From the HBD Archive
From: (Mike Fertsch) hopfen!mikef@synchro.com
Subject: Crazy Horse Amendment
Date: 1992-06-28 14:34:42 GMT

To: Beer Aficionados
From: Marlene Spears (reply through Mike Fertsch)
Date: 1992 June 28
Subject: Write Your Congress Rep!

URGENT! Just because certain people have been offended by
Heileman's Crazy Horse malt liquor, Congress wants to force
Sam Adams, William Penn, and maybe even Buffalo Bill, to
change the names of their beers! Think that's
over-reacting? Then:

Write your Representative and demand that the "Crazy
Horse" Amendment be stricken from Bill HR 5488!
Better yet, FAX your letter: THE BILL GOES TO THE
HOUSE ON JULY 1ST!

Thursday, 25th June, the US House Appropriations Committee
voted to add the "Crazy Horse" amendment to HR 5488, a Bill
to authorize $22.8 BILLION in appropriations for -- look at
this! -- the US POSTAL SERVICE, the BUREAU OF ALCOHOL,
TOBACCO AND FIREARMS, and other TREASURY DEPT. agencies!
The "Crazy Horse" amendment forbids manufacturers and
distributors of *all* alcoholic beverages from using the
names of DEAD historical figures to sell their products.
[BATF already forbids the use of names of LIVE historical
figures without their permission, protecting us from, say,
"Dan Quayle Potatoe Beer".] The amendment was approved by
the Committee on a show of hands by 29 to 11 votes, with
the advocacy of Mr. Frank Wolf (R-VA), so it has
considerable support on the Committee.

The Committee also by-passed other House Committees, such
as Commerce, with this amendment. It's another case of a
small group of people making a knee-jerk reaction to a
genuine issue and trying to slap on a band-aid without
considering the full cost of their actions. This is
typical of the real machinations of our Congress, with so
much to do and so little time. The name that a brewer
gives to his beer is not directly relevant to the amount of
money the Postal Service and the Secret Service and the
BATF should receive for the next fiscal year. But it will
be restricted by a three- or four-paragraph amendment to a
several-hundred-page Bill, and probably will receive no
more consideration than a sneeze unless somebody calls
Congress's attention to it!

I see some fundamental problem with this amendment (yes, I
have contacted my Rep., Mr. Ed Markey). Regardless of how
I personally might feel about the makers of Sam Adams or
Crazy Horse, I believe Congress cannot legislate taste! The
market, we who buy beer, should decide. We can put
pressure on the G. Heileman Brewing Co., of LaCrosse, WI,
without passing laws that violate First Amendment rights.
And the wording is too vague. Deciphering the meaning of
the words "deceased historical figure" might tie up the
court system for years without serving the public's best
interests.

Before this amendment becomes law, we can stop it and
thereby save taxpayers' money that will otherwise be spent
challenging it in court. The "Crazy Horse" amendment is
unjustified censorship. Congress should focus its
attention on larger issues and stop micro-managing public
opinion. The last thing we need is the BATF conducting a
"pedigree search" on every beer name!

I'm trying to get my hands on a hard copy of the text of
the amendment itself. If I get it, and there's any response
to this posting, I'll type it in. But if you're going to
write, DON'T WAIT. Tell your Representative that you care
about this trivial and petty amendment and want it deleted
from the Bill. Believe it or not, JUST ONE LETTER FROM ONE
CONSTITUENT might be enough to call it to your Rep's
attention. And it will only take one or two
Representatives asking that the item be brought up for
consideration to get the full House to challenge the
amendment.

It's a little thing, yes, but it's a question of freedom.
Remember, it's just such a little thing that allows us to
brew our beers legally, for those of us who don't live in
states that forbid it. We can lose that freedom, too, if
we don't defend it. Or we can make a little noise once in
awhile and prevent a knee-jerk reaction against beer and
alcohol from becoming an amendment to another House Bill.

[My information comes from an article that appeared in the
Boston Globe on 26th June 1992. Ms. Adrian Seibert (sp.?)
of States News Service, in Washington, DC, graciously
provided me with the number of the Bill and additional
information about it. I'm not on the HBD net, but you can
zap Mike Fertsch at <mikef@synchro.com>. Unfortunately I
can't tell you who your Representative is; call your Public
Library or City/Town Clerk.]

- --
Mike Fertsch

Internet: mikef@synchro.com
Internet: mikef%hopfen@rsi.com
Wortnet: mikef

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