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Smoke this February 21, 2006

Posted by dr. gonzo in DeKalb.

Not that it really matters, because what’s done is done. But the smoking ban for DeKalb bars and restaurants is utterly ridiculous. Who are we kidding with this public safety crap? We are talking about establishments that dispense alcohol not day care centers. The people who run these places don’t care about the risk to public safety that they create, nor does the city of DeKalb, evidenced by their issuance of liquor licenses, however few that may be.

Everytime government oversteps its constitutional bounds, in my opinion, the impetus seems to fall to public safety. Let’s face it, that’s how the Bush administration justifies its abhorrent abuse and ignorance of basic civil liberties that we have long taken for granted. Smoking may seem small in the scheme of things but the spirit of America should not become the limiting of rights and privledges. That’s bad.

Just ask Jose Padilla.

While smoking in DeKalb isn’t akin to terrorism in any way the arguments used to justify the actions are similar in many ways. Another close parallel could be found in the seat belt laws. The state of Illinois, and many other states, require motorists to wear their seatbelts at all times. I do, my argument isn’t against wearing the seat belt it’s against a law telling me I have no choice but to wear it.

Same thing with the smoking ban. My argument isn’t against no smoking in restaurants and bars, it’s against a law telling me I have no choice but to not smoke in bars and restaurants.

What I found particularly interesting were a couple comments by DeKalb 1st Ward Alderman Karega Harris in the Northern Star the other day.

According to the Star, at the Jan. 23 council meeting Harris said:

If you are at the age to drink, you should be allowed to smoke if you choose.”

Then, after the ban passes, Harris tells the Star:

“I believe the decision was in the best interests of the whole community,” Harris said. “I was in favor of whatever a majority of the council was in favor of.”

I mean, what the hell is that?


At least they didn’t change the speed limit to 25 mph. Sheesh.


Next on the DeKalb City Council Agenda, the banning of all automobiles on residential streets. Maybe we could get some of those stupid motorized scooters I see all over Chicago.


Speaking of Harris, I always knew he was a bad alderman. I have been to my fair share of city council meetings here in DeKalb. The guy was like a mute.

All I have to say is check out his lackluster meeting attendance record. Look for something from me soon on the city council in general.

Photo 1: Smokes, snuffed out. (Credit: Me)


1. Anonymous - February 22, 2006

Poor, poor gang member Jose Padilla who was desperate to get in with al-Qaeda. If he wasn’t a functional retard, he would have probably pulled off harming us. Just ask Jose Padilla? Screw him.

2. yinn - February 22, 2006

anonymous, just how smart–or American–is it to say that you don’t care what happens to a guy you don’t like? Padilla may be a scumbag but he’s an American citizen who got locked up incommunicado on the president’s whim. That’s a serious violation of due process & fear is a piss-poor excuse for letting him get away with violating liberties right & left.

3. Anonymous - February 22, 2006

Karega Harris is such a waste of space. I can’t wait to see him out of office and back to beating frat boys. When will the students at NIU vote so they can have a say in DeKalb rather than letting the townies regulate everything. Instead they get this uninformed alderman collecting a salary to vote for whatever anyone louder says. NIU students deserve an advocate and its obvious Alderman Barr isn’t one either!

4. A Mc - February 22, 2006

thank you yinn. i hope its the geniuses like mr. anonymous who get dragged away in the windowless vans first. It’s pretty easy to say screw him when its just a scumbag terrorist, what about when it’s you or someone you know.

5. Anonymous - February 23, 2006

This wouldn’t happen to somebody I know because I don’t have any friends who go looking to have meetings with terrorist organizations. Where are the reports of this happening to the kind man who sells ice cream or to the 24 year-old female banker? There aren’t any. The media would be all over it if such a thing happened. Padilla gets stories about himself in Time and Newsweek and he’s a craphead. If it happened to someone who legitmately didn’t deserve their fate, the press would be all over it with their typical saturation.

I don’t give a shit about the civil liberties of terrorists. You might come back with me on how can you be sure that he is guilty, but the evidence is clearly there. Why not try him? Because they clearely are getting away with not having to, so they don’t need to risk exposing their intel in open court. You may complain about the precedent it sets and the door it opens, but how many other Jose Padillas have there been? None. If there is someone plotting a dirty bomb, I want their ass in custody regardless if there is pc or not.

You are right a mc, it is easy to say screw him when it is a scumbag terrorist and rightfully so.

6. yinn - February 23, 2006

dear anonymous, if you are not aware that violations of civil liberties are happening ‘way beyond the Padilla case now (e.g., grandmother in Cleveland being beaten up for putting up posters; people being arrested for having the wrong bumper sticker on their cars; FBI hovering helicopters over homes for intimidation purposes), you have not been reading enough. If you are not aware that over 90% of those languishing in Gitmo are innocent of any wrongdoing whatsoever, you are not paying attention. & if you are not aware that good old-fashioned police/intelligence work that includes due process is effective with terrorist plots as with any other crime, you know nothing about the LAX case.

Padilla is mentioned because his case opened the door for these abuses. He is not going to go to trial because they don’t want full exposure of what they did to him.
BTW, Padilla is not the only U.S. citizen they’ve held in this way.

What disgusts me the most is this: it takes a tremendous lack of courage, to be so afraid of terrorists that we allow our leaders to break the rules are country was founded on. True patriots must possess balls. I wish more would grow theirs back.

7. A Mc - February 23, 2006

anon: Get real. Unless you are working on the case you haven’t seen all of the evidence you say so clearly proves Padilla’s guilt. Perhaps you didn’t notice the recent revelation that most of the AMERICAN CITIZENS that were monitored during the now infamous NSA domestic spying program were never arrested nor charged with any crime. And other recent news items have touched on the fact that nearly 325,000 Americans have been listed as “terrorists.” You can give up all the freedom and liberty you want anonymous, if your fear of terrorism is that great then by all means, let authoritarianism rule the day. You should read the Constitution a bit closer.

8. Anonymous - February 23, 2006

I seriously doubt that whoever beat up the grandmother in Cleveland did not do so thinking about the Padilla case.

Of course, civil liberty violations occur all the time, but they clearly have nothing to do with Jose Padilla. Did whoever beat-up a grandmother in Cleveland do so thinking that they could get away with it because of the Padilla case? No freaking way. Not everything is connected.

I do believe that good old-fashioned police/intelligence work that includes due process can be effective in convicting people. However, at what cost? If you have to give up a drug sting in open court to convict a drug dealer, it’s not a big deal relatively. A few drug dealers might change their habits and stop what they are doing for a while and evade capture and/or prosecution. However, if you have to give up a source of intelligence that a terrorist organization doesn’t know you have, you are endangering the lives of those involved in getting the intelligence as well as allowing them to adapt so you lose a reliable stream of information and these are people who are looking to kill thousands of people at the time.

Yinn you make this statement: “Padilla is not the only U.S. citizen they’ve held in this way.” Please name another US citizen they’ve held as an enemy combatant in the manner they’ve held Padilla. Are you talking about Hamdi? He’s a terrorist dickhead as well and one that was shooting at soldiers in Afghanistan and captured overseas.

“If you are not aware that over 90% of those languishing in Gitmo are innocent of any wrongdoing whatsoever, you are not paying attention.”

Are you pulling that figure out of your ass or is it from the recent UN report, which even Kofi Annan said had flaws?

You also said: “Padilla is mentioned because his case opened the door for these abuses. He is not going to go to trial because they don’t want full exposure of what they did to him.”

Oh, so now it’s you who has worked on the case and know everybody motives? Do you really think they care that people know? Much of what has happened to Padilla (no contact with lawyer etc. etc.) has been chronicled in Time and Newsweek. Yet, there is no uproar outside of liberal activists. Is it incomprehensible to you that just maybe they don’t want to lay all of their cards on the table and say where they received certain selections of intelligence.

9. yinn - February 24, 2006

How much credibility should you have, anonymous, when you first say that the only American held as an enemy combatant was Padilla, then try to pretend that Hamdi doesn’t count somehow? Not so much.

Then you attack the premise that grandmothers are being attacked as a direct result of Padilla’s example–except I never said that. I do mean to suggest that it’s part & parcel, that of acting lawlessly in the belief that anything goes when you put the “fighting terrorism” label on it; & that the mindset now has grown to include roughing up those who disagree with those tactics.

I believe that Padilla & Hamdi are test cases–Padilla’s being more serious as he was seized on our soil–for rounding up bunches of American Muslims & perhaps those dissenters, too.

Also, I stand by my assertion that the way the administration has been handling the case has more to do with not being able to admit evidence gained from torture than with protection of intel. I base my opinion on their well-known reputation.

Lastly, I also stand by my 90%+ figure of number of innocents held at Gitmo. This is because the DoD’s own data say so.

10. Racer - May 25, 2006

Can anyone tell me what rights I have as an employee of a buisness that OVER NIGHT went smoke free because of the DeKalb ban?
They did away with our break room,we now have to go outside 50 ft.,from the building,in the rain and snow.No place to sit or relax.
Do WE have any rights here??????
I honestly feel my right to choose how I want to live my life is being denied. I don’t drink so I CHOOSE NOT to go to bars,or hang out with those who do drink.People who don’t smoke choose to NOT hang out with me,IT IS a choice? NOW I have NO choice?????
Please fill me in.

11. Racer - May 25, 2006

Next they will gripe about the “litter” of smokers outside and ban us fron that too.It is ok,for crap to be flying all over the city streets,
and drunks driving home after the bars but I can’t sit down relax and have a cigatette in a private area at work???? The NON smokers can choose NOT to come into the area that I smoke in,BUT yet I cannot choose to NOT go where they are located.IT is the only designated area that the company has for me to take my breaks and lunches.

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