Think of the Children! (But only on Sundays, say area liquor stores)

Connecticut is considering a law lifting the ban on Sunday liquor sales. The current prohibition is a throwback to the religious blue laws. Of course, like most legislation that comes under the banner of morality, someone is sneering and profiteering. Opposed to the legislation is the Connecticut association of liquor stores. Head cynic cretin (err, President) Alan Wilensky justifies his opposition:

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What would cost Tennessee more revenue: half of all wine purchases being smuggled in from out of the state, or people eschewing the local Borders in favor of Amazon.com?

The most common defense of the three tier system forwarded by the liquor distributor cabal is that it ensures the collection and distribution of sales and excise taxes, without which Tennessee roads may no longer be the State’s pride, and Tennessee schools might fall out of the top 49 in graduation rates.

Since interstate shipments would not be directly taxable, it is a valid point. But how valid, in dollar terms? Consider a comparison.

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A brief two-question quiz on industrial organization:

QUESTION 1: A manufacturer sells his goods to a retailer. A law is passed that forbids the manufacturer from selling to the retailer. Instead, the manufacturer is required to sell to a middleman, who may then sell to a retailer. This helps:

  • A.   The middleman
  • B.   The retailer
  • C.   The manufacturer
  • D.   ALL OF THE ABOVE! and Children. And small businesses.

QUESTION 2: A new law would forbid manufacturers from talking to more than one middleman, so that each middleman is, by law, given the exclusive ability to connect a specific manufacturer to the retailers. Who would benefit from this law?

  • A.   The middleman
  • B.   The retailer
  • C.   The manufacturer
  • D.   ALL OF THE ABOVE!
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The press has been quite jubilant about yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling on direct shipment of wine (“Let those wine sales flow” claims USA Today) but we shouldn’t pop the cork on that last bottle of bubbly since it may not get easier to acquire more.

All that the Court requires in its decision is that states adopt comparable winery-to-consumer shipping laws for out-of-state wineries as they do for in-state wineries. I applaud the decision on legal grounds, asserting that fair interstate commerce applies to alcohol sales, but expect it will make wine even harder to acquire.

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Not only does the Digital Millennium Copyright Act turn recording industry execs into cops and jurists, and empower them to place in jail those who develop reading technologies for the blind, and to stifle scientific debate through threats, but now declares competition in the garage door opener industry as unlawful circumvention (pdf link).

The judge found that making a universal garage door opener violates the DMCA.

The Skylink transmitter is designed to send a signal that mimics the Chamberlain resynchronization procedure and thereby circumvents Chamberlain’s protective measure.

No word yet on when raids of homes using universal television remotes will begin…