Saturday, December 4, 2010

A rant about wine prohibition in Memphis grocery stores

During a recent Memphis vacation, I kept running across propaganda put out by the Tennessee Wine And Spirits Retailers Association and their sister monopolists at the Wine And Spirits Wholesalers Of Tennessee.

The TWSRA wants to keep wine out of Tennesse grocery stores. 

Here's some ultra-wholesome boosterism from the WSWT site that tries to explain:
Our industry was created by the 21st amendment, which gives wholesalers the responsibility to foster the safe and responsible distribution of beverage alcohol in Tennessee.

Ours is one of the healthiest wholesaler trade associations in the entire country comprised of more members than any other state. This ensures that the selection of wine and spirits products available in Tennessee is far greater than most states. We are committed to preserving the integrity of our products and the climate in which they are sold.

The story of beverage alcohol distribution in Tennessee is both a lesson in history and a case study in the state's evolving business climate. We are proud of our heritage and take very seriously the duty we have been given by the state to ensure the safe and responsible distribution of our products. Here you will find a wealth of resources regarding Tennessee wholesalers, from our beginning with the 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, to the role we play in today's competitive market.
The 21st Amendment is the one that ended alcohol prohibition, but allowed government to begin regulating the sale and distribution of alcohol.  In other words, the graft potential was transferred from the bootleggers to the legislatures.
In Fort Worth, Texas and other areas not suffering under Sharia law, you can go into a grocery store and purchase a bottle of wine. 
In Memphis, you can't.  It depends on the whims of the various legislatures.

So what excuse would anyone use to force shoppers to make multiple stops to pick up their bread and wine?
Get know what's coming....they make you run all over town because....IT CREATES JOBS !!!!

Here's Hank Cowles, writing for the Memphis Flyer:

More than one million jobs have vanished in America in the last sixty days, and the end is nowhere in sight. Closer to home, changing our state's current alcohol-sales laws to allow wine sales in grocery stores or other big retailers will not generate a single new job, but would likely throw several thousand of our fellow Tennesseans out of work.

The Tennessee Wine and Retailers Association estimates that between 2000 and 3000 jobs might be lost, while members of the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission estimate they would need to hire over 2000 compliance officers to oversee this expanded availability of wine!

Wine in these stores would be just another item feeding their bottom line without generating more sales tax, while the loss of 2000 jobs would have a serious multiplier effect on the state economy. Most of these people would end up on the states' unemployment rolls, further deflating Tennessee's' ability to help its citizens. (The Tennessee Unemployment Department recently notified most Tennessee employers that the unemployment tax they pay will be increased due to the high number of claims filed by Tennesseans who have already lost their jobs).

As of Saturday, December 4th, in the year of our lord 2010, it is illegal for wine to be transported by anyone other than wine store employees using teams of mules.  Consumers may not transport wine in their own vehicles.  The mule teams, staffed by members of the Teamsters Union (to be regulated by legislative oversight committees), will be charged with making all residential wine deliveries.
All wine shop customers must be carried through Tennessee liquor stores in sedan chairs and each customer will be charged with employing four Customer Carriers upon entering a liquor store.    
Cash registers are now illegal in Memphis wine shops.  Winesellers must do all of their accounting and bookkeeping in traditional ledgers.  A tax rebate will be available for those using an abacus.  

One other thing....both wholesaler websites claim that the Memphis wine selection would decline if grocery stores were allowed to sell wine, implying that the citizens of Memphis now have a variety of vino that would make Bacchus blush. 

Horsecrap.  In the ultra-competitive Fort Worth wine market, we have liquor stores whose contents could float a Memphis steamboat out of a dry dock.   

But I went to TWO different Memphis liquor stores that didn't have any Jim Beam Black Label.  Any Fort Worth store that ran out of JBBL would instantly be surrounded by an angry mob wielding torches and pitchforks. 
But in Memphis people don't know any better. 
The alcohol merchants of Memphis, thanks to the "Bootleggers And Baptists" phenomenon, have never had to compete.  They are allowed to get away with such shameful behavior because Tennessee citizens have no choice in where to buy any alcohol.  (Hit the "Bootleggers And Baptists" label below for an explanation of this behavior.)

Ok, one last point, not quite related to the topic at hand.  My employer, Jukt Micronics, has a factory/warehouse facility in Johnson County, Texas.  Johnson County has the most bewildering overlay of contradictory, Sharia-inspired, idiotic liquor laws that I've ever seen.  You can buy beer in some places, but not in others.  You can purchase wine in a few convenience stores, but not everywhere.  The Baptist Imams and Mullahs have worked hand-in-hand with the Bootleggers to create this monstrous web of confusion.  Who benefits?
The liquor store owners just outside the city limits or county lines. 

Who else benefits? 
Johnson County is now known as the Crystal Meth Capital Of North Texas. 
One adult male out of every ten is now on parole, probation, or is an involuntary guest of the state. 
I'm not saying that there's a cause and effect relationship here, but it seems that all this prohibition is very effective in "saving and creating" jobs for law enforcement, judges, parole officers, probation clerks, jailers, the private prison industry, drug testers, urine tasters, and nanny state stool-sniffers. 

That's all I've got this morning.  Hope you have a great day.  Please keep the wine-deprived citizens of Memphis in your prayers. 

Soli Deo GloriaThere. 

Friday, December 3, 2010

Kentucky will soon have a Creationist Theme Park

I don't make any of this stuff up.  I just copy and paste. 

FRANKFORT, Ky. — A huge replica of Noah's Ark and an 800-acre creationist theme park reportedly are coming to Grant County, Ky., according to NBC station WLEX.

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear and Answers in Genesis, builders of the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Ky., are expected to unveil plans Wednesday for the $150 million northern Kentucky attraction, WLEX and other area news outlets reported.
The ark and theme park are expected to attract 1.6 million visitors annually, WLEX said. The operation is expected to create 900 jobs. That doesn't count employment at new restaurants and hotels expected to complement the park.

We are now doomed to see every new car wash, taco stand and whorehouse in terms of "jobs created and saved", thanks to our economically illiterate Porker In Chief.  Here's a hint: Prosperity isn't created by increasing the number of jobs.  It is created by saving time.  But I digress.... 

..The museum and private investors have been looking at several spots around the county, but efforts to place the park in Grant County have been under way at least for 18 months, officials told WLEX.

The Creation Museum, opened in May 2007 about seven miles from the Cincinnati-northern Kentucky airport, was estimated to draw about 250,000 visitors per year but surpassed 1 million visitors in less than three years, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.
Exhibits represent the views of Apologetics Ministry, including the belief that the Earth is only about 7,000 years old and that dinosaurs were among the creatures on Noah’s ark.

Heavy, heavy sigh....This is what happens when you start taking metaphors and parables literally.  You get backed into these ridiculous corners where Bronze Age story characters can build boats with enough compartments to keep the T-Rex family from devouring the poodles. 

The Creation Museum is directly or indirectly responsible for bringing 2,100 jobs to the area and has an economic impact of $65 million per year, according to a study it commissioned.

Joining Beshear at Wednesday’s announcement in the State Capitol will be Mike Zovath, senior vice president of Answers in Genesis and head of the Creation Museum project, and Grant County Judge/Executive Darrell Link, the Enquirer said.

The project will be a joint development of Answers in Genesis and for-profit partner Ark Encounter LLC of Springfield, Mo., according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.
The developers are seeking state tax incentives under the Kentucky Tourism Development Act, which allows up to 25 percent of the cost of a project to be recovered, Courier-Journal said.

Atheist groups and church-state separation advocates noted that state involvement in the project may not appear to be right, but it does appear to be legal as state tax breaks are used to support tourism projects.

“It might not be discrimination, but it might not be a good idea,” Edwin Kagin, a Northern Kentucky attorney who is also the national legal director for the group American Atheists, told the Courier-Journal.

The existing 70,000-square-foot Creation Museum "brings the pages of the Bible to life, casting its characters and animals in dynamic form and placing them in familiar settings," says the Creation Museum website. "Adam and Eve live in the Garden of Eden. Children play and dinosaurs roam near Eden’s Rivers. The serpent coils cunningly in the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil."

Among other museum exhibits are a planetarium showing "the amazing 'Created Cosmos,'" four theaters including a special effects auditorium featuring "Men in White," a Dinosaur Den, Noah's Ark construction site, and a cave about "Natural Selection Is Not Evolution."
The pics came from this guy, who is probably going to enjoy the park as much as I will. 
Please note the section of the park where "The Ground Is Cursed - Adam Must Toil For Food".  Well, I gotta go to work.  Hope everybody can find a way to cope with this condemned, cursed, fallen, miserable world.  Remember....Eve ate an apple.  Therefore, you must be punished. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Andrew Ian Dodge has made it into Newsweek !!!

My online buddy Andrew Ian Dodge has made it into Newsweek !

Well done, sir !  Here's an excerpt:
The libertarian insurgents are currently gathered around Andrew Ian Dodge, a science-fiction writer and amateur rocker (with a penchant for writing lyrics about reducing the size of government), who serves as the unpaid coordinator for Maine’s Tea Party Patriots. Unlike folks on the Christian right, he and his allies aren’t tied in to a network of endowed think tanks, private universities, and broadcasting outlets that help to amplify their message. And Dodge is skeptical of groups like the Tea Party Express, which, he says, is “a Republican front run by Republican apparatchiks.” As an outsider, he’s enjoying having a chance at being on the inside, and he’s not going to give up his seat so easily. “Look at me: I’m a hairy guy with an earring. It’s a new environment on the American right where someone like me fits in, one driven not by an individual but by a core belief system.” A belief system that is made up of the nonreligious tenets of fiscal responsibility, free-market economics, and limited government, according to Dodge.

What he said.

FBI creates a fake Al-Qaeda plot, creates a fake bomb, and creates a real terrorist to thwart

Well done, gentlemen. Well done.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

U.N. Climate Change panel travels to Cancun Freakin' Mexico. While the U.K. freezes.

While the U.K. is struggling with its earliest widespread snowfall since 1993, the U.N.'s Climate Alarmist panel is meeting in Cancun, Mexico, to discuss further rationing of goods and services. 
Apparently, they've never heard of using Skype for conference calls. 
Lord have mercy, it looks like everybody is having a good time !!!

The Safe Highway Intersection Tip Test of 2011

There's been quite a debate over the increase in red-light cameras at Texas intersections. 

They are supposed to save lives, but Houston and College Station recently outlawed them. 

The company responsible for manufacturing, selling, and installing most of these is an outfit called ATS:

Millions of dollars paid by motorists in red light camera and speed camera fines end up in the pockets of a handful of individuals. In the United States, American Traffic Solutions (ATS) is responsible for about 41 percent of the nation's photo enforcement business, but as a private company its dealings are well concealed from public scrutiny. Based on a review of documents marked "confidential -- attorneys' eyes only," the ATS leadership team has reaped significant personal profit in a short amount of time.

"I paid through sweat equity of becoming a member of the leadership, and I made a financial investment in the company," former Wall Street analyst Adam Draizin explained in a December 3, 2009 deposition discussing his joining ATS in May 2004.

Draizin's contribution was $500,000 for which he earned an share equal to that of the company's other three partners. That investment paid off in a big way when Goldman Sachs became the largest shareholder in 2008 with a 30 percent stake. Draizin, John Petrozza, Adam Tuton, James Tuton each share an equal 16.7 percent stake. James Investment (Robert Alpert) held a 3 percent share.

Goldman paid $58 million for its slice of the automated ticketing industry, of which $45 million was invested in the company. The original four partners pocketed $3,250,000 each -- a six-fold return for Draizin, a Harvard Business School graduate. Goldman retains significant influence over the business. The deal required that ATS change from a subchapter S corporation to a C corporation, that Goldman representatives sit on the ATS board of directors and that the board meet on a quarterly basis.
So why would Houston and College Station outlaw this life-saving technology? 
Some drivers believe that the cameras aren't there to make the intersections safer.  The cameras are there to increase revenue. 

I can promise you that the ATS Sales Reps don't go into City Council meetings and start their pitches with how much safer they can make the busy crossroads of Abbott, Texas.  The ATS Sales Reps go into the room talking about Bringing In The Benjamins
Some cities don't even treat the fines as a moving violation.  In Arlington TX, the shakedown money fines don't show up on your driving record or appear on your insurance record.  Arlington just wants you to give them some money and forget about the incident.  No need to get worked up here, we're just trying to make a living....

Safety or revenue?  Will we ever know why the cameras are there? 
Don't we deserve to know? 
I propose that we lobby for the Safe Highway Intersection Tip Test 2011. 
The Safe Highway Intersection Tip Test (listed on ballot initiatives as SHIT Test 2011) would require that all intersections dangerous enough to merit a red-light camera be marked with the appropriate warning signs....

I had to make that one myself, using one of the sign-generator websites. 
Many areas already have something similar in place, although I've not seen them in Texas.  Chicago apparently has some like this:

So in the upcoming 2012 elections, be sure to ask everyone running for office if they care enough about our childrens' safety to support SHIT Test 2011. 

After all, if an intersection is dangerous enough to merit a camera, it is dangerous enough to merit some signs, right?

And ATS should pay for the privilege of installing them.

Monday, November 29, 2010

On our addiction to foreign oil

I was flipping channels a couple of days ago and heard someone blathering about ending our dependence on foreign oil.  I don't remember who it was, but it might as well have been John McCain....

Or Jimmy Carter....

Or anyone else who is trying to scare voters into supporting oil company subsidies or throwing money to Green Energy scams.  (Yes, oil company subsidies and Green Energy scams.  The players all wear different uniforms, but they're playing in the same game.)

These guys always speak of our "addiction to foreign oil", but never say a word about our addiction to foreign computers, wine, cheese, electrical components, iPhones, televisions, fabrics, jeans, suits, or that inexpensive mouse you're using to make my words move up and down on that foreign screen in front of you.  They try to give the impression that the lines of latitude and longitude of factories and warehouses should be your most important shopping criteria.   

They never acknowledge that those of us living in Fort Worth, Texas, have a higher quality of life because we trade our goods and services (the things we're best at doing) with people who live in Waco, Texas (for the things that they're best at doing). 

Texans often trade with people from Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana.  Some of the people in Arkansas have funny accents.  Some of the Oklahomans look like Indians.  And despite Texas being an overwhelmingly Protestant state, we can hold our noses and swap our stuff with the Catholic natives of south Lousiana. 

I'm considering trading with Memphis Tennessee for BarBQue, since Texas BarBQue sucks.  The Texas stuff is made from cows, not pigs. 
Should that be anyone's decision other than mine? 

We trade with Canada.  We swap lots of our stuff for their timber. 
We trade with Mexico.  We swap lots of our stuff for their clothing and auto parts. 

Yes, we rely on people from those other strange cities, states and nations.  But guess what?  They rely on us for our goods and services, and they also rely on us as.....customers.

If Fort Worthians and Texans and Americans were to stop purchasing things made by those other cities, states, and nations, it would harm us and it would harm them.
The only groups to profit from the shutdown would be the government enforcers and guards at the arbitrary borders of our cages.  (And, of course, the businesses that would then have a monopoly in the goods and services that were prohibited from crossing our city, state, or national borders.)

If other countries ever stop swapping their stuff for our stuff, they're in a world of hurt.  Imagine what it does to a retailer to lose 20% of its customers.  The retailer has to lay off employees. 

Does anyone believe that any of the oil producing nations of the world can now afford to withhold oil from the United States?  They are all addicted to foreign dollars. 

They have to sell the stuff to somebody.  They can no more stop selling oil to us than Target, Wal-Mart, and Kroger can arbitrarily stop selling groceries to people whose names begin with a vowel.  It would kill them. 

I repeat....We aren't addicted to foreign oil.  The oil producing nations are addicted to foreign dollars.  Think of it that way for fifteen minutes, and you'll start laughing the next time a politician tries to play the race card (or the geography card). 

The Dilbert cartoon came from here.  The videos came from YouTube.  The source of the gasoline that got me to Starbucks this morning doesn't really matter. 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A suggestion for what to do about advertisements

I'm on my way back from Memphis, having had a GREAT time on my Thanksgiving vacation. 
Only a few disturbances in the overall bliss of the week....(I'll post the good stuff later, but Henry, my traveling companion and driver, is going down the highway at an alarming speed, and it is hard to type.)

Every morning for six days, I had to drive past this vile symbol of theft. 

It was on an apartment building that was being remodeled.  This apartment was no different from all the others, but the owners knew someone in government, and were able to get your money for their project. 
I think we should start a movement to decorate every Porkulus Project with crime scene tape. 

I took the picture of the "Be Proud Your Stealing From Your Grandchildren" sign myself.  The crime scene picture came from this company, which actually specializes in cleaning up after crime scenes, traumatic incidents, gangsta invasions, etc.  An apt metaphor for our current economic condition, don't you think?