Pennsylvania has an ongoing debate about whether to privatize our state liquor stores, but advocates can’t really have it both ways and be logical. You can’t push to legalize pot by pointing out how much safer it is than alcohol, then insist, oh by the way, there should be less government control of how liquor is sold.

I’ve seen what booze can do to families and neighborhoods (and to the roadways). I don’t think your desire to pick up an inexpensive yet exuberant little Chilean red at the corner store is really all that important. Yes, I know, I’m not a drinker, but I don’t really see how the quality of life is affected by paying a few bucks more for something you don’t really need. And I really don’t think it’s a good idea that people get to buy booze in the middle of the night. Show me where some good has come of that.

“The common theme here is that if alcohol is more available, people tend to drink more,” said Robert Brewer, who leads the alcohol program in the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the CDC. “So then the question is, where does privatization fit into that?”

The scientific studies reviewed by the task force – covering privatization of beer, wine, or liquor in seven states, two Canadian provinces, and Finland – found that privatizing sales generally results in more outlets for buying alcohol, Brewer said.

A separate study in Sweden, where the government took back control of sales of some types of beer, showed alcohol-related hospital admissions down across all groups, and the number of beer outlets down from 11,550 to 300.

Private stores also may have longer hours than state-owned stores, and may not be as aggressive about checking IDs, leading to increased drinking, said University of Victoria researcher Timothy Stockwell. Increased marketing is also a factor cited by researchers.

[…] Stockwell’s studies, which tracked alcohol consumption before and after privatization in British Columbia, suggest that for every 10 new liquor stores, there are one additional alcohol-related death and two hospitalizations.

If true, is it worth it? Might be more useful to talk about that instead of convenience.


Seriously? Eighth grade?

READINGTON, N.J. – School board members will review a dress code since a principal banned girls from wearing strapless dresses to an eighth-grade dance.

I fail to see how parents do their daughters any favors when they allow them to present themselves as much older than they are. It’s a kind of faux maturity that often leads to girls being pushed into sexual situations before they’re emotionally ready. I mean, strapless dresses for an eighth grade dance? Really?

I guess I’m just a dork. I realize that kids are always eager to be more “grown up,” but I thought it was the parents’ job to rein them in. I guess I fell asleep and missed the new reality.

Happy Earth Day!

They say, while sticking it to the planet:

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which is centrally involved with pushing environmentally destructive legislation on behalf of the fossil fuel industry, today complained that “Earth Day has been a largely somber event” when it should be “a celebration of the wonderful achievements humankind has made in cleaning and greening the planet,” wrote Todd Wynn, ALEC Energy, Environment, and Agriculture Task Force Director.

Read the atrocities.

We are shocked that the rich are getting richer

And the poor are getting poorer. But hey, ain’t we got fun?

Wealth inequality widened dramatically during the first two years of the economic recovery, as the upper 7 percent of American households saw their average net worth increase 28 percent, while the wealth of the other 93 percent declined, according to a report released Tuesday.

The study by the Pew Research Center underscored other data showing that the economic growth that has followed the Great Recession has benefited mainly those at the top. The uneven recovery has only accelerated a decades-long trend of growing wealth inequality in the country, despite rising popular and political awareness of the dynamic.

From 2009 to 2011, the average net worth of the nation’s 8 million most-affluent households jumped from an estimated $2.7 million to $3.2 million, Pew said. For the 111 million households that form the bottom 93 percent, average net worth fell 4 percent, from $140,000 to an estimated $134,000, the report said.

The changes mean that the wealth gap separating the top 7 percent and everyone else increased from 18-to-1 to 24-to-1 between 2009 and 2011. Overall, the most affluent 7 percent of households owned 63 percent of the nation’s household wealth in 2011, up from 56 percent in 2009.

The biggest difference between the most-affluent group and everyone else, Pew said, is that the wealthiest households have their assets concentrated in stocks and other financial instruments, while others’ wealth is concentrated in their homes.

The good guys

I think there’s a lot of yearning for the old days, when most people still thought of cops as the good guys. At least this week, they are!

Police Officer John Bradley (Kevin Wells/Facebook)

During Friday’s intense manhunt for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in Watertown, Mass., when the city of Boston was on lockdown, a Brookline police officer delivered milk to a family with a baby.

And like many random acts of kindness seen in the wake the marathon bombings, the photo—posted to Facebook by the family—went viral, thanks in part to a tweet from the Boston Police Department:

BPD Officer delivers milk to a family with young children in Watertown during the lockdown.

Kevin Wells, the father, took the photo of the officer, John Bradley, as he arrived carrying two gallons of milk for Holden, Wells’ 17-month-old son.

During the lockdown, the boy’s grandmother, who was visiting from Colorado, left the house to ask the officer if he could grab some milk for the young couple.

“It just meant the world that he literally went out and got two gallons of milk,” McKenzie Wells, the boy’s mother, told “We wanted to pay him, but he wouldn’t take money from us. He was just so generous.”

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