aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Monday, February 07, 2005
Wonkette, Wolfe & Bush
Wonkette takes a break from writing her book to doubt that President Bush is really reading Tom Wolfe’s novel, “I Am Charlotte Simmons.” I’ll pass on that and note instead that Mr. Wolfe, who voted for Mr. Bush, was invited to speak at the White House last year in a salute to, among others, our own Flannery O’Connor.
Getting Mayor Bloomberg to say unequivocally where he stood on the issue of gay marriage had become a kind of sport among City Hall reporters this time last year. Journalists were in tacit agreement that during each of the mayor’s thrice-weekly question-and-answer sessions, at least one question on gay marriage should be posed. Then the scribes would dutifully write down the mayor’s latest duck-and-weave on the issue.This weekend he stopped ducking.”I think people have the right to love, to live with, and to marry whoever they want, regardless of their sexual orientation,” the mayor told an audience Saturday at a function of a gay rights group, the Human Rights Campaign.
That from the New York Sun today, which has the story behind the politically dangerous decision to make the statement. He’s accused of trying to have it both ways because he’s also appealing the lower court ruling granting gay and lesbian couples the right to marriage.
I’m glad to have the statement and fine with waiting for the Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, to rule on the appeal.
A bumper sticker on a local pickup truck reads, “At least it’s still legal to smoke in my car.” This in a town that defeated a No Smoking ordinance a few years back. Here we have No Smoking sections but, with no meaningful space dividers in the small local restaurants, smoke wafts freely through the entire space, including the No Smoking sections.
One man is credited with defeating the ordinance, a local restaurant and bar owner who has recently been buying up all of downtown. A nice enough fellow, he argues that the ordinance would have covered only the downtown restaurants and not his prime competition, the popular chain venues outside of downtown. But maybe the ordinance would have helped his business.
In the same year the smoking ordinance was defeated here, New York passed the toughest smoking ban in the country. No smoking in any indoor public spaces. Period. James McBratney, president of a local restaurant and tavern association there considered the (moderate) Republican mayor who championed the ban a billionaire dictator with a prohibitionist streak that would hurt small businesses like his.
Asked last week what he thought of the now two-year-old ban, Mr. McBratney sounded changed. “I have to admit,” he said sheepishly, “I’ve seen no falloff in business in either establishment.” He went on to describe what he once considered unimaginable: Customers actually seem to like it, and so does he.
But not just he and his customers; even smokers like the ban:
...a vast majority of bar and restaurant patrons interviewed last week, including self-described hard-core smokers, said they were surprised to find themselves pleased with cleaner air, cheaper dry-cleaning bills and a new social order created by the ban.
The smokers I know here, and there are many, might find themselves agreeing. None I know wants to keep on smoking. Friends in Macon won’t smoke in their own home, choosing instead to sit on a cold screen porch in winter under an electric blanket to watch TV. Just the same, I don’t expect a no smoking ordinance will pass here any time soon.
Welcome: My new weblog
I started blogging on December 6, 2004 over on my personal website. A few weeks ago I decided to seperate my personal site from my blogging site and to build this one, a “real” blog. Here I’ll have a blogroll, an about page, email link, sitemeter and comment validation to fight spam.
As you can see, all of those features aren’t up and going. I was fiddling and diddling and realized that if I didn’t move soon it would take me forever to get this site ready. So today I take the plunge. If in these next few weeks as I build the site out you experience technical difficulties, I hope you will bear with me.
As always, thanks for visiting and please come back!