Wednesday, March 20, 2013

1150 If We Don't See It, it Isn't There



1150  If We Don’t See It, it Isn’t There

Fresh from his triumph over Big Gulps, Mayor Bloomberg has started tilting at a new windmill.

The mayor wants to hide the cigarettes.  He can’t ban the sale, but he can make it harder for merchants and smokers alike by forcing stores to store them away from the prying eyes of the easily seduced.  Keep ‘em out of site and maybe they won’t buy so many of them, he says.   

Bloomberg is to smoking as anti-abortion activists are to Roe v. Wade.  They can’t knock it out all at once, so they start the death of a thousand bites.

The mayor, a reformed smoker, has raised the cigarette tax to the point that ordinary New Yorkers are as angry as a collection of tea partiers at a convention in the Medicaid building.

He has banned smoking in parks, offices, beaches and elsewhere.  Soon you’ll see cops in riot gear and wearing night vision goggles patrolling Orchard Beach and the Bronx zoo.  (Wouldn't want those lions and tigers and bears to die from secondhand smoke.)

The latest iteration:  Convenience stores would have to put their stock out of sight.  That means moving a lot of stuff around, or putting curtains in front of the displays that now take up the entire back wall of the checkout counter.

And this will do exactly what?  Well, it will discourage other former smokers from being tempted to resume the Evil Addiction.

Really!

The Food and Drug Administration was ready to require tobacco companies to put big and graphic pictures of smoke damage on the packs.  But that effort is stalled in court.  If the hide-the-smokes law passes and the Feds win their case for the Super Ugly Lung pack pictures, who really wins the fight?

If you’re a pack a day smoker in the five boroughs, you can’t afford to smoke unless you’re on the Forbes 400 list.  The mayor is on the Forbes 400 list and one of the ways he got rich was by not buying cigarettes and instead putting the money in a jar.

Earth to Mike:  you can’t stop a dedicated addict by hiding smokes in a bank vault.


Shrapnel:

--Stock analysts make a good living but are often wrong.  Someone should start analyzing the analysts by name and employer.  That might cut out the deadwood and the sheep who follow it.  Where else do people get major raises for being wrong?

--Bankrupt American Airlines is “merging” with US Scareways and wants to pay its outgoing CEO, Thomas Horton $20 million in severance.  The bankruptcy court doesn’t like the figure (neither do you,)  but the parent company, AMR, has a weasel answer... something about the newly combined company making the payment after it comes out of bankruptcy.  So why submit the thing to the court to begin with?

--A small town in central Pennsylvania is going to start charging homeowners for skunk removal, saving an estimated three thousand dollars a season, beginning next year.  Previously, it paid for the removal but now wants to homeowners to “share the cost.”  As a result, the skunks in town hall are likely to see people gladly pay for their removal.

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com
© WJR 2013




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