Monday, April 25, 2005

Bob from the America Lung Association decides to play in his own yard

Posted by Craig Westover | 11:50 AM |  

Bob Moffitt of the American Lung Association has decided to continue a discussion he started on this site at the American Lung Association Blog. All well and good, but the ALA Blog doesn't allow unmoderated comments or trackbacks, nor has he linked to the original discussion on this site. That makes for a pretty one-sided conversation and a disservice to his readers that might have wished to view the exchange.

[Note: In the position as a charitable group, I would probably have moderated comments, too, just to avoid the problem of poor taste. But the lack of a link to the argument one is refuting defeats the purpose of blogging and shows a lack of confidence in one's position.]

Yet, he accuses me of fisking him to get the last word. He's most welcome to continue the discussion.

The exchange with Mr. Moffitt was not an e-mail exchange, but his comments and my responses placed into a post. Comments and responses are not fisking. So on those counts Mr. Moffitt has both his facts and his definitions wrong, which also characterizes his debating style.

As to his contention that he “sticks to the facts,” in any of his comments here and here I defy you to find a “fact.” He says he talks about public health, but he says it’s not his job to define it. He refuses to discuss the science of determining public health hazards in the neutral arena of statistical analysis. He talks neither public health nor science, "junk" or otherwise.

But then, unlike his post on the American Lung Association site that offers no chance for rebuttal or discussion, you can read it here, visit the American Lung Association site here and make up your own mind -- something Mr. Moffitt fears for you to do either when it comes to choosing where you spend your leisure time or in the information you have in making that decision.

And so, without a fisking is Mr. Moffitt's post.

Fighting with Facts, not 'Fisking'

A newspaper columnist recently posted an e-mail exchange he and I had on the issue of smoking bans. Apparently frustrated by my insistence on discussing health issues instead of politics, 'junk science' and philosophy, he posted our email thread on his blog and then gave them a good "fisking," which is blog-speak for making sure your side gets the last word in.

He called me a "cheerleader" for indoor smoking ordinances.Well, I have certainly been called worse than "cheerleader" in this debate. It is a nickname I'll gladly accept. I will cheer for any good public policy that saves lives and promotes lung health.

While popular on many blogs, the American Lung Association of Minnesota blog will not engage in the "fisking" game. We will stick to the facts in our ongoing public debate on smoking in Minnesota.

In the meanwhile, I'll be cheering for a healthier, smokefree Minnesota!

Bob MoffittCommunications Director, ALAMN
posted by American Lung Association of Minnesota at 5:10 PM
Update from Mark Wernimont passed along from a bar owner in Long Lake. Note the banker's response in the last paragraph.
I hate to admit it but the unconcerned lawmakers of this county are going to win this (my) battle. To date, are liquor sales are down about $300. a day. This of course equals, $9,000. a month and $108,000. a year. Without this cash flow, which equals my rent and Sales Tax Payments, we can't survive long.

We rent this business location, and now my landlord no longer wants the cigarette mess outside on his sidewalk and parking lot. The liquor store next store sales are up 15%. The two immediate bar / restaurants, (10 minutes away, on the same highway, and outside Hennipin County), sales are up 30%. I can not hold an employee. The three Hennipin County restaurants with outside decks in my area, are flourishing. One of these restaurants even has posted signs on their deck, NO DRINKS OUTSIDE - UNLESS FOOD HAS BEEN ORDERED. Just how much time and effort was spent by Hennipin County to figure out the IMPACT of this ordinance.

Last but not least, I talked to my banker about a loan to help withstand this financial crisis. My banker told me, "we feel with the current smoking ban, that any loans to bars & restaurants are considered high financial risks". I guess if I were a loan officer, I would have to agree.