[Scales of Justice]

LA MOVIDA - 2000

Politics and Alcohol, a volatile mix

Last updated: 16 December 2000

Our Top Story Tonight! (their news, our headlines)

Anti-Alcohol Laws Stunt Economic Growth

December 28, 2000 (USA Today) Cranston, Rhode Island - The City Council voted to repeal a cap on the number of liquor licenses handed out to restaurants. Officials said a six-month study showed the restriction was a potential barrier to economic development. The city has limited to 53 the number of licenses for selling beer, wine and liquor and to 23 the number for selling just beer and wine.

Like Alcohol for Money

December 17, 2000 (USA Today) Powell, Wyoming - Trustees have loosened Northwest College's strict no-alcohol-on-campus policy in hopes of uncorking more money from potential donors. Alcohol will be allowed at functions sponsored by the Northwest College Foundation, the fund-raising arm. Foundation officals supported the policy change, saying it will give then another tool to help raise money.

Fanatics say "Heap-Big Problems with Firewater"

December 17, 2000 (USA Today) Lincoln, Nebraska - Nebraskans for Peace accused state officials of ignoring fights, public drunkenness and other crimes in Whiteclay caused by the sale of beer to American Indians. State officials say they will investigate any formal complaints. Four stores in the village of 22 residents sell millions of cans of beer each year to residents of the nearby Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

Students Favor Safe Drinking

December 14, 2000 (USA Today) Fayetteville, Arkansas - Students at the University of Arkansas overwhelmingly favor bringing back a weekend "Safe Ride" program for those who have too much to drink or want to get out of bad situations. Student leaders conducted an e-mail survey of students and faculty to gain support for reinstating the program. It fizzled out in January when the company providing rides was found to have driven students to bars instead of taking them home

Forget Drunken Voting, Drunken Tubing Threatens

November 29, 2000 (USA Today) San Marcos, Texas - Officials are considering banning alcohol along parks and rivers amid concerns about the dangers of drinking and inner-tubing. Many of the city parks are near the San Marcos River. Some residents worry that if nearby New Braunfels bans drinking while tubing, it could send more troublemakers to San Marcos.

Anti-Alcohol Protesters Impede Missouri Bureaucrats

November 29, 2000 (USA Today) Bethany, Missouri - The state has put on hold the sale of hundreds of bottles of liquor amid protests from the public. The liquor was seized from a business that lost its license. Officials from Missouri's Division of Liquor Control had planned to sell the liquor on the steps of the Harrison County Courthouse. But it's been delayed indefinitely because some people think the state shouldn't be in the business of selling liquor.

MADD Subsidizes Police-State Technology

November 21, 2000 (USA Today) St. Paul, Minnesota - A flashlight with a keen sense of smell is the newest weapon in Minnesota law enforcement's effort to crack down on underage drinking. Mothers Against Drunk Driving has equipped more than 20 police agencies with flashlights containing miniature alcohol sensors. The devices will be used mainly at schools, teenage parties, sporting events, traffic stops and accident scenes. Civil liberty groups say the device invades privacy and violates constitutional rights.

More Louisiana 18-Year-Olds soon to be Second-Class Citizens

November 21, 2000 (USA Today) New Orleans, Louisiana - Two private universities in New Orleans that allow underage students to drink alcohol in their dormitory rooms may ban the custom. Tulane University administrators are holding forums with students; Loyola University officials are discussing an alcohol ban. Louisiana law allows 18- to 20-year-olds to drink alcohol inside their own homes, an exception to drinking laws. The state's public universities don't allow people under 21 to drink in dorms.

Arkansas Voters Consider Joining 20th Century

November 21, 2000 (USA Today) Eureka Springs, Arkansas - This tourist spot known for curative waters will vote Nov. 28 on whether to become the first town in the state to allow sales of packaged alcohol on Sundays. The town already permits liquor, beer and wine to be served for on-premises consumption at hotels and restaurants on Sundays. The proposal would extend Sunday sales to liquor, grocery and convenience stores, which are now permitted Mondays through Saturdays.

West Virginia to Cave to Fed .08 Extortion

September, 2000 (USA Today) South Charleston, West Virginia - State lawmakers are expected to impose tougher drunken driving standards in West Virginia during their session next year. Changing the level from .10 to .08 would keep the state from losing up to $2.7 million federal highway funds if no change were made by 2004. The loss would add up to $10.6 million if no change was made by 2007. Senate transportation Committee Chairman Mike Ross discussed the legislation during the start of a conference on highway safety.

Texas Cashes in on Redefined DUI

September 1, 2000 (USA Today) Austin - Arrests for drunken drivers jumped 14% in the first nine months after Texas lowered the legal blood-alcohol level to .08%, according to the Department of Public Safety. The state is now qualified for federal grants under a program Congress established to encourage lower blood-alcohol limits. Texas is the 17th state to have adopted the new standard.

Art Banned from Imitating Life?

July 13, 2000 (USA Today) Iowa City - A University of Iowa law professor wants to snuff out smoking on stage. Mark Linder says smoking should not be allowed during theatrical productions when it's not allowed in other campus buildings. The university's Code of Conduct says smoking is permitted for artistic purposes in theater department productions. Linder says the school should be doing all it can to discourage smoking.

Government to Lawyers: Don't Confuse me with the Scientific Facts

July 13, 2000 (USA Today) St. Paul - The state Court of Appeals has made it easier to prosecute people who possess khat, a leafy substance chewed primarily by Somali men. The court said prosecutors don't have to show through testing the amount of cathinone present in khat. Cathinone is ranked in the same category as heroin by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Dare to dump DARE

July 13, 2000 (USA Today) Salt Lake City - In front of teachers, parents and DARE program employees, Mayor Rocky Anderson defended his decision to end the police-school anti-drug program. Anderson cited studies indicating drug use by Utah youth is up and said the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program wasn't working. Since 1987, police officers have visited more than 30 schools for 17 one-hour sessions a year. The city spends $289,000 a year on the program. DARE officials said the program helps prevent substance abuse.

Damn the Evidence, Hang Em High

June 23, 2000 (USA Today) Columbia, South Carolina - - Driving with a blood-alcohol level of 0.10 percent will become illegal in January, the General Assembly decided. State laws has allowed suspects to argue to a jury that they are not intoxicated with a 0.10 percent blood-alcohol level. The new law will only allow challenges to the accuracy of machines that measure alcohol levels.

Drinking Age no Barrier to U.S. Underage Drinking

June 19, 2000 (referenced in Kansas City Star) A study financed by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and published in the July edition of American Journal of Preventive Medicine describes the failure of the American legal drinking age of 21 to stop underage drinking. The data does show that drinkers forced to be categorized as "criminal" due to the "21" laws engage is less frequent but more dangers drinking habits such as binge drinking. The survey shows 63% of under-21 college students drank alcohol in the last 30 days. Underage drinkers reported that they find alcohol "easy" or "very easy" to obtain. This, in spite of all the draconian laws now being enforced to criminalize this non-violent behavior. In that time-proven tradition of declaring success for a demonstratively failed taxpayer funded boondoggle, the study's author Henry Wechsler proclaimed "Although we cannot expect to make access to alcohol difficult for the underage college population, making it less than "very easy" may be a start." Of course the rational approach of making the legal drinking age the same as the common college age (18) might reduce college binge drinking but it would decrease the tax dollars going into the pockets of academics and social engineers. An examination of the situation in the culturally advanced societies of Western Europe should convince a rational person. ref: http://www-east.elsevier.com/ajpm/

Judge Threatens Brewery's Popular Concert

May 27, 2000 (USA Today) NORVELT, PENNSYLVANIA - The Red Hot Chill Peppers are giving Westmoreland County Judge William Ober heartburn. Latrobe Brewing Co. is selling 25,000 tickets to an Aug. 5 concert featuring the band. But the judge, who owns acreage across from the county fairgrounds venue, fears that the crowd might be too large for the rural area. He hired an attorney to try to force the event to relocate.

Race Fans Choose Beer over $3M

May 23, 2000 - (Laurie Fox/ The Dallas Morning News) FORT WORTH - Texas Motor Speedway officials said today that they will keep letting race fans bring in coolers of beer, even though it will cost the speedway $3 million a year in profits. State law prohibits widespread beer sales at the track if it lets fans bring beer in. Eddie Gossage, speedway general manager, said a recent survey showed that 73 percent of race fans favored continuing allowing them to bring coolers of beer to major races at the 1.5-mile track. "The cooler issue is not a beer issue; it's a cost issue, a convenience issue, a choice issue,'' Mr. Gossage said. "Race fans don't like to leave their seats during the race and lose a minute of the action. "We will not become a victim of self-inflicted failure; we will listen to the fans.'' On Feb. 5, voters approved the sale and on-site consumption of alcohol in the previously dry part of Denton County where the speedway is located. Mr. Gossage said the speedway would not raise ticket prices to offset the loss of beer sales revenue.

Cub's Owners Consider throwing Beer out of the Game

May 22, 2000 - (AP) CHICAGO - Chicago Cubs officials are considering changes in beer sales and stricter crowd management to curb rowdiness at Wrigley Field. Rowdy behavior at the ball park became a concern in the wake of a melee last Tuesday between Los Angeles Dodger players and fans. The brawl was sparked by a fan grabbing the cap of Dodger catcher Chad Kreuter. "We're reviewing whether we have enough people in place to enforce the policies we have," said Cubs vice president Mark McGuire. Besides increasing security, the team also is looking at imposing a stricter policy against buying several cups of beer at last call. Beer sales at Wrigley Field are cut off in the eighth inning of day games and in the seventh inning or 9:20 p.m., whichever comes first, during night games. "We're concerned that when we hit those times that we're getting people stockpiling," McGuire said. "We may take more appropriate measures to reduce that." The Cubs have already eliminated beer vendors in the bleachers, restricting sales there to concession stands under the bleachers, with a two-beer limit on all purchases. There is a family seating section at Wrigley Field where alcohol sales are prohibited. Patrons at sports bars around Wrigley Field voiced skepticism about the changes being considered.

Prohibitionists 1 - Baseball Fans 0

May 19, 2000 (AP) NEW YORK - Babe Ruth would not be happy. They're banning beer from the bleachers at the House he Built. Concession stands in the bleachers at Yankee Stadium no longer will sell suds, the team announced Friday. Beer vendors stopped roaming the bleachers last season. "It is the Yankees' responsibility to take every reasonable step to maintain a fan-friendly environment throughout the stadium," said Lonn Trost, the team's chief operating officer, "and we feel this is a positive and proactive decision." The new policy goes into effect with the May 26 game against the Boston Red Sox, when New York returns from its current road trip.

"Drug-Free" Brainwashing begins Early

May 18, 2000 - Merrillville, Indiana (reported in USA Today) - Florists in northwest Indiana preparing prom corsages are doing their part to fight underage drinking. They're including a sticker with each flower order that says "Live to Smell the Flowers - Celebrate Sober." The effort is sponsored in part by Partnership for a Drug Free Lake County.

Bad Laws begin with Junk Science
May 16, 2000 (referenced by USA Today) - Consumption of alcoholic beverages is known to be a human carcinogen based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity from human studies that indicate a causal relationship between consumption of alcoholic beverages and cancer in humans (reviewed in IARC V.44 1988; Longnecker and Enger 1996). Studies indicate that the risk of cancer is most pronounced among smokers and at the highest levels of consumption.

Consumption of alcoholic beverages is causally related to cancers of the mouth, pharynx larynx and esophagus. Cohort and case control studies in a variety of human populations are notable for their consistency in reporting the presence of moderate to strong associations with dose-response relationships for these four sites. Evidence also supports a weaker but possibly causal relation between alcoholic beverage consumption and increased risk of cancers of the liver and breast (Longnecker 1994). The effect of a given level of alcoholic beverage intake on absolute risks of cancer of the mouth pharynx larynx and esophagus is influenced by other actors especially smoking. However, smoking does not explain the observed increased risk of cancers associated with increased alcoholic beverage consumption.

No adequate experimental animal carcinogenicity studies of alcoholic beverages have been reported in the literature. Studies specifically examining the carcinogenicity of ethanol in animals have not yielded results that would suggest that the ethanol component of alcoholic beverages is solely responsible for the increases in cancer observed in people consuming alcoholic beverages.

Brought to you by your tax dollars and the NIH - NIEHS

The EHIS is a service of the NIH-National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the DHHS-National Toxicology Program.


People for the Unethical Treatment of Beer Drinkers
March 14, 2000 - News media across the U.S. reported on the publicity campaign by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Their new campaign slogan "Beer is healthier than milk." was met by a typical knee-jerk response by the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). MADD president Millie Webb was quoted as calling the slogan "irresponsible", and wihtout providing any scientific evidence, proclaimed "Alcohol is the No. 1 drug problem for our youth." Although MADD continues to fail to distinguish between beer drinking and getting drunk, then driving, then killing someone, the American media continue to provide excessive coverage for MADDs extremist statements. Thanks to groups like MADD who helped raise the legal drinking age in the U.S. to the absurd age of 21, there are now said to be 9.5 million underage drinkers. Thanks to groups like MADD that fail to recognize the social and physical benefits of moderate beer drinking, American youth are denied any positive role models and today there are an estimate 4 million underage binge drinkers. Look for the socially advanced democracies overseas to offer models of how a healthy society can deal with alcohol without resorting to unhealthy, Draconian laws.

c British pubs, restaurants and hotels may soon be able to serve alcohol around the clock as the government conducts the most thorough overhaul of licensing laws since World War I, The Times of London reported. The report said local councils would be given the power to grant alcohol licenses. That would allow residents a greater say in deciding hours for pubs near their homes. There will also be tougher penalties for landlords who allow underage drinking or rowdy behavior, the newspaper said.

Columbia, South Carolina - Culinary students under age 21 soon might be allowed to taste alcohol. The Legislature is considering changing regulations for the state Commission on Higher Education that would let culinary students under 21 taste alcohol as part of school curriculum, but they must spit into a sink of bucket after sipping.

Tax'em if You Got'em
February 4, 2000 - USA Today - Yakima, Washington, Gov. Locke now says the Yakama Nation should keep its new tax on alcohol sold on the reservation, a spokesman says. The tax took effect Jan. 4. The nation plans to use money from the tax to fund alcohol treatment and drunk-driving enforcement programs.

Beer Tracking in Cyberspace
November 29, 1999 (reported in PC Week) - Heineken teamed with Cyberville powerhouse IBM to launch BarTrek (www.heineken.com/bartrek). Now thirsty travellers equipped with a Personal Data Assistant (PDA) and a Global Positioning System (GPS) can locate the closest bar serving Heineken in major cities of Europe, Asis and North America. Don't leave home without it.

Something Extra this Way Comes
January 31, 2000 (reported in Advertising Age) - Anheuser-Busch will try to top the success of its fast-selling Tequiza with another genius-inspired product straight from the marketing department - Tequiza Extra. Expect no skimping on the recipe formulation as A-B strives to introduce a high-priced product that is "less sweet and fuller tequila flavor." With Tequiza selling more than 570,000 barrels its first year, look for the new $6 a six-pack beverage to contribute solidly to A-B's bottom line and allow them to re-invest the dollars where it counts, in advertising.

News of the (Beer) Wierd - 1999

January, 2000 - Netscape -

In December, store manager Wiley Berggren was presented awards for sales and productivity at a Southwest Convenience Stores company dinner in Odessa, Texas. About two hours later, he was fired because of his actions the night before: When three kids tried to steal a case of beer and one of them attacked him, Berggren bearhugged the attacker to the ground, thus violating the company's rule of not challenging thieves.

Terry Dewayne Shutters, 28, admitted to police in February that he is the man who threw human feces on pedestrians from his station wagon in two drive-by incidents in Chattanooga, Tenn. Said a police detective, "(Shutters) said he was drinking beer and just thought about doing it. He rode around for about 15 minutes looking for somebody to throw it on." He said Shutters blamed his behavior on the fact that he once had feces thrown on him when he was young.

According to a Boston Globe article, ubiquitous Japanese vending machines routinely dispense, among other things, roses, pearls, underwear, hamburgers, beer, pornographic comics, condoms, servings of rice, dried squid snacks, noodle soup and binoculars. Japan has more machines than the United States, in part because its lower crime rate means less theft.

In June, according to La Vergne, Tenn., police Sgt. Carl McMillen, a man called 911 to summon officers to his home to stop his wife from pouring out all of his beer following a domestic dispute. In March, in Clawson, Mich., and in January, in Federal Way, Wash., parents mistakenly packed cans of Bud Ice beer in their elementary schoolchildren's lunchboxes. They said they confused the Bud Ice with a Hawaiian Punch can (Clawson) and a holiday can of Pepsi (Federal Way).

LEAST JUSTIFIABLE HOMICIDE In Dallas in October, Jose Diaz, 29, was gunned down in a parking lot after an altercation with another man over whose turn it was to purchase beer.

A 38-year-old man, unidentified in news reports, was hospitalized in Princeton, W.Va., in October with gunshot wounds. He had been drinking beer and reported accidentally shooting himself three times as he attempted to clean each of his three guns. He said the first shot didn't hurt, the second "stung a little," and the third "really hurt," prompting him to call an ambulance. Bruce A. Walker, 18, is well-known among some Little Rock, Ark., police officers for his bright orange hair, and when the clerk at a Circle K store reported that he had just been robbed of money and beer by a man with bright orange hair, police went straight to Walker's home and found enough evidence to arrest him.

In June, firefighters in El Cajon, Calif., had to rescue Heather Jaehn, 25, who had locked herself out of her house and then had gotten stuck in the chimney trying to climb in. Four days later, Felix Rivera, 33, got stuck in a rooftop vent while allegedly burglarizing a San Antonio convenience store to get a beer and had to be rescued by firefighters before police could arrest him.

A Montana State University chemistry professor claimed in March that he was wrongfully accused of being drunk after an accident (which occurred while he was on work-release for a previous drunk-driving sentence). While a state trooper found him "highly intoxicated," the professor said a chemical explosion in his lab caused him to smell and act drunk and that his statement to the trooper about having consumed a six-pack of beer was merely "incoherent babbling" because of the trauma of the accident.

An armed man robbed a convenience store in Amarillo, Texas, in May, then walked back to the cooler and started drinking a beer. Then he brought the money back to the clerk and told him to call the police. He finished the beer and submitted to arriving officers.

One of the finalists in a Los Angeles radio station's crazy-stunt Super Bowl promotion in January was Mike Garcia, 25, who planned to swallow his glass eye, regurgitate it and reinsert it. Despite a large pre-stunt breakfast of steak, eggs and a six-pack of beer, which made him vomit for 15 minutes, the glass eye did not come back up by the end of the contest. Reported the Torrance Daily Breeze, "So Garcia left with an empty left eye socket, a strong buzz, soiled clothing and the prospect of shelling out $1,500 for a new eye."

Taxpayers Fund Anti-Drug Propaganda TV Scripts, is Alcohol Next?

January 19, 2000 - (reported in New York Times) - Just five days after fiercely defending their multi-million dollar secret waste of taxpayer dollars to bastardize TV shows, White House press secretary Joe Lockhart said that the Office of National Drug Control Policy had decided to implement new guidelines that would place "the program on a track where it will get universal support." English translation: "You caught us, we're otta here." Louisiana Republican representative Billy Tauzin of the House Commerce Committee announced he would hold hearings on the matter. Stay tuned as the taxpayer-funded war on drugs continues. Victory is only a few trillion dollars away.

January 14, 2000 - (reported in Wall Street Journal) The White House Office of Drug Control Policy admitted it coerced major American television networks to weave its anti-drug themes into popular TV shows. Congress gave the President a multi-million dollar budget to buy commercial ad time to air its propaganda messages. First the networks were "required" to sell the airtime at one-half the commercial rate. Next the networks were offered a special "deal" that if they would clandestinely alter their program scripts to slip in anti-drug themes, then the government would not air some ads already paid for. Head Drug Warrior Gen. Barry McCaffrey reported that he saw nothing unseemly about this secret arrangement. Once exposed by the initial story in Salon News, the networks instituted full damage control activities by denying loss of creative control and claiming that they've routinely aired propaganda ads for the Drug Free America front group for years as a "public service." The Clinton administration defended the $200 million efforts saying the public deserves to know the truth.

Additions welcome at: New Mexico Virtual Brewpub

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