The City Of Chicago Is Your Mommy: Proposed Energy Drink Ban
What’s next, they start setting adults’ bedtimes?
Baylen Linnekin, the exposer of ludicrous food nannyism at reason, writes about a powerful Chicago Alderman, Edward Burke, pushing for the city to ban trans fats, foie gras, Four Loko, and Red Bull:
Chicago Alderman Edward Burke may be the staunchest elected opponent of food freedom in America whose name you’ve never heard.
While New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg gets all the press–often with good reason–the fact that Ald. Burke commands little or no national attention is likely more a function of his Second City residence and second-banana title (“Dean of the Chicago City Council”) than it is of any lack of regulatory zeal.
…”These energy drinks, if they’re consumed in large amounts, especially by kids, can have serious health implications,” Burke told WGN last week.
That’s probably true of energy drinks–but also of coffee, tea, soda, juice, alcohol, water, and any other beverage.
And, in truth, energy drinks look a lot like a lot of other beverages.
…On an ounce for ounce basis, popular energy drinks often contain much less caffeine than coffee and other, more genteel beverages. An 8.5 ounce can of Red Bull, for example, contains 80 mg of caffeine. That’s 100 mg less than a comparable (short) cup of Starbucks coffee, which boasts 180 mg of caffeine.
So why didn’t Burke propose to ban coffee? Here’s one hint: Burke apparently likes coffee.
If Burke’s ordinance were to pass, its unintended consequences would be manifold. It would harm Chicago’s struggling economy while enriching the coffers of suburban convenience stores, grocers, and other energy drink sellers–which would gain customers who normally bought their energy drinks in Chicago.
The ordinance would also likely result in the introduction and dominance of new players into Chicago’s market. City stores that could no longer stock drinks banned under the law would simply switch to selling higher-caffeine products that don’t contain guarana or tuarine–like SK Energy shots and others on the horizon that contain oddball additives like “synthetic Asian hornet larvae secretion.”
I got dumped by my angry short guy loser psychiatrist at Kaiser (who only grudgingly prescribed me the ADHD meds I’d been taking for years because he doesn’t really believe in ADHD) and moved to another. (I got the angry short guy after my sweet old shrink — a guy who sounded like Eeyore from Winnie The Pooh — retired.)
Before I thought about it and realized I could trust the young shrink I got moved to on science, I started to go apeshit on caffeine, making coffee that was break-a-tooth black or ordering “black eyes” in cafes (two shots of espresso in a small cup of coffee) because I thought caffeine helped me or would help me slow down and focus. It turned out that Ritalin wasn’t really working for me.
When I told my new, science-based young psychiatrist that it had become almost physically painful for me to concentrate, and that I was thinking of taking Mucinex to ramp up the caffeine’s effect, he gave me Adderall, which changed my life. (It is not only a dopamine reuptake inhibitor like the Ritalin I was taking, it pushes a little dopamine out into the brain — which makes all the difference. I can sit and concentrate for long periods of time without my attention flying around the room and my head in six different directions.)
Anyway, the point is, it is entirely possible to get vast quantities of caffeine simply by buying a $14 espresso machine or ordering a double or triple espresso at a coffee shop.
What we need is to keep kids from overdoing it on espresso, donuts, drugs, alcohol, or Red Bull is to raise kids who aren’t idiots and drug addicts, and for that we need the secure attachment and firm parenting of wholesome, intact families, not government acting as our mommy. Of course, government, through the welfare state, enabled the flood of single parenting that enables kids to be daddyless and rudderless.
P.S. On a “my shrink is a great guy” note, he emailed me yesterday to see how I was doing. I love that. Unlike the short angry loser shrink who wanted me to come in once a month, he gets that I am not crazy and there’s no reason to kill my writing days to make me come in and see him for no good fucking reason. I actually want to see him, because he’s smart and great and fun to talk to, but I’m going to make an appointment after I turn in my book.