Friday, January 01, 2010

A More Caring Era of Government Emerging

There has been a heated debate over the emissions created by second hand smoke here in Michigan. Recently the state legislature passed and the governor signed a bill that would effectively outlaw smoking within all restaurants and bars. (Exceptions were made for casinos and smoke shops because people who frequent those types of establishments are capable of fantastically ensconcing themselves within spheres of purified air that smoke is unable to penetrate. Or something.)

The argument really boils down to whether the government should be able to reach onto private property to protect the health of citizens who have chosen to engage in either the patronage of or employment within the private space of these establishments.

I am one of those non-smokers that thinks that he is fully capable of making his own choices on how to protect his lungs. I am also a person that believes that if I choose to allow smoking on my private property, the government should keep its benevolent hand (and bulbous snuffling nose) outside.

What's next, I ask, the government sniffing the air outside of private residences to make certain that no foul burnings are taking place inside?

Well, yes, that is what's next. From the Contra Costa Times via Overlawyered.

Another holiday, another sweep of smoke scofflaws.

Bay Area air pollution inspectors found 47 violators burning wood fires illegally during Christmas Day's Spare the Air alert — which was declared because cold, unhealthful air had been forecast.

The tally was more than double the 22 violators detected on Thanksgiving, when the Bay Area Air Quality Management District also called a Spare the Air alert.

Violators get written warnings for a first offense and $400 fines for a second offense.

While critics have bashed the air district for intruding on a holiday burning tradition, a spokesman for the agency defended the Christmas crackdown Monday, saying it was done to protect public health from soot that can trigger asthma attacks, and aggravate other respiratory and heart problems.

"We know a lot of people like to burn on this holiday, but it's our duty to protect public health," said Ralph Borrmann, the spokesman.
Chestnuts do not legally roast on open fires while Spare the Air alerts are in effect in the San Francisco area. While holiday carols can be sung by a choir in churches and such, don't breathe a word about xMas cheer in the public square. And seriously, the idea of a ravenous Jack Frost chewing on faces like some rabid dog could be down right scary to children, and aren't people bundled like Eskimos being a bit culturally insensitive?

The Velvet Fog should have been ashamed of himself--thankfully a new, more caring era has emerged.

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