"As for adopting the ways which the state has provided for remedying the evil, I know not of such ways." ~ Henry David Thoreau
Federal Register Watch
Federal Register Watch
October 10-14, 2005
What freedoms have you lost this week?
Monday October 10, 2005
No publication due to Columbus Day.
October 11, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 195)
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES - Food and Drug Administration
The FDA wants to ban the word "sinusitis" from "nasal decongestant drug products (drug products used to relieve nasal congestion due to a cold, hay fever, or other upper respiratory allergies)."
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION - Office of the Secretary
"The Department of Transportation is directing all interested persons to show cause why it should not issue an order finding MAXjet Airways, Inc., fit, willing, and able, and awarding it a certificate of public convenience and necessity to engage in interstate scheduled air transportation of persons, property and mail."
In the realm of written foundational government documents, the Constitution occupies a special place. It showcases the potential of limited government while at the same time highlighting some of that doctrine's very problems. Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 of that famous document says the federal government may "regulate Commerce . . . among the several States" and over the years the Commerce Clause has been one of the most-utilized tools for statists to expand federal power. Find a typical limited government conservative and ask him about this kind of Constitutional issue, and that person is likely to complain about "overreach" and "abuse" of the Clause.
But it is rare indeed to find someone who'll point to that assigned power and declare tyranny, which it indeed is.
October 12, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 196)
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE - Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
Speaking of the legitimate authority of the Commerce Clause, we have here Proposed Rules creating the regulatory hurdles for some kinds of Central American capsicum peppers. All manner of micromanagement is present: requirements to register facilities with the exporting nation's "national plant protection organization"; the thickness of screen to protect non-door openings; the number of approved pest traps per hectares around a mandated 500-meter "buffer area."
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
I highlight this Final Rule for the handy list of "Federal Domestic Assistance programs" affected by it. Here is the flotsam and jetsam of democratic, interest-group government:
National Rural Development Partnership
Farm Labor Housing Loans and Grants
Very Low to Moderate Income Housing Loans
Rural Housing Site Loans and Self-Help Housing Land Development Loans
Rural Rental Housing Loans
Very Low-Income Housing Repair Loans and Grants
Rural Self-Help Housing Technical Assistance
Indian Tribes and Tribal Corporation Loans
Rural Rental Assistance Payments
Rural Housing Preservation Grants
Section 538 Rural Rental Housing Guaranteed Loans
Technical and Supervisory Assistance Grants
Housing Application Packaging Grants
Direct Housing Natural Disaster Loans and Grants
Direct Housing Natural Disaster
Rural Community Development Initiative
Water and Waste Disposal Systems for Rural Communities
Technical Assistance and Training Grants
Solid Waste Management Grants
Emergency Community Water Assistance Grants
Community Facilities Loans and Grants
Intermediary Relending Program
Business and Industry Loans
Rural Business Enterprise Grants
Water and Waste Disposal Loans and Grants (Section 306C)
Rural Cooperative Development Grants
Empowerment Zones Program
Rural Business Opportunity Grants
Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Program
Rural Economic Development Loans and Grants
Forget "big government"--this is the era of broad government.
October 13, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 197)
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE - Agricultural Marketing Service
The USDA apparently owns the property used to produce South Florida avocados. Why else would it have prohibited "the handling of fresh market avocados in 20 bushel plastic field bins to destinations inside the production area"? Why else would it require "that handlers provide, at the time of inspection, information regarding the avocado count per container, which provides the Committee and the industry with information regarding the sizes of avocados packed"?
The unmentioned irony here is that this Final Rule was designed to address the "misappropriation" (do they mean stealing?) of these bins away from their original handlers.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Police state warning!
Your broadband Internet and VoIP services are now under the regulatory authority of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA). This means "telecommunications carriers and manufacturers of telecommunications equipment [are required to] modify and design their equipment, facilities, and services to ensure that they have the necessary surveillance capabilities" for "law enforcement agencies to conduct electronic surveillance."
CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION
Despite being regularly exposed to it, I still can't stomach the knowledge that businesses have to petition (read: grovel) government agencies to allow them to produce, market, and sell their goods and services. Here, Boston Billows, Inc. has sent a request "to permit the use of banned infant pillows." Not only just to use them, but to use them "when such pillows are requested by a pediatrician or a board certified lactation consultant."
The layers of state control are ingrained deep.
October 14, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 198)
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR - Bureau of Indian Affairs
In connection with the last item, I also find it unseemly for groups to appeal to the state for official recognition or validation. The Eastern Pequot Indians of Connecticut and the Paucatuck Eastern Pequot Indians of Connecticut have asked the BIA to find that they "satisfy all seven criteria for acknowledgment as an Indian tribe." In this Notice, they have been denied federal recognition and are not eligible for funding and services from the Bureau of Indian Affairs. So from that perspective, this was a very minor victory.
It won't stop individuals from trying to please the feds in order to get goodies stolen from us, so that ain't much of a victory.
CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION
Nanny state warning!
The CPSC is proposing "a broad range of regulatory and non-regulatory alternatives that could be used to reduce ATV-related deaths and injuries."
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