Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Kenneth Starr's Redemption

Any evils or malice attributed to Kenneth Starr during his investigation of President Bill Clinton have all be forgiven and forgotten as far as I'm concerned. After tackling Presidential perjury, misuse of public property, and abuse of power; he apparently began applying his legal prowess to more important matters as Professor Bainbridge reported back in February 2004. Ken Starr has turned to fighting state bans on interstate wine shipments.

Who could possibly support these discriminatory laws? Those who have the most to lose from repeal: the liquor distributors, known in the trade as the "booze boys." These distributors exact massive, and in many areas oligopolistic, profits from wineries as a price for distributing their products to retail stores -- and in some cases, refuse to distribute wine from smaller wineries at all. Like pirates exacting a ransom, they add no value. But they have a powerful incentive to keep the current system in place.

The booze boys' lobbyists contend that restrictive state laws are necessary to further the worthy goal of reducing youth access to alcohol. But it defies common sense to suggest that a 16-year- ld wanting to drink would settle for the delayed gratification of ordering wine over the Internet, rather than just get a bottle from a local store or bar. And if direct shipping promotes underage drinking, why allow direct shipping from in-state wineries, and prohibit merely from out of state?

The Los Angeles Times reported on the U.S. Surpreme Court's 5-4 decision to strike down shipping bans in Michigan and New York, saying it's unconstitutional for a state to allow in-state wineries to ship direct to consumers while stopping out-of-state wineries from doing the same thing.

So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine. - Proverbs 3:10

Well, the barns of the Indigent Blogger aren't yet filled with plenty, but I'm always pressing to bust out some new wine! I have faith that this ruling will only improve the Wine of the Week on Fridays.

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