Things I Noticed

Various things I noticed these past few days.

Why are some people such tyrants?

MANILA, Philippines – Smokers may soon be limited to the privacy of their homes for their fix as Cabinet officials announced the signing by President Rodrigo Duterte of an Executive Order banning smoking in all public places nationwide this week.

According to Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial, the EO will order government agencies and LGUs to enforce the ban on all public places.

“The executive order will actually mandate all the agencies of government, including the local government to implement this 100% smoking ban in all public places. It’s not just Metro Manila,” she told ABS-CBN. “There will be no smoking in public places anymore, whether indoor or outdoor. Parks, bus stations, and even in vehicles. All these are considered public places.”

Vaping, as well as designating smoking areas, are likewise included in the ban.

Resistance to tyranny – I have fond memories of a little Fukuoka restaurant.

Japan: Where Antismoking Laws Go to Die?

TOKYO—A government plan to introduce Japan’s first nationwide restrictions on smoking is running into trouble, owing partly to the country’s deep-seated smoking culture.

In Japan, diners often can still light up freely in bars, cafes and restaurants. There’s a smoking booth in the lobby of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s headquarters. Even the health ministry sets aside an area outside for smokers.

Restrictions have tightened a bit in recent years—often introduced by individual companies or local governments. But it has taken the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo to spark the first serious effort for a national law to curtail smoking in restaurants, hospitals and schools…

Big opposition comes from cafe, restaurant and bar owners, who say they don’t have the money or space to create sealed-off smoking areas.

“People’s livelihoods depend on this,” says Yoshie Morita, who owns a small bar in Tokyo’s Golden Gai section, which is packed with tiny establishments.

More tyranny:

Prison smoking ban blamed for rise in assaults and vandalism

Report by the Independent Monitoring Board blames tobacco withdrawal amongst inmates for a series of incidents

The smoking ban in jails has sparked a rise in assaults and ­vandalism by cig-craving lags.

An inspectors’ report blames tobacco withdrawal for a series of incidents.

HMP Cardiff was plunged into darkness when prisoners dismantled a kettle to get sparks to light homemade cigarettes and tripped a fusebox.

The desperate inmates had fashioned smokes out of tea and shredded nicotine patches after smoking was banned last year.

The report by the Independent Monitoring Board said: “There is no proof of a direct link with the ban.

“But the indirect consequences of the increase in ­offences such as damage to property, assaults, possession of unauthorised articles and disobeying lawful orders could be due to stress resulting from tobacco withdrawal.

Do alcohol and cigarettes arrive with boyfriends?

One of the things the brilliant minds at MIT do — besides ponder the nature of the universe and build sci-fi gizmos, of course — is notarize aircraft airworthiness for the federal government. So when Sabrina Pasterski walked into the campus offices one cold January morning seeking the OK for a single-engine plane she had built, it might have been business as usual. Except that the shaggy-haired, wide-eyed plane builder before them was just 14 and had already flown solo. “I couldn’t believe it,” recalls Peggy Udden, an executive secretary at MIT, “not only because she was so young, but a girl.”

Now, eight years later, the lanky, 22-year-old Pasterski is already an MIT graduate and Harvard Ph.D. candidate who has the world of physics abuzz…

An only child, Pasterski speaks with some awkwardness and punctuates her e-mails with smiley faces and exclamation marks. She says she has a handful of close friends but has never had a boyfriend, an alcoholic drink or a cigarette. Pasterski says: “I’d rather stay alert, and hopefully I’m known for what I do and not what I don’t do.”

And has Donald Trump turned the tables?

You can’t get a more serious charge than a sitting president wiretapped a presidential campaign. You can’t get a more serious charge. And by the Democrats’ own definition that mandates an investigation. And Congress said they’ll do it. They’re gonna fold Trump’s allegation into the rest of this.


About Frank Davis

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12 Responses to Things I Noticed

  1. Clicky says:

  2. waltc says:

    In answer to your first question: because they can. And because too many people like to be dictated to (“Escape from Freedom”) and like to identify with the dictator’s power. That’s how Duterte has attracted civilian volunteers into his goon squads that have killed thousands of known or suspected drug dealers and even users. That’s how Hitler got so many unter-fuhrers and brown shirts and Hitler Youth and rats. And that’s why so many non and ex smokers militantly join the Anti brigade– because that’s where the power is.

    What got me a few months ago was a public television feature lauding the “grass roots” anti-smoking movement in the Philippines, replete with footage of large sign-waving crowds doing “marches against smoking” and equally lauding the government’s “leadership” in the advance of public health. Got me enough that I e’d them about how they could so slaveringly praise a government with goon squads committing vigilante mayhem that was likely to soon be waged against cigarette smokers.

    As I still suspect it will.

    • junican says:

      I think you are right, Walt. I know for a fact that many people are fans of Manchester United FC merely because they are winners. They know bugger all about football and have no relationship with Manchester whatsoever. They get a huge buzz when THEIR team scores and wins.

    • Frank Davis says:

      It doesn’t really answer the question. Lots of people find themselves in positions of power, but don’t abuse that power. Various Roman emperors or kings come to mind. Others behave absolutely tyrannically. Duterte’s predecessor presumably had just as much power as he did, but doesn’t seem to have employed death squads. It must be something to do with the individuals themselves. Their character, education, religious beliefs.

      • waltc says:

        Ah, you’re quite right. I meant that the people who ARE tyrants are tyrants because they can be–because the majority of the tyrannized allow them to be. As for what personality bent makes them want or need to be tyrants, that’s beyond my pay grade tho I’d guess a pathological insecurity and a degree of control-freakery would be part of it.

  3. “goon squads committing vigilante mayhem that was likely to soon be waged against cigarette smokers.”

    All that’s needed is “The Spark” and TobakkoNacht will move from the realm of fiction.


  4. Smoking Lamp says:

    Frank, I found this essay that addresses the persecution of smokers today…

    “Off our Butts: How smoking bans extinguish solidarity” at

    The following is its opening paragraph:

    “The powers that be say anti-smoking legislation is for our own well-being. Nothing could be further from the truth. The attack on cigarette smoking does not improve the lives of those it claims to protect, be they the “self-destructive” workers who smoke or the moralizing professionals who complain about having to smell them. Anti-smoking legislation is, and always has been, about social control. It is about ratcheting up worker productivity and fostering class hatred, to keep us looking for the enemy in each other instead of in those who are making a killing off cigarettes and anti-smoking campaigns alike. It legitimates the privatization of public space, limits popular assembly, and forces the working class out of political life into private isolation via the social technology of shame. It whitewashes the violence exacted on the poor by the rich to make it all seem like the worker’s own doing. It is, in short, class war by another name.”

  5. smokingscot says:

    Seems Hammond has stuck with the 2% escalator and not gone with the 5% Ms. Arnott and Mr. Blackman suggested. As a salve to them – and to the benefit of big tobacco, the minimum price for a pack of fags will go up to about £7.50.

    Of greater importance to most of us, the hike on a 30gr pouch of rolling tobacco went up by 44 pence as of 18.00 hrs today.

    Oh and the price of a bottle of champagne goes up by a whopping 10 pence, so he seems to think he’s got his priorities dead right – NOT.

    On the other hand you may want to look at prices paid by folk in NZ. The rate of exchange is 1 NZD is worth about 57 pence.

    They pay about NZD 29 for a pack of fags, so about £16.50. The comments are a wonderful example of paid trolls – and boy, oh boy, do they revel in their originality.

    • Rose says:

      This week on a matter of principle, I have been cutting my tobacco tax by about a third.
      I didn’t see why I should pay good money for tobacco I throw away, so at this moment I am smoking a cigarette of which the last third (the bit I throw away) next to the filter is morrocan mint flakes aged in a paper bag for two years – left over from a previous experiment in ice cream making.
      I use a cigarette roller so it’s easy to keep the mint separate and not spoil the flavour.

      When that runs out, I will be starting a similar experiment with unaged loose leaf tea as favoured by prisoners enduring smoking bans.

      Prisoners are ‘cooking nicotine tea’ after they were banned from smoking at Cardiff Prison
      3 MAR 2017

      “The prison implemented a no smoking policy in April last year and, while it was well managed, the IMB suggests this may have contributed to an increase in drug use, including substances smuggled into the prison and improvised substances, such as tea mixed with shredded nicotine patches.”
      “They say electrical appliances such as kettles are also being dismantled to create flames to light improvised cigarettes, presenting a fire hazard and occasionally tripping electric supplies. “The resultant fumes are also unpleasant and possibly more toxic than the original cigarette smoke,” the report states.”

      “Necessity is the mother of invention”

  6. Lisboeta says:

    This makes me feel positively ancient! I can remember a time when we would go out to dine with friends and at least half of the party indulged in an “intercourse” cigarette. (Yeah, I know it’s a lame joke.) But the non-smokers in the group didn’t get uptight about it: it was part of the live-and-let-live ethos. And that, alas, has now died.

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