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The Atlantic City Council plans to vote next week on an ordinance prohibiting smoking on casino floors, which are exempt from New Jersey's smoking ban. State Sen. Joseph Vitale (D-Middlesex), who co-sponsored the state ban, urged the council to close the loophole, likening secondhand smoke to other workplace conditions regulated by the government. "If radon and asbestos were found in Steve Wynn's or Donald Trump's offices, they would quickly fix that problem," he said, conflating hidden hazards with a conspicuous, well-known nuisance that people can choose to avoid if they consider it unacceptable. Who was the intrepid investigator who "found" tobacco smoke in casinos, and how long did it take him? (And yes, if a casino wanted to open a radon room or an asbestos alcove, and people were willing to work and gamble there despite the risk, that would be none of the government's business either.)

But this is the best paragraph in the article:

In other business, City Councilman Gene Robinson attended the meeting, wearing a pro-smoking ban T-shirt, but not addressing the issues surrounding the video that recently surfaced of him receiving oral sex. He and attorney Joe Levin have claimed no laws were broken and blamed Robinson's political enemies for the video's recording and distribution.

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  1. If he wants to morally equate cigarette smoke to asbestos and radon (and I’m not qualified to argue that it is or isn’t), the answer is simply to treat it the same way: define an acceptable maximum PPM, and let the businesses decide for themselves how they want to achieve that.

  2. And yes, if a casino wanted to open a radon room or an asbestos alcove, and people were willing to work and gamble there despite the risk, that would be none of the government’s business either

    Uh…sure thing, Jacob. Sounds like an amazing society you envision.

  3. You’re right Dan T., it would be a awful to live in a society where we allow people to make the decision to engage in risky behavior.

  4. There’s no doubt that a certain amount of risk is necessary (and unavoidable) in life but I think it’s good that we have a few basic safety rules in place.

    Stuff like “businesses should be allowed to give their customers cancer if they want” illustrates just how out there libertarians can be. Even a ten year-old understands how dumb that kind of idea is.

  5. Dan T., FOR PRESIDENT!!! Oh, save me Dan T!!!Save me, my knight in shining armor!!! Save me from my self!!!

  6. Man, you Libertarians sure have a hard-on for smokes!

  7. Dan T. can speak with authority about the grasp of a ten year-old on public policy. He just turned eleven!

    But, seriously, Dan, come on. Shut up before somebody really takes your ass down.

  8. He and attorney Joe Levin have claimed no laws were broken and blamed Robinson’s political enemies for the video’s recording and distribution.

    I could see blaming them for the distribution, but the recording? Who was his enemy, Chuck Berry?

  9. “But, seriously, Dan, come on. Shut up before somebody really takes your ass down.”

    When asked why I only on rare occasion read Hit-and-Run my respons is always, “Too many assholes.”

  10. I don’t want to live in a country where old ladies attached to oxygen tanks can’t smoke while they flush their social security checks down slot machines.

    Pointless observation: I went to a casino once. Never have understood that particular compulsive activity. It was an indian casino. The tribe was so heap big flush with cash the reservation looked nicer than any place I’ve ever lived. I concluded that Dayton needs a casino.

  11. Why not just ban gambling? It’s gonna happen anyway.

    More seriously… I’m in favor of closing loopholes when doing so will highlight the real cost of questionable laws like this. Why should casinos get a break? Fat-cat high rollers can smoke outside with the rest of us. If second-hand smoke is the life-threatening problem they claim it is, why are there any exemptions at all? In Manhattan there are people who stand outside all day working on every corner. Why isn’t smoking banning outdoors yet?

  12. How much risk am I allowed?

    Good thing government exists, or my behavior would just get increasingly risky until I die. I have no self-regulating capacity. I need the government to cap my risk (with the use of force, of course) for me.

  13. Uh…sure thing, Jacob. Sounds like an amazing society you envision.

    I don’t want to traumatize you too much, but it’s already here, Dan.

    There are inactive mines in Montana where old people pay a fee to sit for a couple of hours and breathe in radon-enriched air. Many claim it relieves pain from arthritis and other ailments.

    If some old granny wants to pay a property owner for the priveledge of breathing in his natural radon, and she understands the basic risks, I don’t see what the big fuss is. I think most 10 year-olds could understand the principle of being allowed to do what you want as long as you’re not hurting anyone else.

  14. Bergamomt, there are established PELs for constituents of tobacco smoke, and they soundly refte the claims aof the antis that second hand smoke is a health hazard. Find them here http://www.nycclash.com/CaseAgainstBans/OSHA.html

  15. “If radon and asbestos were found in Steve Wynn’s or Donald Trump’s offices, they would quickly fix that problem,”
    ————————————

    There’s a major difference here, and even if I agreed with the mandatory ban of radon/asbestos, to compare these to cigarette smoke is fucking asinine. First of all, patrons may not be aware that they are inhaling asbestos or radon, but tobacco smoke is pretty fucking hard to be unaware of. Thus, the individual gets to make an INFORMED decision.

  16. CH-

    Just because seniors make the decision to breathe polluted air, that doesn’t mean it’s an informed decision. We don’t allow children to decide to play in traffic either.

  17. Jesus, Dan, (if you are Dan) don’t you get a little tired of attention-seeking? Even four-year-old and hyperkinetic chihuahuas take a break every so often.

  18. That should read “four-year-olds.” I wasn’t referring to middle aged purse dogs.

  19. Just because seniors make the decision to breathe polluted air, that doesn’t mean it’s an informed decision. We don’t allow children to decide to play in traffic either.

    It’s quite revealing that you would equate mature adults with children.

  20. If some old granny wants to pay a property owner for the priveledge of breathing in his natural radon, and she understands the basic risks, I don’t see what the big fuss is.

    We don’t allow children to decide to play in traffic either

    And here is exactly the problem with people like DanT. In their world, there is no distinction between adults and children and they both should be controlled in exactly the same way because they have the exact same sensibilities.

    Free will and personal choice should not be options for adults.

    Sad, very sad.

  21. Dan T., Your children-playing-in-traffic analogy was a tortured as Jacob’s “radon room” aliteration.

    The problem isn’t position…it’s the idiotic hyperbole that keeps the debate inflamed and prevents any meaningful discussion.

  22. So, once the politico whores get through with tobbacco and trans fats, what’s next? (We know it won’t be gratis blowjobs on the sly.)

    HFCS is an easy one, since that jihad has already started. “Peanut-free” zones may expand beyond its existing silliness, but I don’t think that’s it either.

    I’m going to stake my claim on the decibel freaks, since most of the nanny jihads focus on externalities. Everyone has to use their inside vioce! And no loud music! Turn that crap down!

  23. Uninformed decisions are uninformed decisions, regardless if it’s children or adults making them.

    Society has a moral obligation to make sure people are informed before they’re allowed to make decisions. Allowing people to work in a smoke-filled environment is one. And if they insist on making those decisions even after they’re informed, then they’re clearly not making a rational decision and society still has the obligation to step in and assist them.

    And please save the gulags/re-education camps schtick. It’s tiresome.

  24. I don’t want to live in a country where old ladies attached to oxygen tanks have social security checks to flush down slot machines.

  25. And if they insist on making those decisions even after they’re informed, then they’re clearly not making a rational decision and society still has the obligation to step in and assist them.

    When you present it as “The are risks associated with X, if you choose to accept those risks anyway, we’ll make it so you aren’t allowed to take risks that we’ve deemed unacceptable.”, people aren’t making a decision at all. It being made for them.

  26. Uninformed decisions are uninformed decisions, regardless if it’s children or adults making them.

    Deep Dan but I’ll go deeper. If you chose not to decide you still have made a choice.

    swill

  27. Jacob, this is another example of shallow reasoning that hard-core libertarians must employ to justify unfettered property rights determining EVERYTHING.

    What’s wrong the notion that my right to breathe clean air (and keep my clothes from stinking) and the employee’s right to a healthy workplace supercedes another’s right to smoke when a simple alternative exists (step outside for your butt)? Especially when the associated health risks are socialized through taxes and health insurance premiums for an activity that brings no benefit to others save the tobacco companies and oncologists. It seems the burden for the smoker (and remember, they’re the minority) is much less- stepping outside, than mine- staying away altogether, or enduring the annoyance and health risks.

    Indoor smoking is banned where I live, and it has produced the best result: workers in bars enjoy a healthier workplace, I and other nonsmokers can go see any band we want without the downsides, and smokers can still indulge in their habit as they wish outside.

  28. This is an exercise in futility, but what the heck! It’s Christmas.

    Dan: Society has no moral obligations. Only individuals have moral obligations, the list of which runs very, very short. And it consists in effect of minding your own damned business.

    Do you not see the peril in your diktat that we must not allow people to make uninformed decisions? There are no two people who agree completely with each other. There are often enormous gulfs of differences of opinion that separate us from those whom we love the most, let alone those with whom we find no commonality.

    In your one rational statement made thus far, you observe that life can never be risk-free. Whose choice can it possibly be but that of the individual as to acceptable levels of risk? Shall we all drive 30 mph on the freeway, because to drive faster would be an unacceptable risk to 5% of the electorate? Gay male sexual behavior would be considered by many to be an unacceptable risk, regardless of the participants’ interest in their own safety. The list continues ad nauseum . . . The point is, whose standard do we use?

    Your post of 12:58 really does read like a put-on . . . Again, stop. Please.

  29. Society has a moral obligation to make sure people are informed before they’re allowed to make decisions.

    No it doesn’t. Individuals have a moral obligation to inform themselves. And some individuals may feel a moral obligation to inform others. But you’re attributing human emotions to the nebulous concept of “society” as if society should “care” about the well-being of people. Only individual people care about one another, and then usually only people who are close to them.

  30. I often wonder if these people have ever heard of air exchangers and “parts per million” allowances.

  31. Dan. Do you know why no one takes you seriously? First, because you’re clearly seeking attention. I can’t imagine what satisfaction you gain from posting the things you do, unless it’s some sort of sense of superiority. By telling us in a sneering, condescending tone how silly we are, you compensate for whatever shortcomings you have in the self-esteem department.

    Something useful might come even of that sort of silliness if your arguments made any sense. Or if you offered any arguments at all, rather than assertions and bromides.

    Either way, your wasting the time of everyone here, and your own. Take a lesson from a real gadfly and observe Joe. His contributions are actually useful and his ideas challenging.

    You, on the other hand, come off as a serious version of Juanita. Honestly, I can’t even be all that irritated at your posts. I’m actually embarrassed for you.

  32. When asked why I only on rare occasion read Hit-and-Run my respons is always, “Too many assholes.”

    DH, since you say you hardly ever visit, I’m guessing you are unaware of the immense irony of your above statement, which is a shame, really, as it would have been very funny if done intentionally.

  33. Do you know why no one takes you seriously? First, because you’re clearly seeking attention.

    I disagree, for the simple reason that Dan represents a viewpoint shared by a LOT of people–if not so many around here. The proper response is simply to point out where he’s wrong and move on.

  34. “What’s wrong the notion that my right to breathe clean air…”
    Where exactly does this supposed “right” come from?
    “…when a simple alternative exists”
    Here’s a simple alternative: don’t go to or work for bars, casinos that allow smoking if you don’t want to. This “alternative” is preferable because it preserves actual rights like free association and the right to private property, not pretend rights like the right to force a business to suit its environment to you.
    “Especially when the associated health risks are socialized through taxes and health insurance premiums…”
    Why do they need to be socialized? The popular reasoning seems to be to protect people. This is commonly reffered to as “circular reasoning.” Why not ban motorcycles then? or bungee jumping? or skiing? or playing sports?

  35. Rywun-I have no doubt that Dan. T’s comments represent the thinking of a fair number of people. But the fact that he comes here so often (My gut impression is that he’s one of our most prolific posters) and spews the same silliness, and gets the same result each time, indicates to me that he’s not here to win converts. He’s here to be noticed.

    Pointing out that he’s wrong won’t accomplish anything. Nor will the posts I’ve put up here. But hey, I must admit that I feel a little better.

  36. Sam-

    My right to breathe clean air came from the same place my right to life came from (where do your unfettered property rights (regardless of the cost to others) come from???
    Your “simple alternative” places a greater burden on each member of the majority than the minority. Finally, I didn’t say that these risks should be socialized, just made the observation that they ARE and will continue to be in one way or another regardless of what social system we have.

  37. My right to breathe clean air came from the same place my right to life came from (where do your unfettered property rights (regardless of the cost to others) come from???
    Your “simple alternative” places a greater burden on each member of the majority than the minority.

    First of all despite your tortured rationalization of democracy, rights are not weighed by how many people hold an opinion.

    Simply because there are more non-smokers then smokers should not preclude a business owner to set up a business that caters to smokers.

    Your decission NOT to patronize a smoking establishment does not violate anyones rights. But your decision to force a business owner to comply to your ideas violates his right to PRIVATE property.

  38. Your “simple alternative” places a greater burden on each member of the majority than the minority.

    Those damn minorities with their silly imaginary “freedom” and “responsibility” keep getting in the way of the majority to have its way.

  39. Dan. Do you know why no one takes you seriously?

    I’d say it’s mostly because other posters pretend to be me and post highly exaggerated versions of my positions.

    You guys claim “Free Minds, Free Markets” but you see what happens when somebody challenges the dogma.

  40. Society has a moral obligation to make sure people are informed before they’re allowed to make decisions. Allowing people to work in a smoke-filled environment is one. And if they insist on making those decisions even after they’re informed, then they’re clearly not making a rational decision and society still has the obligation to step in and assist them.

    Dan T,

    I know you are a troll… but please, can’t you be more subtle. Even the people who really are for smoking bans don’t make their authoritarianism to blatent. Can’t you be one of those trolls that actually tries to stimulate real conversation, like “joe”, instead of being such a stereotype of a facist?

  41. “The point is, whose standard do we use?”

    We’ll use mine:

    Anyone can take a shit anywhere they choose.

    choice = liberty = sacred

  42. one of those trolls that actually tries to stimulate real conversation, like “joe”

    Kudos, joe! You have achieved poster-boy status for benign trolldom!

  43. Val-

    First of all despite your tortured rationalization of democracy, rights are not weighed by how many people hold an opinion.

    I never meant imply they were. However, the consequences on others does weigh in.

    Simply because there are more non-smokers then smokers should not preclude a business owner to set up a business that caters to smokers.

    This ignores the reality that if smoking is permitted, virtually all bars will allow it because they fear offending smokers more than nonsmokers. The experience has been that after a ban has been enacted, business drops off temporarily, and then rebounds back.

    Your decission NOT to patronize a smoking establishment does not violate anyones rights. But your decision to force a business owner to comply to your ideas violates his right to PRIVATE property.

    I don’t buy into this argument because then ANY health and safetey measure could be deamed a violation of property rights and everyone would suffer one way or another. Do you think property rights give you a free pass to ignore hazards in a work place you own?


  44. Your decission NOT to patronize a smoking establishment does not violate anyones rights. But your decision to force a business owner to comply to your ideas violates his right to PRIVATE property.

    Of course, the government forcing me to respect somebody else’s property as being “private” violates my right to do as I please as well.

    Either way, somebody loses.

  45. This ignores the reality that if smoking is permitted, virtually all bars will allow it because they fear offending smokers more than nonsmokers.

    Any idea why they would be more affraid of offending smokers? If you feel that your anti-smoking ideas are so widely held, and that so many people are deathly scared of the horrbile scurge of second hand smoke, then surely there is a business opportunity there for voluntary NON-SMOKING bars.

    I don’t buy into this argument because then ANY health and safetey measure could be deamed a violation of property rights and everyone would suffer one way or another. Do you think property rights give you a free pass to ignore hazards in a work place you own?

    Why would EVERYONE suffer one way or another? We already have a mutitude of jobs that require consentual agreement to health hazzards. Police officers and fire fighters come to mind. Their salaries already fetch a ‘risk-premium’. Or oil-rig workers. Hazardous materials handlers.

    Again if second hand smoke is such a scurge, then surely the informed majority will refuse to work there, and bar owners will be forced to pay ‘risk-premiums’ to wait staff.

    BTW: your initial (and keep my clothes from stinking) . Is very telling of your position.

  46. “Of course, the government forcing me to respect somebody else’s property as being “private” violates my right to do as I please as well.”

    This is possibly the most ridiculous statement I’ve ever heard. I’m coming to the conclusion that the accusations floating around that Dan just posts the opposite of what he reads are right on target.

  47. This ignores the reality that if smoking is permitted, virtually all bars will allow it because they fear offending smokers more than nonsmokers.

    This “reality” seems rather silly and counterintuitive.

    Why would the be afraid of offending smokers and not non smokers?? Do you care to defend your silly assertions with any fact other than claiming something to be reality?

    Since the great majority of people are non smokers who would prefer to be away from smoke, wouldn’t they be the ones a smart business owner would want to cater to/not offend.

    I just don’t see why it is so awful to allow some places to me smoke free and others that are smoke free — then people can then decide to go where they are more comfortable. God forbid everyone have an opportunity to do as they please.

  48. Chicago Tom:

    It’s because bar owners (rightly or wrongly) perceive smokers as bigger spenders and better tippers. This came out in the debate prior to the ban. Since business has recovered to pre-ban levels, it’s not an issue any more.

    Again, it’s the smokers who are effectively limiting my choice and the choice of the majority, not to mention the health of those who work in bars, all of which is easily avoidable.

  49. Again, it’s the smokers who are effectively limiting my choice and the choice of the majority, not to mention the health of those who work in bars, all of which is easily avoidable.

    Again, you don’t have to go there and they don’t have to work there. You can’t get much more avoided than that.

    Why do you expect everyone else to subsidize your lifestyle choices?

    Do you condem the Japanese sushi resautrant for not serving your favorite Italian pasta or your Toyota dealer for not selling Fords? They’re limiting your choices, after all.

  50. Again, you don’t have to go there and they don’t have to work there. You can’t get much more avoided than that.

    If there’s a band I want to see, typically they only play at ONE venue when they make a tour stop. As for the employees, most of us don’t enjoy the luxury of multiple job offers, and there are a lot of people only one or two paychecks away from homelessness.

    Why do you expect everyone else to subsidize your lifestyle choices?

    Hardly, in fact I’m sick of subsidizing smokers through my health insurance premiums and taxes.

    Do you condem the Japanese sushi resautrant for not serving your favorite Italian pasta or your Toyota dealer for not selling Fords? They’re limiting your choices, after all.

    Not at all. It allows diversity in food choices that don’t pose health risks for others and of course there are plenty of Italian restaurants for me to choose from.

  51. Again, it’s the smokers who are effectively limiting my choice and the choice of the majority, not to mention the health of those who work in bars, all of which is easily avoidable.

    Wow man, is this Dan T. under a different nickname.

    Smokers DO NOT limit your choice. I’ve yet to see a sign that says NO NON-SMOKING.

    Here you have business owners making a choice to server smokers, you have smokers and a multitude of non-smokers who make a choice to patronize the bar, and we have you standing outside yelling that they wont let you in.

    You must have lead a very sheltered life until recently, because obviously the kicked you out every place imaginable because you DIDNT have a cigarette between your fingers.

    By the way I dont smoke. A cigar on rare occassions, but I didnt see anyone limiting my choices.

  52. “one of those trolls that actually tries to stimulate real conversation, like “joe””

    Let me get this straight, you’re saying I’m a troll? Is that what providing an analogy gets here?

  53. Val

    You miss my point entirely. When smoking is permitted, I must choose between not seeing the band or exposing myself to the health risks and associated nuisances smokers cause.
    This is limiting my choice by forcing me to choose between two unpalatable alternatives when the minority, by simply stepping outside for their nicotine delivery, can avoid this.

  54. “the minority, by simply stepping outside for their nicotine delivery, can avoid this.”

    We can’t see the band from the alley, dude.

  55. Bill,

    Have you until the recent legislations not had the pleasure of attending a concert or having a drink at a local bar?

    Wether you like the choice presented to you is entirely your problem. If you dont like going to concerts where people smoke, by a CD or a DVD. You still have all those choices. If you dont wanna go to a smoky bar, stay home and drink your self silly.

    If Im a concert and want to smoke, will the band stop and wait till I finish? Will the blizzard outside stop, so I dont freeze my nips off while draggin on my cig?

    The choices you present for me arent any better then the ones you have. Except that ordinarily my choices are concentual with the other party (ie, business owner). Your choice are forced on me and the other party by heavy handed regulation. So in the end its my CHOICE that is limited not yours.

  56. Try having a butt before the warmup act, a couple in between them and the main act (usually at least 20 minutes) and then after the main show with possibly another one while everyone is stomping for an encore. If this is not enough, try nicotine patches.

  57. If there’s a band I want to see, typically they only play at ONE venue when they make a tour stop. As for the employees, most of us don’t enjoy the luxury of multiple job offers, and there are a lot of people only one or two paychecks away from homelessness.

    Again, you don’t *have* to go there; you *want* to go there and want the business owner to subsidize that personal decision.

    They don’t have to work there; they can work in other businesses or (god forbid) learn other and more lucrative job skills.

    These are very simple concepts. Why are you having so much trouble processing them?

    Hardly, in fact I’m sick of subsidizing smokers through my health insurance premiums and taxes.

    I suggest then that then you opt out of insurance, since the idea of risk pooling is offensive to you. As to taxes, every bit of math on this subject has shown smokers die earlier and put *less* of a burden on the public system. Healthy people who live longer years put a far greater strain on the system with geriatric maladies and SS payments.

    Not at all. It allows diversity in food choices that don’t pose health risks for others and of course there are plenty of Italian restaurants for me to choose from.

    Oh, so some choice limitation is OK, but other choice limitation is not. How consistent.

  58. DAN T:Society has a moral obligation to make sure people are informed before they’re allowed to make decisions. Allowing people to work in a smoke-filled environment is one. And if they insist on making those decisions even after they’re informed, then they’re clearly not making a rational decision and society still has the obligation to step in and assist them.

    How do you know whether the choice is rational without knowing their reason for making it. It may not be a rational choice for you, but it may be a perfectly rational choice for the person involved.

    Actually, I don’t think people make irrational choices. Mistakes, sure. But everyone every day makes every decision based on their own rational self-interest, regardless of how the rest of us knuckleheads would go.

    – Rick

    Hey Captain Holly – are you by chance Captain Holly Short of the LEP?

  59. Oh, so some choice limitation is OK, but other choice limitation is not. How consistent.

    Duh….its ok to have choice limitations he approves of course and those he doesnt approve of are not ok. Its consistent….dont you know anything?! Damn smoker!

  60. People want to make choices without consequence. That’s a product of the Nanny State. Even with the “evidence” against SHS – showing it is almost as harmful to your lungs as drinking whole milk – 100 years ago, the answer to the anti-smoking jihadists would have been, “So don’t go to places where people smoke.”

    Doctor, my arm hurts when I do this.

    Don’t do that, then.

    – Rick

  61. “And if they insist on making those decisions even after they’re informed, then they’re clearly not making a rational decision and society still has the obligation to step in and assist them.”

    SIC: Comedy Gold

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