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Viv at 19:13 Aug 25, 2005

While I agree with you that the state shouldn't be dabbling in the affairs of local government (and I'm finding it ironic that Republicans -- the champions of local control -- are behind this), I do disagree that the smoking ban hasn't had an impact on area bars.

I've heard reports from some bars that their attendance has plummeted -- 30 to 60 percent since the ban. One bar owner I know had to lay off a night bartender and bouncer because of the drop off in attendance. While it's cool to have non-smoking bars (and not reek of tobacco at the end of the night), I question whether it was a wise idea for Madison to do -- especially with surrounding communities that don't have a smoking ban. Downtown makes sense in a strange way to me, but if it's a five minute ride to another area that offers smoking, I wonder where people will go (especially when winter starts up).

I also find it silly that the City Council shot down an exception for bars that make 10 percent of its sales from tobacco. That means cigar bars such as Maduro (whose logo is a CIGAR for cripes sake) can't have smoking? That's just bizzare to me.

Alan De Smet at 19:13 Aug 25, 2005

All I've heard is anecdotal evidence that attendance has dropped. Indeed, many of the reports come from bar owners who have every bit of incentive to err toward the pessimistic. We'll see.

Ultimately, if Madison decides that the health of employees is more important, well, so be it. It should be Madison's decision. The place to fight it by voting in new local politians, not whining to the state. If Madison's decision causes some bars to shut down, well, it's unfortunate, but it's Madison's right to do stupid things.

As for poor Maduro, it's a shame. But if you start from the assumption "it should be illegal for a business to expose employees to known carcinogens" it logically follows that a cigar bar is a fundamental problem. It's similar to Prohibition putting bars out of business.

Viv at 19:13 Aug 25, 2005

It appears that local politicans are worried about this. There was an article in today's State Journal about how some alders are considering revisiting the ordinance (I'd link to it, but can't find it on

I'm not surprised by the business owners going to the state -- it's the last resort that they see in their eyes for remaining open. What do you do if the local politicans won't listen to you? You appeal to a higher power. It works in the judicial system (when it's not being stacked) and that's the goal here. Besides, I can see the flip side argument that if we're interested in local control, why have state government in the first place?

Granted it's Madison's decision to do stupid things and having a state law is stupid as hell (see the living wage issue), but I understand why people are appealing to a higher power. What I wish is that a business owner would sell their place as smoke-free, with good music and decent cocktails. That's a place I'd be willing to go to anytime.

psilord at 19:13 Aug 25, 2005

As I stroll down the avenues of human endeavours, it become obvious to me that my utter and contempt for all of humanity, and as a whole, life, is not misdirected.

Alan De Smet at 19:13 Aug 25, 2005

Oh, I hardly hold it against the bar owners to go complain to the state. I loathe our state legislature for feeling it should step in. How are the complaints of bars in one city worthy of making a law that will impact all of Wisconsin? I guess the Tavern League is <a href="">getting what they're paying for</a>. God, I hate Wisconsin state-level politics, it's deeply broken.

Alan De Smet at 19:13 Aug 25, 2005

Apparently I need to remember to use preview on my own site because I have no idea how it works. *sigh*

Joe at 19:13 Aug 25, 2005

The Republicans are only champions of local control when they don't have global (i.e. State or Federal) control. Remember, for the Conservative Repbulicans and/or Dixiecrats, (depending on the decade) "States' Rights" was just a euphemism for keeping the South segregated.

If the Federal Goverment had been for Slavery during Lincoln's time, but still just as Federalist-ish as it was, I'll bet that there would have been a lot less clamoring for "State's Rights".

<tangent>Kinda like how Doyle thought that the WI Governor's word-item veto power was too strong, until he had it. Personally, I still think it's too strong, no matter who has it, but it's almost fair to let Doyle roll back so much of what Tommy Thompson did. </tangent>

psilord at 19:13 Aug 25, 2005

Alan wrote: "it should be illegal for a business to expose employees to known carcinogens"

Hmm..... I wonder if Mechanic shops are going to go out of business too, what about jobs where people work with electrical substations? Those PCBs are a right cancer causing agent. Oops. No more lawn care either, those pesticides like to cause breast cancer. Speaking of pesticides, no more produce sections at the supermarket, those pesky apples never get washed properly and up the chance of cancer by a non-zero amount due to the chemicals on it.

Alan De Smet at 19:13 Aug 25, 2005

Alan wrote, "If we start with the assumption 'it should be..."


It was a quick statement from which you've drawn an unreasonable generalization. "Expose" as in "presenting a significantly higher than average risk of health damage." You can have employees handling dangerous chemicals, but you need to protect them. As one friend joked, "the cigar bar can stay open, but the waitstaff get to wear gas masks." Take asbestos removal: the people doing it take precautions suitable for the risk involved

Alan De Smet at 19:55 Aug 25, 2005


So I got a few pieces of really long spam in my blog comments. I'd been letting them lie because they previously hadn't been that annoying, but big logs posts of spam are annoying. So I implemented a simple filter. I can (and have) marked posts that appear to be link spam. They're not deleted, just hidden. There is a clearly marked link to see the spam if you're really curious, but at least it's out of the way of casual readers. I prefer this marking to deleting on the grounds that I'm slightly more accountable. By way of example this discussion has been a popular dumping ground for spammers.

Unfortunately, I got a bit sloppy and accidentally reset the post dates of all old posts to 7:13pm Aug 25, 2005. I'll fix what I can, but I haven't been keeping very good backups. The damage is just to the date, not the posts themselves.

psilord at 18:40 Sep 1, 2005;Cycle=2006


psilord at 18:47 Sep 1, 2005

Your auto htmlizer sucks. It doesn't seem to be able to handle the character '&' very well.

Alan De Smet at 9:04 Sep 3, 2005

Pete's link, dehosed

There is a preview button and [url] syntax.

So, um, what's your point with the link?

psilord at 11:27 Sep 3, 2005

Truth be told, I forgot.

psilord at 22:32 Sep 3, 2005

I think the point was something about smarmy political practices and how the deception of the bill you speak about is simply a result of some companies wanting things their way. And it scaled up to the website I pointed you to where companies as a whole vote republican probably due to republican behavior creating a beneficial environment for companies.

Siverian at 15:21 Nov 4, 2005

I think it is perfectly fine to expose people to "known carcinogens" as long as they dont mind. Its the persons decision. If they dont mind it, they dont mind it. I honestly dont believe that a state should be able to ban smoking since again, its the persons decision to smoke or anything else like that. I think that Madison shouldnt have ever made the law. It was irrational and could really make some people mad since if a smoker smokes then he or she might not be able to stop.

Alan De Smet at 19:07 Nov 4, 2005

The problem isn't that the smokers mind smoke. The problem is second hand-smoke. Should people concerned about smoke (a well established carcinogen) be driven from all public places because of smokers? Should society as a whole suffer increased cancer rates because a subset wants to smoke? When you smoke in an indoor public place it ceases to be just about you.

I'm not clear on the making people mad issue. You're saying smokers might be angry because they're addicted? We also don't allow smoking crack in public, but I've failed to see the backlash. Alchoholics aren't allowed to drink on the streets, but we've done okay.

A post has been hidden because it's spam. This post was link spam. It's still available (just hidden), if you really want to see it..
Bill Hannegan at 0:53 Feb 12, 2006

Alan, you are assuming way too much. Does "society as a whole suffer increased cancer rates because a subset wants to smoke?" St. Louis ETS researcher David Kuneman says no in a startling recent post on a STLtoday blog:

Ok, lets go to all the so-called studies which “prove” ETS is a hazard. There are two kinds of ETS studies… sloppy ones and well executed ones. The sloppy ones are those which are case-controlled. This means, the researcher asks a nonsmoking lung cancer patient what airborne carcinogens he/she was exposed to. If 30% more patients respond to being exposed to lots of smoke, the researcher concludes ETS increases Lung Cancer risk 30%. These studies usually involve a few hundred patients. This is where you get your data from. Trouble is, patients are not experts and do not know if they were exposed to asbestos, lived in a home with a radon problem, etc. The patients have all heard ETS causes LC, so they blame that. Please go to for a more complete explanation.

The well executed studies are called cohort studies. These rarely conclude ETS causes Lung cancer and Heart Disease. In cohort studies, thousands of persons are enrolled and all are healthy. They are divided among those exposed to smoke..or not. After about 30 years, the researcher contacts as many as he can locate, and determines the health of the study subjects. These are more expensive to run. The most well known of the cohort studies is the UCLA study which found no risk. These kinds of studies are less subject to bias.

The EPA report combined the results of 13 studies, and all but one were case controlled. They could Have used all 58 studies completed at the time, but did not simply becasue if they had, they would have been forced to conclude ETS is safe. According to the EPA report, even using those 13 studies, without the Frontham study, they would have concluded ETS is not dangerous. Trouble with the Frontham study is she refuses to let anyone see her raw data. I have a copy of the complete EPA report—that’s what it says.

In summary, we have the EPA claiming ETS is dangerous, and the Dept of Health and Human Services which only cites studies conducted by antismoking groups, and has never actually done a study of thier own claims ETS is dangerous. We have OSHA, the Congressional research service of the Library of Congress, and OakRidge Nat Labs claiming ETS is not dangerous.

Now, lets move on to population studies. All good epidemiology text books teach than when a weak risk such as a 30% excess risk is determined from epidemiology studies, then the researcher has to conduct population studies to either confirm, or reject the 30% result. If the researcher checks the prevalence of the disease indentified, as being more common in populations, more exposed, then the risk is confirmed. The trouble is, Europeans only get about half as much Lung Cnacer as we do, and they are exposed to more ETS and always were. This according to WHO. And euros smoke about 1/3 more than us, and always did and euros live about 2 years longer than we do. Another population study is that in the US, age-adjusted rates of heart disease, nonsmoker’s lung cancer, asthma, COPD, and days missed from work are higher now than than in the 1970s when we were exposed to about 9 times more smoke. There is also a higher rate of childhood cancer, birth defects, middle ear infections, asthma, and most other diseases blamed on smoke today, than in the 1970s. early cases of smoking related cancer among young adults are increasing.. Again see for more detailed info. Population studies fail to confirm the 30% increased risk these case-controlled studies claim exist. And it’s more than just a litle odd no matter which disease you’re referring to, the elevated risk caused by ETS is always claimed to be the same- 30%- not double, as Dean claims.

I think the fact that we have removed 90% of all ETS, and nothing good happened, speaks volumes as to what we can expect if we remove the last 10% of ETS exposure. Dave Kuneman

Anyone want help fighting a smoking ban anyplace, anywhere, can contact me at:

A post has been hidden because it's spam. This post was link spam. It's still available (just hidden), if you really want to see it.. at 8:44 Jul 13, 2006

funny ringtones

A post has been hidden because it's spam. This post was link spam. It's still available (just hidden), if you really want to see it..
A post has been hidden because it's spam. This post was link spam. It's still available (just hidden), if you really want to see it..

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