The Monthly Editorial Blog By Schlafly Beer President Tom Schlafly
“Just the facts, ma’am.” As every alert reader (AR) who ever watched the TV series Dragnet knows, this was the signature of line of Sergeant Joe Friday, who was played by Jack Webb. The only problem is that Sergeant Friday never actually uttered this line, which was in fact popularized by comedian Stan Freberg’s parodies of the series.
The TV series was in hiatus when I went to high school with a guy named Jack Webb. Perhaps proving that a man’s name is his destiny, Jack joined the St. Louis County Police Department and eventually became the Commander of the Bureau of Criminal Investigation. He’s also responsible for making some of my colleagues in my law firm think I was about to be arrested and led away in handcuffs.
The saga began when Jack put me in touch with Major Larry White, a retired Highway Patrol Officer. Major White called on me to solicit a donation to the Missouri Association of State Troopers Emergency Relief Society (MASTERS), a worthy organization that provides assistance to the families of state troopers who die in the line of duty. He later returned to my office with two uniformed state troopers to collect my check and pose for a photograph. Their appearance ignited a buzz throughout the firm, with people asking themselves: “Why are these state troopers here? What did Schlafly do? Is this going to be on the evening news?”
If Sergeant Friday were still on the LAPD, he’d have some interesting cases to investigate. Consider, for example, former Commerce Secretary John Bryson, who was involved in a couple of hit and run accidents on June 9th. While many in the media focused on the question of whether Secretary Bryson had been drinking—he hadn’t—I’m not aware of any journalist’s posing the question that immediately popped into my mind. Why was the Secretary of Commerce, of all people, driving a Lexus? The administration of which he was part had spent billions upon billions of dollars propping up American automobile companies (something they’d never do for American breweries, I might add). How can this administration ask the American public to buy American cars when the cabinet member responsible for overseeing American commerce apparently prefers cars from Japan?
Sergeant Friday would also be charged with enforcing laws that weren’t on the books when he was with the LAPD. It is now illegal for restaurants in California to serve foie gras or shark fin soup. The food police are now a reality, not just a figure of speech. The respective bans were enacted because of concern for the animals in question. Proponents of the foie gras ban claimed that the process of force feeding ducks or geese in order to fatten their livers was cruel and inhumane. Likewise, proponents of the ban on shark fins argued that stripping sharks of their fins was not only cruel but was also threatening the global shark population.
It’s worth pointing out that animals are not only the victims of crimes. They can also be perpetrators, as I discovered when a sea lion stole a Coho salmon from me. The theft occurred near Prince of Wales Island, Alaska, where I was fishing for salmon, halibut and assorted other species. I had already caught my legal limit of halibut and king salmon when I sensed a fish on my line. As I reeled it to the surface, I saw that it was a Coho. I then saw a sea lion rise above the surface. My line began running out at an exceptionally rapid rate and then went limp. The sea lion rose again above the surface with a fish in its mouth and then disappeared. When I reeled the line in all that remained of my Coho was its head, the rest having been devoured by that thieving sea lion.
As I was cursing larcenous sea lions in Alaska, an AR named Alex McMullin was more than 10,000 miles away on a safari in South Africa. While climbing Table Mountain in Cape Town he encountered an American woman (not from St. Louis) who spotted the Schlafly hat he was wearing and began singing the praises of our IPA. One never knows where one might run into other Schlafly fans.
Although Alex and I didn’t realize it at the time, by going on vacation we were exercising our fundamental human rights, at least according to the European Court of Justice. The Court recently held that the right to go vacation is enshrined in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and “cannot be interpreted restrictively.” The Court concluded that holiday travelers who get sick while they’re on vacation are entitled to additional days of paid vacation to make up for the time they’re sick. If someone gets seasick while fishing in Alaska, no problem. His or her employer must grant additional days of paid vacation as compensation. The same principle would apply to someone who eats exotic food on an African safari and gets an upset stomach. Just show the boss a note from an African doctor and get another week of paid vacation. European cruise ships may soon have to bring along extra doctors to accommodate all the passengers who want to exercise their fundamental rights under the EU Charter by cruising an extra week.
I am not making this up. To misquote Sergeant Friday, “Those are just the facts.”