Maine Law Censors Alcohol Content of Beer

The Maine Liquor and Lottery
Commission recently surprised bars, restaurants, and brew pubs in
the state with an old piece of regulation that prohibits the common
practice of listing the alcohol by volume of beer.

The Portland Press Herald
reports
that David Carlson of Three Tides & Marshall Wharf
Brewing Co. was talking to the state liquor inspector when he was
confronted with “the little known rule” which the commission
“resurfaced a few weeks ago.” He was told to black out alcohol
content from his menu. The regulation affects any form of
advertising this information, such as signboards.

The provision comes from a broadly-worded advertising
restrictions implemented in 1937. The legislative document
states
:

No licensee shall issue, publish, post… any advertisement of a
malt liquor including a label which shall refer in any manner to
the alcohol strength of the malt liquor manufacturer, sold or
distributed by such licensee or used in any advertisement or label
such words as “full strength,” “extra strength,” “high test,” “high
proof,” “pre-war strength,” or similar words or phrases which would
indicate or suggest alcoholic content, or use in any advertisement
or label any numeral unless adequately explained in type of the
same size, prominence, and color.

The Morning Sentinel
explains
the justification behind this. “The potency of those
products stirred fear in regulators, who saw their strength as
encouraging underage drinking and overserving, leading to more
restrictive laws that forbade sales pitches of a beer or malt
beverage on the basis of its alcohol content.”

While such a regulation may have made sense nearly 80 years ago,
beer sellers are puzzled by the reintroduction of this information
blackout.

Carlson believe that it endangers patrons. “No one is trying to
promote their beer based on how strong it is — it’s not how any of
us operate. We list it as a form of responsibility to the consumer.
It has nothing to do with how to promote heavy drinking; it’s about
keeping people safe and responsible,” he told
Maine Today.

State Representative Louie Luchini (D-Ellsworth) has responded
by introducing emergency
legislation to repeal the provision. 

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British Labour Party Supporters Want To Tax the Rich More, Even if Doing So Won’t Raise Revenue

Recent polling
from the U.K. highlights a worrying and widespread moral conviction
among supporters of the Labour Party.

YouGov asked supporters of the Conservative, Labour, and Liberal
Democrat parties as well as supporters of the United Kingdom
Independence Party (UKIP) what they thought about raising the top
rate of income tax from 45 percent to 50 percent.

The results below:

With the exception of those who support the Conservatives, most
supporters of all the parties back raising the rate of income tax
for the wealthy.

YouGov also asked supporters of the same four parties if
they would support raising taxes on the wealthy if doing so
would not raise money for the government
.

The results below:

As can be seen, just over over half of UKIP and Liberal Democrat
supporters and a little over 70 percent of Conservative supporters
believe that the top rate of income tax should not be raised to 50
percent if doing so would not increase government revenue.

Shockingly, almost 70 percent of Labour Party supporters believe
that it is worth raising the tax rate for the wealthy, even if
doing so would not raise more money for the government.

The graph above is among the best illustrations of how the “tax
the rich” mentality of many Labour Party supporters has little to
do with a desire to grow government revenue and a lot to do with
taking money from the wealthy just for the sake of doing so.

Member of the Labour Party and Shadow Chancellor of the
Exchequer Ed Balls has
said that raising the rate of income tax for the wealthy to 50
percent would be implemented under a Labour government. Balls has
denied that pledging to do so is a sign of an “anti-business
agenda.”

In 2010, when a Labour government was in power, an income tax of
50 percent for those earning more than £150,000 (about
$245,150) was introduced. The current coalition government cut
the rate to 45 percent last April.

According to
research from Oriel Securities
, the richest 1 percent of
Britons pay almost a third of income taxes.

Watch Labour Party members cast their votes for socialism over
capitalism at their most recent conference below:

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British Labour Party Supporters Want To Tax the Rich More, Even if Doing So Won't Raise Revenue

Recent polling
from the U.K. highlights a worrying and widespread moral conviction
among supporters of the Labour Party.

YouGov asked supporters of the Conservative, Labour, and Liberal
Democrat parties as well as supporters of the United Kingdom
Independence Party (UKIP) what they thought about raising the top
rate of income tax from 45 percent to 50 percent.

The results below:

With the exception of those who support the Conservatives, most
supporters of all the parties back raising the rate of income tax
for the wealthy.

YouGov also asked supporters of the same four parties if
they would support raising taxes on the wealthy if doing so
would not raise money for the government
.

The results below:

As can be seen, just over over half of UKIP and Liberal Democrat
supporters and a little over 70 percent of Conservative supporters
believe that the top rate of income tax should not be raised to 50
percent if doing so would not increase government revenue.

Shockingly, almost 70 percent of Labour Party supporters believe
that it is worth raising the tax rate for the wealthy, even if
doing so would not raise more money for the government.

The graph above is among the best illustrations of how the “tax
the rich” mentality of many Labour Party supporters has little to
do with a desire to grow government revenue and a lot to do with
taking money from the wealthy just for the sake of doing so.

Member of the Labour Party and Shadow Chancellor of the
Exchequer Ed Balls has
said that raising the rate of income tax for the wealthy to 50
percent would be implemented under a Labour government. Balls has
denied that pledging to do so is a sign of an “anti-business
agenda.”

In 2010, when a Labour government was in power, an income tax of
50 percent for those earning more than £150,000 (about
$245,150) was introduced. The current coalition government cut
the rate to 45 percent last April.

According to
research from Oriel Securities
, the richest 1 percent of
Britons pay almost a third of income taxes.

Watch Labour Party members cast their votes for socialism over
capitalism at their most recent conference below:

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U.K. Bill Would Allow Secret Courts to Confiscate Journalists’ Notebooks

Even in the digital age, the U.K. isn’t giving up on good ol’
notebook confiscation. A proposed bill contains a provision that
would allow authorities to ditch transparency and
demand
journalists’ notebooks through secret courts. Monday,
ministers decided to
engage
in further consultation on this provision of the bill
before sending it to committee.

Currently, requests for journalists’ notebooks, hard drives, and
other physical possessions must be made in a public, open court.
But Clause 47 would permit officials to request them through secret
channels.

The Newspaper Society, an organization that watches over
Britain’s local media, told
the
Guardian:

The deregulation bill’s provisions could enable the current
statutory safeguards to be removed completely, reduced, weakened or
otherwise radically altered at any later time, without prior
consultation of the media affected nor detailed parliamentary
scrutiny of the effect.

On the other hand, a Cabinet Office spokesperson
told
the Guardian, “Every measure in the deregulation
bill is intended to remove unnecessary bureaucracy.” Unless by
‘bureaucracy’ they mean transparent courts, that doesn’t seem to be
the case here.

Some
argue
that the protect-us-from-journalists mentality stems from
the British News International phone hacking scandal. After
widespread, shameless phone tapping of celebrities, politicians,
the victims of bombs, etc. surfaced in 2011, the judicial Leveson
Inquiry was tasked with advising about future precautions against
journalists.
According
to Politics:

The report on media regulation said steps needed to be taken to
ease the process by which authorities can get their hands on
reporter’s books and files.

Phone tapping was already an illegal practice. But the Leveson
Inquiry recommended developing an independent agency responsible
for regulating the media.

Negative media attention has led politicians to, maybe,
reconsider. After a second reading of the bill on Monday, Minister
Oliver Letwin
said
to the Commons, “It would make sense to do some further
consultation in case there’s anyone out there who’s got views who’s
not come forward.”

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U.K. Bill Would Allow Secret Courts to Confiscate Journalists' Notebooks

Even in the digital age, the U.K. isn’t giving up on good ol’
notebook confiscation. A proposed bill contains a provision that
would allow authorities to ditch transparency and
demand
journalists’ notebooks through secret courts. Monday,
ministers decided to
engage
in further consultation on this provision of the bill
before sending it to committee.

Currently, requests for journalists’ notebooks, hard drives, and
other physical possessions must be made in a public, open court.
But Clause 47 would permit officials to request them through secret
channels.

The Newspaper Society, an organization that watches over
Britain’s local media, told
the
Guardian:

The deregulation bill’s provisions could enable the current
statutory safeguards to be removed completely, reduced, weakened or
otherwise radically altered at any later time, without prior
consultation of the media affected nor detailed parliamentary
scrutiny of the effect.

On the other hand, a Cabinet Office spokesperson
told
the Guardian, “Every measure in the deregulation
bill is intended to remove unnecessary bureaucracy.” Unless by
‘bureaucracy’ they mean transparent courts, that doesn’t seem to be
the case here.

Some
argue
that the protect-us-from-journalists mentality stems from
the British News International phone hacking scandal. After
widespread, shameless phone tapping of celebrities, politicians,
the victims of bombs, etc. surfaced in 2011, the judicial Leveson
Inquiry was tasked with advising about future precautions against
journalists.
According
to Politics:

The report on media regulation said steps needed to be taken to
ease the process by which authorities can get their hands on
reporter’s books and files.

Phone tapping was already an illegal practice. But the Leveson
Inquiry recommended developing an independent agency responsible
for regulating the media.

Negative media attention has led politicians to, maybe,
reconsider. After a second reading of the bill on Monday, Minister
Oliver Letwin
said
to the Commons, “It would make sense to do some further
consultation in case there’s anyone out there who’s got views who’s
not come forward.”

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Purdue University Says First Amendment’s Important, But Safety First!

oh snapThe
National Press Photographers Association has been pushing for
Purdue University to investigate on an incident that occurred on
campus during a shooting last month. The college newspaper’s photo
editor, a junior at the school, was
reportedly
slammed to the ground by a campus cop while taking
photos in a building that had not been closed to the public. Purdue
has
now responded
, telling the NPPA they would investigate the
matter. Legal counsel for Purdue wrote that the school agreed “in
principle” with the press association about First Amendment rights,
BUT:

At the same time, we hope there would be some
understanding, from even the most ardent protectors of our civil
liberties, of the extreme pressures and difficulties faced by first
responders whose first duty in such critical moments is and must be
the protection of students and other bystanders. Just as we share
your commitment to the principles enshrined in the First Amendment,
we are hesitant to second-guess the essential and often life-saving
judgment calls made on the spot by brave men and women who risk
their lives to ensure the safety of others in situations of high
stress and potentially great danger.

Read the full letter, via Poynter,
here
.

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Purdue University Says First Amendment's Important, But Safety First!

oh snapThe
National Press Photographers Association has been pushing for
Purdue University to investigate on an incident that occurred on
campus during a shooting last month. The college newspaper’s photo
editor, a junior at the school, was
reportedly
slammed to the ground by a campus cop while taking
photos in a building that had not been closed to the public. Purdue
has
now responded
, telling the NPPA they would investigate the
matter. Legal counsel for Purdue wrote that the school agreed “in
principle” with the press association about First Amendment rights,
BUT:

At the same time, we hope there would be some
understanding, from even the most ardent protectors of our civil
liberties, of the extreme pressures and difficulties faced by first
responders whose first duty in such critical moments is and must be
the protection of students and other bystanders. Just as we share
your commitment to the principles enshrined in the First Amendment,
we are hesitant to second-guess the essential and often life-saving
judgment calls made on the spot by brave men and women who risk
their lives to ensure the safety of others in situations of high
stress and potentially great danger.

Read the full letter, via Poynter,
here
.

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Journalists, Politicians More Likely to Overdose on Heroin Than Junkies

In the wake of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death, my
colleague Jacob Sullum has done great work in calling attention to
the flat and declining trends in heroin. The short version is that
somewhere around 0.1 percent of Americans ages 12 and older use
junk in the past month – a vanishingly small number that was
exactly the same a decade ago. When it comes to 8th, 10th, and 12th
graders, the numbers for annual use are tiny to begin with
(0.6 percent or less) and substantially lower than they were in the
1990s.

But what about Vermont, supposedly Ground Zero in the new heroin
epidemic? Here’s a snippet from
my latest Time.com column
, which should give much-needed
perspective on the matter:

Earlier this year, the Gov. Peter Shumlin of Vermont made news
when he devoted his annual “state of the state” address to what he
called “a full-blown heroin crisis.” Shumlin testified that “we had
nearly double the number of deaths in Vermont from heroin overdose
as the prior year.”

It’s certainly true that there can be regional spikes even if
national usage rates are flat. But according to Vermont’s
Department of Health, in 2012 there were just nine deaths
classified as “heroin involved” (a category that doesn’t mean
heroin was the sole or even the principal cause of death). Taking
the governor at his word, that means there were fewer than 18
deaths last year in Vermont in which heroin was a factor. (2013
data were not available.)

The Green Mountain State has about 626,000 people in it. It’s a
damn shame that anyone dies of a heroin overdose (I count one old
friend among the casualties), but nobody in their right mind should
be setting national or state policy based on a dozen-and-a-half
deaths.

But drug panics are
like no other in American life. Thirty years ago, the drug-related
death of an NBA hopeful ushered in a long national nightmare that
we’re only barely getting around to waking up from:

The history of crusades and legislation related to drug deaths
teaches us that lawmakers should proceed with caution and resist
overreaction. In 1986, liberal Democratic lawmakers used
the high-profile, cocaine-related death of Len Bias, a college
basketball star who had signed to play with the Boston Celtics, to
show that they could be just as tough on drugs as conservative
Republicans during the “Just Say No” era. The result was a series
of mandatory-minimum sentences that had no clear effect on drug use
or black markets but helped the United States become the
biggest jailer country on the planet.

Read the whole
Time.com piece
, which includes links to all the stats cited
above.

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Sochi So Secure? The “Big Brother” Olympics Start Tomorrow

handicap or copThe 2014 Winter Olympics are scheduled to start
tomorrow in Sochi, and the theme of this Olmypiad so far appears to
be terrorism. 57 percent of Americans, for example, are convinced
there will be a terrorist attack during the Olympics according to a

CNN poll
. And when their government is warning them about

the threat of toothpaste
headed to Sochi, why wouldn’t they?
It’s not just the U.S. government stoking fears. Russia is worried
about the prospect of a terrorist attack too. Two suicide bombings
in Volgograd
in Decembe
r killed 34 people. Two regions over from Sochi,
Volgograd’s 1,000 kilometers away, or as far as Cincinnati from New
York. Last month, Russia
arrested two suspects
in the bombings, which it identified as
members of a terrorist group named after Buinaksk, a city in
Dagestan, the Caucasian region where the alleged Boston marathon
bombers moved to in Russia before emigrating to the U.S.  The
Buinaksk arrests followed a claim of responsibility for the
Volgograd bombing via video by Caucasian Islamist militants calling
themselves  the “Vilayat Dagestan,” who promised more
“presents” for tourists in Sochi.

In an article called “Sterilizing Sochi for the ‘Big Brother’
Games,” Haaretz reports:

About 25,000 police officers, 30,000 soldiers and 8,000
special forces and members of the FSB security service, successors
to Putin’s old outfit, the KGB, are guarding the games. Many of the
security personnel come from the old Cossack units and seem lost in
the urban surroundings with their fur shapka hats and riding
breeches, dismounted.

The security operation is a combination of low-tech – flooding the
area with thousands of police, some not even trained to use the new
hand-held metal-detectors they have been given and who make do with
just a perfunctory glance into the car trunks, without checking any
of the objects inside – and high-tech.

At the new Sochi Airport, electronic warfare aircraft are standing
on the tarmac, reconaissance drones hover above and anyone who uses
a smartphone or switches on a computer in the city discovers
strange messages and unsolicited offers to download software.

The threats issued by the Caucasus Emirate, the Islamist terror
organization which orchestrated a series of bloody suicide attacks
throughout Russia in recent years, are keeping the thousands of
police and soldiers in the streets, at the roadblocks and in the
hotel lobbies, but most security experts in Sochi do not believe
the attack will fall there or in the three Olympic villages.

“This is the safest city in Russia, even before the Olympics,” says
a former senior city police officer, now a security consultant.
“Putin has one of his homes here, as do other senior officials.
Heads of state are hosted here, including Netanyahu. The Caucasians
will try and ruin the fun by attacking somewhere else, they can
choose any target in Russia.”

Haaretz’s report starts with a story about the Lenin statue in
town being covered up. Russia also set up
protest restrictions
in Sochi, running from this January
through March 21, five days after the end of the Paralympics. Any
planned protest is supposed to be approved by the FSB, the police,
and the local government.

Though the media in Sochi now are focused on
complaining about lousy conditions on site and the possible

shitstorm to come
, journalists working in Sochi will face
restrictions,
and digital surveillance
,
too:

Obstruction by Russian authorities and journalists’
self-censorship in a repressive climate have restricted news
coverage of sensitive issues related to the Sochi Winter Olympics,
the Committee to Protect Journalists found in a report…

The report,
entitled “Media suffer winter chill in coverage of Sochi Olympics,”
examines how both local and international journalists have been
harassed and prevented from reporting on topics such as the
exploitation of migrant workers, environmental destruction, forced
evictions, and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and
transgender (LGBT) persons. The report also explores how Russian
state-controlled media have ignored these issues or even published
propaganda smearing the victims of human rights abuses and the
activists who defend them.

“Russian authorities have cracked down on journalists, rights
defenders, and civil activists in a way not seen since the break-up
of the Soviet Union,” said CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program
Coordinator Nina Ognianova. “The International Olympic Committee as
the Games’ organizers must engage with Russian authorities to
ensure that freedom of the press and freedom of expression are
unobstructed in Sochi both during and after the Games.”

In the report’s recommendations CPJ
calls on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to ensure that
host countries that fail to reach international standards for press
freedom and freedom of expression suffer repercussions; on the
Russian government to repeal laws that chill freedom of the press;
on corporate sponsors of the Games to insist that the IOC speak out
on media freedom violations; and on journalists covering the Games
to report violations of press freedom.

Russia, for its part, has called for a “global
ceasefire
” for the Olympic games, which were long ago
disconnected from the ideal of peace attached to their ancient
predecessors. It also tried to counteract negative press by

releasing photos
of their female Olympic athletes in
lingerie
heterosexualist propaganda.

Related: Check out
four shameful moments in Olympic history

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Obama Admits He's Dragging Democrats Down

President ObamaConceding that, perhaps, a bit
of the gloss has come off his presidency, President Barack Obama is
telling congressional Democrats to run, run as fast as they can
away from him as they seek to survive his rein of error.

From U.S. News & World Report‘s
Kenneth T. Walsh
:

President Obama has delivered a humbling message to fellow
Democrats: He admits he is unpopular in much of the country and
will understand if legislators don’t want to appear with him on the
campaign trail.

Obama made the remarks in a private session with Senate
Democrats Wednesday.  “He said he knew he is not popular in
some of the states so he would not be offended if he were not
invited to visit them this year,” a senator told the Washington
Post. “But he said he could be helpful in some parts of some
states.” The senator requested anonymity in order to discuss the
private meeting candidly.

Unpopular is right. Gallup says that
50 percent of Americans disapprove
of the president’s
performance in office, while only 41 percent approve (his numbers
were
even worse
a few months ago). CNN/ORC also has
disapproval
at 50 percent
. The RealClearPolitics
average of polls
stands at 51.8 percent disapproval and 43
percent approval—a precipitous fall from the heady days when
President Obama was first elected and Americans were hopeful that
he might not suck at the job. Now, even though most Americans tell
CNN/ORC that they wish the president the best, 56 percent think
that his policies will ultimately fail.

The “will” before “fail” presumably refers to those policies
that haven’t already failed.

As a result, generic congressional preference polls, as little
as they’re worth,
currently give the edge to Republicans
.

Presidents often prove to be deadweight on their parties, once
reality sets in—Barack Obama isn’t unique in this regard. George W.
Bush lost most of his luster by this point in his presidency, too.
Americans (and voters elsewhere, for that matter) have developed a
nasty habit of investing their elected officials with massive
power—but impossible expectations. The combination is a guaranteed
recipe for both disappointment and abuse.

Lots of both, really.

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