damnum absque injuria

December 28, 2005

Let the bears pay the bear tax. I pay the Martini tax.

Filed under:   by Cardinal Martini @ 9:50 pm

In an earlier post, I advanced the idea that killing bears that have been stealing people’s grapes in Northern California, and then eating those bears “while sipping a nice red wine” (implicitly made from the very same grapes) is just a part of life. Clever, no? In the comments section to the post, “No Blood for Wine!” a gentleman named Leland suggested we boycott bear-unfriendly wineries, and was also apparently hungry so he asked what we thought he should prepare for supper:

Should we trap and kill bald eagles that eat grapes, too? Killing then eating bears “while sipping a nice red wine” is not just a part of life. At least not mine.

First of all, Leland, while it is a little unorthodox I don’t mind if you sip white wine with your bear meat. No need to get snippy. As to your other point, I’ve never eaten eagle, Leland, but I’m sure it tastes just fine. After all, bear is not for everyone! (Plus, with eagle meat comes feathers which you can make into a cool headdress as a sort of bonus.)

Questions for you people out there in Blogland:

  • Do you prefer eagle meat or bear meat?
  • And, do you think it is okay for Leland to drink white wine with dark meat, or should he stick with the red?

Please discuss in the comments section.

ALSO: Hate-mail from members of the animal-lobby should be directed to my email address, which can be found in the lower part of the left-hand column on my home blog, Cardinal Martini.

December 27, 2005

More on killing (or not killing) wild bears

Filed under:   by Cardinal Martini @ 12:06 pm

In the comments thread to an earlier post, “No blood for WINE!“, Steven, whose IP address belongs to a college in The City, has left an interesting thought:

What is your position on these killings. I think it’s cruel, and unnecessary, and the winery owner is arrogant and cheap, too cheap to put up a decent fence to keep out wildlife. The law also needs changing so Fish and Game preserves wildlife rather than working for winemaker’s profits. If you’re likeminded do you know how to effectively start a boycott of this winery’s product?

Here are some of my thoughts:

I think I have a less romantic view of wild, dangerous animals than some people. I also think that the pro-animal vintners in the story have a rather cavalier attitude about the bears. The fact is that intentionally attracting bears to areas populated by people is bad for the people and the bears, and they are the real trouble-makers in this story. If anyone is going to boycott any of the vineyards, I’d suggest it be the one owned by the woman who feeds sandwiches to the bears in Yosemite.

Fish and Game should work for people. The winemakers should be working for a profit.

If it is unnecessary to kill the bears, but instead they can simply be moved someplace else, then I’m in favor of that.

I think there is a parallel between this situation and the one presented in the movie “King Kong”. We may feel sorry for the beast, but it’s wreaking havoc on the population, so it needs to be stopped.

What does everyone else think about this bear problem?

December 26, 2005

No blood for WINE!

Filed under:   by Cardinal Martini @ 3:31 pm

In northern California, there’re a lot of wine vineyards. (If you’re ever in the area, incidentally, drive through a town called St. Helena, in Napa County — a great little place.) Black Bears, wild pigs, deer, turkeys and mountain lions have been eating the grapes off the vines, destroying fences, and generally acting like wild animals. So, naturally the vineyard owners have demanded the authorities take some action.

Earlier this year, animal control officers caught and killed four black bears – two males and two females – at the Aetna Springs Vineyard in the rugged Pope Valley. Winery owner Paul Maroon said he had tried scaring off the bears, but resorted to getting rid of them for good because he feared they might hurt his field workers.

“They damage the fences on a daily basis almost faster than we can repair them,” Maroon said. “The damaged fences allow the deer to enter. The bear eat the grapes, as do the deer, and they both damage the vines, sometimes killing … old vines.”

But here comes the animal-rights lobby with a different opinion altogether:

But some of Maroon’s neighbors are outraged by the trappings. Ann Curtis, who runs a golf course down the road from the winery, called the controversy “wine for blood, life versus profit.”

“To come into a wildlife area and then kill off the wildlife is wrong,” said Curtis, who has lived in Pope Valley for 34 years. [Naturally, she moved to NorCal during the 70s – CardMart] “I don’t see much difference between throwing a sandwich out the window for bears in Yosemite (National) Park and inviting them to dinner here by putting grapes out for them to eat.”

Dude, why are you throwing sandwiches out your window? Don’t feed the bears! And then there are some loony vineyard owners who think humans should be paying taxes to bears:

Jerre Sears, owner of Black Sears Vineyards on Napa County’s Howell Mountain, said all the growers he knows on the 1,800-foot peak shrug off the grapes they lose to bears and other wildlife as a kind of tax for doing business in hillside territory.

“We’ve had our vineyard for 20 years and we’ve had a bear in our vineyard every year,” Sears said. “We feel it’s just part of life, of nature, so we share.”

You know what I think is “just part of life”? You kill the bear, and you eat it while sipping a nice red wine.

June 8, 2005

England, Britain, Potato, Potahto…

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 12:36 pm

The Ass. Press reports that “Britain’s” strict pub licensing law, which currently requires pubs to close at 10:30 on Sunday nights and at 11:00 p.m. the rest of the week, is going by the wayside. That’s good news, but lousy news reporting. In fact, only England has had that requirement. Most pubs in Edinburgh, Scotland close at midnight, and some are open as late (or, depending on your perspective, as early) as 3:00 a.m.

May 27, 2005

A Win-Wine-Whine (Or Not?)

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 12:32 pm

I just bet Paul Deignan a bottle of w(h)ine that last week’s “compromise” capitulation will backfire. If the Dems do not filibuster a single judicial candidate between now and January 20, 2009, or if the first filibuster is met with the same “nuclear” response the Republicans should have brought last week, Paul wins a bottle of Merlot, of a label of his choice, price not to exceed $20.00. Otherwise, I win a bottle of a type of my choice, subject to the same price constraints. Basically, I win either way.

I’m open to suggestions. Depending on whether you expect me to win or lose the bet, I’d like to know (1) what good wines, if any, are available in Indiana, or (2) the best way to ship wine.

UPDATE: Never mind, the bet’s off. First, by Paul’s own admission, there is no wine in Indiana, so it would be impossible for me to collect on the bet if I won. Second, shipping wine to Indiana is illegal, and a felony to boot.

What, you say? Didn’t the U.S. Supreme Court just rule that you have a God-given, constitutional right to ship wine anywhere you want, right up there with your First Amendment right to express political viewpoints within 60 days of an election, your Second Amendment right to bear arms, your Fourteenth Amendment right not to be deprived of the privileges and immunities of citizenship or your Eighth Amendment right not to be fined excessively? Um, no, they didn’t. All they said was that states cannot discriminate against out of state vintners by prohibiting direct shipments by out of state vintners while allowing direct shipments from those in-state. Then again, you already knew that.

Indiana’s law, H.B. 1212, applies by its terms to in-state and out-of-state vintners alike. Thus, it is not affected by the recent Supreme Court ruling on wine shipments. Lazy MSM reporting may have fooled many Indiana residents, but it hasn’t fooled the ones who count.

May 16, 2005

They Didn’t Say Anything About Beer

Filed under:   by Xrlq @ 1:00 pm

Last fall I bet Say Uncle a black and tan that George W. Bush wouldn’t get re-elected. It seemed like a safe enough bet at the time, as it was illegal to mail alcohol into Tennessee but not California. Meaning, if I win, he pays up, if he wins, oh darn, I’d love to pay up but that would be, like, illegal.

All this was complicated by today’s Supreme Court ruling, which held that laws prohibiting direct interstate shipment of wine are unconstitutional. For some strange reason, Justice Scalia voted with the majority while his alleged sock puppet,* Clarence Thomas, wrote the leading dissent. Never mind that. What matters is that today’s decision is probably too narrow to affect Uncly’s ability to collect on his debt. For one thing, the decision applies only to wine, not to beer. [As silly as that sounds, it’s no sillier than the notion that professional football is interstate commerce while professional baseball isn’t – an issue common sense cleared up decades ago but the courts still haven’t.] For another, while I’ve not read Tennessee’s law, my understanding from Uncle’s own comments is that it prohibits all direct shipment of all alcohol products, not just those from other states. To the extent that Tennessee’s law is equally bad for domestic and foreign liquor alike, it is non-discriminatory, and thus outside the ambit of today’s decision. From the penultimate paragraph on p. 30 of the majority decision:

States have broad power to regulate liquor under §2 of the Twenty-first Amendment. This power, however, does not allow States to ban, or severely limit, the direct shipment by out-of-state wine while simultaneously authorizing direct shipment by in-state producers. If a State chooses to allow direct shipment of wine, it must do so on evenhanded terms. Without demonstrating the need for discrimination, New York and Michigan have enacted regulations that disadvantage out-of-state wine producers. Under our Commerce Clause jurisprudence, these regulations cannot stand.

[Emphasis added.]

Sorry, Uncly-Wuncly, but it looks like you’ll still have to come out here to collect on your debt. Looking on the bright side, your trip will be worth it, as I know a place in Irvine that has a selection like you’ve never seen.

*In case my use of the phrase “sock puppet” has you curious, the answer is yes, John Lott does have one of them on the Supreme Court, too. Ironically, his puppet is the one you’d least expect, John Paul Stevens. Justice Stevens is generally regarded as the Court’s most liberal member, but the final sentence of the final paragraph of his separate defense (p. 5) gives the game away:

As JUSTICE THOMAS has demonstrated, the text of the Twenty-first Amendment is a far more reliable guide to this meaning than the unwritten rules that the majority enforces today. I therefore join his persuasive and comprehensive dissenting opinion.

As noted Australian computer science professor cum linguistic detective Tim Lambert has aptly demonstrated, any use of the word “comprehensive” is stylistic proof that the writer is really John R. Lott, Jr.

UPDATE: Professor Bainbridge has a similar take on today’s ruling, except that in his case, the other Tennessee blogger is on the losing end.

UPDATE x2: In the comments, Professor Lambert corrects me on my application of his theory of “style.” Apparently, gaining membership in the Lambert/Lott Sock Puppet Club is more difficult than I thought. Merely using the word “comprehensive” is not enough; you also have to …. um …. well, do something else. Lambert doesn’t actually say what that “else” is, but he does say is that whatever the other criteria may be, the sentences “This is by far the largest most comprehensive study on crime, let alone on gun control” and “This is by far the most comprehensive study ever done on guns” definitely meet them. My best guess is that in addition to using the word “comprehensive,” any would-be sock puppet must also (1) say “by far,” (2) use a superlative, (3) post his comment to a forum where his true identity cannot easily be proven or disproven and/or (4) discuss John Lott. By using the phrase “far more” rather than “by the far the most,” Justice Stevens came painfully close to meeting criteria #1 and #2, but didn’t quite pull them off, and he utterly failed #3 and #4. As Justice Stevens couldn’t possibly have known these rules in advance, I still give him an A for effort.

UPDATE x3: I swear to God, I did not make up any of the comments to this thread which appear under the name “Tim Lambert.” The last comment under his name did have a different IP address from the one I’m used to seeing, but it is from Australia, and Lambert himself insists that ISPs change your IP addresses on you all the time. Perhaps the other Australian Tim his having a little fun at his expense?

UPDATE x4: Volokh Conspirator Todd Zywicki also thinks Justice Stevens is a sock puppet, not of John Lott but of Abe Simpson. He may be on to something.


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