Wandering Eye: Marylanders are buying more wine and spirits, the disruption of higher ed, and more

Booze news flash! Over the past decade, Marylanders and Baltimoreans have been drinking much less beer and much more wine and spirits, while cigarette consumption has seen a huge decline: 31 percent statewide. The Free State's revenuers track the sale of these legal vices closely, since they are heavily taxed, and compile the data in annual reports. The figures show that from fiscal year 2005 to 2014, wholesale deliveries of beer in Baltimore City declined by a whopping 19.5 percent, far more than the large 7-percent drop statewide. Booze deliveries, meanwhile, are up 13.3 percent in Mobtown, less than the 21.6 percent rise all across Maryland. Baltimore's real distinction is wine: up 37.4 percent, compared to 28 percent statewide. More wine and spirits, less cigs and wheat sodas! Hooray! Wait a minute. What's wrong with you people? Beer is delicious and refreshing. (Van Smith)


You may have noticed that the Guardian, the U.K. paper which was one of the first to report the Edward Snowden story, has put a lot of resources into covering the U.S. They've even had a reporter or two hanging around Baltimore (our own J.M. Giordano shoots pictures for them sometimes and in one piece, which starts at Dooby's, hilariousy described as a "chichi cafe-bar in downtown," my wife Nicole King, a UMBC professor, was quoted). This fascinating GQ piece profiles the culture behind the Guardian's U.S. strategy and what may happen when the man responsible for it retires this summer. (Baynard Woods)


Like the music business and newspapers before them, the university is now being unbundled by the unquenchable meritocracy that is The Newest Online Video Platform Du Jour. As The Chronicle of Higher Education reports, Udemy is making new, $20,000-per-day superstar professors out of (photogenic, charismatic) recent graduates who lack both research and teaching credentials. Awesome! As Eric Schmidt of Google (an Udemy investor, natch) told Chronicle Senior Editor Jeffrey Young, "You'll discover that teaching is an art. That there are people who are gifted at it, and because of the way the Internet works, eventually the very most talented teachers will emerge, from everywhere. It's a great thing." Young is not entirely convinced, but he mostly lets it go. More critical readers will appreciate the Last Guy Standing quote: "Essentially you are hooked into sort of an addictive process where you hope—or you've been told—that doing such a course will lead to an improvement in your career," he says. "But often there is absolutely no evidence that this is true." (Edward Ericson Jr.)


We've written before about the questionable tweets of @MDFOP34, the Twitter account for Lodge 34 of the Maryland Transportation Authority Police (MD-FOP 34). And whoever's in charge of the Twitter account has decided to do away with any attempt at professionalism this morning, tweeting at 2:52 a.m., "Dear Washington Post take your article and roll it up nicely and shove it." The article in question? An opinion piece from two professors at Yale Law School that makes the case that police officers should not be allowed to arrest a suspect by force for a petty crime, such as jaywalking or selling single cigarettes. "An arrest should not impose a burden greater than a conviction. When it does, the arrest amounts to police oppression," they write. (Anna Walsh)

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