Monday, June 22, 2009

It's About Time Government Controls Tobacco, Not Behavior!

So I've been biding my time on expressing an opinion about the smoking bans which seem to be fashionable these days. Believe it or not, I have mixed feelings about them. On the one hand, I can see the health benefit for non-smokers. On the other hand, I do NOT like to see government using law to eradicate personal choices.

Government is finally doing what should've been done years ago: regulate the tobacco industry. Obama has signed legislation to give the FDA sweeping power over it. It's about time government takes that type of action. Now that's the way to go. Confront smoking by dealing with the source, not by legislating behavior.

This whole situation reminds me of advertising I've seen in Mexico. Yes, in Mexico. Look around and you will find posters on bus stops that essentially say, "smoking will kill you." No beating around the bush there like we do in the States: "smoking may be harmful to your health" indeed.

Reuters Article:

Legislation Fact Sheet:

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Don't Forget, It's Ok To Discriminate! Right..

So, now Republicans and the media have found a new sensational issue to focus on regarding Supreme Court nominee Sotomayor. It seems that her participation in an all women club, The Belizean Grove, is considered to be a violation of judicial ethics. Not knowing all the facts, I disagree.

And here is why, even though I do not know the mission of this organization. My disagreement is because of a pretty simple question, really. According to their written mission statement, what group of people does this organization serve?

If the written mission statement for Belizean Grove clearly states that it exists for all women, then the answer should be obvious.

If it states that it exists for everyone and in practice excludes men, then the group is discriminating.

In other words: the bottom line is about who the group states that it serves. It discriminates when it excludes within the population served. For me, the answer to this type of question is simple: look to a group's written mission statement. I do not know the mission of Belizean Group, but it helps to have learned that the group appears to serve women and may exist in response to the all-male Bohemian club.

From an article which appeared in the New York Times:

The Belizean Grove bills itself as women’s answer to the 130-year-old all-male Bohemian Club in California. The men’s club owns a 2,500-acre camping area in Northern California called the Grove.

I cannot help but notice the irony here. Wasn't it about ten years ago that conservatives rallied behind the Boy Scouts, an organization whose stated mission appears to serve an entire group and publicly excludes gays within that group? Let us not forget that the Supreme Court sanctioned their discrimination. Funny that their website is not clear about eligibility.

Ironic and definitely not surprising that conservatives are now crying discrimination.

At any rate: once again the media and conservatives are focusing on one side of the issue. Very few people are talking about the all male Bohemian Club. I wonder why..?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes.. Take 2..

So.. after a month or so, I have found that posting status updates and microblogs here might not have been the best decision. I didn't quite like how they appeared alongside the main entries. My blog archive was just looking way too messy in the end.

I've moved them off to a separate blog. This is mainly for family and friends who would like to see what I'm up to, yet not have to go setup accounts on the social sites like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc.

Sorry for the confusion and inconvenience, everyone!! :-)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Marriage Equality Can Be Achieved By Separating Church And State

This is nothing new. Nevertheless, it is good to be reminded of the need to separate church and state with regards to marriage. Religious institutions should not be used as a clearinghouse for legal rights, privileges, and protections for any given couple and their family.

And, I learned something new today. France and other countries already make the clear distinction between church and state:

This is the way it's already done in countries such as France. "A priest or an imam, or whoever's responsible, they can't legally make a wedding or marriage if the person had not previously been married by a representative of the mayor in a city hall," said Jacques de Noray, spokesman for the French consulate in San Francisco. "Since the French Revolution, there is a clear separation between the state and church." The church ceremony, he adds, "doesn't have any legal significance."

Tornado Rainbow Triangle