"There were many Basque peasants on the bus, and they are drinking from wine-skins, which they offer to Bill and Jake." — Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises.---
I spent this last weekend in Boise celebrating all things Basque, including dancing, music, feats of strength (aka sports), chorizo, paella, lamb, and kalimotxo. I also shared a bottle of cider from the Basque country, which is natural (not sparkling) and has a much more tart, dry flavor than any of the ciders found in six-packs in Utah's liquor stores.
Sadly, it will be a long time before I can sample Basque cider again, thanks to the prohibitions on mail order wines in Utah and the tight-fisted control of Utah's wine supply by the government. Those prohibitions are not disappearing anytime soon, thanks in large part to Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah.
As I detailed a couple of months ago in a blog post, Chaffetz is one of the original co-sponsors of a bill that would protect a state's sovereign rights when it comes to liquor laws, as well as the rights of a few large corporations to make money while the most anti-American institution, small businesses, struggle to find customers. It's a bill written by the National Beer Wholesalers Association, and as a Washington Post story details today, one that has a surprising number of co-sponsors sign-up within days of receiving donations from the BWA.
Chaffetz, for his part, has received $7,500 from the NBWA, with $5,000 of it coming less than a month before the bill was unveiled. So, hey, nothing to see here. Nothing to drink here, either, unless I decide to have some of this cider shipped to my mom's house in the progressive state of Idaho.
Other news highlights:
* Utah likes the tight control it has over alcohol, and doesn't want other states trumping their laws. However, when it comes to guns, the state is perfectly fine letting anyone and everyone get a Utah permit to carry their guns elsewhere.
* Every time my 3-year-old son has joined me for a ride on TRAX, having him fall of the ramp has scared me. Irrational, right? Wrong. Happened today, but amazingly the 2-year-old survived with minor injuries.
* Gov. Gary Herbert is apparently so busy that he will only debate Peter Corroon 10 times. Paul Rolly does a good job spinning this little ditty to mock Herbert, but I'd also argue that Corroon's camp is using a cardboard sword in making their argument that Herbert should be showing up at everything. Find a new issue, mayor.
* Salt Lake City, your property taxes are rising. Duh. Remember all of those bonds city residents supported in the past 10 years?
* Worst lead of the day for a non-news story (Yeah, anecdotal leads!): "In Provo, hops refer to how high you can jump on a basketball court and brewing is what you do with root-beer extract and dry ice. Ask for a cold one and you'll get you a Sprite, and if anything starts fermenting, it's either your roommate's mystery meat in the fridge or a chemistry experiment in the Clyde."
* Rep. Carl Wimmer, R-Herriman, is charging for his wisdom. After all, he's got hungry mouths to feed, and what better way to do it than leverage your elected position?
* West Valley Mayor Mike Winder apologizes for appearing in an ad for EnergySolutions and using his elected position to promote a for-profit company. “To be in an advertorial using my title was inappropriate," he said in a statement to the Tribune.
* Finally, Salt Lake City schools are apparently feeding children engine parts, because they had to cancel a bunch of free lunches after thieves stole 10 catalytic converters. (Ha ha...)