Give me Four Loko or give me death (or something)

Either John was right the first time and banning the combination of two legal substances – caffeine and alcohol – is complete idiocy,  or we must go much, much further and simply ban dangerous substances altogether or at the very least any potential combination of substances that might be dangerous. Why bother legalizing marijuana when the possible effect of smoking and drinking might make people much more intoxicated? Why sell both coke and rum in the same store – shouldn’t that be banned also? And come to think of it, drinking also encourages people to smoke more cigarettes, so really even selling those within the same city block could have potentially harmful side-effects. We should also ban hamburgers because do people need to eat all those unhealthy carbs when they’re already eating those unhealthy burger patties? There’s an obesity epidemic people and it’s killing us all. We need the government to protect us from ourselves.

You see, following this line of reasoning leads to all sorts of preposterous, paternalistic logic that might make sense if you’re thinking about, say, school lunches, but not so much when discussing the affairs of grown-ups.

Put simply, banning things that many people want (drugs, sex, alcohol, etc.) doesn’t work – taxing things, on the other hand, can help quite a bit. So by all means, put a sin tax on Four Loko and make it prohibitively expensive if we’re really worried about binge drinkers. But honestly we have to quit treating everyone as though they were children. People were binge drinking before Four Loko came around. If anything, if this is the course of action we feel we need to take, we should ban margaritas and daiquiris and any other drink that tastes sweet. And beer, too, because let’s face it: beer is delicious and makes people like me want to drink way too much of it. Indeed, many people do. Many other people don’t.

Then again, I find the fact that we have to be twenty-one to drink legally insulting as well. I think fewer bans and fewer rules on substances would likely result in less abuse of said substances. In countries where children are introduced to alcohol at a much younger age (think most of Europe here) they learn not only to be more responsible drinkers, but don’t have the same thrill at breaking taboos when they become teenagers and college kids. A culture which chooses instead to ban things and force them into the closet has a much harder time dealing with its issues. Think of Europe again: places where strong hate speech laws are in place have a really hard time dealing with the hate those laws are attempting to quash. It’s never out in the open so it’s much harder to combat.

Again, I will reassert my belief that Americans have the right to be stupid – at least until their stupidity infringes someone else’s life or liberty. Personally, I wouldn’t touch Four Loko with a ten foot pole but damnit I’ll at the very least write a blog post defending your right to do so.






136 replies
  1. 1
    fucen tarmal says:

    tax churches and other places of worship.

  2. 2
    Zifnab says:

    Either John was right the first time and banning the combination of two legal substances – caffeine and alcohol – is complete idiocy, or we must go much, much further and simply ban dangerous substances altogether or at the very least any potential combination of substances that might be dangerous.

    Either you let me buy a nuclear weapon at Walmart or we might as well just repeal the 2nd Amendment.

    There is no middle ground people!

    And banning never works. That’s why we still drive around with lead in our paint and in our gasoline.

    Safety measures are always bad. That’s why I’m pushing to remove child-proof caps from pharmaceuticals, air bags from cars, and traffic lights from intersections. Not to mention letting all that salmonella infected spinach in from China.

    Again, I will reassert my belief that Americans have the right to be stupid

    You’re doing an excellent job.

  3. 3
    MattR says:

    Either John was right the first time and banning the combination of two legal substances – caffeine and alcohol – is complete idiocy, or we must go much, much further and simply ban dangerous substances altogether or at the very least any potential combination of substances that might be dangerous. Why bother legalizing marijuana when the possible effect of smoking and drinking might make people much more intoxicated? Why sell both coke and rum in the same store – shouldn’t that be banned also? And come to think of it, drinking also encourages people to smoke more cigarettes, so really even selling those within the same city block could have potentially harmful side-effects. We should also ban hamburgers because do people need to eat all those unhealthy carbs when they’re already eating those unhealthy burger patties? There’s an obesity epidemic people and it’s killing us all. We need the government to protect us from ourselves.
    __
    You see, following this line of reasoning leads to all sorts of preposterous, paternalistic logic that might make sense if you’re thinking about, say, school lunches, but not so much when discussing the affairs of grown-ups.

    Yes it does, because your line of reasoning is preposterous bolstered by a series of strawmen. Once marijuana is legalized and someone tries to market an alcoholic beverage that has THC in it (or a joint with alcohol) then we have a valid comparison. And I think most people would find it reasonable to additionally regulate such a product and prove it is safe.

  4. 4
    Poopyman says:

    But how does the banning of Four Loko relate to the government monopoly of trash collection?

    I think we’ll need another post or two to figure it out. And what does Jane Hamsher say about the subject?

  5. 5
    freelancer says:

    OT Sarah Palin: “I could beat Obama in 2012“.

    Bring it the fuck on, you godknobbing aphasiac dipshit.

  6. 6
    Calouste says:

    @Zifnab:
    __

    Think of Europe again: places where strong hate speech laws are in place have a really hard time dealing with the hate those laws are attempting to quash. It’s never out in the open so it’s much harder to combat.
    __
    Again, I will reassert my belief that Americans have the right to be stupid

    He’s doing an excellent job indeed.

    Comparing alcohol to hate speech is like comparing apples to ball bearings.

  7. 7
    j low says:

    I think I agree with EDK on this one. Everything should be legal to sell, but there should be a ginormous “Yer a Dumbfuck” tax on things like 4loko and spam.

  8. 8
    kdaug says:

    @Calouste: I, for one, happen to enjoy my ball bearing pie.

    Especially with cinnamon, and a large dollop of vanilla ice cream.

  9. 9
    jurassicpork says:

    What’s the big deal? You can get hammered and wake up at the same time.

    Speaking of loko, what are Sarah Palin’s top 10 qualities she admires in a Republican presidential candidate?

  10. 10
    Bret says:

    ED, while I don’t necessarily agree with the ban, I certainly understand it. Having tried Sparx years ago, I know that energy drinks and liquor fuck you up pretty badly.

    Also, it’s not that banning two things that mix baldly together is happening here. It’s when those two bad things are mixed together and sold as one product things start to get messy. I mean, nobody wants to mix fertilizer and racing fuel because mixing them together ends up badly. But if someone decided to mix them together and sell it as “Xplod” or something, don’t you think we should ban it then?

  11. 11
    El Tiburon says:

    Either John was right the first time and banning the combination of two legal substances – caffeine and alcohol – is complete idiocy, or we must go much, much further and simply ban dangerous substances altogether or at the very least any potential combination of substances that might be dangerous.

    Here we go. Let’s take the argument and take it to its extreme.

    Hey, if we legalize homo-gay marriage, then it will lead to man-on-dog matrimony.

    I get the feeling ED only perused Cole’s posts and completely ignored the comments that helped persuade Cole to adjust his original stance.

    Put simply, banning things that many people want (drugs, sex, alcohol, etc.) doesn’t work – taxing things, on the other hand, can help quite a bit

    Right. So this is why we haven’t banned the automobile, but strive to make it safer.

    Personally, I wouldn’t touch Four Loko with a ten foot pole but damnit I’ll at the very least write a blog post defending your right to do so.

    Will you then write a blog post defending the government to carry out its duty to be a watchdog against products that are potentially hazardous and can, you know, kill people.

  12. 12
    daveNYC says:

    Think of Europe again: places where strong hate speech laws are in place have a really hard time dealing with the hate those laws are attempting to quash. It’s never out in the open so it’s much harder to combat.

    I’m not so sure about that. Sure Europe has a pile of rabid racist fucks running around, but unfortunately, the US isn’t that much better off. Dog whistles and code phrases mean that the hate is never quite as exposed to the light as it should be.

  13. 13
    kdaug says:

    @daveNYC: In general, if something is true of us and of “Europe”, it’s true for the rest of the goddamned world, to.

  14. 14

    Amen to this.

    These aren’t kids. These are, presumably, adults buying this product. These are adults making a choice to consume it.

    Throw some warning labels on it if you want saying, “Hey, idiots, this can of fruity tasting crap has as much booze as a bottle of wine, you should probably not chug four.”

    Throw a nice tax on it to make beer and other alternatives more likely.

  15. 15
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @freelancer:

    Palin’s already got disapproval numbers already in the 50’s and near-100% name recognition — that means there’s next to no upside potential. You can move no-opinions to favs with a good campaign.

    You can move favs to unfavs with a campaign, but it’s hard. The reverse direction is impossible. Hence the power of negative campaigns.

    Her campaign begins to go downhill 20 seconds after it’s announced. Which is when I short it on Intrade. She’ll raise a metric shit-ton of money, but won’t win a single early primary and she’ll be gone by Super Tuesday.

    Phil Gramm with tits.

  16. 16
    LayedBackGuy says:

    Fourloco? never heard of it before now; maybe I should try it, just to see what the big deal is…

  17. 17
    Martin says:

    If only there were some way to measure the effects of caffeinated booze on society to see if it’s a safe or dangerous product.

    Oh, gee. We did that, and it’s not safe.

    In the absence of data, making policy based on ideological or instinctive grounds is understandable. But ignoring data in order to do so is, in a word, wingnutty.

    We have a massive ability in this country to collect, analyze, and disseminate data. Better than anywhere else on earth. Can we please fucking use one of our greatest resources please?

  18. 18
    jrg says:

    I agree with E.D. You all are full of crap… Coming up with distinctions like “well, energy drinks and caffeine are OK, and alcohol is OK, and ordering a rum and Coke at a bar is OK, but Four Loko should be illegal”.

    The real distinction is that most of you all drink alcohol, and most of you drink caffeine, but most of you don’t drink Four Loko, so it’s just fine and dandy that we outlaw it.

    I don’t drink Four Loko, either. The difference is that I believe that someone who’s 21 (that’s an adult, for you nannies out there) should be allowed to drink it if they want to…

    I feel this way because when you all come up with some other arbitrary bullshit, I don’t want to have to conform to it simply because you think it’s a good idea. Your “rights” end where my nose begins.

  19. 19
    MattR says:

    @Comrade Dread: IMO, this misses the point. The issue is not that it is fruity tasting and strongly alcoholic. The issue is that it has a ton of caffeine in it which masks some of the effects of alcohol on the body making alcohol poisoning more likely. As an adult, I support the ban because my friends and I are potential consumers who might be adversely affected by that combination. As I posted on the previous thread:

    If someone starts selling a new alcoholic drink that has acetaminophen in it (marketed to prevent headaches) I hope that the FDA would step in and stop them.

  20. 20
    cynickal says:

    Ya know, back in my day, they banned Japanese toys with spring loaded “Missle” launchers because a couple of idiot kids launched it down their throats and choked to death on them.

    Yet, I can still go to the store today and buy Japanese toys.
    They’re just made in China.
    They still kill you, but the lead paint takes a lot longer.

  21. 21
    WyldPirate says:

    You see, following this line of reasoning leads to all sorts of preposterous, paternalistic logic that might make sense if you’re thinking about, say, school lunches, but not so much when discussing the affairs of grown-ups.

    E.D., I think you take some of the examples to the extreme., but you do make some decent points. It’s the paternalsim I have a problem with.

  22. 22
    Mike G says:

    Americans are ridiculously uptight about alcohol. Setting the drinking age at 21 (enthusiastically imposed by the Fonzie of Freedom, Ronald Reagan) is only the start of the stupid.
    It’s the neopuritan streak in our culture that fucks things up for the rest of us in so many ways.

  23. 23
    Mnemosyne says:

    I can’t believe that no one has posted the Glucozade Port sketch from Mitchell and Webb yet.

  24. 24
    Martin says:

    @LayedBackGuy: It tastes like regret.

    It’s ‘a 23.5-ounce can of caffeinated liquid that’s 12% alcohol and runs less than $3’. That’s, what, 2-3 Triples in a single-serving can? Wicked stuff.

  25. 25
    MikeJ says:

    If you can’t do everything you shouldn’t do anything. That’s fucking retarded.

  26. 26
    trollhattan says:

    I wouldn’t consider a lowering of the drinking age to be a part of this kerfuffle, as there are now ample medical reasons for keeping it where it is. Which makes alcoholic drinks targeted at those under twenty-one an inviting target. Do we dare threaten their magical freedoms to sell whatever shite they want whilst pretending to market to others?

    “Don’t let the smoove taste fool ya’.”

  27. 27
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Martin:

    We have a massive ability in this country to collect, analyze, and disseminate data. Better than anywhere else on earth. Can we please fucking use one of our greatest resources please?

    Butbutbut … nanny state!

    I bet you were against Fen-Phen, too, you fascist.

  28. 28

    @MattR: They do that. It’s called NyQuil, and it works wonders.

    It also has dosage labels, warnings about liver damage, and lets people know that abusing it is a very, very bad idea.

  29. 29
    taylormattd says:

    I find this whole thing to be fucking stupid. I mean really. Caffeine and booze! OH NOES!!

    Have these people never heard of a rum and coke?

  30. 30
    Martin says:

    @Mike G: Generally, I’d agree with this, but Four Loco isn’t designed to be a responsible beverage. It’s designed for binge drinking. Even the marketing for it makes that fairly clear.

  31. 31
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Told you John’s original post was glibertarian.

    Hey, you know what else? I could buy nyquil, sudafed, and model airplane glue at one store, so why can’t I start a company that just mixes ’em all up? Xtreme Krunk Shotzz, bitchez!

    Nanny state run amok, that’s why!

  32. 32
    MikeJ says:

    @Martin:

    It’s ‘a 23.5-ounce can of caffeinated liquid that’s 12% alcohol and runs less than $3’. That’s, what, 2-3 Triples in a single-serving can?

    5.6 units of alcohol per can. The UK government suggestion is 3-4 units per day for men, not to exceed 21 units per week.

  33. 33
    JITC says:

    I think fewer bans and fewer rules on substances would likely result in less abuse of said substances.

    First of all, THANK YOU E.D. for using the word “fewer” where appropriate. It seems sometimes as if this word no longer exists, even to journalists and professional writers.

    On the argument, yes – and no. E.D. continues:

    In countries where children are introduced to alcohol at a much younger age (think most of Europe here) they learn not only to be more responsible drinkers, but don’t have the same thrill at breaking taboos when they become teenagers and college kids.

    This is true. But this is because it’s deeply, deeply ingrained in the culture. And it would have to be so ingrained in our culture to remove regulations, such as a minimum drinking age for the same effect here. It just might be too late for that.

    A ban on these caffeine/alcohol drinks is ridiculous, especially because there is no ban on concocting Red Bull & vodkas, or Irish coffees. Or for ordering a shot and a coffee chaser.

    But the silliness of this ban doesn’t mean we should let 16 year olds raised in American culture drink.

  34. 34
    rageahol says:

    I hereby promise that in EVERY FUCKING ED KAIN POST I WILL SCREAM FOR THE AUTHORS NAME TO BE LISTED IN THE FUCKING RSS FEED SO THAT I CAN IGNORE HIM/HER.

    scout’s honor.

  35. 35
    MattR says:

    @Comrade Dread: Fair point about NyQuil though the counter arguments are that its ingredients are heavily regulated by the FDA to make sure the dosage combination is safe as well as the fact that it is not being sold as an alcoholic beverage.

  36. 36
    Martin says:

    @Mnemosyne: It’s a little pet peeve of mine. I don’t see any effective difference between ideological policy setting as ED is advocating here and simply harking back to the Bible for guidance on Four Loco. Absence of evidence is absence of evidence. All faith-based policy making is bad – whether it’s liberal or libertarian or fundamentalist.

  37. 37

    @Martin: So is a Forty of Malt Liquor.

  38. 38
    jrg says:

    I wouldn’t consider a lowering of the drinking age to be a part of this kerfuffle, as there are now ample medical reasons for keeping it where it is.

    Not least of which is the fact that it works so fucking well. Pretty much everyone waits until they are 21 to drink.

  39. 39
    MattR says:

    @Martin: This is pretty much where I stand. Either we want the FDA to enforce their regulations and make sure that new products meet the safety criteria or we dont.

  40. 40
    WyldPirate says:

    @Martin:

    If only there were some way to measure the effects of caffeinated booze on society to see if it’s a safe or dangerous product.
    Oh, gee. We did that, and it’s not safe.

    I took the time to read most of your CDC link, Martin.

    Here are a couple of the bullet points:

    Energy drinks are beverages that typically contain caffeine, other plant-based stimulants, simple sugars, and other additives.5 They are very popular among youth and are regularly consumed by 31% of 12- to 17-year-olds and 34% of 18- to 24-year-olds.6

    When alcoholic beverages are mixed with energy drinks, a popular practice among youth, the caffeine in these drinks can mask the depressant effects of alcohol.7 At the same time, caffeine has no effect on the metabolism of alcohol by the liver and thus does not reduce breath alcohol concentrations or reduce the risk of alcohol-attributable harms.7

    The key here is that many of the people that are using this stuff are using alcohol illegally. Kids will still drink and still die at a very similar rate, IMO.

    And how many kids died of alcohol poisoning in 2008? A grand total of 31.

    I would be willing to bet that far more kids died from injury from skateboarding or bicycle accidents. SWince that happens, let’s fucking ban skateboards and bicycles since kids aren’t smart enough to use these LEGAL things safely.

    These deaths are, of course, tragic. Having a draconian, nanny-state approach to every problem isn’t the answer.

  41. 41
    morzer says:

    It’s naive to think that the presence or absence of hate speech laws makes the difference. In the US we have seen an almost unprecedented outpouring of hate speech, coded hate speech and dogwhistles aimed at racist audiences in the last decade. The key factor isn’t whether hate laws exist or not – what matters is the media reporting what was said accurately and honestly confronting what it means. Contrast the situation in Britain, where, despite some immigrant bashing by the rightwing, no politician would dare to come up with half the witless and vicious rubbish spouted by Palin and Co. Why? Because the press would report it, people would look at them with repugnance, and their careers in politics would be over. In Britain, you also don’t get the range of “think-tanks” and websites set up to provide institutional cover and funding for the pernicious and hateful nonsense spouted by the right wing. It’s all very well to fetish free speech and assume that it will lead to the best of all possible worlds – but, in practice, without a responsible media and honest public debate, irresponsible free speech will end by licensing every form of hatefulness, and that will lead to hateful actions.

  42. 42

    @MattR: Yes.

    And if we want to start arguing that caffeine is a health risk that should have more regulation to it, we can have that discussion.

    But, for now, you have what is considered a safe, lightly regulated product being added to an alcoholic one. Which occurs tens of thousands of times a day throughout America without consequence.

    If something about this particular product: it’s packaging, it’s labeling, it’s marketing, is somehow making it more difficult for rational adults to understand the dosages of the ingredients they’re getting, then fine, let’s slap some more warning labels on it, make it crystal clear to even the dumbest frat guy that guzzling a four pack is going to kill him.

  43. 43
    soonergrunt says:

    I don’t have a problem with four loko. It sounds to me like nothing more or less than another avenue by which Darwin’s “survival of the fittest” can improve the species.

  44. 44
    ruemara says:

    You, as an individual, have a right to be stupid. We, as a society, have a right to ban things that increase your chance to easily, unknowingly be stupid in public and cost us time, resources and even your life. What you do in your kitchen is no one’s business; ie, your homemade delicious goodies which have less crap in it than store or restaurant goodies. If the same market or eatery sold items that killed a percentage of their customers and not via slow, crusty vein buildup, we’d probably feel relieved that the regulations are working.

    Edited to reflect my own stupidity:
    I once drank caffeinated water. I was at work, whatevs. As a teen, I lived on Caffe Reggio amaretto espresso, so no biggie. Within half an hour, I was nauseous, went to the ladies room, puked, was dizzy and so ill, I had to head home. 1 bottle, so much caffeine, a dedicated coffee drinker gets sick.

  45. 45
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Just put a warning label on it that sez “May cause unwanted pregnancy”.

  46. 46
    MattR says:

    @WyldPirate:

    The key here is that many of the people that are using this stuff are using alcohol illegally.

    Hmmm. I read that and thought the key thing was

    When alcoholic beverages are mixed with energy drinks the caffeine in these drinks can mask the depressant effects of alcohol. At the same time, caffeine has no effect on the metabolism of alcohol by the liver and thus does not reduce breath alcohol concentrations or reduce the risk of alcohol-attributable harms.

    Those effects are not limited to youths.

  47. 47
    Quicksand says:

    Not every slope is slippery, dontcha know.

  48. 48
    Sister Machine Gun of Quite Harmony says:

    So limit where you can market it. Limit the marketing strategy. Force them to make a single serving MUCH smaller, so that is less deceptive. Slap a billion bolded warning labels on it. But people have been combining alcohol + caffine + sugar to various levels of excess for a LONG time. Banning this particular drink because it is a combo of alcohol + caffine + sugar is excessive.

    So where are you going to draw the line with that combo? Do we ban it if it is equal to 1 bottle of wine, 3/4 bottle of wine, half a bottle of wine, 1/4 bottle of wine? What is the exact composition that makes it a banned substance versus something that is in a ton of mixed drinks and commonly consumed? What about those pre-made Bailey’s Irish Creme drinks? Do we ban those because if a kid chugged 6 of them, it would put them in the hospital? How is it much different?

  49. 49
    Martin says:

    @WyldPirate: Nevermind the 1600 or so underage drinkers that die annually from DUIs, plus all the ones that die from other kinds of alcohol-related accidents, also in the thousand+ range.

  50. 50
    Cam says:

    @Comrade Dread:

    Unlike Four Loko, which has none of those things, is packaged like soda, tastes like candy, comes in a container 3x the size, and costs a fraction of the price. What a world!

  51. 51
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Sister Machine Gun of Quite Harmony:

    So where are you going to draw the line with that combo? Do we ban it if it is equal to 1 bottle of wine, 3/4 bottle of wine, half a bottle of wine, 1/4 bottle of wine?

    How about a glass of wine, which is supposed to be a serving. Or a 12 ounce bottle of beer, also considered a serving.

    This encourages people to drink the equivalent of six glasses of wine in one go. This seems like a bad thing to me and at a minimum I think the manufacturer should be required to sell it in normal serving sizes, not a huge can that is the alcoholic equivalent of a six-pack of beer.

  52. 52
    soonergrunt says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: Also known as the Palin Label.

  53. 53
    jrg says:

    @Martin:

    Nevermind the 1600 or so underage drinkers that die annually from DUIs

    Clearly the solution is to make alcohol double-plus super illegal. Oh, and outlaw Red Bull. And Pepsi.

  54. 54
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    I’d like to see the drinking age lowered to 18 (even more ideally, I’d lower it to proof of completing high school, but that’d of course be hard to enforce) and its obvious that in the meantime shitloads of people under 21 are still gonna drink.

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with holding said views and believing that this is still a dangerous product that needs to be regulated somehow. You can enjoy your daily glass of wine and that’s no big deal, but a product like this most certainly doesn’t scream moderation-it screams “get shit faced drunk fast and easily with caffeine and sugary water.”

  55. 55
    scandi says:

    So I guess if we follow your line of reasoning, we should just go ahead and legalize crystal meth. As a responsible adult, I’m very insulted by the idea of anyone taking away my right not to shoot heroin in my eyeball.

  56. 56

    @Cam: Then as I’ve repeatedly said now:

    Throw a bunch of warning labels on it so the adults buying this crap know exactly what they’re getting.

    Tax it the equivalent rate of, let’s say, hard liquor.

  57. 57
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    @jrg:

    Well, how about this-we do the right thing and lower the drinking age to 18, but regulate (preferably ban) dangerous drinks that, quite honestly, I’m sure plenty of people in their 20s also get fucked up on.

    If we’re gonna have 18-21 year olds legally and responsibly drinking, getting rid of products like this has to be part of it.

  58. 58
    ThresherK says:

    @Mnemosyne: I’ll see your Mitchell & Webb and raise you a David Cross.

  59. 59

    @Martin: This is extremely tragic, and it’s something we should try and minimize (better enforcement of the law against selling to minors, encouraging families to educate their own kids on alcohol and its safe usage, etc.).

    It is, unfortunately, a cost of letting alcohol be legal. Which given the alternative costs of prohibition was a risk society was willing to take.

  60. 60
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    When the wife and I stayed at The Mill C a s i n o in Coos Bay, Oregon (FYWP!) in September, we found out that they will kick out anyone who is caught drinking Red Bull and any alcoholic drink. The security guy we talked to told us that the mean drunks go ape shit when they combine the two. They got sick of the problems and decided to ban the consumption of both drinks on premises.

    Nothing like a pissed off energetic drunk to keep the law busy!

  61. 61
    Anonymous At Work says:

    E.D.,
    John’s point in the two posts was that it wasn’t completely idiotic, which still leaves room for a thoughtful opposition, but not a knee-jerk, guvment-Medicare type opposition.

  62. 62
    Alex S. says:

    I agree with you on this issue, but you’re, once again, making a false equivalence here by comparing hate-speech and binge drinking. The intent of hate-speech is to incite other people and to cause physical or psychological harm on others while binge drinking is all about getting oneself as wasted as possible.

  63. 63
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    @Odie Hugh Manatee:

    Wow, I was born in Coquille, which is close to Coos Bay. Someone mentioning Coos Bay on BJ-what a wacky world we live in.

  64. 64
    MattR says:

    @Comrade Dread:

    Tax it the equivalent rate of, let’s say, hard liquor.

    FYI – There is one such lawsuit in Nebraska over this exact issue. I don’t remember the exact figures but the difference is something like 31 cents vs $3.75 per gallon.

  65. 65
    Morbo says:

    Four Loco infringes on people’s right to go to a party without being vomited on.

  66. 66
    lethargytartare says:

    Again, I will reassert my belief that Americans have the right to be stupid – at least until their stupidity infringes someone else’s life or liberty. Personally, I wouldn’t touch Four Loko with a ten foot pole but damnit I’ll at the very least write a blog post defending your right to do so.

    you do understand, I hope, that designing a drink specifically to keep a person awake when they are 17 sheets to the wind just might infringe on someone’s life and/or liberty?

  67. 67
    The Dangerman says:

    @Odie Hugh Manatee:

    The security guy we talked to told us that the mean drunks go ape shit when they combine the two.

    Perhaps true, but the purpose of alcohol in a casino is to help you lose your money faster. Red Bull helps counteract the effect, ergo, no Red Bull.

  68. 68
    EJ says:

    I guess all the D-Bags will just have to go back to Vodka and Red Bull.

  69. 69
    j low says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay: I grew up in John Day on the east side, and Coasties suck!

  70. 70
    maus says:

    @Cam:

    Unlike Four Loko, which has none of those things, is packaged like soda, tastes like candy, comes in a container 3x the size, and costs a fraction of the price. What a world!

    All those things are still legal to drink.

    Only difference is the caffeine.

  71. 71
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    Okay, here’s another thing:

    I recently read in the news that the Cow Palace just banned raves because of a death recently. Young people like going to raves and lots and lots of drugs are taken. I think a lot of deaths that occur at raves probably have to do not so much with certain drugs themselves, but probably mixed in with alcohol, combined with vigorous physical activity in an enclosed environment with lots of people…you’re mixing and matching substances that really shouldn’t be, and there are plenty of people in their 20s who are just as grossly irresponsible as people under 21.

    Just pulling this out of my ass, but these are bizarre beverages that don’t really have any decent purpose.

  72. 72
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    Okay, here’s another thing:

    I recently read in the news that the Cow Palace just banned raves because of a death recently. Young people like going to raves and lots and lots of drugs are taken. I think a lot of deaths that occur at raves probably have to do not so much with certain drugs themselves, but probably mixed in with alcohol, combined with vigorous physical activity in an enclosed environment with lots of people…you’re mixing and matching substances that really shouldn’t be, and there are plenty of people in their 20s who are just as grossly irresponsible as people under 21.

    Just pulling this out of my ass, but these are bizarre beverages that don’t really have any decent purpose.

  73. 73
    The Dangerman says:

    Motherfucking cocksucking cunt, I’m in moderation for using another c word in the last post.

  74. 74
    graeme says:

    The ban on these lame drinks is stupid. The drinking age is stupid. The war on (some) drugs is stupid. Abstinence-only sex ed is stupid.

    Unfortunately, such policies are probably all this nation of morons can handle.

  75. 75
    Turgid Jacobian says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay: Grants Pass.

  76. 76
    JC says:

    I agree with E.D. You all are full of crap… Coming up with distinctions like “well, energy drinks and caffeine are OK, and alcohol is OK, and ordering a rum and Coke at a bar is OK, but Four Loko should be illegal”.

    I’ve gotta agree with this.

    It’s more dangerous, this combination – and put this all over the can, if necessary.

    But banning?

    Really??

    That seems as much of an overreaction as because of the underpants bomber, we all have to get felt up or parade naked in front of stressed TSA agents.

    What the hell is it with this huge paternalism?

    If we want huge paternalism, everyone start cheering for Google cars that drive themselves. That would be priority number one.

  77. 77
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    To be fair, I was only born in Coquille, grew up in St. Helens, went to college in Corvallis, (insert Army interlude) and now live in Silicon Valley.

  78. 78
    maus says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay:

    I recently read in the news that the Cow Palace just banned raves because of a death recently

    I can’t wait for them to finally ban sports for good after all those intoxication-related deaths.

    Oh wait, that’ll never fucking happen.

  79. 79
    graeme says:

    I am cheering for the cars that drive themselves. People are too stupid to handle driving. I can’t wait until humans are out of the equation. Besides, driving is a huge waste of my time.

  80. 80

    @jrg: If we had a society where kids grew up with booze, sure.

    We don’t. And, like others have said, their lack of control impacts directly the safety of others. Killing yourself on a skateboard, OD’ing on Pespi, Red Bull, or smacking yourself on the pavement with a bike? Hey, unless you’re amazing, it’s gonna be just you. One hospital bill.

    But we live in a society where teen DUIs is a problem. And that problem tends to kill a bunch of people, oftentimes kids as well. These drinks lower an already brutal threshold for those events to occur, and that’s why this isn’t a strawman, it’s a real fuckin’ problem.

  81. 81
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    You will never get a consensus on legalizing relatively harmless recreational drugs as long as well-informed thinking adults are rationalizing the banning of drinks such as these.

  82. 82
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    @maus:

    I think the problem is that (IMHO) there’s nothing wrong with going to raves and taking drugs, its just that mixing those with alcohol is pretty dangerous. You do one or the other, but not both. And that’s how I bet a lot of those deaths come about. And I’m going to bet dollars to doughnuts that alcoholic energy drinks play a role.

  83. 83

    @graeme: Sure, you’re a fan now, but it’s a slippery slope from self driving cars to murderous killbots launching a genocidal war against humankind.

  84. 84
    MattR says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    You will never get a consensus on legalizing relatively harmless recreational drugs as long as well-informed thinking adults are rationalizing the banning of drinks such as these.

    Given that marijuana is less dangerous than the drinks being banned, I don’t see how you can reach that conclusion.

  85. 85
    jrg says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay:

    If we’re gonna have 18-21 year olds legally and responsibly drinking, getting rid of products like this has to be part of it.

    Alcohol was illegal for 18-year-olds long before Four Loco came into being. You’re fooling yourself if you think banning Four Loco will change that.

    No one was bitching about Four Loco two weeks ago. If locoheads were breaking into houses or beating old ladies, I think I’d have heard about it by now. It just became important to the nannies today.

    This is just more Tipper Gore flavored bullshit. We’re going to raise another generation of anti-gubbment wingnuts because of a energy drink. That will be the only end result.

  86. 86

    @MattR: Exactly. I wish to God my Mon had had access to legal pot; it likely would have reduced her pain a lot better, with fewer side effects, than the prescription drugs she was on did.

  87. 87
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @MattR: Is it? I’d be willing to look at yer statistics.

  88. 88
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    @jrg:

    Well, I certainly have no problem with 18 year olds drinking, but where we’ll have to agree to disagree is that I think mixing alcohol and energy drinks is a pretty dangerous combo. Meh, I guess we’ll have to disagree on what the term “nanny state” means, cause i don’t like it either.

    How about a nice glass of wine to relax now… :)

  89. 89

    @MattR: Because marijuana is the gateway drug! And is a bazillion times worse than cigarettes!!!! Oh nos!

    Plus, it’ll be so easy for kids to get a hold of some seeds and grow their own, and imagine THC brownies being sold in stores. They’re sweet, they sugary, and they appeal to the children.

  90. 90
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay:

    IIRC, most of the rave deaths happen because of dehydration — people forget to stop to eat and drink, and the diuretic effect of alcohol only worsens the problem.

  91. 91
    jo6pac says:

    No more Irish coffee at Buena Vista Cafe in SF how sad:( Can the fda stops rs from voting?

  92. 92
    maus says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay:

    If we’re gonna have 18-21 year olds legally and responsibly drinking, getting rid of products like this has to be part of it.

    The products exist because of the culture. Infantilizing teenagers hasn’t done squat so far, and doesn’t remove or even reduce the demand.

  93. 93
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Yeah, and mixed with something like ecstacy or its close relatives, its a recipe for disaster. Alcoholic energy drinks most certainly do not help.

    Its shit like that that drives ravers (the PLUR crowd) angry, giving raves a bad reputation and all that.

  94. 94
    maus says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay: More specifically, having a terrible water policy and offering those drinks instead.

    Some bad venues, when they offered bottled water would even have their “bartenders” take them away from people when they weren’t looking and dump them so the patrons would have to buy more. Douchey, price-gouging crap.

  95. 95
    RosiesDad says:

    I partly agree with E.D. here; the drinking age was 18 when I was growing up, we started drinking a couple of years earlier than that and we learned how much we could drink before we chucked our guts or were otherwise too inebriated to function. And I don’t remember anyone driving drunk and killing anyone (or themselves) or ending up in the hospital with alcohol toxicosis.

    I don’t think that criminalizing underage drinking is doing anyone any favors. It isn’t promoting responsible behavior; instead it seems like a lot of kids today pound down as much alcohol as they can in as short a time as possible. And then they get themselves in real trouble.

    That said, there’s no reason for a drink like Four Loko to be on the market. The alcohol equivalent of four beers + the caffeine equivalent of a couple of energy drinks in one can? Only the stupid and naive would buy shit like this (especially when you consider how crappy it tastes) and unfortunately the dumb bastards who buy it haven’t got the smarts to understand what they are drinking. And that does make it dangerous. (Our 19 year old nephew’s best friend just died of alcohol intoxication after a night of drinking this crap.)

  96. 96
    Nic says:

    Anything that gives Shmuck Shumer a chance to grandstand and pose as a defender of the masses is inherently bad. I still wouldn’t ban it, tho.

  97. 97
    Larv says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    You will never get a consensus on legalizing relatively harmless recreational drugs as long as well-informed thinking adults are rationalizing the banning of drinks such as these

    Nonsense. Nobody is proposing banning the consumption of alcohol and caffeine together, they’re telling manufacturers that they need better safety data if they want to sell the two together. I’m pro pot legalization, but that doesn’t mean I’m against regulating just what Marlboro is allowed to put into their joints.

  98. 98
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay:
    @maus:

    IIRC, there were some organization that started setting up harm reduction programs for raves (providing water, encouraging people to rest, etc.) but I’m pretty sure they got shut down by the neopuritans.

    Harm reduction just seems like a much more rational way to teach about drugs and alcohol, but we are talking about trying to sell it to the same people who think abstinence only actually works.

  99. 99
    englishmajor says:

    Is Balloon Juice a parent-free zone? What if they were marketing this shit to your cats?

  100. 100
    morzer says:

    @englishmajor:

    Cats are too intelligent to drink it.

  101. 101
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @englishmajor:

    Is Balloon Juice a parent-free zone? What if they were marketing this shit to your cats?

    Do you have any children? Are you unable to instill the correct values in them?

  102. 102
    Ben JB says:

    E.D., what’s your feeling about the age of consent for sex? I don’t want to switch topics (even if there are broad underlying issues across multiple topics, each topic has its own particularities), but it seems that a lot of the issue with Four Loko is that it’s marketed towards (and really, only attractive to) a younger audience. You ask when will we stop treating people like children, but it seems that in both sex and drinking we demand a certain amount of maturity.

    (Note, I’m not arguing for this position–I actually agree with you that drinking habits are managed better in countries that are less uptight about drinking ages–but it seems that your argument elides the difference between an adult having a rum-and-coke and a college kid having two-beers-and-three-coffees.)

  103. 103
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    Uh, bullshit?

    Various laws already limit the ABV or proof of alcholic beverages in the many states.

    Any products which don’t complay with these laws are “banned” (uh, that is, cannot be sold) in these jurisdictions.

    Been that way since Jesus made his first batch of hooch. So the fuck what? Who cares if a product has to comply with these regulations and will be taken off the store shelves if it does not comply?

    So what if combining legal drugs results in a product that isn’t acceptable? So what if regulators go after a product that appears to create a public health and safety problem? What is the proper purpose of government, to clean up the bodies and the car wrecks and the unhelmeted cyclists off the pavement and get the road reopened ASAP? Really? Whose FUCKING idea of government is that? Ayn Rand, the sociopath?

    That’s just life in the good old US of A.

    Delete this monstrosity and start a real thread.

  104. 104
    WyldPirate says:

    @Martin:

    Nevermind the 1600 or so underage drinkers that die annually from DUIs, plus all the ones that die from other kinds of alcohol-related accidents, also in the thousand+ range.

    Those are tragic deaths to be sure. However, the solution for this is what? Prohibition?

    I don’t disagree that there are some things in a society that should be illegal, I just think that this is a bit to nanny state and doesn”t address the real problem–human stupidity.

  105. 105
    policomic says:

    It takes a big man person to admit that he might be wrong about things, once in a while.

    ED, you could learn a lot from Mr. Cole.

  106. 106
    Graeme says:

    I guess the left did learn something from the shellacking: distract the rubes with some of that good, old-fashioned ‘for the children’ bullshit.

  107. 107
    Dr. Morpheus says:

    There are a lot of really uninformed people on this blog and I’m not talking about the ones against banning these drinks.

    For those of you deluded folks that believe that the caffeine and other ingredients “mask the effects of alcohol” or have so much sweetener that you can’t taste the alcohol, why not perform a simple experiment and buy a can.

    I can tell you from personal experience that the taste of these drinks is so vile that nobody chugs it because they like the taste.

    And even when the caffeine kicks in YOU STILL FEEL DRUNK.

    So these arguments are bullshit. Anybody who died from alcohol poisoning from drinking these didn’t do so because they didn’t know they were getting drunk nor because they didn’t feel the effects of alcohol.

    On the contrary, they felt the effects of alcohol and kept drinking BECAUSE THEY WANTED TO. Whether it was from excessive risk taking, suicidal tendencies, or peer pressure I can assure you that it was most certainly NOT because they didn’t know how drunk they were.

  108. 108
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Dr. Morpheus:

    For those of you deluded folks that believe that the caffeine and other ingredients “mask the effects of alcohol” or have so much sweetener that you can’t taste the alcohol, why not perform a simple experiment and buy a can.

    Martin did. Comment #24. He still thinks selling this stuff in these quantities is bad.

  109. 109
    Annamal says:

    *sigh* As to lowering the drinking age, New Zealand is one of the few countries with a drinking culture comparable to that found in the US and for us lowering the drinking age from 21 to 18 was a complete and utter disaster for the last decade.

    The problem was that the window around the drinking age at which underage people purchased alcohol illegally (or got older friends to buy it for them) also dropped meaning that more and more 15-17 year olds were able to purchase booze by pretending to be older.

    It’s been such a nightmare that parliament is currently looking at raising the purchasing age back to 21 (while keeping the age at which kids can purchase alcohol in bars and clubs at 18 to make for a kind of graduated progression).

    So yeah it’s stupid and insulting but removing this law will result in actual non-abstract harm to under 18 year olds.

  110. 110
    different church-lady says:

    Let’s face it here: if cigarettes were invented today there’s not a chance in hell they’d be legal.

  111. 111
    Ailuridae says:

    @LikeableInMyOwnWay:

    This is a pleasantly fact free thread. Please don’t run it with facts or clear thinking.

  112. 112
    sneezy says:

    “Either John was right the first time and banning the combination of two legal substances – caffeine and alcohol – is complete idiocy, or we must go much, much further and simply ban dangerous substances altogether or at the very least any potential combination of substances that might be dangerous.”

    Wow. That is one unpromising start to a blog post.

    The problem, in my view, was that Cole’s framing of the issue — two legal products, made illegal when sold in combination, OMG that’s so ILLOGICAL! — was wrong-headed and irrelevant from the start.

    Note, for example, as a few commenters did, that bleach and ammonia are both perfectly legal, but mustard gas is not. The idea that “if A is legal and B is legal, then A+B should be legal, too” just doesn’t hold up. It’s irrelevant and unhelpful to look at the issue that way.

    So going down that path won’t get you anywhere, but when you take it anyway and make it one part of a false dichotomy, as you did above, well… like I say, that is one unpromising start.

    “You see, following this line of reasoning leads to all sorts of preposterous, paternalistic logic…”

    It’s much more your false dichotomy that leads down that path than Cole’s original misframing of the issue, though, so that stuff is on you.

  113. 113
    mclaren says:

    The stupidity of arguments in favor of this kind of paternalistic nanny-state horseshit is absolutely astounding. It’s flabbergasting to watch allegedly sentient balloon juicers make fools of themselves by babbling the kind of abject idiocy I’ve heard in this thread and John Cole’s original post.

    The argument that caffeine + liquor must be banned because it lets kids stay conscious longer so they can drink themselves to death is moronic beyond description.

    First, what the fuck do people think is the first thing kids will do if drinks like Four Loko get banned? You guessed it: they’ll sneak some gin or vodka and pour a crapload of Mountain Dew or Jolt into it. Get a clue, fucktards. Banning liquor that contains caffeine will merely induce kids to create their own.

    Unless, that is, you intend to ban caffeinated drinks entirely. Which I’m entirely sure that the people stupid enough to support this kind of ban will wholeheartedly support.

    Second, those of you crowing and screeching about Kain’s alleged “lack of a middle ground” are making fools of yourselves. When the Drug Czar yells about felonizing a previously legal substance that is not a middle ground. Get a clue, people.

    By the way, the absurd argument in favor of banning caffeinated liquor goes double for banning cigarettes, in case you hadn’t noticed. Kids can sneak ciggies too! And they can smoke themselves to death! So we should felonize cigarretes too!

    How stupid are you people? The more substances you felonize, the more attractive you make ’em to young people, and the bigger the market you create for underground versions. Anyone with a functioning brain knows that banning cigarettes would create a gigantic criminal underground trafficking in tobacco products — do you think kids won’t make their own kahlua and Joost by grinding up caffeine stay-awake tablets or pouring Pepsi into vokda, and then sell the results to their peers? Do you think the Mexican dope dealers won’t seize on a whole new market and starting concocting truckloads of caffeinated liquor to sell to kids if caffeinated liquor gets banned?

    Kain is 100% right. If a kid is dumb enough to drink himself to death, we should let hi/r. Clean out the gene pool. That kid isn’t going to last long no matter what we do. Kids stupid or pathologically addictive enough to binge-drink are on their way out. Creating a vast new prison population by felonizing yet another harmless substance is insane, counterproductive, and idiotic beyond words.

    In case you haven’t realized it, this is the Drug Czar working his rice bowl. He wants more money. More DEA agents. A bigger limo. A larger budget. And this is his halfwit plan to get all that.

  114. 114
    satyr9us says:

    Reading this thread gave me a headache.

    I’m going across the street now, and I’m going to purchase a Four Loko. With change, because it’s that cheap, and because I’m that poor. Probably fruit punch flavor; I find that one to be the most palatable. Then I’m going to study well into the night, alert with a nice wicked buzz that renders the acquisition of new knowledge an almost ecstatic experience.

    (If you drink more than one, it’s totally different and you risk blacking out. Which is also true if you drink too much Red Bull and vodka or, let’s face it, any variety of alcohol with or without caffeine. BREAKING NEWS: the inebriants you imbibe diminish your judgment progressively as you imbibe them. To quote a great American, it’s all in the game. You have to be strategic about it, just like you have to be strategic about everything in this cruel world of ours. )

    Four Loko isn’t marketed to kids. It’s marketed to college students. I happen to currently be one. (Thanks for that new GI Bill, Obama!)

    The stuff tasted horrible when I first tried it, but it grew on me — which is pretty much everyone’s experience with pretty much every adult substance they come to enjoy in life. I love it. I will miss it.

    All you people here who love the idea of banning things that you do not personally consume need to DIAF.

  115. 115
    7` says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay:

    Well, I certainly have no problem with 18 year olds drinking, but where we’ll have to agree to disagree is that I think mixing alcohol and energy drinks is a pretty dangerous combo.

    And drinking and driving is an even more dangerous combo. So let’s ban cars.

    While we’re at it, matches and gasoline are an even more dangerous combo. Quick, better ban matches, lighters, road emergency flares and spark starters for welding torches!

    And how long do you think it’ll take kids to create their own energy drink + liquor combos? 10 seconds? Unless you’re planning on banning Red Bull too.

    Do you people even listen to what comes out of your mouths? Jesus Christ on minibike, is it humanly possible to be this dumb?

  116. 116
    mclaren says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay:

    Well, I certainly have no problem with 18 year olds drinking, but where we’ll have to agree to disagree is that I think mixing alcohol and energy drinks is a pretty dangerous combo.

    And drinking and driving is an even more dangerous combo. So let’s ban cars.

    While we’re at it, matches and gasoline are an even more dangerous combo. Quick, better ban matches, lighters, road emergency flares and spark starters for welding torches!

    And while we’re on the subject, if you do ban this stuff, how long do you think it’ll take kids to create their own energy drink + liquor combos? 10 seconds? Unless you’re planning on banning Red Bull too.

    Amanda, do you have any fucking idea how many items or substances in our society are “pretty dangerous” when combined? And this is your solution? Ban ’em?

    Holy simoleon.

    Do you people even listen to what comes out of your mouths? Jesus Christ on a minibike, is it humanly possible to be this dumb?

  117. 117
    sneezy says:

    “Second, those of you crowing and screeching about Kain’s alleged ‘lack of a middle ground’ are making fools of yourselves. When the Drug Czar yells about felonizing a previously legal substance that is not a middle ground.”

    You misunderstood. The lacking middle ground is in his “Either… banning the combination of two legal substances – caffeine and alcohol – is complete idiocy, or we must go much, much further and simply ban dangerous substances altogether.”

    That’s a classic false dichotomy (and Kain ought to know better than to start from one). There’s a whole world of choice between those extremes. It’s entirely possible (and true, too, in my view) that Cole’s original statement fell well short of “complete idiocy” and yet nothing compels us to go “much, much further.”

    (By the way, as to whether this drink should be banned or not, I don’t really care one way or another.)

  118. 118
    mclaren says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    This encourages people to drink the equivalent of six glasses of wine in one go. This seems like a bad thing to me and at a minimum I think the manufacturer should be required to sell it in normal serving sizes, not a huge can that is the alcoholic equivalent of a six-pack of beer.

    Once again, Mnemosyne wins the Stupidity Olympics. Vodka is basically Everclear diluted 50-50 with water. Yes, kiddies, vodka clocks in at 100 proof. That’s vastly more alcohol in one bottle than that so-called “huge can” of Four Loko.

    So according to Mnemosyne’s “reasoning” (if we can call it that), we should also ban vodka. Either that, or only sell it in thimble-sized containers.

    Is there a full moon tonight?

    The stupidity is erupting out of you people faster than a geyser from Old Faithful at Yellowstone Park.

  119. 119
    mclaren says:

    @sneezy:

    No, I don’t misunderstand at all — because I’m not hearing any middle ground here. Nobody who dislikes Four Loko seems to be saying “This is bad stuff, so let’s educate parents to get together with their kids and teach ’em about the dangers of this.” Or “Let’s put together some presentations in middle school that show kids what can happen if they chug-a-lug a whole can of Four Loko.”

    Or, I dunno, how about this one: require that all elementary school kids take a goddamn field trip to the E.R. so they can see binge-drinking college kids getting dialysis to remove the alcohol that’s poisoning their blood.

    But no. The people who disagree with Kain are all “Ban it! Felonize it! Give Gil Kerlekowski more money and more guns and more DEA agents and let’s fill the prisons with more non-violent offenders!”

    Stupidity. Stupidity. Stupidity. Stupidity. Stupidity.

  120. 120
    Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony says:

    @jrg:

    This is just more Tipper Gore flavored bullshit. We’re going to raise another generation of anti-gubbment wingnuts because of a energy drink. That will be the only end result.

    AMEN

  121. 121
    chopper says:

    @mclaren:

    The people who disagree with Kain are all “Ban it! Felonize it! Give Gil Kerlekowski more money and more guns and more DEA agents and let’s fill the prisons with more non-violent offenders!”

    that’s particularly idiotic, given that your comment right above that one is responding to someone saying “This seems like a bad thing to me and at a minimum I think the manufacturer should be required to sell it in normal serving sizes, not a huge can that is the alcoholic equivalent of a six-pack of beer.”

    no, it isn’t either extreme. you’re falling into the same false choice trap as E.D.

  122. 122
    chopper says:

    @mclaren:

    So according to Mnemosyne’s “reasoning” (if we can call it that), we should also ban vodka. Either that, or only sell it in thimble-sized containers.

    and no, the reasoning being put forth on why this shit is terrible isn’t merely because it’s strong. as stated numerous times, it’s because 1) it’s chock full of caffeine which masks the alcohol effect until it’s too late and 2) it’s super-sweet and marketed like an energy drink.

    neither of those apply to straight vodka. if it did, then vodka would be banned too with this ruling, and it isn’t.

  123. 123
    chopper says:

    @mclaren:

    And drinking and driving is an even more dangerous combo. So let’s ban cars.

    if the FDA were banning either alcohol or caffeine in response to these drinks in combination being bad, that sentence would make some sense. since it is not, you sound like a buffoon.

    in actuality, the comparison is more like ‘drinking is legal, driving is legal, but you put them together and some bad shit happens so let’s ban drinking and driving’. holy shit, they did that! and then hearing dumbasses argue that D&D should be legal because either one is legal on its own.

    i gotta say dogg, for a guy shouting about how everyone else is a moron, you sure went full retard on this one.

  124. 124
    RosiesDad says:

    @mclaren:

    Once again, Mnemosyne wins the Stupidity Olympics. Vodka is basically Everclear diluted 50-50 with water. Yes, kiddies, vodka clocks in at 100 proof. That’s vastly more alcohol in one bottle than that so-called “huge can” of Four Loko.
    So according to Mnemosyne’s “reasoning” (if we can call it that), we should also ban vodka. Either that, or only sell it in thimble-sized containers.

    I don’t think that’s the reasoning at all. If Four Loko came in a multi-use container (i.e. bottle with a screw top) like a bottle of Diet Coke, you might make the argument. But it doesn’t. So your argument is specious on its face. Because when you pop open a Four Loko, you’re going to drink the entire can. Or drink some and discard the rest. But you’re not going to put what you don’t drink on a shelf in the liquor cabinet or in the refrigerator to finish it tomorrow or next week.

  125. 125
    Larv says:

    mclaren,

    When the Drug Czar yells about felonizing a previously legal substance that is not a middle ground. Get a clue, people.

    Felonizing? Umm, right. Banning the sale of liquor/caffeine drinks is exactly the same as making possession of them a felony. Maybe you should take your own advice about clues and the getting thereof.

    And drinking and driving is an even more dangerous combo. So let’s ban cars.

    As I said in one of the other threads, let me know when a carmaker tries to sell a car with a kegerator in the dash. Because that’s the applicable analogy.

    And what RosiesDad said about the vodka strawman. At least in America, most people don’t throw away the cap when they open a bottle of vodka, and it’s not considered a single-person serving the way a can with a pop-top is.

  126. 126
    rickstersherpa says:

    1. Unless they are going to outlaw Red Bull and vodka, I don’t really see where this is going to do much good.

    2. But on the other hand you won’t have it marketed about how cool it is to get sloshed.

    4. The most deadly thing that kids 16-24 do is drive. Not drunk driving, just driving. But we live with that don’t we?

    5. I understand a parent ‘s fear. The grief of losing a child who one has raised and loved is unfathomable. So I undersand the anxiety of this perennial story (at least for the 40 years I can recall it) of kids going off to college and doing something stupid that will get them killed or hurt. 99% get through ok, with just a few hangovers. This fear, and the media’s marketing and senationalizing to appeal it, along with the our many national scolds desire to stop anyone from having a good time anywhere, has driven many of our stupidest policies these last 40 years (War on Drugs anyone?).

    6. Finally, some of us are just not lucky. A classmate in college died her senior year when driving back from a visit in another town she fell asleep behind the wheel, drove off the road, got knocked out, and because the engine kept running died of CO posioning. A few weeks a go 20 year old got killed in stupid way filming a football practice at a rather well know school.

  127. 127
    brantl says:

    @Zifnab: FTFW!

  128. 128
    different church-lady says:

    @mclaren:

    Yes, kiddies, vodka clocks in at 100 proof.

    I happen to know for a fact that the vast majority of today’s vodka is 80 proof, and if you want to find the 100 proof stuff you’ve gotta make a special effort.

    Apparently you’ve not had many cocktails since Ian Fleming was alive.

  129. 129
    different church-lady says:

    @rickstersherpa:

    4. The most deadly thing that kids 16-24 do is drive. Not drunk driving, just driving. But we live with that don’t we?

    Yeah, we live with that. The question is, why do we live with that? (At least in the 16-18 y.o. range)

  130. 130
    MutantD says:

    All I know is that if this ruling means craft breweries like Founders can no longer make their coffee-infused stouts and porters then there’s gonna be a problem…

    A not insignificant portion of the craft beer market is high ABV beers in 750-ml bottles, some with caffeine even (oh noes!), so really, we’re gonna throw that out because the kids found a new way to get hammered?

  131. 131
    lethargytartare says:

    @Annamal:

    sigh As to lowering the drinking age, New Zealand is one of the few countries with a drinking culture comparable to that found in the US and for us lowering the drinking age from 21 to 18 was a complete and utter disaster for the last decade.

    it was a disaster here, too

  132. 132

    […] saw that E.D. Kain had already done a good job of hitting the high points over at Balloon Juice: Give me Four Loko or give me death (or something). But honestly we have to quit treating everyone as though they were children. People were binge […]

  133. 133
    malcolm kyle says:

    If you support prohibition then you’re either a black market profiteer, a terrorist, a corrupt politician, a sadomoralist, a socialist or a fake-conservative.

    If you support prohibition then you’ve helped trigger the worst crime wave in history, raising gang warfare to a level not seen since the days of alcohol bootlegging.

    If you support prohibition you’ve a helped create a black market with massive incentives to hook both adults and children alike.

    If you support prohibition you’ve helped to make these dangerous substances available in schools and prisons.

    If you support prohibition you’ve helped put previously unknown and contaminated drugs on the streets.

    If you support prohibition you’ve helped to escalate Murder, Theft, Muggings and Burglaries.

    If you support prohibition you’ve helped to divert scarce law-enforcement resources away from protecting your fellow citizens from the ever escalating violence against their person or property.

    If you support prohibition you’ve helped to prevent the sick and dying from obtaining safe and effective medication.

    If you support prohibition you’ve helped remove many important civil liberties from those citizens you falsely claim to represent.

    If you support prohibition you’ve helped create the prison-for-profit synergy with drug lords.

    If you support prohibition you’ve helped escalate the number of people on welfare who can’t find employment due to their felony status.

    If you support prohibition you’re responsible for the horrific racial disparities which have breed generations of incarcerated and disenfranchised Afro Americans.

    If you support prohibition you’ve helped evolve local gangs into transnational enterprises with intricate power structures that reach into every corner of society, controlling vast swaths of territory with significant social and military resources at their disposal.

    If you support prohibition you’re promoting a policy which kills our children, endangers our troops, counteracts our foreign policy and reduces much of the developing world to anarchy.

    Neurotics build castles in the sky, psychotics live in them; the concept of a “Drug-Free Society” is a neurotic fantasy and Prohibition’s ills are a product of this psychotic delusion.

    Prohibition is nothing less than a grotesque dystopian nightmare; if you support it you must be either ignorant, stupid, brainwashed, corrupt or criminally insane.

    If you support prohibition then prepare yourself for even more death, corruption, sickness, imprisonment, unemployment, foreclosed homes, and the complete loss of the rule of law and the Bill of Rights.

  134. 134
    Duncan20903 says:

    When I was in high school in 1975, 76, 77, and 78 the legal drinking age in Virginia for beer and wine was 18. Some of the more enterprising seniors would purchase a keg and there was beer on tap for sale from 7 am to whenever the last busses left, every school day of the year. It wasn’t limited to seniors that were 18. I think that was the first and last time I ever drank a beer, I hate the stuff. I understand, I’m a very odd duck, but it makes me gag.

    I’m just sayin…

  135. 135
    Duncan20903 says:

    @Larv:

    Wow, I’ve never understood why people think it’s OK to make a commercial product illegal for sale, but not it’s concomitant possession. If it’s OK for me to own something it’s ok for me to buy it. If it’s ok for me to buy it it’s simply absurd to say it isn’t ok for somebody to sell it to me. It’s beyond absurd if the merchant can sell me the components simultaneously but not combined, red bull and vodka being the first thing to come to my mind, rum & coke the second.

    To the folks talking about the vodka proof of 80 or 100, everclear comes in at 190 proof. Go down to an AA meeting. You might have a problem finding long term members who liked everclear, but you sure won’t have a problem finding long term members who were beer drinkers and nothing but beer drinkers. If you ask them, they’ll say that a drink is a drink is a drink. That platitude was one of AA’s first, and developed because a significant number of members thought that if they drank beer or wine they would be OK. It’s also scientifically accurate, as a 12 oz beer, a standard glass of wine, or a shot of liquor all have the same amount of ethanol. I’m sure you’ve heard of a wino, have you ever heard of an everclear drunk? Ironically the closest you will come are the winos, who by and large prefer ‘fortified’ wine which is wine mixed with everclear or its equivalent. Search Google images for “we want beer” and you can see photos of the people protesting for repeal of the 18th amendment. They didn’t want high proof liquor, they wanted beer. The argument about potency is specious and a red herring fallacy.

    So what about the Red Bull & Vodka? Now I’ve never actually had any of the Red Bull/Energy drinks so maybe they’re just pretend energy? Sorry, I’m a layabout by preference and by profession, and caffeine and I don’t agree so I’ve never thought Red Bull was attractive enough to try, and I don’t use drinking alcohol so I’m completely unqualified to even speculate on the issue. Would it make any sense to make it illegal to mix Red Bull & vodka before selling it, but not after? Heck, maybe that example is silly, how about Rum & coke? They’ve been making that mixed drink as long as I can recall.

    No. I’m not a ‘straight arrow’ as I’m a dedicated lover of cannabis aficionado for over 33 years, which is how I ended up landing in this forum. You see, we cannabis aficionados are rather concerned with idiotic prohibitions and occasionally talk about proposed idiotic prohibitions, and the proposed idiotic prohibition of ‘four loko’ came up in today’s conversation. That’s why so many of us potheads are popping up on this thread, not that we care about ‘four loko’ much one way or the other. They sell caffeine pills at the pharmacy so I just can’t see what can possibly be accomplished by banning commercial production of this absolutely foul sounding concoction. I certainly won’t be giving it a try but I still find it offensive in the extreme that anyone thinks that it’s anyone’s choice but mine. I certainly don’t believe that it’s my choice whether others find such a drink attractive. You can drink pig vomit as far as I’m concerned, and I am referring to the actual farm animals, not those guys and gals in the cars with the sirens and flashing lights lobbying to insure that they get their 20 hours of overtime every week.

    BTW there are some people who would require auto manufacturers to install breathalyzers in cars which we’d all be required to blow into before being allowed to turn our over the ignition. Not just for multiply convicted drunken drivers, but everyone with the intention of preventing another case of drunken driving. Even that wouldn’t work. If that ever happened I’d have quite an opportunity for a part time job going down to the local bar and blowing into people’s ignitions for $10-$100 per pop at or near closing time if they do that. Of course the fee charged depends on the actual BAC of the drunk who can’t start his car without me as I need to get paid to facilitate drunk drivers. Cash money in hand and no chance of getting convicted of income tax evasion. I should start lobbying for this misguided idea.

    Prohibition doesn’t work. We’ve got decades of evidence to prove it. I don’t care how well you can academically argue that it’s a good thing, in actual practice it doesn’t work. I don’t care how good your intentions are, they’re really only good for paving materials for the Devil’s new highway to Hell which is being paid for with Mr. Obama’s stimulus money. It’s an opportunity as you can help the country and make some money by selling your good intentions to the Lucifer Road Construction Company. You can’t stop me from getting high on cannabis, and it’s been at least 20 years since I’ve been aware of any glitch in the retail distribution chain caused by the prohibition laws. The only thing accomplished by prohibition is to assign the duties of production, distribution, and quality control to criminal syndicates, which is a stunning act of imbecilic stupidity. We’re not going to quit enjoying cannabis and you can’t stop us from doing so. We’ve got decades of evidence that says you can’t. It’s been 97 years since California criminalized cannabis. What was the level of pot smoking in California in the US in 1913? I know Harry Anslinger pegged it at 100,000 in 1937 in testimony before Congress, under oath, he said: “There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz, and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others.” 73 years later there are 100 million people who have enjoyed cannabis according to SAMSHA. Really, that’s a heckuva job, an increase of 1000% by factor of magnitude and 99,900,000 nominally. It’s that low if you believe that everyone who has tried cannabis says yes when the government agents call and ask if people are breaking their laws.

    Though it’s easy to see Mr. Anslinger had nothing but the best of intentions (paving material) concerning the health of cannabis users and keeping white women from being seduced by Negroes, but it sure didn’t work. They ended up decriminalizing miscegenation within a couple of decades.

    I understand this is a drinking alcohol forum but that argument is my stock in trade, and is applicable to any activity which seems worthwhile to prohibit which people desire to continue. You have to actually have the ability to cause people to stop what they’re doing before prohibition can work. Someone above mentioned the thought that if cigarettes were ‘invented’ today there’s no way they’d be made legal. Well you know if no one knew about cigarettes they wouldn’t want to smoke them, and that woulod probably work. But we’re not going to get the poop back into the horse once it’s out. Oh, BTW per capita tobacco use has declined by 62% since its peak in 1963, without making it illegal for adults. Compare that to, oh let’s say cannabis, how much has that cannabis use been reduced since 1963 with a total prohibition? Yeah, sorry, that’s a cherry picked stat but it isn’t my fault that the Surgeon General issued his tobacco report in 1964 which was the same year Bob Dylan introduced the Beatles to cannabis. The reality is that broadcasting the danger of tobacco has done much better getting people to quit than simply passing laws telling them that they can’t do so.

    http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/dat.....nsumption/

    While you may have steered people to becoming four loko drunks or sniffing model airplane glue to get high the idiocy of prohibition hasn’t resulted in one degenerate addict being sober as the proverbial judge. But it really is a moot point here since the maker of four loko knuckled under to the FDA’s arm twisting and agreed to remove the caffeine on Tuesday. What was that supposed to accomplish again? To preserve Coca Cola’s market share because people weren’t buying as many rum & cokes? Were the sales of Red Bull suffering because so many quit buying Red Bulls & Vodka? Will anyone but the shareholders of Phusion Projects, Coca Cola, or Red Bull GmbH notice the difference? Warren Buffet doesn’t have enough money?

  136. 136
    Danny U. says:

    Four Loko is evil:

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