OLCC's New Happy Hour Rules: Solomonic Stupidity

Laura Gunderson has an interesting piece in today's Oregonian (the print version only, of course--the O is in usual form about getting its content online) about a change to the OLCC's law prohibiting pubs from advertising happy hours:
"The commission will allow outdoor signs or web sites to advertise the time a deal is in place or the cost of drinks--not both. No matter how good it may sound, working such as '$4 ladies-night margaritas on Thursdays' won't fly."
This is like how one lie leads you into a thicket of convoluted, conflicting lies. In the OLCC's case, it's not lies, but stupid rationales. The commission has always been characterized by a strongly Puritan streak and one assumption seems to govern all decisions: the evil drink will corrupt men's souls, and we must do our part to make sure the twain meet only after navigating our Kafkaesque bureaucracy. We will tie up pubs with red tape.

Advertising for happy hours is bad, obviously, because it will, you know, encourage people to go to bars. But since the OLCC can't dictate what price bars sell a pint of beer for, the best they could do was prohibit them from advertising cheap pours. Now they say: well, you can advertise prices or times of discounts--but not both together. How on earth did they come to this divide-the-baby solution? Gunderson quotes an OLCC spokeswoman saying that it will "ensure against price wars." Good god. (I await the Beeronomist's take on that bit of wisdom.)

And how does this stop sites from listing this same information? It doesn't. Barfly does a great job cataloging this info, and others like Urban Drinks offer versions as well. So the info can appear on a website, just not a website operated by the pub offering the happy hour. A rule that makes sense only to the OLCC.