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Real public servants are free enterprising individuals who, inspired, embrace challenge, take risks, and create, sometimes big, and often, they create jobs in the process, all out of their ideas, and self initiative...

Friday, April 22, 2011

RIVERA: Don’t destroy small vintners, brewers and distillers Relics of Prohibition should crawl back under their rocks

By Dick Rivera-Washington Times | Thursday, April 21, 2011

(A few nights ago, on my way home from the gym, I had a hankering for a brew. Problem was I left my wallet at home so I had no tender, except for the loose change in my car's cup holder. There were a lot of pennies mixed with some silver and nickle plated coins. I counted them and thought, if the liquor store sells singles, I'm good. But alas the only singles they sold at this particular establishment, which was on my way home, were twenty two once size. I would have bought one, if I'd had another thirty cents, but alas, the only ones I could afford were the only ones that would be available period, if this crony capitalist law takes hold. The owner kept showing me variations of the options I could buy with with my limited cash on hand, and I kept telling him, no thanks... I want a real beer, I want a real beer, a beer with body, flavor and character, thanks.)

One of the surprises in this “lost decade” of economic growth has been the explosion of smaller, family-owned wineries. Dotting the landscape from coast to coast, small vintners in locations previously unknown for their winemaking prowess have led an impressive surge in the market, and given consumers greater opportunity to sample wines that, otherwise, they never would have had a chance to taste.

A prime mover in this expanding market is the practice of shipping directly to customers: Thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia now allow the shipping of wine directly from the vintner to the drinker. By utilizing direct sales over the phone, at tasting bars and on the Internet to bypass national wholesalers - for whom it isn’t economically feasible to distribute the products of smaller wineries - consumers have been presented more options than ever before and smaller wineries now have bigger markets than ever before.

Unsurprisingly, the marketplace has responded to this expanded freedom by trying new wines from across the country: Between 2004 and 2008
April Click here.
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Botched Paramilitary Police Raids: An Epidemic of "Isolated Incidents"

"If a widespread pattern of [knock-and-announce] violations were shown . . . there would be reason for grave concern." —Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, in Hudson v. Michigan, June 15, 2006. An interactive map of botched SWAT and paramilitary police raids, released in conjunction with the Cato policy paper "Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids," by Radley Balko. What does this map mean? How to use this map View Original Map and Database

Key

Death of an innocent. Death or injury of a police officer. Death of a nonviolent offender.
Raid on an innocent suspect. Other examples of paramilitary police excess. Unnecessary raids on doctors and sick people.
The proliferation of SWAT teams, police militarization, and the Drug War have given rise to a dramatic increase in the number of "no-knock" or "quick-knock" raids on suspected drug offenders. Because these raids are often conducted based on tips from notoriously unreliable confidential informants, police sometimes conduct SWAT-style raids on the wrong home, or on the homes of nonviolent, misdemeanor drug users. Such highly-volatile, overly confrontational tactics are bad enough when no one is hurt -- it's difficult to imagine the terror an innocent suspect or family faces when a SWAT team mistakenly breaks down their door in the middle of the night. But even more disturbing are the number of times such "wrong door" raids unnecessarily lead to the injury or death of suspects, bystanders, and police officers. Defenders of SWAT teams and paramilitary tactics say such incidents are isolated and rare. The map above aims to refute that notion.

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