is serving a 10-day suspension. Her punishment could be extended at an expulsion hearing later this month.

Morrow is a student leader in the Douglas County Young Marines, a group dedicated to teaching leadership and life skills.

Cherry Creek Schools suspended Morrow after other students reported seeing guns inside her SUV, which was parked outside school while she was in class.

The school also called police, who seized the three drill team guns made of wood, plastic and duct tape. Police told Morrow to claim them in time for her after-school drill practice off-campus.

School administrators, however, were less understanding. The guns were declared "authentic representations of genuine weapons," triggering a mandatory expulsion statute in state law.

"The law doesn't make any distinction between a genuine weapon and a facsimile," said Cherry Creek Schools spokeswoman Tustin Amole.

Amole says federal and state laws mandate expulsion, and that school districts only have discretion to determine the length of that expulsion.

Asked who had the discretion to deem the props "dangerous weapons," Amole said school administrators and police made the decision based on state law that defines a "dangerous weapon" as "a firearm, whether loaded or unloaded, or a firearm facsimile that could reasonably be mistaken for an actual firearm."

Reasonably mistaken for an actual firearm by someone brainwashed with anti-gun propaganda. Or an idiot. Or a school administrator. But I repeat myself.

UPDATE: Check out Zombyboy's story from his misspent youth, which shows just how far we've regressed in the last twenty-odd years.

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Obamabot sound bite of the day

Posted by Richard on November 4, 2008

I heard this sound bite on the radio this morning. A south Florida woman explained to a reporter that she was so excited about electing Obama because "I won't have to work on putting gas in my car, I won't have to work on paying my mortgage, you know, if I help him, he's gonna help me."

I was reminded of the SNL presidential debate skit from a few elections ago (1996?) in which a questioner from the audience demanded of the candidates, "Where's my stuff? I want my stuff!"

Go vote. For McCain.

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More nanny-statism

Posted by Richard on March 14, 2007

A nanny is someone who watches after your children on your behalf, right? Well, according to the Christian Science Monitor, there's a growing movement to make many states more literally into nanny states. Connecticut is leading the way:

…Connecticut has become the first state in the nation to introduce legislation that would require MySpace, other social networking sites, and chat rooms to verify the ages of their users. Any postings by those under 18 would require parental permission. Failure to comply would result in a fine to the Internet company of $5,000 per incident.

The goal is for the law to become a model for national legislation. As many as 20 state attorneys general are now considering similar bills.

"The basic idea here is that the parents should be empowered, and they should be put back in control if their children are below a certain age," says Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who's leading the fight for this type of legislation in Connecticut and around the country. "That's why age verification along with parental permission is key."

How, exactly, does taking responsibility for kids' online behavior away from the parents and giving it to the state government "empower" those parents?

And how, exactly, are MySpace and the like supposed to verify ages and permissions? Connecticut AG Richard Blumenthal seems to think it's a piece of cake:

The Connecticut bill would require networking sites to verify that a user either is 18 or older or has parental permission to have a profile. Dozens of Internet companies already provide age-verification tools. So this is how it would work: When a person provides information to a networking site, such as name, date of birth, or address, the site would put that information through verification sites, which would cross-check it against public records like driver's licenses, voter-registration information, land records, and local tax records. This process is already used for such things as online sales of alcohol and cigarettes.

Umm, OK —  but it works for sales of alcohol and cigarettes because those have to be paid for with a credit card and delivered to you. You can't just give the website any old name and address.

MySpace and the like face a completely different situation. Let's say Paul Pervert, 43, wants to impersonate a 14-year-old boy on MySpace in order to befriend young girls. Looking at whatever registration process they use, he sees that he needs the permission of a parent/guardian. "OK," he says, picking up a phone book, "I'm … [flip, flip, flip] … John Smith at 123 Elm Street, and my son Sammy has my permission to join MySpace."

Odds are John Smith has a driver's license, pays taxes, etc., so Paul passes the verification process. If not, Paul can try again. If they make it really tough, maybe Paul has to do some research of the most basic identity-theft variety (how hard is it to find someone's birthdate or driver's license number?). 

No, this kind of legislation won't make kids safer. But it'll make a lot of gullible parents feel better, help the sponsoring AGs and legislators flaunt their good intentions and troll for votes, and add to the revenue of the verification service providers. Someone should check into whether AG Richard Blumenthal owns stock in any of the latter.

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