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Archive for October 23rd, 2009

More Fraidy-Cats

Our first example of Fraidy-Cats this week involved House Democrats, who changed the locks on a committee room and refused to give GOP members a key.

Today comes the second example. This time it involves the Fraidy-Cats at Organizing for America, who, as John Hood explains here, have re-defined “community health fair” in order to use a public building for a clearly political purpose.

The children are clearly running the show.

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Think Chapel Hill is Losing Its Leftist Mojo? Try Amherst

If you think Chapel Hill is becoming too mainstream — after all, the race for mayor and council has been characterized as including a pro-business bloc — consider moving to Amherst, Massachusetts. Thanks to James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal for a laugh-out-loud funny blog about a not-so-funny idea from Amherst liberals who want to lend a helping hand to suspected terrorists.

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N.C.’s smoking czar “spooked” by pushback against ban

File this story in the “should I laugh or should I cry” department. Incredibly, at least one state official is just starting to realize that business owners will try to protect their operations when they’re threatened by government policy. From the News & Observer comes this comment from N.C’s smoking czar, Ann Houston Staples:

“I’m getting spooked, because everybody I talk to said the place they go to is going to become a private club,” said Staples, director of public education and communication for the Tobacco Prevention and Control Branch of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Staples is part of a team assembling an information packet that will go out in the coming weeks to businesses affected by the ban, including bars. The mailing will include a letter explaining the law and other material, such as free “No Smoking” signs.

The ban on smoking in bars and restaurants that the legislature passed this year takes effect Jan. 2 and does include an exemption for private clubs, but it defines them as country clubs or nonprofits, such as an Elks Lodge.

I understand that Ms. Staples’ job is to help implement the ban. She is not a policymaker. However, it is frustrating that bureaucrats are oblivious to the impact of the government regulations they impose on entrepreneurs. I suggest Ms. Staples spend a few minutes with Adam Bliss, whose business — and life savings — will be destroyed by the ban, which goes into effect Jan. 2:

Bliss said one idea is to stop serving food and alcohol and start selling only specialty sodas and slushies. If Hookah Bliss received at least 75 percent of its annual revenue from tobacco sales and did not sell food or alcohol, it would qualify as a tobacco shop and be exempt from the ban. But the price of hookah would increase as a result.

“I’m extremely angry,” Bliss said. “I have never been politically involved in anything in my life, and this whole situation has awakened the political activist in me.”

He refuses to give up and said he will not close Hookah Bliss, which opened in 2007.

I happen to think smoking is awful, but government should stay out of it as long as the product is legal. Banning the use of a legal product in private establishments is misguided government intervention. Let customers and business owners decide for themselves.

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