Tuesday, April 01, 2014


The New York Times -- in a graph-heavy story here and in a text story you can read here -- notes that increasing numbers of motorcyclists are dying, because freedom!
In the past two decades, six states have repealed or relaxed laws that required every motorcyclist to wear a helmet. Charting fatal motorcycle accidents in each of those states reveals a definitive trend: As soon as the law changes, the number of fatalities rises....

When Florida relaxed its law in July 2000, it required helmets only for riders younger than 21 and those with limited medical insurance policies....

Fatalities among motorcyclists who did not wear helmets rose more than sevenfold, to 164 in the year after the new law from 23 in the year before....

There have similar results in Pennsylvania and other states. (For some reason, the completest set of graphs is in today's print Times. Trust me, they're all like this.)

Whaddaya know? Government regulation, in this case, actually saves lives! I'm shocked! I thought the sole purpose of regulation was to ensure that freedom is crushed under power-mad bureaucrats' jackboots!


And you know what else works? This:
Quick Gains After a Smoking Ban

The number of premature births and children's hospital visits for asthma dropped significantly in parts of the United States, Canada, and Europe barely a year after they enacted smoking bans, researchers reported in The Lancet last week....

After an exhaustive review of relevant studies spanning 38 years, the researchers analyzed five that looked at perinatal and child health after local smoking bans in North America and six studies conducted after national bans in Europe. Hospital visits for childhood asthma and premature births both declined about 10 percent in the year after smoking bans took effect, the researchers found.

The investigators also pooled data from two studies and found a 5 percent reduction in the number of children born very small for their gestational age after the introduction of smoke-free laws.

An earlier analysis of the impact of smoking bans on adult health demonstrated a 15 percent reduction in cardiovascular events....
Have I told you about my belief that if Fox News and the rest of the right-wing noise machine had existed at the time of the Surgeon General's Report on smoking, we'd still be smoking at Mad Men levels in America half a century later? The tobacco companies would have worked hand in hand with the right-wing media to discredit the report the way the Kochs and others work through the right-wing media to discredit legitimate climate science now.

Fox & Friends would routinely pay tribute to smokers who'd reached their eightieth, ninetieth, and hundredth birthdays, while mockiNg "health nuts" who happen to die young despite abstaining from tobacco. The surgeon general himself would see his personal integrity relentlessly challenged, as would any public official who made a habit of pointing out tobacco's risks. (Someone would have to be the Antichrist/object of ridicule on smoking that Al Gore is on climate change.) Angry right-wingers would smoke ostentatiously, even when expressing anger about other subjects, the way Sarah Palin makes a habit of punctuating speeches on the evils of Obama by drinking from a Big Gulp.

Eventually it would be impossible for a Republican to run for office without at least expressing skepticism about tobacco science, and any Republican who reached a committee chairmanship affecting the growth and sale of tobacco would have to reject the report altogether, as forcefully as possible. The tobacco companies wouldn't fight an ultimately futile battle to suppress the truth -- they'd actually win. They actually would suppress the truth. It would never be possible to regulate tobacco in any real way in America, except in the bluest states and cities -- and local anti-tobacco ordinances in liberal cities would be blocked by conservative state and federal laws.

So we're lucky we learned the truth about tobacco when we did.


Victor said...

Conservatives are ALL feckin' eedjit's.

That's about all I've got.

Like Paulie Ryan - he got HIS SS benefits after HIS father died, now, YOU, try to get yours.

And F-U, if you can't!!!!!!!!!!

They're ALL psychopaths or sociopaths!
EVERY single one of 'em!!!!!!!!!!!!!

John Taylor said...

Republicans can't handle the truth.

Phil Freeman said...

And we're supposed to be upset that more anti-helmet morons are leaving their brains on the roadside because...?

BKT said...

Well, increased motorcycle accident fatalities and traumatic brain injuries do raise insurance rates for everybody else.

But eventually, shouldn't Darwinism win out and eliminate those freedom-lovin', hair-in-the-wind-skull-fragments-on-the-pavement riders and leave us with just motorcyclists that are responsible riders? That would be a positive outcome.

Philo Vaihinger said...

Not a libertarian bone in your body, I guess.