[Scales of Justice]

LA MOVIDA - 1996

Politics and Alcohol, a volatile mix

U.S. Supreme Court Decisions


Commercial Free Speech includes Liquor Prices

May 13, 1996. 44 Liquormart v Rhode Island. Banning the advertisement of retail liquor prices violates the 1st Amendment. The 21st Amendment does not shift the burden from the state.


Commercial Free Speech includes Beer Strength

April 19, 1995. Secretary of the Treasury v Coors Brewing Co. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms code section 205(e)(2) prohibiting the truthful display of consumer information fails to advance the government's legitimate interests. The 1st Amendment concerns override the insufficient 21st Amendment provisions.

Federal Happenings


Amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to repeal the 1990 tax increase on beer HR-3997

August 2, 1996. Rep. Neal proposes a bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to repeal the 1990 tax increase on beer.


Amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to reduce the tax on beer to its pre-1991 level HR-3817

July 16, 1996. Rep. English proposes to eliminate the last remaining "luxury" tax increase not yet repealed from the previous president's approach to increasing federal tax revenues.


Comprehensive Alcohol Abuse Prevention Act of 1996 HR-3479

May 16, 1996. Rep. Joe Kennedy (Socialist, Massachusetts) attacks all forms of normal enjoyment of alcoholic beverages. Based on a long and sordid history of family experience with alcohol and the benefits of its prohibition, young Joe proposes to criminalize many common traditional American practices.

For propaganda from the folks receiving taxpayer-funded grants to malign the consumption of alcoholic beverages, visit MACADand NCADI


EPA Tells Coors "Stop that beer splashing"

May 28, 1996. Denver Post Capitol Bureau, byline - Thomas Frank. Official at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are "concerned" that Colorado state officials of the Air Quality Control Commission, the Colorado state legislature, and the Governor have exempted Coors Brewing from rules banning "splash-fill" of waste beer tanks. It seems that splashing releases Volatile-Organic Compounds (VOCs) that can produce ozone. Coors could spend $345,000 to alter the fill method or trade some of their "pollution credits" but they prefer the exemption approach. Maybe they could fill their tanks in Antarctica to eliminate the ozone depletion phenomenon !


Return drinking age control to the states HR-3548

May 29, 1996. Pending federal legislation would remove current federal highway aid extortion provisions and allow 18 year old adults the possibility to purchase beer.

For propaganda maligning this return to normalcy, check out NCADI


1996 Revised US Government Dietary Guidelines recognize health benefits of alcohol

If You Drink Alcoholic Beverages, Do So in Moderation - Guidelines

The committee recognizes that this guideline is unique among the Dietary Guidelines because the substance referred to is both a food -- that is, a calorie-rich beverage -- and a drug, and as the latter, is subject to abuse and can cause user dependency. The committee considered whether or not alcohol abuse and excess render this a public health issue that would be better approached somewhere other than in the Dietary Guidelines. Yet, alcoholic beverages are a regular part of the diet as well and, when used in moderation, may be safe and pleasurable. Because the absence of the guideline after its presence in the three previous editions would send a confusing message to the public, the committee concluded that the guideline should be retained with the same heading as in the 1990 version. Modest changes in the text are suggested.


State of the States


Too little of dress deemed too much for beer festival

September 29, 1996. Denver Post. Elvira, Mistress of the Dark was kept in the dark at the Great American Beer Festival last night after organizers of the Denver event said her low-cut dress revealed a bit too much Elvira. But Sheri Winter, marketing director for the festival at Currigan Hall, said rules are rules - and at the beer festival, one rule is appropriate dress. (Yeh right!) Elvira said "Now, I have been wearing this same outfit for 15 years. I just came directly here from appearing at Disney World in Orlando, and they didn't seem to have a problem with it." Elvira's Night Brew beer was on hand at the festival with her identically-clad image on the bottles.


Colorado Megas Attempt to "Level the playing field (and the craft-brewed competition)"

March, 1996. Colorado Spring Telegraph. The state's major beer wholesalers and retailers have found a sponsor for their special interest bill to prohibit brewpubs from selling "to go" beer on Sundays. A state legislator from Vail has no qualms about signing up to be the sponsor of this industry-written, self-serving, projectionist legislation. Where are the consumer groups to lobby the legislature to level the playing field by dumping Colorado's irrational blue laws and allowing all licensed businesses to sell beer on any weekday regardless of its religious significance to certain subgroups of the population? Do we see Ralph Nader or the Green Party speaking up?


New Mexico State DWI Toll Rose With Nation's in '95

July 1996. Albuquerque Journal. Drunk driving deaths in New Mexico rose approximately 3% in 1995. Nationally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported a 4% increase in people killed in alcohol-related (no definition given) crashes. State officials did not credit their intensive enforcement of the new 0.08% BAC limit or their routine Operation DWI roadblocks with the increase in deaths.


To Serve (a warm one) and Protect

August 23, 1996. Albuquerque Journal. MADISON, Wis. - Two police officers were suspended with pay after one of them urinated in a liquor bottle and both watched an intoxicated man drink from it. The officers then arrested the man for having an open container. Police Chief Richard Williams refused to release the names of the two officers. The department said the man suffered no ill effects! The officers could face criminal charges.

Accomplice DWI?

October 1, 1996, Albuquerque Journal. Two roller coaster cars collided Monday at the Munich Oktoberfest, injuring 26 passengers. Police were investigating the cause of the crash on the "Euro Star" ride, in which cars, running on an overhead track, spin around.



Germany Gets in a Lather About Altering Beer Genes

July 8, 1996. Wall Street Journal. The European Union's High Court in Luxembourg rejected a German motion to require EU (European Union) states to label foods (including beers) with genetically altered ingredients. Will the 500 year old Reinheitsgebot survive until the 21st century?

Dietary Guidelines - Summary

The introductory statements refer to the widespread use of alcoholic beverages to enhance meal satisfaction throughout human history, and the introduction also refers specifically to the physiologic or drug effects of alcohol, including the capacity to alter judgment. As before, the early statements emphasize that dependency and excess can cause serious health problems.


The definition of moderation is retained from the 1990 edition, but the box defining moderation now appears earlier in the text. In this same box an additional statement is included that refers to the calories in alcoholic beverages (also referred to in the weight guidelines) and the possible contribution to weight gain.

Alcohol-disease risk relationships

The list of problems associated with heavy drinking has been expanded to include high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, certain cancers, accidents, and violence. The concern in the 1990 edition that the beneficial effects of moderate intake on heart attack were offset by higher risk for hypertension and hemorrhagic stroke has not been supported by further studies in moderate drinkers where neutral or beneficial effects on risk of stroke or cerebrovascular disease have been recorded (99-104).

Those who should not drink

The list is similar to the 1990 edition but reordered to place children and adolescents at the top. The term adolescents is interpreted to include all people younger than the legal age of 21 years. Despite some studies showing no detrimental effects of low or moderate alcohol intake during pregnancy, the committee recommends continuation of the prudent advice that women who are pregnant or trying to conceive (that is, who might already be in the first few weeks after conception and before a determination as pregnant) should not drink, since an absolutely safe level of alcohol intake during early pregnancy has not been accepted. Like the 1990 committee, the current committee found insufficient evidence on which to base a recommendation on alcohol consumption during lactation.

Advice for today

The text expands the statement in the 1990 guidelines to emphasize the food use of alcoholic beverages rather than the social drug use. The section recognizes that consumption of alcohol with meals slows consumption and absorption of alcohol and notes that alcohol should not be consumed in situations where others might be put at risk.

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Additions welcome at: New Mexico Virtual Brewpub