Four Loko

If we try hard enough, I bet we can blame the entire collapse of the American economy on some Lehman Brothers dudes who had too much Four Loko.

We’ve been following the successful crusade to get the original Four Loko banned because of its “dangerous” combination of caffeine and alcohol. Outlawing one specific mixture of alcohol and caffeine in a society where both alcohol and caffeine are abundant has always seemed stupid to me. It’s blaming a drink manufacturer for other people’s lack of personal responsibility. Four Loko, when enjoyed responsibly, was no more dangerous than any other alcoholic drink. When it was enjoyed by idiots, stupid things happened. Banning Four Loko just encourages blaming others for your own stupid and drunken behavior.

We recently saw what has to be the height of this Four Loko lunacy. A college student was shot to death last year, and now his family is suing the makers of Four Loko….

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Welcome back to Above the Four Loko. In today’s episode, we find that the drink that used to combine alcohol and caffeine in really obvious ways has settled a false advertising suit with the Federal Trade Commission.

As we’ve discussed often with Four Loko, the alcoholic kick IS the appeal of the product. This drink is not getting by on its taste.

But it appears that regulators can’t grasp this simple point. So, as part of the settlement, Four Loko is being forced to make it more obvious just how potent their drink is.

Uhh… okay….

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Another person who wasn’t watching the finale of The Apprentice last week? Miley Cyrus. Instead, the 18-year old Hannah Montana wacktress took a break from her usual routine of grinding on stripper poles and groping in 21-and-over clubs to take bong hits at her birthday party at her L.A. home. TMZ has the whole episode on tape, and I urge you to watch, as it will make you nostalgic for dorm parties and WinAmp.

When you heard this news (it broke a week ago; I work full-time, cut me some slack), you were probably as shocked and outraged as I was that such a wholesome young starlet could betray her fans by doing illegal drugs. But just about as you were about to un-follow her on Twitter, “a source connected with Miley” — i.e., her GENIUS publicist — saved the day, announcing that Miley’s activities were perfectly benign: “According to a source connected with Miley … the smoke filling the bong is a natural herb called salvia which has psychedelic qualities.”

PHEW. Because when you work in Hollywood, you tell all the coke dealers to scram and buy fake drugs instead.

But what is salvia?

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A frenchman cheated on his wife? Sacré bleu!

* It would be much easier more entertaining if Eva Longoria and Tony Parker had to settle their dueling divorce filings with a jump ball. [New York Daily News]

* Duquesne’s law student clothing drive was pathetic, but this just takes the cake. Would you pay an ASU law student’s tuition? [ABA Journal]

* After laying off lawyers, foreclosure supervillain David J. Stern had quit his own company. We sure know how to pick ‘em. [Businessweek; Daily Business Review]

* Personal responsibility fail. Getting lok’d up probably won’t make you insane enough to kill yourself, but this lawsuit says otherwise. [TIME]

* The publisher for America’s Mom dragged Gawker into federal court on a Saturday for a proper spanking over copyright infringement. [Media Coder / New York Times]

* Jimmy McMillan’s $350M lawsuit: the font used by the NY Board of Elections was too damn big to write his full party name on the ballot. [New York Post]

This has been a bad week for: the makers of Four Loko, personal responsibility, intelligent regulation, and natural selection. The FDA put the hammer to Four Loko, announcing that caffeine was a dangerous additive to alcohol. In response, the makers of Four Loko agreed to remove caffeine from their products.

Of course, this will stop nothing. I wrote an editorial in the New York Daily News trying to help parents understand that one drink isn’t the cause of their kids’ alcohol issues:

I’ve seen people between the ages of 18 and 25 put alcohol in: coffee, soft drinks, diet soft drinks, Jell-O laced with pixie sticks (for the sugar – but it’s the same principle), and, of course, Red Bull. I’ve seen fat people pop diet pills in the middle of a bender to stave off the coming dawn. I’ve seen a person crush up Ritalin pills, place them in champagne, and call it a celebration. I’m just describing, not endorsing, these habits.

This regulation is utterly futile. There is already a YouTube clip which instructs people how to make their own Four Loko.

You can read me taking a flamethrower to the Nanny State at the Daily News. It’s a preview of what I’ll be saying once FDA makes caffeine a schedule 4 controlled substance or something.

Four Loko ban a crazy idea: Do what you will, young people will still mix caffeine and alcohol [New York Daily News]

Earlier: Nannies Win: Four Loko Stops Shipments to New York State

Once again, fear, overreaction, and the Nanny State have crushed liberty and common sense. Four Loko, a caffeinated, alcoholic beverage, will no longer be distributed in New York State. This follows previous Four Loko bannings in Washington, Michigan, Utah, and Oklahoma.

Good job parents, you’ve succeeded in making a foul tasting alcoholic beverage the most sought after item at college parties. Because telling kids that they can’t have something always works so much better than educating them about proper use and moderation, right? “Just say no to drinking Four Loko!” (Instead, funnel it on an empty stomach if you really want to get wasted.) Oh wait, was that supposed to be a secret? Well you know parents, if your kids don’t learn how to drink from you, I guess they’ll have to learn it from me.

How obvious is it that all of this government attention is helping Four Loko sales? So obvious that the makers of Four Loko agreed to the ban voluntarily. It’s like that scene in Jedi only if Four Loko was the Emperor sitting there saying “Take your Government weapon. Use it. I am unarmed. Strike me down with it. Give in to your anger. With each passing moment you make yourself more my servant.”

I am taking crazy pills, or is the government playing right into the hands of Four Loko makers?

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At the demand of the commenters, I’ve spent most of my afternoon becoming familiar with Four Loko, the caffeinated, alcoholic beverage. Apparently I’m way too old-school. When I want a “high-octane” energy drink, I pour some Absolute Poverty out of my flask, mix it with a Red Bull, and get back to the craps tables.

But now we live in a world where you can get a premium malt beverage and an energy boost all from the same can. Who knew? Progress, baby!

Yet before I’ve even been able to get my hands on this product, there are lawmakers trying to take it away. It seems that this drink has been dropping fools like flies. There’s a story that nine (nine!) Central Washington University students were hospitalized after excessive consumption of the beverage. People would be calling Four Loko a date rape drug, except nobody can seem to stay on their feet long enough to have sex with anybody after they drink it.

As we all know, we live in a world where kids can’t be irresponsible and careless with their own well-being before the government wants to get involved. So Four Loko is now under scrutiny by the FDA…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “New From the Nanny State: Lawmakers Try to Protect Kids/Bros From Four Loko”