[Scales of Justice]

LA MOVIDA - 1997

Politics and Alcohol, a volatile mix

Mail-Order Consumers Win One, For Now

October 24, 1997. Anti-alcohol forces teamed with big business interests fighting to maintain the stranglehold of their three-tiered beer distribution system on consumer choice. The Florida case sought to allow the state to sue direct beer shippers in Federal court. The court said No Way. Expect the next consumer threat to be launched in Congress as the special interests will coordinate with state regulators in high-publicity "sting" operations meant to entrap Beer-Of-The-Month club service providers. Look for the old standby excuses of lost taxes and sales to minors to be splashed across the media, with certain noble elected representatives eager to join the fight against Demon Beer. Read the facts at: United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit. No. 96-2772. FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF BUSINESS REGULATION and Robert Butterworth, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. ZACHY'S WINE AND LIQUOR, INC., et al., Defendants.

But Does it add an off Flavor? Dec/Jan 1997 Barleycorn, Marc E. Sorini - Papers in the African nation of Zimbabwe report that a local beer drinker recently won a lawsuit against Zimbabwe's National Breweries after he found a diaphragm in his beer. In a story that will sound familiar to most Americans, the diaphragm-drinking plaintiff apparently suffered no direct physical injuries, but claimed to be suffering from "a nervous shock," depression and anxiety. Less familiar to Americans is the plaintiff's recovery; $5,000 Zimbabwe dollars, the equivalent of about $400 U.S. dollars.

Christmas Cheer Ban Overturned Dec 10, 1997 Weekly Alibi, Dateline: Canada - The Quebec Liquor Corp. reversed an earlier decision to ban a brew called "The Christmas Beer." According to the rules laid down by the provincial government-owned company, no alcohol may be marketed using real or fictitious characters associated with minors. "The Christmas Beer" bears a picture of Santa Claus' face on its label. The Liquor Corp. changed its mind after a visit from lawyers from GMT, the Montreal-based microbrewery that makes Christmas Beer.

Moderate Drinking Called Beneficial (Again) Dec 8, 1997 Albuquerque Journal, BOSTON - The biggest study ever of alcohol's effect on health found that a drink a day in the middle age reduces the risk of death by 20 percent. The research documented this decrease over a nine-year period in men and women whose average age was 56. Many reports over the past two decades have shown that a little alcohol is good for the heart. However, some have also found an increased risk of breast cancer and other diseases. The latest research, conducted by the American Cancer Society, attempts to add up the pluses and minuses and calculate the net effect of alcohol on health. Like most other studies, this one found that modest drinking is, on balance, healthful. The ill effects, including cancer, are greatly offset by alcohol's benefits to the heart. "The best advice to the public is, nothing to excess," said Dr. Michael J. Thun, the study's lead author.

Would You Buy Microbrew Shampoo? Dec 7, 1997 Albuquerque Journal;Kevin O'Hanlon,Associated Press, CINCINNATI - "Microbrewed" beer shampoo, caffeine-laced orange juice and cherry-marshmellow toothpaste got panned. Stuffed tortillas and special mitten that remove unwanted body hair got raves... Cincinnati-based AcuPOLL measures response to often offbeat business ideas, including edible chocolate-lined straws and a brushless toothbrush you chew like bubble gum. The company sorted through many of the nearly 25,000 new products introduced in 1997 to come up with its annual list of 400 of the best and the worst innovations...Also disliked was Back to Basics, a "microbrewed" beer shampoo that puts "a head on your hear," featuring Peach Amber Ale and Cherry Stout.

PA. Says Thumbs Down to Mannekin Pis Dec 97-Jan 98 Ale Street News - ...State regulators in Pennsylvania have prohibited the sale of Mannekin Pis, declaring the beer's label to be "rude and offensive." The label depicts the Mannekin Pis statue in Brussels - a fountain erected in 1619 which portrays a naked boy pissing. The regulatory prudishness is not a new problem for importers. The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) initially rejected the Mannekin Pis label. That decision was reversed, however, after the Consul General of Belgium sent a letter to the BATF, explaining the statue's historic significance and its status as an icon closely associated with Brussels...Pennsylvania authorities have not indicated whether they might reverse their decision, although the Belgian Consul is submitting another letter of explanation. In the meantime, the beer is being distributed in New Jersey.

More Alcohol-Related Injuries

Man Admits Eating Drinking Buddies

March 20, 1997. Albuquerque Journal. ST. PETERSBURG, Russia - A man has pleaded guilty to killing three drinking partners and eating their internal organs, a newspaper reported Wednesday. Ilshat Kuzikov, 37, was found to be insane and sent to a maximum-security psychiatric hospital, the daily Moskovsky Komsomolets reported. Kuzikov brought acquaintances to his apartment to drink shots of vodka, then killed them and ate their body parts, according to police. Police said they found the victims' dismembered bodies in Kuzikov's apartment after his arrest in 1995. Kuzikov said he killed the men because he couldn't buy enough to eat on his $20 monthly pension, the newspaper reported.

Earth to AMA: Beer is Good for You! Oct./Nov. Southern Draft News OAKLAND, Calif. - Beer rivals red and white wines at fighting heart disease, according to a recent study here by Kaiser Permanente Medical Center and published in a recent issue of American Journal of Cardiology. Researchers report the red wine is "no better than either white wine or beer" in battling heart disease. Some 129,000 patients in Northern California were monitored for heart disease rates over an eight-year period. Data was used from a study of men and women conducted from 1978-1985. The original study showed that moderate drinking lowers the risk of heart disease.

Gambrinus and Naked Companion OKAY for Beer Label Oct./Nov. Southern Draft News...The original artistic labels of Cantillon Rosé de Gambrinus and Gueuze, which were previously rejected by the BATF, have now been approved for use in the U.S. After the initial rejection, Cantillon importer shelton Broers resubmitted to the BATF requests for label approval along with volumes of background information supporting the claim that the labels were original works of art and not indecent appeals to beer drinkers' basic instincts.

Smoking Kills - A New Surgeon General Warning Needed? November 19, 1997 Weekly Alibi. Dateline: Connecticut - A man in Bridgeport, Conn., with severe emphysema apparently lit up a cigarette while hooked to his oxygen tank. According to local fire officials, the man blew up his house "like a bomb." The man died instantly, destroyed his house and incinerated a tree and a telephone pole on the sidewalk out front.

2002 Olympic Brew Finds Foes in Utah November 17, 1997 Albuquerque Journal (Wires). SALT LAKE CITY - Olympic marketers prefer calling the official beer of 2002 Winter Games a "malt beverage." That isn't making the sponsorship more palatable to anti-alcohol activists. Opponents claim a 2002 brew will portray a partying image that conflicts with Utah's "family-oriented" standards. Roughly 70 percent of Utah's population is Mormons, who are taught to eschew alcohol.

Barely Legal November, 1997 Newsweek. NORTH CAROLINA, USA - Two recent legal decisions are sending mixed messages. One makes it legal to "moon" in public; the other makes it illegal for stadium vendors in Charlotte to yell "Beer!" At least one lawmaker seems to see the disparity. State Attorney General Mike Easley last week filed for a reversal of the butt-baring decision, citing the distress one man's mooning caused in 1995. That's when momentarily pantless perp Mark Edward Fly bared his fanny to a woman near her home. Fly was found guilty of indecent exposure but got his conviction overturned by arguing the he'd bared his "buttocks" not his "privates." Easley isn't moved: "This is not a college kid...The defendant was trying to intimidate." (Lucy Howard and C.K. Binswanger with bureau reports)

Funny, the AG didn't feel like protecting the beer vendor's commercial free speech rights or the consumers who might wish to make their (beer) purchases based on the verbal advertising.

Reggae and Beer Not Mixing

August 31, 1997 Albuquerque Journal. KINGSTON, Jamaica - A battle is brewing between the family of late reggae great Bob Marley and a Panamanian beer company. The Bob Marley Foundation, which is run by Marley's family, is considering suing Cervecería Nacional, which affixed its logo atop a mural of Marley in Panama City. The company produces De Primera beer. Foundation executive Marjorie Scott said the family particularly objected to Marley's image being used alongside a liquor advertisement. Drinking alcohol is against the beliefs of Rastafarians, the religious group of which Marley was a well-known member. Marley died of cancer at age 36 in 1981.

Kareem Criticized for Beer Ads Fall 1997 Zymurgy. Professional basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbas has been criticized by fellow Muslims for doing Coors beer commercials. In 1971 the Los Angeles Lakers Hall of Famer converted to Islam, a religion that forbids the use of alcohol. Although Abdul-Jabbar said he was careful not to be shown actually holding a beer and thought the commercial "was tastefully done," the Islamic Society of North America and the Colorado Mulsim Society disapproved. Throughout his career, Abdul-Jabbar and his teammates have taken part in promotions of various alcoholic beverages. "Why now, at this point, do I get this static?" he asked the Los Angeles Times. (Rocky Mountain News, Jan. 24, 1997)

Microbrewers Sue Beer Giant August 2, 1997 Los Angeles Times. Three Northern California microbreweries are brewing up a court battle against Anheuser-Busch Inc., alleging that the giant maker of Budweiser engages in anti-competitive practices. In class-action suits filed last week in U.S. District Court in Sacramento, San Francisco and San Jose, the three makers of craft brews said Anheuser-Busch coerced independent wholesalers to stop distributing their lines. Participating are St. Stan's Brewing Co. of Modesto, Anderson Valley Brewing Co. in Boonville, and El Toro Brewing Co. based in Morgan Hill.

Alcohol Gestapo Thwarted August 3, 1997. The Washington Post. PALM SPRINGS - California's Alcohol Beverage Control Board gave it its best shot, but the seventh annual Sensual and Erotic Art Festival went on as scheduled Thursday in the conservative resort city with more that 1,000 swinging couples claiming a victory over censorship. ..The board said that state law prohibits the display of lewd images "contrary to the public welfare and morals" on premises licensed to sell alcohol, and it ordered convention center officials to ban the erotic art show, which had been displayed without challenge at the group's previous conventions in Los Angeles, San Diego and Las Vegas, Nev. On Monday, the Southern California branch of the American Civil Liberties Union went to U.S. District Court in Los Angeles and obtained a temporary restraining order against the board, arguing that its ban violated First Amendment guarantees of freedom of expression. .. Hardline District Judge Dickran Tevrizian ruled that the beverage board had overstepped its authority by threatening to lift the center's liquor license if the show went on.

Internet Inherits Freedom of Speech June 26, 1997 WASHINGTON - The US Supreme Court rejected the Communications Decency Act as unconstitutional. Rejecting arguments that this new medium must be government-sanitized for safe consumption by children, the court rejected the extremist approach that all content on the Net must be dumbed down to something fit only for children. Internet-using beer drinkers can take heart that this precedent may protect beer-related speech on the Net from similar attacks by anti-alcohol nuts who push a similar irrational agenda to censor open discussions on alcoholic beverages. For the facts, visit ceic

Milk-a-Holic Sues Dairy Industry June 7, 1997 Albuquerque Journal. SEATTLE - A self-described milk-a-holic is suing the dairy industry, claiming that a lifetime of drinking whole milk contributed to his clogged arteries and a minor stroke. Norman Mayo, 61, believes he might have avoided his health problems if he had been warned on milk cartons about fat and cholesterol. "I drank milk like some people drink beer or water," he said. The federal lawsuit names Safeway and the Dairy Farmers of Washington state as defendants. Mayo wants Safeway to put warning labels on all its dairy products and he wants similar warnings on all dairy industry advertising.

Why Beer and Nuclear Physics Don't Mix Spring 1997 American Brewer - The Feb./March 1997 issue of Beer Cans & Brewery Collectibles, magazine of the Beer Can Collectors of America, contained the following item: "The world's largest particle accelerator was put out of service for five days. The $1 billion project, a 17-mile ring under the Franco-Swiss border, where subatomic particles crash into each other at nearly the speed of light, simply stopped. The cause? Scientists found that a guy had left two beer cans in it."

A Brew Too Far May 10, 1997 Albuquerque Journal. - Two Albuquerque men apparently got drunk on beer this week and decided to fire off a volley of 9 mm pistol shots, police said. The gunfire late Thursday mushroomed into a major police incident with a horde of patrol officers and the SWAT team racing to the scene, officials said. Two men ... have each been charged with a misdemeanor count of negligent use of a gun. A criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court says the equivalent of 36 cans of beer had been consumed..."Purley said he did not know there was a police helicopter in the air and did not intentionally shoot at the aircraft," the complaint states. "He said that if he had known it was in the sky he would have thrown a rock at it." Both men were arrested, court documents show. A Bernalillo County Detention Center official said they were to be released from jail Friday evening after posting $200 jail bonds.

Students "Just Say No" to "Guilty Unless Proven Innocent" Prom Policy May 5, 1997 Associated Press. Grant, Nebraska. - Before heading to the dance floor, 17-year-old Jayme Pankonin secured the spray of baby's breath in her hair, straightened her deep purple dress, then pursed her lips around a straw and blew. "Very good", said Grant Schools Superintendent Jon Burkey as he read her negative Breathalyzer results Saturday night. "You look wonderful. Welcome to the prom." In this western Nebraska town of 1,239, the "blow or go" policy is now in its fourth year. While Grant High School tests every person who enters the prom, most schools test only those students who appear to have been drinking. In Grant, the breath tests began after a particularly raucous prom in 1992, when apparently intoxicated students swallowed live goldfish used in table centerpieces, said Burkey...But those students who are finding themselves on the other end of the blood-alcohol straw for the first time have not been so cooperative. Students at one Arlington, Texas, high school arranged an "alternative prom" to protest the school district's new breath test. About 200 students attended the second prom - almost half the entire class of Lamar High School, officials said. "I think it was important for us to take a stand because we felt like this was a violation of our civil rights and violation of our trust," said Lamar High School student Jeff Hurst, who helped organize the alternative dance. "It's like being accused of drinking without cause."

Cannabis Beer Coming Soon? Summer 1997 ZYMURGY - Swiss brewery Wadu Brau is the first commercial brewer of a beer made from cannabis, or marijuana. The concoction is legal in Switzerland, has 5.8 percent alcohol by volume and is purported to have the taste of cannabis without its intoxicating effects. This claim is being investigated by U.K. authorities because Wadu Brau is discussing plans to export the product. (Beverage Alcohol Market Report, Aug. 26, 1996)

Anti-Drug Nuts Smokin Mad April 23, 1997 Weekly Alibi. Maryland. - The tiny Fredrick Brewing Company recently announced plans to launch its new "Hempen Ale." The beer will be brewed with hemp seeds instead of barley. The beverage contains no THC, the drug commonly found in marijuana. So ... what's the point exactly? While Hempen Ale has received FDA approval, certain anti-drug officials are reportedly incensed about the beer's message.

Anti-Beer Nuts Press DELETE April 23, 1997 Weekly Alibi. Pakistan. - Apparently fearful over fundamentalist Islamic reprisals, editors of a Pakistani English-language paper censored the word "beer" in "root beer" from a weekend edition of the Garfield comic strip. Jeez, it's a good thing that feline rascal didn't say "Hempen Ale."

Unhealthy Lifestyle? 39 Dead In Likely Suicide March 27, 1997. Los Angeles Times. RANCHO SANTA FE, Calif.- The bodies of 39 young men, apparently cult members who believed they were sent to earth as angles, were found Wednesday in a luxury home here - victims of a likely mass suicide. The cult they belonged to, W.W. Higher Source, which may have New Mexico and Arizona chapters, practiced celibacy and abstained from smoking and drinking, according to Milt Silverman Jr., an attorney for the owner of the home where the men died. Go to Heaven!

Naked Man Nabbed In Quest for Beer March 24, 1997. Albuquerque Journal. PORTLAND, Maine - A snowstorm was blowing outside when the naked man walked into a convenience store and headed for the beer cooler. The man wasn't empty-handed, however. He had a 3-foot, double-edged sword that he raised and pointed at the store clerk's chest early Saturday, said police Lt. Nelson Bartley. "I'm thirsty," the man told the clerk, according to Bartley. The clerk raised his hands and backed away. As the clerk called police, the naked customer turned and left the store without taking anything. Bartley said police caught up with Michael L. Hicks a few blocks from the store and arrested him without a struggle. Police wrapped him in a blanket and charged him with criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon and public indecency. Hicks, 29, was jailed in lieu of $500 bail.

Zero-Intelligence Mentality Spreading

Swig of Scope Gets Student Suspended

March 22, 1997. Associated Press PORTLAND, Ore. - A 13-year-old boy who says he just wanted minty fresh breath has been suspended for violating his schools' alcohol policy. Adam McMakin was suspended for a week after a security guard at Parkrose Middle School saw him take a bottle of Scope from his locker after lunch, swig, and swallow. "The lunch kind of tasted bad. I didn't have any place to split." Adam explained Thursday. "They could have just warned me and I wouldn't have used it any more." But school officials say the mouthwash violated their zero-tolerance policy for alcohol and they're just trying to make sure things don't get out of hand. Adam's mother thought the punishment a little excessive. "We knew that it has a little bit of alcohol, but who would have guessed 18.9 percent?" Carolyn McMakin said. Several common drugstore items have gotten students around the country in trouble lately because of zero-tolerance policies. In Bremerton, Wash., 15 middle-school students were suspended Thursday for passing around and tasting Alka Seltzer tablets on campus.

Liquor, Tobacco Ads Are Targeted March 17, 1997. WebWeek - Congressional hearings should examine the Web promotions by alcohol and tobacco companies, a Washington-based nonprofit group urged in a recent study. The Center for Media Education found hundreds of Web sites promoting alcohol and tobacco products. The center, with support from the National Parent Teachers Association, also called on the Federal Trade Commission, the National Cancer Institute, and the Centers for Disease Control to examine the ads.

Consumer Alert

Anti-alcohol zealots threaten alcohol servers SB-7

February, 1997. Sen. Gloria Howes, D-Gallup (the alcohol abuse capital of NM) proposes to allow any licensed, trained alcoholic beverage servers to be fired if they fail to keep proof of their state-mandated server training at their place of employment. Currently the state maintains these records. Check out SB-7 for this new "get tough on people trying to earn a living" Draconian proposal. Contact your senator now!

Anti-alcohol zealots try to outlaw pitcher sales & tasters SB-12

February, 1997. Sen. Gloria Howes, D-Gallup (the alcohol abuse capital of NM) proposes to outlaw pitcher sales to one person, outlaw free samples such as tasters, outlaw unlimited drinks for a fixed price, such as beer festivals, and outlaw serving more than two drinks to one person at a time. The sloppy wording would also likely outlaw happy hour discounts common at most brewpubs. SB-12 can be stopped by rational people. Contact your senator now!

Consumer Friendly proposal to normalize beer laws! SB-132 February, 1997. Sen. Roman Maes proposes to give beer brewers and beer drinkers the same priviledges as wine drinkers. Beer festivals will now be allowed as in other states. Brew On Premise businesses will no longer be in legal limbo. Sales on certain religious days of worship will no longer be proscribed by the State. Reasonable license fees will soon treat brewers without irrational discrimination. There may be hope for this state yet. Contact your senator now!

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