Friday, January 23, 2015

No Constitutional Right to Smoke

This is what happens in an actual Democracy...which we are increasingly becoming...your daily activities are subject to the wants and desires of people named LaToya.

                                             LaToya Bans Smoking in New Orleans

According to this new Edict of the People, there is no Constitutional right to smoke. Far be it from me to question the Constitutional expertise of LaToya but, it's my understanding that the Constitution is not a set of permissions granted to subjects...a list of things the State will allow you to do. Instead, again with all due respect to LafuckingToya, it is a list of powers that the citizenry refuses to grant the State. It's a collection of Negative Rights...this is what the State cannot do.

This is the understanding of the Constitution that another community organizer, Barack Hussein Obama, finds so troubling. According to Barack, that's the great flaw of the's a collection of negative rights that says a lot about what the government can't do and nothing about what the State should do for people. In other words, the flaw of the U.S. Constitution, as Barack sees it, is its essence. This point, even as a bone of contention is, obviously and completely, lost on....dear God...LaToya.

Of course, I'm the fool...who cares about negative rights and the crucial role they play in protecting Liberty (Liberty? HA!)...who cares about the, small c, constitutional legitimacy of law. To the extent that legitimacy matters...desire is sufficient. Majority rules...authority is found in numbers.

That's how we get to the point where you do not have a right to allow smoking on your own property...but, you do have the right to seize the property of others so you can go to Junior College. The precious people, that seething mass of avarice and stupidity, want something and the vapid politicians are happy to provide it...fully justified because they are doing the bidding of that most sacred body..."the people." Amazing that we have laws at all...when the instincts of the people are so trustworthy and virtuous.

My concerns here are not only esoteric but, increasingly, nonsensical. So, let's come down out of the clouds...get down on the ground and have a closer look at the city for whose benefit this decree has been issued. New Orleans is a city...a real object. So comforting that we can measure it, touch it....smell it.

If you've never been to New Orleans and would like to experience can do so in your own home. First, have a bloody piss in a carton of milk and leave it open to sour on the counter. Once the milk is ripe...two, empty your trashcan on the living room floor. Three, get blind drunk and pass out in the trash. Four, have your significant other...doesn't matter if it's a wife, girlfriend, husband, boyfriend or, even better, a stranger from the park...dress in an edible bikini and thigh high go-go boots. They should stand over you while barking for a strip club or hooking. Five, for a truly authentic experience, have some friends come by to vomit on you and urinate in the corner.

Whatever you do, however far you get carried away, for God's sake, do not let anybody fire up a square. We're not trying to get anybody killed here.

We've been down this road before....

No Smoking at Old Absinthe House

we've gotten so far down now that lighting up anywhere along it will get you a 100 dollar fine.
It should be fun watching the enforcement...expensive but, fun. Food and beverage people smoke...even in Quarter bars where it's already banned you can watch them early in the morning stumbling out into the daylight...cigarettes dangling from their squinting faces.

Never mind the droves of tourists who may or may not be aware of the Decree. A person standing on a sidewalk smoking is exactly the kind of mushy target that cops love. Good times...Good times...or Bon Temps I reckon.

I'll close with a question. Let's set aside the issue of legitimacy for such Decrees. What kind of people ban smoking in bars, jukes, taverns...we're talking about a bar...a BAR. What concept of a juke and the purpose it serves must those people have? I know many don't like to be around smoke...but that's hardly the issue. That market can be served without a total ban. What kind of human being would support a ban on smoking cigarettes in a juke...a honkey tonk? It's a get dunk, dance, fight and smoke cigarettes.

It's not really a place that figures into a program for adding a few years to your stank carcass.


  1. So La Toya Jackson is the Mayor of New Orleans??

    1. Hard to believe but there's more than one LaToya out there. Though I'm guessing LaToya Jackson wouldn't be any less qualified than anybody else holding office in that city.

  2. By coincidence, I happened to be visiting my family in New York when smoking in bars was banned in 2003. My memory of the period is that there was a general assumption that New Yorkers wouldn't stand for it and that it would be a very tough law to enforce. I like to check out any seedy downtown bar I come across when in NYC and I hit a few on that trip, but saw nothing but complete obedience to the letter of the law. I was still a smoker myself at the time and joined the locals on the sidewalk to indulge my habit. When I queried a group of them on the matter, I was met with a 'you gotta do what you gotta do' shrug of the shoulders. I'd had visions of cops spot-checking bars and evicting illicit smokers from dark corners, but it didn't seem to happen that way. I was surprised.

    1. I was up in Connecticut at school during that and out of New York City. I couldn't help but have a little snicker at how obedient people seemed to be.

      We aren't like that. There's no statewide ban in's up to cities or counties to decide. Smoking is banned in little Aberdeen, Ms but, the last time I was there, after sampling some moonshine at one establishment, I called on another where the lady kept the ashtrays out on the table.
      "They don't pay the taxes in here...they aren't gonna tell me what I can do in here."
      I've got pictures of smokers gathered under the no smoking signs at Davis Wade Stadium...puffing away. It's a big open air concourse. I've smoked at bars in New Orleans since the initial ban.

      This new decree though...basically bans smoking (and puffing on water vapor!!!) almost everywhere other than your own house.

      I was on Mississippi Gulf Coast this week. As far as I know, there are no bans down there...and they seem to get along just fine. There's even a smoke free Casino.

      Did you manage a trip to Bleecker Bob's while you were there?

    2. There were a lot of great record stores in New York in those days. I went over most years from 1992-2010 and gradually most of them disappeared. There are only a small handful left now. Bleeker Bob's was a fun place to people watch. The staff were legendarily sniffy with customers who didn't know their stuff.

    3. There was another place a couple a blocks down from it in a basement...Underground Records I think. It was a good shop and the fella running it was a friendly talkative.

      Bob's was like a caricature of a hip record shop...obnoxious clerks, hangers on...and good records.

  3. I think it's high time we banned everything in public places that is not 100% inoffensive to 100% of the population. Drinking, smoking, swearing, farting, burping, using a mobile phone, frowning, sweating, U2 Tshirts, scratching, saying "have a nice day", cracking bad jokes, walking too slowly, onesies...
    Then we'll all be really happy, yes?

    1. Certainly loud music and akahol are an unnecessary risk to the public. No one is forced to come on your property but they might want to...what right do you have to put their hearing in danger. What about the employees that came to your establishment looking for a job? You do not have a constitutional right to put their hearing at risk...or subject them to drunks.

  4. Do you Economist?:

    The important bit is here: "In Ferguson, bad policies help to explain why distrust turns to anger. Take, for example, the way the town is financed. In 2013 a fifth of Ferguson’s general revenues—some $2.6m, in a city of 21,000 people—were derived from fines and asset confiscation. That is equivalent to $124 a year for every man, woman and child in the city. Paying fines, even for minor traffic offences, can involve queuing for hours. Those who miss court dates can be jailed until they pay, accumulating more fines along the way. Slowly but surely, the justice system has become an elaborate mechanism for criminalising poverty."

    I think you got closest to the mark with "Never mind the droves of tourists who may or may not be aware of the Decree. A person standing on a sidewalk smoking is exactly the kind of mushy target that cops love. Good times...Good times...or Bon Temps I reckon."

    And farthest from the mark by imagining that because somebody's name was "LaFuckingToya" and she used to be a community organiser, she was motivated by ignorance, the desire to do her best for the least advantaged, or pursue what you think of as a democratic agenda rather than pursue a revenue stream for the city at the cost of criminalizing tobacco addicts.

    1. She readily displayed her ignorance when she invoked the Constitution...which, while I didn't put it on a spoon, is dealt with in some depth in my post. It's also impossible to think that these bans would have a chance in hell if "the people" weren't behind them. They are so excited in their hatred of smoking that they've not only forgotten about property rights but have lost touch with the human condition.

      Listen, you can blame her parents...but, if you say stupid things, especially from a position of authority, and your name is's not passing without note. Not here.

      I'm not so sure about criminalizing poverty. That's not the experience in Hinds county where they pull you over only if they think you can pay...based on the vehicle you're driving. Where they're happy to raise your property taxes, from a moving car, while your property value plummets. They're just looking for money wherever they can get it. They need it to pay for all the promises they've made to the stupid people.

      Hand wringing over how much it cost to be poor is a fine hobby for bougies at the Economist but, for those of us trying to pay our bills and's laughable. Like the idea that the college savings plans we've set up for our children should be taxed so Latoya can get that Associate's Degree she's always dreamed of. Hahahahahahahahah.....ohhhh...hahahahahah. Fucking Hilarious!

      The problem in Ferguson is the same old cop problem. They were nowhere to be found when Brown was strong-arming the curb store owner...but, were there in a flash to tell him to stop walking in the street.

  5. I don't disagree with what you wrote about the Constitution, but I think her invocation of the Constitution was cynical rather than ignorant even if it was wrong. The fact is smoking bans generally have at best passive approval from most people and get traction from business owners who want to avoid lawsuits from their employees. Bans in outdoor spaces are almost always indifferently enforced because people are not busily dobbing each other in and the citations come in groups when cops need to make their quotas. I'm really not sure how or why you think there is some big popular Democratic push behind it, especially one that has anything to do with stupid poor people wanting to go to college for free.

    1. Surely, in fact I'm certain, you got the punch line on property. When have I ever approached a subject in a narrow way? I even make it clear when I'm dipping back into the specific issue of smoking.

      None of this is possible if people didn't think that their desires were akin to rights...or, at the very least, legitimate. They aren't either.

      Even though I'm certain you must be smoking marijuana cigarettes right now...I do appreciate that I can always count on you for some push back. It's not really fun talking about these things if you don't get any.

  6. No marijuana cigarettes yet. I'm still in Australia where it is too expensive and crappy. Just a few more weeks until we are in Germany, which by the way is as publicly smoky as you could legitimately and rightfully desire!

    And no, I would never accuse you of arguing in a narrow way; you argue like haymakers in a crowded bar. You might hit the right person but you also hit about 10 people just trying to have a quiet drink and cigarette.

    1. Not in this case.

      There wasn't anybody in this one that didn't deserve, at the very least, a smack in the mouth.

  7. Smoking was banned in pubs here just as my first child was born. Nice. It meant that I could bring the baby-seat into the bar guilt-free...