Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

Please note I have a new phone number...


Alan Maki

Alan Maki
Doing research at the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

A program for real change...


What we need is a "21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity" which would make it a mandatory requirement that the president and Congress attain and maintain full employment.

"Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens"

- Ben Franklin

Let's talk...

Let's talk...

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Freedom to Breathe Act: Two Views of the Minnesota Smoking Ban

Timber Jay Newspaper

Saturday, May 26, 2001907 Volume 18, Issue 20

Mixed views on the impact of smoking ban
By Tom Klein

Bob Howe estimates that 95 percent of his customers at Orr’s municipal liquor store smoke.

That will change Oct. 1 when a statewide smoking ban, approved over the weekend by the state Legislature, takes effect. The ban prohibits smoking in nearly every public place — including bars, restaurants, VFW and American Legion clubs — with a few minor exceptions. Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed the bill on Wednesday.

Howe expects to see a drop in business, at least initially when the ban begins, and so do others.

“Absolutely it will hurt business,” said Tracy Luecken, owner of the Old Muni in Cook. “Over 75 percent of our clientele smoke. Business will go down once the ban goes into effect and it will take awhile to get the business back.”

Randy Semo, who owns The Good Ol’ Days bar and grill in Tower, said he conducted a survey of his customers. Of the 280 who participated, about 40 percent said they would still visit the bar as much as they currently do, but 22-25 percent said they would come in less often if smoking is banned. Semo said he hopes to offset potential losses by attracting more non-smokers but is uncertain how much additional trade he can expect.

Under the Freedom to Breathe Act, customers violating the ban would face misdemeanor charges. Proprietors will be expected to enforce the ban by asking customers who light up to stop. If they refuse, the proprietor will be required to ask them to leave and, if necessary, “handle the situation consistent with lawful methods for handling other persons acting in a disorderly manner or as a trespasser.”

The ban also applies to public transportation including buses, trains, taxis, limousines and transit stops and terminals.

Smoking still would be allowed in:

‰Private homes and vehicles.

‰Private rooms in hotels, motels, nursing homes and other residential facilities.

‰Scientific studies, Indian ceremonies, tobacco shops, truck cabs, farm vehicles, buildings on family farms and on stage for actors performing in plays.

Range opposition

State Rep. David Dill, DFL-Crane Lake, said he and other Range lawmakers voted against the ban. Dill thought there should be an exemption for bars and fears that it could drive some smaller taverns out of business.

He’s especially worried about the impact on those businesses on the east end of Vermilion and close to the Fortune Bay Casino. Casinos located on Indian reservations are not affected by the ban. “It creates an uneven playing field,” said Dill, who predicted that smokers may gravitate at the casino.

Rep. Tom Rukavina, DFL-Virginia,was one of the most vehement opponents of the total ban. He had offered an alternative measure which would have allowed smoking rooms in bars. Rukavina said polls showed Minnesotans were less concerned about smoking in bars than they were in restaurants. “This is going to hurt many bars,” he said. “They’ve already been hit hard with all the new DWI laws, now they’re going to have to shoulder this burden.”

Supporters promoted the ban as protection for employees exposed to secondhand smoke. Main sponsor Rep. Tom Huntley, DFL-Duluth, said it should help reduce the 580 yearly deaths from secondhand smoke.

But non-smoker Ron Setter, who tends bar at the Log Cabin Tavern & Cafe in Angora, sees the ban as an interference from a metro crowd that doesn’t even patronize the bar where he works. “Pretty soon they’ll tell you you can’t smoke in your own house,” said Setter.

Others say the ban was inevitable. St. Louis County has been considering a smoking ban modeled after Duluth’s city ordinance, but contemplating the possibility of a more comprehensive ban. The county is expected to withdraw its proposed ordinance as a result of the statewide ban.

Soudan resident Zoe Planton, who testified at public hearings in support of a countywide smoking ban, said she loved to go dancing, but her asthma kept her home from bars and clubs where smoking was permitted. She said others with respiratory problems would be more apt to go out once the ban takes effect.

“This is a plus for all of us who have been excluded due to the smoke,” she said, adding that she was also happy for the workers who would be protected from secondhand smoke.

Veteran Dewey Katzenberger said he thinks the ban may draw more people to the Cook VFW for bingo nights and Norm Cote, a former smoker and past commander, said he doesn’t anticipate any change in business at the American Legion in Orr.

The bill does include provisions for alleviating any economic fallout from the ban. Bar, restaurant and charitable gambling workers driven out of their jobs by the smoking ban in the first two years could get job training and other dislocated worker aid.

In addition, lawmakers asked for a study of the impact on pull-tabs, bingo and other forms of charitable gambling.


My Response:

-----Original Message-----
From: Alan Maki [mailto:amaki000@centurytel.net]
Sent: Friday, May 26, 2007 3:55 PM
To: editor@timberjay.com
Cc: 'Alan Maki'; mnaflcio@qwest.net
Subject: Letter to the editor; smoking ban, submitted for publication.

Over twenty thousand Minnesotans go to work in smoke-filled casinos everyday. State legislators don’t care about casino workers; or, casino patrons who are the same people they say they are protecting from second-hand smoke everyplace else with the new “Freedom to Breath” legislation.

If state legislators would show some concern for these 20,000 casino workers employed in an industry making money hand over fist which subjects casino workers not only to the health hazards of second-hand smoke, but leaves them completely at the mercy of managements that have no respect for working people and their right to be employed in a healthy and safe workplace to begin with, Representatives Dill and Rukavina would not have to be complaining of an “uneven playing field.”

People sit in bars by choice; people work in these casinos because they need a job. There is a big difference; both Dill and Rukavina should be able to understand this.

Workers have a right to expect that state legislators will not throw them into situations where they have no rights under state or federal labor laws and now without the protection of “Freedom To Breathe” legislation, something state legislators have done with casino workers.

Who has allowed such an “uneven playing field” to develop in the first place? These legislators should look in the mirror.

It is up to Dill and Rukavina to stop crying about this smoking ban and the “uneven playing field” they created in the first place and continue to tolerate… their concern should be for the health of all workers, including casino workers, and Dill and Rukavina should take the appropriate measures to “level the playing field” by making sure all workers, including casino workers, have the right to be employed in safe and healthy work environments protected by the same state and federal labor laws that protect all other workers.

I have a great deal of respect for Representative Tom Rukavina and support just about everything he does as a State Legislator--- Rukavina is the best state legislator in Minnesota when it comes to being an advocate for the rights of working people; but, on this issue, he is wrong. Representative Rukavina is concerned about a few bar owners when he should be concerned about the people working in these bars for eight, ten, and twelve hours who breathe in this second-hand smoke.

I am quite sure I speak for all of organized labor in what I have stated; I know I speak for most working people who want to be employed in a healthy and safe working environment; this includes a smoke-free work environment.

Alan L. Maki

Director of Organizing
Red Lake Casino, Hotel, and Restaurant Employees’ Union Organizing Committee


Member, MN DFL State Central Committee, Roseau County

58891 County Road 13

Warroad, Minnesota 56763

Phone: 218-386-2432

Cell phone: 651-587-5541

E-mail: amaki000@centurytel.net

Check out my blog:

Thoughts From Podunk


A Note on my previous blog:

United States Senator Amy "Republican Lite" Klobuchar and United States Congressman Walz both voted to give Bush the money to continue this dirty war in Iraq... even former DFL'er turned Republican Norm Coleman had the common sense to go into hiding for this vote knowing a "yes" vote would have been political suicide. I am waiting to hear the "spin" the officers of the Minnesota DFL put on this. My position is that Klobuchar and Walz should go fight the war they have funded along with Bush and the rest of this pack of rats that voted "yes."

Here is the Senate and House roll call:

Senate Roll Call on Iraq Spending
The Associated Press

Thursday 24 May 2007

The 80-14 roll call Thursday by which the Senate passed an Iraq war spending bill.

A "yes" vote is a vote to pass the bill.

Voting "yes" were 37 Democrats, 42 Republicans and 1 independent.

Voting "no" were 10 Democrats, 3 Republicans and 1 independent.

Alabama Sessions (R) Yes; Shelby (R) Yes.

Alaska Murkowski (R) Yes; Stevens (R) Yes.

Arizona Kyl (R) Yes; McCain (R) Yes.

Arkansas Lincoln (D) Yes; Pryor (D) Yes.

California Boxer (D) No; Feinstein (D) Yes.

Colorado Allard (R) Yes; Salazar (D) Yes.

Connecticut Dodd (D) No; Lieberman (I) Yes.

Delaware Biden (D) Yes; Carper (D) Yes.

Florida Martinez (R) Yes; Nelson (D) Yes.

Georgia Chambliss (R) Yes; Isakson (R) Yes.

Hawaii Akaka (D) Yes; Inouye (D) Yes.

Idaho Craig (R) Yes; Crapo (R) Yes.

Illinois Durbin (D) Yes; Obama (D) No.

Indiana Bayh (D) Yes; Lugar (R) Yes.

Iowa Grassley (R) Yes; Harkin (D) Yes.

Kansas Brownback (R) Not Voting; Roberts (R) Yes.

Kentucky Bunning (R) Yes; McConnell (R) Yes.

Louisiana Landrieu (D) Yes; Vitter (R) Yes.

Maine Collins (R) Yes; Snowe (R) Yes.

Maryland Cardin (D) Yes; Mikulski (D) Yes.

Massachusetts Kennedy (D) No; Kerry (D) No.

Michigan Levin (D) Yes; Stabenow (D) Yes.

Minnesota Coleman (R) Not Voting; Klobuchar (D) Yes.

Mississippi Cochran (R) Yes; Lott (R) Yes.

Missouri Bond (R) Yes; McCaskill (D) Yes.

Montana Baucus (D) Yes; Tester (D) Yes.

Nebraska Hagel (R) Yes; Nelson (D) Yes.

Nevada Ensign (R) Yes; Reid (D) Yes.

New Hampshire Gregg (R) Yes; Sununu (R) Yes.

New Jersey Lautenberg (D) Yes; Menendez (D) Yes.

New Mexico Bingaman (D) Yes; Domenici (R) Yes.

New York Clinton (D) No; Schumer (D) Not Voting.

North Carolina Burr (R) No; Dole (R) Yes.

North Dakota Conrad (D) Yes; Dorgan (D) Yes.

Ohio Brown (D) Yes; Voinovich (R) Yes.

Oklahoma Coburn (R) No; Inhofe (R) Yes.

Oregon Smith (R) Yes; Wyden (D) No.

Pennsylvania Casey (D) Yes; Specter (R) Yes.

Rhode Island Reed (D) Yes; Whitehouse (D) No.

South Carolina DeMint (R) Yes; Graham (R) Yes.

South Dakota Johnson (D) Not Voting; Thune (R) Yes.

Tennessee Alexander (R) Yes; Corker (R) Yes.

Texas Cornyn (R) Yes; Hutchison (R) Yes.

Utah Bennett (R) Yes; Hatch (R) Not Voting.

Vermont Leahy (D) No; Sanders (I) No.

VirginiaWarner (R) Yes; Webb (D) Yes.

WashingtonCantwell (D) Yes; Murray (D) Yes.

West VirginiaByrd (D) Yes; Rockefeller (D) Yes.

Wisconsin Feingold (D) No; Kohl (D) Yes.

Wyoming Enzi (R) No; Thomas (R) Not Voting.


House Roll Call on War Spending Bill
The Associated Press

Thursday 24 May 2007

The 280-142 roll call Thursday by which the House passed an Iraq war spending bill.

A yes vote is a vote to pass the bill.

Voting yes were 86 Democrats and 194 Republicans.

Voting no were 140 Democrats and two Republicans.

X denotes those not voting.

There are two vacancies in the 435-member House.


Democrats - Cramer, Y; Davis, N.

Republicans - Aderholt, Y; Bachus, Y; Bonner, Y; Everett, Y; Rogers, Y.


Republicans - Young, Y.


Democrats - Giffords, Y; Grijalva, N; Mitchell, Y; Pastor, N.

Republicans - Flake, Y; Franks, Y; Renzi, Y; Shadegg, Y.


Democrats - Berry, Y; Ross, Y; Snyder, Y.

Republicans - Boozman, Y.


Democrats - Baca, Y; Becerra, N; Berman, X; Capps, N; Cardoza, Y; Costa, Y; Davis, Y; Eshoo, N; Farr, N; Filner, N; Harman, N; Honda, N; Lantos, N; Lee, N; Lofgren, Zoe, N; Matsui, N; McNerney, N; Miller, George, N; Napolitano, N; Pelosi, N; Roybal-Allard, N; Sanchez, Linda T., N; Sanchez, Loretta, N; Schiff, N; Sherman, N; Solis, N; Stark, N; Tauscher, N; Thompson, N; Waters, N; Watson, N; Waxman, N; Woolsey, N.

Republicans - Bilbray, Y; Bono, Y; Calvert, Y; Campbell, X; Doolittle, Y; Dreier, Y; Gallegly, Y; Herger, Y; Hunter, Y; Issa, Y; Lewis, Y; Lungren, Daniel E., Y; McCarthy, Y; McKeon, Y; Miller, Gary, Y; Nunes, Y; Radanovich, Y; Rohrabacher, Y; Royce, Y.


Democrats - DeGette, X; Perlmutter, N; Salazar, Y; Udall, Y.

Republicans - Lamborn, Y; Musgrave, Y; Tancredo, Y.


Democrats - Courtney, N; DeLauro, N; Larson, N; Murphy, N.

Republicans - Shays, Y.


Republicans - Castle, Y.


Democrats - Boyd, Y; Brown, Corrine, N; Castor, N; Hastings, N; Klein, N; Mahoney, Y; Meek, Y; Wasserman Schultz, Y; Wexler, N.

Republicans - Bilirakis, Y; Brown-Waite, Ginny, Y; Buchanan, Y; Crenshaw, Y; Diaz-Balart, L., Y; Diaz-Balart, M., Y; Feeney, Y; Keller, Y; Mack, Y; Mica, Y; Miller, Y; Putnam, Y; Ros-Lehtinen, Y; Stearns, Y; Weldon, Y; Young, Y.


Democrats - Barrow, Y; Bishop, Y; Johnson, N; Lewis, X; Marshall, Y; Scott, Y.

Republicans - Deal, Y; Gingrey, Y; Kingston, Y; Linder, Y; Price, Y; Westmoreland, Y.


Democrats - Abercrombie, N; Hirono, N.


Republicans - Sali, Y; Simpson, Y.


Democrats - Bean, Y; Costello, N; Davis, N; Emanuel, Y; Gutierrez, N; Hare, N; Jackson, N; Lipinski, Y; Rush, N; Schakowsky, N.

Republicans - Biggert, Y; Hastert, Y; Johnson, Y; Kirk, Y; LaHood, Y; Manzullo, Y; Roskam, Y; Shimkus, Y; Weller, X.


Democrats - Carson, N; Donnelly, Y; Ellsworth, Y; Hill, Y; Visclosky, Y.

Republicans - Burton, Y; Buyer, Y; Pence, Y; Souder, Y.


Democrats - Boswell, Y; Braley, N; Loebsack, N.

Republicans - King, Y; Latham, Y.


Democrats - Boyda, Y; Moore, Y.

Republicans - Moran, Y; Tiahrt, Y.


Democrats - Chandler, Y; Yarmuth, N.

Republicans - Davis, Y; Lewis, Y; Rogers, Y; Whitfield, Y.


Democrats - Jefferson, N; Melancon, Y.

Republicans - Alexander, Y; Baker, Y; Boustany, Y; Jindal, Y; McCrery, Y.


Democrats - Allen, N; Michaud, N.


Democrats - Cummings, N; Hoyer, Y; Ruppersberger, Y; Sarbanes, N; Van Hollen, N; Wynn, N.

Republicans - Bartlett, Y; Gilchrest, Y.


Democrats - Capuano, N; Delahunt, N; Frank, N; Lynch, N; Markey, N; McGovern, N; Meehan, N; Neal, N; Olver, N; Tierney, N.


Democrats - Conyers, N; Dingell, Y; Kildee, Y; Kilpatrick, N; Levin, Y; Stupak, Y.

Republicans - Camp, Y; Ehlers, Y; Hoekstra, Y; Knollenberg, Y; McCotter, Y; Miller, Y; Rogers, Y; Upton, Y; Walberg, Y.


Democrats - Ellison, N; McCollum, N; Oberstar, X; Peterson, Y; Walz, Y.

Republicans - Bachmann, Y; Kline, Y; Ramstad, Y.


Democrats - Taylor, Y; Thompson, Y.

Republicans - Pickering, Y; Wicker, Y.


Democrats - Carnahan, N; Clay, N; Cleaver, N; Skelton, Y.

Republicans - Akin, Y; Blunt, Y; Emerson, X; Graves, Y; Hulshof, Y.


Republicans - Rehberg, Y.


Republicans - Fortenberry, Y; Smith, Y; Terry, Y.


Democrats - Berkley, Y.

Republicans - Heller, Y; Porter, Y.


Democrats - Hodes, N; Shea-Porter, N.


Democrats - Andrews, Y; Holt, N; Pallone, N; Pascrell, N; Payne, N; Rothman, N; Sires, N.

Republicans - Ferguson, Y; Frelinghuysen, Y; Garrett, Y; LoBiondo, Y; Saxton, Y; Smith, Y.


Democrats - Udall, N.

Republicans - Pearce, Y; Wilson, Y.


Democrats - Ackerman, N; Arcuri, N; Bishop, N; Clarke, N; Crowley, N; Engel, X; Gillibrand, Y; Hall, N; Higgins, N; Hinchey, N; Israel, N; Lowey, N; Maloney, N; McCarthy, N; McNulty, N; Meeks, N; Nadler, N; Rangel, N; Serrano, N; Slaughter, N; Towns, N; Velazquez, N; Weiner, N.

Republicans - Fossella, Y; King, Y; Kuhl, Y; McHugh, Y; Reynolds, Y; Walsh, Y.


Democrats - Butterfield, Y; Etheridge, Y; McIntyre, Y; Miller, N; Price, N; Shuler, Y; Watt, N.

Republicans - Coble, Y; Foxx, Y; Hayes, Y; Jones, Y; McHenry, Y; Myrick, Y.


Democrats - Pomeroy, Y.


Democrats - Jones, X; Kaptur, N; Kucinich, N; Ryan, N; Space, Y; Sutton, N; Wilson, Y.

Republicans - Boehner, Y; Chabot, Y; Gillmor, Y; Hobson, Y; Jordan, Y; LaTourette, Y; Pryce, Y; Regula, Y; Schmidt, Y; Tiberi, Y; Turner, Y.


Democrats - Boren, Y.

Republicans - Cole, Y; Fallin, Y; Lucas, Y; Sullivan, Y.


Democrats - Blumenauer, N; DeFazio, N; Hooley, N; Wu, N.

Republicans - Walden, Y.


Democrats - Altmire, Y; Brady, N; Carney, Y; Doyle, N; Fattah, N; Holden, Y; Kanjorski, Y; Murphy, Patrick, N; Murtha, Y; Schwartz, Y; Sestak, Y.

Republicans - Dent, Y; English, Y; Gerlach, Y; Murphy, Tim, Y; Peterson, Y; Pitts, Y; Platts, Y; Shuster, Y.


Democrats - Kennedy, N; Langevin, N.


Democrats - Clyburn, Y; Spratt, Y.

Republicans - Barrett, Y; Brown, Y; Inglis, Y; Wilson, Y.


Democrats - Herseth Sandlin, Y.


Democrats - Cohen, N; Cooper, Y; Davis, Lincoln, Y; Gordon, Y; Tanner, Y.

Republicans - Blackburn, Y; Davis, David, Y; Duncan, N; Wamp, Y.


Democrats - Cuellar, Y; Doggett, N; Edwards, Y; Gonzalez, Y; Green, Al, N; Green, Gene, Y; Hinojosa, Y; Jackson-Lee, N; Johnson, E. B., N; Lampson, Y; Ortiz, Y; Reyes, Y; Rodriguez, Y.

Republicans - Barton, Y; Brady, Y; Burgess, Y; Carter, Y; Conaway, Y; Culberson, Y; Gohmert, Y; Granger, Y; Hall, Y; Hensarling, Y; Johnson, Sam, Y; Marchant, Y; McCaul, Y; Neugebauer, Y; Paul, N; Poe, Y; Sessions, Y; Smith, Y; Thornberry, Y.


Democrats - Matheson, Y.

Republicans - Bishop, Y; Cannon, Y.


Democrats - Welch, N.


Democrats - Boucher, Y; Moran, N; Scott, N.

Republicans - Cantor, Y; Davis, Jo Ann, X; Davis, Tom, Y; Drake, Y; Forbes, Y; Goode, Y; Goodlatte, Y; Wolf, Y.


Democrats - Baird, Y; Dicks, Y; Inslee, N; Larsen, Y; McDermott, N; Smith, N.

Republicans - Hastings, Y; McMorris Rodgers, X; Reichert, Y.


Democrats - Mollohan, Y; Rahall, Y.

Republicans - Capito, Y.


Democrats - Baldwin, N; Kagen, Y; Kind, Y; Moore, N; Obey, N.

Republicans - Petri, Y; Ryan, Y; Sensenbrenner, Y.


Republicans - Cubin, Y.