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April 14, 2011

Raging Bitch and The First Amendment

Hello! it’s been a long time. I miss you! We just had a bizarre electrical outage that only disabled my phones and internet — even my cell phone. So, I had to take out a few extra guns just in case.

But, service is back on, and we can get to the matter of Big Guns and Cases: I’ve got to go to bed, so I’ll put links up in the am!

You may have read about the First Amendment  complaint filed against the Michigan Control Commission’s ban of “Raging Bitch” Ale. The media coverage and comments from readers has been overwhelmingly in support of Free Speech and Freedom of Expression wrapped around a beloved high-octane beer. 

Once the details of WHY the Michigan’s Liquor controllers banned the bear was revealed, using a dusty ordinance claiming that “Raging Bitch“ label is "detrimental to the public health, safety and welfare,” it was open season.  Reading the court briefs show that their  bizarre personal biases were backed by the power of their office to ban the beer. Um, our founding fathers didn’t like this notion. And neither does the Supreme Court. The 25 page injunction cites  over 60 precedent cases, where abuse of authority to control speech was outlawed by higher courts.
Ralph Steadman, our champion said: "Freedom of speech and artistic expression is as fundamental to our being as is the alphabet itself. I thought censorship went out with DH Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover about 50 years ago.

Independent (what? why is my screen playing tricks. this is the link to the Indpendent , it refuses to move to the correct part of the screen — sorry)
We shall see, right?

Thurgood Marshal , quoted beautifully in an HBO special played by Laurence Fishburne said to himself as he read the inscription on the Supreme Court Steps “Equal protection Under the Law.” I hope so!

The courts have their say and will have their say regarding this case, and so have the readers. One of my favorite quotes from a Michigan resident , “Caitlin Witte,”  via huffpo wrote:

“America needs to lighten up. If the label was on a bottle of chocolate milk, yes, it might be a little "risque" but on a bottle that is only going to be sold to adults, who gives a flip. If you feel it is "detriment al to your health", don’t fraking buy it. As a resident of michigan, I’m more outraged to discover that my government is preventing me from trying a variety of oh so delicious ipa!”

yukonsam,: wrote: Prior restraint. Judgement for the plaintiff. Case closed. That was easy. Who’s up for a beer?
But the  fact that we are having this conversation  in the year of our Lord, 2011,is an example of how our civil liberties have eroded. Freedom of Speech is just one example. That a beer company will stand up for a Fundamental Right is extraordinary – but not surprising considering that Flying Dog is GONZO.  CEO Jim Caruso, and Alan Gura working as a team, speaks volumes. At times, I’ve been one of those sots who takes the Constitution and Bill of Rights for granted.

 This is a way for the state of Michigan to save face, sort of.  CEO, Jim Caruso, filed the injunction yesterday with Alan Gura. We’ll see what happens next. I can tell you one thing for sure, after reading the 25 page document. It’s just a piece of a Supreme Court Ready case.                                                                               Thank you Flying Dog: Geroge Stranahan, Jim Caruso et al for keeping up the good fight! your friend, Anita Thompson

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