Nanny State

Membership Has Its Privileges

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Chicago may revise its strictest-in-the-country ban on using cell phones while driving—but only because one of the city's aldermen got caught breaking the law.

Chicago motorists who get caught talking on cell phones while driving without a hands-free device would no longer lose their driver's licenses, under a mayoral plan that would have spared a North Side alderman political embarrassment.

Last year, Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) got pulled over and ticketed for yakking on his cell phone while driving. He was forced to hand over his license like thousands of other motorists.

Tunney then called Town Hall District Cmdr. Gary Yamashiroya and demanded to know why officers in an "understaffed police district" with serious unsolved crimes were "assigned to pull people over solely for cell phone violations."

In response, Yamashiroya ordered a police officer—not the one who wrote the $50 ticket—to hand-deliver Tunney's driver's license to the alderman's ward office.

Motorists generally get licenses back only after they go to court or pay their fines.

Earlier this year, Chicago Alderman Dick Mell introduced a bill granting a grace period for Chicagoans who may have forgotten to register their guns (this would apply only to the handful of privileged Chicagoans permitted to own a gun).  The reason for Mell's bill?  He himself had forgotten to register his guns before the deadline.

Now you see how Chicago's aldermen could make the city one of the most paternalistic in the country.  They either don't have to abide by the laws they pass, or they can simply pass a new law exonerating themselves should they get caught.

NEXT: Saving Social Security, Episode 2: Boom Baby Boom!

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  1. Of course there’s no use whatsoever to point out that this is the political finishing school of Obama now, is there?

  2. Anyone live in Chicago? Is anything about it pleasant?

  3. Tunney then called Town Hall District Cmdr. Gary Yamashiroya and demanded to know why officers in an “understaffed police district” with serious unsolved crimes were “assigned to pull people over solely for cell phone violations.”

    In response, Yamashiroya ordered a police officer — not the one who wrote the $50 ticket — to hand-deliver Tunney’s driver’s license to the alderman’s ward office.

    So when they hand-delivered the license, was that “solving serious crimes” using one of the staff in “an understaffed police district”?

    Does Tunney even know the definition of irony?

  4. Does Tunney even know the definition of irony?

    Sumptin’ to do with metal, right?

  5. Anyone live in Chicago? Is anything about it pleasant?

    I work in Chicago, live in the ‘burbs. It is pleasant to visit. Lots of restaurants and places to visit and things to do.

    But living in Chicago? Not so much. Mucho corruption in all aspects of city government. High taxes keep getting higher (look out if the Olympics comes in 2016).

  6. You don’t have to be an alderman (councilperson actually) in Detroit to get that kind of service. You could just be fucking the mayor.

    Ahhhh. Big city politics. You laugh so you don’t cry.

  7. In fairness to Tunney (I live about 6 blocks north of his ward, and personally like the guy) we have had some major crime issues around here this summer. Unlike my alderbeast (Shiller) Tunney actually tends to be out and around in his ward, and responsive to people. I’ve had at least 4 shootings within 3 blocks of me in the last two months. If I heard about someone getting a cellphone ticket around my place I’d be pissed off too. We are currently understaffed for cops (his CPD district runs up to my place) and the new city budget just eliminate over 300 positions in the CPD that were currently unfilled. Petty crap like cell talking when there has been no progress on finding out who executed a kid in front of my building two weeks ago (caught on security camera from my building) pisses me off too. If him complaining gets this nanny-state crap off the books, I’m behind it all the way – that sort of crap (along with no texting/street crossing, the defunct foie gras ban, etc) should never have been on the books to begin with!

  8. Funny how that works out.

  9. Ahhhh. Big city politics local politics. You laugh so you don’t cry.

  10. (look out if the Olympics comes in 2016).

    You’d think people would’ve wised up to that tax a grease palms scam by now. You’d be wrong, of course. Taxpayers regularly approve welfare for billionaiare sports team owners.

  11. Hate to be positive about this, but at least they’re amending the law rather than just leaving it in place with the understanding that it doesn’t apply to the ruling class. They could probably have just done the latter. It is Chicago, you know. Not exactly a mecca of civic involvement.

  12. BDB,

    I once lived in a city, Dearborn, Michigan, that was honestly and competently governed*. That’s a bit less than twelve percent of my life.

    * These things are relative.

  13. Anyone live in Chicago? Is anything about it pleasant?

    Do you really think anyone cares all that much about this stuff? I live in the city of Chicago and haven’t given two seconds thought to the gun laws or cell phone laws. I don’t much care for the red light cameras, or that I have to pay to register my car in the city, but it’s not that big of a deal. I just need to stop running red lights. I’ve gotten one ticket for failing to have a city sticker on my car, but considering I went 8 years without one, I’m still ahead.

    Any sort of public corruption at this level really doesn’t filter down the general public unless you’re the type that likes to get outrages about this stuff. Ban Foie Gras? What do I care, I don’t like that shit anyway. I know the slippery slope arguments, but honestly, none of this stuff has affected my life one bit, and I’d venture to guess that most people feel the same way.

    I should note, however, that I live in a nice neighborhood (Vi Daley’s ward), where our streets get plowed pretty quickly.

  14. Chicago may revise its strictest-in-the-country ban on using cell phones while driving-but only because one of the city’s aldermen got caught breaking the law.

    I always say that’s the best way to get these overly-restrictive laws nixed. Start busting the people passing them.

    Except that’s never worked for drug laws… never mind.

  15. And the pizza sucks too!

  16. outrages

    outraged

  17. I know the slippery slope arguments, but honestly, none of this stuff has affected my life one bit, and I’d venture to guess that most people feel the same way.

    Not with a bang, but with a whimper . . . .

  18. Do you really think anyone cares all that much about this stuff?

    And to clarify, I don’t necessarily believe that city government should be wasting time on stuff like the Foie Gras ban or other such lame issues. But the fact that it was banned or that people have to register guns or use a blue tooth when they drive doesn’t really make the city less pleasant.

  19. ChiSailor:

    All well and good… except it should never get to that point in the first place. Laws of this nature should never make it on the books. The fact that they ever get passed is the problem– not their enforcement.

  20. Sadly – as ChiSailor points out – Tom Tunney is probably the best alderman in the city.

    Formerly a successful entrepreneur – at least he didn’t come from the political machine. Oh – and his last name isn’t Daley – so points for that.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_M._Tunney

  21. Not with a bang, but with a whimper . . . .

    You really think that people wouldn’t react to city hall doing something incredibly unpopular? If you honestly believe “First Foie Gras, next beef!!” you’re fucking nuts.

  22. none of this stuff has affected my life one bit, and I’d venture to guess that most people feel the same way.

    Uhm, it’s one thing for say, a state to pass a cell phone ban that’s a secondary offense– the result of which will just be an annoying chicken-shit ticket.

    I live in such a state. I say “up yours to the man” and refuse to use a hands-free device. I talk on my cell phone the way God intended. And I do it while driving by cops.

    But if the penalty were to be the immediate surrender of my license, I probably wouldn’t do it. So yes, the ‘death penalty’ is a deterrent for me.

  23. Seitz,

    I actually do care about some of the gun laws issues and the petty crap, though a lot is overwhelmed by some of my very local crap. I have a FOID and I’m looking forward to a possible end of the handgun ban and some softening of the gun laws, but it doesn’t worry me enough to move. I honestly don’t consider the overturning of this corruption (the delivery of the DL, yes a bit) but more bringing to attention of power (accidently) the stupidity of the some of the current priorities.

    and for Jim Bob,
    suck it you pansy cracker-thin pizza grazing warthog 😛

  24. If you honestly believe “First Foie Gras, next beef!!” you’re fucking nuts.

    Really?

    “Today it’s cigarettes. Will high-fat foods be next?” Anti-smoking activists traditionally responded to this sort of slippery-slope argument by insisting that cigarettes were unique, “the only legal product that when used as intended causes death.” To suggest that anti-smoking measures might pave the way for attacks on cheeseburgers and ice cream, they said, was just silly.

  25. But if the penalty were to be the immediate surrender of my license, I probably wouldn’t do it. So yes, the ‘death penalty’ is a deterrent for me.

    I think the Chicago law is an extension of the state law where they take your license away for, say, a speeding ticket. I’ve never gotten a speeding ticket or anything in the state (well, I got a local one in Warrenville, but it was a small fine and nothing on my record), but you don’t lose your driving privileges. They essentially hold the license as collateral. It sounds like that’s the local law.

    In other words, they take your physical driver’s license, but they don’t revoke your license to drive. Someone can correct me if that’s wrong.

  26. also, I happen to love fois gras. The tears of agony lend a wonderful saltly goodness to it.

  27. I don’t drink too much tea, but if I were alive during the revolution, I think I know which side I would stand on.

  28. I actually do care about some of the gun laws issues and the petty crap, though a lot is overwhelmed by some of my very local crap. I have a FOID and I’m looking forward to a possible end of the handgun ban and some softening of the gun laws, but it doesn’t worry me enough to move.

    And this is what I was answering. The question was “what does everyone think of over regulation of public corruption”. It was “Is Chicago a pleasant place to live, despite over-regulation and public corruption.”

    My answer is yes.

  29. To suggest that anti-smoking measures might pave the way for attacks on cheeseburgers and ice cream, they said, was just silly.

    There’s a DQ right down the street from my apartment where you can get both cheeseburgers and ice cream. Pretty incredible, considering we have a smoking ban.

  30. My answer is yes.

    But at what point does it not become pleasant?

    What if they start passing laws codifying the things that make it pleasant? You know, those things that were just part of the culture that didn’t require legislative fiat? It’s like living in a city where people are eager to recycle, then ten years later, they pass a mandatory recycling law.

  31. But at what point does it not become pleasant?

    I suppose that answer is different for everyone. When it’s not pleasant anymore, I’ll leave. No place is perfect.

  32. You really think that people wouldn’t react to city hall doing something incredibly unpopular? If you honestly believe “First Foie Gras, next beef!!” you’re fucking nuts.

    We just think restaurants shoud be required to have a non-smoking section. Surely that is not unreasonable.

  33. suck it you pansy cracker-thin pizza grazing warthog 😛

    Chicago pizza is an abomination. It’s not pizza, it’s like a huge round calzone.

    also, I happen to love fois gras. The tears of agony lend a wonderful saltly goodness to it.

    This redeems you somewhat.

  34. Seitz – I suppose it’s a matter of taste. I found Chicago’s outrageous taxes and outdoor* smoking bans to really detract from the “loveliness” of the city.

  35. I’m honestly in favor of the smoking ban. I see smoking as violating the your fist/my nose rule. That said I’m not at all in favor of restrictions on other forms of tobacco, by taxing or useage. I’m on the fence about punitative taxes on smokes because of the increased socital cost (my nose) of smokers, but oppose an outright ban. I’m strongly opposed to heavy taxing of other forms of tobacco that don’t cause massive amounts of cancer, lung damage, heart attacks, etc. I would also not advocate banning the use of smokes (or generally other drugs) but I’m ok with restricting them where they affect others – don’t drink and drive, don’t smoke up and drive, don’t get coked up and pass legislation, etc.

  36. I see smoking as violating the your fist/my nose rule.

    So I shouldn’t be allowed to smoke in my house if you’re in it?

  37. I should amend my smoking ban support – I am not in support of banning it outside (ok with the not next to the doorway) as I think that that pretty much gets rid of the affecting other people problem, and that it is then OK.

  38. ChiSailor – If I own a business, why shouldn’t I be able to have smoking in there, if I should so freely choose?

  39. We just think restaurants shoud be required to have a non-smoking section. Surely that is not unreasonable.

    You’re arguing with the wrong guy on this one. I don’t even like smoking sections. As a non-smoker, I don’t share the “solidarity, brother” with people who need to go outside a bar to smoke. Actually, the lack of a smoking ban is what really made this place unpleasant when I moved here from L.A.

    I realize that the best way to handle it in a fair manner would be to let the bar owners decide for themselves, but I’m not going to lose any sleep over it.

  40. First they came for the smokers, but I didn’t speak out ’cause I’m not a smoker…

  41. First they came for the smokers, but I didn’t speak out ’cause I’m not a smoker…

    Not necessarily. Personally, I didn’t speak out because I like bars and restaurants to be non-smoky.

  42. So, you let your preferences overwhelm your respect for private property?

    You know, I don’t like Klan rallies either…I like my towns Klan-free!

  43. “There’s a DQ right down the street from my apartment where you can get both cheeseburgers and ice cream.”

    pssst… that ain’t ice cream.

  44. I found Chicago’s outrageous taxes and outdoor* smoking bans to really detract from the “loveliness” of the city.

    These days, is there any place “like” Chicago (or New York, or SF, or Boston…) but without smoking bans and high taxes? I don’t think so.

  45. “So I shouldn’t be allowed to smoke in my house if you’re in it?”

    No. It’s called being a gracious host.

  46. No. It’s called being a gracious host.

    So manners should be enforced with the law?

  47. So, you let your preferences overwhelm your respect for private property?

    I believe in the concept of public accommodations, and that they’re not exactly truly private property.

  48. “So manners should be enforced with the law?”

    That wasn’t the question.

  49. ChiSailor,

    I’ve tried for years call that mountain of sauce-slathered, topping-encrusted dough a pizza, and I’ve given up. Give me something I can fold, I say. 😀

  50. That wasn’t the question.

    In the context of the thread, it was. you can keep being a smartass though.

  51. Forget the context of the thread. The very quotation was “So I shouldn’t be allowed to smoke in my house if you’re in it?” (italics mine). And GGWD said “no.” So, yeah. It was the question.

  52. @Seitz

    I believe in the concept of public accommodations, and that they’re not exactly truly private property.

    So how do I know which business is a public accommodation, then?

    One with customers?

    I see no bright line. No way to stop the relentless encroachment of petty governmental tyrants.

    For Christ’s sake man, I don’t have a right to force Joe’s Diner to give me a smoke free seat. I simply don’t.

    And neither do you.

    Not that I care to eat in the smoke, but non-smoking sections and facilities were common long before non-smoking ordinances were passed.

  53. But at what point does it not become pleasant?

    I suppose that answer is different for everyone.

    Dunno about you, but I’m having to fight off the impulse to Godwin this thread right about here.

  54. thanks nicole.

    GGWD, looks like your reading skillz need work.

  55. As someone who has lived in Chicago and in the ‘Burbs (I currently live in an adjascent suburb of Chicago — we share a border) and currently works in the Downtown area I will offer my $.02:

    Chicago is overall a very pleasant city to visit, but less pleasant to live in and geting worse. It is currently heading down a terrible path. They keep raising taxes and fees, and keep passing paternalistic laws in an effort to shape people up (social engineering). It’s ripe with corruption (that’s nothing new) and the mayor uses TIF districts as a slush fund for his pet projects. It’s a nightmare to get permits for construction and improvements (to the point where there are [connected] companies who charge big $$ to in order to “expedite and facilitate getting permits from the city”) because navigating the bureaucracy is near impossible if you aren’t connected or willing to grease lots of palms. We also have a police force that is notorious for mistreating the people they are supposed to protect and serve, and are almost never held accountable (just today in the Sun-Times they had a report about the number of complaints against cops that result in any type of punishment. About 2% of complaints lodged against police are said to have any merit. Most of them result in a short suspension)

    The problem is that we have 50 fucking aldermen (most of whom will never oppose mayor Daley) and all of them like to assert themselves and try to pass “quality of life” type laws that tend to restrict the freedom of people in what is perceived to be a minority. We also have a petulant mayor who doesn’t feel he should be accountable to anyone and rules the town with an iron fist because he really faces no political threat. No politician is willing to go up against the Daley machine. And most Chicagoans are pretty apathetic until something really egregious happens.

    The reason why smoking bans and foie gras bans were able to pass is because these shit head aldermen know that most people will take Seitz’ attitude. Either: It doesn’t affect me, so what do I care — or — Since I don’t do the activity I support the restriction because that activity is a nuisance to me.

    Personally I will never live in the city (and even now I want to get the fuck out of Cook County — talk about a corrupt government — the Cook county government is nothing but a patronage dumping ground and it’s man-child president Todd “Nepotism” Stroger is a fucking disgrace.) The cost of living in Chicago is way to high in every aspect. Our Sales tax is about 11%, real estate is expensive as hell, owning a car is a nightmare (between the high cost to insure, the high gas prices, and the high parking prices not to mention that you have to constantly take into account that you may get towed at any time even when signs aren’t properly posted)

    But yeah, if you want to go to a nice restaurant or see a nice show or do something cultural, Chicago rocks.

  56. I believe in the concept of public accommodations, and that they’re not exactly truly private property.

    So, what are they? Even if “places of public accomodation” lend themselves to commonsense regulations for the purpose of facilitating commerce and ensuring safety, neither of those have anything to do with smoking.

    Anti-smoking comes from America’s Whiner Brigade: “I like a lack of smoke! Men with guns should force these places to MY standard of cleanliness”.

    My parents (love them! I really do!) did the same thing. They said “Well, we’d go to bars if they weren’t so smoky”. And guess what? Mom and Dad TAO still don’t really go to bars.

  57. Dude, ChiTom, I love that I have gotten to watch you grow more radically libertarian over time.

    I remember the days…

  58. TAO-

    In fairness, I agree that within your business is not a clear-cut call form my perspective. In honesty, I would also argue that some business should fundamentally be allowed to at least have a smoking section (suitably ventilated, whatever – some concern for safety of employees) such as smoke shops, tobaccianists (sp?). I’m wouldn’t even touch banning it in a home. Your space, your rights, defend them as you will. While I’m not conversant with “public accomadations” if it means what I think it is used to mean, then it may describe what I’m trying to balance. Heck, I’ve even been in very nice bars where cigar smoking was permitted and the ventilation was good enough that 2 stools over I couldn’t smell a thing. If you can get it to that point, I’m fine with smoking. I don’t dig into the research enough to tell you if it kills second hand (I know it can set of asthma attacks and such) but how much financial damage is done by only being able to wear something once before having to dry clean it to get the smoke stink out? and either shower or have to change your sheets the next morning because your pillow stinks of bar smoke? I’m not a storm the barricades type on this, but it’s really the effect on others that bothers me. I’m not generally a fan of forbidding things, and would probably support a restriction to places that provide sufficient ventilation. unfortunatly that is probably cost-prohibitive for most places and would have a similar effect as a ban.

  59. Personally I will never live in the city

    Sounds like my NYC, yet people keep coming. I think if you’re the sort that doesn’t like cities, you won’t like it, and if you are, you will–despite the annoyances.

  60. ChiSailor – I am having the hardest time with your professed adherence to “your space, your rights” but not realizing that some private individual, much like they buy houses, buy and run businesses.

    If the ‘burbs want to be unfun places of monotony, good for them. But the nanny impulse in cities, places that are supposed to be dynamic and vibrant, fuckin’ kills me. I moved to a city for the diversity, and now we pass one-size-fits-all regulations to make every place the same.

    All the bars close at 2…there’s no smoking in the bars…none of the strip clubs are any fun any more (thanks Ohio!)…it’s getting old.

  61. Not to do the equiv. of Godwining the arguement, but what are your thoughts on not allowing blacks into your business that is generally open to the public? About being allowed to not allow blacks into your home? This obviously isn’t apples to apples, but I’m a bit curious if you think that forcing people to not be able to restrict black entry into their establishment is correct. I would support being allowed to restrict their access into your home, but not to the business. That said, I think that trying to elucidate the difference puts me into the same distinction issue as regulating smoking in a business verses a home. THO – thoughts/response?

  62. Also – is this sort of thing meant by people’s use of “public accomadations?”

  63. What, the frikin city can take your d/l, which is issued by the fokken state, WTF?

  64. Wait a minute; Daley’s Peoples’ Paradise, chock full of nuts like the comedy hit Rev Wright and mad bombers Billy & Bernardine, is this a great city or WTF?

  65. BB – couldn’t tell you. Only finally took an IL DL because i needed it for my FOID card. Don’t own a car, don’t need one in this city. Rent it when I need one – a lot cheaper even a weekend or so a month.

  66. Does anyone else think Seitz doesn’t mind Chicago’s corruption because he’s benefitting from it, with his quickly plowed streets, etc?

  67. In fairness ot Seitz, Vi Daley is not related to the Mayor, just shares a name, and one reason that things get done in her ward is that there is a LOT of money there and a LOT of pull and power among the residents of Lincoln Park area.

  68. In fairness ot Seitz, Vi Daley is not related to the Mayor, just shares a name

    I’ve gotta be honest, I didn’t know that. I just assumed she was. I’ve never needed to contact her for anything, even though I used to live about a half block from there.

    and one reason that things get done in her ward is that there is a LOT of money there and a LOT of pull and power among the residents of Lincoln Park area.

    Unfortunately, I’m probably one of the poorer residents of the area. Which isn’t to say I’m poor. It’s a mix of very wealthy property owners, Depaul students, and young (or in my case, youngish) professionals. Lots of Audis and Acuras on the streets (I park my five year old Civic off the alley).

    Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of money in my apartment. But there’s some really ritzy places in my neighborhood, and like

  69. What, the frikin city can take your d/l, which is issued by the fokken state, WTF?

    Again, if this like the state authority, they take the physical license and give you a piece of paper until you pay your fine or appear in court. On state highways, you can post the bond right there (if you’re carrying enough cash) and keep the license with you. But either way, you don’t lose your driving privileges. If you get pulled over the next day, you won’t get busted for driving without a license. Or such is my understanding.

  70. Dude, this is nothing.

    Chicago city officials with no law enforcement duties are known to carry guns, despite the fact this is quite verboten for John Q. Citizen.

  71. Chicago city officials with no law enforcement duties are known to carry guns

    If I was a crooked fuck who generally had several thousand in cash bribes in my pocket, I’d pack, too.

  72. I’m not black, gay, or female. I outgrew support for socialists/Democrats some time in the early 90’s. I might be happier with the outcome if blacks, gays, and women couldn’t vote, particularly this year, but there is no way I could sit back and carelessly chug a beer while those other people lose their rights. That is too self-centered/Satanic for me.

  73. I outgrew support for socialists/Democrats some time in the early 90’s.

    Me, too. I remember the moment – when that big chart was unveiled showing the godawful bureaucratic clusterfuck that was ClintonCare.

  74. I just moved from Chicago (Lincoln Park) back to New York. I like the city, it was not quite as in your face as New York, not as on top as you. I thought it a great place to live, but the political class there is extremely corrupt.

  75. If its petty, take it off the books.

    Heck, might as well take off running stop signs, turning without signaling, disregarding traffic signs, ignoring the direction of an officer, and pretty much every other misdemeanor, which includes things like simple assault to full blown assaults with serious injuries.

    Sure, let’s eliminate all the petty laws.

    Whatever.

    Lawmakers always take of themselves as evidenced by this post!

  76. I agree with many of the above comments about Chicago. I live in the city. I moved here from the suburbs. Great restaurants, decent nightlife.

    The sales tax, and all the other taxes are very tough to swallow. I don’t shop in Chicago anymore, and I almost never buy gas here. The reason I live here is my job, and once that is done I will be gone.

    Corruption and the machine make the city run really well sometimes-but the cost of that corruption is less freedom and extremely high taxes. There are no checks and balances in Chicago. Daley is a dictator.

    But many of the people I have met down here are socialists too! They want a nanny state. They think that their taxes actually go to help poor people, not enrich friends of Daley or his machine. The machine will steal votes to stay in power. The ballot box here is corrupt.

    The above comments about Cook County government are also true. In order to stay in power, Daley cut a deal with Jesse Jackson. He gave the blacks the county-with oversight from his brother on the county board. Daley gets the city. You ever hear a peep out of Jesse in Chicago anymore? That’s because his sons were given the Budweiser distributorship. They have all the ballpark and stadium revenues, plus the bars. I know a lot of people that will only drink Miller because of it.

    Chicago is photogenic. It has great theatre. Maybe the best restaurants in the country. But it’s so full of graft and corruption it stinks. Wait until Obama gets in the White House; you will see so much earmarked money come here on the table and under the table you won”t know what hit you, until it’s too late.

    Daley wants the 2016 Olympics not because it’s good for the city, but he knows all the public works projects he will have to do to get ready. He will line the pockets of his friends before he dies. (he is not a spring chicken anymore, and his father died of a heart attack at a slightly younger age than him.

    All the Daleys are as corrupt as they come. Tammany Hall lives. “We don’t want nobody nobody sent.”

  77. Well, one positive thing about Chicago apparatchiks is that they’re trustworthy:

    Once they’re “bought,” they stay bought.

  78. Chicago pizza is an abomination. It’s not pizza, it’s like a huge round calzone.

    Nah, that’s just the tourist pizza. The real Chicago pizza you get at the neighborhood places has a thin crisp crust and is cut into squares. Mmmmmmmm.

  79. ChiSailor–

    I have actually dug into the research on secondhand smoke. It’s junk science, with no statistical validity whatsoever. There is so much noise in the numbers that over 95 percent of the outcomes can’t be traced back to exposure to smoke. In all probability, no passive smoker has ever died, in the history of the world, from breathing someone else’s cigarette smoke.

    Breathing someone else’s smoke indoors may not be pleasant for many people, but the health risk to other, healthy adults is zero. Fair disclosure (a lighted neon sign with a cigarette on the outside of the restaurant/bar) or ventilation or both are the appropriate fixes if you believe it’s a problem. A ban is just stupid.

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