Tuesday, April 03, 2007

UPDATE: The only quote you need to read re: smoking ban...

“The United States is not some hellish kibbutz where there’s just one communal dining area, which only serves comfort food...The person who smells cigarette smoke and wrinkles his nose before batting the air like a loon is now in the same position as the Peeping Tom neighbor who climbs precariously atop the fridge, binoculars clutched in leprous palm, in order to report the vile bedroom antics of the couple next door. You have to go out of your way to be offended. Never doubt that there are such people; never give them an inch either if you value privacy or diversity.”
(Hitchens, Vanity Fair, May 2001)
Unless you believe in the slippery slope to fascism, do NOT support this bill.

UPDATE: I find it interesting that people who are arguing strongly FOR this ban, some who definitely have an easier time at getting in touch with our elected representatives than I do (hint, hint, platinum bloggers), are keeping silent on Senator Webb's feelings about the ban. In fact, I have not heard of many electeds who support this ban at all. So, I just called Senator Webb's office here in Richmond. I would be interested to hear his views, and I suggest others do the same.

Unless, of course, it wouldn't help you make your point. :)

UPDATE II: I just rec'd a call back from Webb's office in Richmond, and they do not know if Jim Webb will take a position on this. That's strange, since Senator Warner already did (he supports the ban).

UPDATE III: Ben at NLS is now reporting on John Warner's support of this bill. Apparently, Senator Warner does not consider a smoker having to get up and go outside a big deal. I would like to point out once again that in a very short amount of time, a simple little non-smoking ban in California turned a county into a haven for the extreme agenda of the anti-smoking folks.
In February 2006, Calabasas (CA) placed a ban on smoking in nearly all public places, including sidewalks, parking lots, patios, and even outdoor balconies in apartment complexes if they were near common areas, making it the city with the strictest anti-smoking laws in the United States. Under the new laws, smoking outside in the city is restricted to selected "smoker outposts." Smoking in undesignated areas under the new law could earn smokers fines of up to $500. The ban went into effect in March 2006, garnering much local and national media attention. The full text of the ordinance may be found at Calabasas' official website on the issue.
Clearly, this is indeed a slippery slope topic...remember, folks; once someone begins telling you that taking away freedom is ‘for your own good’, they have turned you into a child.


Blogger Miles said...

Wow, I've never seen anyone violate Godwin's Law (comparing your opponents to Hitler/Stalin/etc.) in the very first post! Usually takes a little back-and-forth, but I'm impressed you went right to the heart of the matter: people who disagree with you are no better than the Nazis. Congrats on setting a new record.

9:29 AM  
Blogger Phriendly Jaime said...

FascisM is not the same as FascisT. Please take your holier than though attitude someplace else. You've made it clear that you and I disagree on this point. VERY clear with your constant insults and less than factual evidence.

9:34 AM  
Anonymous Ambivalent Richmonder said...

I'm not so concerned about the restaurant patrons who complain about smoke- they do have choice about what restaurant to eat in. I'm more concerned about creating a healthy workplace for employees. You wouldn't ask employees at, say, Dow Chemical to just suck it up and deal with pollutants in their workplace would you? Or to simply go get another job? No, we ask these companies to provide a healthy work environment. Why are restaurants different?

As for the "get another job" argument- it's not so simple to quit your job and still get good references from your old boss for a new job. I support the bill for protecting workers' rights.

10:33 AM  
Blogger Spank That Donkey said...

This is part of nanny-statism.. It's an affront to free enterprise also, as you pointed out separate areas can accomodate both smoking and non smoking patrons!

10:52 AM  
Blogger Thaddaeus Toad said...

It seems to me that Ambivalent is making a bit of a non sequitur. If you aren't concerned about patrons who complain, doesn't that necessarily imply that you have no problem with smoking sections in restaurants?
You rightly say that patrons who dislike smoke should go elsewhere, but in order to create "safe" work environments for employees you would do away with smoking sections all together.
Are you really arguing that servers and bartenders are not well aware of the work environment they choose? I'm not saying anyone should have to find a new job, but if they are so concerned with potential health risks, of which they are fully aware, should they have applied to work at a restaurant in the first place?

Maybe we should just put warning labels on all restaurants;

"WARNING: Working here involves being around indoor smoking. If you are fearful of the effects of working at this establishment, you should seek gainful employment elsewhere."

Then there is full disclosure. If it is legal to smoke, it should be legal to willingly chose to work near smoking.

10:57 AM  
Blogger Phriendly Jaime said...

Also, what about restaurants that have already spent thousands upon thousands of dollars to equip their restaurant with good ventilation systems? They should just be made to bite the cost? Well, I have news for you; that certainly isn't aiding in the protection of someone's job, now is it? Plus, every server I have ever asked has said they would rather work around smoke than lose their job bc the restaurnat loses $$ bc of an anti-smoking protest. Additionally, if you are going to use that argument, please explain to me how New Jersey justitifes the FACT that smoking is not allowed in restaurants to "protect" employees, but it IS allowed in casinos. What, casino employees don't count? I find it hard to believe that anyone would think that a black jack dealer could find a job easier than a server. Bit of a difference in resumes and amount of places to choose from. Well, the reason is clear-the casinos would lose a lot of $$, and they lobbied the New Jersey govt. to allow them to have smoking indoors. So, sorry, but none of the points here on WOS AGAINST smoking have made any factual impact on the discussion.

11:07 AM  
Blogger Phriendly Jaime said...

Thadd, you know, lung cancer is also very prevalent in people who have diets high in smoked food. We should outlaw smoked fish, definitely. Oh, and grills. Because grilled meat contains carcinogens. Oh, and microwave popcorn, which also apparently causes cancer.

11:19 AM  
Blogger Susan said...

Haha, do you think people had these same arguments when movie theaters and stores and offices and airplanes and trains etc etc became non-smoking? I'm sure it seemed like fascism then, but would you advocate allowing smoking on an airplane or movie theater now? New York and most of Western Europe seems to be doing fine with it, you don't hear about any small businesses packing up because all of a sudden their clientele can't smoke. The ban would protect small businesses, not hurt them, because as it is now they can't afford to ban smoking on their own, even if they wanted to, because their customers COULD go and smoke somewhere else. If they can't smoke anywhere else and they still want to be able to go out to eat, they'll still go to their favorite restaurants. I think it's cute that Richmond's up in arms about this when so many other major cities have jumped on board. RICHMOND VIRGINIA SINGLEHANDEDLY STEMS THE TIDE OF SMOKING INTOLERANCE. It's just a matter of time, and thirty years from now people will go "Remember when smoking was legal in restaurants? Gross."

I'm not arguing either way here because a) I want to be your pal and b) it seems unnecessary. It's the logical next step in getting smoking out of the public consciousness, and since New York and Paris seem to be thriving without it, I don't think it's going to hurt anyone more than it helps.

3:03 PM  
Blogger Susan said...

Oh, man, I left out my best clever angle. I'll go ahead and include it now so you won't miss out, it's:

I smoke, and I'm not like "I just can't go to Short Pump Cineplex (or whatever it's called) because they don't allow smoking, and really I can't go anywhere, so I'm just going to stay home and not see a movie."

Know what I mean?

3:06 PM  
Blogger Phriendly Jaime said...

Actually, at Short Pump Towne Center you cannot smoke at all. Yep, that's the OUTDOOR MALL I speak of. Apparently, Richmond bought the air. :)

This isn't just Richmond, it's the entire state of Virginia. And it certainly would affect the economy, considering this is tobacco country.

3:14 PM  
Blogger Susan said...

Yeah, but, like, wouldn't the recent smoking bans in the other major cities across the world hurt our tobacco economy more than just smoking in VA would? I feel like those decisions have already been made and it's an unstoppable force like suburban expansion or human rights (hopefully).

I really hate to argue with a like-minded individual, and I can really see where you're coming from, it just seems futile.

3:20 PM  
Blogger Nick Stump said...

We have a smoking ban coming here in Louisville, July 1. The bar I frequent will be smoke-free, but most of the servers and bartenders smoke. They don't like the ban anymore than I do. This idea the ban protects workers is just the legal hook they hang this thing on. Bartender like smokers because they tip better. We tend to drink also.
In my bar, I don't know one work there who wants a ban. They know they will lose money in tips and most of them are pissed because they can't smoke themselves.

There's already plenty of places that are non-smoking by the choice of the owners. Though I understand why people don't want to breathe 2nd hand smoke, it seems to me there could be some middle-ground where smokers could go have a drink and smoke, places where the workers choose to smoke as do the patrons. There's something very wrong about this ban and I worry that it's the beginning of the end of personal freedoms. This will come back to bite us on the ass.

What's next? I don't like the smell of heavy perfume. Should I push to ban perfume wearers? No, I should get up and move away, and if the perfume is pervasive, I should go to a non-perfuming bar. This is the worst sort of government by special interest and I hate it. You can count on me sitting in a restaurant with a large wad of chew in my mouth. Better buy spittoons and I hope non-smokers don't find my spitting offensive while they're savoring the endangered swordfish they're eating.

Next we'll be banning red meat, the wrong sort of carbs, fried chicken and on and on and on and on.

5:35 PM  
Blogger Dannyboy said...

This ban is bullshit. You heard me, bullshit. It is a government invasion where it does not belong. Don't get me wrong, I'm not exactly an opponent to big government. But this decision should be left to restaurant a bar owners... you know, like it ALWAYS has been.

I agree that this is a slippery slope. What do we ban next? There are so many things we do that could potentially kill us! Should we ban sky-diving and bungie-jumping in the state of Virginia? How about alcohol, that's certainly dangerous! Let's ban all alcohol in bars... just try it. How about red meat? That raises cholesterol, which is linked to heart disease! Heart disease kills more than any cancer in the US!

Slippery slope, people. Slippery slope. And If Tim Kaine tries to take away my steak... I don't care what party he's for or how much I support him, I will drive to Richmond and pimp-slap the hell out of him.

1:07 PM  
Anonymous Jeremy said...

Way to stand up for common sense, Jaime!

We have GOT to fight this urge to solve every little ill of society by passing a law.

In fact, I'd argue that the regulatory drag that restaurants and bars already undergo in Virginia drains resources from the industry that could otherwise be invested in competing restaurants and bars. Could restaurants compete on the basis of smoking/non-smoking, just like they do on prices, quality, ambiance, etc.? If the smoking issue is as big a deal as the ban proponents claim, then it should be a market opportunity rather than a legislative one.

2:49 PM  

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