Category: Alcohol

Morning Links

Monday, November 21st, 2011

Saturday Links

Saturday, November 12th, 2011

Local News Hysteria at Its Finest: Rectal Beer Bongs and Vodka-Soaked Tampons

Friday, November 11th, 2011


It’s the scariest thing since iDosing.

Yes, I’m calling bullshit on this story. Beware of any hyped-up local news report that involves teenagers, alcohol, and sex. Throw in the Internet, and this one would have been a sensational local news home run.

Note that the reporter doesn’t talk to a single student, either one who has tried it (which would give the station the opportunity to cover them in shadow and give them that creepy disguised electro-voice), or even one who knows other students who have. The only source for this story is a school cop who claims to have overheard kids talking about it all in the hallway. From this, he concludes that the vodka-soaked tampon trend has infested every school, city, and state in America—it’s “everywhere.” So they put him on TV.

They do at least interview one doctor, but the doctor never says he’s actually seen a student who has done it. He only talks about the possible physiological effects if a student were to try it. A Google News search turns up about a dozen stories . . . and all of them lead back to this one news report out of Arizona.

The “rectal beer funneling” seems particularly silly. High school boys tend to be pretty homophobic. I find it hard to believe there’s an epidemic of them dropping trow at parties, then helping one another pour beer into their rectums. (Logistically, I would think this is more than a one-man job.) Especially when they can just, you know, drink the stuff through their mouths.

According to Snopes, an email circulated about vodka-soaked tampons a couple years ago, and it included a number suspiciously similar details to the news story in the video, including the reasons why students claimed to be doing it.  (To pass breath tests, to drink more without vomiting, etc.) Snopes also finds a couple print reports out of Finland in the late 1990s. Booze-soaked tampons were also featured in a 2008 episode of CSI, and the alcohol-delivery method is apparently also part of a rumor about the Scottish band Mogwai.

Morning Links

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Morning Links

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Lunch Links

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Thousands of Florida DUI Arrests May Be Tainted

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

This isn’t the first time something like this has happened.

Thousands of people in Florida convicted of DUI may not have been drunk at all. They very well may have been under the allowable blood alcohol limit. The problem may have been law enforcement not calibrating the breathalyzer called the Intoxilyzer 8000.

Now, the 10 News Investigators have uncovered documents and emails that prove the state knew there were problems and didn’t do anything to correct it for more than two and half years . . .

The 10 News Investigators obtained letters where a Sarasota deputy noticed there was a problem recording breath samples and breath flow levels as far back as 2007. He wrote in his notes that he even alerted an inspector who agreed there was a problem.

Those notes prompted an email from the head of the breath testing program, Laura Barfield, telling inspectors not to write down flow sensor problems in their field notes. . .

“As we found, almost half of every Intoxilyzer 8000 used in the state of Florida is not properly calibrated. There are enormous implications. I would tell anybody convicted of DUI using the breath test over the past few years they may want to talk to their lawyer because this information the state wouldn’t tell anybody about,” says Harrison.

While several people, including Bob Marois, who were arrested for DUI using faulty machines have had their convictions thrown out, they ended up losing their licenses for up to a year, having their mug shot forever online, and spending thousands defending themselves.

Not to mention that a DUI can get you fired from your job, ruin your reputation, and have all sorts of other extra-legal implications. It’s really astonishing (in a moral way, not a surprising way) that these idiots could allow people’s lives be seriously disrupted, sometimes ruined—and for more people to continue to be falsely implicated—rather than admit to a fixable mistake.

In a just world, the people who covered all of this up would suffer the same sort of repercussions those falsely convicted of DUI did. That isn’t going to happen.

Morning Links

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

This Week in Police Professionalism

Saturday, October 1st, 2011

More stories you couldn’t make up:

The Internet is full of license plate covers that claim to be able to help drivers avoid getting a red light or speed camera ticket.

According to New Orleans Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas, one of his high-ranking officers, Capt. Michael Glasser, had this type of distortion device on his police cruiser. Serpas took away his car, and the matter is now under review by the NOPD’s Public Integrity Bureau.

“No police officer has the right to violate the rules and the law and police supervisors are especially responsible for insuring that the officers follow the rules,” said Serpas.

According to Louisiana law, license plates “shall be maintained free from foreign materials and in a condition to be clearly legible.”
Glasser’s attorney Frank Desalvo said license plate covers are not illegal.

“I think the state law says if your license plate has to be visible from 50 feet away,” said Desalvo. “I think these things affect the visibility from a certain angle.”

Glasser’s case is particularly thorny because of the unit he commands.

He is the integrity control officer for the Special Operations Division, which also includes highway enforcement, the department that reviews red-light tickets.

“This inquiry is going to get to the bottom of it and it would be terribly troubling to us if a captain who was also responsible for insuring integrity had in fact broken our rules,” said Serpas.

I have no idea if the product Glasser uses it technically illegal under Louisiana law, but it would be interesting to see how many motorists Glasser’s unit has fined for using similar techniques to obscure their license plates from red light cameras. Bonus points: Glasser is president of the New Orleans police union. More bonus points to his lawyer for putting up the “everybody else is doing it” defense.

[Serpasj]  claims there are other police cars out there with illegal tint and improper license plates.

Think about that for a second. Glasser’s attorney is arguing that his client, a high-ranking cop, shouldn’t be disciplined for possibly violating the law because lots of other New Orleans cops also violate similar laws—laws that regular, non badge-wearing residents of New Orleans are expected to follow.

In related news, a Pennsylvania state liquor control officer was arrested over the weekend for DUI.

Morning Links, All-Criminal Justice Edition

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

Late Morning Links

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

Morning Links

Thursday, September 1st, 2011
  • This looks like a case we’ll be hearing more about. From the article, it isn’t clear why a 20-man SWAT team (allegedly) would have been necessary.
  • Woman punches bear in the face, saves dog.
  • I’ll be giving a “webinar” for the Students for Liberty on Wednesday, September 14th.
  • Will Saletan wants to know how anyone could possibly oppose Mothers Against Drunk Driving. I don’t even know where to begin.
  • Good piece on Jon Huntsman, who I’m starting to think would be someone worth rooting for should the GOP nominate him to run against Obama. Which of course is a good sign that the GOP will never nominate him.
  • Feds tell trucking company they aren’t allowed to fire an alcoholic driver. But they’re still liable if he drives drunk and kills someone.

Me on Stossel’s Show

Sunday, August 7th, 2011

My segment on drunk driving laws aired Thursday night. You can watch it here.

Here’s the column where I lay out my argument.


Maker of Ignition Interlock Devices: Public Safety Demands a Law Requiring Ignition Interlock Devices

Monday, July 11th, 2011

Shocking, isn’t it?

But good on the Washington Times for exposing the money grab behind the “public safety” campaign to mandate the devices for first-time DUI offenders.

A bill that would withhold up to 5 percent of each state’s highway funding unless that state requires such as device in the cars of all convicted drunken drivers was introduced in the Senate in February by Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, New Jersey Democrat, and last month in the House by Rep. Eliot L. Engel, New York Democrat.

For the past 18 months, lobbyists for “ignition interlocks,” as they are called, have jockeyed to inject a provision into the crevices of the transportation reauthorization bill, a tentative outline of which was released Friday by Rep. John L. Mica, Florida Republican.

The hospitality industry says a mandate could pave the way for a different type of sensor, other than a Breathalyzer, to be made standard in all cars within five years, in line with a separate House proposal introduced last month that would allocate $60 million over that period to develop the technology. Those devices would be set to detect blood alcohol content near the legal limit, likely through skin contact with the steering wheel.

The Coalition of Ignition Interlock Manufacturers hired lobbyist David Kelly, a former chief of staff and acting administrator at the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration. Mr. Lautenberg’s former chief of staff, Tim Yehl, now lobbies for Ignition Interlock Systems of Iowa . . .

The manufacturers are taking a page from a well-worn playbook: lobbying campaigns in which private companies advocate for government requirements that would make them rich by aligning with activist forces who provide moral pronouncements that are appealing to politicians and – once on the table – the public . . .

“The overwhelming majority of entities that want to regulate in some way are composed of Baptists and bootleggers,” said Peter Van Doren, editor of the quarterly journal Regulation, referring to the two groups that pressed for Prohibition 90 years ago: religious zealots who viewed alcohol as immoral and the gangsters who profited from its illegal status.

Manufacturers are “probably sincere and also making an alliance with Mothers Against Drunk Driving – the mothers would be the Baptists,” he said. “They’re going to them and saying if you mandate this thing, your version of the world will come along, and it just so happens we’ll get rich – but of course they don’t say that part.”

I’m fine with mandating these devices for repeat offenders. But first-time offenders is too much, especially for someone barely above the too-low legal limit. And I don’t think it’s unreasonable to worry about the possibility that this campaign will expand to demand the devices in all new cars.

I’d also add here that there may indeed be good public safety arguments for this policy. I just don’t think the anti-alcohol fanatics can be trusted when they try to make them. A few years ago, for example, I wrote about a MADD report that “evaluated” DWI fatality data in all 50 states. Somehow, MADD’s objective analysis determined that every state was in urgent need of an ignition interlock law, regardless of whether the state’s DWI stats were trending up, trending down, or unchanged.

Morning Links

Friday, June 17th, 2011