Sunday, May 6, 2012

Kansas Casino Exemption Threat Kills Smoking Bill

Given the previous post... I can't see how this is a surprise.

Kansas Casino Exemption Threat Kills Smoking Bill:

On a vote of 62-49, the bill was re-referred to the joint Health committee. With just over one week left in the 2012 session, House Bill 2690 will die, having literally met its makers.
Rep. Bill Otto, R-LeRoy, told KansasWatchdog he decided to shut down the bill after a threat by Rep. David Crum, R-Augusta, during Friday morning’s Republican caucus meeting.
According to Otto, Crum told the GOP caucus he would ask to amend HB 2690 to remove the casino’s exemption from the smoking ban. Some ban proponents have sought a total ban on public smoking with no exemptions.
Crum’s motion would have led to hours of debate over both the smoking ban and gambling, Otto said. Crum did not respond to email and phone requests for comment.
Sheila Martin, a Hutchinson tavern owner leading the fight against the smoking ban, said Crum divided and conquered the bill’s potential supporters.
“They’re going to keep the casinos against the bars,” she said.
She said Crum’s message to the bill’s supporters was, “If you try to help these little bars, we’re going to take away your (casino) exemption.
Legislators included the casino exemption over worries that the ban would hurt casino business and thus state tax revenue.
Martin said she is deeply disappointed by Friday’s action in the House and concerned about bar owners who are withering under the ban. Her tavern is classified as a private club and is exempted from the ban.
“I wanted to hear someone get up and tell the truth,” Martin said. “We had nothing said. No truth.”
KansasWatchdog has reported on the loss of private property rights under the ban as well as false and misleading information in medical studies on second-hand smoke and the harm smoking bans cause to local business.
“The ban that we’ve passed is terrible,” Otto said. “Also, it’s embarrassing. The state-owned casinos have it but their competitors can’t.”
But Otto felt the pressure of Crum’s threatened stall.
“It looks pretty bad to the public when we have so many very important issues that we have not gotten to that we would spend time on a House bill that was not going to go anywhere,” Otto said.
The Legislature still has to produce redistricting maps and a state budget and has not found agreement with the Senate on KPERS public employee retirement reform, school funding reform and several other key issues high on the 2012 agenda.
The 2010 Kansas Indoor Clean Air Act instituted a statewide public smoking ban that superseded local bans that weren’t at least as restrictive as the state ban. Wichita’s smoking ban ordinance allowed businesses to permit smoking in separate smoking areas with no air passage to non-smoking areas.
According to city officials no complaints were received during the 19 months the ordinance was in effect.
Changes in Senate leadership are the key to fixing a bad law, according to Otto.
Otto said the public needs to understand that elections count, especially GOP Senate primary elections.
“They’re going to have to elect people that are for individual and private property rights, not a ‘Mother-may-I’ society,” Otto said.
Even if HB 2960 had survived debate and won approval in the House, it would have to be assigned to one of the few Senate committees that could hear bills during the veto session of the Legislature. That’s something Otto said Senate President Steve Morris wouldn’t do.
Otto calls the Kansas Senate “the Senetary,” “Where things go to get buried 6 feet under.”
“I don’t see this changing,” Martin said. “As long as people think we can change this by voting for Republicans — and half the Republicans are RINOs — what can I do?”
Congratulations: You’re part of Big Tobacco! (
A Tale of Two Studies (
State Ignores Financial Damage of Smoking Ban (
Kansas Bar Owner Fights for Property Rights Across the U.S.  (
Governor Candidates Against Statewide Smoking Ban, Casino Hypocrisy (
St. Louis Fed: No Ifs, Ands or Butts, Smoking Ban Hurt Revenues (
Smoking Ban Passes House, Governor Says He’ll Sign (
Senate, in Push for Smoking Ban Exempting Casinos, Cancels House Meeting (
Smoking Ban Advocate Says Some Claims Just Smoke (

Kansas lawmakers rank farthest to right in study of US House votes - Kansas City Star

Kansas lawmakers rank farthest to right in study of US House votes - Kansas City Star:

Kansas City Star

Kansas lawmakers rank farthest to right in study of US House votes
Kansas City Star
By STEVE KRASKE and DAVE HELLING Less than two years after Republicans rode a tea-party wave to retake the House of Representatives, a widely quoted survey shows the four-member Kansas delegation — Kevin Yoder, Lynn Jenkins, Mike Pompeo and Tim ...

and more »

Thursday, April 19, 2012

5 Etiquette Rules That Matter Now

5 Etiquette Rules That Matter Now: The
The word may sound stodgy. But courtesy and manners are still essential--particularly in business.
The word "etiquette" gets a bad rap. For one thing, it sounds stodgy and pretentious. And rules that are socially or morally prescribed seem intrusive to our sense of individuality and freedom.
But the concept of etiquette is still essential, especially now—and particularly in business. New communication platforms, like Facebook and Linked In, have blurred the lines of appropriateness and we're all left wondering how to navigate unchartered social territory.
At Crane & Co., we have been advising people on etiquette for two centuries. We have even published books on the subject—covering social occasions, wedding etiquette and more.
Boil it down and etiquette is really all about making people feel good. It's not about rules or telling people what to do, or not to do, it's about ensuring some basic social comforts.
So here are a few business etiquette rules that matter now—whatever you want to call them.
1. Send a Thank You Note
I work at a paper company that manufactures stationery and I'm shocked at how infrequently people send thank you notes after interviewing with me. If you're not sending a follow-up thank you note to Crane, you're not sending it anywhere.
But the art of the thank you note should never die. If you have a job interview, or if you're visiting clients or meeting new business partners—especially if you want the job, or the contract or deal—take the time to write a note. You'll differentiate yourself by doing so and it will reflect well on your company too.
2. Know the Names
It's just as important to know your peers or employees as it is to develop relationships with clients, vendors or management. Reach out to people in your company, regardless of their roles, and acknowledge what they do.
My great-grandfather ran a large manufacturing plant. He would take his daughter (my grandmother) through the plant; she recalled that he knew everyone's name—his deputy, his workers, and the man who took out the trash.
We spend too much of our time these days looking up – impressing senior management. But it's worth stepping back and acknowledging and getting to know all of the integral people who work hard to make your business run.
3. Observe the 'Elevator Rule'
When meeting with clients or potential business partners off-site, don't discuss your impressions of the meeting with your colleagues until the elevator has reached the bottom floor and you're walking out of the building. That's true even if you're the only ones in the elevator.
Call it superstitious or call it polite—but either way, don't risk damaging your reputation by rehashing the conversation as soon as you walk away.
4. Focus on the Face, Not the Screen
It's hard not to be distracted these days. We have a plethora of devices to keep us occupied; emails and phone calls come through at all hours; and we all think we have to multitask to feel efficient and productive.
But that's not true: When you're in a meeting or listening to someone speak, turn off the phone. Don't check your email. Pay attention and be present.
When I worked in news, everyone was attached to a BlackBerry, constantly checking the influx of alerts. But my executive producer rarely used hers—and for this reason, she stood out. She was present and was never distracted in editorial meetings or discussions with the staff. And it didn't make her any less of a success.
5. Don't Judge
We all have our vices—and we all have room for improvement. One of the most important parts of modern-day etiquette is not to criticize others.
You may disagree with how another person handles a specific situation, but rise above and recognize that everyone is trying their best. It's not your duty to judge others based on what you feel is right. You are only responsible for yourself.
We live in a world where both people and businesses are concerned about brand awareness. Individuals want to stand out and be liked and accepted by their peers--both socially and professionally.
The digital landscape has made it even more difficult to know whether or not you're crossing a line, but I think it's simple. Etiquette is positive. It's a way of being—not a set of rules or dos and don'ts.
So before you create that hashtag, post on someone's Facebook page or text someone mid-meeting, remember the fundamentals: Will this make someone feel good?
And remember the elemental act of putting pen to paper and writing a note. You'll make a lasting impression that a shout-out on Twitter or a Facebook wall mention can't even touch.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

5 Things That Actually Determine the Price of Gasoline

Part one of TreeHugger's investigation into what causes gasoline prices to rise. Hint: Whether or not Obama expands domestic drilling isn't even close to the top of the list.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Hotmail Better Than Gmail, Yahoo Mail at Blocking Spam | News & Opinion |

Imagine that... what a surprise! I haven't been terribly happy with Gmail's Spam tagging lately but this is too funny. So, an "Independent" firm performs a study sponsored by Microsoft and Hmm, imagine that... the Microsoft product won!

Hotmail Better Than Gmail, Yahoo Mail at Blocking Spam | News & Opinion |