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Booze News: Apr 2004

Booze News
Looney Lawmaker Wants a Breathalyzer in Every New Yorker’s Vehicle

NEW YORK (ABI)—The whole idea about being innocent until proven guilty has apparently lost its cachet with the neoprohibitionist set.

Noted nut job and N.Y. State Assemblyman Felix Ortiz (D-Brooklyn) is attempting to get a law passed that would force every registered driver in the state to pass a breath alcohol test every time they wanted to start their car. They would also have to take a retest every 20 to 40 minutes while driving.

Ortiz also informed the media that drivers will have to visit a service center once a month to keep their interlocks properly calibrated, for an estimated $50 per visit. Costing about $1,000 to install, the 10 million New York state drivers face an aggregate financial burden of $10 billion just to acquire the interlocks. That’s $10 billion extorted, overwhelmingly, from responsible adults who have done nothing wrong.

Wendy Hamilton, the national MADD president, is not willing to commit to supporting the bill—yet. “We don’t think the world is ready for this at this time,” Hamilton said. “Perhaps in the future.”


Neoprohibitonists Flaunt the Constitution
LOS ANGELES (ABI)—Adopting the slogan, “If you drink and drive, you lose your ride,” the Los Angeles City Council is considering seizing and auctioning off suspected drunk drivers’ cars—before they’ve been convicted of a crime.

The idea has constitutional scholars up in arms, and is similar to a Giuliani-era tactic of vehicle impoundment that a New York appellate court recently ruled unconstitutional. Thousands of cars seized in New York City, some of which have been kept for more than four years, are finally being returned to their owners.

MADD publicly endorsed New York City’s vehicle impoundment programs, saying it “may provide us with a template that can be used nationwide.”

MADD is proposing even more blatantly unconstitutional measures—mandating zero tolerance for divorced and separated parents. MADD is calling for a “mandatory provision in every separation agreement and divorce decree that prohibits either parent from drinking and driving … with children under the age of 16 in the vehicle.”

“Violation of the referenced provision,” they wrote, should result in “termination of parental rights.”

The ramifications of MADD’s latest effort to impose Prohibition are staggering. In MADD’s view, if a woman has a glass of wine with her meal at a restaurant and then safely drives her children home, she should lose custody of her children, and lose her legal standing as their mother. Even though her behavior is safe, legal, and responsible. Even if her BAC is .00%—a very real possibility, since adults metabolize about a drink an hour.

As with all their efforts in recent years, MADD’s assault on divorced parents isn’t about traffic safety; it’s about marginalizing and eventually criminalizing drinking and driving—one subgroup at a time.


One Scotch Rocks? That’ll be $3,500
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (Wireless Flash) — The world’s most expensive single malt Scotch whiskey will soon be made available to the public by the glass.

Until now, the Macallan Scotch whiskey vintage collection of 38 bottles, which is valued at $170,000, has only been sold by the bottle.

But the Borgata Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey, has decided to offer the 38 different vintages by the glass, where one glass can cost anywhere from $50 to $3,500 depending on the vintage.

The fancy Scotch is meant to be sipped not gulped, and according to a hotel spokesperson, the Borgata will have a special single-malt sommelier on hand to pour it when it’s ordered.

Borgata big-wigs expect the Scotch to be popular since it is the first time it has been offered by the glass anywhere.
It will remain exclusively offered at the Borgata through June, when it may become available elsewhere.



Beer Buys Election
ULM, GERMANY (Deutsche Presse)—A small village in southern Germany was ordered to hold new mayoral elections when the winning candidate narrowly won the vote after distributing free beer and even cash ahead of the polls.
The regional administrative authority in the city of Ulm ordered the villagers of Ballendorf to go to the polls again—but this time without the free beer.

The office said it was just conceivable that the winning candidate had influenced the vote by handing out free beer and cash.

“A different election result without such influence on voters is well within the realm of the possible,” the office said, noting how the winner’s margin in the town of 650 residents was just 17 votes.


Cirrhosis, Drinking Rates Don’t Add Up
MILWAUKEE—If drinking were a game of craps, Wisconsinites would be beating the house.

Much to the chagrin of local researchers, a study has found that while Wisconsin leads the nation in percentage of drinkers and is among the leaders in total consumption, the state has one of the lowest death rates for cirrhosis of the liver.

“Surprised?” said Patrick Remington, one of two authors of the report in Wisconsin Medical Journal. “Yes, we were surprised.”
Wisconsin ranked the highest among the 50 states in the overall percentage of drinkers — 69%. Nationwide, half the states had an overall drinking percentage of 51% or higher.

The state’s per capita consumption — the amount of alcohol consumed, then divided among every man, woman and child — ranked it fourth in the country at 3.4 gallons a person. That compares with the national per capita consumption of about 2.5 gallons a person, or 26% less than Wisconsin. The state also has the highest rates of binge and chronic drinking.

Yet liver cirrhosis causes roughly 350 deaths a year in Wisconsin, ranking the state 43rd in the nation for cirrhosis mortality rates from 1990 to 1994.


Buy a Minor a Beer, Go to Prison
CHARLOTTESVILLE (AP) — A fanatical judge sentenced a husband and wife to eight years in jail, a stiffer sentence than the average rapist serves, for supplying alcohol to teenagers at a birthday party for their son.

Prosecutors had sought a sentence of 90 days for Elisa Kenty Robinson and George Fisher Robinson of Earlysville. They pleaded guilty to 16 misdemeanor counts of contributing to the delinquency of minors.

They were charged in connection with an Aug. 16 2003 party at their home that involved 60 to 80 high school students and $360 worth of beer and wine coolers.

Judge Johnson sentenced the Robinsons to six months in jail on each of the 16 counts and ordered that the sentences be served consecutively. He also ordered them taken into custody immediately and set bail at $80,000 for each.

Mrs. Robinson’s attorney, Francis Lawrence, asked Judge Johnson to reconsider the high bail while his client appealed the sentence.

The judge refused, saying the Robinsons are “a danger to the community.”