Wrong venue for beer photo

There was something wrong with the photo, and it wasn’t hard to see what.

Andrea Henkel of Germany had just won the women’s sprint race at the biathlon World Cup in Fort Kent. She was photographed smiling, holding her skis (brand name up, of course) and a very large glass of beer.

By large, we mean about a two-gallon jug.

It was actually Erdinger Alkoholfrei, which doesn’t take fluency in Germany to understand means alcohol free.

She’s German, the brewer is German and the marketing opportunity probably makes money for both.

Alkoholfrei is being billed by its maker as an actual sports drink with “regenerative powers that help athletes recover from a workout.”

The company is promoting it as a “sports and fitness drink,” and has been targeting athletes in Europe since 2001 with advertising and by offering free beverages at sporting events.

It’s a common marketing strategy that has been used extensively by so-called energy drinks that are high in sugar and caffeine, but don’t taste anything like beer.

While it may be nearly alcohol free, we are afraid Erdinger will look more like training wheels for real beer to young athletes and should be discouraged at such events.

My dog is my copilot

Rep. Paulette Beaudoin, D-Biddeford, has submitted a bill, LD 546, that would prohibit people from driving a motor vehicle with an animal on their lap.

It would apparently apply to all forms of wildlife, from raccoons to marmots, but the bill is no doubt mainly aimed at dogs.

We are not sure how many accidents or fatalities are caused by drivers who let their yapping dogs come between them and their steering wheels.

People should have enough common sense to know that driving is difficult and dangerous, and having a dog or two on your lap makes it more so.

What’s more, in the event of an accident, both dog and driver are likely to be maimed or killed by an exploding air bag.

Yet, given how often we see people doing this, the logic of that is not readily apparent to all.

Could this hazard already be covered by the state’s distracted-driving law? If it’s not, then bravo to any bill putting it in black and white.

Cutting rural airports

The Boston Globe reports that six New England airports, including four in Maine, would lose their commercial air subsidies under legislation approved by a U.S. House committee last week.

The four Maine airports are in Rockland, Bar Harbor, Presque Isle and Augusta. There would be no commercial service out of these airports if taxpayers didn’t subsidize about half of each ticket sold.

Augusta is actually the smallest of the three and, in 2008, flew an average of eight passengers a day.

Bills like this will certainly test the budget-cutting zeal of Maine’s congressional delegation.

However, given the size of the federal deficit, we will be making painful choices — and sacrifices — like this for a long time to come.

In this era of austerity, the federal government should let passengers at these airports pay their own way.

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