February 7, 2009

Mayor from government party smokes at the office

Filed under: Design,General by Branko Collin @ 3:15 pm

The War on Fun is all nice and dandy, but apparently it shouldn’t impede on the little pleasures that its proponents enjoy. Mayor Ruud Vreeman of Tilburg, member of the PvdA (Labour) party that’s in the fun-hating government coalition that banned smoking in bars last year, lights up a cigar now and then in his office. According to Brabants Dagblad (Dutch), the mayor was found out because the stench of his cigars was noticed by a visitor.

A city spokesperson told Revu (Dutch): “‘Vreeman knows it’s not allowed. He will stop immediately. He regrets smoking in the building and will never do it again.”

Well, until next time.

Photo by Jan Lapère, used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License version 1.2. Via Jong Nieuws (Dutch), which has been writing way too little about Tilburg lately.

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January 16, 2009

First digital Citizen’s Initiative — citizens say no to fun

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 9:43 am

“You stupid woman, digital signatures don’t count,” we said less than a year ago, but a new law has changed that rule. If you want to tell parliament to put certain topics on the agenda, digital signatures are good enough to support your Citizen’s Initiative. Last year for instance, a group of women wanted parliament to debate on binge drinking youth. That bid failed, because the autographs had been digitally collected. The law has now been changed, and as of 1 January 2009 digital signatures do count.

So, with this great democratic leap forward, what do citizens elect to do with their new found power and responsibility? Why, declare their support for the War on Fun of course! The first digital Citizen’s Initiative is here, and it’s about fireworks. The citizens, led by Green Party city council member and sour puss David Rietveld, want it outlawed. To be precise, they demand that only professionals are allowed to light fireworks on New Year’s Eve, an activity often shared between dads and their sons.

As is typical for this time, something that is clearly wrong and illegal is taken and glued to something that is fun, yet irritating to some. In this case, the New Year’s celebrations are a signal to a very few troublemakers to start burning cars and houses. And so the David Rietvelds of this world figure that it is clearly the fireworks that are at fault, not the troublemakers—who in my opionion won’t be hindered by fireworks-banning legislation in the first place, and if they did would just find other ways to be dorks.

Photo by Mark Crossfield, some rights reserved.

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January 13, 2009

Tour de France start hindered by Protestant reformists

Filed under: Religion,Sports by Orangemaster @ 12:17 pm
TDF 2007

In our vigilant reporting on the ‘Jihad against fun’ sweeping the Netherlands, some heavy duty Protestant (unintentional pun intended) towns in the provinces of South Holland and Zealand where the Tour de France is planning to kick off on 4 July 2010 are saying ‘non, merci’ to the great cycling event because it kicks off on a Sunday. The SGP (Political Reformed Party) do not want townspeople to be forced to work on a Sunday because, well, it’s Sunday, and according to them, you’re not supposed to work. Some law actually gives them the right to refuse to work on Sunday, which was surely a good thing back when people worked six days a week like madmen. Lucky for us, we could save face if the organisers and the SGP can agree on a route that would not disturb the people that really want to rest on Sunday.

It’s comforting to know that a small group of people are mainly thinking of themselves and not of the greater good of the Tour starting in the Netherlands again (Den Bosch, 1996). Or maybe they really enjoy getting press and making sure the rest of the world knows that that ‘being tolerant thing’ is just a tourist trap.

Before anyone says, “yes, but they have a right to rest by law…”, let me provide a concrete solution to the problem. If you can’t (won’t) do work on the Sabbath, you get/hire/ask someone to do it for you. It doesn’t stop the Jews I know, it shouldn’t stop a single Protestant, either.

(Link: depers.nl, Photo: Orangemaster at the finish line in Paris, 2007)

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December 26, 2008

Coalition mayor smokes in bar, breaks own party’s law

Filed under: General,Health by Branko Collin @ 7:09 pm

Last Tuesday the mayor of Deurne in Noord Brabant was questioned by the city council about his smoking in a public bar. Since July of this year smoking has been banned in bars in the Netherlands. The ban has met with a lot of resistance, and many smokers openly defy the law. As far as I am aware this is the first time that a public official was caught red-handed breaking the anti-smoking law. A salient detail is that mayor Gerard Daandels of Deurne is a member of CDA, the Christian party that is in the vanguard of the Jihad against fun: it was CDA minister Klink that proposed the smoking ban.

Daandels response: “You can hold me responsible for everything in matters of enforcement, but not for this unenforceable measure. […] I went to three bars where people were smoking. If a hundred people are smoking, you no longer give an example by not smoking.”

The Department of Public Health commented: “Even mayors are bound by the law.”

Link: Brabants Dagblad. Via Jong Nieuws. Depiction of the Deurne coat of arms by Wikipedia user Tibor, distributed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2.

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December 5, 2008

Screw nannyism, smoke the best weed and be merry

Filed under: General,Nature by Orangemaster @ 11:11 am
Cannabis Cup

I read on Twitter this morning that someone could not buy any chocolate cigarettes at the sweets shop as a Sinterklaas gift for their kids. Apparently, the shop doesn’t carry them anymore because that would encourage kids to start smoking at an earlier age. I can think of a multitude of things you shouldn’t buy your children, full stop. Will ordinary mushrooms be next? What about ice lollies?

All this nannyism (in Dutch, betutteling) is putting a damper on some people’s holiday spirit much more than any financial crisis could, it seems. Besides small cafés ignoring the smoking ban and the waves of protests and enforcement problems, many Dutch cities like Rotterdam and Amsterdam will be closing down coffeeshops (where you buy weed and hasch) that are located too close to schools. Not a bad idea per se, but why let them set up shop there in the first place? Back then, I guess the government was liberal enough to let parents explain right and wrong to their kids. Then, there’s Maastricht being pressured by neighbouring Belgium and Germany to shut shops to cut down on cross-border smoking.

Blaming the Netherlands has been going on for ages. During a speech held in Amsterdam a few years back, French President Jacques Chirac blamed the Netherlands for their cross-border dope-smoking problems, failing to notice that the Netherlands doesn’t share a border with France. That border is called Belgium. Belgium was not amused.

But, in order to show you that things are still smokin’, coffeshop De Greehouse in Amsterdam, which I had heard of even before living in the Netherlands, has just won the prestigious Cannabis Cup, well known by readers of High Times magazine, the magazine for pot smokers and growers, for some weed that sounds more like a kind of lady’s tea: Super Lemon Haze. Follow the link below for a good, educational video with much English in it.

(Link: parool.nl)

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November 15, 2008

De(con)struction of a country

Filed under: Religion by Branko Collin @ 2:36 pm

The Christian government’s War on Fun is plodding along at a glacial pace here. This can make it difficult to get a decent picture of how bad things have gotten. Luckily, over at the Yak’s forums, somebody who calls themselves DutchLlama has provided a list of battles lost and about to be lost:

One thing DutchLlama forgot is the ban on flags in the inner city of Amsterdam, as these make the city look too cheerfulcommercial according to some politicos.

I should point out that although all of these bans are right up the alley of the Reformed government (the Reformed are a protestant sect), the measures taken in Amsterdam can likely be subscribed to nimbyism, as they’re often based on decisions taken by the council of the city center borough.

Yak is the pseudonym of brilliant games programmer Jeff Minter, the guy who almost single-handedly brought the concept of author’s voice to the video game world, and kept it there against great opposition.

Via Cloggie. Photo of the spire of the Westerkerk by Mararie, some rights reserved.

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