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Monday, October 24, 2005

BummerMan Rips I-901

Speaking of being smoke free... I can't believe how stupid I-901 is. I know tons of people are going to run right out and stuff the ballot box for this joke of law, but I beg of you: DON'T.

This election day, reconsider the actual verbiage of this (very flawed) initiative. You may find smokers on the sidewalk annoying. You may dislike going to pubs and clubs because of all the smoke. It's bad for your health, stinks up your clothes and gives you a sore throat. Yes, yes, yes. Smoking is bad, and people ought not do it too close to those of us that like to imagine our lungs pink and clean.


I-901 is attempting to make it illegal to smoke within 25 feet of any doorway or window that could serve as ventilation to a building. This would, in effect, make it illegal to smoke anywhere in the urban sprawl of Seattle. Unless you're standing in the middle of a freakin' park (where it's actually kind of rude to smoke) you're bound to be 25 feet from a door or window. Maybe people forget that we're only 20 years removed from people casually lighting up in elevators and grocery stores. We've come a long way and have made it pretty uncomfortable to be a nicotine addict in this society. But now we're pushing it too far. This law is so extreme that it's totally unenforceable. There's no way this will be fairly and uniformly policed. What will happen, is that police will use a law like this to harass poor street kids and minorities. Illegal searches, harassment and bogus fines will be the only result of legislation like this. If people are so worried about clean air and polluting their lungs, why don't they go after big pulp mills and other corporate polluters instead?! What's worse... catching a whiff of an American Spirit while walking though downtown, or having all of Tacoma reek like soiled municipal diaper? _Rants



At 10/25/2005 10:40:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"police will use a law like this to harass poor street kids and minorities."

So THAT'S why my hate-meter keeps saying I'm maxed out on my dislike of police officers. I'm not a minority. Maybe some tanning sessions will raise my credit limit on seething the next time I get pulled over and interrogated about how much alcohol my lips have never touched.

The best thing about being white, aside from that 10% discount we get on all groceries at QFC, and free gasoline on Fridays, is never having to deal with the police. Heck I don't even know what a badge looks like. I only get harassed by alcoholics who think I'm their best friend or their drooling pad or their ideal middleweight boxing opponent.

Dude, when it comes to opportunities for harassing kids and minorities, your statement could be referring to about a thousand laws.

"Gentleman, this new law makes it illegal for wheels with gold rims to be displayed on King County streets. Yes Officer Soapy?"

"So like... can we kick over kids on tricycles if there's gold hardware on the handlebars or that little bell?"

"Affirmative. Officer Bummer?"

"What if some old lady in a crosswalk smiles at me and she's got a gold tooth?"

"The offending tooth may be removed by any means necessary."

"SWEET! I knew these needle-nose pliers would come in handy..."

"Officer Risingbird?"

"Um, can I still use my gold baton to beat down minorities if they're wearing gold medallions?"

"Sometimes we have to break laws in order to enforce them, Miss Risingbird. Do what you have to do."


"Officer Claymore?"

"What if the sun shines across some blonde chick's hair and it looks gold to me? Beat down?"

"Afraid not."

"What if she's a big girl, like a big mountain of white trash? Can I call for backup?"

"Afraid not."

"Okay say she's got a six-barrel mini gun like Arnold in 'Terminator 2' and she's shooting up cars. Cars with gold rims."

"Afraid not."

"What if I become a blonde transvestite with gold teeth?"

"Then you are allowed to beat yourself senseless, Officer Claymore, in a fair and timely manner."

"But NOT the blonde mountain of raging white trash. Yeah I get it."

"Back to the subject of gold teeth. Any clothing displaying Da Cheat with his gold tooth smile may also be confiscated or burned, regardless of whether the offending party is wearing the garment or thrown it on the ground in a state of apologetic panic."

"So we need pliers and lighter fluid... Thank God for taxes..."

"But don't get all macho with the job, gentlemen. If you need backup in the detainment of said gold tooth, then you call for backup. Remember New Orleans - do NOT let a civilian dictate your enforcement of the law. Some people just don't realize how much of a danger they are to themselves."

Missing Your Point Entirely But Still Creating Random Arguments.


At 10/25/2005 08:58:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As much as I love Johnbai, the rambling and inaccurate crusader, I must disagree with these questions posed in his latest blog entry: "If people are so worried about clean air and polluting their lungs, why don't they go after big pulp mills and other corporate polluters instead?! What's worse... catching a whiff of an American Spirit while walking though downtown, or having all of Tacoma reek like soiled municipal diaper?" I gotta, I’m from there and he’s baiting me because I'm beautiful. I know it’s pointless but I’m bored.

My first pointless point is about the "Tacoma aroma." The smell that has traveled around the world if you listen to the people who would have you believe that it’s harmful, but in truth isn't hazardous to humans or to the environment. The “problem” as some see it, stems from odors that are called TRS emissions—Total Reduced Sulfur. These emissions come from sulfur compounds that are used to the cook wood in the smelting process. Yeah they suck to come in contact with if you have a sense of smell but harmful? Don’t make me laugh, because if you do I’ll shit my pants—I get incontinent from time to time when I hear really funny stuff. For the purposes of this blog entry I'm differentiating between the smell and the smelting process, ugh.

Sadly secondly, and from a practical point of view the emissions present a problem of marketability for the Tacoma City Council. Who's going to want to live in or even visit a city that smells like freshly cooked broccoli? The answer is as obvious as a brotha at a Klan rally. (Hold on a second I have to scratch my butt and burp, ERP!) If the local government wants to up their tourism revenues they're going to have to reduce these emissions—I think they used to call it commonsense. Believe it or not there are ways to reduce them without passing legislation.

Thirdly in this trilogy of terror, if you really want to look at air quality folks, the top US air polluters are coal and oil-fired power plants, not pulp mills down in Tacoma. If you want to make an issue out of it and somehow relate it social justice fine, but could you keep it to yourself so we can breathe cleaner air? I personally find the smell of cigarettes (in addition to being allergic to them) repulsive. If a few people get rousted here and there, though sad, is ultimately acceptable if you measure it against the intention to create a better world. Nothing is perfect, no legislation, or human act, or desire, or human institution; I guess we have to learn what the power of choice means all over again. Hell, even if I didn’t believe that, what does it matter anyway? We live in a society so divisive and litigious that there's a lawyer hiding behind every cup of hot coffee with a class action lawsuit tucked neatly under their fucking arms.

Lastly, cigarettes you say and defend with some absurd temerity? Ban the filthy motherfucker’s I say! I guess I’m not getting a social justice issue out of what you’re saying. Cigarettes really do kill people Johnbai the Tacoma aroma doesn't.

“Stand up and be counted for what you are about to receive
We are the dealers
We'll give you everything you need...”


At 10/25/2005 11:13:00 PM, Blogger diane said...

I tend to agree with Johnbai here: health education, social stigma, as well as finances have reduced smoking more in the last 10 years than legislation. Viva personal choice and social legislation.

Why has no one mentioned the obvious health detrements of SUV emmissions (not to mention the stink)? Why do so many people have to drive a flippin' truck in the city?

At 10/26/2005 04:56:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had a feeling you were going to agree with Johnbai. For me it's a personal issue because I gotta defend T-town the("soiled municipal diaper"), and the reason no one has mentioned SUV emissions is because that isn't the point as far as I can see. (I thought we were talking about I-901?)

This goes without saying but if you look at global trends, smoking is actually increasing not decreasing. The cigarette manufacturers know that no matter what happens they aren't going to go bankrupt any time soon irregardless of education, social stigma, legislation, and the available finances of their consumers. People always find a way to get the drugs they want. The law of supply in demand is in effect. Lastly and pointlessly, people drive SUVs in the city for the same reason the U.S. has a fraction of the world’s population but uses over fifty percent of its resources, greed and sloth.

For some weird reason law makers feel (not that I object in this case) like legislation will assuage a problem that history clearly demonstrated during prohibition just doesn't work. But while they figure that out maybe us non-smokers can breathe a little easier.

At 10/26/2005 03:22:00 PM, Blogger Johnbai3030 said...

Clay, sorry to activate your auto-defense systems.
There are two separate issues here. The first issue is smell. Tacoma has poor air-quality because it tends to stink, just like lots of towns with paper mills. It may or may not have health consequences.
Half of the I-901 supporters will vote "yes" just because they don't like the smell of people smoking in public places. Probably these are the same people that won't drive through Tacoma. Wanting a law to protect them from bad smells is ridiculous. How about a law against farting in elevators?!

Secondly, there's the issue of dangerous pollution. Second hand smoke, if you expose yourself to LOTS of it (like working at a bar,) definitly hurts a person. I've read, and I believe it, that living in Denver, Mexico City, LA, Bombay and various other cities, is the equivalent of smoking a pack a day. The pollution is so bad in some places that just living there is lethal. My own grandmother died of lung cancer never having smoked a cigarette in her life. Why? I don't know, but living in Southern California couldn't have helped. I think if you want to tackle the "dangerous" aspect of air pollution, there are bigger fish to fry than smokers.

This law attempts to do two things. It won't address either issue very well. It's a classic example of poor law-writing.

At 10/26/2005 04:20:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When you talk about T-town like that in your rambling blog how the hell do you expect me to react? With that said, and if you're still have a hankering to talk about Tacoma air quality, my point is at least be accurate or attempt to be. I think it would help to do some reading on the subject Johnbai, wait a minute, you don't read. DAMN!

I wasn’t quite sure what you meant here: “Tacoma has poor air-quality because it tends to stink, just like lots of towns with paper mills. It may or may not have health consequences.” Tacoma doesn’t have poor air quality because it tends to stink; Tacoma stinks because of the smelting process I discussed briefly. Dude, cite your sources don’t just rattle and ramble. What studies are you referring to that talk about Tacoma air quality? I’m not one of those people that just believes whatever I’m told, I need “real” and convincing evidence because if I repeat what you tell me and its bullshit, I’ll look like a jackass. Dude I know you don’t know everything about me but you do know I call people on their shit, I don’t coddle or try to back them up; remember? Maybe it isn’t one of my more endearing qualities but it’s just who I am.

To me there aren't two separate issues but one, I hate cigarette smoke dog, period, end of story. I could care a less what measures are taken harass, harass, harass... To me it’s all good, go after the big fish and the little fish and fry the hell out of em.

Also, what I'm saying is my own point of view and doesn't necessarily represent anyone but me. I wish I could be more discriminating about this issue but I can still remember how my body reacted when an allergy specialist I went to tested me for a tobacco allergy. My skin burned and felt like it was literally on fire. The allergist’s immediate response was that I had a tobacco allergy so I guess I get more passionate about that than most stuff. The sad thing about law makers is that they aren’t also environmentalists, or at least people that have common sense or they might legitimately tackle some of the air pollution issues you’re talking about.

(Just adding my opinion not trying to ruffle feathers.)

At 10/27/2005 01:25:00 PM, Blogger diane said...

Smoking is increasing globally, but decreasing in the USA.

At 10/27/2005 03:21:00 PM, Blogger Ned said...

I say just tax the hell out of the stuff to pay for universal health care!

Oh, I'm sorry, I forgot that's a bad word in the States.

At 10/27/2005 06:05:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looked it up huh? I’m not sure if that’s reason to celebrate Diane when developing countries are consuming tobacco products at an astounding rate. According to WHO’s (World Health Organization) “statistics,” global trends, and silly stuff like that 1 million people are going to die because of tobacco in this century compared to the 100 million in the last. If what you said is supposed to sound like progress it sure doesn’t seem like it really is. When I last checked America was still connected to the world, its one planet.

Again, according to WHO There are two major reason to die right now if you believe in the global village thing, HIV and smoking related illnesses, ugh. Lastly, when taxes get raised poor people stop smoking and take up other affordable addictions (like over eating or excessive drinking) while tobacco profits steadily rise.

That’s kind of weird huh?

“Only in America - do drugstores make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions while healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front of the store"


At 10/27/2005 08:53:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's 1 Billion with a B, ONE BILLION, 1,000,000,000!!!!!!! Even I make mistakes.

At 10/28/2005 11:20:00 AM, Blogger Johnbai3030 said...

You can't write local legislation based on global statistics. Well, actually you can, but it's less wise than writing local legislation based on local statistics (especially after you look at how those statistics compare to other localities.)

when I look at Seattle, in comparison to other similar demographic cities, I see a place where the air in pretty clean, crime is pretty low, people are pretty self-isolating, there's an embarrassing lack of good public transportation, suicide rates are a tad high, and we have a stupid initiative process that allows poorly written (and poorly conceived) ideas to get on the ballot. Often these ideas are passed by a reactionary voting public leaving our state congress the unhappy job of trying to make sense of (or circumvent) these stupid new laws. God help me, but direct democracy is NOT a good idea in this country.

At 10/28/2005 02:10:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

True that true that... All this talk about statistics is actually making me wet, sorry I digress. I guess my entire point just in case you missed it Johnbai is that I HATE CIGARETTES. I'm not suggesting trying to write local legislation from a global point of view (dumb), or trying to suggest an alternative law (dumber).

I guess I was trying to look at the bigger picture and how things may seem to be relatively comfortable here but the same cooperate forces we’re dodging are still operating in the rest of the world at an astonishing rate. So who’s really winning? You see D’artagnan; it would be foolish to think that what’s happening on the other side of the world is far away and doesn’t affect or won’t affect our daily lives adversely. I know this sounds foolish but I’ll say it again, EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED. We can’t write legislation from a global point of view but we can still understand that cigarette manufacturers are sinking their greedy little finger into the lungs of millions of other people who are less fortunate.

"Just as language has no longer anything in common with the thing it names, so the movements of most of the people who live in cities have lost their connection with the earth; they hang, as it were, in the air, hover in all directions, and find no place where they can settle.”

~Ranier Maria Rilke~

For us maybe, the worst things we have to worry about are bad lawmakers and a “reactionary” populace but for others in this great big world of ours things are a bit more complicated. Anyway, things can’t be that good around here because If I remember you correctly which I usually do I seem to recall you saying something about moving to Canada? Are you still going or do you find Seattle’s livability more diverting?

“The problem with the global village is all the global village idiots.”

~P. Ginsparg~


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