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Thread: Company Fires 4 People...For Refusing Smoking Test

  1. #1
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    Are you kidding me? 4 people fired because they refused to take smoking tests to determine if they smoke ON THEIR OWN TIME OR IN THEIR OWN HOME. I don't care that the company is a health benefits institution, you can't have corporations firing people for obeying the law.

    Ladies and Gentlmen, your CEO of Weyco Inc.:

    [img]http://www.historyguide.org/images/hitler.jpg[/img]


    [url=http://www.freep.com/news/latestnews/pm2476_20050124.htm]http://www.freep.com/news/latestnews/pm247...76_20050124.htm[/url]

    Okemos company fires 4 employees for refusing smoking test

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Monday, January 24, 2005


    LANSING -- Four employees of Okemos-based health benefits administrator Weyco Inc. have been fired for refusing to take a test that would determine whether they smoke cigarettes.

    The company instituted a policy on Jan. 1 that makes it a firing offense to smoke -- even if done after business hours or at home, the Lansing State Journal reported Monday.

    Weyco founder Howard Weyers said previously that he instituted the tough anti-smoking rule to shield his company from high health care costs.

    "I don't want to pay for the results of smoking," he said.

    The anti-smoking rule led one employee to quit work before the policy went into place. Since Jan. 1, four more people were shown the door when they balked at the anti-smoking test.

    "They were terminated at that point," said Chief Financial Officer Gary Climes.

    Even so, Weyco said, the policy has been successful. Climes estimated that about 18 to 20 of the company's 200 employers were smokers when the policy was announced in 2003.

    Of those, as many as 14 quit smoking before the policy went into place. Weyco offered them smoking cessation help, Climes said.

    "That is absolutely a victory," Climes said.

  2. #2
    It's insanity ... and how many companies are hooking their employees up with GTS's as well ... employees who are on the move and not office bound ... so they can monitor their every move?

    It's crazy, I tell you ... it's as if Orwell's BIG BROTHER is actually coming to life

  3. #3
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    If this is a private company, I couldn't disagree more. An owner of a company should be able to hire, or fire, anyone for any reason....its their business. If their practices are deemed unfair, they will likely lose their competitive position or go out of business due to a variety of factors(higher labor costs, protesting affecting business, negative image of the company) leading to higher costs and lower profits.


    I don't know the first thing about this company, but if it wants its employees to live up to a code, thats fine by me. Maybe they don't want to have the image of their employees as "unhealthy." Bottom line is this will cost the company more to do business. ANd unless the benefits out way the costs, they will learn the hard way.

  4. #4
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    My wife's company has some new "Healthy Living" initiative going on. This year, when they cater lunches or have clients come in, or have food for meetings, they will only get "healthy" foods. No desserts, no chips, no soda or juice, etc. Also, they took out all of the "junk" food from the vending machines...so now, it[s only granola bars, or Pria bars, or things like that. Pretty funny.

    [b]Lawyers[/b] - I disagree slightly. While I appreciate that private companies should have much, much flexibility, things like this come very close to infringing on the freedoms of employees. Why stop at smoking? Why not fire anyone who eats at McDonald's, or comsumes more than 2500 calories a day, even on weekends? Why don't they just weigh everyone and fire people who are over-weight, since those people tend to have higher health costs over the balance of their lives? Why not fire people who don't excercise an average of 75 minutes per week? Wouldn't these also help shield the company from "high health costs?"

    Firms can come up with any reason they want to justify their actions. Never underestimate what people will try to get away with if you let them. This applies for firms too. It seems, from reading this article, that these fired employees were all hired prior to when this policy went into effect. I am in no way a regulation advocate and you know my views about free markets, etc. I just think sometimes companies can go over-board, is all. I'd have to learn more about this particular situation though, cause right now I just don't have enough information.

  5. #5
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    I have no problem with this. Smoking is a filthy habit. Unless you roll your own.

  6. #6
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    [quote][i]Originally posted by jets5ever[/i]@Jan 25 2005, 09:53 AM
    [b] My wife's company has some new "Healthy Living" initiative going on. This year, when they cater lunches or have clients come in, or have food for meetings, they will only get "healthy" foods. No desserts, no chips, no soda or juice, etc. Also, they took out all of the "junk" food from the vending machines...so now, it[s only granola bars, or Pria bars, or things like that. Pretty funny.

    [b]Lawyers[/b] - I disagree slightly. While I appreciate that private companies should have much, much flexibility, things like this come very close to infringing on the freedoms of employees. Why stop at smoking? Why not fire anyone who eats at McDonald's, or comsumes more than 2500 calories a day, even on weekends? Why don't they just weigh everyone and fire people who are over-weight, since those people tend to have higher health costs over the balance of their lives? Why not fire people who don't excercise an average of 75 minutes per week? Wouldn't these also help shield the company from "high health costs?"

    Firms can come up with any reason they want to justify their actions. Never underestimate what people will try to get away with if you let them. This applies for firms too. It seems, from reading this article, that these fired employees were all hired prior to when this policy went into effect. I am in no way a regulation advocate and you know my views about free markets, etc. I just think sometimes companies can go over-board, is all. I'd have to learn more about this particular situation though, cause right now I just don't have enough information. [/b][/quote]
    5, I understand you point. But my point is that it will hurt the company to have policies llike that. If the company goes overboard, it will likely go out of business. I guess I view it the same way you view free speech. You have the right to say, or do economically, whatever. But the consequenbces are yours to deal with. I really wouldn't care if a company had the policy, " We don't hire Irish people or serve them cause they are stupid." Well, a policy like this would be the equivalent to economic suicide due to the backlash of the consumer. If a company required workers to "exercise 75 hours a week" , who would work there? and if you did, you'd proabbaly jump ship at teh first opportunity.

    IMO, a private company should be able to have whatever policy it wants. If it wants to operate inefficiently for whatever reason, its their choice and eventually will be their loss. In the long run, private companies will have to abandon any sort of discrimatory policies if it wants to be economically efficient.


    Disclaimer

    I don't think Irish people are stupid, just trying to use an extreme (and somewhat historical) example to prove a point.

  7. #7
    [quote][i]Originally posted by Lawyers, Guns and Money[/i]@Jan 25 2005, 01:10 PM
    [b] If this is a private company, I couldn't disagree more. An owner of a company should be able to hire, or fire, anyone for any reason....its their business. [/b][/quote]
    I’m not sure about the legality of this, private company or not. In any event, I do find this disconcerting, and I’m not just saying this because a lot of my tailgaiting friends would have been fired from that company too. :o

    If the motivating factor in this case is to save on health care expenses, what’s to prevent (as Jets5 mentioned) a company from including other lifestyle choices such as diet? It’s easy to go after smokers in today’s climate (and, no, I don’t smoke myself), but the larger ramifications of a company monitoring and dictating what its employees can do in their own homes on their own time crosses the line and is creepy in an Orwellian sense.

  8. #8
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    [quote][i]Originally posted by nickledefense[/i]@Jan 25 2005, 10:24 AM
    [b]

    If the motivating factor in this case is to save on health care expenses, whatís to prevent (as Jets5 mentioned) a company from including other lifestyle choices such as diet? Itís easy to go after smokers in todayís climate (and, no, I donít smoke myself), but the larger ramifications of a company monitoring and dictating what its employees can do in their own homes on their own time crosses the line and is creepy in an Orwellian sense. [/b][/quote]
    Any discrimatory activity will cost the company. How do they attract new talent if people don't want to work there? No matter whatever way you slice it is that it will cost the company more to attract talent, either by paying more to attract talent or have to hire ttalent that is less productive. In the long run, companies will not be able to compete in the market place if they have discrimitory policies!!


    Whatever the discrimitory activity is, the company must feel, correctly or incorrectly, that the benefits outway the costs. As soon as the company realizes that the discrimitory policy is not profitable, it will either cease the activity or lose its place in the competitve market.


    If the case is to save on health costs, will the savings in health cost make up for the hire cost of attracting workers and the decline in productivity from having an unhappy workforce (beasue seeing your fellow employees will prob kill morale and workers probably spend more time looking for new jobs instead of doing theirs.)? But the private company, IMO, has every right to employ these policies!!! But, in the long run, they probably wont be able to afford it.



    It is, most likely, not in the company's long run interest to have discrimatory policies.

  9. #9
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    Lawyers,

    As always, a great post. However, there are limitations. By your logic, companies should be able to "discriminate." Doing so would have consequences, and a free market should (in theory) punish firms that discriminate. However, we do have laws against discrimination. For example, 7-11 stores cannot refuse to sell things to black people. They obviously wouldn't want to, due to the consequences you eloquently mentioned. However, that doesn't matter, because that type of policy is illegal. Similarly, private companies cannot refuse to hire black people, or gay people, or whatever. We have EOE laws. The flexibility in hirning and firing is not limitless for private firms.

    Smokers are simply not currently a protected minority group, the way gays or ethnic minorities are. Perhaps they should be, perhaps they should not be. But if any firm substituted, say, homosexuals for smokers, and enacted a similar policy, it would be illegal. Imagine that this firm refused to hire sexually active homosexuals, by reasoning that such activity carries with it a higher risk for the transmission of STD (which it does). They could easily enact this policy under the guise of trying to "reduce health costs." Well, would that policy be illegal or legal? Should it be?


    These are all difficult questions. You make your case very well and are convincing. Obviously, you realize that there are limitations. I am just not as convinced as you are that this policy is acceptable. I'd need more information to decide, but I do tend to agree with the general notion that it does [i]seem [/i]Orwellian.....

  10. #10
    what's next? pretty soon they will be locking away weed smokers for 25 years cause they are so-called terrorists!!!

    uh... er... um

  11. #11
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    I don't think this is as cut and dry as it seems....besides the costs associated with smoking illnesses, do you guys have any idea how much time is wasted smoking butts?

    I have a smoker on my desk, I am not exagerrating when I say the person is off the desk for a minimum of an hour a day smoking, because you now have to be outdoors to smoke.

    If it effects productivity I can see a business owners point...they better not mess with my access to JI though! :lol:

  12. #12
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    [quote][i]Originally posted by bitonti[/i]@Jan 25 2005, 12:05 PM
    [b] what's next? pretty soon they will be locking away weed smokers for 25 years cause they are so-called terrorists!!!

    uh... er... um [/b][/quote]
    Bit

    this is private industry. I guess I am in the minority here, but I feel private industry should have close to free reign of their policies (obvious limitations include fraud, public safety, national security.)


    What government does is not of consequence here.

  13. #13
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    I dont smoke, but IMO the policy is just wrong. The fired employees should file a suit against the company. Are they going to tell their employees if they ever go into a bar they will be fired?

  14. #14
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    [quote][i]Originally posted by bitonti[/i]@Jan 25 2005, 01:05 PM
    [b] what's next? pretty soon they will be locking away weed smokers for 25 years cause they are so-called terrorists!!!

    uh... er... um [/b][/quote]
    Weed is illegal, and those who smoke it should pay the price of fines and Jail time.

  15. #15
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    [quote][i]Originally posted by Lawyers+ Guns and Money,Jan 25 2005, 12:11 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>[b]QUOTE[/b] (Lawyers &#064; Guns and Money,Jan 25 2005, 12:11 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-bitonti[/i]@Jan 25 2005, 12:05 PM
    [b] what&#39;s next? pretty soon they will be locking away weed smokers for 25 years cause they are so-called terrorists&#33;&#33;&#33;

    uh... er... um [/b][/quote]
    Bit

    this is private industry. I guess I am in the minority here, but I feel private industry should have close to free reign of their policies (obvious limitations include fraud, public safety, national security.)


    What government does is not of consequence here. [/b][/quote]
    Lawyers -

    What if I don&#39;t want to hire or sell my products/services to black or gay people? What if I don&#39;t want to hire women, or people over the age of 50, or people who are fat? Should that be legal or illegal? There&#39;s no fraud, national security or public safety issues with this. Just pure, naked discrimination. That&#39;s one issue.

    The second issue, IMO, is tied to the first. Does smoking cigarettes fall into this discrimination category, especially if they are smoked "off the clock" so to speak?

  16. #16
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    I don&#39;t smoke. I&#39;ve never smoked. But I&#39;m not going to judge people by whether they smoke or not.


    BUT

    I understand it&#39;s a private company and as such they can enact rules to govern what happens in the realm of the workday. If they want to ban smoking anywhere on the premises that is THEIR RIGHT. If they want to ban the infamous Smoke Breaks, the xcuse that all you smokers use to get more breaks then the rest of us :P then I have no problem

    That said, the part I take offense with is the banning of smoking on their off-time specifically AT HOME. What&#39;s next? Monitoring what shows they watch? If the boss is a republican and the employee is watching Ferenheit 9/11 is he fired? Will people be fired for eating fast food next?

    Where do you draw the line?

    I have certain rules that I have to follow at work, we all do. But the time they tell me that I can&#39;t do X, Y or Z at home which is 100% legal within the eyes of the law and has zero effect on my job or my ability to carry out my job then I say F Off. The government can&#39;t come into my house and tell me I can&#39;t smoke (although I&#39;m sure that&#39;s coming), some panzy ass CEO of a 200 person employee company sure as hell can&#39;t.

  17. #17
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    [quote][i]Originally posted by jets5ever+Jan 25 2005, 12:27 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>[b]QUOTE[/b] (jets5ever @ Jan 25 2005, 12:27 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> [quote]Originally posted by Lawyers@ Guns and Money,Jan 25 2005, 12:11 PM
    [b] <!--QuoteBegin-bitonti[/i]@Jan 25 2005, 12:05 PM
    [b] what&#39;s next? pretty soon they will be locking away weed smokers for 25 years cause they are so-called terrorists&#33;&#33;&#33;

    uh... er... um [/b][/quote]
    Bit

    this is private industry. I guess I am in the minority here, but I feel private industry should have close to free reign of their policies (obvious limitations include fraud, public safety, national security.)


    What government does is not of consequence here. [/b][/quote]
    Lawyers -

    What if I don&#39;t want to hire or sell my products/services to black or gay people? What if I don&#39;t want to hire women, or people over the age of 50, or people who are fat? Should that be legal or illegal? There&#39;s no fraud, national security or public safety issues with this. Just pure, naked discrimination. That&#39;s one issue.

    The second issue, IMO, is tied to the first. Does smoking cigarettes fall into this discrimination category, especially if they are smoked "off the clock" so to speak? [/b][/quote]
    IMO

    I have no problem with a company discriminating. If a company had a policy of "not doing business with blacks," do you really think it would be tolerated by anyone. Who would lend this company money? No bank would want to be associated with a company like this. Who would shop there? I would Imagine that protestors outside (or news reports wanting to expose racists etc) the place would make it uncomfortable for even the bigot to shop there&#33; Who wouldsupply this company with services, its probably not worth the negative feedback even if they getting 2x the normal amount.

    Like you position with free speech, economics should be free&#33; If someone wants to commit the equivalent of economic suicide, thats fine by me&#33;


    Baseball did not need anti discrimatory policies to change. Once owners realized that having black baseball players was to their advantage, policies quickly changed&#33; Those who didn&#39;t (the Redsox) had a worse product.....same idea as far as Im concerned&#33;

  18. #18
    [b]PEGGY NOONAN[/b]

    NBC reported Monday night that there is a new movement in California to ban smoking on public beaches. This is much more serious than the fact that if the law passes young people on beach blankets will no longer be able to break the ice by asking, "Got a light?"

    The NBC report came on right before I watched Tom Selleck chain-smoke through "Ike." It looked like such a liberated thing to do, smoking without care or guilt.

    There is a great lie out there that they didn&#39;t know smoking was dangerous in Ike&#39;s day, but of course they knew. They knew because they coughed, they knew because their lungs ached, they knew because when they smoked it produced phlegm, they knew because doctors told them smoking aggravates tuberculosis, they knew because they have brains, and they knew because smokers were addicted and there is some rough knowledge within the human soul that when you&#39;re addicted to something it&#39;s probably not good for you. They knew it was dangerous. Hitler was dangerous too. The world was dangerous. They were planning the biggest amphibious invasion in all of human history. Smoke &#39;em if you got &#39;em.

    I have come to hate the banners. No, I don&#39;t smoke. I just believe in the right of people to be human, to be imperfect and messy and flawed. I don&#39;t dislike the banners because they&#39;re prissy bullies, though that is reason enough. I dislike them because their work forces us to look at the shift in values in our country in our time. As I watched the NBC report, I actually thought to myself: I want to make sure I understand. If you smoke a cigarette on a beach in modern America you are harming the innocent. If you have a baby scraped from your womb, you are protecting your freedom. If you sell a pack of cigarettes to a 12-year-old boy you can be jailed, fined and sent to Guantanamo Bay with the other killers. If you sell a pack of contraceptives to a 12 year old boy in modern America you are socially responsible citizen.

    For reasons that call for an essay of their own, and as we all know, the banners of cigarettes are on and of the left, and the resisters of the banners are on the right. Once the banners of liquor were of the right and its legalizers of the left. The banners of drugs were on the right and the legalizers on the left.

    Why did the left change its stance on what it calls personal freedom regarding cigarettes and cigars? What was the logic? And please, if you are on the left, would you answer this question for me? How come the only organ the left insists be chaste is the lung? What is this pulmocentrism? Why are lungs so special? Why can&#39;t you endanger your own lungs? Why don&#39;t you care as much about livers? Don&#39;t the Democrats have a liver lobby?

    I think that it is true that there is no individual human on earth that I hate. But when I think of the banners I think of what the old news producer told the bureaucrat who fired him in a cost-cutting campaign in "Broadcast News." At the end of their meeting the bureaucrat asked in unctuous tones if there was anything he could do to help. The producer thought. "Well, I certainly hope you die soon," he said. A great cinematic moment. I wish the banners would go away and stop bothering our country.

  19. #19
    [b][color=red]A Peggy Noonan Classic[/color]

    [SIZE=3]THEM[/SIZE]

    [i]The one group for whom liberals have no tolerance at all.[/i]

    Friday, November 15, 2002

    By Peggy Noonan[/b]

    There&#39;s a lot to think about this week--the rise of Nancy Pelosi, the meaning of the Republican triumph--but my thoughts keep tugging toward a group of people who are abused, ostracized and facing a cold winter. It&#39;s not right what we do to them, and we should pay attention.

    I saw them again the other day, shivering in the cold, in the rain, without jackets or coats. They looked out, expressionless, as the great world, busy and purposeful, hurried by on the street. They were lined up along the wall of a business office. At their feet were a small mountain of cigarette butts and litter.

    They are the punished, the shamed. They are the Smokers. As they stood there--I imagined a wreath of smoke curling round their shoulders like the wooden collar of the stocks of the 17th century--I thought: Why don&#39;t we stop this?

    For a decade now we have been throwing them out of our offices and homes and public spaces. We have told them they are unclean. We treat them the way India used to treat the untouchables. We have removed them from our midst because they take small tubes of soft white paper with flecks of tobacco stuffed inside, light them on fire and suck on them. This creates smoke, which pollutes the air.

    "Second hand smoke kills." But--how to put it?--we all know that&#39;s just politically correct propaganda invented by the prohibitionists, don&#39;t we? If you spend 24 hours a day in a 4-by-4-foot room with a chain smoker you&#39;ll feel it, and you&#39;ll be harmed by it. But are you damaged by the guy down the hall who smokes in the office at work? No, you&#39;re not, and you know it. You just don&#39;t like it. Your nostrils are dainty little organs, and your nostrils trump his rights.

    But you definitely wouldn&#39;t be harmed if the handful of smokers in your office were allowed to smoke only in a common room with good ventilation. Why wouldn&#39;t that be a civilized and acceptable compromise?

    And why is it smoking that is the object of such fierce disdain?

    Within blocks of where the smokers stood in front of the office building on Madison Avenue the other day, there were people who last night bought five rocks of crack cocaine. There were people who watch child porn. There were people who drive by with the sound up so you can hear the lyrics of the song they&#39;re listening to, which is about how women are ho&#39;s who should be shot. Talk about air pollution. There were people who gorge on food, people who drink too much, people who perform abortions in the eighth month of pregnancy--the eighth month, so late that the child could almost come out and shake his little fist and say "I wish you had not killed me&#33;"

    Within blocks of where the smokers stood there were thousands of purveyors of and sharers in all the mutations and permutations of human woe, sin, malfeasance, messiness and degradation.

    And they all get to stay inside. They all get to sit at their desks.

    It&#39;s the smokers we ostracize.

    It&#39;s odd, isn&#39;t it?

    Actually it&#39;s crazy.

    I think it is an insufficiently commented-upon irony that cigarette prohibition and the public shaming it entails is the work of modern liberals. They&#39;re supposed to be the ones who are nonjudgmental, who live and let live, but they approach smoking like Carry Nation with her ax. Conservatives on the other hand let you smoke. They acknowledge sin and accept imperfection. Also most of them are culturally inclined toward courtesy of the old-fashioned sort.

    If you tried to light up near a left-wing big-city attorney, she would cut off your hand the way Christopher chopped off Ralphie&#39;s the other night on "The Sopranos." But if you are a smoker and you go visit a nice little unsophisticated Baptist lady in a suburb of Tuscaloosa, she will not only allow you to smoke, she will scurry into the dining room to find the china ashtray she put away 10 years ago under the folded table cloths. She would do this so you could have a nice place to put your ashes. She wouldn&#39;t dream of making you uncomfortable. That would be impolite and inhospitable.

    Modern liberals are not culturally inclined toward courtesy. They are inclined toward knowing what&#39;s good for you and passing ordinances to make sure you get the picture. The first [b][i]Thank You For Not Smoking[/i][/b] sign I ever saw was in 1976, on the desk of Massachusetts governor Mike Dukakis. I thought: I have seen the future, and it is puritanical.

    Why do liberals punish smokers?

    Could we discuss this?

    Is it that it makes them feel clean?

    Some parts of our culture in which liberals largely call the shots--Hollywood, for instance--are fairly low and degraded. Maybe liberals can&#39;t face this, and make themselves feel clean if they ban unclean air? Or maybe banning smokers makes them feel safe, like they&#39;ll never die.

    Maybe it makes them feel in control. Maybe it makes them feel superior.

    Or maybe they just want to bully someone.

    Which gets me to Michael Bloomberg. New York is still suffering from 9/11, threatened by huge budget deficits, struggling with Wall Street&#39;s downturn, facing draconian tax increases including a brand new commuter tax--that&#39;ll certainly encourage new businesses to come here&#33;--and trying to come to contract agreement with big unions. Our realistic and no-nonsense mayor has surveyed the scene, pondered the landscape, and come up with his answer: Ban smoking in bars.

    In bars, where the people we force out of our business offices seek refuge&#33;

    In bars, where half of us plan to spend our last hours after Osama tries to take out Times Square.

    In bars, the last public place you can go to be a dropout, a nonconformist, refusenik, a time waster, a bohemian, a hider from reality, a bum, a rebel, a bore, a heathen. The last public place in which you can really wallow in your own and others&#39; human messiness. The last place where you can still take part in that great American tradition, leaving the teeming marching soldiers of capitalism outside to go inside, quit the race, retreat and have a drink and fire up a Marlboro and . . . think, fantasize, daydream, listen to Steely Dan or Sinatra, revel in your loser-tude, play the Drunken Misery Scene in the movie of your life, meet a girl, meet a guy, meet a girl who&#39;s a guy. The last public place you could go to turn on, tune in, drop out and light up.

    No more, says our mayor. Unclean&#33;

    In this Bloomberg exhibits for the first time a bad case of mayoral mental illness.

    Something about being mayor of New York makes you, ultimately, nuts. In David Dinkins it manifested itself this way: Facing deep recession, rising crime and union strife he would contemplate our problems and then call an emergency press conference to announce his answer. The city of New York, he would say, will no longer do business with the racist government of South Africa. In Rudy Giuliani&#39;s case it was government by non sequitur--government by someone who needed an event as dramatic as 9/11 to provide a foe as big as his aggression.

    For Mr. Bloomberg now, it is as Bloomberg Has Decreed. Mr. Bloomberg doesn&#39;t allow smoking in his east side townhouse, Mr. Bloomberg will not allow it anywhere in New York. Those nasty working-class folk who still suck on cancer sticks while swilling Buds will be put down. Bloomberg Decrees.

    What an idiot. What a billionaire snob bullyboy.

    A short word on smokers. They are people who&#39;ve made a deal. They are old-fashioned, and it&#39;s an old-fashioned deal. Their sense of life is essentially conservative: They know it is short, they know part of how you say thank you for it is to really feel it and enjoy it, and they know this life isn&#39;t the most transcendent and important one you&#39;ll be living.

    Smokers are disproportionately Catholic, did you know that? They know that eventually something will kill them. They accept death and illness as part of the equation. They love smoking so much, it so enhances their enjoyment of each day, that they&#39;ll gamble. Some of them, they know, will die in a car accident next year, so it won&#39;t matter if they smoked; some will die of old age at 97; some will get emphysema or lung cancer at 50 and pay the price. Fine. You buys your smokes and takes your chances.

    This is a hardy and, as I said, old-fashioned approach to life. It is not modern.

    Modern people think that if they&#39;re tidy, floss and eat fennel they&#39;ll never die, and if they get sick they&#39;ll clone themselves and go get reborn. Smokers are more stoic and sacramental. They don&#39;t want to be cloned, they want to go to heaven and see grandma. I made up the part about how they&#39;re disproportionately Catholic but I bet it&#39;s true and in any case why shouldn&#39;t I assert phony facts? The other side does.

    No, I don&#39;t smoke. I used to. I still have some feeling for my old messier, more anarchic self, but now I don&#39;t like the smell of smoke and don&#39;t think I&#39;ll ever go back to it. But that doesn&#39;t mean no one else can. And it doesn&#39;t mean I won&#39;t let you light up.

    We should let the smokers back inside and treat them as if they&#39;re human, because they are. Until then I hope the smokers huddled together in the cold realize they&#39;re outside because of the modern liberals&#39; war against being human. I hope they organize building to building and raise money to fight the prissy prohibitionists of politics, the Bloombergs and their ilk, who can&#39;t keep you safe from muggings or suitcase nukes but make believe they&#39;re being effective by keeping you safe from a Merit Ultralight.

  20. #20
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    [quote][i]Originally posted by Lawyers+ Guns and Money,Jan 25 2005, 12:56 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>[b]QUOTE[/b] (Lawyers &#064; Guns and Money,Jan 25 2005, 12:56 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> [quote]Originally posted by jets5ever@Jan 25 2005, 12:27 PM
    [b] [quote]Originally posted by Lawyers@ Guns and Money,Jan 25 2005, 12:11 PM
    [b] <!--QuoteBegin-bitonti[/i]@Jan 25 2005, 12:05 PM
    [b] what&#39;s next? pretty soon they will be locking away weed smokers for 25 years cause they are so-called terrorists&#33;&#33;&#33;

    uh... er... um [/b][/quote]
    Bit

    this is private industry. I guess I am in the minority here, but I feel private industry should have close to free reign of their policies (obvious limitations include fraud, public safety, national security.)


    What government does is not of consequence here. [/b][/quote]
    Lawyers -

    What if I don&#39;t want to hire or sell my products/services to black or gay people? What if I don&#39;t want to hire women, or people over the age of 50, or people who are fat? Should that be legal or illegal? There&#39;s no fraud, national security or public safety issues with this. Just pure, naked discrimination. That&#39;s one issue.

    The second issue, IMO, is tied to the first. Does smoking cigarettes fall into this discrimination category, especially if they are smoked "off the clock" so to speak? [/b][/quote]
    IMO

    I have no problem with a company discriminating. If a company had a policy of "not doing business with blacks," do you really think it would be tolerated by anyone. Who would lend this company money? No bank would want to be associated with a company like this. Who would shop there? I would Imagine that protestors outside (or news reports wanting to expose racists etc) the place would make it uncomfortable for even the bigot to shop there&#33; Who wouldsupply this company with services, its probably not worth the negative feedback even if they getting 2x the normal amount.

    Like you position with free speech, economics should be free&#33; If someone wants to commit the equivalent of economic suicide, thats fine by me&#33;


    Baseball did not need anti discrimatory policies to change. Once owners realized that having black baseball players was to their advantage, policies quickly changed&#33; Those who didn&#39;t (the Redsox) had a worse product.....same idea as far as Im concerned&#33; [/b][/quote]
    Lawyers,

    Ours is not so much a philosophical difference as it is one of mere degree. Your logic is flawless, I won&#39;t try to refute it...I simply disagree slightly with your conclusions. And admittedly, perhaps this smoking thing is not the right topic with which to launch into a free market, philosophical discussion.

    But there are limits to freedom, as there are limits to free speech. Shouting "fire&#33;" in a crowded theater solely to incite a riot is speech that isn&#39;t, nor should be, permissible by law. Neither is slander, etc. Similarly, we need some form of light regulation in our business endeavors...at least, in terms of the government enforcing contracts, etc and holding firms accountable, like you mentioned, for fraud and things like that. Now, that is not to say that Spitzer isn&#39;t totally freaking out and abusing his authority and that Sarbanes-Oxley isn&#39;t way too much in the other direction, because I think it is and I think it harms the market, in the long run. And yes, I largely agree with your logic regarding the virtues of free market economics. However, I do think that some types of laws or standards are necessary.

    I guess I&#39;d have to learn more about this particular case. You make compelling arguments, no doubt. I can see myself being persuaded to agree with you. I think I am hung up on the fact that employees could be fired for smoking during off-time, and not just during working hourse. Loss of productivity, culture - all of that stuff is perfectly acceptable to me.

    I guess this, for me, is really a springboard into a discussion about personal privacy and free markets. How much personal information does ANY employer have a right to, regarding their employees? Does that fact that a firm is privately-owned allow them carte blanche to ask ANY personal question at ANY time of ANY employee, AND the right to fire them if the employee gives the "wrong" answer? I suppose employees could always quit or whatever. But I don&#39;t know. If you are hired by a firm and nothing is mentioned about Issue X (it is not in your job descrption or contract) and all of a sudden the firm wants to know about Issue X, do they have the right to fire you solely based on your response? It&#39;s tough...I can see the appeal of the strict, laissez faire answer...but I am also pretty fiercely protective of personal privacy. It&#39;s a tough call - you&#39;ve given me some food for thought....

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