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9/27: Smokin', Taxin', Fightin'

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• Allegheny County executive board members (or whatever these people are called) have just passed a public smoking ban that is awaiting a signature from County Chief Executive President Dan Onorato. Here’s what I don’t get about this whole anti-smoking crusade. If puffing cancer sticks is so bad for you (and I’m not saying that it isn’t), then let’s just outright ban these things. I’m not a smoker. Never have been; never will. Well, there were a few times I would light up a Swisher Sweet during my college days, but that was because I needed something to keep me awake while I drove home from 16+ hours worth of work and classes. That Swishers’ tangy taste and aroma helped keep me alert enough so that I didn’t veer off the road and crash into a building. Other than that, I have never touched a cigarette/cigar. (I did consume chewing tobacco one night while drunk, but that’s another story for another time.) Cigarettes are a tax on the stupid, and if you want to smoke them, that’s your choice. I also think it should be the choice of business owners to decide for themselves whether or not to make their establishments a smoking or non-smoking facility. Yeah, I’ve heard the anti-smoking Gestapo say that a bar’s owner is putting the health of his or her customers and employees at risk. Patrons can frequent somewhere else, and employees can get another job. There’s a scale I use that measures how much freedom people should be allowed to have and how much regulation is required for “the greater good.” This issue of letting private businesses decide on giving them the choice of whether to be a smoking or non-smoking facility, or if Big Brother “knows what’s best” and forbids any kind of smoking in a business’ vicinity can play a role in whether or not I determine how much of a commie somebody is. Now if you think Big Brother “knows what’s best” in this situation, don't worry; I won’t necessarily label you a commie for this alone. I do see the other point of view in this debate; I just disagree with it. (By the way, if there is ever a law to outright ban tobacco, I wouldn't complain. Well that is other than knowing that "fat taxes" will be used to replace cigarette taxes, which will be gone as a result of banning tobacco products.)


The best part of this above-mentioned story is that smoking will be allowed to take place in a casino which will soon be sprouting up in the region. Now wait a second. I’ve never been to a casino, nor do I care to, but I’ve seen enough on television to know that quite a few people can fit into one of these places. And yet it’s OK to smoke HERE?! I’m striking up a local tone here because our piece of shit governor Edward Rendell thinks that the state will be better off if we allowed casinos to set up shop in Pennsylvania. My opinion on this matter is mostly indifferent. I don’t care if they get built, but then again I’m not a restaurant owner that will probably get screwed over if a casino gets built next to my business. But Fast Eddie is acting like these casinos will single handedly rejuvenate the state. It’s not. But by the time the idiots who support this initiative realize this, Swindell would already be out of office and headed toward greener pastures.


• Keeping up with the Nanny-State theme, I give this three years before the health Nazis try this sort of shit to Middle America. I can’t wait to see the excuses as to why we’re all a bunch of fatties when fast-food restaurants get banned. By the way, the government is all about limiting our choices for health reasons; hence smoking bans and soon-to-be “fat” bans. But why is it there’s one choice out there that actually kills life and is seemingly untouchable? *whistles and walks away*


• You know, if The Onion would write stuff like this...


Police have agreed to consult a panel of Muslim leaders before mounting counter-terrorist raids or arrests. Members of the panel will offer their assessment of whether information police have on a suspect is too flimsy and will also consider the consequences on community relations of a raid.


Members will be security vetted and will have to promise not to reveal any intelligence they are shown.


...I might actually read what they produce. The sad thing about this is that it isn’t satire; it’s nonfiction. And since I’m talking about The Onion, the only thing I ever intentionally laughed at that was written by them was a story about an athlete blaming God for a loss.


• I heard on the radio today that the Pennsylvania Port Authority has fired its Harrisburg-based lobbying group (Harrisburg is PA’s state capital for the geographically challenged) for wasting money. Wow, when the Port Authority thinks you are wasting too much money, you know the situation is bad. And while I’m on this subject, I’ve been hearing rumblings from this bureaucracy that they need more money or else they’ll have to drastically increase fares. Of course, they can’t just get rid of routes that nobody attends or utilize smaller vehicles to take over these unpopulated stops. That would save money, and we sure as hell can’t have that. One solution I’ve heard is to raise the state gasoline tax by 10 cents per gallon. Let me get this straight. Mass transit is out of money. To get more money, Pennsylvania raises the gas tax. Mass transit relies heavily on gasoline. Mass transit has no money. Makes perfect sense to me. While we’re at it, let’s tax tires and vehicle windows.


• There’s a government school in Michigan that invited this German-based choir to sing at their school. However, there was one stipulation. No religious songs. What was this choir named? “Voices of Heaven.” And people wonder why I call these institutions “government” schools.


• But not everything is negative in this crazy world of ours. Paul Harvey said earlier today that a fellow Aussie is in negotiations to play the role of the late Steve Irwin in a movie about his life. Who’s this Aussie?


Russell Crowe.


Even though later reports deny this annoucement, I don't care. I so want this movie made. “See that croc there? What a beauty. They like to lay in the water and soak up the sun’s rays. But do you know what else they like to do?”


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personally, I think it will be hilarious when they make cigarettes illegal (you know that will happen at some point in our lifetime)


Carnival: "hey maaaan, you got some Newports? Maaaan I'll suck yo dick!"

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Actually if gas costs more, in theory, more people will avoid spending money on gas and spend it on the busfare instead.


Because as you may or may not know, government gas is MUCH cheaper than public gas.


Oh, what, you think THEY pay the taxes? At least not all of them...

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I'm surprised they didn't exempt bingo halls, like they did here initially. Sometimes you can't see five feet in front of you for the cloud of smoke in those places.

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Shooter: The restaurant owners are bitching because the casinos will have restaurants and shit within their casino.


Chris: From what I heard, the bingo halls and other similar fundraising endeavors have volunteers at these events, so they choose to be in these conditions. With this Bush economy and that whopping unemployment rate, people can't just leave one job in the cutthroat food-service industry for another.

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