Before he was appointed chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, where he went on to bore an already indifferent country with a taxpayer financed, 50-state "American Civility Tour," former Iowa Republican congressman Jim Leach publicly washed his hands of the GOP in part for the (understandable) reason that, "The party that once emphasized individual rights has gravitated in recent years toward regulating values."
One wonders how Leach and other people who thought they were voting against buttinsky government in 2008 felt while reading this New York Times article from last week with the headline "At Least Fun in the Sun Isn't Banned. For Now..." Excerpt:
Bonfires on the beach? Sorry, Gidget: Newport Beach is waiting for permission from the California Coastal Commission to remove its long-cherished fire pits, which it banned this summer as health hazards. Newport's fleet of diesel-burning yachts are still O.K., but napping in the city's libraries? Forbidden, as of July, along with any "use of perfume or fragrance" that interferes with librarians' "ability to perform duties."
The Los Angeles Unified School District, bowing to pressure from ecologically-minded sixth graders, two weeks ago banned plastic foam trays in cafeterias. On Tuesday, California's Legislature passed a ban on psychotherapy aimed at making gay teenagers straight; the ban was proposed by a state senator from Redondo Beach and is believed to be the first of its kind. On Wednesday, the Legislature forbade the carrying of rifles in public. [...]
West Hollywood, which in 2003 became the first city in the country to prohibit the declawing of cats (soon followed by a ban on the purchase of puppy-mill puppies), has a first-in-the-nation ordinance barring the sale of fur beginning next September. [...]
Santa Monica made headlines in 1999 when it joined San Francisco in banning A.T.M. fees. The courts blocked that one, but Santa Monica came back with a ban on tall hedges, briefly levying fines of $25,000 a day on violators.
A ban on circumcision ("male genital mutilation") was registered for the Santa Monica ballot last year, then dropped in an ensuing uproar — but not before state legislators got to work on a law banning circumcision bans. It was passed and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in October. In June, Santa Monica nixed Christmastime nativity scenes in its parks, after tolerating them for 60 years. (Atheists wanted park space, too.)
But that beach town really earned its bones in the ban business with smoking, which is outlawed almost everywhere, including the beach and at A.T.M.'s. Private apartments are one exception, and the city spent much of the summer embroiled in a battle over closing that loophole. Eventually, the push to forbid smoking in apartments was dropped, partly because it would complicate the smoking of medical marijuana.