Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Leadership, Tobacco, and Religion

During lunch today I had the pleasure of attending the Hubert Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs' Distinguished Carlson Lecture at the University of Minnesota via a ticket supplied by my racquetball buddy Tom A. -- may his recovery from knee surgery go well!!

Today's guest lecturer was General Colin Powell the former US Secretary of State whose speech theme was -- "Leadership: Taking Charge". Overall it is clear General Powell is a very accomplished public speaker. I saw him speak earlier this year at a conference in Austin, Texas and he shined again today before a completely filled auditorium.

Ah, "leadership", is always a key topic debated in society. I have graduated from four (4) different leadership development programs with the most recent one being "Leadership Minnesota" which is hosted by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce -

Several of our local city councils/mayors are proud of their "leadership" whereby they forced restaurant and bar owners to forbid people from smoking in their privately owned businesses. This city council activity precedes a new issue brought to my attention in the October 2, 2006 Pioneer Press newspaper article ( "Taxi Light will mean 'no alcohol' ". This article focused on the hundreds of devout Muslim taxi drivers in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport area who refuse to transport passengers in their taxi if these potential passengers are traveling with bottles of alcohol since their religious practice forbids such exposure to/promotion of alcohol use.

No I am NOT a Muslim-basher at all despite my Christian heritage but I a lover of free enterprise and private property rights so I have to wonder where our society is going when a restaurant/bar owner can't allow people to smoke tobacco in their private establishments due to government puritans BUT cab drivers who do or do NOT own their taxi cabs can dictate who can ride in their vehicles based on their possession of alcohol.

Both Muslim cab drivers/operators and bar/restaurants owners should retain equal rights to run their businesses by serving whatever patrons they want to serve without the presence of big government regulators pursuing their own agendas.

Freedom is good for all entrepreneurs,



American Lung Association of Minnesota said...

Private establishments? They are called pubs -- short for "public houses" -- for good reason, friend. You believe in two sets of health and safety standards for Minnesotans? One for people who work in the hospitality industry, another for office workers like yourself?

Take it from an old Army Public Affairs vet, you'll have to offer a better argument for workplace smoking than trying to tie it to an unreleated issue with some taxi drivers.

Todd said...

Unrelated issue? You could not be more wrong -- the taxi drivers are small business owners just like a bar or restaurant owner.

A "public house"/pub does not equate the said building to being something equivalent to a "public library" which is truly "public". Thomas Jefferson wrote of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" although the original draft said "property" instead of "pursuit of happiness".

Question -- does the American Lung Association and you in particular believe in the concept of private property? What is your city council used eminent domain to raze your home telling you they had a better use for the property?

As for your Army background -- do we not pay taxes for an army to defend our liberties so why should we surrender these same liberties to regulators and know all public officials?

Finally -- if the LUNG Association really cares about lungs why don't you spend some time promoting Dr. Brad Rodu's work, , or Dr. Michael Kunze's work,, regarding health care reform in terms of smokeless tobacco ?

At least our freedom of speech is still protected thus allowing you and I to discuss these issues freely.

Thanks for visiting,