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Not a moment too soon Coors, which has long been in hot water for its labor and racial policies, finally met a group it couldn’t browbeat: beer drinkers. At issue was the matter of getting into a Coors can. In 1973, the Colorado company became the first major brewer to abandon the controversial ring-pull opener, responding to environmentalists’ complaints that the little pulls were being strewn across America at such a rate that they threatened to replace amber waves of grain as the landscape’s dominant feature. Coors, which makes its own cans, introduced “Press Tab I”a litter-free innovation that required customers to punch in two round openings on the lid. Problem was, the drinker’s finger plunged into the beer along with the press tab. Hence, “Press Tab II,” introduced in 1976. This “improvement” confronted one with a single, tear-shaped tab, engineered to require less finger pressure. To get to the brew, it was first necessary to press with the thumbs at two designated points along the scored edges of the tab, then merely fold it in. Two problems: first, thumbs didn’t always do the trick, leaving people to pound on the lid in angry frustration with whatever blunt instrument they could find, and, second, even when the two pressure points gave way, the task of folding in the tab still got fingers directly into the beer. For more than a year, Coors stubbornly maintained that its can worked. Beer drinkerssome with gashed fingers as a result of taking the plungethought otherwise, and they let Coors know about it. The turning point may have been when WFAA-TV in Dallas interviewed Bill Coors, president of the firm, last spring. He insisted that it was a simple task to open the beer without wetting a finger, then proceeded while on the air to poke his own digit deep into the can twice in two tries. On Oct. 17, the company announced that Press Tab II “hasn’t caught on like we had hoped it would,” adding that “people report difficulty in opening it.” So Coors is withdrawing II and going back to Press Tab I. The Coors boycott Those who think that consumer boycotts don’t do much good might contemplate the Coors experience. In the six months since the AFL-CIO announced a boycott against the Colorado brewery, Coors sales have fallen off about 5 percent nationwide, according to the company, and the firm says its sales are down as much as 25 percent in some markets. Latest available figures from the Wholesale Beer Distributors of Texas, however, indicate that the boycott is cutting into Coors consumption even further. In Austin, a city that saw considerable boycott activity this summer, Coors volume dropped from 99,516 cases in May to 55,296 cases in Julya 45 percent tumble. Still waiting for doctors This spring, the Legislature passe\( a bill appropriating several million ; dollars for medical training program. that proponents said would create 27\( new doctors for “underserved” areas o Texasrural towns and urban ghetto \(Obs., pointed out that the bill had no guarantees that the money would create any new family residency programs, or that any doctors trained under those that were established would wind up in areas of need. More cynical opponents said aloud that the money would go to existing programs training family doctors, and that those doctors would go straight to the suburbs and other comfortable areas. Tut-tut, chided the proponents, the bill requires the state college coordinating board to adopt rules “providing for distribution of family physicians and improvement of medical care in underserved urban and rural areas.” Six months later, the coordinating board still has not adopted any rules. Dr. Kenneth Ashworth, head of the board, says it will be at least another couple of months before the Family Residency Advisory Committee \(its members come drafts any rules for the board to consider. But that has not stopped the allocation of money under the new law. The board has just divvied up the 1977-78 appropriation of $852,700, and the breakdown is not encouraging. Eighty percent of the money is going to be spent on the 12 family residency programs already established; the remaining 20 percent will be made available for expansion of current programs and development of new ones. Dean Herbst, a member of the advisory committee that recommended the 80-20 split, told the Observer that the lopsided allocation is for the first year only. The committee felt it had to put the bulk of the money into existing programs to strengthen them, she said. The $682,160 that they will get does not represent additional or expanded funding, but merely a new source of money to cover existing budgets, now being supported by non-state sponsors. Ashworth was quick to say that things will change: “We notified all existing programs that we have no intention of allocating 80 percent of funds in the future to them.” He did not venture an opinion on what a proper allocation might be. What’d he say? John Tower refuses to use the new microphone system in the U.S. Senate chamber. During a floor debate on Sept. 8, the’ following exchange took place: “Mr. President, if the senator from Texas will excuse me, I am very interested in what he is saying, but I cannot hear him. If it is possible, will he use the mike?” Senator Tower: “I shall try raising my voice. I opposed putting these evil instruments in the Senate in the first place and I have no intention of using them.” NOVEMBER 18, 1977