Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Pub has to pay a fine for murder from 1664 - and how it relates to smoking

The Times Online reports A PUB must pay a fine for a murder on its premises more than 300 years ago.

Auditors discovered the long-forgotten penalty for The Swan in Ipswich, Suffolk, while balancing the books for the town’s St Mary Le Tower Church Charities.

The annual bill of 40 shillings, equivalent to £2, seems to be a punishment for a killing in 1664 when Charles II was king.
It was a huge amount of money in 1664 — a labourer would have to work for six months to earn 40 shillings.
Whenever we discuss smoker's rights the topic of bans on smoking in restaurants always comes up.

One side argues that private property rights should permit the restaurant owner to allow smoking if he chooses.

The other side usually focuses on the risk posed by second hand smoke.

I thought the case above was interesting because it showed a tavern owner being legally responsible for the safety of the patrons of a pub open to the public -what we would call today a place of public accommodation. That's basically like modern laws - They made the pub responsible for the safety of their customers.

Although as a person who favors small government, I can't say I'm happy about looking for old claims through history and making descendants pay up - we already have too many lawsuits.

Double helix found in space - Intelligent design?

Double Helix Nebula">Is there any significance to a nebula in the shape of DNA?

Rules for security clearances for gays modified

The Backcountry Conservative blog has an article about the rules for security clearances for homosexuals being modified. The new changes mean clearances cannot be denied "solely on the basis of the sexual orientation of the individual.

On the surface, the Bush administration seems to be compromising when they say that homosexual relationships "strictly private, consensual and discreet" could "mitigate security concerns." This seems in line with Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

But there is an additional factor with regard to security clearances vulnerability to blackmail. It is often a condition of a security clearance that anything (like homosexuality or cross dressing or prior drug use) be disclosed to those around the applicant so he will not be vulnerable to blackmail.

It appears that the Bush administration has recipe to keep homosexuals out of all military positions that require security a clearance. If the "tell" they are out of the military. If they "don't tell" they are vulnerable to blackmail and not eligible to get the security clearance needed for key assignments.

Latino suffering from Katrina

An article in the Santa Maria Times begins: "We didn't need another report to tell us that there was negligence and mismanagement in the federal government's handling of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, but we got it anyway.

We didn't need a video showing us that the Federal Emergency Management Agency and President Bush had been briefed ahead of time about the eminent threat Katrina posed to New Orleans - it was obvious from the start.

What we had not seen until now is to what extent Latinos were unfairly treated before and after the devastating hurricane hit the Gulf Coast."

I am very sorry that our Latino citizens and legal residents suffered from the worst natural disaster to hit the U.S. As a Christian, I am also sorry that the illegals got hurt.

And I sympathize with concerns about the efficiency of aid delivery. Even in those areas where there was competent local government we are still talking about a gigantic Federal bureaucracy and we all know those have inefficiencies.

But I reject claims that we are not spending enough, we are spending billions upon billions.

And I reject efforts to use the disaster as an excuse to attach liberal social policy whether it's seizing legal guns in New Orleans or demanding affirmative action for the boards of charities. I reject the premise that illegal aliens should be guarenteed extra labor rights - they are in the country illegally and they need to leave.

But I'm really sorry that any part of the American family got hurt and I hope they recover as much as possible. The Latino community shares the traditional American work ethic so there is every reason to be hopeful.