The beer police • Just what form of grievous harm were Utahns being protected from when stormtroopers acting on behalf of the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control lowered the boom on a Salt Lake City neighborhood bar called The Spot? Apparently, someone at that small watering hole had dared to sell to customers and to undercover agents a couple of brands of beer that aren't handled by the state's liquor monopoly and are, thus, verboten in the Beehive. OK, rules are rules, and a citation and small fine might be in order. But the state apparently considers the sale of bottles of unapproved beer not toxic rotgut homebrew, but bottled beer from major brewers a "grave" violation that could result in a revoked license and/or fines of up to $25,000. The place was, the other day, padlocked awaiting more legal proceedings. Once again, when it comes to sane liquor regulations, Utah has gone dry.
Not the place for animals • This Is the Place Heritage Park officials say they have remedied poor conditions for animals at the park after receiving warnings from USDA inspectors last spring. We hope that is the case. Park managers admitted they let things get out of hand, leaving animals without proper veterinary care and in poor living conditions. That is not acceptable for a place that invites young children to participate in its activities, many involving young lambs, goats, rabbits and cows. The federal Animal and Plant Heath Inspection Service (APHIS) reported a long list of violations in April and May. The park will be inspected again, and if violations continue, it could lose its license. We hope that doesn't happen.
A brighter outlook • American consumers are feeling better about their financial status now than at any time since the Great Recession in 2007. The University of Michigan's annual reading of consumer confidence in July was 85.1, a gain of one point from June but nearly 13 points higher than a year ago. Rising home prices and steady gains in jobs across the country are making Americans feel more secure and could prompt them to spend more money. That's important since consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of the American economy. Americans even seem to be able to ignore or at least take with a grain of salt the shenanigans of its representatives in Washington. Threats of government defaults or shutdowns and refusals to compromise and actually govern aren't as important as the improvements many of us are seeing in our everyday lives. And it feels darn good.