Thursday, February 24, 2011

Ban this, MoFo

NYC has just passed a law that will prohibit smoking in parks, beaches--but not sidewalks, streets, parking lots, and private homes...yet--and other public places, starting May 23rd. Let's put aside the loopholes in its enforcement--it won't be the cops' responsibility but the Parks Dept who, if you cannot produce a valid ID, cannot give you a summons and thus have to arrest you, which, btw, they have no authority to do--and let's look at the hypocrisy involved here.

Plenty of smokers are pissed and rightfully so. At the core of this negativity is not necessarily being unable to smoke in yet more areas, but feeling singled out for an unhealthy habit, yet drinkers--who when driving drunk, actually kill people in a much quicker and tangible way--don't face the same stigma. I don't have much of a problem with outdoor smoking bans when they are reasonable (restaurants, for example) but enacting it in bars was a ludicrous decision made by former smokers who are now anti-smoking zealots, plain and simple. Newsflash: NOTHING healthy is going on in a bar; everyone there is POISONING themselves w/alcohol. And there's plenty of that idiocy and hypocrisy in the way they've handled this new twist.

You want to tax the hell out of cigarettes and make them $12 a pack? Done. But how 'bout we jack up six packs of beer, along with wine and spirits? No? Of course not. Why? Well, for one, NYC mayor Mike Bloomberg and his lifestyle police would be guillotined within minutes of enacting such a thing. And let's not get into the grand hypocrisy that no one wants to bring up: why can't I buy cheaper cigarettes from out of state vendors? What is the ultimate goal: to make people quit or raise revenue to pay for alleged health costs? 'Cause you can't have it both ways by raising the price of cigarettes as an incentive to quit and then penalizing those who choose not to quit and want to buy them elsewhere. Hell, they even the balls to try and sue sovereign territories over which they have no domain! (Yes, Indian reservations.) This bullshit double standard is what pisses smokers off. And, for the record, many non-smokers are upset at being welcomed at their corner store by those garish anti-smoking posters. "I don't smoke and I don't need to see 'em; put them by the cigarette-vending area, not by the front door, damn it", complained a friend recently.

A while back, when one of the more recent cigarette taxes was enacted, I had this to say about it:
As anyone who’s seen the smug wine-and-cheese crowd in the media condescendingly turn up their noses at the mention of smokers—it seems we are just slightly less disgusting than Bin Laden, pedophiles, and OJ Simpson—this tax increase is one of the more elitist, bullshit moves I’ve seen in my lifetime. Let’s make it fair, non-smokers: how about, from now on we tax a six-pack of Bud so that it costs $24 at the corner bodega; a bottle of cheap wine or spirits a minimum of $50. Hey, a sin tax is a sin tax. And the economy could sure use a jolt, right?

(Btw, this is going to fuel mob-related cigarette bootlegging like never before. I never thought I'd ever say this but, I'm rooting for La Cosa Nostra on this one.)

And, as fellow blogger Rambler recently stated, "No one ever had one too many cigarettes and killed a family of four on the way home from the bar. "

Fuck you all, you arrogant, patronizing, hypocritical assholes. You know who you are.

Still stand by every word.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

What the GOP's True Goal Is

When George W. Bush won the 2004 presidential election I feared the worst: with his second and final term on the horizon and the threat of being tossed out of office behind him, 43 would line up his fellow Republicans to help dismantle as much of the policies past Democratic--and some GOP--administrations had established for social and common good. Looks like I was off by a few years, but this nefarious agenda is being pushed by a Republican controlled House of Representatives despite the presence of a Democrat in the White House and his party having control--albeit, slim--of the Senate. Healthcare, energy policy, entitlements, union-busting...you name it, they're going after it. They want to dismantle every single measure from the New Deal on down. It's quite possible they won't ultimately succeed in their goal, but they plan on riding this one out, for as long and as hard as they possibly can.

This is not some conspiracy theory nonsense or the overactive imagination of paranoid pundits. Just look around you and pay attention to the statements, proposals and more importantly, the actions of the new crop of Republican lawmakers and officials. It's not a conservative vs liberal agenda, but a radical dismantling of the federal government and what it stands for. Let's not be fooled: this is what these folks are looking to accomplish. They want to turn our country into a genuflecting mass of subservient automatons who should be grateful someone deigned to give 'em a job and not let them rot in a ditch somewhere. A country in which business interests trump everything else at all times, regardless of whose air, water, or food is being poisoned. A country in which the elderly have to work until right before they die. A country in which education and healthcare are regarded as luxuries befitting only those who can pay for them.

In recent years, a lot of these ugly scenarios have come closer to fruition than ever thought possible. The current batch of Republicans in power seemingly believe they can get the complete job done with just a big push. God help us all if they turn out be right.

Monday, February 7, 2011

How Expensive Baseball Games Have Gotten

The guys at River Ave. Blues have posted a Shea Stadium seating plan from '74, the first of two seasons in which the Mets shared their facilities w/the Yankees while the Bronx digs were being renovated. The field level seats were...$4! Yes, $4. Let that sink in for a second.

I know what you're thinking: "Yeah, but how much is that in 2011 money?"
That would be, approximately, $10-$12 today.

So, the cheapest day-of-game seat at YS today--not counting the $5 obstructed bleacher seats--is $15, more expensive, adjusting for inflation, than the best seats back in the day. Unbelievable. (The cheapest equivalent at CitiField, btw, is $12.)

"Fair enough. But neither NY team was exactly World Series material, right?"
Well, the Mets did have a losing season in '74 but the year before they won the pennant and lost the WS to the A's in 7 games, so it's not like they were sucking. The Yankees meanwhile, ended up with an 89-73 record, 2 games out of 1st place behind the Orioles. So, prices weren't low because the teams sucked. Of course, NYC's economy was about to collapse soon enough...

Sidenote:

the final AL East standings in '74:
Orioles
Yankees
Red Sox
Indians
Brewers
Tigers

the final NL East standings in '74:
Pirates
Cardinals
Phillies
Expos
Mets
Cubs

Looks funny to us now, huh?

Oh, in case you were wondering, currently the most expensive non-luxury box tix in both stadiums are $440 for Delta Club Platinum in Flushing; $325 for Field MVPs in the Bronx.