[Scales of Justice]

LA MOVIDA - 1998

Politics and Alcohol, a volatile mix

Beer Solves Torrid Tale of Sex and Murder

JONESBORO, Ga., Dec 30 (Reuters) - A 76-year-old Georgia woman who originally claimed her husband's throat was slashed by an intruder has confessed the couple picked up the killer on a highway and brought him home for sex, police said on Wednesday. "They picked the guy up for sex, but the guy decided he didn't want sex. He wanted their car and some money," Clayton County Police Capt. Danny Westbrooks told Reuters. Westbrooks said the couple picked up the hitchhiker on Saturday night along Interstate 75 near Jonesboro, Georgia, about 20 miles (32 km) south of Atlanta. He said the woman, Evelyn Smith, told police she and her husband sometimes picked up hitchhikers for sex but never before had the escapades turned violent. The husband, Chester Smith, 72, liked to watch his wife have sex with other men, Westbrooks said the woman told police. The captain, however, said that he believed both partners had sex with the people they picked up along the road. "She said it was her, but I think it was both of them," Westbrooks said. He said the woman initially told police that a man came to her home asking for a drink of water and once inside pulled a knife and told the couple he was going to take their car.

The woman told police her husband bolted for the door, but the intruder ran after him and slit his throat, killing him. Westbrooks said a six-pack of beer found in the home led police to the truth. "The wife stated the perpetrator brought the beer to the home and it didn't belong to the couple," he said. "The beer being cold and the perpetrator being on foot, we felt like it was purchased in the general vicinity." Police viewed surveillance tapes from nearby convenience stores, looking for a man in his 30s with dark hair and a pony tail who bought beer shortly before the crime occurred. To their surprise, they found that the wife bought the beer. "When we confronted her, she broke down and told the truth," Westbrooks said. A possible break in the case came on Tuesday when a man told police he had picked up a hitchhiker fitting the description of the assailant north of Atlanta on Saturday. The man said the hitchhiker told him he was from Nashville, Tennessee, and headed to Ocala, Florida, to see if he could find work on a horse farm.

 Beer Advertising Safe, for Now Dec. 29, Los Angeles - On December 16 a judge lifted a restraining order that a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge had issued which stopped Miller Brewing Company from offering consumers chances to win prizes from its Miller Lite Supper Bowl Sweepstakes. Such promotions run throughout the country without difficulty but California's Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control decided to "control" Miller's right to commercial free speech by declaring the promotion illegal under their self-proclaimed "emergency rule" created in November. Unelected ABC bureaucrats deemed a beer-related sweepstakes illegal even though beer is legal and sweepstakes are legal. Look for this first battle win against the anti-alcohol forces to encourage Anheuser-Busch to bring its Bud Bowl sweepstakes to California citizens. The First Amendment lives, even on the Left Coast.

 Government Drives Alcohol "Underground" Dec, 29, 1998, MUROM, Vladimir Region, (Itar-Tass) - Bootleggers in the city of Murom, situated about 200 miles east of Moscow, displayed uncanny witticism when hauling moonshined alcohol. They used to bring big batches of "raw material" from Moscow in metallic containers, resembling coffins, to their underground distillery, situated in the village of Nezhilovka next to Murom. Coffins were allegedly assigned for the local Murom firm Ritual Services. It was a top-notch operation. It could not be otherwise, since "the firm" was headed, according to chief of the Murom police department Alexei Zhagrov, by a four-year student of Vladimir State University, Viktor Zinovyev, and two local residents. Police unearthed on Tuesday 8,000 litres of moonshined alcohol, as well as corks, labels and other equipment at a basement of a local house. According to "manufacturers", they wanted to call vodka out of "coffin" alcohol as Pomerantsevaya (Bitters in English). They ordered labels with great difficulty, but they are of no use now.

 Neither Rain nor Snow nor Gloom of Regulations Rhode Island, Dec. 28 (USA Today) - Residents can now buy limited quantities of beer, wine and liquor via mail or the Internet thanks to regulatory changes made by Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation. Beneficiaries include Beer-Of-The-Month clubs. Opponents say underage drinkers will have easy access to "booze."

 "Euro" Benefits Beer Shoppers BRUSSELS, Dec. 23 - On January 1, 1999 the new "Euro" monetary unit brings a common currency to 11 European Union (EU) countries. Using this new common denominator consumers will be able to easily comparison shop prices for the first time on products such as beer. Although it may not bring prices down immediately, it could affect buying practices as consumers discover price differences ranging up to 50% between countries. Beer drinkers in England must still work to find their bargains since Britain, Sweden, Denmark and Greece are not adopting the Euro initially. Effects on the "quality beer" industry remain uncertain.

 Utah Gangs Turn Alcohol-Free Dec. 23, 1998, Utah (USA Today) - Provo officials plan to review laws that allow dance clubs in the city after a teenager was shot to death in a crime police say was gang-related. Ramon Penn, 17, was shot twice in the back of the head early Saturday inside Club Omni, a popular alcohol-free night spot.

 Sex Sells - Beer Madison, Wisconsin, Dec. 23, 1998 (USA Today) - A desire to shed inhibitions is among reasons female students at the University of Wisconsin - Madison consume alcohol, while White males said their motivations include finding dates and having sex, a survey of 185 students found. - Maybe Margaret Mead should be called in to confirm students didn't just tell researchers what they wanted to hear. Perhaps on the next government grant researchers could investigate just how alcohol increases the males' ability to "find dates."

 Business Slow, NIAAA Redefines "Drinking Problem" BOSTON, Dec. 22 - JSI Research and Training Institute, Inc., under contract to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation called for re-thinking (read expanding) the alleged negative impact of alcohol in the workplace. Alcoholics and problem drinkers are easy targets, now its time to go after the "one beer at lunch" and the "one too many the night before" crowd. One of the study's authors, Jonathan Howland, Ph.D., Professor at Boston University School of Public Health likens the economic effects of a beer at lunch with those of alcoholism, "Contrary to conventional wisdom, workplace productivity is not only impacted by those with the illness of alcoholism, but by those nondependent employees who sometimes drink heavily the night before work or who drink at lunch." Don't expect a scientific "cause and effect" relationship to be proven by these "scientists". The link of a beer at lunch to a hangover to excessive drinking to alcoholism is inferred but never substantiated. Maybe another government grant is needed? Taking a lesson learned form the anti-tobacco lobby, Thomas Mangione, Ph.D., Project Director and Senior Research Scientist at JSI quips "The drinking individual's productivity is not the only thing affected. Current estimates of productivity losses due to alcohol exposure don't account for "secondhand" effects..." You heard it here first. Secondhand alcohol affects threaten the economic backbone of the nation. Must be time for a "War on Drugs", OOPS, too late, make that a "War on Alcohol."

 Tis the Season to go Blind BEIJING (Dec. 22) XINHUA - On the eve of the holiday season, the government has issued a caution against buying fake liquor, today's "China Daily" reported. The State Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision said it will tighten supervision of liquor sales and production to prevent widespread poisoning during the coming New Year and Spring Festival season. In a document issued yesterday, the bureau cautioned residents against buying of fake liquor, which is still on sale in some localities. Recently, two men in Huangbu Township, Quxian County in east China's Zhejiang Province, were poisoned by industrial-grade alcohol that had been sold as liquor. One of the men was blinded. The bureau said the toxic liquor is sold by profiteers mixing industrial alcohol with water. The bureau also called on industrial alcohol producers to clearly mark their product as "inedible." The bureau strongly called for local government agencies to clamp down on fake liquor sales to forestall a repeat of the dozens of deaths caused by tainted alcohol earlier this year. Since 1992, 39 cases of profiteers selling toxic liquor passed off as drinking alcohol have been uncovered and they have resulted in the deaths of 202 drinkers.

 Segragation comes to Arizona Dec. 14, 1998 TUCSON - Unelected officials of Arizona Liquor License and Control department have ordered small- and medium-sized businesses licensed to serve alcoholic beverages to erect barriers to prevent underage drinking. The decree comes from director Howard Adams whose chief investigator Myron Musfeldt described the current situation , "It seemed to be eroding and uncontrollable. It had gotten to the point that it was introducing young people to a club atmosphere and it was not good public policy." Musfeldt claims the new Draconian rule has the approval of those paid to create public policy, the state legislature, because it "just made good sense." When it comes to "good sense", look for you local Liquor Control bureaucrats to show those 20-year old Gulf War vets and the legions of teenagers who failed to exercise their right to vote their government's version of what's best for them.

 Teen Drinking Proves Healthy HAMILTON, OH, Dec 5 - Two Hamilton teenagers may soon be paying the price for their free ride. Billy Ray Grimes,12 and John Wayne Riley, 15 chose to board a freight train on November 23 and became locked in a boxcar for eight days. The two told police that they survived by drinking the remaining stale beer in the cargo of empties being returned to the brewery in Trenton. Police will charge the pair with probation violation and trespassing but not Hobo'ing While under the Influence (HWI). Police also declined to prosecute the railroad for serving minors or violating the states open container law. And justice was served.

 Let's Toast! 65th Anniversary of the Repeal of Prohibition NEW YORK, Dec. 2 /PRNewswire/-- December 5, 1998 marks the 65th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition. Throughout our nation's history, a virtuous few have sought time and again to change the behavior of the majority. The Drys. vs. the Wets. The busybodies vs. the fun-lovers. How much does your audience know about this era in history? For example: -- On January 17, 1920, the 18th Amendment, or the Volstead Act, became law, prohibiting the manufacture and sale of alcohol beverages. -- Prohibition was supposed to reduce crime, but the effect was the opposite. The popularity of the speakeasy and the growth of the rumrunning trade led to raids and arrests both on the local and national level.

-- In 1922 there were 32,000 speakeasies in the United States, more than double the number of legal saloons in existence prior to Prohibition. -- By the mid 1920s there was an estimated 100,000 speakeasies in New York alone. That was one for every 56 people. -- During Prohibition, 52nd Street between 5th and 6th Avenues in New York City was the "wettest" strip in the country, with 37 speakeasies on one block alone. Among them were: Tony's, Club 18, Pop Reilly's Tavern, Leon & Eddie's and the famous 21 Club. -- The 21 Club, located at 21 West 52nd Street, is the last of the speakeasies still in operation today. -- On December 5, 1933 at 5:32 p.m. President Roosevelt addressed the nation and announced the repeal of Prohibition, which restored the people's right to manufacture, sell and consume alcohol. -- To express their gratitude for repeal, Anheuser-Busch delivered to President Roosevelt at the White House the first case of "Repeal Beer" on the back of a wagon pulled by a team of Clydesdale horses. -- While most people know that the Women's Christian Temperance Union was instrumental in the enactment of Prohibition, did you know it is still in existence today? And the temperance torch is still carried today. Some groups and organizations, for example, criticize and dismiss the "designated driver" concept, arguing that while the driver is sober, other passengers may have an extra drink because someone else is driving.-- 65 years after Repeal, across the country there are still "dry" cities and counties that prohibit the sale of alcohol.

 Doctor Ignores Warning Label - Never Use Medication if You're On Alcohol ISTANBUL, Dec 5 - The friendly skies were anything but for Mikaeinar Peterson as he flew from Bangkok to Budapest Saturday. The Malev Airlines flight crew told police that Peterson attacked stewardesses and a pilot after he mixed a drug with alcohol. Fortunately a doctor was onboard as a passenger and seeing the violent results in Peterson to the synergistic effects of the drug and alcohol he did the Hippocratic thing, he injected Peterson with another drug to calm him down. It worked a little too well though for the Finnish passenger for by the time he was unbound after the emergency landing at Istanbul we was dead. Police took the doctor and crew into custody for questioning and the airline sent for a replacement crew. Thank you for choosing Malev Airlines.

 Swedes Consider "Updating" to 20th Century Beer Laws STOCKHOLM, Dec 2, 1998 - Sweden's Minister of Social Affairs, Lars Enqvist has proposed scrapping the nation's 16-year ban on Saturday sales at the states monopoly-run liquor stores named Systembolaget which are not open weekends or evenings. He also broached the idea of non-state retail outlets being legalized. While denying any failure of the current government-run system which attempts to limit supplies to reduce the state's health care costs, he acknowledged that Sweden's highest excise duties in the EU are largely to blame for the increased smuggling and illicit homemade drink production. The "once a socialist always a socialist" attitude was best expressed by Social Affairs official Annika Mansnerus who told Reuters "Our alcohol policies have been successful but we have to adjust to the outside world." Maybe European Union membership will actually have tangible benefits that people never thought of.

 Honey, I'm Going for More Beer CLEARWATER, FL., December 2, 1998 - The AP reported that Michael Veigel jumped off the balcony of his ninth-floor condominium, intending to land in the swimming pool below. He made it. His associates at the time say he was upset about something after drinking. Maybe he discovered the fridge was full of light beer.

 Beer Causes Cancer - US Government Ready to (RE)Act WASHINGTON, DC, December 2, 1998 - Experts advising the National Toxicology Program claimed to have reviewed existing cancer studies involving animals and humans prior to voting nine to three to designate alcohol a "known human carcinogen." One panel member recommended that any final report mention that people who drink the equivalent of one to two glasses of wine per day tend to have a lower risk of dying from heart disease. Don't hold your breath for this report to contain such a "mixed message." Look for the "finding" to become the darling of the sound-bite news media before elevating through the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and on to the Secretary of the Health and Human Services. This incredible non-research finding has the potential to lead to more government decrees such as those that saved consumers from Cyclamates and Alar. Send in your comments at www.nih.gov/news/pr/dec98/niehs-21.htm

 Arrive Alive Campaign Means Arrive Arrested JOHANNESBURG, December 4, 1998 - The African News Services reports that the South African Transport Department has decided to ring in the holiday season with a series of new grotesque media ads dipicting the "fragility of the human body under the impact of a road crash." For viewers unfazed by the gore message there is another approach, breathalysers. Transport Minister Mac Maharaj feels there is "massive" popular support for 24-hour state police/police-state roadblocks and mandatory breathalyzer evidence gathering. Thank God this could never hapen in a country with a Bill of Rights and constitutional protections.

 Root for the Home Team and Pass the Singha BANGKOK, Dec 4, 1998 - Reuters reports that police demanded Asian Games officials ban alcohol at all sporting venues after a few drunken fans were arrested at the Thailand-Hong Kong game in Bangkok. Spokesperson Valerie McKenzie stated "We remain as we are". Maybe the opening remarks for the December 6-20 Games will proclaim "Let the games, and the drinking, begin." Of course the fact that Danish brewer Carlsberg has paid $10 million to be the official sponsor and have its beers poured at all stadiums wouldn't have had any influence in the organizers decision.

 Surprise! Government Prefers Alcohol Monopoly MOSCOW, December 2 (Itar-Tass) - With the state control imposed over alcohol production in Russia, the federal budget revenues for the item have grown by 1.5 times, Russian Premier Yevgeny Primakov told a Federation Council meeting on Wednesday. According to the premier, the fact proves that the government has managed to create "a working system of the state monopoly over alcohol." Among the most important measures in the field are to stop spirits imports into Russia and to allow transit of alcohol through the country only by rail to prevent illegal spirits supplies, Primakov noted. Strict control and firm quotas are also imposed at domestic distilleries to prevent illegal production, he said. There is also tough control over wholesale bases that trade in alcohol products. In Moscow alone, the number of such bases decreased from more than 200 to 23. In case illegal alcohol products are discovered in a retail store, the trade organisation's license will be voided at once, the premier warned. Primakov emphasised that control had been also tightened over the quality of alcohol products. Special substance will be added to technical spirits that will become bright-orange when mixed with water. The measure is necessary, since the Russian toll for deaths caused by low-quality vodka was higher than the one for the Afghan war, the premier noted.

 Honest Officer, It's for Personal Use NAKHODKA, December 4 (Itar-Tass) - Russia's Maritime Territory police in the city of Ussuriisk have uncovered a clandestine workshop for the production of counterfeit vodka. The spirits were produced by two citizens of the People's Republic of China, who then poured vodka into polyethylene bags and sent to the retailing network. Police confiscated 1,090 half-litre bags of vodka and eight litres of alcohol. Both Chinese nationals have been placed at an assessment centre for an inquiry into their unlawful activities in Russia. Earlier, police had uncovered a similar clandestine workshop, set up by comers from Georgia in the basement of a Vladivostok house. Fifteen people had been detained in that case.

 Nanny Nader, Make a Warning Label Quick! Belgian detectives who dissolved a human body in cleaning fluid while investigating a crime came under fire from newspapers which said their methods showed no respect for the dead. Brussels police, investigating allegations a Hungarian clergyman murdered up to 20 people and dissolved the bodies in cleaning agent, performed an experiment to see if it was possible by placing a dead body in a vat of "Cleanest." Within 24 hours the body, which had been donated to medical science, disappeared without trace. Daily tabloid Het Laatste Nieuws quoted two professors of ethics who said they had "serious reservations" about the experiment.

 Veldt War Three? South African Breweries (SAB) has mounted a full-scale invasion of Kenya under cover of free trade agreements. Kenya Breweries Limited (KBL) attempted a counter strike with their popular Tusker beer but were blunted when the South Africans preemptively registered a brand in Kenya that featured Tusker's logo. Guerrilla warfare has ensued with SAB advertising billboards being spray-painted and knocked down. The battle for consumers is being take to the streets with blow-for-blow price drops. Support from rebel youths is building with introduction of the new KBL Pilsner Ice. Experts fear the price wars could spill into neighboring Uganda where the populace is clamoring to support anyone with better beer.

 No New Taxes! - Except for Alcohol USA Today, Nov. 18, Helena, Montana - Constitutional Initiative 75 casts a wide net, but apparently not wide enough to hold down the price of liquor in Montana. The Revenue Dept. concluded CI-75, the tax restriction passed in the Nov. 3 election, will not always apply when the agency moves to charge more for liquor at the state warehouse.

Boise, Idaho - A legislative committee is considering a repeal of a decades-old ban on liquor-by-the-drink in unincorporated areas of 44 counties. The Legislature now can issue special exemption licenses. Some tavern operators fear a repeal could increase the number of retail liquor licenses.

Today Yemen, Tomorrow Salt Lake City? Aden, Yemen, Nov. 12 - Reuters news reports that Ahmad Mohammad Abdu received 80 lashes in front of the courthouse as a large group of citizens looked on. After the flogging we was fined 2,000 rials ($15) and sentenced to two months in jail. His crime, selling and drinking alcohol, a violation of Islamic sharia law.

Designer Intoxicants Escaping NTSB Detection? KC Star, Nov. 11 - An autopsy confirmed that a St. Louis Zooline Railroad engineer was not physically impaired when his miniature train sped off its track last month, killing him and injuring one passenger. Tests showed no signs of alcohol or drugs in John W. Forsythe's body said Michael Graham, Chief Medical examiner for St. Louis.

Underage Drinking Linked to Satan

AP, Nov. 11, St. Petersburg - Two Florida teen-agers are accused of cutting a cat's throat and drinking its blood. Police say it was part of a vampire ritual. The boys are 13 and 18. Police say the younger teen told them the older boy introduced him to vampirism and the occult last weekend. The teen-agers are charged with animal cruelty. The cat survived and should be out of the vet's office today or tomorrow.

It's the 21st Century, Do You Know Where Your Laws Are? USA Today, Oklahoma City, Nov. 10 - Approval of liquor-by-the-drink referendums in two counties in the general election swayed the majority of Oklahoma's 77 counties from "dry" to allowing public sale of alcoholic beverages. There are now 40 wet counties. In the remaining counties alcoholic beverages may be consumed publicly only in private "bottle clubs." Club members typically store their booze behind the bar, order it a drink at a time and pay a fee for the mixer.

Rudy Strips New York of Clubs New York City, Nov. 7 - Mayor Rudolph Giuliani planned to rid the city of "adult" strip clubs that he didn't care for but the former prosecutor ran into an unexpected roadblock, the law. It seems that the state can only use its heavy handed police powers to harass adult eating and drinking establishments. Ten's World Class Cabaret in Manhattan simply opened its doors to minors, accompanied by a parent of course, and state Supreme Court Justice Stephen Crane ruled the business was not "adult." Mayor Rudy wined "This is, like, nuts. These are sick, perverted places. What do you want kids in there for?" Maybe to keep the popular place in business regardless of whether you like it Rudy!

The Carnies All Get Prettier at Closin Time Pitch Weekly, Oct. 29 - Edwardsville, IL. In September, former circus performer ("bearded lady") Vivian Wheeler filed a lawsuit against a former colleague, a dwarf named Steven Carter, accusing him of attacking her after a night of drinking.

Joe Six-Pack Ups the Ante Pitch Weekly, Oct. 29 - William Lee Beck, 41, was arrested in August and charged with robbing Starvin' Steve's Market in Lake Havasau City, AZ. According to police, Beck entered the store with a large rock in his hand, grabbed a 12-pack of beer, and said he'd pay for it the next day. When the clerk objected, Beck raised the rock, said "How about I crush your skull with this rock?" and left. A half-hour later, a woman went to the store and timidly handed the clerk a check to pay for the beer. Sheriff's deputies went to the woman's home and after considerable difficulty succeeded in waking Beck up and taking him away.

Inhale and Go To Prison Mount Airy, Md. - When 12-year-old Christine Rhodes saw a classmate having a severe asthma attack, she shared her prescription inhaler. According to officials of Mount Airy Middle School, where Christine is a six-grader, that makes her a drug trafficker. And that goes on her records for three years. "She went from feeling like she was on top of the world to feeling like she had done something terribly wrong," said her mother, Laura Rhodes. The incident happened on April 22, when 13-year-old Brandy Dyer suffered an asthma attack on the bus on the way home from school. While the bus driver called for help, Christine found her inhaler and shared it with Brandy. Mount Airy Principal Virginia Ashmore said she could not comment on the case.

When Herbs are Outlawed ... USA Today, Oct. 2, 1998 - Montpelier - Jury selection began in Oklahoma in the case of Vermont herbalist George Singleton, arrested in Oklahoma after a trooper said he was weaving on the road, and then found the legal herbs rosemary and mullein in his car. He faces a charge of driving under the influence, though no controlled substances were in his blood. Singleton's lawyers said his client was targeted because he's black and has dreadlocks.

Call Him Lagered Union Jack, Sept, 1998 - A British man says he plans to spend six months buried in his local pub's garden as a tribute to his dead mother. Geoff Smith, 37, is scheduled to descend Saturday into a coffin-shaped box buried near the Railway Inn pub in Mansfield, north England. He says he hopes to stay in the coffin for 180 days, long enough to beat the world record-holder. In 1968, Smith's mother, Emma, spent 101 days underground in Skegness and set a world record that stood until 1981, when an American was buried alive for 141 days.

Now, Smith wants to reclaim the record for his family - even though the Guinness Book of Records no longer recognizes the stunt due to safety concerns. Smith, whose mother died in 1996, plans to attempt the stunt in a seven-foot long box, which has a TV, lighting and toilet facilities. Food and drink will be passed down to him through a small hole. "My mother did it so she could be in the Guinness Book of Records. I am doing it as a tribute to her," said Smith, who has three children. "I have been psyching myself up for two years and now I am ready to go." Smith, who is unemployed, plans to emerge from the box in February.

Alcohol-Related Crime Increase or Intelligence Decrease ? Pitch Weekly, Sept 17, 1998 - Police in Bonita Springs, Fl, charged Randall James Baker, 45, with aggravated battery in August for shooting his friend Robert Callahan in the head and sending him to the hospital. A sheriff's spokesman said Baker and Callahan had a playful tradition between them of trying to shoot the little button off the top of any baseball-type cap either of them acquired, but that this time, alcohol played a bigger role than usual.

Send More Lawyers Kansas City Star, Sept 11, 1998, Matthew Schofield - U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple struck down a state law that would have required beer labels to contain the name and address of the owner of the brewery where the beer was made. ... In his ruling, Whipple chastised legislators and Anheuser-Busch. "A-B's aggressive support of this legislation certainly belies any claim it would not benefit from the passage of this statute," Whipple wrote. "A-B has also supported similar legislation in other states and nationally. Even more compelling, though, is the fact that A-B has suggested to its wholesalers that they use (the law) as a means of acquiring increased shelf space in Missouri stores.. The court believes that the purpose (of the law) was to discriminate against out-of-state competitors of A-B and Boulevard Brewing Co. of Kansas City."

Stupid Human Beer Tricks AP, June 23, 1998, Arjay, KY - When Larry Slusher asked his best friend to shoot a beer can off the top of his head, police say, the friend obliged-but missed. Slusher, 47, was in critical condition at the University of Tennessee Hospital in Knoxville with a gunshot wound to the head. His lifelong friend, Silas Caldwell, 47, was charged with felony assault and is being held in jail. "The one that got shot put the beer can up on the top of his head and told his buddy to shoot it off. He missed the can and hit the head," said Bell County Sheriff Harold Harbin. "I don't think there were any arguments or anything because they were the best of friends." Following the Sunday night shooting, Caldwell fled the scene and hid from police for about three hours before being apprehended, Harbin said. "He was scared to death," Harbin said. "He gave us his gun and didn't give us any trouble. He was just drinking and acting like a fool I guess."

Religion Tops TV as Source of Violence World Press Review, August 1998 - Once Kabul was an island of modernity in Afghanistan's sea of violence, but no more. With television, movies, and music banned by the Taliban Islamic fundamentalists regime, reports Christopher Kremmer in the Centrist Sydney Morning Herald, "residents have turned to public executions, amputations, and floggings as virtually their sole from of entertainment." Recently, two young men who had been caught drinking whiskey were flogged, "much to the amusement" of 20,000 people at the National Stadium, writes Kremmer. Then a convicted murderer was shot in the head by his victim's brother. "The crowd surged out of the stands, eager for a closer look at the dead man." Kremmer reports.

Only Beer is Eternal Pitch Weekly, August 98 - The eternal flame under the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, a sacred memorial to the nation's war dead, was briefly extinguished on June 30 when two inebriated tourists from Mexico urinated on it. French officials and Mexico's embassador to France lit it again the next day in a joint ceremony. The perpetrators were detained breifly and then released.

To Your Health Southwest Brewing News, June/July 1998 - A study of 2,744 post menopausal women at the University of California at San Francisco found the lowest risk for gallstone among women was in those who drink alcohol and take vitamin C or ascorbic acid supplements. Non-drinkers who took the supplement did not show significant risk reduction...A study of 300 Finish men at the University of Oslo found a reduction in Lp(a) lipoprotein among all consumption categories. The finding provides another possible explanation of alcohol consumption's effect on lowering the rate of cardiovascular disease...A study by researchers at the Oregon State University found compounds in hops may help protect against cancer. Flavonoids in the hops helped inhibit the cytochrome P450 enzyme that activates the cancer process and flavonoids helped enhance that impact quinone reductase, an enzyme that may block cancer-causing substances.

Foul Ball Southwest Brewing News, June/July 1998 - Beer drinkers at Philadelphia's Veterans Stadium have filed a class action lawsuit against concessionaire Ogden Entertainment for allegedly selling cups of beer that were two ounces shy of what was advertised. The short pour scam was uncovered by the Philadelphia Daily News, which estimated Ogden pocketed about $495,000 by continually selling beers a couple ounces shout.

Consumers Win a Few in Washington Just after the U.S. Supreme Court tells the State of Florida to go away with their appeal to stop craft beer mail-order imports, a Senate-House conference committee dropped the ".08" blackmail amendment to the federal highway bill. Pushed by the anti-alcohol fringe, this would have withheld the distribution of funds for such things as state highway safety and repair programs unless states gave in to the demands of the feds to criminalize driving with a 0.08% blood alcohol content (BAC). Other consumer fights remain, such as a rollback of the 1991 doubling of the federal beer tax and opposing extremists' attempts to penalize states that don't criminalize automobile passengers' possession of an "open container."

Family away, so neighbor crashes KC Star, May 19 - When a Shawnee man found his neighbor in his kitchen Saturday afternoon, it wasn't hard to see how he'd gotten there. The huge, rough hole in the bedroom wall was a good bet... The neighbor broke in sometime after 6:30 a.m. Friday and apparently spent the time drinking his victim's beer, eating his way through the refrigerator, watching television and playing Nintendo, police said. The neighbor explained to police that the residents of the ransacked apartment had been living there illegally and that the apartment owner had told him to remodel the place. No one knew what he was talking about, Morgan said. Now it will cost about $3,500 for a remodeler to fix the apartment.

Everyone Out of the Gene Pool KC Star, May 20 - Joseph N. Gilson, 20, in jail in Stevens Point, Wis., serving time on a variety of charges, had told fellow inmates he planned to hang himself until unconscious so that he would be sent to a mental-health facility that would be easier to escape from. On April 2 he put his plan into effect and accidentally strangled himself.

Ban Needed for Hospital Advertising? USA Today, Madison, WI. - The state Supreme Court will hear the case of Deborah Zimmerman, 36, charged with attempted murder for drinking alcohol throughout her pregnancy. Zimmerman's daughter, now 2, had a blood-alcohol content of 0.199% when she was born, nearly twice the legal intoxication level.

Drugs and Sports? World Press Review, March 1998 - The Guardian (London) reports that France, a formerly significant member of the European Community, is pushing the European Commission to ban sponsorship of athletic events by companies marketing alcoholic beverages. The ban is already in effect in France, where it will keep Budweiser from putting up its advertising alongside the playing field during the World Cup soccer games later this year. No Bud-Wy-Zer "frogs." Coincidence?

Big Brother Knows Best With neither fanfare nor media coverage the 1998 New Mexico legislature overwhelmingly passed a new law to criminalize the act of parents serving their minor children alcoholic beverages. For the moment, parents are still not criminals "in their own home." Look for this next domino to fall as the anti-alcohol social services crowd seeks to expand its power. Governor Gary Johnson, Mr. No Big Government, has signed the bill into law. One more crime to take a bite out of life. Lookup HB150

When they came for me, there was no one to say anything. January 1, 1998. With the popular US media devoid of useful information, it appears that the People's Republic of California has effectively criminalized the smoking of tobacco in bars, brewpubs and restaurants as of January 1, 1998. Originally scheduled to take effect a year earlier as stated in Assembly Bill 13, the state legislature passed Assembly Bill 3037 giving a one year extension so that government ventilation standards could be formalized. Of course none were. The law appears to use the brute force power of the police state to coerce businesses rather than offer scientific health standards as a performance bar to be met. Assembly bill 137 did not pass in 1997 but may be revived in 1998. It would allow businesses to meet ventilation standards established by the US FDA. Unfortunately it might also allow for "local option" preemption of state law so that big money tobacco interests could buy their influence at the local level. For American beer drinkers, the anti-tobacco fight is just a harbinger of things to come. Smoke em if you got em at FORCES

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