August 01, 2004

Gun grabbers lead assault against free speech.

Popular Mechanics, the magazine on all things mechanical and well...popular, is under a lot of heat from a small but vocal number of its readers who feel the magazine is too pro gun and features too many gun articles and advertisements.

From a Review site on Popular Mechanics Magazine:

I received a subscription for Christmas last year as it seemed like a pretty broad based magazine with lots of good articles on a variety of topics. And that is absolutely true - however, I ultimately cancelled due to the number of advertisements for handguns. Call me what you will (and yes, I'm from that bastion of liberalism, Massachusetts) but I could not support a periodical that advertises these items. Just my own personal feelings on this matter.

Popular Mechanics is a gun friendly magazine, as evidenced by articles like this one which explains why the assault weapons ban must end. Another article why smart guns are a dumb idea

The gun friendly leaning tendencies of Popular Mechanics have not gone unnoticed by people who support gun control or gun bans. Some letters have been sent into Joe Oldham, the editor of the magazine, showing displease at the amount of gun articles, opinions, and advertisements.

In the June 2004 edition of Popular Mechanics Mr. Oldham addressed the issue:

As the editor, yes, I decide what will run and what will not. And yes, I enjoy the shooting sports and am a member of the National Rifle Association. I believe that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees me, and individual, the right to own a firearm. Like most of the readers of Popular Mechanics I am generally a law-abiding citizen, have served in the armed forces of this country and am not a "gun nut". From letters I received, I think I'm pretty much in step with the majority of our readers. Knowing that I have the support of most of you reading this, I can tell you categorically that no amount of irate letters or whining or protesting will scare me into forcing gun articles out of these pages. It's part of our heritage. It's part of our editorial mission.
And that's why we print articles on firearms. Let the letters begin. Till next time.

It's about time someone stood up against the political correct atmosphere in today's society. As a consumer the people who don't like the editorial content of the magazine have every right to not read the magazine, or just ignore those stories. They don't have the right to try to shut those ideas and stories down.

I shouldn't be upset at the editorial content of The Nation, and I don't expect someone who leans left to like what is said in The Weekly Standard.

It seems that there are too many on the left who want to use powers outside those of regular free market choice to control what is said and who says it. The whole political correctness movement is evidence of that. If something you say may offend someone, you are not allowed to say it. No more "Merry Christmas". It's now "Seasons Greetings".

In a more chilling example of government sponsored censorship, Iowa Democratic Senator Sen. Tom Harkin has introduced a bill that would jeapordize Rush Limbaugh's hour of airtime on the Armed Services Radio Network.

AFRTS receives federal funds to provide radio and television shows to American service members worldwide. But Mr. Harkin said the organization provides no countercommentary to the "extreme right-wing views" on Mr. Limbaugh's radio show.

It's not like the people in the military don't want him. An hour of his show was added after a write-in campaign during a vote on programming changes landed him more votes than anyone who was even on the ballot.

I am not saying there aren't conservatives who use their power to silence what is said, because there have been. Most of the examples we see on a daily basis such as eliminating God in the Pledge of Allegiance, eliminating Columbus Day celebrations, and editing our history books is done in such a sly backdoor way and happens so slowly that we hardly notice it, until it is almost too late.

Just like the old wives tale goes. You can put a frog in boiling water, and he'll jump right out, but him in cool water and slowly bring it to a boil, and the frog allows himself to be cooked.

If we aren't careful of these infringements on our speech, we will lose those rights forever.

Posted by TomCat at 04:18 PM | Comments (3)

July 21, 2004

Here comes butt-heads

I just heard news about a proposal to ban smoking in all indoor workplaces in Pennsylvania, including bars and restaurants. It is being pushed forward by state Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, R-Montgomery County. To tell you the truth, I'm getting sick of writing about this crap.

From the Pittsburgh Channel:

A state lawmaker says the time has come to ban smoking at all workplaces in Pennsylvania, including bars and restaurants.

State Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, R-Montgomery County, says he will push for legislation simlar to that of California, New York, Maine, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida and Massachusetts, where the law is already in place.

"It's not a question of if it will happen, it's a question of when," Greg Hartley, assistant director of Smokefree Pennsylvania, told reporter Kelly Frey in a Channel 4 Action News report from October 2003. "We think it will happen soon."

Secondhand smoke causes 53,000 deaths a year in the United States, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Rumblings surfaced early last year about a possible smoking ban at Allegheny County bars and restuarants. The noise was quieted by the state's Clean Indoor Air Act, passed in 1998, which establishes no-smoking sections in restaurants but prohibits most local governments from further restricting smokers.

Some eateries have voluntarily extinguished smoking. A Web site,, lists about 100 smoke-free restaurants in Allegheny and surrounding counties

I believe this to be an intrusion on our lives by an ever increasingly powerful government. I think that the free market should decide which establishments are smoke-free, or that allow smoking.

To me it is all about freedom of choice. There is the freedom of the owners of bars and restaurants to allow their customers have a smoke with thier meal or with their drink. If they want to be smoke-free, thatís their choice as well. A customer should also be able to choose a place to go when they donít want to be around smoke, or one which allows them to smoke.

The government says this is all to protect your health. They have your best interests at heart. Well, there are a lot of things which are bad for you. Eating too much, eating fattening foods, drinking alcohol, and not exercising are just a few. Are they next?

The government cites obesity as a major health problem now. Is the government going to now tell a restaurateur what food he can sell? Or tell me what I can eat? Or force me to exercise? Twenty years ago the thought of a state-wide smoking ban would have seemed crazy so who knows anymore.

I am totally against this proposed law. It has nothing to do with my personal views on smoking; it has to do with my view on the role of government in trying to protect us from every little thing they view as dangerous. From seatbelts, to cell phones while driving, to cigar and cigarette smoke.

Here comes the nanny-state.

Posted by TomCat at 08:58 AM | Comments (2)

July 12, 2004

In walks Elliot Ness

Sometimes on Sunday, when it's raining or an important game is on the TV, I head over to the gun range to have a beer, eat a sausage sandwich and hang out. It's a nice bar. It's quiet and limited mostly to members of the club. Every Sunday they feature different menu items. Sometimes it's a sandwich, sometimes it's clams. Bottles of Yuengling are a buck as are all cans and bottles.

The trouble is, this bar is a speakeasy. They have no liquor license. If you know anything about Pennsylvania you'll know the Liquor Control Board doesn't stand for that.

Well, after 54 years of operating under the radar as a speakeasy, the gun club was raided last night.

The State Cops came barging in and made everyone leave. They confiscated the beer and the money and fined the bartenders $1,000 each.

I'm just glad they didn't come in when they had poker tables set up. That would have been really bad.

Now I know they broke the law, but it's a stupid law. The reason they didn't have a liquor license is because there were no liquor licenses to buy. The LCB is ironfisted in how they regulate liquor licenses. Some of their laws are draconion and stupid. Plus they are expensive. Very expensive.

The board of directors at the LCB are mostly a bunch of tea-toatlers who really don't like liquor and beer sales, but know it's great tax revenue. So just like cigarettes, they keep it around for the revenue but make it hard for stores to sell it; so much so that many bars which have been around for years and years are just closing up rather than put up with the LCB.

This is so much typical of the hypocrisy of many governments, especially Pennsylvania. They are against drunkeness, but promote buying alcohol in their state owned liquor stores. In Pennsylvania you can't gamble, but they promote their lottery. Cigarettes are horrible if you listen to them, but will never outlaw them entirely because of the needed tax revenue.

Posted by TomCat at 09:22 AM | Comments (12)

July 09, 2004

Smoking Ban to go after private clubs

People who annoy are many; New Jersey Drivers, people who have bullet stickers on their cars, and Notre Dame fans. But people who really get my blood boiling are those supporters of government rights over private rights who desire to ban smoking in every single place on Earth.

I see no problem with a business, be it a restaurant or bar, allowing smoking, or not allowing smoking. If a business owner wants to allow smoking, it is his decision. If he doesn't want smoking, that is also his decision.

On the same token it is my decision as a customer to decide where they want to shop and eat. But it is doubly true for owners and members of private clubs. These are only open to members and cater to certain groups. VFW's, American Legions, gun clubs, and other social clubs all fit the bill.

But there are certain people who won't stop at banning smoking in publc places.

From the the Boston Herald

Veterans groups, fraternal lodges and other club members pledged to take the city to court if it one-ups the new statewide public smoking ban by expanding it to private clubs in Quincy. ``The veterans will not go softly into the night,'' Hayward said.

Bill LaRaia, a retired Quincy EMT, said he's paid dues to a private club for 25 years. ``For you to tell me I can't go in there and have a cigarette - that's a disgrace.''

The issue pits private clubs against some restaurant and pub operators, who support the smoking ban expansion. Operators said they stand to lose business to private clubs.

"`We feel if you're not going to allow people to smoke in a public place, why should they be allowed to go smoke in a private club?'' said Bill Damon, with Darcy's Pub.

A state law went into effect this week banning smoking in public places, including offices, restaurants and bars, though not in members-only clubs or cigar bars. Under Scheele's local proposal, smoking would also be banned at private clubs in Quincy as of July 18. He has the authority to enact such health-related regulations under state law, said Monica Conyngham, the city solicitor.

``I don't think the state went far enough,'' Scheele said in an interview before the hearing. ``As long as we have scientific evidence that second-hand smoke does cause health problems we can impose it. (Private clubs) have employees, too, that should be protected.''


The anti-freedom patrol has a two part strategy to rid public places of smoking. First they ban smoking in public places like bars and restaurants. Then they pit the owners of those establishment against those of private clubs. Then it becomes a fairness issue.

That strategy shows the shallowness of their anti-choice crusade. When they go to ban smoking in establishments they say it will not effect the bottom line of the business. But if it isn't hitting the bottom line, then why are the owners of the bars and restaurants who are effected so determined to make sure that policy effects people who run private clubs?

The policy makers and do-gooders in this world cite how dangerous smoke is, and want it banned, but they are sure happy to feed at the trough of tax revenue and settlement money taken from these tobacco companies. I say if it is so damned dangerous, don't take any money from it!! Why would you want to benefit from such a dangerous and deadly product?

To me it is all a choice of freedom. There is the freedom of the owners of establishments who wish to allow smoking. If they want to allow their customers have a smoke after dinner or with a drink, that is their choice. As a customer I have the right to choose a place that doesn't allow smoking when I don't want to be around smoke, and allows it when I want to smoke my Cohiba myself.

Look at it like alcohol. If I don't feel like a drink with my steak, I will go to Hoss's near my house. If I want a beer or fine liquor, I will go to Greggory's. It is my choice. No one is forcing either place to be drink free or not. The market decides, and both places prosper.

People cite health over smoker's rights. I say that right now it's smoke, soon, it will be drink. If I go to a bar and drink a few drinks I am more dangerous to people health (by driving home) than I would be by smoking a double corona. So by so actively banning smoking, it stats the slipperly slope of total prohabition of almost any behavior some do-gooder deems dangerous.

Much to the surprise of many liberal, pro-government types out there the government can't regulate all danger out of our lives. With freedom comes a little bit of risk. As a mature adult, I have the ability to choose for myself what I want to do with my life. That includes choosing to indulge in a legal, taxed product or even an illegal untaxed product. (but that is another post)

If I owned a bar or restaurant, I should be able to choose what type of establishment I want to have. Then the free market will decide. If I could make more money by not allowing smoking, then smoke free it is. But the market should decide about this legal product.

This entry also found at The Nap Room

Posted by TomCat at 02:40 PM | Comments (5)

January 20, 2004

Smoking Ban is Banned (Temporarily)

From Syracuse Post Standard:

Damon's Party House in Cicero is the first bar in Onondaga County - and possibly the first in the state - to win a waiver allowing tobacco smoking inside its premises because of financial hardship.

Damon's was granted a one-year smoking-ban waiver Friday by county Health Commissioner Dr. Lloyd Novick after presenting evidence it had lost approximately 40 percent of its bar business in three months. The state's smoking ban took effect July 24.

This is a common problem facing restaurants, bars, and other establishments who have had draconian regulations enforced upon them in the name of public health.

These public health zealots are forcing these privately owned establishments to disallow smoking. Many of these establishments are bars who cater to a professional after work crowd. These people enjoy a cigar or cigarette with their cocktail, and with the enforcement of these laws they are required to either smoke outside, or just go home to smoke.

If he would allow smoking to be present, his bar would be subject to highly punative fines, and possibly even revokation of their liquor license.

Before getting a waiver, Damon's was one of five bars in Onondaga County to be fined for violating the law, which prohibits smoking indoors at almost every worksite in the state. Damon's was fined $250 earlier this month after health department inspectors said they saw customers smoking cigarettes in the tavern. Damon said he will pay the fine.

His tavern, which is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, lost most of its regular customers after the smoking ban became effective July 24, Damon said.

His patrons - generally an older happy-hour crowd - drifted away as the weather got cold because they didn't want to have to go outside to smoke, said Damon, who smokes just under a pack a day. Damon said he hopes his regulars return now.

Is smoking bad? Yes. Though I sometimes smoke cigars. Other times I appreciate a place to eat where they do not allow smoking. But when I want to smoke, I want to be able to find a bar or restaurant that allows smoking.

The point is, it should be my choice. My choice to choose an establishment that allows or disallows smoking. It is also up to the owner. He or she owns the place, and THEY should make the decisions on things like this.

It is not the government's or public official's place in this world to watch over and regulate every possible thing that can hurt us. The world is full of danger, it is my place to watch out for it, not Uncle Sam's.

Posted by TomCat at 09:15 AM | Comments (3)