Friday, April 29, 2005


Check out this article--a brief analysis of Russia. Interesting, despite being brief.

Thursday, April 14, 2005


A couple years ago, having just moved to Boston, I had the embarassing experience of being denied the right to purchase alcohol. The reason?

"Boston law won't let us accept out-of-state drivers licenses." Accompanied by a glare that implied I was a first-class brand of idiot--just the sort to be so stupid as to neglect being born and raised in Boston.

"B-b-but it's a driver's license. There's my date of birth." But I pointed and stuttered in vain.

"Nope," she said. "We accept passports, though, if you have that with you." Some comfort, that. Sure, I carry my passport with me. Along with my birth certificate and my college diploma. Yeah right.

"Or you can purchase your very own Massachusetts Alcohol Purchasing Identification Card." She grinned like it was some sort of privilege. "Only 50 bucks, with a 15-day waiting period."

My eyes bugged out. Angry retorts flashed through my mind. I bit my tongue and left.

Driving home, seething against the police state in which I had somehow found myself and thinking that I'd had more respect shown me overseas (silly me, I had my passport with me then), I found myself considering the gay marriage issue and the Constitutional clause of "full faith and credit" by which supposedly Massachusetts was about to impose the practice on the rest of the country, and wondering if drivers licenses fell under the protection of said clause. Briefly wondered if I could get someone in trouble by suing. Dismissed it as ridiculous and dug out my passport. But every time I bought alcohol (and especially the time the store refused to sell to me, even though I had my passport, because my wife was with me and her license was out-of-state), I seethed again and consoled myself with the thought of how I could sue their butts off if I wanted to.

Evidently, though, I can't. Someone already tried that argument. Evidently the law doesn't actually prohibit liquor stores from accepting out-of-state licenses. Rather, if the store sells to someone with an out-of-state license, and it turns out that the license is forged and the kid is underage, the law doesn't accept the reference to the out-of-state license as an acceptable excuse, and revokes their liquor license. Thus nicely circumventing "full faith and credit." It's the store's call, not the state's.

So I should have Googled first, and seethed later. But it still bugs me.