It was a nefarious year for nettlesome nosy-bodies employed by the Nanny State. Here are the top power-grabbers of 2010 who just can't leave us alone:
-- New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Two feet of snow paralyzed trains, buses, plows and emergency vehicles in the Big Apple this week. Perhaps if Bloomberg -- the nation's top self-appointed municipal food cop -- spent more of his time on core government duties instead of waging incessant war on taxpayers' salt, soda, trans-fat and sugar intakes, his battered bailiwick would have been better equipped to weather the storm.
-- Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. He proposed meddling mileage taxes, mused about a system to track drivers' routes, lobbied for high-speed rail boondoggles and promoted a "livability initiative" to limit suburban growth and force dwellers into public transportation. Then America's driving czar floated a plan earlier this fall to disable cell phones through some kind of centralized government mechanism. LaHood backed off that creepy crusade, but he is still intent on waging war against drivers who choose to use cell phones, entertainment systems and GPS devices on the road. Just last week, the unstoppable control freak proposed a new rule banning truck and bus drivers from any use of cell phones while driving -- including emergency calls on hands-free devices. His anti-car agenda is stuck in overdrive.
-- The city of Cleveland. The green police in this Midwestern metropolis made headlines in February with an intrusive plan to roll out electronic snooping trash cans -- "smart" rubbish bins bugged with radio frequency identification chips and bar codes to monitor residents' recycling habits. Violators can be fined $100. Federal stimulus money has gone to fund similar programs in Dayton, Ohio. The technology originated in Germany, was adopted by eco-authoritarians in England (where at least 500,000 trash cans are now embedded with snitch chips) and has spread across Europe. Welcome to the age of Bin Brother.