Prohibition Returns!

Teetotaling do-gooders attack your right to drink

On a May night in 2005, Debra Bolton, a lawyer and single mom from the Washington suburb of Alexandria, Virginia, was leaving the Café Milano in Georgetown after socializing with some friends. She had driven her SUV only a few hundred yards before she was pulled over by D.C. police for driving with the headlights off. She told the officer the parking attendant at Café Milano probably had turned off her vehicle's automatic light feature.

Not mollified, the officer asked Bolton to step out of the car, walk in a straight line, recite the alphabet, stand on one foot, and count to 30. He checked her eyes for suspicious jerkiness and insisted on a breath test for alcohol.

The breath test revealed that Bolton's blood alcohol content (BAC) was 0.03 percent, a level a 120-pound woman could expect after drinking one glass of wine. It was well below the 0.08 percent limit that marks a driver as legally intoxicated in D.C. It was not low enough for the arresting officer, however. This middle-aged mother of two, who hadn't drunk to excess, who hadn't run a red light or run a stop, was arrested, handcuffed, and fingerprinted for an innocent mistake. She sat in a jail cell for hours and was finally released at 4:30 a.m. Bolton spent four court appearances and over $2,000 fighting a $400 ticket. She then spent a month fighting to get her license back after refusing to submit to the 12-week alcohol counseling program.

The arresting officer, inaptly named Dennis Fair, insists: "If you get behind the wheel of a car with any measurable amount of alcohol, you will be dealt with in D.C. We have zero tolerance....Anything above 0.01, we can arrest." Fair recognized that nearly everyone in D.C. was unaware of this zero tolerance policy. Still, he told The Washington Post, if "you don't know about it, then you're a victim of your own ignorance."

Bolton's arrest was not the result of a single cop's overzealousness. In 2004 D.C. police arrested 321 people with BACs below the legal limit of 0.08 percent for driving under the influence. The year before, the number was 409.

After the Bolton incident, James Klaunig, a toxicology expert at the Indiana University School of Medicine, told The Washington Post, "There's no way possible she failed a [sobriety] test from impairment with a .03 blood alcohol level." Fair had claimed that Bolton swayed and lost her balance when taking the sobriety test, triggering the breath test.

A BAC test, one of the main tools used by law enforcement to catch drunk drivers, determines how much alcohol is present in the bloodstream. A BAC of 0.08 percent, for instance, means 0.0008 of your blood is alcohol. At that level, though, you're hardly slurring your words or staggering.

In 2000 President Clinton signed a federal law aimed at pressuring states to lower their BAC limits from 0.1 percent to 0.08 percent. States that didn't go along were threatened with the loss of federal highway funds. Karolyn Nunnallee, president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), predicted that a nationwide 0.08 percent standard "will save nearly 600 lives every year."

It hasn't worked out that way. In the July 2007 issue of Contemporary Economic Policy, Sam Houston State University economist Donald Freeman examines the most recent data available and concludes "there's no evidence that lowering the BAC limits...reduced fatality rates, either in total or in crashes likely to be alcohol related." This is true, he found, both in states that adopted a 0.08 percent BAC standard on their own and in states that did so under federal pressure.

During the last decade, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), alcohol contributed to between 16,000 and 17,000 traffic-related fatalities a year, about two-fifths of the total such deaths. It used to be a good deal worse. Back in 1982, three-fifths of all traffic related fatalities were attributed to alcohol. Since then, ad campaigns and education have raised public awareness about the dangers of driving smashed. States have instituted stricter punishment for drunk driving, and law enforcement officials are also better prepared to ferret out drunk drivers. A lot of the credit must be given to the hard work MADD did in educating the public about the menace of drinking and driving.

But the decline in alcohol-related deaths persisted only until 1997. Since then the vehicular death toll attributed to alcohol has remained stable at around 40 percent. This stagnation in drunk driving deaths has caused considerable consternation among activists and law enforcement officials. Lately, the fight against drunk driving has shifted from serious alcohol abusers with no regard for the law toward responsible drinkers.

Neoprohibitionists aim to muddle the distinction between drunk diving and driving after drinking any amount of alcohol. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) endorsed the idea at a Senate Environment and Public Committee hearing way back in 1997, contending that we "may wind up in this country going to zero tolerance, period." Former MADD President Katherine Prescott concurred, in a letter to the Chicago Tribune, where she stated "there is no safe blood alcohol, and for that reason responsible drinking means no drinking and driving."

Technically she's correct. Driving is never completely safe, and many things drivers commonly do-including speaking on a cell phone, talking to passengers, applying lipstick, eating a sandwich, drinking coffee, adjusting the radio, reprimanding the kids in the back seat, and daydreaming about weekend plans-can make it riskier. As states and cities have begun focusing on zero tolerance (or "driving while distracted" laws, which target the diversions laid out above) they are losing focus on the real threat, namely habitually drunk drivers.

Drinking is under attack these days in ways we haven't seen since the failed experiment with national alcohol prohibition in the 1920s. Indeed, for many neoprohibitionists, that experiment wasn't a failure at all, since it did cut alcohol consumption, which is all that matters. We can see that mentality today in policies that go beyond preventing drunk driving or punishing drunk drivers and aim to discourage drinking per se.

Founder's Remorse
Although alcohol nannies generally support zero tolerance, one dissenting voice doesn't. "I thought the emphasis on .08 laws was not where the emphasis should have been placed," Candace Lightner told the Los Angeles Times in 2002. "The majority of crashes occur with high blood-alcohol levels, the .15, .18 and .25 drinkers. Lowering the blood-alcohol concentration was not a solution to the alcohol problem."

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  • carrick||

    The state has discovered that it can eliminate behavior that cannot be banned (under the constitution) by simply regulating it out of existence. First make the regulations so stringent that most people can't comply (you can't make it so hard that all people can't comply -- that would not survive a constitutional challenge). Then make the penalties so great for non-compliance that few people will take the risk.

  • ||

    [Officer] Fair had claimed that Bolton swayed and lost her balance when taking the sobriety test, triggering the breath test.

    And I, for one, believe him. Why would he lie? Police Officers almost never file false reports. They never would lie under oath! Everybody knows that.

  • Paul||

    State law requires doctors to report any of a patient's physical or mental impairments if the doctors think it could compromise his ability to drive safely. Keith Emerich hadn't gotten in any legal trouble, related to drinking, driving, or anything else, and his job attendance was as exemplary. Yet a three-judge Commonwealth Court panel said the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation was justified in taking away Emerich's license-not because he had driven while intoxicated but because he might

    Anyone still convinced that this stuff and the "war on drugs" aren't the same thing?

  • ed||

    To Serve (an arrest warrant)
    And To Protect (their asses)

  • ||

    In 2000 President Clinton signed a federal law aimed at pressuring states to lower their BAC limits from 0.1 percent to 0.08 percent.


    Damn Democrats. See, this is why a divided Legislature and Executive branch is a good idea. If only there had been a Republican majority sitting on Congress this law would never made it off of the floor.

    What? There was? Since when?
    Oh, 1996. I see. Nevermind.

  • ||

    I'll drink to that...

  • ||

    When I tended bar in Texas we were supposed to take a TABC class. If you took the class and served someone who turned out to be a minor or got into a alcohol related wreck you were liable. If you didn't take the class the bar was liable. Guess who never took the class.

  • ||

    I am very familiar with a case in Austin, TX where the State placed an uncover ABC agent in the bar. A paddy wagon was waiting before the agent even entered the bar. 5 patrons were arrested plus the bartender. One customer had just got off work from his job across the street and had only 1 beer. All were kept in jail until early the following morning. They kept the bartender in jail until the following evening. At the jury trail when the agent on the stand was asked why one customer was arrested for Public Intoxication, the agent replied because "he was talking loud and he had his shirt-tail out". The jury threw the case out then and there. By the way, this bar is one of the tamest in Austin. They were fortunate in that a lawyer took on the case free of charge. The average victim can not afford the thousands of dollars it takes to defend yourself against this kind of Fascism.

  • dbust1||

    It was announced recently, in the city in which I live, that sometime in the next month state police will establish a "sobriety checkpoint" (read illegal search and seizure stop) somewhere along a major highway. Honestly, every single person that is stopped should refuse to cooperate w/ the police at all. They will arrest everyone, of course, but perhaps the dozens of arrests will send a message.

  • dbust1||

    spyglass,

    I don't doubt your story at all (I can think of a few stories from my time in Dallas) but I find it alarming. I remember being in Austin and watching the cops just standing by on their horses waiting for trouble. Leaving everyone alone, but making their presence obvious. It's a sad day indeed when a person can't get shit faced in Austin.

  • ||

    WTF!!!! Goverment should be against the law.

  • Episiarch||

    To paraphrase what I said on the obesity thread some time back:

    So, you drinkers who hated second-hand smoke and supported smoking bans in bars so you could drink without annoyance? Suck it up, bitches, because the nannies are coming for you now.

  • Paul||

    "he was talking loud and he had his shirt-tail out". The jury threw the case out then and there.

    Well yeah, he just described half the jurors.

  • dbust1||

    Once while vacationing in Canada I got caught at a "sobriety checkpoint." I had decided to do the right thing and drive home since the girl I was with was WAY too drunk to drive. I had been drinking, but contrary to what MADD or SADD will tell you, I know when I've had too many to drive. The mountie that stopped me asked if I'd had anything to drink and of course I said "no way!" So he put my ass in the back of his squad car and proceeded to give me a breathalyzer. I had to blow into that damn thing FOUR times because each time it registered that I was below the limit. Well below in fact. Obviously pissed that he couldn't arrest me, the mountie berated me for lying to the police and asked if that's what we do "in the states." I almost laughed myself out of the backseat at his Canadian silliness. It's hard to believe that Canadian socialists could be more reasonable than American law enforcement.

  • ||

    I find it ironic that many of the same liberals who vociferously decry the moralizing of religious conservatives, are themselves moralists against Demon Rum. Read the article again and notice how many Democrats and liberal cities are mentioned.

    Both Democrats and Republicans are nannyists, they just want to spank you for different kinds of naughtiness.

  • ||

    Both Democrats and Republicans are nannyists, they just want to spank you for different kinds of naughtiness.

    I think Team Blue and Team Red just instinctively oppose whatever the other favors.

  • Paul||

    So, you drinkers who hated second-hand smoke and supported smoking bans in bars so you could drink without annoyance? Suck it up, bitches, because the nannies are coming for you now.

    Word. And your medical marijuana can kiss my ass with the smoking bans, too. Illegal to smoke? Up yours, illegal to smoke, period.

  • ||

    I will never for the life of me understand why second hand smoke annoys people so much. Sure, it doesn't smell nice. But neither does body odor or bad breath, and I don't see anyone wanting to ban that from public.

  • Episiarch||

    Paul sez:

    And your medical marijuana can kiss my ass with the smoking bans, too. Illegal to smoke? Up yours, illegal to smoke, period.

    And Cesar said:

    I think Team Blue and Team Red just instinctively oppose whatever the other favors.

    This is why we get the laughable situation of very liberal counties/cites banning smoking in public, etc., but making fucking exemptions for medical marijuana. That says one thing: "we hate smoke unless it is smoke that the Republicans hate, then we like it".

    What principles they have, and commitment to personal liberty. If Republicans didn't mind medical marijuana all liberal support for it would dry up.

  • ||

    Obviously pissed that he couldn't arrest me, the mountie berated me for lying to the police and asked if that's what we do "in the states."

    You should have told him, "back in the States, they would have arrested me anyway and just lied on the report. What do we do back in the States? Call a lawyer."

  • ||


    What principles they have, and commitment to personal liberty. If Republicans didn't mind medical marijuana all liberal support for it would dry up.


    The "muscular liberal" type (think Joe Biden) are actually some of the biggest drug warriors around, and there are some paleoconservatives (like William F. Buckley) who want to end the drug war. But I think that the above quote applies for about 90% of partisans.

  • ||

    "I will never for the life of me understand why second hand smoke annoys people so much. Sure, it doesn't smell nice. But neither does body odor or bad breath, and I don't see anyone wanting to ban that from public."

    Oh come on. It is an irritant that can trigger headaches, asthma attacks, and allergy symptoms, and it makes your clothes and hair stink.

  • ||

    "Oh come on. It is an irritant that can trigger headaches, asthma attacks, and allergy symptoms, and it makes your clothes and hair stink."

    So does perfume.

  • ||

    Both Democrats and Republicans are nannyists, they just want to spank you for different kinds of naughtiness.

    Or the smae naughtiness, but for alledged different reasons.

  • ||

    Oh come on. It is an irritant that can trigger headaches, asthma attacks, and allergy symptoms, and it makes your clothes and hair stink.

    Reminds me of an very old joke -

    Patient: Doc, it hurts every time I do this. (raises arm)

    Doctor: Well, Stop doing that!

    Vanessa, keep your delicate, genitically inferior, ass out of bars! Now, that was easy, wasn't it?

  • ||

    Yes, perfume does those things and that is why it annoys me too.

    Some companies ban perfume in the workplace.

    I'm not advocating for smoking bans in bars. But there are reasons people find second-hand smoke annoying, and not all of them have to do with perceived risk of developing cancer.

  • ||

    It seems to me that anyone who says he doesn't understand why cigarette smoke is annoying to non-smokers is being deliberately obtuse.

  • ||

    Vanessa,

    No one's saying that smoke is not annoying, we're just saying that we don't give a fuck if you're annoyed.

    Up until recent years, we had that as a right...

  • Episiarch||

    It seems to me that anyone who says he doesn't understand why cigarette smoke is annoying to non-smokers is being deliberately obtuse.

    Who cares if it's annoying? If the owner of a property says "you can smoke here" than fuck you to non-smokers who don't like it. Whether or not it is annoying is a consideration for the owner of the property to make, in terms of the comfort of their guests. It is not a consideration for smokers to make.

  • ||

    Taktix,

    Actually, Cesar, to whose comment I originally referred, did say he doesn't understand why cigarette smoke is annoying. I quoted him right in my comment. So there you go.

    V.

  • Paul||

    It seems to me that anyone who says he doesn't understand why cigarette smoke is annoying to non-smokers is being deliberately obtuse.

    What episiarch said. It's not about being annoyed... Freedom means having to put up with stuff that pisses you off. You don't have a right to turn on your TV and be treated to a blissful experience of agreeable opinions. Some time after the eighties, liberals forgot that premise.

  • dbust1||

    Venessa,

    I find people who disagree with me to be annoying. Yet, I still post comments here and I don't demand that people stop disagreeing with me or stop posting contrary comments. It's called living in a society which means you have to put up with everyone's foibles, disgusting habits and uncomfortable beliefs. Unless you want to be the next Ted Kaczynski.

  • ||

    Everybody know why it's annoying. Vanessa isn't advocating a ban. Now let it go.

  • Episiarch||

    Vanessa, you say you don't advocate bans. Do you oppose them?

  • ||

    Maurkov,

    I guess you're just shilling for Big Vanessa now...

    Vanessa,

    I apologize for not referring to your point, as I was too busy making my own (while smoking) ;)

  • Juanita||

    Drinking is not good for us, therefore I cannot see how anyone could be opposed to laws against drinking because it will improve our health. It is hypocritical that it is legal to drink but not use other intoxicants, that is why drinking and cigarettes should be made illegal.

  • ||

    Incredibly, the bill breezed through the state's House of Representatives by a 45-to-22 vote.

    Doesn't surprise me at all. Afraid of getting hammered with misleading hit pieces in the next election -- "Representative Bill favors drunk driving!" -- most of the House went along with it, and hoped it got killed elsewhere in the process. Here in Hawaii, it's usually done by making a minor revision, forcing the bill into conference committee, where it doesn't get heard, allowing everyone to vote "yes" on legislation that gets killed.

  • dbust1||

    Juanita,

    (because I have a cigarette in one hand, one up each nostril and a beer in the other hand) I'll make this short: YOU ARE A CRAZY NANNYSTATER!

  • Paul||

    What principles they have, and commitment to personal liberty. If Republicans didn't mind medical marijuana all liberal support for it would dry up.

    I say we should ban cigarettes, and I'll bet you anything that within 10 years, liberals will "discover" that tobacco had "medicinal" uses. Doesn't cure anything, of course, but it's helpful as a "coping" mechanism.

  • ||

    It's rude to smoke in an enclosed place if someone objects.

    That's just basic good manners.

    But smokers should have a place to gather. If the owner chooses to allow smoking in his establishment, and informs people before they enter, I have no problem with it. I can choose whether to enter or not.

    It's a free country, at least it used to be.

  • Juanita||

    It's a free country, at least it used to be.

    Freedom is smoke, drink, drug and sex free.

  • ||

    Juanita,

    Don't forget trans fats free. And helmetless free.

  • antagonist||

    Juanita are yuo a mormon?

  • ||

    Vanessa,

    Hell, I'm a smoker, but my first concert in a restaurant/night club after the smoking ban (Shaw/Blades, excellent show) was quite enjoyable without the haze of smoke. You don't have to be a non-smoker to appreciate the lack of a permanent cloud while eating.

  • ||

    Wow. Thank you Maurkov and Taktix.

    Epsiarch,

    When smoking bans were new, I strongly opposed them. But time has gone on and I can't deny that the bans make my life more comfortable. But on principal I still disagree with them. If I were in a position to vote on a proposed ban, I strongly believe that I would vote "no." I definitely would vote no if it were a ban on smoking in apt. buildings with shared ventilators, or in cars with young children, or in any public park, etc. Actually, I can't imagine an instance in which I would vote for a ban.

    In California, where I live, I go to bars that don't permit smoking and I go to bars that do. I would never, ever report a bar for allowing smoking. It's pretty clear that their customers want to smoke, and I go to them knowing I will come out stinking and congested. If I think ahead, I use my nasal spray before I go in and it helps. I'm glad for that because the bars with smoke tend to be dives and I always have more fun in dive bars.

  • Episiarch||

    I say we should ban cigarettes, and I'll bet you anything that within 10 years, liberals will "discover" that tobacco had "medicinal" uses.

    No, tobacco would have to be opposed by Republicans, conservatives, or mullet-sporting rednecks (any combination will do!). For instance, if NASCAR started a public awareness campaign pushing to ban tobacco, watch the liberal support for it suddenly start to rise.

  • Episiarch||

    Vanessa, fair enough. Maybe try some antihistamines.

  • Paul||

    that is why drinking and cigarettes should be made illegal.

    And trans-fats, Juanita. And salt should be sold in smaller containers. Soda should be rationed. Grocery store isles should be made narrower. Price controls on "unhealthful" foods and subsidies on vegetables and other healthful snacks.

    In fact, you know those grocery store cards you have, the ones that give you the discounts like at Safeway? The government should start mining that data (by law, natch) and can therefore track each family's purchase patterns. If the purchase pattern goes outside the defined "health tolerance threshhold", then you'll receive a letter. If it doesn't improve within three months, you're sent another letter with a warning that your grocery purchases will be restricted. If they don't improve within six months, all national chains will be notified electronically, you'll be sent a letter with a list of approved foods (and quantities) and you will only be allowed to purchase those foods listed from the store. Any products purchased will be rejected by the store cashier. Non-participating grocery stores and convenience stores will be taxed at a higher rate. Those smaller outfits that want to participate but are without the financian means to provide this tracking data will get a subsidy from the government to enable a tracking system.

    Damn, I'm good. I wonder if the health department is hiring a policy liaison?

  • ||

    "Hell, I'm a smoker, but my first concert in a restaurant/night club after the smoking ban (Shaw/Blades, excellent show) was quite enjoyable without the haze of smoke. You don't have to be a non-smoker to appreciate the lack of a permanent cloud while eating."

    Well, my first experience with an alcohol free concert was enjoyable, too, without the danger and annoyance of being surrounded by drinkers. Austin, TX has banned alcohol in public parks except for special events, so a weekly concert in the park that I attend has gone alcohol free.

    That doesn't mean I want Prohibition to come back. If someone wants to drink alcohol in public, it's fine by me. Freedom is Healthier than Fascism.

  • ||

    Paul,

    Great idea. I'll send it to Hilary and we'll get it started.

    lol.

  • ||

    Doesn't surprise me at all. Afraid of getting hammered with misleading hit pieces in the next election -- "Representative Bill favors drunk driving!" -- most of the House went along with it, and hoped it got killed elsewhere in the process. Here in Hawaii, it's usually done by making a minor revision, forcing the bill into conference committee, where it doesn't get heard, allowing everyone to vote "yes" on legislation that gets killed.

    Work well killing that McCain-Feingold thingy.

    Oh, wait...

  • ||

    Freedom is smoke, drink, drug and sex free.

    Hell yeah! I agree, freedom is about getting smokes, drinks, drugs and sex for free. Sweet!

  • Paul||

    When smoking bans were new, I strongly opposed them. But time has gone on and I can't deny that the bans make my life more comfortable.

    Vanessa:

    There's all kinds of crap that we could ban that would make my life more enjoyable. So what?

    and I go to them knowing I will come out stinking and congested. [...]

    If I think ahead, I use my nasal spray before I go in and it helps. I'm glad for that because the bars with smoke tend to be dives and I always have more fun in dive bars.


    Hmmm. I say again... hmmm... I've got my super-computer deciphering this one.

  • ||

    Paul, what are you trying to figure out?

    I didn't tell no lies, honest.

  • ||

    Juanita is a troller for those who are new to Hit and Run

  • ||

    "Hell, I'm a smoker, but my first concert in a restaurant/night club after the smoking ban (Shaw/Blades, excellent show) was quite enjoyable without the haze of smoke. You don't have to be a non-smoker to appreciate the lack of a permanent cloud while eating."

    Yep, I have smoker friends who feel the same way.

  • Paul||

    I don't think you are telling a lie, Vanessa. But your post seems... schizophrenic. Well, that's a little harsh. Lemme break it down... music please...

    You say since the smoking ban you're more comfortable, then you tell us of the misery you suffer when you go into the smoking establishments, then you say you prefer the smoking establishments. Help a brother out.

  • Paul||

    Oops, my bad, we're too late.

  • ||

    The arresting officer, inaptly named Dennis Fair, insists: "If you get behind the wheel of a car with any measurable amount of alcohol, you will be dealt with in D.C. We have zero tolerance....Anything above 0.01, we can arrest.

    If that's the case, why isn't 0.01 the legal limit?


    Paul,

    I don't find anything schizophrenic about having more fun in dive bars, but not loving the smell of smoke. Stop being such a douche.

  • Keith||

    Wait, I thought science was showing that a drink a day actually is good for you. Oh wait, yeah. Science is dastardly and can't be trusted.

  • ||

    I'm a former smoker with a depressive personality, such that good things make me feel bad and bad things make me feel good. That's one way of looking at it.

    Well, not all the time. I'm OK most of the time these days, if a trifle bored. Going to any bars, and dive bars in particular, would interfere with going to work, the gym, and yoga, and those are all things I need (work) or want (gym, yoga) to do regularly.

    But if I am feeling angry or depressed, some binge drinking in a dive bar is just the ticket. Given my advancing age and decreasing tolerance, binge drinking for me is about what the "experts" say it is -- 3 drinks.

    The appeal of the dive bar is that you can walk up to just about any person present and tell them about the shitty day you had and they'll say something like, "girl, I know just what you talking about." If it's within a week or so since they got their GA check, they'll even buy you a drink.

    People at dive bars are some of the most interesting specimens of our species you'll ever meet.

    Dive bars have the best jukeboxes.

  • ||

    >I don't find anything schizophrenic about having more fun in dive bars, but not loving the smell of smoke.

    Yeah! That's right. Thank you, David.

  • Paul||

    David, wanker extaordinaire, allow me to retort:

    I don't find anything schizophrenic about having more fun in dive bars, but not loving the smell of smoke. Stop being such a douche.

    I find it very... VERY schizophrenic to declare misery with smoking establishments, then describe a preference to smoking establishments. The adults are talking.

  • Paul||

    Wait, I thought science was showing that a drink a day actually is good for you.

    Nope, study just came out saying alcohol at any level is bad for you.

  • Paul||

    I'm a former smoker with a depressive personality, such that good things make me feel bad and bad things make me feel good. That's one way of looking at it.

    [...]

    But if I am feeling angry or depressed, some binge drinking in a dive bar is just the ticket. Given my advancing age and decreasing tolerance, binge drinking for me is about what the "experts" say it is -- 3 drinks.


    Kayyyyyyy. So if we were to get down to the core of the issue here, smoking bans haven't made that much difference in your life because (like before the smoking ban) there were smoking establishments and non-smoking establishments and you're making your choices.

  • ||

    Fellas, please. There is nothing to fight about here. I do think "schizophrenia" is a bit strong, given that it's a severe psychiatric disorder. But yes, there are contradictory elements to what I said. People are all kinds of contradictory though, and most of the time there is no actual mental disorder involved.

    The smoking is not what appeals to me about dive bars, per se. But it is a facet of the general character of dive bars, and I do appreciate that character.

  • ||

    >>smoking bans haven't made that much difference in your life because (like before the smoking ban) there were smoking

    No, they've made a big difference. I can choose to go to a smoky bar or not. But I rarely go to bars anymore so I'm not often faced with the choice. I do go to restaurants regularly though, with the assurance that I'll never encounter smoke in them. So my overall exposure to cigarette smoke is greatly decreased compared to the period prior to smoking bans, even taking into account the fact that I went to bars 2-4 nights a week 10 or 12 years ago.

  • ||

    It's rude to smoke in an enclosed place if someone objects.

    That's just basic good manners.


    I've crushed out many a butt because I'm not a complete asshole*. In the past, I've contended, (probably incorrectly), that smoking bans are a result of ill mannered smokers.

    * If you must know, I'm an apprentice asshole.

  • ||

    Dive bars have the best jukeboxes.

    Amen! I apologize for calling genetically inferior earlier. You seem A-OK.

  • ||

    Anyhow, isn't this thread about neo-prohibition or something?

    It's a great article and I do think alcohol prohibition is creeping upon us.

    Love the cover illustration. Peter Bagge rules.

  • ||

    J sub D:

    No problem.

    FWIW, I never had allergies before I started and then quit smoking. Once all that stuff was eliminated from my system, I became hypersensitive to perfume, incense, cigarettes and other smoke-ables, pollen etc. And then came the food allergies. It seems like once I stopped assaulting my body with cigarettes, my immune system got hyper-defensive.

    And on the subject of liking things that make me miserable - I am allergic to chocolate, wheat, milk protein, and citric acid. This is a list that speaks for itself.

  • ||

    Vanessa- I'm a non-smoker. Its slightly annoying to me. I wouldn't let someone smoke in my home, but I don't care if they do it at a bar. Its a slight annoyance. In the open air, I hardly smell it at all.

  • ||

    Police should use common sense

    Ohyeahright

    Next: Cesar
    Its slightly annoying to me.

    If you "hardly smell it" and you're a nonsmoker, something in amiss. It isn't a smell thing, it's a fuck up everyone's sinuses around you thing and tell them to jam a broomstick up their ass if they don't like it.

    That said, I don't support mandatory bans, but I would strongly support beating the holy living fuck out of a smoker that ignores a restaurant's private ban out of simple disrepect to others, which I've seen too many times. I think I'd probably join in that also, personally. Still, don't need the govt to handle that, let the establishments decide, and anyone that wants to actually taste their food will go other places, and that's fine.

  • ||


    If you "hardly smell it" and you're a nonsmoker, something in amiss. It isn't a smell thing, it's a fuck up everyone's sinuses around you thing and tell them to jam a broomstick up their ass if they don't like it.


    I hardly smell it outdoors. Of course I smell it more inside, but its what I freaking expect at a bar! So I don't get my pants in a wad over it.

    That said, I don't support mandatory bans, but I would strongly support beating the holy living fuck out of a smoker that ignores a restaurant's private ban out of simple disrepect to others, which I've seen too many times.

    I would, too. Private bans are fine. I'd love to see a non-smoking bar. If the beer selection is good I'd prefer it over a non-smoking one.

  • ||

    A couple of years ago NHTSA did a long term study using (as I recall) some 300 cars and light trucks equipped with fiber optic cameras to record driver activities just prior to accidents. Though it was no surprise to most, NHTSA found that 85% of traffic accidents were caused by distractive behavior, such as talking on a cell phone, applying makeup, reading the paper, tuning the radio, etc. NHTSA admitted at the time that their prior assumption had been that accidents overwhelmingly were caused by alcohol or speeding. Personally, in the past few years the great majority of near-misses I've have been with cell-phone distracted drivers. Maybe they were drunk too, but I doubt it.

    By the way, the NHTSA study disappeared faster than Al Gore's real IQ score.

  • ||

    john | October 30, 2007, 6:50pm | #
    A couple of years ago NHTSA did a long term study using (as I recall) some 300 cars and light trucks equipped with fiber optic cameras to record driver activities just prior to accidents. Though it was no surprise to most, NHTSA found that 85% of traffic accidents were caused by distractive behavior, such as talking on a cell phone, applying makeup, reading the paper, tuning the radio, etc.

    By the way, the NHTSA study disappeared faster than Al Gore's real IQ score.


    The study was performed in 2002, analysis was released in 2006. It comprised 100 cars and it disappeared all the way to NHTSA's website.
    Overview
    Full Report

  • guyincognito||

    Prohibition never left.

  • Lost in Paradise||

    To Serve (an arrest warrant)
    And To Protect (their asses)

    Best comment I have heard in a long, long time.

  • ||

    I really hate articles like this. The writer
    doesn't tell us if she was convicted of any
    thing, or tell us anything about the outcome
    of the case.

  • ||

    I never drink, and I still agree with everything you said.

  • anonymous coward||

    "Unjust laws exist: shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once?"
    -H.D. Thoreau

  • ||

    This isn't Reason's Article... this was in the Washington Post about 2 years ago!

  • Tom||

    No offense to all you drinkers out there, but drinking and driving is still a major problem as much as people undercut it. I agree that this lady shouldn't have her license taken from her, and that the current system is retarded. We should increase the punishment, not the amount of people tried.

  • pigdog||

    The lesson we could take away from this article, and which I personally agree with, is that MADD sucks big ones. That bunch of nazis should be boiled in oil, or something else equally as painful.

  • Natalie||

    MADD then = Mothers Against Drunk Driving

    MADD now = Modern Alcohol Demonizing Democrats (and Republicans too!)

  • rightmind 20/20||

    MADD = Modern American Dictators and Demagogues

  • G.Lee||

    In Murfreesboro,Tn. They publish,in the local paper,where they are placing "Sobriety checkpoints"!!! Whats the point?!! Espescially when all of these country boys know that if you use a road without a place on each side to park patrol cars,you aren't in much danger of getting caught.

  • ||

    I's like to know where they got their information regarding Oklahoma? Do your research! We have no ignition interlock laws to speak of and the weak ones we do have are not inforced. Please, clue me in if I'm wrong...

  • ||

    It's really hard to teach teenagers moderation in a society full of fanatics.

  • ||

    First; The situation that happened to Debra Bolton is ridiculous. The zero tolerance shit is part of the reason I don't even take a chance when I am far far under the limit.

    The most revealing things for me was regarding MADD. I have had many issues with their neoprohibitionist manor and to read that Lightner said MADD has become an organization far more "neoprohibitionist" than she had envisioned. "I didn't start MADD to deal with alcohol," she said. "I started MADD to deal with the issue of drunk driving." My biggest complaint was the attacking drinking in general as opposed to what they should be focused on... drunk driving.

    The ignition interlock devices is a good idea for a probationary period for convicted drunk drivers, IMO. On the other hand to force every driver in his state to install an ignition interlock device, is absurd!

    This one pissed me off! and hit a little close to home:
    ---
    In 2005 a Pennsylvania court rejected an appeal from a man whose driver's license was revoked by the state after he told doctors he knocked back more than a six-pack of beer a day. State law requires doctors to report any of a patient's physical or mental impairments if the doctors think it could compromise his ability to drive safely.
    ---
    WHAT THE F*@K!!! Can this really happen! That is the biggest load of shit!
    Yet a three-judge Commonwealth Court panel said the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation was justified in taking away Emerich's license-not because he had driven while intoxicated but because he might. THAT IS ... [deep breaths] ... oh that pisses me off! There is no reason to violate a persons rights on what they might do. Come-on already. John Smith might murder some too - are you going to seek the death penalty or just life in prison. get over your "preemptive selves"! Thats not right!

    Now that my blood pressure is already going up am am going to try not to get started on the "Sting" operations attacking patrons of the Fairfax County bars.

    One of the authors best quotes: "happiness is being snatched from law-abiding Americans across the land." ha! isn't that the truth and the shame!

    Down with 'Alcohol nannies'!!!

    QUOTE:
    ---
    Drinking may not be a prerequisite for a happy life, but it's a ritual most Americans have enjoyed as long as the nation has existed, and harmlessly so in the overwhelming majority of cases. Although I'm not an exceptionally heavy drinker, I can't, and don't want to, imagine a life without alcohol. As long as I'm not endangering anyone else, I shouldn't have to.
    ---
    I couldn't possible agree more. and I lift 6 pints to the author. (don't take my license away PA) Amazing article! Brilliant insight and a greatly entertaining tone. Very worth the read.

    Cheers!
    Matt

  • ||

    I really enjoyed the article but have to take you to task on one item.

    "Consider roadblocks, a well-intentioned preventive measure that does little more than waste time and create pollution. This form of anticipatory law enforcement intimidates social drinkers and fails to address hardcore drunks, who often simply avoid roadblocks, turning on side streets when they see the flashing sideshow ahead. It targets those who aren't driving recklessly, haven't had a single drink, and have places to go."

    If this is the case then cops in the US are doing it wrong. In Australia if you see a booze bus (road block for Random Breath Testing) it means you are taking the test. The cops always position themselves so that all side streets are also RBT equipped or at least equipped to chase down likely rabbits.

  • rightmind 20/20||

    So, the Aussie way is better? Sounds like y'all are more Orwellian than the US.

  • ||

    Enough with the nanny state. This kind of thing is so unAmerican.
    Dems and repubs are BOTH responsible...and so are many Americans(so called Americans)
    More bars that can be walked to...a bar bus service or bar beds-sleeping bags...there are many ways to solve drunk driving but the real solutions don't bring in the money or allow the government to have power over individuals.
    Drink, smoke and eat bacon while having sex....or don't...but stay the hell out of other people's business and choices.

  • ||

    The spillover of GWOT funds into SWAT haberdashery for sleepy suburbs may contribute to constables being all dressed up with no place to go and find a bona fide villain in need of swatting.

    Someone should check the correlation between antiterror funding in the boonies and the incidence of barflies being terrorized in lieu of bad guys.

  • ||

    What the article ignores is that revenues from persecuting everyone for anything are what fund the states bloated bureaucracies. All the way from cops, judges, attorneys, probation officers,jails, state mandated classes etc. etc. Politicians will never admit to advocating raising taxes but will bend over backwards to jump on any bandwagon that has public support contained in a catchy phrase.
    i.e. Drunken driving, Domestic violence, child abuse, deadbeat dads etc. Make no mistake about it, it's nothing more than another regressive tax. Government could care less about the safety or well being of its constituents.

  • ||

    I hardly drink, so I believe I am in a very good position to comment that the bureaocrats are overreaching terribly on this one. I may have three drinks a year, or less. Not a teetotler, just not interested.

    I believe that it's fair to create some sort of measurable blood alcohol limit and enforce it. Likewise I think reasonable limits need to be set on antisocial behaviour.

    I'm dead set against zero tolerance anything - and the "preventative" actions described in the article.

    I also believe that repeat drunk drivers who cause mayhem should be deterred by agressive punishments. Europe is way more sensible on this one. Drunks who kill or maim on the road should be jailed for a long time.

  • ||

    One problem with drunk driving in general is that people don't think about other vehicles that can be used other than cars. A friend of mine was killed by someone who was drunk, driving a jetski. Incidents such as this need to be considered. The deaths are as relevent.

  • ||

    My dad was in the Coast Guard and trust me, they were at least at the time well aware of drunken accidents-- they went out on drunk patrol when they were in harbor.

  • ||

    Man, I need a drink after reading that...

  • pav||

    STAY THE FUCK OUT OF MY LIFE GOVERNMENT. THE POLICE HAVE NOT HELPED ME ONCE IN MY LIFE.. I HAVE A GUN I DON"T NEED EM..

  • nfl jerseys||

    hswt

  • ||

    Wake up everyone. The way to stop these morons is to cut off their funding. They blackmail corporations into donating to them so let all of the stores ,car companies and anyone else that you spend your hard earned dollars with and let them know that if they sponsor MADD you won't be using their services or purchasing anything from them until they stop. Lets cut off the head of this snake while we still have time. NO FUNDING = NO MADD

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