Wednesday, April 5, 2017

What I Learned on My Vacation and Why Alcohol is Dominating the State House

So I took an entire week off from work last week.  Dianne and I went to Nashville, TN for a few days and then did the end as a bit of a staycation.  It was fun.  There were some things I learned this week.

I didn't shave and no matter how long I go, my facial haie simply looks like subsidized farming. Daytime TV is fun, lots of Dr. Who and of course politics.  Must see was the daily press briefings by Sean Spicer.  They are like high-production value  hostage videos and by  Friday I started watching his blinks to see if they were in Morse code.  I also learned that the state of Indiana has a legislature that is vindictive.

You see Indiana has some weird alcohol laws, no sale on Sundays, and no cold beer sales unless you are a restaurant or liquor store.  A convenient store chain, Rickers, has slowly been moving into providing hot food at it many gas stations around the state and realized that they have evolved into a defacto restaurant.  As a growing business they realized they met the legal requirement for a license to sell cold beer both in service and packaged for take-away.  They followed the law, trained their employees and petitioned for the license which they received.  At two of their stores they started serving and selling cold beer.  The state legislature lost their freaking minds, likely because of the liquor store lobby and partly because there are many who still cling to the notion that government will help define morality.  So the GOP led state house, with many other issues to address, attacked this so-called problem to make stop a gas station store from selling cold beer.  The irony of this is that I read about the action on my phone not long after shopping in a store with a large cooler of beer and realizing that I miss seeing that back home.  Many people comment on this, including local radio/print personalities Tony Katz and Abdul Hakim-Shabazz, conservative voices locally.  But the State House knows best apparently and created a compromises which will in fact once again make places like Rickers out of compliance and also make some other long established businesses fail to reach a sales threshold to keep their liquor licenses.  This is nuts and does absolutely nothing to safety.  You see the argument is that we don't want groceries or convenient stores selling cold beer because it could encourage drinking and driving.  Seriously.  That is the argument that is the cover for the liquor store lobby which is looking for a government supported monopoly.  But here is the thing. There is a liquor store that shares a parking lot with the each of the two closest gas station stores, including a Rickers, near my home.  There are also restaurants with liquor licenses in the same plaza of at least one.  Indeed, there are many places to get served a beer near gas stations every where I regularly go.  If someone pulls into a gas station and goes inside to pay, sees they serve beer, will they really sit down and drink before continuing on the road or worse buy cold beer and drink in the car?  And if so, do you really think this law would stop them from going a few 100 feet doing the same thing?  It is silly and there are places in the country with drive-thru liquor stores, can someone show me data that this increases drunk or impaired driving.  This is not a good argument.

Now what is more amazing to me is the lack of Sunday sales. Part of this story has brought up the no sale on Sunday conversation.  Again, this is an old law, but people are revisiting it.  Again this one is interesting because it is liked by liquor stores because they can close for one day a week and not have to worry about that effecting its customer base.  But the real reason appears to be that about Christianity.  You see if it was just about having one day without the sale of alcohol.  Why not Wednesday?  I would think that it is more likely someone might pop into your home on a Sunday and you might need a quick trip to get some brews than say a Wednesday.  But this is not the issue.  The GA is trying to punish Rickers and uphold a strange attempt to make it their job to tell us what we should buy, when and where.

If alcohol is a legally purchasable product, we should regulate it for sure but let's pretend that the government has our best interest in mind when it comes to regulations.  I think perhaps we should blow up the laws and start using common sense.  I would be happy to help.

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