Slippery Slopes

I made a point of telling all my friends back in the day that when they passed smoking bans at bars, more restrictive laws would follow not far behind. And you can see the machine in action. I can see both sides, but as a former smoker, I don't like seeing people who smoke having their freedoms restricted. The big push lately is the whole second-hand smoke thing. I can understand wanting to ban smoking in places where there's poor ventilation or where smoke can reasonably be expected to accumulate. But out in the open air? Let's bring some perspective to all of this.

The bus traffic along Madison Avenue here in Manhattan makes for some poor air quality. As a matter of fact, the worst air quality in the city, as determined by those air quality instruments hiding under those mysterious green boxes on the sidewalk, is right on Madison Avenue and 42nd Street. I'd venture to say that many New Yorkers risk premature death by merely breathing. (And the American Lung Association would say the same thing.)

Yet you don't see activists proposing that we ban bus traffic, do you? Everything's a trade-off, a compromise. And I don't think that anything is wrong with smokers drawing a line in the sand and saying that they'll be pushed no further, considering what they've had to give up in recent years.

If the slope is that slippery, however, and we find smoking limited to private property or some other such crapola, I'm going to use the same slippery slope logic and arguments to go after McDonald's and other fast food restaurants for the damage they do to the state of public health. As long as we're taking away people's choices, why shouldn't we make crappy food our next target?

Rain Sucks


So everything is pretty much underwater here in lovely NYC. Long Island is no better. Riverhead (10 minutes east of Wading River) is the record-holder, with nearly 7.5" of rain in the past 48 hours. Getting around is a pain, with subway/train delays and not a single cab to be found. And it doesn't help that I'm getting glares from certain people regarding my choice in umbrellas.

Here's the dealy-o. Several years ago, I went on a cruise with to Halifax and back. While in Halifax, Denise Siedner, Coleen Kuehn and I got caught in the rain, so we ran into this gift shop. The only umbrellas they had were red and white and had Canadian maple leafs on them. So we bought them. Later, I chucked this umbrella in my car and it served as my emergency umbrella for when I'd leave the house without one.

Sure enough, years later, I needed this umbrella and ended up bringing it into the city with me. And it's totally weird how some people think that carrying a Canada-branded umbrella is some sort of political statement. If looks could kill... Let's just say I was reminded of this post from a while back.

On top of all the difficulties getting around, Eric is in flood hell. His basement got flooded and his sump pump quit. So he was out of the office for a few hours yesterday while he tracked down a new pump. This morning, his hot water heater started acting up.

At any moment, we're expecting that huge "Day After Tomorrow" tidal wave to overwhelm us.

Help Stop Insane Proposed NYC Bike Law

Rick Bruner e-mailed me this morning to call my attention to a new proposed law that would require licenses for all New York City cyclists over the age of 16. Failing to get a license would mean that anyone caught without one would be subject to fines of $100-$300, imprisonment (up to 15 days in jail), plus police can impound the bike.

I've written in the past about how New York City is incredibly unfriendly to alternate forms of transportation. Anything gasoline- or electric-powered that isn't an automobile or motorcycle is illegal, by virtue of the fact that these vehicles need to be registered as motor vehicles, but the DMV will do no such thing. So you can't legally ride electric or gas scooters. Now some crazy councilwoman, Madeline Provenzano, wants to further discourage alternative transportation by requiring $25 registration fees and license tags for all bicycles ridden in the city.

If you're as pissed as I am, you can send a fax to Provenzano. Please do so.