Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Booze and Tobacco: Notes From The Front

  • There is legislation before the Missouri state legislature to ban the sale of cold beer. It is thought that this will reduce drunk driving arrests by making it less attractive for people to open beer in the car. This is one of the stupidest pieces of legislation that I have encountered recently (and I am from Illinois). It inconvienences people unnecessarily and has what may be considered as limited deterrent value. Granted, it will make people less likely to consume the beer on the way home. This will not, however, deter the truly desparate person who could care less at what temperature their beer is sold. I can see this piece of legislation failing for these reasons and through no small effort, if it makes it any farther, of Anheuser-Busch (the world's largest brewer who happens to be headquartered in St. Louis). What common sense might fail to prevent Gussie Busch might prevent by lobbying.
  • A judge in Virginia is tossing out DWI cases where guilt is presumed. Which, to my knowledge, is damned near all of them. Judge O'Flaherty makes some vaild points about the "small print" in the law that seems to be endemic to all such laws around the nation. First, by picking a limit of .08, it makes the term "intoxicated" artificially rigid. The breath test does not account for a myriad of factors, yet refusal to take one leads to immediate suspensions and consequences. Second, while the court does allow the defendant to challenge the fact that they were intoxicated, notice the legal sleight-of-hand here. The burden of proof, always on the prosecution, is now shifted to the defense. In a sector of the law where rights are suspended and legal certainties thrown to the wind, it is nice to see someone challenging these assumptions. Do I think people should be allowed to drive drunk. Not on your life. What I do think, however, is that the facts of the case in DWI cases need to be considered more than they are. The courts assume that all drunk drivers are the same and put the wheels of the system into motion. It is unfair and needs some serious reconsideration.
  • Elk Grove Village, IL, considering a smoking ban, is also considering a ban on tobacco sales. Smoking bans are unfair and anti-small business enough as it is, as we have began to see here in Madison, WI. Well, congrats to Mayor Craig Johnson of Elk Grove Village. You just did Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz one better. To say that you have become more anti-business than Mayor Dave is no mean feat indeed. What Mayor Johnson is forgetting in mulling over this concern is the fact that residents of Elk Grove Village CAN STILL LEGALLY SMOKE IN THEIR HOMES IN ELK GROVE VILLAGE! Here again, as with Missouri and beer, the convienence of the consumer and the profit of the businessperson is a great target for crusading moralistic neo-Puritans in government.

1 comment:

Beer Tsar Jenks said...

What the??? Missouri is banning the sale of cold beer????

Kudos to the Show Me State.

What's that you say? Jenks has gone off the deep end? Jenks has suddenly turned liberal (*shudder*) and thinks that the government should micromanage to the point of telling you at what temperature your beer should be sold?

HELL NO!

Any self-respecting beer drinker knows that cold beer is bad. Very bad. Beer should be kept on the shelves, hopefully somewhere not brilliantly lit, at around 50 to 60 degrees (at or slightly cooler than room temp). It shouldn't be slung into cases at 40 degrees.

Cold liquid chills your tastebuds, thus rendering them unable to actually taste the beer. While this is how MOST people who drink beer prefer it (people who tell me that Bud Light tastes good make me wonder why they even bother), it's enough to make any beer advocate shudder (a la my response to being called a liberal).

However, the point being made here is that, no, it won't deter Cletus and Clumpus from cracking open that ice cold Bud for the ride home, or better yet, Coors Light, the "coldest" tasting beer.

Incidentally, how does cold taste? Like Brandi Smith, the coldest bitch from Huntington North High School's class of 1995...not that I would know how THAT tastes. *shifty-eyed*

Back on topic...from the point of view of curbing drunk driving by outlawing cold beer is just plain silly. Otherwise, I applaud the notion of selling beer at the appropriate temperature. Let the unenlightened freeze their beer on their own time.

As for banning the sale of tobacco...pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease don't do that. You'll kill my state's economy.