January 20, 2007

Kiss My Ash

Update: 01-20-06 20:02 I realized I neglected to link to the article I was quoting from. Corrected.

This will be an unpleasant one. I edited out most of the foul language & toned down my sentiments a bit but this strikes home to me, both literally & figuratively.

"Thirty years after it began as just another quirky movement in Berkeley, Calif., the push to ban smoking in restaurants, bars and other public places has reached a national milestone.
For the first time in the nation's history, more than half of Americans live in a city or state with laws mandating that workplaces, restaurants or bars be smoke-free, according to Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights."

The concept of Lockean based property Rights cannot co-exist with such a group proclaiming to be championing a Right. Marking this as a milestone would be like proclaiming loudly & triumphantly that half of American cities are slavery friendly cities. In pragmatic effect the two are markedly different but at their heart they are the same - they both display contempt for Lockean based Property Rights & instead exalt some Rousseaunean concept of the social contract.

"The movement for smoke-free air has gone from being a California oddity to the nationwide norm,' said Bronson Frick, the group's associate director. 'We think 100 percent of Americans will live in smoke-free jurisdictions within a few years."

Too bad we won't live in asshat nannyist-free jurisdictions. Or have news articles decrying these endeavors instead of subtly condoning them.

"Seven states and 116 communities enacted tough smoke-free laws last year, bringing the total number to 22 states and 577 municipalities, according to the group. Nevada's ban, which went into effect Dec. 8, increased the total U.S. population covered by any type of smokefree law to 50.2 percent."

From Maine in the Atlantic to California in the Pacific an asbestos curtain has descended across the continent

"It was the most successful year for anti-smoking advocates in the U.S., said Frick, and advocates are now working with local and state officials from across the nation on how to bring the other half of the country around."

If the bars in North & South Carolina respectively, as well as at least southern & western Virginia don't forcibly resist such moves then I will be ashamed of my countrymen.

"Susan Burgess, the mayor pro tem of Charlotte, N.C., said what's fueling the push is a U.S. Surgeon General's report released last June that found just a few minutes inhaling someone else's smoke harms nonsmokers, and separate smoking sections don't offer enough protection."

There are very effective separate smoking sections. The non-smoking sections are called “not in friggin’ bars where folks smoke” & no ill effects from smokers have been felt when someone stays in one of these smoke-free zones as opposed to going into a smoking section, otherwise known as “a bar that allows smoking”.

Burgess. Here's a op-ed on her from 2001; just scroll down to the 6th scariest person in Charlotte. & note she's listed closer to the top of the list than a person wanted for rape. The Charlotte Capitalist also has a less than stellar view of her. I assumed she was a foreigner (i.e. Californian, New Yorker, European, etc...) but it seems she's an NC native. A power hungry statist asshat democrat would-be quasi-socialist dictator but an NC native nonetheless. & for that I am ashamed.

"She said the report gave momentum to the anti-smoking front even in North Carolina — the nation's No. 1 tobacco state — and influenced Nevada voters to approve a ballot measure banning smoking at restaurants, bars that serve food, and around slot machines at supermarkets, gas stations and convenience stores. Nevada, where gambling and smoking had been assumed to go hand in hand, previously had one of the nation's least restrictive smoking laws."

A pity that is. I had hoped Nevada would be one of the last hold outs for that obsolete concept of property Rights that Locke had.

"The Nevada vote shows that when people are given accurate information about the dangers of secondhand smoke, it's almost a no-brainer' they'll support smoking controls, said Burgess, founder of the anti-smoking group Smokefree Charlotte."

Bullshit. When folks are fed junk science designed to scare them into making a decision they'll usually make that decision based on fear. The only no-brainer I see here is Burgess her damn self. May her barbecue always be minced, her tea served sans sugar & may her ears constantly ring with the phrase "well bless your little heart your thighs have just ballooned up haven't they?"

& smokefree Charlotte? Now while I’ve got kin there or enough gas in the tank to make it my damn self. If she wasn’t a woman I’d challenge her to stop me.

"Not all elected officials and business owners embrace the cause. They maintain such laws drive away smoking customers and cut profits."

Tell me & every friggin’ under employed/unemployed night life worker all about that. :)

"There's a fear that we would lose restaurant business to nearby towns if we passed a smoking ordinance,' Moline, Ill., Mayor Don Walvaert said. "Before acting, we would need real proof that cities have not experienced business losses because of smoking regulations."

Damn right they'd lose business. Bars are hit hardest. But don't worry - they'll try to follow Colorado's lead. When the Denver city council heard similar objections from local businesses the Denver city council (may they all get stuck in I-25 road construction traffic after several strong cups of coffee & a bran muffin or 3) shifted their efforts towards pushing for a statewide ban to "level the playing field". My contempt for them (& the state legislators who voted for it) leaves little room for polite language.

"Nevada's smoking restrictions have been challenged in state court by a coalition of businesses. Opponents say the ban, which does not apply to the gambling floors of casinos on and off the Las Vegas Strip, is unconstitutional, vague and unenforceable."

& I hope they win but I doubt it. Similar moves have been tried in other states & nothing has been successful as of yet. Still it'd be better to argue that such bans unduly & unconstitutionally infringe upon the property rights of the owners of such establishments so effected. It'd just as likely lose but it'd be a more solid ground to argue from.

"In Columbia, Mo., one business owner displayed his displeasure at a new local ordinance banning smoking with a sign: 'Smoking allowed until Jan. 9, City Council banning beer next, and hopefully, karaoke!"

I could almost be sympathetic to a karaoke ban... but no. That'd be wrong too. But yes; once a city establishes that they have the power to ban something then it opens very wide doors to other things they could ban. It's doubtful that anyone would ban alcohol but the precedent is set.

"R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. plans to continue to fight smoking bans at adult-only businesses because it thinks such restrictions infringe on the rights of owners and adversely affect business, spokesman David Howard said from the company's headquarters in Winston-Salem, N.C."

North Carolinians to be proud of. See what the Americans for Nonsmokers rights have done? They've given the moral high ground to their opponents. Big evil tobacco companies understand more about Lockean property Rights than the alleged rights concerned organization (& yes I know RJ Reynolds is acting out of its own self interest, but at least their arriving at the correct conclusion even if their motivation isn't 100% pure).

"But Columbia Mayor Darwin Hindman said studies show bans will not force smoking customers to go elsewhere. The Surgeon General's report reached a similar conclusion."

Now y'all know a little bit about me & some of my history right? Tell me if you opened up a bar & wanted someone to run it would you pick A: the mayor of Columbia B: the Surgeon general or C: a friggin' ex-musician with 20+ years in the bar biz?

Idiots, I tell ya. In a statewide ban the customers don't go to other bars or restaurants. they stay their happy smoking asses at home. Call any bar in Colorado & ask if they've seen a drop in revenue since July of '06. Then call the mayor of Columbia & the surgeon general & ask them how many times a month their non-smokin' asses will go to a bar per week to make up for all the folks like me who stay the hell home.

"I don't think it's a legitimate fear that bars and restaurants will lose business,' Hindman said. 'From what I've read, smokers keep going to bars and restaurants even after smoking is banned. Smoking restrictions should be based on health issues anyway."

He's the kinda asshat who'd build a stage with no electrical outlets anywhere near that wall & wonder why the band stopped playing every time someone tripped over their extension cords.

Restaurants get by with a slight decrease (& in some cases a slight increase) in business. Bars suffer. Whatever the hell he read it wasn't the weekly tallies from a bar's cash box.

& smoking restrictions should be based on health issues? Nope. They shouldn't be based on anything at all. They bar a person from exercising control over his property. Whether it's healthy or not is inconsequential. No one is forced to enter a smoking establishment & no one should be forced to give up their property rights for the sake of visitors, invited or unsolicited.

But notice how the last part was thrown in to cover his ass in case someone who actually knows something about the bar biz calls bullshit on his bullshit.

"Amy Winterfeld, health policy analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures based in Washington, D.C., said smoke-free legislation is pending in at least seven states.
'When you see an issue like this passing in a number of states it does give it momentum in other states,' Winterfeld said. 'It's certainly possible that a number of states will take it up this year."

I hope miss Winterfield is mistaken, but odds are she's correct. More states will pass or attempt to pass such laws.

Note the tone of the article though. See a disparity in which side is portrayed? Perhaps the anti-Lockean thinking is given a little more voice for some reason? Nah. Probably just a coincidence. News articles are never biased right? /blatent sarcasm

I sincerely hope every person who pushed for such laws enjoys their new found "freedom' from Lockean property rights - er, I mean toxic fumes threatening to kill them instaneously by going to a blues bar where you'll be hearing musicians of this quality. Or maybe a rock bar where these guys will be playing. Cause musicians such as myself will pursue other means of paying our bills. & it's not that I assume such folks would know decent music if it smashed a viola de gamba over their heads, I just assume they'll know bad music when they hear it.

Posted by Publicola at January 20, 2007 06:01 AM | TrackBack

Isn't this just the manifestion of the "social contract" the du Toit's believe we are all duty bound to hold fast to? Another great milestone in the "social contract" the minority never signed, but are held to at gun point.

Posted by: yeah, but at January 20, 2007 02:52 PM

Yep - Pittsburgh PA just passed a county-wide smoking ban. A few bars are suing and a judge put a 3 month hold on it - only for bars and restaurants though.

I shake my head at the debate on whether it will hurt or help business. That's IRRELEVANT! I don't care if it would mean that a business would have an instant doubling of profits. It's a property rights issue. The owner should be able to decide if the loss/gain of business is worth changing the bars smoking policy.

Gah - there are a few places that I go to smoke a cigar and enjoy the music. If this ban is upheld, I'll make sure to write a letter to the bars and restaurants explaining that I will no longer patronize their establishments. I will also copy the Mayor, the Country controller, and the local newspapers.

Maybe that will have an effect (though I'm not holding my breath)

Posted by: Dave at January 20, 2007 02:54 PM

The problem really started with the portion of the 60's era civil rights laws which declared that private businesses-diners being among the most conspicuous-to be 'public accomodations.'

Once private commercial property became 'public accomodations,' it became open to all manner of obnoxious government meddling.

The you what they say about the pavement on the road to hell.

Posted by: Heartless Libertarian at January 20, 2007 09:55 PM