Monday, April 24, 2006

Al Qaeda Targets Campus Bars

I'm back from the fishing trip, and many thanks to Cousin Walter for keeping an eye on things.

It's good to see that Cochrane and His Boys are doing all they can to protect the community. The Champaign Al Qaeda cell will soon awake from its deep sleep , and we can be sure the local bar scene is an obvious target. Though no official comments have been issued, we can only assume that keeping foreign students out of these bars is intended to keep well-intended American drunks safe. Kudos to the bar staffs for looking after all of us!

I wonder if Josh Reed will bring this issue up at LAC.
Josh? Comment?


Anonymous reed said...

Real quick before class: I'm no fan of xenophobia, but I am a big fan of private property rights. I can elaborate later, but I'll add that this is what you get when

a) You restrict the bar market through intensive licensing regulations

b) You severely punish bars who are caught serving or admitting underage patrons

I'm not so sure you should say Cochrane is behind this - the article didn't make that clear, and it's a fair possibility he doesn't know about it.

5:45 PM  
Blogger Don said...

Private property rights! I can’t wait to read about that!

I don’t know the ins and outs of the licensing system, but it seems to me that regulation here is a positive thing. So, too, is the punishment of those who serve minors.

To me, the issue actually boils down to having a clearly defined policy, posting that policy, and training employees to follow it. (With a sizable international community on campus, I’m surprised this is not in place.) I wouldn’t go so far as to argue that the LAC should regulate which countries’ ID’s are acceptable and which are not when it comes to international students, but the bar owners would serve themselves well to avoid problems and accusations of racism/xenophobia by working together to agree upon which ID’s to accept, train employees accordingly, and reject potential fake ID’s consistently.

As for Cochrane, he is ultimately responsible for the actions of his employees. If they act inappropriately, the buck stops with him. Mostly, I am disappointed that he had nothing to say here. He had plenty to say at LAC meetings (when he showed his face), so I was a bit surprised to see that he did not issue a statement given that his establishment was the source of some of the problems mentioned in the DI.

6:36 PM  
Anonymous reed said...

Again, who's to say he knew. I won't assume it either way. The DI might not have contacted him, the managers might not have let him know about this, and he might be steaming mad when he found out.

Re: private property rights - I think if a bar owner didn't want to let specifically me in, that's fine. Or people named Joe. People ought to feel free to allow or exclude whomever they want. The bar isn't city/state/federal property (and they don't take public funds), and as such, I have no right to entry.

Though, I'd be open to the argument that because they participate in a city-sanctioned oligopoly, they are at least quasi-government actors. If that's your stance, I'd argue that's more a reason to minimize that aspect.

That said, you did hint at my a).

bar owners would serve themselves well to avoid problems and accusations of racism/xenophobia by working together to agree upon which ID’s to accept, train employees accordingly, and reject potential fake ID’s consistently.

I don't know why they ought to get together to decide this. Who knows what they would decide - they might be a collective racist group. By colluding together in this manner, they could be assured their racist tendencies won't be punished in the marketplace, because the agreement would prevent competing bars from taking that share of the market. Of course, some bars would presumably cheat on the agreement, but it likely wouldn't be as free flowing. That's not necessarily going to develop (I have my doubts that bar owners would act in such a manner, but they could exclude on other grounds, say over-precaution), but I don't see any prevailing benefits for collective action.

The real problem is a lack of market retribution. I just can't open up shop. Even if I crossed every t and dotted every i, I'd still have to win a license lottery, and that's assuming there was a license up for grabs, which there generally isn't.

Not a lot of reason to compete vigorously for every customer when the law practices protectionism.

There is a reason to regulate, and the punishment might be fine. But we have to recognize the potential for over-precaution. The article suggests these measures are in place to combat fake IDs, because staff aren't used to foreign IDs. With heavy fines in place, bar owners might be perfectly happy to turn away some legitimate paying customers, because the cost of a citation far outweighs the additional potential revenue. That potential can't be ignored, and the article makes clear precaution is the driving force behind the behavior.

10:11 PM  

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