Monday, October 05, 2009

Our Failing Newspapers, Part Whatever

It's official: the dwindling Indianapolis Star no longer keeps pace with the urinary output of my smallest cat, who has for years refused to tinkle on anything but newsprint (or bare floor if there is no newsprint in her litter box, a powerful incentive to give her what she wants).

It's a problem, as the local newspaper has traditionally been the cheapest source of newsprint. The stuff is sold in pads at art-supply stores but it costs more. I may have to subscribe to The Wall Street Journal.

Related: an editorial this weekend from Andrea Neal, former editor of the Star's opinion pages, expressed her admiration for Indiana's Blue Laws, specifically barring the Sunday sale of alcoholic beverages (other than by the drink at restaurants with a liquor license -- most of which have bars). "I think," she opined, "it's a good thing that Hoosiers can't buy alcohol at supermarkets or liquor stores on Sunday. Do we really need another day to stock up on intoxicating beverages?"

...Point, missing: "stocking up" would be what Hoosiers -- Tam, for adopted instance -- do prior to Sunday, so they can keep on enjoyin' a beer or whatever; or the poor dears must hie themselves to the nearest tavern with a kitchen and a Sunday permit. About the only thing the law does now is give folks working in liquor stores one guaranteed day off a week, just like car dealers. It's a bother for grocery stores and drugstores that sell hooch, as they have to post signs on their aisle of alk; and they're the ones pushing to do away with the Sunday ban, since it costs them nothing to sell it Sunday. (Liquor stores and those gin-and-steak joints with Sunday licenses, on the other hand, take a dim view of the change).

...But Ex-Editor Neal waves off these mere economic concerns; no, she frets about substance abuse. (Cue dramatic organ fanfare).

'Cos drunks would never, you know, go to an eatery with an open-Sunday bar, or stock up Saturday, or swill down some cold medicine or mouthwash, or shoplift a bottle, or bum from a friend. Shucks, no! And that one sober day a week does-- Does what, exactly, assumin' they actually do go Dry? Not too much.

Never fear, we learn from Ms. Neal, "It's almost as if policymakers don't care about the social effects of drinking. A growing number seem to think it's not the state's business to tell consumers what they can do on Sunday."

One: Oh, I suspect they do care about those "social effects;" they've passed rather strict laws about operating a motor vehicle while under the influence, for instance. Why, they may even be helping to fund a few treatment centers for substance abusers with her and my tax money. (It's also just as illegal to get drunk and beat your spouse on Sunday as on any other day -- or even to spouse-beat while sober. Just like it is legal to watch A Streetcar Named Desire as though it was a documentary, which it isn't).

Two: why would it be the State's business to tell consumers adults what they can do in re the legal purchase of a legal product any day of the week? Don't we have preachers, priests, imams, rabbis, shamans and gurus to offer us moral guidance on, among other topics, what we should or should not ingest and when?

...But Andrea Neal informs us -- and cites a few studies to back it up -- that "we need a day off from vice." From every vice (well, not card-playing or dancing or even outta wedlock s-e-x; but buying a car is Right Out) except the vice of trying to control our neighbors. For their own good, of course, poor, dim savages that they are. Geez, it's not as if they were citizens or any...thing...?

Here's a thought: if you'll trust 'em to vote and at the controls of an automobile or even (oh, shudder) to buy a firearm on the Sabbath,* maybe it's time to stop trying to be their Mommy. It's especially time for the State to stop being Mommy.
* Warning, Sabbaths are sold by duration, not volume or weight; Sabbaths not distributed equally or even spelled the same; the Sabbath you were issued may or may not fall on the same day as that protected by Indiana's Blue Laws and may require and/or prohibit activities not proscribed or mandated by State law. Which seems awfully unfair of them, really.


B said...

I always thought the "no booze on Sunday" was just because the CHURCH didn't like the competition....

But when I lived in Indy years ago, the laws allowed me to make a few extra bucks on Sunday....I'd by cases of warm beer on Saturday and refrigerate and sell it to desperate people on Sunday at a small (but significant) profit. (at the time I cared little for laws, seeing them as merely guidelines).

Tango Juliet said...

Ridiculous.... like so many laws designed to protect us from ourselves.

rickn8or said...

Indianer doesn't have a monopoly on weird/stupid Sunday sales. I was once prissily informed by a grocery clerk who was putting my hand-selected twelve-pack under the checkout counter that "in Memphis there are no beer sales before noon on Sunday."

My recently-moved-from-California response was "Whassa matter? Baptists afraid all the cold ones will be gone before they get out of church??"

I didn't shop there for a long time.

perlhaqr said...

"A growing number seem to think it's not the state's business to tell consumers what they can do on Sunday."


Don said...

If you thought blue laws were stupid, down in Kentucky we also have dry counties. Quite possibly the most asinine laws ever. You can always tell that you live in a dry county because on each main road out of the county there will be at least one (and sometimes several) liquor store just across the line in the "wet" county next door. The DUI stats for Hardin county, for example, are always higher than the surrounding counties where liquor is sold in stores. To their credit, the Hardin county gubmint is slowly coming around to their senses; they now issue liquor licenses for restaurants.

wv: medrums
'cause me can't play gee-tar... :-)

sam said...

Whoa! Quite the (justified) diatribe, adorable one.

Ah, blue laws. I dismember them from when I was stationed in a Southern State.

K-Mart tried testing the authorities by opening on a particular Sunday. The manager was arrested, and the store ordered closed for the day by the local constabulary.

It was quite the kerfuffle on the local news for a while. I just laughed my way to the BX.

Anonymous said...

Well said. I don't mind the hope-smoking dippies living in a happy rainbow-farting world in their own minds, but I resent it when they mess up my life trying to make everyone else live it.


Anonymous said...

She cites a booze study in NEW MEXICO!?!?

New Mexico where everyone is three sheets to the wind by 9AM?

Before I just saw this as what it is, liquor stores vs. all other merchants. Now I really want this stupid law gone.

HTRN said...

Believe it or not, local liquor stores were the ones most in favor of being open on Sundays when NY was thinking of going to 7 days a week for liquor sales(beer has always been like that, only now, you can buy it a 8AM on a Sunday, instead of having to wait till noon), because they're reasoning is, "If we're gonna be closed one day a week, we should be able to choose which day" - meaning they'd rather be closed on a Monday or Tuesday, when business is slow, vs. a Sunday, which would probably be the busiest day after Friday and Saturday.

Anonymous said...

Newsprint is also sold as packing paper by moving companies.

Midwest Chick said...

In Pennsylvania, not only do they have blue laws, but you can't buy hard liquor and wine in the same place as you buy beer. All are state-run and usually you have to go a few miles down the road to get to the beer place after you go to the liquor store. Of course they are run on state-set-hours which means you REALLY have to plan ahead if you're having a few folks over to watch a game or for dinner.

In North Carolina, you have to go to the ABC store for hard liquor, but can get wine and beer at the grocery store.

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

The only Sunday law I like is the one that forces car dealers to be closed on Sunday.

Makes it a great day to go car-shopping, unmolested by salespeople.

As far as Andrea Neal goes, she's been off her shelf for years.

TJP said...

If someone actually wanted to make a difference, the day would be Thursday, not Sunday. Not only would this improve Friday attendance at factory jobs, but it would also shift the recorded crimes from DWI to armed robbery of liquor stores and kidnapping or assault of the owners.

Of course, try getting an accurate measurement of a difference. There are too many hands in the bag with DUI stats.

Old Grouch said...

I assume you noticed that last week the Star came out in favor of expanding the smoking ban.

Gannett: Never met a plan to take away your liberty (or raise a tax) they didn't like.

Roberta X said...

I seem to recall hearing about it but I think the cat was given that day's paper before I could read it. It doesn't surprise me; when the Star dropped centered headlines and skinny black lines between stories, consistent editorial policy soon followed and it was all downhill from there. The sellout to Gannet was just the last dollop of icing on top.