This could be the start of a whole new series of blogs: Stupid Government Tricks.
According to today's Albany Times-Union:
"Life won’t be sweet for anyone caught selling counterfeit maple syrup, if New York Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer get their way.
The two New York Democrats announced today they are cosponsoring a bill that would make mislabeling a food product as “maple syrup,” a federal offense."
I'll give you a minute to let that sink in.
Here we are, in reportedly the worst economic malaise since the Great Depression. We're winding down two wars. We've got people occupying Wall St demanding that they know better how to divide up the country's wealth. Terrorists plotting assassinations in our own capital. Red Sox melting down and drinking in the dugout. The Euro crisis. Arab countries demanding social and political change. Dictator's deaths. And a rogue maple syrup seller in Rhode Island.
Rhode Island? Does that even belong to the US?
Yeah, so here's the gist of the story. It seems a Rhode Islander was selling fake maple syrup. Sort of like fake Rolexes or Gucci bags, but on a much smaller scale. It turns out there was no real maple in his juice - it's cane sugar. Maybe he took the jug into the forest and showed it to a grove of maple trees. Anyway, he's being prosecuted under current laws regarding mislabeling by the Food & Drug Administration. It is a misdemeanor.
Schumer and Gillibrand want to make this a Federal felony. Ranking right up there with Madoff, DeLorean, the Five Families and Lee Harvey Oswald. Yessir, they need to save us from crappy syrup. By the way, to prove it's not just New Yorkers who are taking this seriously, it's got the support of Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders from Vermont and Susan Collins from Maine.
Here's more from the article: "Maple farmers across New York state produce some of the highest quality syrup in the world,” said Schumer. “We need to crackdown on individuals trying to pass off fake syrup as the real thing, so that our farmers can compete fair and square. The only thing that should be flowing over mom’s pancakes is good, pure, New York maple syrup."
Uh, Senator, New York syrup is delicious. We buy it. Other northeastern states produce equally fine syrup. No one disputes that. But really, can you stop the hyperbole? 'Mom's pancakes' seem to be Kellogg's frozen ones any more - and Aunt Jemima or Hungry Jack is fine on those.
And this final line from the story: "The MAPLE Act would increase the maximum sentences prosecutors could seek against syrup counterfeiters, as well. If the bill becomes law, bottling fake syrup could carry a five-year prison sentence."
Oh, yeah - the fascination to come up with a catchy, easy-to-remember tagline so we know what the law is about. Madison Avenue meets Constitution Avenue. The actual name of the bill is the Maple Agriculture Protection and Law Enforcement act.
A five year sentence for fake syrup. Wow. If you attempt murder of a Federal officer, you might get 5 to 8 years. Many states have laws where selling drugs will land you in prison for one to three years for the first offense. So fake syrup's worse than drugs.
Maybe syrup bootlegging is a hate crime.
So while Rome burns, it's good to know you're protected from the serious harm. Take comfort in that.