[Scales of Justice]


Politics and Alcohol, a volatile mix

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New Zealand Lowers Drinking Age, World Comes to End

Auckland, New Zealand, Nov. 16, 1999 NZ Herald -- Almost 1000 18 Plus identity cards have been processed by the Hospitality Association in preparation for changes to the Sale of Liquor Act, which will lower the drinking age to 18. Under the changes 18-year-olds will be required from December 1 to have either a passport, photo driver's licence or an 18 Plus card as proof of identity before they can be sold alcohol. The association says there has been a massive demand for application forms for the 18 Plus cards at New Zealand Post shops. Retailers breaking the new liquor law will face tougher penalties, including a fine of $200 or more for anyone caught drinking under age, up to $2000 for anyone who supplies alcohol to someone under 18, and fines of up to $10,000 for bar or clubmanagers who supply alcohol to minors.

Beer Drinking Now on Your Permanent Record

Concord, New Hampshire, USA, Nov. 26, 1999 USA Today -- Concord police have a new policy they hope will help cut underage drinking. Police Chief Bill Halacy announced that police would begin telling schools the names of students caught drinking off school grounds.

Drinking and Driving OKAY, if You're a Cop

Edmond, Oklahoma, USA, Nov. 26, 1999 USA Today -- City officials have appealed to the state Supreme court a ruling that ordered the reinstatement of a police officer. In October, an Oklahoma County judge ruled that Adrian Neal should be reinstated. City officials fired Neal after he was cited in two off-duty traffic accidents. Investigators said alcohol was involved in one accident and suspected in the other.

Facts Mounting Against Anti-Alcohol Extremists

London, England, November 14, 1999 Sunday -- Telegraph A couple of drinks a day could actually be good for your liver, scientists have found. Light drinking could even help a damaged liver repair itself. Canadian researchers found the occasional drink did more good than harm when they experimented on laboratory rats with damaged livers. While they are yet to apply the results to humans, the indications look promising for light tipplers. "This finding raises the possibility that social drinking may not have an adverse effect on the natural history of acute or chronic liver disease," Dr Gerald Minuk, who led the research, said in his report to the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease. Researchers found large doses of alcohol hindered the rats' liver's ability to recover from damage, as expected. Moderate alcohol use appeared to have a neutral effect. "As liver disease specialists, we certainly don't want to provide the population with an excuse to abuse alcohol or somehow damage their health," Dr Minuk said from his office at the University of Manitoba. But in certain cases, one or two drinks "might be considered beneficial rather than harmful to the liver".

Moderate Voters Trounce Anti-Alcohol Forces

SMYRNA, Georgia, USA, Nov. 10, 1999 Excite News -- Diners can have a drink with their meals in Smyrna. Voters approved a special referendum allowing liquor-by-the-drink sales. Supporters say they're confident people will drink responsibly. Around 32-percent of all registered voters turned out to vote.

The Phantom (Alcohol) Menace

Menomonie, WI, November 1999 Funny Times - In May, four men, aided by an employee of the State Theater in Menomonie, WI, stole a print of the "Star Wars" movie "The Phantom Menace" (value: $60,000) in one of the worst-executed crimes in state history. As the men lifted the 3-foot-wide spool from the projector, it unraveled, leaving two miles of celluloid on the floor. The men scooped the mess up, took it home, and tried to wash the film in a bathtub to get rid of their fingerprints (hint: doesn't work). Then, they cut it up for disposal but, after awhile, finally realized they needed to turn themselves in. Authorities said alcohol was heavily involved in the caper. Each was sentenced to five days in jail.

Eat My Shorts

Stettler, Alberta, PitchWeekly -- In a Stettler, Alberta, courtroom in June, police describing their arrest of David Zurfluh, 18, told how Zurfluh, in the back of a squad car after being stopped for DUI, ripped a large swath from his undershorts and stuffed it in his mouth, hoping, he later said, to absorb the alcohol in his breath before taking a Breathalyzer test. Though the courtroom was in stitches, Zurfluh had the last laugh when the judge dismissed the charge after officers admitted that Zurfluh's reading was not high enough.

Sign of the F'n Times

Dubbo, Australia, PitchWeekly -- In August, Dubbo, Australia, magistrate David Hellperm dismissed charges against an Aboriginal man for shouting "F* off!" to a police officer, calling the word "extremely commonplace now," having "lost most of its punch." But in August in Colorado Springs, CO, a state liquor control agent removed 29 signs containing the word from Leonard Carlo's tavern, e.g., a bottled-beer-only sign worded "No F*ing Tap Beer." On Oct. 7, the ACLU obtained a temporary restraining order against the liquor agency, arguing that the word was part of Carlo's "image and character." (Carlo, who named his dog F* You, uses the word frequently, though he told a female reporter from the Denver Rocky Mountain News that he hoped he hadn't offended her.)

Go To the Bathroom and Go To Prision

Harrisburg, PA, USA Today -- A man who refused to complete a Breathalyzer test because he couldn't blow hard enough without going to the bathroom should not have lost his license, a judge ruled. If police had allowed John Carlin, 41, to visit the men's room he would have been physically able to give a second sample of a test, said Commonwealth Court Judge Rochelle Friedman.

Extremism Spreads to the Great White North

Kotzebue, Alaska, July 22 USA Today -- The regional Native corporation in the Northwest Arctic Borough is backing a bouroughwide alcohol ban. NANA Regional Corp. adopted a resolution July 21 supporting a referendum on alcohol. The vote is Scheduled for Aug. 3. Kotzebue is the only community in the borough to permit possession of alcohol.

MADD Extremism Totals $58 Billion and Counting

WASHINGTON, July 12 /PRNewswire/ -- The Justice Department''s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) today announced a new partnership to mobilize youth and law enforcement officers in 14 communities in a stepped-up fight against underage drinking. The communities are: Austin, TX; Bismarck, ND; Boston, MA; Charleston, WV; Las Vegas, NV; Long Island, NY; Menasha, WI; Nashville, TN; New Haven, CT; Omaha, NE; Providence, RI; St. Paul, MN; Tampa, FL and Vero Beach, FL. OJJDP and MADD also released a new study showing that the costs of underage drinking in America total more than $58 billion annually. Earlier research had shown that underage drinking is the nation's largest youth drug problem, killing 6.5 times more young people than all other illicit drugs combined. "The price of underage drinking is staggering in dollars and in the loss and destruction of human lives," said OJJDP Administrator Shay Bilchik. "We all must work together at the national, state, and local levels to tackle this problem." OJJDP and MADD announced the partnership and the study in conjunction with the start of the first-ever National Leadership Conference on Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws being held this week (July 12-14) in Reston, Virginia. OJJDP will assist MADD in expanding its existing "Youth in Action" campaign into the 14 communities as part of its $25 million Enforcing the Underage Drinking Laws Program, which includes state block grants, discretionary grants and training and technical assistance. There are currently 12 Youth in Action sites. "Alcohol is the number one drug of choice among our nation's youth, and it is costing our society an average of $577.91 per year for every household in the United States," said Karolyn Nunnallee, National President of MADD. "It's time for our nation's youth to join forces with our law enforcement community to change the social environment that condones illegal alcohol consumption as an accepted rite of passage. We are grateful to OJJDP for their partnership and support." MADD began the Youth in Action campaign in 1996 to directly involve young people in policy and enforcement efforts to stem the tide of underage drinking. The campaign encourages youth groups to team up with law enforcement agencies to combat illegal alcohol sales to minors, conduct merchant compliance stings, curb fake IDs on the Internet, and raise public awareness about parental liability issues related to serving alcohol to minors. The new study, Underage Drinking: Immediate Consequences and their Costs, was developed by the Pacific Institute through a grant from OJJDP. The study broke down the costs of alcohol use by youth as follows: Traffic crashes $18,200,000,000 Violent crime $35,900,000,000 Burns $315,000,000 Drownings $532,000,000 Suicide attempts $1,510,000,000 Fetal Alcohol Syndrome $493,000,000 Alcohol poisonings $340,000,000 Treatment $1,008,000,000 TOTAL= $58,379,000,000 The study also indicated that raising the minimum purchase age for alcohol to 21 throughout the country has been a successful strategy for reducing alcohol use and preventing related problems. Since 1975, minimum drinking age laws have prevented more than 17,000 traffic fatalities. MADD spearheaded the effort resulting in passage of the National Uniform Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984. Today, all 50 states have minimum drinking age laws set at 21. The study released today shows, however, that, despite tougher laws, minors still drink -- and their drinking often results in serious health and social problems. Copies of Underage Drinking: Immediate Consequences and their Costs and the OJJDP fact sheet Enforcing the Underage Drinking Laws Program, as well as information about other OJJDP publications, programs and conferences, are available through the OJJDP Web site at ojjdp.ncjrs.org and from OJJDP's Juvenile Justice Clearinghouse, Box 6000, Rockville, Maryland 20857. The toll-free number is 1-800-638-8736. Copies of the study are also available through the Underage Drinking Enforcement Training Center Web site at pire.org/udetc.

Information about other Office of Justice Programs (OJP) bureaus and program offices is available at www.ojp.usdoj.gov. Media should contact OJP's Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at 202-307-0703. Information about MADD is available at www.madd.org or by calling 214-744-6233. * OJP and its component agencies' press releases are available for use without restriction. OJJDP 99146 SOURCE Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention -0- 07/12/99 /CONTACT: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 202-307-0703; or Media: Adam Spector, 202-307-3912, or Bill Bronrott, 301-652-6016, both for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention/ /Web site: http://www.pire.org/udetc/ /Web site: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ /Web site: http://www.ojjdp.ncjrs.org http://www.madd.org/ CO: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; Mothers Against Drunk Driving

Beer Ads Provoke Infidelity

CARACAS, July 13, 1999 (Reuters) - Venezuela's Supreme Court has ordered the withdrawal of a series of beer advertisements urging drinkers to try "the blonde" and to "dare with the other," arguing that they are sexist and encourage infidelity. The advertising campaign by been company Cerveceria Regional included television commercials and roadside billboards depicting a scantily-clad blonde woman who says "I'm the other one. If you try me, you'll stay with me". Regional has dubbed its beer "the blonde" and "the other" in an effort to distinguish itself from market leader Polar which controls about 80 percent of the Venezuelan beer market. But the court found the ads offensive. "In the publicity messages of Regional one can easily detect the continual reference to infidelity as something positive or at least amusing," said the court ruling, published in El Universal newspaper Tuesday. The court said the advertisements were "offensive to public morals given the numerous psychological incitements to depersonalize women and transform them into a sex object." The court ruling was unusual in a country which, although nominally Roman Catholic, is proud of its "macho" culture. Even presidents have openly had lovers who attended public engagements.

To Serve and Fraudulently Incriminate

ARIZONA: Phoenix, June 29, 1999 (USA Today) -- Lawyers are swamping courts statewide with motions alleging that DUI defendants have been denied due process by authorities who intentionally hid data on breath-testing for the past five years. Lab technicians for the Phoenix Police Department acknowledged that some test errors are routinely deleted from a computer.

Illinois Sticks it to Consumers - Quietly

SPRINGFIELD, IL, June 28, 1999 (Reuters) -- If the cost of beer, wine and liquor go way up this week, state officials say it's not because of a new tax. A tax increase that takes effect July first will boost beer sales by about a nickel a six-pack, ten cents per bottle of wine and 50 cents per bottle of liquor. But some retailers may be boosting their prices even higher than that, leaving customers to blame the state for the increase.

Police - "Don't Confuse Me with the Constitutional Facts"

LOUISIANA: New Orleans, June 27, 1999 (USA Today) -- State police will continue arresting young adults for drunk driving despite an Evangeline Parish judge's ruling. District Judge Prestion Aucoin ruled unconstitutional a law setting a lower blood-alcohol driving limit for drivers between ages 18 and 20 than for those who are 21.

Extremists go for Blood (Alcohol) in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY, June 26, 1999 (AP) -- Anti-alcohol advocates want to make Utah's drunkenness laws doubly tough before the 2002 Winter Games. The Alcohol Policy Coalition, a citizen group, told the state's alcohol commission Friday that tightening the definition of intoxication would make the Olympics safer. In Utah, a person with a .08 percent blood-alcohol content is considered too drunk to drive. The coalition wants to make that .04 percent. "This new level will make us more in line with other (Olympic host countries in) the past decade or in the near future," said George VanKomen, the coalition president. But Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission members declined to comment on the request for lower blood-alcohol limits. "That's up to the Legislature," said chairman Nicholas Hales. With the exception of Atlanta, where the legal alcohol limit is .10 percent, all Olympic cities since 1992 have had stricter alcohol standards than Utah's. VanKomen also said the liquor commission should use its clout to outlaw beer tents, liquor advertisements in gathering places for children, and drinking at the opening and closing ceremonies scheduled for Rice-Eccles Stadium, which is alcohol-free. But SLOC spokeswoman Caroline Shaw said the committee has no plans to seek changes in drinking regulations. She also said SLOC and Olympic sponsor Anheuser Busch have talked with the Alcohol Policy Coalition about its concerns.

Smells Like Beer, Tastes Like Man

KALININGRAD, June 22 (Itar-Tass) - The mutilated body of a man was found in the enclosure with three Himalayan bears in the Kaliningrad Zoo last night. The victim, Ostevik Stig Even, 29, is a Norwegian citizen and was in Kaliningrad with the rest of the crew of the ship Pioneer which is being repaired at the local shipyard. Police have rejected a premeditated murder because money, gold rings, other valuables and documents, by which he was identified, were found on him. Witnesses say the man was seen in the area of the zoo in the previous evening in a company of several drunk people. An employee of the local forensic medicine bureau said the man smelled of alcohol. Police believe the sailor simply fell asleep in the zoo and when he woke up after midnight he could not understand where he was and must have mistaken the guard rail of the bear enclosure for the zoo fence and, trying to climb it, ended up in the enclosure. The zoo security heard human cries in the area of the bear enclosure at the time when the accident occurred.

Beer Can Ban Needed to Curb School Violence?

ST. PETERSBURG, June 22 (Itar-Tass) - A group of eight people suspected of preparing a blast of a secondary school building in the central borough of St. Petersburg on April 29, 1999, has been detained in the city. At first, the police detained the head of an unregistered school of martial arts. He pleaded guilty of laying down a bomb which had been made of a five-liter beer can, 1.5 kilograms of trotyl powder, a 200-gram trotyl charge, an electric detonator and a time mechanism. In the opinion of police experts, the blast could have claimed human lives and could have damaged the school building. The investigation resulted in the arrest of seven accomplices. The search of their apartments revealed a dozen of trotyl charges, several detonators, some 40 cartridges of the 5.45 and 7.62 millimeter caliber, an anti-personnel mine, a grenade and a mine detonator. All in all, 25 blasts have been made in St. Petersburg since the beginning of this year. Six crimes have been solved. About 200 kilograms of explosives and 25 bombs were confiscated over five months.

Big Brother's Growth Stunted

Wichita, KANSAS, June 21, 1999 (USA Today) - More than 500 Wichita bar and club owners have won a lawsuit over the cost of the city's liquor license fees. The owners objected to the city raising the cost of the licenses from $250 to $750 in 1987. Few of the owners involved even knew about the latest victory, or that a judge says they are entitled to their share of more than $1.5 million in rebates, plus interest. The city plans to appeal, but the appellate court's ruling isn't expected for at least nine months.

Clinton - "Ich bin ein Kölsch"

COLOGNE, Germany, June 19 (UPI S) White House aides are pondering (Saturday) a blaring German tabloid headline that quotes President Clinton's toast to Cologne: ``Ich bin ein Kolsch _ I am a beer.'' There are many theories, and some question whether Clinton ever said it at all. Maybe it was a misquote, speculates spokesman Barry Toiv: ``What he was actually saying was, 'Could I please HAVE a beer.'' Clinton was last spotted with beer in hand in a Cologne beer garden Thursday night _ but all reporters present have been sworn to silence.

When Sugar is Outlawed, Only Inmates .....

BOSCOWEN, HEW HAMPSHIRE, June 18, 1999 (USA Today) - Sugar was replaced with artificial sweetener after officials at the Merrimack County House of Corrections found a large quantity of booze. The jailhouse cocktail is made from fermented fruit, sugar, water and bread.

When Bottles are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Bottles

MOSCOW, June 1 (Itar-Tass) - The Russian Tax Police launched a large-scale campaign against the illicit production and distribution of alcohol in all regions on May 25. The campaign aims to stop the illegal productions and to jam the illegal distribution channels. The Tax Police will concentrate on the leading centers of the illegal business -- the Moscow region, the Kaliningrad region and North Caucasian republics, sources in the Federal Tax Police Service's information and public relations department said on Tuesday. The Tax Police will also control the production of bottles because about 80 percent of them are now used by illegal alcohol- makers. The exact size of Russian shadow alcohol businesses is unknown, but specialists estimatetheir revenues at billions of rubles. Last year alone Russians bought more than 2.5 billion bottles of illegally-made vodka. A similar campaign of March 10-25 resulted in the halt of over 500 illegal alcohol productions.

Government Outlaws Alcohol Problems

MOSCOW, June 1 (Itar-Tass) - The resolution banning the manufacture of hygienic products with a large alcohol content became effective in Russia on Tuesday. The decision by the chief sanitary doctor was made in connection with 23,986 deaths from alcohol poisoning, reported last year. According to experts from the State Sanitary and Epidemiological Service, the incidence of alcohol-induced psychoses has grown more than five-fold over the past decade. At the same time, the experts noted an increase in the output and range of cosmetic goods and other hygienic products with a significant alcohol content, often used by population as drinks. Specifically, the resolution bans the manufacture of hygienic products whose alcohol content exceeds 15 percent, in 0.1-liter or larger packs, as well as their sale without prior medical, biological and toxic tests.

The governors of the Kaliningrad, Lipetsk, Novosibirsk, Novgorod and Voronezh regions have already signed the relevant resolutions regulating the manufacture of non-food products containing alcohol and used for hygienic purposes. Health officials are now checking stores across Russia for compliance. Authorities in the Stavropol territory banned the sale of the hawhorn tincture with a 70 percent alcohol content. The Eskulap ("doctor") medication containing up to 90 percent of alcohol in 0.25-liter packs was taken out of circulation in the Rostov region. In the Kostroma region, administration officials imposed fines on distributors in 31 cases.

School's Out, Anti-Alcohol Paranoia In

POQUOSON, VA, May 27, 1999 - (USA Today) Commemorative stemware glasses and mugs given to students who attend the Poquoson High School prom suggest that alcohol is OK, some parents complained to school officials. The school is now rethinking its traditional prom souvenir, Principal Don Bock said.

Spanish Extremists Push .08 Limit to .05 and Below, U.S. Next?

BARCELONA, 11 de Mayo, 1999 (El Periódico) Pushed by social engineers in the healthcare industry such as Movilidad del Ayuntamiento, the socialist government has recently lowered the alcohol level which drivers are automatically considered guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol. Previously a 0.08% level defined guilt, now two separate categories are the result of the "divide and conquer" approach so common to the erosion of citizens' rights by governments. For experienced motorcyclists, moped drivers and tour bus operators the new criminal level is 0.5 grams of alcohol per liter of blood or 0.25 milligrams of alcohol per liter of air (breathalyzer). For new drivers with less than two years experience and professional bus and taxi drivers the level drops to an incredible 0.3 g/l blood alcohol and 0.15 mg/l breath alcohol. Rather than using technology that would "prevent" operation of a motor vehicle where the operator was objectively determined to be impaired, the Guardia Civil, los Mossos and the Guardia Urbana de Barcelona prefer to use scientific instruments to conduct scientific measurements to enforce scientifically-flawed presumptions of guilt on the motoring public. As in the U.S., the popular media voices mindless support of these practices and offers no objective criticism of these "politically correct" abusive government practices.

Officials Scramble to Assign Blame for Failed Govermental Efforts

ST. PAUL, MN - As reported by USA Today, "alcohol-related traffic deaths in the state rose 53% in 1998, official said. Records show 273 people died last year, the highest toll in nine years. In 1997, there were 178 reported deaths from alcohol-related crashes, the fewest since the state began keeping records in 1984." Bureaucrats and anti-alcohol fanatics are frantically devising plans to capitalize on this ominous statistic to squeeze more money out of taxpayers and deprive consumers of more of their civil and constitutional rights.

Alcohol Out on Campus, Free Speech Next

PITTSBURGH - (USA Today) - The University of Pittsburgh's student newspaper and a campus group sued the state to challenge a law that prevents university publications in Pennsylvania from running alcohol ads. Student employees of the Pitt News and the campus ACLU said the law violates the First Amendment

April is Alcohol Awareness Month

Awareness requires action. To become aware of the government-sponsored, taxpayer-funded extremists tying to deny healthy, productive citizens the right to interact with their favorite malted beverage - beer - continue to visit La Movida at the New Mexico Virtual Brewpub.

Comsumers Vote Drug In, Politicians Out

DJIBOUTI, April 9 (Reuters) - The Red Sea state of Djibouti was electing its president on Friday but the real winner is likely to be a bright green, edible drug called qat. Qat chewing provides the rhythm of the campaign, which pits Ismail Omar Guelleh of the ruling alliance against opposition candidate Moussa Ahmed Idriss. When Djibouti's men gather to talk politics in the late afternoon heat of the dusty, coastal capital there is invariably a small plastic bag of qat leaves to hand. A steady stream of supporters gathered at Moussa Ahmed's town house each day this week to discuss strategy but also to recline on cushions on the floor and chew. Whole afternoons and long, long evenings are devoted to the mild, bitter-tasting stimulant, purchased in bushels of leaves that cost around 300 Djibouti francs ($1.65), and generally chewed in company rather than alone. Despite the undisputed negative effects on the economy of what is the national male pastime, neither candidate has dared suggest a ban on qat, also spelled 'chat' or 'khat'. Nevertheless, its effects are hard to pin down. Abdi, a businessman, said qat motivated him to work harder, helped with "family problems" and, in a Moslem country where few drink alcohol, provided a welcome diversion. Another habitual consumer, who declined to be identified, described the effects of a group session another way and hinted that qat might even affect voting patterns. "When we chew the first leaves we get hyped up, we get smart ideas, we sound like geniuses and there's a noisy, boisterous atmosphere. "Then, sometime in the evening, people start becoming grumpy and somber. You are in want of a partner but physically you cannot do it. "That's why it's difficult to get up and vote," he said. The leaves are chewed almost exclusively by men -- further burdening an economy that is already one of the world's poorest. Imported daily by air, mainly from Ethiopia, fresh qat is Djibouti's most important consumer item and some estimates say it could account for 40 percent of household expenditure. Ismail Omar told foreign reporters this week he disapproved of the drug but explained ruefully that, given the choice between him and qat, most Djiboutians would plump for qat.

In Prison, You Can Have it Your Way

WEST PALM BEACH -- April 9, 1999--(Reuters) -- A fired jail guard accepts a plea deal that will keep him out of jail. Thomas Lupo was facing up to five years for smuggling Burger King food to a Palm Beach County inmate. Ironically, Lupo will be able to keep his new job as a Burger King manager in Boynton Beach. He gets three years probation and a felony conviction on his record that will prevent him from being hired as a guard in the future. Charges are still pending against another guard, James Smith, who was also allegedly paid by federal prisoner Steve Raines to bring him fast food, cigarettes, alcohol and drugs. Investigators say the two guards did NOT work together.

Higher Education Under Attack

BROOKLYN -- April 9, 1999--(Reuters)--A private Brooklyn religious school has been closed by the District Attorney... because the staff was allegedly selling drugs on the premises. D-A Charles Hines says Tabernacle School Principal Delores Hill is under arrest and is being held on a quarter-Million dollars bail. Other staffers were also arrested after an investigation showed officials down to the janitor were dealing. If convicted, jail sentences will be doubled due to a state law that adds extra penalties for dealing drugs at or near schools. One hundred-sixty students will have to be placed in public schools around Bedford-Stuyvesent on Monday.

Prices Up, but not Quality

BRONX -- April 9, 1999 -- (Reuters)--Yankee fans had better come to the stadium in an armored car this season...with the price of everything from seats to sodas sharply increasing. A box seat now goes for 29 dollars. Bleacher seats are up to eight bucks. A beer will set you back five-and-a-half dollars. You'll have to pay three-and-a-half dollars for a hot dog... but the mustard is still free. The team says it has to charge the highest prices in Major League Baseball due to the expense of paying a team of World Series winners.

Salud! Drink to Your Health

DALLAS--April 9, 1999--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- The Observation That Men and Women Consuming Moderate Amounts of Alcohol (1-2 Beers) a Day Have a 30-40% Lower Rate of Coronary Heart Disease Compared to Men and Women Who Don't Drink is Universal. In a recently released Literary Review entitled "Nutritional and Health Benefits of Beer," a leading researcher at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas reported that men and women who consume moderate amounts of beer (1-2 drinks per day) have a 30% - 40% lower rate of coronary heart disease compared to men and women who don't drink. The positive health effects of light to moderate consumption of beer match that of previously released studies regarding red wine and provides more benefits than white wine. The report states that "per drink, beer contains a similar amount of polyphenols (antioxidants) as red wine and 4-5 times as many polyphenols as white wine." The study included research from over 124 different expert sources and papers that had been previously published internationally. Margo Denke, M.D., Associate professor of Internal Medicine at UT Southwestern, presented the results of the study at the medical school's Internal Medicine Grand Rounds in Dallas on March 25. Scott Grundy, M.D. Ph.D., Professor of Internal Medicine, UT Southwestern, coordinated the research project. Dr. Grundy is one of the country's leading experts in nutrition and is the Director of the Center for Human Nutrition as well as the Chairman of the Nutrition Committee of the American heart Association. The summary of the Clinical Research stated: "The biologic mechanisms linking moderate beer intake to reduced rates of cardiovascular disease may include - -- Increases in HDL cholesterol levels (good cholesterol). Some analyses suggest that the increase in HDL cholesterol level explains 30-50% of the benefit from moderate alcohol consumption. -- Improvements in clotting time. Alcohol is known to increase bleeding time by making platelets less likely to form a blood clot. A beer or more a day lowers the concentration of several blood clotting factors. -- Reductions in insulin concentrations and improvements in insulin resistance. Middle aged men and women who were moderate drinkers had significantly lower insulin levels and insulin resistance indexes than either nondrinkers or heavy drinkers." According to a 1998 report issued by the American Heart Association, "Cardiovascular diseases rank as America's No. 1 killer. They claim the lives of 41.5 percent of the more than 2.3 million Americans who die each year. As a result, American's will pay an estimated $274 billion in 1998 for CVD-related medical costs and disability." "The results of the 'Nutritional and Health Benefits of Beer' study clearly point to the potential health benefits of beer and how it might help save lives," said Bill Barrett, Chairman of Willow Distributors, Inc., the Dallas Coors, specialty and imported beer distributor. "With over 50 years in the beer industry and with the recent reports that reveal drinking 1 to 2 beers a day, can lower your chance of coronary heart disease by 30-40%, I decided to partially fund this review," said Barrett. This report should bring good news this spring not only to the health conscious, sports lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, but also to older and less active people who want to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease. Here's a beer toast to a longer and healthier life for everyone.

When Candy is Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have Candy

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (USA Today) --Bubble gum cigars would become a thing of the past under a House bill that was approved by a senate committee. The measure bans the sale of any non-tobacco item designed to resemble tobacco products. The bill specifically mentions bubble gum cigars and candy cigarettes.

The Truth is Out There

NAPA, Calif.--March 25, 1999--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Carmenet Winery's 1997 Dynamite Cabernet Sauvignon is One of the First Wines on the Market With New BATF-Approved Statement Chalone Wine Group (Nasdaq:CHLN) announced today that it will support the new "health effects" statement recently approved by the Treasury Department and its Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (BATF), by placing one of the two approved statements on the back label of Carmenet Winery's 1997 Dynamite Cabernet Sauvignon. "At the time when the health statements were approved, we were about to print the labels for our 1997 Dynamite Cabernet Sauvignon from Carmenet Winery," commented Tom Selfridge, president and CEO of the Napa-based wine company. "We feel that it is important to print this 'health effects' statement on our labels because we strive to educate our customers about the product we are selling to the best of our ability. We have always felt that moderate wine consumption with meals is part of a healthy lifestyle. If there is medical research that supports this view, then we feel we should let our customers know that this information is available." "We are not making any health claims," Selfridge clarified, "we are simply encouraging our customers to educate themselves. The statement on our label reads: 'The proud people who made this wine encourage you to consult your family doctor about the health effects of wine consumption.'"

Badged Turncoat in the War on Drugs

St. Paul, MN, March 19, 1999 (USA Today) - Kandiyouhi County deputy Sheriff Joseph Poll, 36, director of a regional drug task force since 1992, has admitted stealing more than $50,000 from the task force. He is charged with six counts of felony theft and faces up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine on each count, officials say. State Auditor Judi Dutcher said more than $88,000 in public funds may have been stolen during Poll's tenure. An investigation is continuing.

With Monica Gone Moralists Turn on Alcohol

Washington, D.C. March 9, 1999 - No longer able to kick around Bill and Monica to satisfy their prurient interests, extremists from the two major American political parties have renewed their attacks on that tried and true demon - beverage alcohol. Senator Orin Hatch, R(ight-winger)-Utah, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, exploited the videotaping of a 13-year-old girl by a Utah TV station intent on dramatizing the threat to American society by teenagers buying beer over the Internet with credit cards. Ever the protector of public morals from that bastion of Olympic-class model behavior, Utah, Hatch has introduced legislation that would create a new "legal fiction" of a federal offense for conducting alcohol-related interstate consumers orders. Pleading for federal help was Utah assistant attorney general Wayne Klein, who wined about being technologically outmatched by devious teenagers with Web browsers. Fanning the fire of hysteria with unsubstantiated facts was Rep. Robert Ehrlich, R-Md., who pegged the market for illegal alcohol sales on the Internet at $1 billion a year. Erlich then failed to show any Commerce Department figures showing just which companies had realized this E-Commerce growth. Expert witness testimony was finished by Brendan Brogan, a student member of Mothers Against Drunk Driving from Ridgewood, New Jersey. Brogan described how easy it is for teens to parlay booze from dim-witted delivery drivers and then masquerade as drunken drivers in chat rooms and in on-line role-playing games.

 The stunning defeat suffered by anti-alcohol fanatics last month, as the Treasury Department's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) approved wine bottle label designs that refer to federal dietary guidelines, has defibrillated into action Sen. Strom Thurmon, R(ight-winger)-South Carolina. Long regarded both figuratively and literally as the Senate's conscience of the 19th century, he has now introduced three bills to deny any normalization of consumer labeling laws. One would transfer labeling authority away from those pushovers at the ATF and to the Department of Health and Social Services, where people like Surgeon General David Satcher could act on his concerns that the factually correct dietary guidelines might mislead American consumers into thinking that alcoholic beverages won't kill them dead. Ever the conspiracy theory nut, Sen. Thurmond has also called for a federal investigation into whether the new reasonable dietary guidelines were fiendishly manipulated by the popular industry trade group known as the Wine Institute. Sen. Thurmond, who lost a daughter in a drunken driver incident, is considered an expert on improper influence after his state received the multi-billion dollar award to produce tritium for nuclear weapons, in spite of conflicts with current international nuclear nonproliferation practices and other states' projects' technical merits. Absent any consumer outcry, these threats to consumers and to American Internet commerce are expected to continue, with the only chance for a reprieve coming from Thurmond's non-Y2K-compliant pacemaker.

Feds Allow Healthful-Alcohol Declaration

ST. LOUIS, Feb. 5 (PRNewswire) -- In response to the announcement today by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms' (BATF) that the agency will allow wine producers to mention potential health benefits of wine consumption on their labels, leading beer brewer Anheuser-Busch (NYSE: BUD) released the following statement. Francine Katz, vice president of Consumer Affairs for Anheuser-Busch, noted that, "The health benefits of moderate consumption of alcohol are well-known and substantiated by numerous scientific studies. These benefits are associated with beer and all other alcohol beverages.

"Anheuser-Busch has not chosen to use this information in its consumer marketing activities. We believe that the public is well aware of the health benefits associated with the moderate consumption of beer. As has been our practice, we will continue to discuss beer's health benefits in the appropriate public policy and legislative forums and in the proper context; however, it is not our intention to include this information on our labels or as part of our marketing strategy."

Feds 1, Beer Drinkers 0

BIRMINGHAM, Jan. 28 (Reuters) -- In a raid strangely reminiscent of raids by "revenuers" during Prohibition, state and local lawmen swooped on the Shadyside Grill and Lounge in west Birmingham and shut it down for not being properly licensed. Beer and spirits were confiscated but not... as in the days of Elliot Ness... destroyed. The lounge owners were charged with possessing and selling liquor without proper licenses.

Is it Beer, or is it Testosterone?

LONDON, Jan. 21, (AP) -- American sprinter Dennis Mitchell claims his positive drug test was the result of having sex and drinking beer the night before the doping control, according to a newspaper report. The Daily Telegraph reported today that Mitchell told USA Track and Field doping panel that he had sex four times and drank five bottles of beer the night before his out-of-competition drug test in April. After the test showed high levels of testosterone, indicating a possible doping offense, the 1992 Olympic 100-meter bronze medalist was immediately banned for two years by the world governing body, the IAAF. But Mitchell was cleared on appeal in December after putting his defense to a three-member USATF doping panel. The details of Mitchell's defense and the reasons for his exoneration were not disclosed at the time. IAAF spokesman Georgio Reineri said today he did not know the details of Mitchell's defense. But the IAAF's doping commission will study the case Feb. 13 and report to the IAAF council in Seville, Spain, in early April. If the IAAF council is not satisfied with the ruling by the USATF it can refer the case to arbitration and there is a chance that the two-year ban could be reinstated. The Daily Telegraph quoted Dr. Pat Milroy, a doctor for the British track and field team, as saying that sex might not explain the high testosterone levels in the test. "Testosterone levels will rise after sex but only to the body's normal limits," she said.

Tax'em into the Stone Age

MOSCOW, January 22 (Itar-Tass) - The minimum prices on vodka and other liquor will soon be raised in Russia, Deputy Minister of Economics Ivan Starikov said in a live program of the Echo of Moscow radio station on Friday. Bearing in mind the higher vodka excise, the minimum price of a liter of vodka will be 40 rubles. These measures are necessary "to bring the alcohol industry in order and energetically counteract" the shadow distribution of vodka and other liquor, he said.

Officials Admit "Deaths not Alcohol-Related"

Sacramento,CA., Jan. 21 (AP)-- Birds that died by the score in Santa Rosa, California, weren't drunk after all. The state Department of Fish and Game now says they died from consuming nitrite, a nitrous acid. It's not clear where the nitrite came from, but sewage is a possibility. Animal control officers first blamed pesticide poisoning when they found more than 100 dead robins littering lawns and sidewalks this month. A worker at the local Bird Rescue Center noted the birds all had purple stains on stains on their beaks. She speculated the birds suffered an alcoholic overdose from eating fermented berries.

Praise Saint Julia

COLUMBIA, Jan. 21. (Reuters) -- Teens who want to taste beer and wine can do so legally in South Carolina schools. State law allows some 18-year old cooking students to drink alcohol as part of their studies. There is a catch, though. The students can't swallow.

Carrie Nation - African Style

NAIROBI, Jan. 21 (IPS) - A group of women from one of Nairobi's largest slums have raided a number of illicit alcohol brewing houses in the city, accusing the brewers of ruining the health of their husbands and sons. The women, who numbered about several hundred, raided every suspected brewery joint and destroyed equipment used for making the alcohol in the sprawling slum of Kangemi, 10 kilometers west of the Kenyan capital of Nairobi. The raiders, who began their operation late last year, have accused the police and Nairobi's city authorities of turning a blind eye to the producers of the cheap gin, commonly known in Kenya as "chan'gaa". For how long shall we watch our husbands and sons get wasted by the drink," says Miriam Wangeci, one of the leaders of the group. "The situation is so bad that our children steal valuables from our homes and take them out to the brewers in exchange for drinks and drugs," she says. Monica Njeri, a single mother, with a 17 year-old son, says the women have taken the law into their hands, because of the failure of the authorities to stamp out the vice. Visibily enraged, she says she last saw her son, who is supposed to be studying in a secondary school, two weeks ago. "As young as he is, I've already bailed him out jail four times for alcohol and drug-related cases," she says.

The brewers, along with their agents, have warned of "severe retribution", if the women continue to interrupt their business. One person, who identified himself only as 'Kim', has accused the women of starting a war which, he says, they will never win. "If they are women enough let them touch the big chang'aa dealers. The moment they tread on our toes, Kangemi will go up in flame," he warns. Kim says the women are lucky because they only target small dealers who have "no teeth to bite". The chang'aa, which is made from sorghum or millet, is popular because it is affordable to the majority of Kenyans who are too poor to spend 51 shillings on a half-liter bottle of legal beer. The price of the chang'aa ranges from 10 to 20 shillings per water-size glass, while a whole 700-milliliter bottle fetches up to 70 shillings, depending on the potency. One US Dollar is equal to 60 Kenya shillings. Social workers have expressed concerned about the raid. "This is the right time to defuse the time bomb," says Muiru Mohotia of the Nairobi-based Springs Counselling Service. "There is an upsurge of similar cases, where people arrest suspects, prosecute and convict them and administer 'mob justice' by lynching the victims." Nairobi city authorities say they are doing their best to stop the manufacture of the alcohol. "Chang'aa dealers are arrested on a daily basis and taken to court. Last week alone we arrested 10 dealers, some of whom have appeared in court," says Jeseph Karanja who works in the slum. He appealed to the women to refrain from taking the law into their hands. "The best thing the women can do is report the suspects to the police," he says. Last year, a group of women from central Kenya fought a running battle with the police after complaining that the brewing and the consumption of illicit beverages were slowing down economic activities in their region. The women were later joined by local church leaders and politicians. The move led to the banning of all forms of illicit alcohol by the Kenyan Parliament. Yet the illicit beer brewers continue their trade, and some even attempt to strengthen the drink by adding substances which are lethal.

Kenyan newspapers catalogue alcohol-related deaths daily. Last year, more than 100 villagers in Mai Mahiu, 60 kilometers west of Nairobi, died as a result of consuming such alcohol. Hundreds of their colleagues were rendered blind by an adulterated 'chan'gaa'. Sample contents of the alcohol, analyzed by a government chemist, revealed the drink had excess contents of a methanol, an industrial alcohol. Police figures show that more than 6,000 people died as a result of consuming the alcohol last year. The proliferation of the cheap alcoholic beverages have emanated from the poor performance of the Kenyan economy, economists says. Figures released by the Minister for Economic Planning and Development, George Saitoti, when launching the '1998 Kenya Economic Survey, show that virtually all economic indicators including growth, per capita income, sectarian performances and social indicators are at their lowest ebb. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has reduced to only 2.3 percent against a projected growth of five percent. The agricultural sector grew by a minuscule 1.2 percent compared to 4.4 percent registered in 1997. The manufacturing sector similarly fell to a record 1.9 percent growth compared to 3.7 percent in 1997. The labor market shrunk with the number of jobs created declining from 467,200 in 1996 to 372,600 in 1997. "Low-income Kenyans, hardest hit by high rates of inflation and the ever increasing prices of beer and other legal spirits, have been forced to turn to cheap alcohol," says Zephania Ong'ata of the Nairobi-based Kenya Institute of Policy Management.

Guilty of Being Blind Drunk

Jan. 18, 1999 (USA Today) - A blind man was convicted of drunken driving Friday. Herbert Council, 39 thought he knew the roads in Murfreesboro, Tenn. well enough to navigate them with the help of his friend Jeffrey Hamilton. After a few drinks Dec. 10, the pair put the top down on Hamilton's BMW convertible and went for a little drive in the rain. Needless to say, Council slammed into a tree breaking his arm and Hamilton's leg. He was ordered to pay $513 in fines.

Must Have Been the Light Beer

LONDON, Jan. 17, 1999 (Reuters) - A man on board a British Airways jet flying at 35,000 feet went beserk and punched a door window so hard that he smashed the inner protective layer, eyewitnesses and airline officials said. Passengers screamed in terror as the Briton, who appeared to have been drinking heavily, ran amok on a flight from London to Bangkok. After the man was eventually overpowered the pilot diverted the plane to Delhi where he was offloaded. A BA spokesman said it was one of the worst cases of air rage the airline had ever seen. "We will not tolerate violent or abusive behaviour on our aircraft," he said, adding that the plane had not been in any danger. The airline sent two security officers to bring him back to London. Witnesses said the man became abusive some seven hours into the 12-hour flight, harrassing the woman next to him and then ripping off her headphones and biting them in half. He was moved to the back of the plane but became more violent, jumping up from his seat and punching one of the windows in the plane's rear door so hard he smashed the plastic inner protective layer and cut his hand badly. Four members of the cabin crew and four passengers finally overpowered the man, put on handcuffs and tied him up with seat belts before leaving him on the cabin floor.

Going Gets Rough - Wimps Raise Taxes

KEMEROVO, January 15 (Itar-Tass) - Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov on Friday is attending a meeting of the regional economic association Siberian Agreement in Kememrovo. Addressing the meeting, he said he orders to Deputy Prime Minister Gennady Kulik to consider excise duties on technical spirit. "This should be considered as soon as possible," Primakov said. He said the excise would be helpful to state control over alcohol production and sales.

Teen Drinking Violent Crime Spree

Pittstown, New York- Jan. 13 (AP)-- In Pittstown, New York, two teen-agers are accused of beating a cat to death with beer bottles. The father of one of them claims it was a mercy killing. He says the stray cat was thin and mangy and in bad shape, so the teens wanted to put it out of its misery. He also says his son has a good heart. State Police disagree. They say the 18-year-old suspects had been drinking with some friends when the cat wandered on to a porch. The troopers also say killing a cat-- stray or otherwise-- is against the law.

Game Wardens to Check Birds' IDs?

Santa Rosa, CA, Jan. 12, 1999 (KC Star) - More than 100 robins dropped from the trees and were found dead on sidewalks and front porches. The likely cause: drunkenness. It appears they overdosed on alcohol after eating berries that had fermented on the branch because of unusually cold weather. Martha Bently at the Bird Rescue Center figured out the cause after taking a quick look at the birds scattered near large maple trees on Sunday. All had purple stains on their beaks. "They went on a toot with the berries, so to speak" she said. Her theory still must be verified. The department of fish and Game will test the dead birds.

Beer - In Moderation, Health

NEW YORK, Jan. 5 /PRNewswire/-- Investigators at New York Presbyterian Hospital, Columbia-Presbyterian Campus, have determined that moderate alcohol consumption by the elderly-- up to two drinks per day-- reduces the risk of the most common type of stroke. The results of the case-control study, funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, are to be published in the upcoming January 6 issue of the "Journal of the American Medical Association" (JAMA). The study is the first to examine the relationship between alcohol and stroke risk among the elderly of three different racial/ethnic groups-- Caucasians, African-Americans, and Hispanics. "Many studies have shown that moderate alcohol consumption protects against cardiac disease, but until now, its relationship with stroke risk was less certain. Our study provides the first important evidence that moderate alcohol use is associated with a significantly decreased risk of ischemic stroke in a multiethnic, urban, elderly population," notes Ralph L. Sacco, M.D., M.S., Associate Professor of Neurology and Public Health at the Gertrude H. Sergievsky Center at Columbia-Presbyterian. Previous studies have suggested that moderate alcohol consumption protects against ischemic stroke (where a blood clot blocks a blood vessel in the brain) in certain populations, while other studies have found no beneficial effect. It has also been speculated that the relationship between alcohol and stroke risk varies according to race/ethnicity, as studies in Caucasian populations have found alcohol to have a protective effect, while those in Asian populations have not. Studies of African-American populations have yielded conflicting results, while prior to the Columbia-Presbyterian investigation, no study had addressed the relationship between alcohol and stroke among Hispanics.

The study examined data from the Northern Manhattan Stroke Study (NOMASS), one of the first population-based studies to compare stroke incidence among Caucasians, African-Americans and Hispanics living in the same community. Over four years, 677 patients with ischemic stroke were matched by age, sex, and race/ethnicity with subjects who had never suffered a stroke. The mean age of the study population was 70. The case-control analysis showed moderate daily alcohol use in the preceding year was protective against ischemic stroke, even after adjustment for hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes, cardiac disease, current smoking, education, and body mass index. "We found this protective effect no matter what type of alcohol was consumed, whether it was wine, beer, or liquor. This is in accord with the majority of studies of the protective effect of alcohol on coronary artery disease," observes Dr. Sacco. The study showed that heavy alcohol consumption-- seven or more drinks per day-- was associated with increased stroke risk. But former heavy drinkers who decreased their consumption to no more than two drinks per day were able to reduce their risk. While the protective effect of alcohol on heart disease appears to be at least partially related to levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or the so-called good cholesterol), the relative importance of HDL in mediating alcohol's effect on stroke risk has not been well studied. Data from the Columbia-Presbyterian study suggest that the protective effect of alcohol was independent of HDL. "While no study has shown a benefit in recommending alcohol use to people who don't drink, our data support the view, endorsed by the National Stroke Association in its Stroke Prevention Guidelines, that among those who are moderate drinkers, continued consumption may provide a reduction of ischemic stroke risk," says Dr. Sacco. "These benefits, of course, must be weighed against the overall risk of morbidity and mortality due to excess alcohol consumption."

Consumer Beer Revolt Begins in Germany

DUESSELDORF, Germany, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Higher beer prices have triggered a brawl between Germany's biggest brewer and more than 100 innkeepers who refuse to cough up. About 120 innkeepers in the picturesque Rhine region declared on Tuesday they would no longer pay what they called exorbitant beer prices demanded by Brau and Brunnen AG and would fight back by promoting cheaper beer alternatives. Germany's Association of Hotels and Guesthouses announced that the protesters would for 14 days urge their drinkers to buy less expensive bottled beers rather than Brau and Brunnen's bottled and draught versions. Brau and Brunnen said in November it would increase its prices in 1999 for the first time since 1996, making a glass of beer 10 to 20 pfennigs more expensive. "We took into account the possibility of backlashes," a Brau and Brunnen spokesman said.

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