Monday, June 22, 2009

Monday musings

So President Obama will sign a big new anti-smoking bill into law today.
Note some of the law's key provisions:
"The law won't let the FDA ban nicotine or tobacco outright, but the agency will be able to regulate what goes into tobacco products, make public the ingredients and prohibit marketing campaigns, especially those geared toward children. Anti-smoking advocates looked forward to the bill after years of attempts to control an industry so fundamental to the U.S. that carved tobacco leaves adorn some parts of the Capitol."
It used to be that anti-smoking advocates argued that, hey, we don't want to try to regulate the lives of adults or tell them what to do. But secondhand smoke hurts other people, and so that's why it has to be regulated.
Well, but...this current law has nothing to do with any harm that smokers do to others. Instead, it has to do with preventing smoking, and trying to get current smokers to quit.
Oh, well, but...[the argument will be], we simply must do this. Smoking harms smokers' health and that drives up health care costs for all of us. Yes; and eating potato chips, eating twinkies, and drinking soda pop harms one's health too...and drives up health care costs. Right? How long will it be before they come after your favorite junk food??? Maybe not as long as you think.
This kind of thing is an invasion of your liberty. People ought to be outraged. Sadly, they're not.

BASEBALL DIARY: the Tigers sweep a weekend series from the Brewers, winning yesterday, 3-2. Good stuff--the Tigers scored 10 runs Friday night, and 9 on Saturday; and then Justin Verlander comes back strong yesterday from his previous poor outing. The bullpen records a couple of saves, and Fernando Rodney especially looks good yesterday. The Tigers showed good resilience here, after their struggles of last week. And they now lead their division by 4...
Meanwhile the Cubs have now won 4 straight, beating Cleveland yesterday 6-2; before that they had 3 straight walkoff victories. It's not hard to see why--they're still getting the same solid starting pitching they've been getting, but now key hitters like Derek Lee and Geovany Soto are starting to hit. Now, guess what--they go to Detroit to play the Tigers for 3...
But the Rangers got swept over the weekend in San Francisco, losing yesterday 3-2. Saturday night they lost 2-1 in extra innings. The good news--they're still getting solid pitching. The bad news--they're just not hitting. As Kevin Millwood said, they're in a bit of a funk right now. Maybe going to mediocre Arizona starting Tuesday night can get them out of it...

IRAN UPDATE: the demonstrations there continue, though the government is trying hard to crush them. I sense the government is getting frustrated--the Iranian state continually blames outsiders (Britain, the U.S.) for the unrest, and note--now they're calling demonstrators "hooligans."
Throughout recent history, that's what dictatorial governments have alled those who protested against them. See for example the old Soviet Union. Didn't work too well for the Soviets...

ECONOMY UPDATE: where are the jobs promised by the Obama "stimulus" plan? Nowhere to be seen yet:
"Despite signs that the recession gripping the nation's economy may be easing, the unemployment rate is projected to continue rising for another year before topping out in double digits, a prospect that threatens to slow growth, increase poverty and further complicate the Obama administration's message of optimism about the economic outlook."