I’ve penned my first piece for Palate Press, the on-line wine magazine that is taking the global blog-o-world by storm!
Ok, maybe “taking by storm” is a bit of an exaggeration… until I showed up and the party could officially start, that is!
Ok, maybe the whole “the party can get started now” thing is a bit of an exaggeration as well.
Actually it’s a total exaggeration – Palate Press doesn’t need me, they’ve been kicking total ass since their launch earlier this month; I’m just a straggler who finally got around to writing something almost good enough to make a cut into the article rotation. (Since I’m friends with the editor and publisher, they probably let me slide. Just this once.)
Anyway, if you’re interested in my take on the idea of Pennsylvania’s godless, communist liquor control board to poison the economy of the good Commonwealth with wine kiosk machines that automatically dispense bottles of wine after doing some sort of personal scan that I think destroys part of your soul and drains the blood from innocent babies (hint: I’m not a fan of this plan), then head over to Palate Press and check it out!
There is, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, a time-honored and long-standing tradition that takes place every year.
I’m not talking about the February 2nd ritual of watching expectantly to see if Punxsutawney Phil will glimpse his own shadow, heralding six additional weeks of Winter.
I’m not talking about the amazing July 4th event that takes place in downtown Philadelphia, drawing nearly one million people together to celebrate PA’s unique place and status in the history of the United States’ liberty-based government.
No, I’m talking about the annual Harrisburg tradition that comes around every Summer, in which the PA state senate and governor fail to pass a budget in time for the next fiscal year. PA governor Ed Rendell has the dubious distinction of being seemingly incapable of herding PA’s senate into signing any budget into law before the state teeters on the verge of government program funding meltdown.
To put it kindly, the PA state budget is in a state of total crisis. The Commonwealth now faces a budget shortfall of $3.2 billion, or roughly the GDP of Mauritania. That kind of deficit is basically a guarantee of missing end of fiscal year targets, since it’s unlikely that any Senate would be happy with the level of cuts needed to reign in such a monstrous shortfall. This situation has the ability to self-perpetuate: When the state budget is not positioned well to weather a poor economy, the budget deficit grows; it becomes harder and harder to pass a budget due to the pressures of cutting programs that will piss of the state Senate’s constituents; the next year’s budget is then passed late due to the in-fighting, and thus faces more pressures and a potentially greater deficit, which means the budget is poorly positioned for the next economic storm… and the cycle starts all over again. Which is more-or-less what’s been happening in Harrisburg.
And yet, the PA state government is sitting on a goldmine that could – relatively quickly – halve that deficit. It simply lacks the courage and will to act on it.
The goldmine? Wine…
Read the rest of this stuff »
Associated Grape Press (ha-ha… get it?)
In a stunning and bizarre turn of events today, Pennsylvania has repealed Prohibition, thus ending years of tyrannical and strict governance over the sale and distribution of alcohol within the Commonwealth.
Upon reports of the repeal, elated Pennsylvanians stormed the Harrisburg, PA offices of the state-run monopoly Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB), dismantling the building and retaining small pieces of its edifice to keep as mementos of the historic occasion. A confused and inebriated State Governor Ed Rendell, believing the events to be related to an Eagles football pep rally, attempted to lead the crowd in a rendition of Eagles fight song “Fly Eagles Fly” before vomiting on himself, and then passing out.
At the state borders, heart-rending and tearful reunions between state residents and their beloved bottles of previously unavailable wine took place, as both were finally free to legally cross state lines without fear of incarceration or retribution.
The repeal was the result of a strange cascade of events in which the increasingly complicated rules and laws protecting the PLCB imploded in on themselves.
As former PLCB CEO Joe Conti explained, “Well, we thought that we’d try to continue our balladromic move towards making the PLCB and the state of Pennsylvania a Communist institution. To that end, we realized that the PLCB actually belonged to the People of the Commonwealth, so naturally we turned control of the PLCB over to the People, in order to completely fulfill the Communist manifesto. Quite simle, really.”
Once the Commonwealth’s citizens were informed that they now controlled the PLCB, they promptly disbanded the institution, thus ending nearly 90 years of monopolized alcohol control in the state.
When asked what he would do now that the PLCB had been disbanded, former CEO Conti replied, “Well, I guess I’ll have a drink. There’s a sweet Oregon Pinot I’ve been dying to try, but until now the PLCB laws had made it too expensive for them to sell here…”
Govenor Ed Rendell was understandably unavailable for comment…