Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Pay up for those smokes Johnny

If our Governor gets his way, the cost of cigarettes is going up sharply. Toss in at least another buck and a quarter for those who need their nicotine fix. All in pathetic attempt to stop teens from smoking and to try and pay for the health costs of smokers and programs to help them quit.

In other words, the governor believes smokers should pay the state for medical costs that you may not even need. If you smoke a pack a day, you will be giving the state just over $450 each year so that you may possibly get a break on the lung transplant, or go to some classes to learn how you can stop smoking. Seriously, what kind of programs does the state think they will come up with to get people to stop smoking? I also say "may" because this crook will find a way to either borrow or divert the funds to some other area to make up for a shortfall. He has done it before and will do it again.

I don't smoke. Never have. I am just rational about people who do smoke. I understand that no one is forced to smoke. Unlike what some of those ridiculous Truth ads will show on TV, no one is going into high schools and dropping of Camels to seniors as a gift for graduating. No one makes teenagers smoke. They do it to rebel. You tell a teenager not to do something and it is guaranteed that most will go ahead and defy you. If they don't want to, they won't.

That leads us to other choices we should be able to make. The push in Milwaukee for banning smoking in bars and restaurants will be coming around again. Common sense would say that if you don't like a smoky area, don't go into a bar. People tend to smoke while they drink. You know what you are getting into. Don't go. I know the risks I take. Hell, I sit next to Gambino who puffs away like a chimney! Ok, not really, but every time I meet her for a drink, I know she is going to light up. If I take in some second hand smoke, that is my own fault, not hers, not the bars, not any tobacco company.

I recall an argument I had with a friend of a friend one day after a Packer game. The topic of banning smoking in bars came up. He was all for it because of his asthma. My response was simple. What are you doing in a bar then? You know there is going to be smoke, if it bothers you, wouldn't you just stay away? I got the usual "I want to be able to go out and should not have to deal with the smoke" answer. I was then give the "workers shouldn't have to put up with it either" line and "bartenders are at risk because of the smoke too". Funny, most bartenders I know smoke. Most but not all. is that because of the people smoking around them? I doubt it. But the line that floored me was "I have to work in bars (he is a musician). It is hard to do my job (plays saxophone- an asthmatic playing sax!) when there is so much smoke in the room". That floored me. I pointed out how he puts himself into harm's way on purpose and had only himself to blame. That set him off. He argued that is how he makes his living. He has no choice. Aha, but you do. You can get gigs at places that aren't as smoky, that have better ventilation. Maybe change the music you play and be like Kenny G. Focus on teaching. Or even, get a new career? Simply put, you made a choice to go down that path. If you didn't fully understand the risks involved- and we all have on the job risks no matter where you work- that is your own fault.

We don't have a right to expect to go into a tavern and expect the air to be smoke free. It is the owner of the establishment that has the right to determine whether they will allow people to smoke in their place. Yes, it is that simple. If you want to try and abolish smoking in taverns and restaurants, let the market decide. Sell a liquor license that allows smoking. Charge more for it. The bar will then have to posts signs inside and out that clearly state this is a place that allows smoking. By entering you waive all rights on smoking related illnesses.

But issuing such a license would be common sense. And that never seems to work for our state politicians.

But the thing that scares me on the smoking issue has always been what happens next. Once they are done killing smoking, alcohol is next. They will go after booze. The lessons from Prohibition will be ignored. The lawsuits on the effects of drinking will occur. Mark my words.

But enough with the smokes. Our Governor also wants to give health care to everyone, but never explains how he will pay for it. He also blew smoke about lowering taxes. HA! That sure the hell ain't happening. He also wants to build a task force on global warming.

Uh, what?

Yes, Wisconsin needs to have it own task force on global warming according to the Governor. Ok, exactly what are they going to do, monitor cow farts? Check out what the horses are doing in the fields? Nah, just a button to push to feel like the good guy. Every politician is doing it.

The global warming issue is funny to me. There isn't no hard proof that you can pin point it all on man. There are two camps. One blames man, the other says it just the way the earth works. The blame man camp gets more press and attention because people want to feel guilty about possibly making the planet a bad place.

Fuckin boo hoo! In the mid 80s, the fear was for another ice age.

I just don't buy it. Fact is, we can do all we want in the U.S. to prevent this so called global warming. But everything we do may be offset by India and China, countries who could care less about emissions or dumping of chemicals.

The answer is quite simple. I think we should blame the gray wolf. Ever since it fought its way back from endangerment, global warming has become an issue. Coincidence?

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