November 16, 2005

Can Take No More

A group of ideologue activists, using borderline-fraudulent information, drive government leadership into an unpopular action that, months later, has been an unmitigated disaster.

But far from admitting their mistakes, the dogmatists - still lying about their information - press onward, demanding the government pour more treasure into the insanity - and wreck more lives in the process.

I'm talking, of course, about the smoking ban.

Fraters published a letter to Hennepin County from Terry Keegan, publican of Keegans Irish Pub, easily the finest of the horde of Irish joints that clog the Cities today.

The letter is damning - and scary.

Keegan notes:

For the first three months of 2005, our sales were up 8% over the same months in 2004. For the most recent three months our sales are down 7.5% compared to the same months in 2004. That is a swing of 15.5%. Although our percentage decrease is smaller than some, it represents the difference between profit and loss.
As it has for many, many local bars. The anti-smoke zealots whinge in return "That's all anecdotal! You can't prooooooooove that the ban had anything to do with the closings!"

Buncombe. We're seeing the greatest wave of bar closings since Prohibition. Since the economy is doing well, and bars in non-ban cities seem to be doing business as usual if not What could be the problem? What, oh what, could be causing all these bars in Hennepin and Ramsey Counties to dry up?

"It ain't the ban, and you can't prove that it is!", chirp the antis.


We have not had a profitable month since April, and the trend is downward. October 2005 was 17% down from October 2004. Cold weather will only accelerate the trend as smokers will be less willing to smoke outside. Hence, they will go to locations where they can smoke inside.
There are a few things that the antis didn't think about: Given a choice between preserving their addiction by driving two extra miles or challenging their addiction, 99% of addicts will take the ride 99% of the time (I'm being conservative). And when a smoker goes elsewhere, he/she isn't just taking his own business; non-smoking boyfriends, girlfriends, spouses and friends go with 'em; who wants to harsh the party by confronting a smoker's addiction? Nobody. Smokers are a minority - but their presence in a bar comes with a multiplier.

But in their little world, they didn't need to think about such things, because in the world of the zealot, the jihadi, the True Believer, technicalities are for peasants; they only get in the way of the Vision. The Vision, in this case, is a place where nobody smokes around them (but they keep buying their cigarettes, so the taxes keep funding their pet programs).


You may be interested to know that we have four fewer employees than we had in March. That translates into unemployment claims and other county benifits.
Nonsense! Jeanne Weigum and the Lung Association Guy are Happy To Pay For A Better Minnesota!

Or happy to make the rest of us do it, anyway...

It appears that St. Paul is encouraging Hennepin County to stay the course with the promise that St. Paul will enact a total smoking ban. It seems to me that promises from St. Paul and Ramsey County were broken last year. Regardless of what St. Paul does or does not do, for Northeast Minneapolis the real problem is Anoka County, just two miles north of us.

One final thought: The argument that non smokers will flock to our restaurants now that we are non smoking is totally bogus. Where are they?

Silly person. They never existed. Or, more likely, stricken with the law of unintended consequences, the ban's proponents didn't realize that smokers are a multiplier, a driver of peoples' bar-going habits in the same way that vegetarians drive an office's lunch-ordering practices.
Please act.
That's what got us into this mess.

How about it, ban advocates? How is it that you can rationalize this ban in the face of the evidence of the suffering you (and only you) are causing?

Chad reminds us that the email address to provide feedback to the county board is:

Posted by Mitch at November 16, 2005 07:20 AM | TrackBack

But we need the Hennepin County board to protect us from ourselves! They are so much wiser than us plebians.
I did e-mail them, and Mitch, I recommend you put that e-mail address up front.

Posted by: Kermit at November 16, 2005 09:09 AM

""But far from admitting their mistakes, the dogmatists - still lying about their information - press onward, demanding the government pour more treasure into the insanity - and wreck more lives in the process.

I'm talking, of course, about the smoking ban.""

Funny, I though you were talking about the war in Iraq *laughing*

Anyway, Smoking ban BAD! Any attempt by the goverment to prohibit the use of a legal product in a privately owned establishment only creates a precedent where they can go after anything they want down the road. If cigarettes are bad, ban them, if not, allow the law abiding citizens to make their own decisions. If there is such a demand for smoke free establishments, why weren't they sprouting up in droves a long time ago!


Posted by: Flash at November 16, 2005 09:20 AM

I find it ironic that so many of the same people that want the governement out of their private personal lives have no problem crushing the rights of the individual citizen in their right to run their PRIVATE establishment as they choose (within obvious legal reason).

Flash is dead on. This is a step in the process not an end. The Kelo eminent domain case is another. What's next taking our guns? (oh yeah, they're doing that in San Francisco). Thomas Jefferson wouldn't recognize his country.

Posted by: Nordeaster at November 16, 2005 04:11 PM

Smokers come with the "friends" multiplier, but smokers ALSO tend to drink more than non-smokers. There are three different bars where I've gone from "one of our best customers" to "where the hell have you been!?" since the ban.

Since the ban, my biggest bar-tab at Keegan's was under $20, including tip. And I've only been there twice. Pre-ban, I was in at least once per month, and usually dropped something like $60, pre-tip. I'd stick around, drinking expensive beer and more expensive whiskey until the music got too loud and drove me away. Now I have an urge for a smoke, and settle up and head home.

At least Jim Surdyk is making more from me now.

Posted by: Dave Polaschek at November 17, 2005 07:08 AM

I guess the thing that amazes me is that people who have (or should have) their eyes wide open still decide to go into business in Minneapolis.

What? You mean there is an activist, socialist government at work to screw businesses at any and every opportunity? Who knew?

Posted by: JB Doubtless at November 17, 2005 09:55 AM

Of course, there's another possible explanation for the decrease of business at Keegans...

Ellis Island Dog Genuine New York style hotdog topped with Keegan's own red sauce. Served with chips and pickle. $5.95

Or this...

Summit Extra Pale Ale - 16 oz., $4.50

Plus, what... 6.5% for sales tax plus another 1.5%? (to pay for the Metrodome that was paid off, what 10 years ago? I assume that applies across the river too?)

Another 20% for a tip?

So, a hotdog and a beer will set you back about 15 bucks?

Bring your spouse (or life partner - hey it's Minneapolis isn't it?) and you're gonna drop at least 40 bucks. Have a couple more good beers and That's an entire days wages for your average Walmart employee...

Yup... Must be the smoking ban...

Posted by: Doug at November 17, 2005 11:22 AM

"There is no temptation so insidious or seductive as the temptation to take control of other peoples lives for their own good."

If "2nd hand smoke" in bars is bad for employees then why wasn't OSHA driving the ban? Better yet, if its 2nd hand smoke that's the problem then why not set a threshhold level and require air changers to maintain the ppm below the threshhold? Because it's not about the smoke. It's about taking control of peoples lives - for their own good of course.

Posted by: BobbyRay at November 17, 2005 11:55 AM

I will tell you why, BobbyRay. Big Tobacco (and tobacco state politicos) killed the draft OSHA guidelines on secondhand smoke. As a result, there are no OSHA guidelines on ETS. That is why city, county and state governments had to step in and act to protect their citizens.

Posted by: Bob from ALAMN at November 17, 2005 12:46 PM

Although I instinctively dislike people named "Doug" I agree with his comments.

My wife and I went to one of the MOB events, ate, had a pub dinner and the bill was a hundred bucks! And my wife doesn't even drink!

6 bucks for a beer is BS no matter how you slice it.

Posted by: JB Doubtless at November 17, 2005 01:58 PM

Doug: Business had been up *sharply*, and the place was usually packed Thursday through Satruday (the sweet spot for most bars), and then dropped by a sixth inside three months. There were no huge price increases during that three month period.

Yep. Must be the six dollar imports.

JB: A hundred bucks for dinner for two? And only one was drinking?

Words fail.

Posted by: mitch at November 17, 2005 04:36 PM


$5.95 for a hotdog with Keegans own red sauce, chips and a pickle...

That's about 15 cents for pig entrails stuffed onto length of intestine, 7 cents for a handful of deep fried sliced potatoes, 3 cents for a pickle spear and $5.70 for ketchup.

Maybe without all the alcohol and nicoteen floating through patrons veins, they realized that they were getting raped.

By the way... $4.50 for a Summit... Please.

Posted by: Doug at November 17, 2005 06:43 PM

Maybe they are just pricing themselves out of business combined with the tobacco ban.

50 cents of hot dog and 20 of a first grade bun and a potato still cost a nickle (dime if deep friend).

I can still brew my pints at 25 cents a pint.

Still say do not spend a dime in Hennepin County if you can get away with it. St. Paul soon if Jay Benenav/Dave Thune/Coleman axis enact this stupidity.

Time to vote with our feet and dollars and close the businesses and the politician. Kill 'em all that threaten liberty and being conservative with your own money.

Posted by: Greg at November 18, 2005 10:08 AM

We ate lunch at Keegan's in was VERY good (I had some kind of salmon platter with capers and sour cream..sigh) and my husband probably had at least two beers with his lunch...can't remember what it cost, but we weren't unhappy with the bill at all...couldn't have been too bad. Anyway, the thing that struck me was that we were the only two in there except for one other guy....but it was a weekday at lunch, so maybe that's it. I enjoy smokeless places, but I am never going to agree with something that tells people what to do with their own property and liveliehood. Where has freedom gone?

Posted by: Colleen at November 18, 2005 01:47 PM

"Maybe without all the alcohol and nicoteen floating through patrons veins, they realized that they were getting raped. "

Or maybe there are aliens in the rest rooms that abduct customers, give them anal probes, and steal their beer. Hey, it's just as likely as your scenario - once you actually pay attention to the evidence.

Keegans isn't especially expensive; they charge what the market'll bear.

All of you peoples' noodling about the topic is irrelevant; Keegan said it himself, business was up sharply before the ban - and as someone who has gone to Keegans a couple times a month for the last year or so, and worked in bars long enough to know when a joint has mojo and when it doesn't, I think Terry had it right in his letter. Weekend evenings were JAMMED. Thursdays nights were *hopping*. Tuesday - traditionally a very dead night in bars - was doing very well.

As Keegan himself put it - the ban was the difference between making money and losing it.

The prices, in short, are irrelevant; Fish and Chips at Perkins cost maybe a buck less than Keegans, aren't as good, and you can't get a Guinness with 'em. They are NOT pricing themselves out of the business. (Or weren't, back when the smoking ban artificially restricted their market of customers).

As to what things cost at home (and I also brew some beer, by the way); When one goes to a restaurant, one gets - yep, the same food one can get for a fraction of the price at home.

One pays for the privilege of having someone else cook it, bring it to you, and clean up afterwards. Is it worth an extra ten bucks on a buck worth of food? It's up to you. Personally - yeah, I like to kick back with my friends and let someone else do the fussing once in a while.

Hennepin County just HATES that.

Posted by: mitch at November 19, 2005 08:30 AM

Oh, Lunger there you go again, outright lies. (6 comments ago) There IS an OSHA permissible exposure limit for every chemical in secondhand smoke.

SLP enviro health dept. and the California EPA conducted tests for nicotine....the only chemical you can accurately measure in 2ndhand smoke. SLP results secondhand smoke is 500 -15 times safer than OSHA guidelines.....CA EPA results were 50,000 - 100 times safer than OSHA guidelines.

FACTS here:

Posted by: marcus aurelius at November 21, 2005 08:22 AM

They were interviewing mayor erect Coleman this evening and he really has a hard on to sign a smoking ban.

St. Paul 4 bars, no smoking no Ford plant and a push for Light Rail Tyranny (LRT) up University Ave. or as the mayor-erect sez---the central corridor...ahhhh great quality of life coming...

Mitch, you better plan to sell and live in the 'burbs like the rest of us...the moonbats are taking over in the two cities....all we can hope is when AQ lets go with their "bottled sunshine", it is in one of those two cities. Their inhabitants/moonbat voters need reduction...

Posted by: Greg at November 21, 2005 10:22 PM

Greg said,

"the moonbats are taking over in the two cities...."

I thought we were in the minority? Don't let the door hit "ya where the good Lord split "ya! Buh Bye!

"all we can hope is when AQ lets go with their "bottled sunshine", it is in one of those two cities. Their inhabitants/moonbat voters need reduction..."

Hey Mitch, Bill O'Reilly is here posting as "Greg"! Hi Bill!

Posted by: Doug at November 22, 2005 08:32 AM

Doug...shove it up your ass (and you would probably like it)...

Moonbat population needs reduction by any method possible...bird flu in the central cities...yippee...50% reduction of moombats..

Posted by: Greg at November 23, 2005 03:56 AM

Hey Greg... er, uh... Bill! My heavens... what an angry and violent response... Does our little Gweggy need a hug...? Did someone make fun of you today at recess...?

Maybe you could hook up with Swiftee and attend some anger management classes together...

By the way... what's with your homoerotic obsessions...?

First, you publicly display your obsession with Mayor-elect Colemans erect penis and now you seem fascinated with the thought that I might enjoy being sodomized...

I've heard that repressed homosexual urges often lead to serious mental health problems with symptoms like expressing a desire for harm or injury against preceived enemys...

Maybe you should look at that Greg.

Posted by: Doug at November 23, 2005 10:39 AM
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