Sunday liquor sales? (5×8 – 2/5/13)

Liquor v. family time, the mother who lost four kids to gun violence, the cyber safe crackers, the fix is in, and fun things to do in the cold.


The Sunday liquor store sales bill is back at the Capitol where it died last year and probably will again unless the public makes a racket, the bill’s sponsor says.

“The liquor stores are the ones against this,” Sen. Roger Reinert tells the Duluth News Tribune. “They want a day off.”

Reinert says 80 percent of Minnesotans want to be able to buy booze on Sunday.

“Think of the families,” Rep. Bob Gunther, R-Fairmont said during floor debate last year. “If someone wants to drink, they can go Saturdays to buy their liquor and drink it at home with their family. My dad drank too much. My brother probably was an alcoholic. I don’t think they ever spent a Sunday drinking; they spent it with their family. Let the families have a day together. ”

Vote early and often… then discuss


While President Obama was in Minneapolis yesterday to push his gun proposals before a sympathetic crowd, Shirley Chambers of Chicago was burying her fourth child. Her last remaining son, Ronnie, was killed a weekend ago.

In 1995, her then-18-year-old-son was killed by a high school classmate. In 2000, LaToya, 15, was shot in the head by a 13-year-old boy at the Cabrini-Green housing complex. A few months later, 23-year-old Jerome died almost at the same spot.

In an interview with the Chicago Tribune then, Ms. Chambers said her son expected to die violently.

“He’d said he’d be [dead] too soon, that now he wouldn’t have to worry about people hurting him and the police chasing him,” she said. “He said he couldn’t wait to get to heaven with Carlos, where it would be beautiful.”

She and her sister, Nancy, were guests on WBEZ’s Afternoon Shift program.

Related guns: Most members of the Minnesota congressional delegation won’t reveal their relationship with guns. (St. Cloud Times)


Fox 9 has revealed the ease with which crooks are reaching into accounts, lifting the money that’s there, and (mostly) getting away with it. In Edina, it reports, they got a million dollars.

It’s a frightening tale of how otherwise honest people around here can be duped into being part of the heist:

FOX 9 Investigator Jeff Baillon spoke with two men who unwittingly got mixed up with cyber crooks. Each had been out of work and posted a resume on a popular job search website, and both eventually got a phone call and offer from what sounded like a legitimate business. They jumped at the chance.

To maintain the ruse, the thieves told their new hires the company is expanding and needs someone to scope out potential office locations, write up proposals and open a bank account. The mules never know the money flowing into the account is stolen.

“Those mules are instructed to go down to their bank to pull the money out in cash and they’ll do that, $5-10,000 to pull out in cash,” Krebs explained. “Then, they are instructed to wire it overseas via Western Union and money gram.”

(h/t: Dan Murphy)


Gambling is destroying sport, the BBC declares today, a day after a report that hundreds of soccer matches were fixed.

There are about 20 to 30 fixers who travel the world fixing sporting events. They regard themselves as “brokers” rather than fixers. They form alliances with local criminals, who in turn are able to form connections with corrupt players, referees and team officials.

The Asian criminals deal with fixing the gambling market by placing bets in such a way that no-one suspects the games are fixed. In this way, there is a network of corruption that stretches quite literally around the world.

Police say gang members around the world were tasked with maintaining contacts with corrupt players and officials. Laszlo Angeli, a Hungarian prosecutor, gave an example of how it worked: “The Hungarian member, who was immediately below the Singapore head, was in touch with Hungarian referees who could then attempt to swing matches at which they officiated around the world. Accomplices would then place bets on the internet or by phone with bookmakers in Asia, where bets that would be illegal in Europe were accepted.”

Related gambling: Super Bowl gambling in Nevada reached almost $100 million, Reuters reports. That’s a record.


Nick Ziegler specializes in showing Minnesota in all of its cold glory with his “Minnesota Cold” series. Last year, he didn’t get to produce very many of them because it was too warm. This year, he’s cranking them out.

Oh, and winter is over. The downtown Saint Paul skating rink is no more.


Related: Reality TV comes to the Minnesota ice houses. (Duluth News Tribune)

Bonus I: What does a solar wave sound like when it hits the earth, as one did this past weekend? It sounds really cool. (

Bonus II: It always comes back to photographs after a disaster. People in New York are trying to salvage photographs of what existed before Hurricane Sandy. (BBC video)


Scholars in England have identified the remains of Richard III, the king described in Shakespeare as a “pois’nous bunch-back’d toad.” Shakespeare’s version of history blames Richard for the presumed murders of the young princes in the Tower of London, among other deaths. Today’s Question: Among great figures of history, whose remains would you like to see discovered, and why?


Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: The gun-control debate.

Second hour: The push for the ouster of college president Jack Ohle at Gustavus.

Third hour: Are families passé?

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): Two economists debate our economic future: Christina Romer from the Obama administration and Keith Hennessey from the George W. Bush administration.

Talk of the Nation (1-2 p.m.) – What is torture and what’s not?

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – The number of books being churned out in the publishing industry is booming. But these days, when anyone can self-publish a book, how can big publishing

houses keep up? A soon-to-be CEO of a major publisher looks ahead at challenges and opportunities for the traditional literary gatekeepers.

  • MikeB

    Liquor store owners are in a retail business and in this modern age retail is a 7 day operation. With the way the owners and their associations are talking (in the Strib story today) you’d think they’d be in favor of prohibition since they sell such a lethal and destructive product.

    This is not about alcoholics. They will drink when they want to and are not impacted by store closings. The state will not fall apart by treating people like grownups, Rep. Gunther’s emotional issues notwithstanding.

  • Sarah Marie

    It absolutely makes sense economically for businesses to be open 7 days a week – liquor stores are missing out on a whole day of business opportunity. On top of that, it makes no sense that anyone of legal drinking age can go out on Sunday night for a drink (and then risk driving home) but can’t enjoy a drink at home on Sunday. Rep. Bob Gunther’s family-issues argument is not only insulting to stable adults who have don’t have addiction problems, but it is also subjective and plays into the whole “Christian nation” nonsense. This is a secular nation and Sunday has long been considered a business day. So let’s all enjoy a beer before Monday!

  • I like to think I’m a pretty good planner. I’ve got more booze in my house than you can shake a stick at, so liquor stores being closed on Sundays doesn’t really hurt me much.

    But sometimes I’m really craving a particular kind of beer, or FAR more often, I want to cook something that requires sake, sherry, white wine or some other type of liquor I wouldn’t normally keep on hand because I don’t actually drink it. Then here I am, on my favorite cooking day, searching through recipes, trying to find one that doesn’t use the booze I don’t have on hand and can’t get.

    I can buy everything else I’d need for the meal on Sunday. Why not the liquor? I can run to the grocery store to get ice cream if I have a craving for it, why can’t I run out to the liquor store because I really want a Surly Furious on Sunday, but I don’t have one in my fridge?

  • MN 123

    The real reason that liquor store owners are fighting the Sunday sales is that they see this as the first step toward allowing sales in grocery stores. If Minnesotans can be trusted to buy their booze on a Sunday, perhaps they can also buy booze from Cub or Rainbow without the world falling apart around us.

    Solar flare was great stuff. Gotta wonder what else it affects besides radio transmissions…..brain waves, perhaps?

  • Robert Moffitt

    1) I wonder if Rep. Gunther would make the same plea for booze-free family time if the day liquor sales was prohibited was Wednesday, instead of the traditional Christian Sabbath. That’s the heart of the matter. This is a “blue law,” and it should be repealed. That, or we should start burning witches again. Chose wisely, MN lawmakers.

    2) Sad beyond words.

    4) Well, we can’t blame this one on Lance Armstrong.

    TQ) Jesus. But that would probably raise more questions than it answers.

  • Chuck

    The solar flare clip was great, in an eerie, sci-fi, end-of-the-world kind of way. It sounded just like a downpour of rain blasting down on a rooftop.

  • Joseph

    If family time is a compelling reason for legislative decision-making, perhaps one of those who oppose Sunday liquor sales should introduce a bill banning retailers from opening earlier than their typical Friday business hours on the day after Thanksgiving.

    I imagine the argument against this would be in not restricting consumer demand and the free markets. But that, interestingly enough, appears to be exactly the case with Sunday liquor sales.

  • jon

    I can buy malt, hops, and yeast on a Sunday. Tap water still flows on a Sunday… I can make beer on a Sunday, but I can not buy beer on a Sunday…

    Hell with 5 minutes on Wikipedia, and $50 at a Walmart, you can build your own still, a couple of pounds of sugar, some baking yeast, and water and you can make your own hard liquor at home… sure that’s illegal too… but who is going to catch you… especially on a Sunday when every one is home with their families…

    Sunday liquor sales ban makes absolutely no sense. Maybe it did years ago… Maybe we can go back to the way of things where stores can be closed on Sundays (I actually know several places that close on Sundays, with out laws that say they have to be closed) I’ve been to small towns in Iowa where you can’t find a gas station that is open on Sunday, there are no law saying gas stations need to be closed on Sundays.

    If the liquor stores don’t want it fine… they don’t have to be open…

    Right now they are alright with letting people go to WI on Sundays to get booze… So they should be just as OK as letting their competition down the street take those sales…

  • andy

    1) I moved to Illinois 5 years ago from Minneapolis. There are many things I miss about the Land of Lakes, driving to a neighboring state on Sunday for a 6 pack isn’t one of them. In fact, I can buy beer, wine and liquor on Sunday’s in grocery stores. Fathom that!

    2) When I’m not streaming The Current on my i-Phone, I listen to WBEZ’s Afternoon Shift on my drive home from work each day (Rick Kogan is an amazing host). This broadcast was truly heartbreaking. Chicago really has to start getting a handle on the gang violence, it’s really getting bad. Many of my coworkers don’t even go downtown anymore for fear of a stray bullet.

  • Snyder

    I have no problem with liquor store owners wanting family time on Sundays. However, the proposed law does not REQUIRE them to be open on Sundays, it merely makes it possible for owners to be should they choose to.

    If some prefer to make family time a higher priority, they can choose not to open on Sundays.

    As for the legislators who want families to “have a day together” – I anxiously await their bills that ban any retailers from opening on Sundays. Hypocrites.

  • Kat S

    The alcoholics I’ve known were much better at planning out alcohol acquisition than I am. They usually had a stash that would see them through Sunday and other emergencies.

    As for me? “Oh, you know what would go great with this stew? Stout. Oh, wait: Sunday.” Also memorable: “Wait, New Year’s Eve is on SUNDAY– quick, 15 minutes before the store closes!”

    My anecdotal experience on this is worth about as little as Rep. Gunther’s, however, and just as bad a basis for law.

    Sure I lived without the stout, but this is a kind of restriction we put on very few other services or goods and I just don’t see a compelling reason for it.

    If liquor store owners wants to stay closed on Sunday, more power to them. They can make that decision about the trade-offs in the same way that some restaurants often make the decision to be closed on Mondays and other stores decide not to open before noon.

  • Disco

    In my family, we have wine or craft beer with nearly every meal. And we have nearly every meal together as a family. And nearly every meal is home-cooked, selected from a huge binder full of recipes (not women) that we’ve collected and nurtured over the years. The wine/beer is as important a part of the meal as anything else.

    I’m not seeing the connection between Sunday liquor sales and a negative impact on families. But I’m not a Republican, so there are a lot of hypocritical small-minded notions I will never understand. Perhaps Rep Gunther should instead author a bill that bans adultery. That’s a lot more damaging to families than a nice Pinot.

  • Disco

    I’d also like to add that this Sunday liquor problem is an example of the very worst kind of politics. Here you have a a law that the vast majority of people want to change, yet it cannot be done because our politicians are beholden to, and fearful of, a powerful lobby.

    NRA anyone?

  • Re: Sunday Liquor Sales

    For the life of me, I can’t understand why we can’t get this done. Do Minnesota lawmakers really want to continue to support Wisconsin’s economy? Why are they so opposed to creating more jobs in Minnesota? How much more tax revenue could the state be making off the liquor tax if we had Sunday sales? Are they really so stupid as to think they can keep ignoring the will of the people?

    Any lawmaker voting against this measure should get voted out of office for supporting the economies and tax bases of our neighboring states at the expense of our own. I thought their job was to work to improve our economy, but I’m sure Wisconsin, Iowa and South Dakota don’t mind our lawmakers looking out for them more than looking out for Minnesotans.

  • David

    I think the Sunday law is silly. That said, I have a buddy that owns a liquor store and the way he sees it is Sunday would be another expense without increased sales. Would being open another day actually increase sales or would it just spread the same sales over one more day?

    I don’t have the answer, but I don’t like laws that close things on a weekend day. I’m also looking at you auto dealerships.

  • JB

    RE: Spreading sales over another day. I’ve heard another store owner say that he would love to have the ability to sell on Sunday but that Tuesdays are typically so slow he would probably close that day instead. I would guess Sundays during the Football season and on beautiful summer days would do quite well.

  • @ David,

    Does your friend have evidence that his sales wouldn’t increase with an additional day? Because that’s a reason many small businesses, like restaurants and barber shops, close for a day when they could otherwise be open. But I don’t think we’ll know how it affect his or anyone’s sales until the law is changed and it plays out in the marketplace.

  • B Joe

    As a recent Minnesota to California transplant, I’d just like to point out that in California, one can buy booze every day of the week at liquor stores and grocery stores. Despite this crushing detriment, there seems to be no shortage of liquor stores. This is kind of shocking to me; I don’t know how the liquor stores continue to overcome the horrible dual handicaps of retail competition and legal permission to operate all week, but they do.

    Maybe after god made farmers, god made liquor store owners?

  • Chris H

    Is this an issue that disproportionately effects the poor?

    I buy liquor once every other week. I keep a cabinet stocked full of things I hardly drink. When I buy beer I go miles out of my way to go to the four firkens anyway, so usually I only buy on weeknights.

    The only time I’ve ever needed to buy beer on a sunday and couldn’t is because I drank everything on saturday.

    This is a big change from my leaner years, when we would go to the liquor store day of and probably not have any left overs.

    The law doesn’t effect me in the least. I just don’t get why it is there.

  • @ B Joe:

    Liquor stores survive competition from grocers and big box retailers because Cub Foods and Walmart are not going to specialize in booze. Looking for a new craft beer or a certain bottle of wine or single malt scotch? Then your best bet is and forever will be a liquor store, where they will have a selection beyond Coors, Gallo and Johnny Walker.

    In Minnesota, there are liquor stores that cater to both crowds as it is. Believe me, people come from miles around to hit the “upscale” shops, with their additional sales in cheese or cigars, because they want a good deal on products you don’t find everywhere else around town, in the state, or even the country. It’s a level of selection and service other retailers simply can’t provide.

  • James

    Why is no one concerned that you cannot buy a car on Sunday?

  • kay smith

    Per Rep. Gauther’s words, his family drank the house dry every week and had to spend the day with the family as there was nothing to drink. Oh, sure, Mr. Rep, that’s believable.

    Kudos to you, Bob Collins, for drawing such smart and funny posters!

  • B Joe


    I see what you’re saying, but, there seem to be plenty of pedestrian liquor stores around, even in the gilded heart of Silicon Valley. So even in a more lax environment, plain liquor stores stay open.

    The Whole Foods and Safeways around here have a pretty diverse selection. They certainly don’t hold a candle to Surdyk’s, but they definitely beat Sentyrz (speaking of grocery stores that sell booze). My main complaint with the beer situation in California is that Surly isn’t available anywhere.

    But you’re right. I can’t imagine Cub hiring a person who knows enough about beer to decide which beers to sell. They’d probably just go by sales figures.

  • Disco

    There are grocery stores in Wisconsin that have upscale liquor departments. Festival Foods in Eau Claire is one example. They have a great selection of craft brews.

    But dammit, this isn’t about fair competition. Did the state legislature step in when Target and Walmart wanted to sell groceries? Shouldn’t we have barred them from that doing that in order to save Supervalu? At what point do you put your money where your mouth is when blabbering about “free enterprise” and other platitudes?

  • @B Joe:

    Nice Nordeast name dropping! Sentyrz was grandfathered in and is one of only 3 grocery/liquor stores in the state. But I shop there for the meat department. And Haskell’s has a much better selection of wines, in part because owner Jack Farrell directly imports wines from Europe and other wine regions. You can get a great tasting French wine for dirt cheap, and you won’t find them anywhere else in the country.

    I believe California allows liquor shipments from other states, so you can likely get your Surly shipped to you from Minnesota. Just don’t contact a MN store on a Sunday.

  • @ Disco –

    But the issue here is competition with God. If you can buy booze on Sundays, from a retailer likely underpaying his or her staff BTW, then who will spend time with the family reflecting on God?! When will those underpaid liquor employees get to reflect on God?!

    And no buying cars made by Godless robots!

    /Religi-con mode off

  • David

    @Drae “Does your friend have evidence that his sales wouldn’t increase with an additional day”

    LOL. Let’s just say he doesn’t like the conversation much and I don’t push. He knows where I stand and I know where he stands.

    @James – I believe I mentioned auto dealers. Though, in fairness, you have to admit that the equivalence isn’t exact. Purchasing a car is a much bigger deal than grabbing a six-pack.

    And although it’s easy enough to keep stocked up on booze, as many people have mentioned, there are about a million reasons someone might want a special bottle of wine or beer on a Sunday. Something they wouldn’t normally have stocked.

  • David Campbell

    Can we get over the notion that Cub, Rainbow and Walmart (Sam’s Club) don’t sell liquor? They do. They each have many outlets in the metro. They have to have separate entrances, but they are attached to their grocery stores.

    James has an excellent point about buying a car on Sunday – something that amazes me.

    And if a business wants to remain closed on a Sunday, or a Tuesday, or any other day ending in y – they should be welcome to. This liberal is saying “Government, get out of my way. I should have the freedom to have a business open 7 days a week if I want and I should be able to buy something any day a seller is willing to make it available to me.

  • Bravo, David Campbell! Well said.

  • BJ

    // Oh, sure, Mr. Rep, that’s believable.

    kay smith not a regular poster here so not sure, but that was my experience at home growing up.

    Dad drank every drop a booze he could find Saturday night (Monday-Saturday Nights). Even driving to the store once or twice if needed effect wasn’t achieved yet. Nothing left for Sunday. But I don’t remember Sunday as ‘family day’.

  • BJ

    //Can we get over the notion that Cub, Rainbow and Walmart (Sam’s Club) don’t sell liquor? They do.

    Not the way they do in other states. Very big difference.

  • BH

    How can a state this progressive manage to not allow either liquor sales or car dealerships to be open on Sunday?

  • Jim Hartmann

    The difference between buying wine at Costco in MN vs. buying wine at Target in Iowa is that I have to visit two cashiers at Costco and one at Target. That’s it. At Costco I get my groceries and pay for them, walk my cart of groceries around a barrier, load it with wine and pay at the second cashier.

    I buy beer and wine at specialty shops (Four Firkins!) because of the atmosphere, vast selection, and knowledge of the staff.