Open gloating thread

As expected, the D.C. City Council passed its long debated smoking ban yesterday. Health fascists, feel free to gloat in the comments section. Assorted notes on the subject:

1) Brooke Oberwetter will be on Washington Post’s Live Online to answer questions with Smokefree D.C. rep and amateur Lego roboticist Michael Tacelosky at 2:00 pm.

2) What is the deal with Mayor Anthony Williams’ sudden declaration against the smoking ban? If he really meant it, his opposition might have been a little more useful sometime before the bill’s passage became a veto-proof certainty. Call me cynical, but it looks to me like this might have just been his way of being remembered by smokers and bar owners as an opponent of the ban without having to actually make enemies on the other side through effective action. Thanks anyway, pal.

3) Quote of the day goes to Health Committtee chairman David Catania:

“I’m pleased that we were able to move forward on this important health issue,” Catania said. The fact that both sides are not totally happy with the bill means it was a good compromise, he added.

When government takes away some liberty, but not as much liberty as it really wants, everybody wins!

4) A doff of my hat to Carol Schwartz, who fought the good fight and made the single no vote on the measure.

Comments

  1. You can just stick to the Clarendon Ballroom in protest of the district’s fascist laws.

  2. brooke says:

    Hey Jacob, thanks for promoting the WaPo thing. And I’m glad you saw the Robotics Meetup thing. My favorite is that he’s part of the Washington Ultimate Frisbee Meetup.

    I was actually going to use that in the chat if he brought up the fact that I work for Cato. I was going to say that my employment at Cato is not more relevant to the discussion that his association with the Washington Ultimate Frisbee Meetup. Sadly, though, he didn’t mention it.

  3. Jeff says:

    Yeah, but now Virginia has outlawed beer pong, so there’s a tradeoff… sure, Jacob has principles, but are they worth sacrificing beer pong?

  4. Robert Ulmer says:

    A libertarian at heart, I applaud the passage of this bill. I am now free to enter bars without fear of someone injecting my lungs involuntarily with smoke. In restaurants, people are not allowed to flash their penises before my eyes, scream above an acceptible decibal into my ears, poke my skin, and now, they are not allowed to blow smoke into my lungs. A glorious day indeed.

  5. cassandra says:

    aww… he spelled “fear” right at 12:01pm.

  6. CP says:

    Hmmmm…an interesting debate here, on one could argue that this smoking ban is simply another law protecting the general public from unnecessary harm. On the other hand, the general public is already free to not enter establishments where smoking is allowed. Can you justify eliminating the rights of one group for the benefit of another?

    I’d be more inclined to agree with Jacob on this one, if it weren’t for one phrase “We the people…” While I empathize with the Libertarian perspective one must remember that in this great Nation of ours, “governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

    With regards to the smoking ban the governed have consented “laying [their] foundation on such principles and organizing [their] powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”

  7. Robert Ulmer says:

    A libertarian at heart, I applaud the passage of this bill. I am now free to enter bars without feer of someone injecting my lungs involuntarily with smoke. In restaurants, people are not allowed to flash their penises before my eyes, scream above an acceptible decibal into my ears, poke my skin, and now, they are not allowed to blow smoke into my lungs. A glorious day indeed.

  8. Chad says:

    To Rob… my friend, I think your argument may be valid for places you are not free to choose whether or not to be a patron. This is one reason why the costs of air pollution from factories require a more concerned approach than, say, the costs of playing pickup football. I don’t see us attempting to ban tackling from pickup football on the grounds that the person who volunteers to play doesn’t really want their leg broken, because we acknowledge that they know and accept the risks when they choose to play.

    In fact, we have restaurants where “allowed to flash their penises before my eyes” (strip clubs), “scream above an acceptible decibal into my ears” (live music venues), and “poke my skin” (okay I don’t know if they have tattoo parlors that sell food, but you get the point). And in my opinion we should treat an establishment that allows smoking in the same way that we treat strip clubs, live music venues, and tattoo parlors: by making the choice whether or not to patronize the establishment. The ability to vote with our feet and our pocketbooks given a wide variety of choices is about as “we the people” as it gets.

  9. Zhubin says:

    Hardly fair of you to open a gloating thread and then immediately post entries that knock this one down the page, Jacob.

    I’d yell at you, but I have difficulty breathing what with all the secondhand smoke I’ve just inhaled from the bar I was at tonight. Luckily, come 2007, I’ll be able to yell all I want, freely and loudly. What a wonderful country!

  10. Robert Ulmer says:

    To my good, and quite attractive friend Chad: If there were actually real choices involved with smoking v. non-smoking bars, this would not be an issue. This IS an issue because virtually ALL bars and restaurants in DC allow smoking. Interesting phenomenon that goes in chad’s favor, though. Halo, DC’s first non-smoking gay bar opened and it’s a huge success because everyone is thrilled not to smell like an ashtray when they leave. The place is packed all the time, while Halo’s ‘smoking’ sister bar JRs is usually dead. Maybe straights CAN learn something from the gays. Chad, wanna go to Halo with me?

  11. Chad says:

    Sounds like non-smoking gay bars are a new niche, Robert — maybe you should look into opening one. With enough clever social entrepreneurs making it possible for more people to vote with their feet, maybe we can disarm the vigilante lobbyists of the emotion that often supersedes logic as the crux of their supposed argument.

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