Help fix homebrewing legislation in Oregon

I’m cross-posting this with The Brew Site because it’s a hugely important issue for homebrewers in Oregon. This is an email from the Brewers Association that’s been hitting the inboxes of Oregon homebrewers over the past week, and it’s for a good cause: supporting Oregon Senate Bill 444 which seeks to amend the 30-year-old law regarding homebrewed beer which was reinterpreted last year.

Many of you are likely aware that the Oregon Liquor Control Commission determined last year that under existing Oregon law, homebrew cannot be consumed outside the home where the beer was produced.

The American Homebrewers Association is supporting an effort by the Oregon Home Brewers Alliance (OHBA) to resolve this issue. The OHBA has been working with Senator Floyd Prozanski, a homebrewer, on Senate Bill 444 along with the already filed amendments to SB 444. While there are other bills addressing homebrewing, the OHBA and the AHA support SB 444 as the most comprehensive of these in restoring to legality all of the activities homebrewers participated in prior to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission’s revision of their interpretation of homebrew law last year, including entering homebrew competitions and sharing homebrew at club meetings.

How Can You Help?
Senate Bill 444 is being scheduled for a hearing before the Senate Business, Transportation and Economic Development Committee Thursday, February 10. We ask you to take a few minutes to call or email the members of the committee and politely urge them to support the passage of SB 444 along with Senator Prozanski’s amendments to the bill. The committee members need to hear from you if this bill is to succeed. Contacting legislators is quick and easy, and every contact they get from homebrewers will help ensure our success.

Senate Business, Transportation and Economic Development Committee Contact Information:

Sen. Lee Beyer, Chair
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1706

Sen. Jason Atkinson, Vice-Chair
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1703
District Phone: 541-282-6502

Sen. Ginny Burdick
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1718

Sen. Chris Edwards
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1707

Sen. Fred Girod
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1709
District Phone: 503-769-4321

Sen. Bruce Starr
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1715
District Phone: 503-352-0922

Thank you for your support of homebrewers, your action could make the difference in whether or not this legislation becomes law. Please forward this message on to any other Oregon residents that you feel would be interested in supporting this bill.

Some local post-election thoughts

I was disappointed to see both the Bend measures (establish a mass transportation district, more money for schools) fail, though not particulary surprised: you can pretty much guarantee that when a measure appears in Central Oregon that requires raising taxes, it will get shot down.

But hell, do kids have to be cannibalizing themselves in the schools before this town raises some money to help relieve the overcrowding and budget issues? And since the money was going to be raised by increasing property taxes, should only property owners be allowed to vote on these issues?

Personally, I think less than $100 per year is a small price to pay if it helps alleviate the Lord of the Flies problems my own kids will be facing within the next couple of years.

As to the mass transit issue, I’d love to see it here, and I supported it, but… Keep in mind this is the city that made national news when it proposed banning stinky people from riding the bus, so you’ll understand if I express skepticism about the whole affair.

And this is the best election day story I heard: Tuesday morning my friend Kerry asked if I had a number two pencil to fill out his ballot—he didn’t have any at home and that was what had hung him up on getting it mailed earlier (Oregon is entirely vote-by-mail, remember, but on the last day you can drop off your ballot at the designated locations since it’s too late to mail it). Later, when he went to drop the ballot off, a Z21 news team interviewed him on why he waited until the last minute to turn his ballot in. He gave the honest response: he couldn’t find a number two pencil! He said the guy running the camera was the new crazy weatherman (if you live in Central Oregon, you probably know who I mean) and the guy gave Kerry a big thumbs-up and shit-eating grin—my words, I’m paraphrasing :). I never did see if it made it on TV but we sure had a good laugh about that.

Election Day

Did you vote yet? You can bet I did, mailed it in last week. (You gotta like the Oregon vote-by-mail system.) I’ve been spending the last hour and a half or so sitting here compulsively hitting refresh on the CNN and MSNBC sites to review the latest numbers, while catching up on Bloglines. It’s close but right now looks like Bush is going to win. What I find interesting is that while NBC has projected Ohio going to Bush, as of this moment CNN is considering it too close to call and hasn’t tallied those votes for him yet.

CNN has the better site for this, I think; not only can you drill-down from the national map to each state, but you can further drill-down into each state to see how each county is doing. And they’re on top of the numbers. Very interesting.

When Bush was in Medford…

I’m very, very surprised this story isn’t being picked up nationally (or if it has, I haven’t seen it anywhere yet except locally): during Bush’s visit to Medford, three schoolteachers were removed from the rally for wearing offensive T-shirts. How offensive? They read, “Protect Our Civil Liberties.”

Via Jack Bog’s Blog, this post points to the relevant article:

President Bush taught three Oregon schoolteachers a new lesson in irony – or tragedy – Thursday night when his campaign removed them from a Bush speech and threatened them with arrest simply for wearing t-shirts that said “Protect Our Civil Liberties,” the Democratic Party of Oregon reported.


The women were ticketed to the event, admitted into the event, and were then approached by event officials before the president’s speech. They were asked to leave and to turn over their tickets – two of the three tickets were seized, but the third was saved when one of the teachers put it underneath an article of clothing….


Three Medford school teachers were threatened with arrest and escorted from the event after they showed up wearing T-shirts with the slogan “Protect our civil liberties.” All three said they applied for and received valid tickets from Republican headquarters in Medford.


The women said they did not intend to protest. “I wanted to see if I would be able to make a statement that I feel is important, but not offensive, in a rally for my president,” said Janet Voorhies, 48, a teacher in training.


“We chose this phrase specifically because we didn’t think it would be offensive or degrading or obscene,” said Tania Tong, 34, a special education teacher.

So, they show up to a rally to support the President, wearing T-shirts that are about as politically innocuous as they can be, and they get booted?


On Politics

I make it a point to not really write about politics here, for several reasons. First, it’s a hot topic for too many people. Second, I frankly don’t feel qualified one way or another to sound off; I have opinions, sure, but before I voice those opinions, I better be able to back them up intelligently—and there’s a fair amount of political knowledge that I’m ignorant or just plain wrong about, I bet. Third, it’s been my observation that once you start voicing a political opinion in a public venue like a website, the vast majority of people who respond either are of the same opinion as you (which ultimately degenerates into a mutual admiration society that closes off from the rest of the world) or are fervently opposed to your point of view (which ultimately degenerates into a vicious group of trolls who have nothing better to do than denigrate you because you think differently from them); there’s very little real diversity or intelligent conversation. Finally, politics just doesn’t interest me enough to write about.

Having said that, I’ll write a bit about politics, inspired by having President Bush on television tonight (annoyingly pre-empting regular TV).

I’ll just be blunt. I am so sick and tired of the spin and political bullshit that surrounds politics these days. All of it. Whether it’s Bush and all the shit going on over 9/11 and Iraq and everything, or Clinton and his “That depends on what your definition of ‘is’ is” hijinks, I don’t care. I do not care.

What I want is a President who can step up to a news conference like Bush did tonight, and instead of spinning out lies and evasiveness and bullshit, just look into the cameras and say, “Yeah, we fucked up. I fucked up. I was wrong, and it cost us, and now it’s time to fix things.” Is that really too much to ask? Whatever happened to responsibility, accountability, and humility, anyway?

Hell with it. Rant over.

Arnold is Governor

So the freak show in California is over and Arnold Schwarzenegger is the new governor.


Reminds me of an old California joke: California’s like a bowl of cereal; once you get rid of the fruits and nuts, all you have left are the flakes.