Thursday, April 13, 2006

TABC Backs Down

...For now at least.

(4/13/06 - DALLAS, TX) - The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission said Wednesday it has suspended a crackdown on public intoxication after a public outcry over the program that sends undercover officers into drinking establishments.

Public outcry indeed. Review their funding and watch them try and backpedal. Sure they'll use ambiguous and noncommittal language such as "just to give us time to sift through all the information we've received and pull together all the information and determine the best way to proceed." But let's face it. TABC shot themselves in the foot and now they are hoping the story will quetly go away while the wound heals. Meanwhile the men of MADD, who in my opinion most likely put a fire under TABC to begin with, get to sit back and watch while TABC takes the heat. Lots of luck, guys.

Looks like the at least one bar has sued as well.

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is being sued by Dallas Night Club.

The club`s suit alleges that the state agency unfairly targeting the club and not using a consistent standard to decide if club goers are legally drunk.

About time someone stated the obvious.

But wether it's public outcry or the threat of being hit financially, it seems that TABC has gotten the message. They need to run home with their tail between their legs and stop harrassing law-abiding people for drinking at the behest of an obsolete bunch of nanny-staters such as Men Mothers Against Drinking Drunk Driving.

That message is, as Twisted Sister put it back in the day, "We're not gonna take it!"

But is that message being heard loudly and clearly enough in this country? Doesn't look like it.

At the same time the stories about TABC are running, there's also this spiffy new way to invade our privacy test for cocaine. Also, scientists are working on ways to incriminate test for substances using saliva.

A saliva sample for narcotics testing can often give a more accurate representation of what’s really going in the body than urine, Cone said. Some drugs, like cocaine, can appear in the saliva long before they show up in urine, and a saliva sample is less susceptible to tampering than the "go off by yourself and put some in a cup" method.

Collecting saliva is painless, less invasive and easier.

So in other words they want to make it easier for police to invade our privacy before we have a chance to talk to an attorney if suspected of being intoxicated. I wonder if that saliva sample would be any more discoverable in a court of law than the urine or breath sample. I certainly don't expect it to be any more accurate.

I'm sorry but no one has the right to take my saliva any more than they have the right to take my breath, blood, or urine. And if an officer tries, I will refuse to incrimine myself just as enthusiasticly as I would if that officer tried to take a breathylizer test without due process.

Here's an interesting bit. The Alcoholic Beverage Control system of North Carolina has banned gossip in their stores.

The Alcoholic Beverage Control system has banned gossiping and threatened to fire anyone who tells tales or spreads rumors.

Gene Webb, the system’s general manager, issued the order in February, making employees sign a statement that says, “Take care of the business in your individual store; do not try to get involved in the business of another store or employee.”

He declined to elaborate on what prompted the gag order.

“It’s really a problem with one or two employees,” he said Tuesday.

From the sound of it, this policy is simply in response to an in-house problem with some of their employees. But the reason I point this out is because it is a good reflection of the mindset of these agencies. If this is how North Carolina's alcohol regulatory agency handles it'w own employees, by enacting a heavy-handed and sweeping policy to handle one or two bad employees, how well do you think they are going to respect consumer rights? Moreover, how can anyone set policy on something like "gossip"? It's an intangiable concept that can't be regulated. That just goes to show you where the neoprohibitionist mindset is at. They want to conrol the uncontrollable.

So I'd say the answer is no, the message that the public isn't going to stand for this kind of crap in not being heard. It's time to speak up. It's time to shout and demand instead of politely request. After all, we're living in a country where someone can't even display this nation's flag without harrassment by authority.