Archive for the 'Justice in America' Category

14
Sep
08

This is the future

The anti tobacco movement is reaching new heights of audacity in their desire to curb personal freedom and turn law abiding citizens into criminals. As this newspaper article from the future shows, I will not go quietly.

September 13, 2040

Residents of a quiet Boston neighborhood were stunned to learn of the arrest and imprisonment of Stephen Smith, an elderly neighbor, on charges of tobacco possession. Neighbors expressed shock and dismay at the news that this seemingly respectable senior citizen had, in fact, been a secret tobacco user for many years.

“He seemed like such a nice old man”, said one neighbor who did not wish to be identified. “We never suspected he was a tobacco user. We thought he just smoked marijuana like the rest of us. I’m totally outraged when I think that he was putting the entire neighborhood at risk from his second hand tobacco smoke. How could he be so irresponsible? Everyone knows second hand tobacco smoke kills on contact.”

Neighbors became suspicious when they noticed an odd smell eminating from his pipe one day. Apparently Smith had devised a clever scheme to hide his tobacco use, mixing judicious amounts of the illegal leaf with the high quality marijuana he was often seen smoking in his beloved briar pipes. According to sources, he had been stockpiling tobacco for several years prior to its outlawing in 2013, the same year marijuana was legalized by then president Nancy Pelosi as her first act in office.

“It was the Latakia that tipped us off”, said an unnamed police source. “Nothing smells that bad. He kept putting more and more of it in his marijuana.”

Police raided Smith’s home in the early morning, dragging the elderly man from his bed as he was still clutching his briar. As he was being stuffed into the back of the police cruiser, neighbors could hear him shouting, “You can have my tobacco when you can pry it from my cold, dead fingers!”

If convicted, Smith, given his advanced age, would probably be able to avoid a lengthy prison sentence by voluntarily enrolling in a tobacco re-education program and remaining tobacco free thereafter. He would also have to register with the police as a Level 3 tobacco user, and avoid all contact with children.

He would still, of course, be permitted to smoke as much pure marijuana as he likes.

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07
Sep
08

Democracy? We don’t need no stinkin’ democracy!

Greetings from Loony Massachusetts, the second goofiest state in the country!

This one has me really riled up! It may seem at first like a local issue, but it is already happening in other parts of the country. The implications here are ominous, not just for smokers, but for the very concept of representative democracy.

According to an article in the Boston Globe yesterday, “cigarette sales at Boston drugstores and on college campuses would be banned under sweeping new tobacco control rules likely to win initial approval today from health regulators.” Furthermore, after a five-year grace period, the city would close cigar bars, which are the only remaining public establishment where people can smoke indoors. It would seem that the Public Health Commission finds the sale of tobacco products to be “incompatible with the mission of a drugstore.”

They did not offer any rationale for the closing of the few remaining cigar bars in the city. But then, they didn’t really have to, did they?. The Public Health Commission doesn’t like smoking. THAT’S the rationale. The sad truth is, in this city, they don’t need any other.

What I find more disturbing about this than anything is that a handful of non-elected bureaucrats believe that it is up to them to decide what the “mission” of a private business should be. What is genuinely troubling here is that the Boston Public Health Commission is answerable to NO ONE except the Mayor. They do NOT answer to the City Council, and therefore, by extension, they are not answerable to the people. They have complete autonomy to pass whatever laws they wish irrespective of the wishes of the people. Of course, they call them “regulations” rather than laws, but what’s the difference, really? The head of the Commission is for all practical purposes a dictator when it comes to any matter that she perceives to be a matter of public health. And yet these non-elected bureaucrats, who make no effort at all to hide their anti-tobacco agenda, are in a position to dictate that a private business cannot sell tobacco, even though tobacco is a completely legal product that is, by the way, still enjoyed by millions of people.

Their pitch that selling tobacco is incompatible with the “mission” of drugstores is nothing more than a red herring. Drug stores nowadays are, for all intents and purposes, glorified convenience stores. You can buy many, many things at a drug store that have nothing to do with medicine. In fact, you can buy a lot of things there that are quite bad for your health, such as candy, junk food, and tonic (what the rest of the world outside Boston calls soda pop). So is the Public Health Commission proposing banning the sale of those things in drug stores and college campuses? No, of course not.

This alone demonstrates the utter hypocrisy of the Commission regarding this issue. This is NOT about improving public health. That goal was achieved several years ago when Boston, and in fact the entire Commonwealth of Massachusetts, passed laws making it illegal to smoke indoors, with only private homes and cigar bars as the exception. Massachusetts is 99.9% smoke free. The public is in no danger from second hand smoke (not that they ever were in the first place).

This brings me to my next point. What I find even more disturbing in this article is the Commission’s stated goal of closing cigar bars within five years. It is unthinkable that in a free society that non-elected officials can, on a whim, CLOSE DOWN NOT JUST A BUSINESS, BUT AN ENTIRE INDUSTRY THAT IS SELLING A LEGAL PRODUCT!!!!

Sorry, didn’t mean to shout there, but this one makes me truly angry! They claim to be concerned about the health of the employees, but this is ineffable rubbish. Employees who work in cigar bars are almost ALWAYS cigar smokers themselves who not only were aware that smoking was allowed in these places, but in fact sought employment there for that very reason! If the Public Health Commission is truly so concerned about the welfare of these employees, it should reconsider its decision to throw those employees out of work.

What this is about is no less than Prohibition through the back door. As things stand now, there is certainly no shortage of smoke free bars in Boston, for the simple reason that they’re ALL smoke free. So why can’t there be a few places where people who enjoy smoking (and there are many, many of us still out there) can do so? I can think of no rational reason to eliminate the city’s three or four remaining cigars bars except anti-smoking zealotry. A handful of anti-tobacco zealots, not satisfied with banning smoking in bars, restaurants, and workplaces throughout the city, want to stamp out smoking altogether–under the now disingenuous pretext of “public health”– by outlawing the last few places where people who like to smoke can do so in a welcoming environment, while not in any way inconveniencing non-smokers.

But the real danger in all of this is not the further harassment of smokers here in Boston, although that certainly is an issue here. What is happening here is nothing less than the erosion of representative government. As I stated before, the Public Health Commission does not answer to the City Council. What this means is that I can get on the phone and talk to my city councilor until I’m blue in the face, and even if he or she happens to agree with me, the councilor cannot do anything. This is not how representative democracy is supposed to work. When a handful of appointed bureaucrats can trump the power of the people’s elected representatives, then democracy begins to die a slow death.

This may not generate a lot of ire in the populace, simply because, once again, it’s only the smokers who are getting shafted, and no one really cares about what smokers want, right? But just remember, if a handful of non-elected bureaucrats can take away my rights today, they can take away your rights tomorrow.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, I’m off to smoke a cigar in the privacy of my own home. While I am still allowed to by the Public Health Commission, that is.

-Smith

26
Aug
07

Flicking the Vick

I congratulate NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s decision to suspend disgraced Falcons’ quarterback Michael Vick indefinitely without pay, while at the same time opening the door for the Falcons to get back some of the bonus money they have squandered on this thug.

Until today, the message seemed to be if you were rich enough, arrogant enough, and you had game, then you were immune to the consequences of your actions. Roger Goodell has changed that with one resounding stroke of his commissioner’s pen.

And yes, it has occurred to me that there is a certain perversity to all this. Latrell Sprewell assaulted his coach, Ray Lewis was involved in a murder, and Kobe Bryant was accused of raping a woman (his explanation: “Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual, I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did”  Yeah, right.) All three basically got off scot-free. But harm a pooch, and a pissed off PETA leads the charge and the whole world comes crashing down around you.

This is not to make light of what Vick and his cohorts did.  Dogfighting is a barbaric and reprehensible activity, and in any event, it also happens to be illegal.  Perhaps Vick felt that because of who he is, he was safe from the law.  He’s about to find out he isn’t.

By now, everyone knows the details of this rather sordid case, so I won’t rehash them here. The point I want to make is that one of life’s constants is the way people, especially young people, idolize sports heroes. In past years it was Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams. When I was growing up we had Carl Yastrzemski, Willy Mays, and Henry Aaron, to name just a few. In later years, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, and Joe Montana were role models. Yes, I know Michael Jordan had some private issues, but at least in public he always behaved like a gentleman.

But today, the likes of Latrell Sprewell, Kobe Bryant, Ray Lewis, and now, Michael Vick offer a dubious example for others to follow. And because teenagers of ALL colors and socioeconomic backgrounds look up to them, their questionable values have permeated seemingly every layer of our culture. Rap music, with it’s message of violence, drug use, and mysogeny, is the music of choice among teens everywhere, regardless of their background. I know this may sound racist, but I am simply pointing out the obvious. Clearly there are many black athletes (Warrick Dunn, Deuce McAllister and Marshall Faulk all spring to mind here) who grew up in even tougher neighborhoods than Vick yet by all accounts are fine human beings.

Vick got what was coming to him. And while it does nothing to right the other above mentioned wrongs, at least it sends a message that, in fact, we still live in a society that values morals and decency, and expects its sports heroes to set an example.

-Smith

25
Jan
07

What’s wrong with this picture?

The rather worried looking woman in the middle is named Amber Abreu, and she has every right to look worried. Not only is she being charged with illegally taking prescription anti-ulcer pills to induce an abortion, but her public defender, Amanda Barker, the blond woman on the right, looks like she’s about 14 years old. Maybe it’s just a bad picture, but I half expect Amanda to blow a bubble and start twirling her hair.

But I guess that’s how it goes down in this country. O. J. Simpson gets Johnny Cochrane, F. Lee Bailey, and the best darned lawyerin’ that money can by. The 18 year old Dominican immigrant gets the public defender who looks like she just got out of law school last week.

Looks like poor Amber’s goin’ to jail. You can read the rest of this disquieting story by clicking the picture above.

–Smith




taking up a glowing cinder with the tongs and lighting with it the long cherry-wood pipe which was wont to replace his clay when he was in a disputatious rather than a meditative mood" ~ Dr. John H. Watson ************************
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