San Francisco has banned Happy Meals, plastic grocery bags, cat declawing, cigarettes in drugstores, municipal bottled water buys, city deals with former slave traders, and more. Laugh all you want — your local government may well be following suit.

SF Weekly's Joe Eskenazi says city goverments are growing increasingly authoritarian:

When you put San Francisco's laundry list of bans alongside New York City's fatwa against trans fats, Chicago's slavery disclosure ordinance (they beat us to it), or Seattle's mandatory composting laws (beat us again, damn it!), it becomes clear that a left-leaning pack of cities is fundamentally changing the role - and pushing the limits - of local government. It's a movement fueled by the perception that state and federal government are unable or unwilling to tackle big problems like pollution or rampant obesity.

Which, basically, yes: At a time when federal agencies have proven utterly incompetent at enforcing even existing laws on food safety, drug safety, financial oversight, consumer protection, online privacy and even at assisting cities and states in times of natural disaster, it's no wonder enlightened municipalities have felt it necessary to take matters into their own hands, sometimes for better and sometimes for worse. Sometimes they just want to move more quickly than the Feds; San Francisco's government-sponsored health care program predates the Obama Administration's by at least four years.

If only local governments had the constitutional authority to ban toxic investment schemes and depraved, con-artist bankers. It's not like anyone else will.

[Photo of toy Hummer included with McDonald's Happy Meal via gadgetdude/Flickr]