Archive for the ‘Smoking Ban’ Category

The California Ruling is Nothing to Sneeze At

May 19, 2008

I had a professor who used that expression frequently in class in the fall.

June weddings:

In about 27 days Californians will be able to marry (my post from Friday) the person they love. But for how long?

I am confident that Californians will vote in November to defeat the proposed constitutional amendment to take right of marriage away from same sex couples who are married over the next few months. Officials are working to verify the signatures that opponents have gathered, and they have to have about 700,000 valid signatures to get the measure on the ballot. About 1.1 million signatures were turned in, and most people on both sides of the issue think this will be enough signatures to get the required number to place the proposal on the ballot.

Over the weekend I went to every California newspaper web site I could find and every one of them supported the court’s decision.

Closer to home:

Today will be an active day in the state legislature. Or not. They could bog themselves down and not pass any legislation (in which case a special session would have to be called to address the education budget).

Issues that might be voted on, though, include the statewide smoking ban*, removing sales taxes from groceries, immigration, hate crimes, pac to pac transfers and more. It would be an interesting day to be in the Senate chambers, but, ah, we get our midterm back this afternoon and so I will be sitting in class instead.

*No one will be surprised that I support the statewide smoking ban. In the news today is a report in the Los Angeles Times that bans on smoking in restaurants actually deter children from taking up the habit. A study was published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescents that in towns where smoking was not restricted, 9.6 % of youth became established smokers over the four year study period, while in towns where smoking bans were enacted, 7.9 % became smokers.

This is a greater effect than that of raising taxes on tobacco products or media campaigns according to the study author.

In other health news male trees spreading their DNA (just like human males) is the cause of many problems in the spring, as common practices of city planners and gardeners contribute to our allergies. More male trees are planted to avoid messy female trees dropping their fruit (like acorns) according to a story in the news today.

More males means more pollen, and more pollen means more runny noses and sneezing.

Speaking of sneezing, has this ever happened to you?

And most people think this is a fake sneeze, but the song is good if you like Green Day. Billy Joe sneezes right in the middle of “Hitchin a Ride”. Hmmm, Ok I get it.

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>The California Ruling is Nothing to Sneeze At

May 19, 2008

>I had a professor who used that expression frequently in class in the fall.

June weddings:

In about 27 days Californians will be able to marry (my post from Friday) the person they love. But for how long?

I am confident that Californians will vote in November to defeat the proposed constitutional amendment to take right of marriage away from same sex couples who are married over the next few months. Officials are working to verify the signatures that opponents have gathered, and they have to have about 700,000 valid signatures to get the measure on the ballot. About 1.1 million signatures were turned in, and most people on both sides of the issue think this will be enough signatures to get the required number to place the proposal on the ballot.

Over the weekend I went to every California newspaper web site I could find and every one of them supported the court’s decision.

Closer to home:

Today will be an active day in the state legislature. Or not. They could bog themselves down and not pass any legislation (in which case a special session would have to be called to address the education budget).

Issues that might be voted on, though, include the statewide smoking ban*, removing sales taxes from groceries, immigration, hate crimes, pac to pac transfers and more. It would be an interesting day to be in the Senate chambers, but, ah, we get our midterm back this afternoon and so I will be sitting in class instead.

*No one will be surprised that I support the statewide smoking ban. In the news today is a report in the Los Angeles Times that bans on smoking in restaurants actually deter children from taking up the habit. A study was published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescents that in towns where smoking was not restricted, 9.6 % of youth became established smokers over the four year study period, while in towns where smoking bans were enacted, 7.9 % became smokers.

This is a greater effect than that of raising taxes on tobacco products or media campaigns according to the study author.

In other health news male trees spreading their DNA (just like human males) is the cause of many problems in the spring, as common practices of city planners and gardeners contribute to our allergies. More male trees are planted to avoid messy female trees dropping their fruit (like acorns) according to a story in the news today.

More males means more pollen, and more pollen means more runny noses and sneezing.

Speaking of sneezing, has this ever happened to you?

And most people think this is a fake sneeze, but the song is good if you like Green Day. Billy Joe sneezes right in the middle of “Hitchin a Ride”. Hmmm, Ok I get it.

Spiders and Cigarettes

May 13, 2008

Jason Bond, an East Carolina University biologist, has named a new variety of trap door spider after Neil Young. The spider is named Myrmekiaphila neilyoungi. Here it is, from ECU News Service.


Why is this important to Bessemer Opinions?

  1. The specimen that resulted in the naming of a new species was found in Jefferson County, Alabama.
  2. I grew up listening to Neil Young, both when he was part of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and also solo Neil. Here he is in 1971, live with Heart of Gold. Songs like this are part of the reason adults today are the way we are? Is that good or bad? Good, of course.

Bond said Young is worthy of the honor because he’s been an activist for social and political issues.

Smoking Ban Update

If the Alabama House passes the smoking ban Governor Riley says he will sign it. On Monday we will see whether public health trumps special interests, as the Alabama Restaurant Association opposes it. They do have a point, and support a more inclusive bill that would ban smoking in stand alone bars also. But as is the case in so many things, sometimes you have to take what you can get. Pass this bill, get it signed in to law, then work to pass a bill that places the same restrictions on bars.

Monday will be an interesting day in the state legislature. Smoking ban, hate crimes…such progressive issues. Is this Alabama?

And I wrote a short addendum at the end of yesterdays post.

>Spiders and Cigarettes

May 13, 2008

>Jason Bond, an East Carolina University biologist, has named a new variety of trap door spider after Neil Young. The spider is named Myrmekiaphila neilyoungi. Here it is, from ECU News Service.


Why is this important to Bessemer Opinions?

  1. The specimen that resulted in the naming of a new species was found in Jefferson County, Alabama.
  2. I grew up listening to Neil Young, both when he was part of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and also solo Neil. Here he is in 1971, live with Heart of Gold. Songs like this are part of the reason adults today are the way we are? Is that good or bad? Good, of course.

Bond said Young is worthy of the honor because he’s been an activist for social and political issues.

Smoking Ban Update

If the Alabama House passes the smoking ban Governor Riley says he will sign it. On Monday we will see whether public health trumps special interests, as the Alabama Restaurant Association opposes it. They do have a point, and support a more inclusive bill that would ban smoking in stand alone bars also. But as is the case in so many things, sometimes you have to take what you can get. Pass this bill, get it signed in to law, then work to pass a bill that places the same restrictions on bars.

Monday will be an interesting day in the state legislature. Smoking ban, hate crimes…such progressive issues. Is this Alabama?

And I wrote a short addendum at the end of yesterdays post.

Three Topics (Smoking, Vivian Figures and $10,000)

April 21, 2008

I am working on two group presentations this week, and don’t have much time to think. But I want to share three things with you.

Bessemer passed a Smoking Ordinance which should be enforced at this time. However, as a reader let me know, at The Stadium Grill on 4th Avenue smoking is still allowed.

We went to The Stadium Grill on Friday night and had great hamburgers (one of us had an open faced sandwich) and milk shakes. Close to the end of our meal, a customer sitting at the bar and carrying on with employees lit up a tobacco product.

None of the employees, nor the person in charge (who might have been the owner, I don’t know) said anything to this man. While he was smoking, four Bessemer policemen came in and sat at a table next to him, where the smoke could not have been missed. They did not say say a thing. Aren’t the police supposed to enforce the law?

After a few minutes another customer asked the man to go outside and finish, which the smoker did.

Are the police not aware of the law? These were guys in black police t-shirts and camo pants, with lots of guns and all, not your typical anti-smoking cops, but still, they drove Bessemer Police cars.

Next:

State Senator Vivian Figures has announced that she is running for Senate to replace Jeff Sessions. This may not be an easy task, but it is certainly a worthwhile endeavor. I wish her much success. Here is an email I recieved from her.

As a lifelong committed Democrat and an Alabama State Senator for the past 11 years, I have announced my candidacy for the United States Senate. I Believe that it is time to give this seat back to the people by putting our children, our seniors and our veterans first, providing affordable health care to all Americans and working for a stable economy.

I have been very active over the past few months speaking to many audiences across this great state spreading my message of inspiration and unity. To win the Democratic nomination on June 3, it is imperative that I have the support of people like you who Believe that Alabama deserves better.

Our polling data shows that my campaign will be successful if we are able to raise the necessary funds to get my message out to the voters via literature, yard signs, advertising and other media. Our goal is to raise $500,000 by May 31, 2008. If you can contribute $25, $50, $100 or whatever you can afford, we would be most appreciative.

I ask you to Believe with me that together we can make a difference and give Alabama what it deserves, bold, visionary leadership. Please go to actblue.com/page/figures08 and you will be able to donate to my campaign today.

If you, like me, believe Sessions has used his alloted time, please support this effort.

Third:

Do you want $10,000? Equality Alabama is giving it away. But you must buy a ticket, and only 400 are being sold. Tickets are $100 (which also will get you 2 seats at dinner). The deadline for buying tickets is tomorrow, and the event is on the 25th. Here is the info: Equality Drawdown Hoedown. You do not have to be present to win.

>Three Topics (Smoking, Vivian Figures and $10,000)

April 21, 2008

>I am working on two group presentations this week, and don’t have much time to think. But I want to share three things with you.

Bessemer passed a Smoking Ordinance which should be enforced at this time. However, as a reader let me know, at The Stadium Grill on 4th Avenue smoking is still allowed.

We went to The Stadium Grill on Friday night and had great hamburgers (one of us had an open faced sandwich) and milk shakes. Close to the end of our meal, a customer sitting at the bar and carrying on with employees lit up a tobacco product.

None of the employees, nor the person in charge (who might have been the owner, I don’t know) said anything to this man. While he was smoking, four Bessemer policemen came in and sat at a table next to him, where the smoke could not have been missed. They did not say say a thing. Aren’t the police supposed to enforce the law?

After a few minutes another customer asked the man to go outside and finish, which the smoker did.

Are the police not aware of the law? These were guys in black police t-shirts and camo pants, with lots of guns and all, not your typical anti-smoking cops, but still, they drove Bessemer Police cars.

Next:

State Senator Vivian Figures has announced that she is running for Senate to replace Jeff Sessions. This may not be an easy task, but it is certainly a worthwhile endeavor. I wish her much success. Here is an email I recieved from her.

As a lifelong committed Democrat and an Alabama State Senator for the past 11 years, I have announced my candidacy for the United States Senate. I Believe that it is time to give this seat back to the people by putting our children, our seniors and our veterans first, providing affordable health care to all Americans and working for a stable economy.

I have been very active over the past few months speaking to many audiences across this great state spreading my message of inspiration and unity. To win the Democratic nomination on June 3, it is imperative that I have the support of people like you who Believe that Alabama deserves better.

Our polling data shows that my campaign will be successful if we are able to raise the necessary funds to get my message out to the voters via literature, yard signs, advertising and other media. Our goal is to raise $500,000 by May 31, 2008. If you can contribute $25, $50, $100 or whatever you can afford, we would be most appreciative.

I ask you to Believe with me that together we can make a difference and give Alabama what it deserves, bold, visionary leadership. Please go to actblue.com/page/figures08 and you will be able to donate to my campaign today.

If you, like me, believe Sessions has used his alloted time, please support this effort.

Third:

Do you want $10,000? Equality Alabama is giving it away. But you must buy a ticket, and only 400 are being sold. Tickets are $100 (which also will get you 2 seats at dinner). The deadline for buying tickets is tomorrow, and the event is on the 25th. Here is the info: Equality Drawdown Hoedown. You do not have to be present to win.

Smoking Ban in Bessemer…Western Tribune Column

August 28, 2007

I’ve gotten behind in posting my Western Tribune columns.

Here is the column from August 15. Let’s hope the council follows through.

The Bessemer City Council is poised to do something really progressive for our city. The public safety committee has endorsed a ban on smoking in most public places including restaurants. Under the proposal, smoking in bars would still be permitted.

While I know that news of this ordinance will not be welcomed by some, the facts are that second hand smoke is estimated to be responsible for 3400 lung cancer deaths and between 22,700 and 69,600 heart disease deaths in this country annually. In addition, each year second hand smoke causes 150,000 to 300,000 new cases of bronchitis and pneumonia in infants less than 18 months old, resulting in 7,500 to 15,000 hospitalizations, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

As the surgeon general’s recent report on smoking said, there is no risk free level of exposure to second hand smoke. In fact, as far as human behavior goes, tobacco use is the number one behavior (as opposed to specific causes) responsible for death in America (followed by poor diet and lack of exercise).

While smoking may be considered a right by those who choose to engage in the habit, we must put the health of the public above individual rights in some instances. Childhood vaccination requirements for entry into public school and motorcycle helmet laws are examples where this has been done in the past. And in each case, the result was a positive one.

Some states have enacted legislation banning smoking in workplaces, restaurants and bars throughout their states, and several municipalities in Alabama have done the same. Other cities have partial bans like the one proposed for Bessemer.

Regulations like this continue the progress toward a healthier Alabama. Formaldehyde, vinyl chloride and benzene are among the hundreds of toxic chemicals found in second hand smoke and do not need to find their way into anyone’s body. The lungs are one of the most common points of entry into the body for harmful substances, and when just going outdoors exposes us to harmful particulate pollution as has been case recently, we do not need to add to the injury by being exposed indoors as well.

This ordinance will move Bessemer up in regards to environmental sensitivity. Rather than looking at the inconvenience that a partial ban on smoking places on a few, let’s be thankful that our city will be sending a positive message to our children.

>Smoking Ban in Bessemer…Western Tribune Column

August 28, 2007

>I’ve gotten behind in posting my Western Tribune columns.

Here is the column from August 15. Let’s hope the council follows through.

The Bessemer City Council is poised to do something really progressive for our city. The public safety committee has endorsed a ban on smoking in most public places including restaurants. Under the proposal, smoking in bars would still be permitted.

While I know that news of this ordinance will not be welcomed by some, the facts are that second hand smoke is estimated to be responsible for 3400 lung cancer deaths and between 22,700 and 69,600 heart disease deaths in this country annually. In addition, each year second hand smoke causes 150,000 to 300,000 new cases of bronchitis and pneumonia in infants less than 18 months old, resulting in 7,500 to 15,000 hospitalizations, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

As the surgeon general’s recent report on smoking said, there is no risk free level of exposure to second hand smoke. In fact, as far as human behavior goes, tobacco use is the number one behavior (as opposed to specific causes) responsible for death in America (followed by poor diet and lack of exercise).

While smoking may be considered a right by those who choose to engage in the habit, we must put the health of the public above individual rights in some instances. Childhood vaccination requirements for entry into public school and motorcycle helmet laws are examples where this has been done in the past. And in each case, the result was a positive one.

Some states have enacted legislation banning smoking in workplaces, restaurants and bars throughout their states, and several municipalities in Alabama have done the same. Other cities have partial bans like the one proposed for Bessemer.

Regulations like this continue the progress toward a healthier Alabama. Formaldehyde, vinyl chloride and benzene are among the hundreds of toxic chemicals found in second hand smoke and do not need to find their way into anyone’s body. The lungs are one of the most common points of entry into the body for harmful substances, and when just going outdoors exposes us to harmful particulate pollution as has been case recently, we do not need to add to the injury by being exposed indoors as well.

This ordinance will move Bessemer up in regards to environmental sensitivity. Rather than looking at the inconvenience that a partial ban on smoking places on a few, let’s be thankful that our city will be sending a positive message to our children.