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« Thumbs up for Florida | Main | Suckled on Revenge, Part III »

March 23, 2007

Federalism, Tweakers & Toilets

I'm still sick, so I'm going to presume upon your good will and rant some more. What gets me even angrier about the hassles associated with sinus relief is the fact that the tweakers on whose behalf I'm congested don't live anywhere near me: they're most likely on the west coast or in "fly-over country" somewhere.

Despite what you no doubt have read or heard, there is little, if any, evidence, that the "meth epidemic" has spread or is spreading across the country. Stated parochially, while meth abuse may be a major problem in Oregon and Oklahoma, it's not one in the Washington, New York or Boston areas. As former New York Times columnist John Tierney wrote,

Like addicts desperate for a high, [law-enforcement officials and politicians who lead the war against drugs] declared meth the new crack, which was once called the new heroin (that title now belongs to OxyContin). With the help of the press, they're once again frightening the public with tales of a drug so seductive it instantly turns masses of upstanding citizens into addicts who ruin their health, their lives and their families.

There was no compelling or even mildly interesting reason for Virginia's or New York's being forced to adopt the same rules regarding the sale of pseudoephedrine as Oregon or Oklahoma. Yet, that's what happened.

This is hardly new. More examples of ignoring local conditions and imposing a "one size fits all" approach are as close as your bathroom. We all take showers in what are, in effect, chrome lawn sprinklers. And, as for the toilet -- do I really have to go into detail?

Now these water-conservation measures make sense in places like Phoenix and Las Vegas. To paraphrase the late Sam Kinison, "YOU LIVE IN A ******* DESERT!!! If you want to take a satisfying shower go where the water is!!" They also probably make sense in places with Mediterranean climates like L.A, which only became L.A. after it stole other people's water.

But, again, why should those of us who have the sense to live where it rains be forced to take a slightly humid version of the sonic shower from Star Trek and play Russian Roulette with our toilets?

In other words, whatever happened to federalism? Uniform approaches to civil rights for African Americans is one thing -- forcing everyone to use the same toilets, shower heads and ineffectual decongestants is quite another. At the risk of heresy, let me add that the controversy over same-sex marriage would lose much of its steam if traditionalists really believed that what happens Massachusetts, New Jersey, etc., stays there. But, since these people presumably get colds, take showers and flush their toilets (nervously), it's not unreasonable to wonder what the next bit of uniformity will look like.

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