[Scales of Justice]

LA MOVIDA - 2003

Politics and Alcohol, a volatile mix

Last updated: 24 deciembre 2003

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

National Council on Alcoholism sees Alcoholism Behind every Hangover

December 28, 2003 (USA Today) - (Maria Puente - Washington, DC) - For the latest wacky anti-hangover remedy, we turn to those fun-loving guys at the KGB. Yes, the old Soviet spy agency is being touted as the "developer" of RU-21, or "the KGB pill," a concoction of "all natural ingredients" that supposedly will ameliorate the effects of getting stinking drunk. Spirit Sciences, the distributor selling the product, say RU-21 was invented by Soviet scientists to give to KGB agents. The plot: Spies could consume huge quantities of alcohol while pumping hapless targets for information, without those day-after drawbacks. Skeptical? So is the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. "A hangover is one of the minor consequences of alcoholism," spokesman Ames Sweet says. The company found Igor Persidsky, 45, a Ukrainian-born doctor with a geriatric practice in Long Beach, Calif., to endorse the pill. It's not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, but it doesn't have to be, he says, because it's just a collection of vitamins. He tried it, had "a couple of glasses of wine, and I felt OK in the morning."

City turns Alleged Minor Problem into Major Privacy Violation

December 28, 2003 (USA Today) - (Albany, Georgia) - A city ordinance requiring alcohol vendors to post their Social Security numbers and other information violates their privacy, some vendors say. City officials say they are confident the rule, along with training, will help reduce alcohol sales to minors.

A Drink During Work Hours Judged Supremely Bad Behavior

December 28, 2003 (USA Today) - (Millvale, Pennsylvania) - The state Supreme Court upheld the suspension of a district justice who was disciplined for drinking alcohol during work hours. Richard McCarthy of Millvale, a suburban Pittsburgh district, had appealed the May ruling by the Court of Judicial Discipline. He was suspended for six months, two of them without pay, and ordered to serve a year's probation.

The State Conspires with Minor to Buy Alcohol, then Arrest Sellers

December 28, 2003 (USA Today) - (Las Cruces, New Mexico) - The state issued criminal complaints against nine of 22 Las Cruces-area stores that were targets of a pre-Christmas sting operation for selling alcohol to minors. Of the 22 stores visited by a 19-year-old woman during the undercover operation, nine sold her alcohol, and seven did so even after checking her age, authorities said.

Big Brother tries to Limit Dancing's Exposure

December 19, 2003 (USA Today) - (Winner, South Dakota) - A bar in Winner sued the city over a rule that restricts nude dancing. George Johnson, a lawyer for Dick's Bar, said state law requires that an election be held in order to pass an ordinance on nude dancing. He also said that his client's First Amendment rights were violated. The Winner city attorney declined to comment

Penn. Liquor Control Moves Upscale

December 17, 2003 (USA Today) - (Blue Bell, Pennsylvania) - Pennsylvania's first state liquor store within a supermarket is set to open Thursday in Montgomery County. The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board's store will be located within a Clemens Market and include a showroom and temperature-controlled wine room.

Business to Pay Price for Causing Secondhand Smoke

December 16, 2003 (Washington Post Express) - (Athens, Greece) - The Supreme Court agreed to consider whether Greece-based Olympic airways should be held responsible for the death of an asthmatic passenger who was seated near the smoking section. This spring the Supreme Court blocked Abid Hanson's family from collecting $1.4 million from Olympic to give justices time to consider reviewing the airline's appeal.

Sick of Working Sober

December 7, 2003 (USA Today) - (St. Louis, Missouri) - Carle Carson, a suburban St. Louis police lieutenant, was charged with driving under the influence after reportedly being found passed out at the wheel of a police cruiser parked in traffic. Authorities say they found at least two unopened bottles of beer in Carson's unmarked Moline Acres police car. Carson, who was off-duty at the time, said he was sick.

Lawyers Give Rudolph Brew a Bloody Nose

December 7, 2003 (USA Today) - (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania) - The Bethlehem Brew Works decided to change the name of its Rudolph's Reserve holiday brew after a Connecticut-based company objected to the brewery's use of the name as well as the image of a red-nosed reindeer. The Rudolph Company, a subsidiary of Character Arts, said it had had the name and image trademarked.

Utah Taliban Quash Holiday Spirit

December 4, 2003 (AP) - (Salt Lake City, Utah) One woman's tree entered at a Christmas festival apparently had a little too much holiday cheer for organizers' tastes. That's why the original "Jingle Buds" - a tree made entirely of emptied beer cans - lasted about as long as a pint on nickel night. "They called it camouflage, I call it censorship, but that was the compromise," said Carole Robinson, whose tree of 1,500 neatly organized Bud Light cans was ordered covered up with red ribbons. "I absolutely understand their concerns, but it doesn't have the pizzazz and wow that I wanted it to have." This year's Festival of Trees - an annual event which raises more than $1 million for the Primary Children's Medical Center - includes 700 trees, many decorated by people with poignant stories of life and death. Some trees are offered in gratitude by families whose children have been treated at the hospital. A few entries this year are dedicated to children killed in alcohol-related car crashes. So it wasn't long before the complaints began flowing over Robinson's "Jingle Buds." Robinson insisted she meant no harm and that she doesn't advocate irresponsible drinking. She said she followed festival guidelines. "I don't want this to be a black cloud over the festival," Robinson said. "Oh my gosh, it was just to do something fun that would make people laugh and smile. That's just the way I do things, with a lot of flair." But hospital administrators didn't want to appear to advocate alcohol consumption. At least one festival patron became angry at the display and said he had lost a family member in a crash involving a drunk driver. "I was absolutely shocked. We had no idea it would look like that," said Sharon Smith, chairwoman of the festival. Smith said Robinson's entry form listed her tree as red, white and blue with a single can of Budweiser at its base. "We thought that wouldn't be a big deal," Smith said. But what the festival got was a tree made entirely of the cans, which were donated by Robinson's friends and family. When the complaints started, the Festival committee took Robinson aside and asked her to cover the cans. She complied Tuesday by wrapping them with the ribbons. The festival has since changed its rules. Next year, no entries with themes of alcohol or tobacco will be accepted. "Jingle Buds" sold for several hundred dollars at the festival's opening auction Tuesday. The exact price was not disclosed.

Blood for Beer

October 26, 2003 (Post Express (AP)) - (Durango, Colorado) - Sounds like a fair trade: blood for beer. United Blood Services of Durango, Colo., held an unusual blood drive this weekend. Donors got a free pint of beer for a pint of blood. Four area breweries took part in the promotion. People from the blood bank got into the spirit of the season, by dressing in Halloween costumes including vampires. There was a little more at stake for the brewers than just civic pride. The owner of the brewery that collected the least amount of blood will get a makeover today: hair dyed blood red.

30,000 Feet and Nowhere to Go

October 26, 2003 (Post Express (AP)) - (Philippines) - The Philippine government press undersecretary has apologized for urinating while drunk on President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's chartered jet last month, newspapers reported Wednesday. The Philippine Star daily said Heraclio "Rocky" Nazarano relieved himself near the plane's emergency exit, which he apparently mistook for a restroom. "How I wish I could deny it," Nazarano told reporters, "But it was a moment of weakness I'm really sorry about."

Time to Outsource Big Brother's Beverage Business

October 19, 2003 (USA Today) - (Jackson, Mississippi) - Mississippi's Alcohol Beverage Control division will shut down its liquor warehouse and distribution center indefinitely to fix computer problems, officials said. Liquor stores in the state, which get all their wares from the agency, will be allowed one last order before the warehouse shuts down.

Finally, a Government Service that's Worthwhile

October 16, 2003 (USA Today) - (Missoula, Montana) - A bus service supported by a $2 hike in student fees is now offering free rides between the University of Montana campus and the town's bar district. University officials said that 3,600 students rode the bus during a test period last spring and that no drunken driving arrests occurred during the service's peak time. That success prompted the purchase of a used transit bus for $44,000.

To Serve and Protect becomes To Steal, Neglect then Serve

October 13, 2003 (Washington Times) - (Benton, Arkansas) - Three jailers are behind bars after sheriffs say they made a beer run with money they stole from a prisoner, then shared a brew with an inmate. Todd McEuen, 32 John E. Hood, 22, and Christopher Carmen, 21, were arrested on charges of introducing contraband to a jail. Mr. McEuen and Mr. Hood also face misdemeanor theft charges. Lt. Jim Andrews said the men took money from a prisoner's locker Tuesday night. "They then went to a convenience store and purchased alcohol", brought it back to the jail and drank it, Lt. Andrews said. "What if something had happened? They were throwing a party when they should have been watching prisoners", said J.R. Walters, a Saline County justice of the peace.

Massachusetts to Join 20th Century for Beer Sales

October 13, 2003 (Washington Times) - (Boston, Massachusetts) - The House of Representatives gave initial backing to a bill that would allow liquor stores to sell beer on Sundays. The bill would end a state ban on Sunday alcohol sales dating back to Colonial days. While some store owners welcome the chance to boost sales, others want to retain the existing law that guarantees them a day off.

Irish Ban Smoke First, Teens Second

October 13, 2003 (Washington Post Express) - (Dublin, Ireland) - A law effective Monday gives publicans the power to bar all people under 18 - the legal age for drinking alcohol - from Ireland's pubs after 9 p.m. The reforms promoted also require pub customers aged 18 to 20 to carry photographic identification for the first time, otherwise they too may be barred from pubs after 9 p.m. Until now, no laws have restricted the right of children and teenagers to enter pubs, which remain the social hub of many Irish towns and villages. While youths often enter pubs with their families in the afternoon to eat meals, at night youths also blend into the crowd to drink illegally. (AP)

Giving Beer Thieves a Bad Reputation

October 10, 2003 (Washington Post Express - AP) - (Stuart, Florida) - Police are suggesting a new career path for two Stuart, Fla., men after they left their ID and weapon with a convenience store clerk before stealing a hot dog and beer on Wednesday. The clerk reportedly outwitted the robbers by asking one of the men for an ID to prove he was old enough to purchase beer, then talking him into handing over his BB gun to prove it was real.

Delaware Stands Alone Against Big Brother's .08 Extortion

September 29, 2003 (USA Today) - (Dover, Delaware) - Delaware stands to lose some federal highway funds after the state Senate adjourned a special session without considering a bill to lower the blood-alcohol threshold for drunken driving from .10 to .08. The state could lose $1.6 million next year and millions more in following years. Gov. Minner had urged the Senate to take up the measure.

Kentucky Confronts Big Tobacco's By-products

September 28, 2003 (USA Today) - (Lexington, Kentucky) - Bar and restaurant owners have asked the state appeals court to block a citywide ban on smoking in public places from going into effect next week. The ban is the first of its kind in Kentucky, the second largest tobacco producer in the USA. The ban was approved in July and takes effect Monday.

That's no First-Lady, That's our First Brewmaster

September 28, 2003 (USA Today) - (Charlottesville, West Virginia) - A new exhibit at Thomas Jefferson's home. Monticello, has opened in the beer cellar. It details how Jefferson's household produced and consumed about 200 gallons of ale a year. During research for the exhibit, one surprising fact emerged: Jefferson's wife Martha was the first brewmaster at Monticello.

Economic Growth Strategy makes Big Brother Bigger

September 27, 2003 (USA Today) - (St. Paul, Minnesota) - Gov. Pawlenty and legislators agreed on legislation that will allow bars to stay open an hour later. Cities could allow bars to stay open until 2 a.m. for a fee of $200 to $600, depending on their volume of liquor sales. The money would be used to hire state troopers.

U.S. Retaliates in Iraq after "small arm" Attack

September 22, 2003 (Washington Post) - (Baghdad, Iraq) - Lt. Col George Krivo also said the military is investigating the shooting death of a Bengal tiger at the Baghdad zoo by U.S. soldiers who Iraqi officials say had been drinking. Witnesses said the tiger was killed Thursday when it mauled the arm of a soldier who reached through the cage to feed it. Salmon Musa, the head of the zoo, said the 14-year-old tiger, an endangered species, was the zoo's most valuable animal.

NDSU Standards Leave One Child Behind

September 21, 2003 (Washington Post) - (Fargo, North Dakota) - The former student body president of North Dakota State University said he's talking with a lawyer after the school declared him ineligible for the post, apparently for an alcohol infraction. Josh Swanson, 21, said he spent about $900 and countless hours on his campaign. NDSU said students must meet academic and good conduct standards to be leaders in co-curricular activities.

Alcohol-induced Psychic Ability

September 21, 2003 (News of the Wierd) - (Skowhegan, Maine) - There was a conflict reported in August in an aggravated assault in Skowhegan, Maine, as to who had stabbed Paul Vienaire, according to police. Jean Lampron, 46, was charged with the stabbing, but she said Vienaire's ex-wife did it. Vienaire, however, said that the ex-wife "ordered" the stabbing but that Lampron actually carried it out. Police attributed both explanations to alcohol, since Vienaire's ex-wife died long before the incident occurred. [Kennebec Journal, 8-5-03]

National Academy of (Pseudo)Sciences Resurects the Demon Alcohol

September 9, 2003 - (Washington, DC) - The non-partisan Citizens Against Government Waste has described the latest NAS study, Through the Looking Glass, as wasteful and biased. For $500,000 of your tax dollars the panel of socialists and social engineers came to the starting conclusion that underage drinking is a critical national problem that can only be solved by, guess what, more taxes, more government regulations, and more restrictions on commercial free speech. With a majority of the panelists funded by anti-alcohol organizations the report's outcome was a forgone conclusion. Some hope remains though as Congress is looking into the flawed NAS process. More information is this and other government boondoggles can be found at www.cagw.org

Recycle with Caution

May 4, 2003 (News of the Wierd) - (Stavropol, Russia) - According to a BBC News report about a colder-than-normal January in Russia, a young man in the southern city of Stavropol, answering a call of nature behind a bus stop shelter, turned abruptly so that his exposed organ inadvertently stuck to the metal siding; a bystander hustled up a kettle of warm water to unstick him.

Sell-By Date Gains Broader Support

May 11, 2003 (News of the Wierd) - (Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland, April) - Psychiatrist Charles Gould, 69, was scheduled for a disciplinary tribunal after allegedly belting a patient with a frying pan and a wine bottle when the patient said Gould should retire because he was "past his sell-by date".

Smoke'em if You Got'em - Outside

May 2, 2003 (USA Today) - Hartford, Connecticut - Gov. Rowland said he's prepared to sign a comprehensive smoking ban. The state senate approved the bill and it's expected to pass the House. It would ban smoking in restaurants and bars and in workplaces with more than five employees

Good Health is Bad for Business in Montana

April 12, 2003 (Washington Post) - Helena, Montana - Gov. Judy Martz (R) said yesterday she will sign a bill to overturn an indoor smoking ban researchers say resulted in a sharp reduction in heart attacks. The bill, which exempts certain businesses from any local ordinance more restrictive than the state's indoor clean air law, targets Helena's smoking ban. The ordinance prohibits smoking in all buildings open to the public, including bars and casinos. It was adopted by 62 percent of the city's voters in June and suspended by a legal challenge in December. Two weeks ago, a study found that during the six months the ban was enforced, hospital admissions for heart attacks in the Helena area dropped from seven a month to about three. Martz said she will sign the bill because it protects property rights of businesses and because of strong bipartisan support in the state legislature.

Alcohol and Incendiary Devices - A New Mexico Night Out

March 14, 2003 (USA Today) - Moriarty, New Mexico - A towing company employee found 111 sticks of dynamite in an impounded truck that had been in the company's lot for a month. Some of the sticks were bundled with electrical tape, and some were fused. Police said Calvin Sinks, 37, was arrested Feb. 12 in the truck on a charge of driving while intoxicated.

Anti-alcohol Law Snares Proponent

April 13, 2003 (News of the Wierd) - New York, New York - New York City P.S. 192 principal Evelyn Peralta-Tessitore (an anti-alcohol crusader) was charged with DUI after police spotted her at 2:30 p.m. on a February day, alongside a Bronx road, standing by her car, urinating.

Alcohol or Brick in the Head?

January 12, 2003 (News of the Wierd) - Merced, California - The Merced Sun-Star reported on Dec. 10 that an unnamed man was taken to a hospital in Modesto, Calif., after his head was split open by a brick. Police, called to the scene, were expecting to find foul play, but witnesses said the man was merely trying to see how high up he could throw a brick, and since it was dark (2:30 a.m.), the man lost track of the brick's flight and could not get out of the way when it came down on his head. Police said alcohol appeared to be involved.

Utah Religious Extremists Embarrass USA at Olympics

December 21, 2001 (AP) - Salt Lake City, Utah - Utah's liquor laws will be enforced throughout the 2002 Winter Olympics, the chairman of the state alcohol control board said on Friday. But there will be a few more places to drink as four new restaurant liquor licenses were also granted Friday. Those businesses can't expect the state's alcohol enforcers to be lenient during the 2002 Winter Games, chairman Nicholas Hales said. The Salt Lake City police say "life safety" issues will be the top priority during the games, when an additional 70,000 people per day are expected to be in Utah -- leading some to think the state's strict controls on alcohol might ease up. Not so. "There will be no relaxation of liquor law enforcement during the Olympics," Hales said. "There will be liquor-law enforcement agents whose sole duty it is to (enforce rules)." The four new restaurant liquor licenses will give locals and Olympic visitors a few more options. But for the restaurateurs who went away without a license Friday, they have no choice except to serve watered-down 3.2 per cent-alcohol beer or go dry. Hales said the commission considers a restaurant's proximity to other liquor outlets, its clients and the managers' experience when evaluating applications. The state's strict approach to liquor is a product of the state's dominant Mormon faith. The Mormon faith admonishes its followers not to drink alcohol. Most of the state's lawmakers, and all but one of the alcohol commissioners, are Mormon.

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