Every headline-making mishap in America must generate a disproportionate overreaction on the part of politicos, regulators and other government officials -- it's as predictable as the fall following the summer, the winter following the fall. Our "lawmakers" turned law-manufacturers often seem to be trolling the papers, looking for reasons to legislate. And almost any excuse will do.
So I, in a personal little parlor game, have taken to reading the news in a similar fashion -- trying to predict which stories will most likely generate a legislative overreaction.
This week's pick for news item most likely to result in a legislative "fix" isn't the "balloon boy" story (though some effort could be launched to make it a federal crime to perpetrate a hoax using your child as pawns), but the "Arizona sweat lodge tragedy." It made The New York Times today, virtually assuring that some enterprising politicos in Washington or the Arizona legislature will be stepping in to offer a regulatory response.
Players of my parlor game can earn extra points by naming the bill. I'm betting it will be called the "Safer Sweat Lodges Act of 2010." If Congress seizes on the tragedy to regulate other dubious "new age" healing rituals, it might be called the "Safer Sweat Lodges and Holistic Healing Act of 2010."