Have you heard of inhalable caffeine? It’s a shot of caffeine, that one inhales. It’s pretty gross. It’s also about to get massively popular thanks to New York’s own Sen. Charles Schumer, and his crusade to get it investigated and consequently banned. This is not the first time he has taken on something like this.
Sen. Charles Schumer’s history with trying to destroy supposedly fun things is quite storied. In some cases, these attempts seem as well-intentioned as they are common sense. In others, they can appear as political plays to capitalize on the ages-old fear that Something Will Make Young People Crazy, Drug-Addled Freaks, with Sen. Schumer’s name attached. Surely, whether he gets inhalable caffine, there’s plenty more like these to come. Until then, we humbly submit a hit list of those bodega-peddled evils which Sen. Schumer has attempted to—successfully or otherwise—rid the world of.
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Inhalable Caffeine (AKA AeroShot)
VARIATION OF FUN: Inhalable caffeine. Tastes like huffing a packet of off-brand Gatorade. Gives you the shakes for an hour or two, and makes your mouth taste like the inside of a flavored sugar turbine.
WHY SCHUMER WANTED TO DESTROY IT: Because he's up the keester of the coffee lobby! We kid. No, his reason's way better: "The AeroShot caffeine-inhaler is being marketed as a party enhancer; it can facilitate excessive drinking"—like a bar? Or "Last Friday Night"?—and its effects have never been examined by independent regulators." Interestingly enough, he's not talking about the entirety of Hoboken, here. Also, it's never been examined by independent regulators, but Sen. Schumer knows it can facilitate excessive drinking. He is the Chuck Norris of boozing investigations. He just knows.
ATTEMPTED DESTRUCTION: A joint investigation with the F.D.A.
LEVEL OF SUCCESS: None yet, but to anyone trying to peddle an innocuous product through the channels of our free market to take advantage of America's youth and their naivety/desire to get stupid/violent/engaging in quote-unquote "risque" behavior? Now you know: Sen. Schumer will be there. Unless you are an awful product of the entertainment industry that effectively does the same thing, in which case, see Slide #7.
AFTERMATH: If banned, 8th graders will have one less thing to "do" in the back of Geometry that aren't rails of Pixie Sticks or letting friends try one another's albuterol. Hoboken will still get Hoboken-drunk.
VARIATION OF FUN: Caffeinated, carbonated malt beverages. Something short of a Vodka-Red Bull in a can. Tastes like fermented Jolly Ranchers, gets you crazy stupid-drunk on the cheap, and you can pick it up at a bodega.
WHY SCHUMER WANTED TO DESTROY IT: For all the reasons it was fun, basically. Four Loko "appear[ed] to be created and advertised with teenagers in mind." Cans were "designed to appear hip with flashy colors and funky designs." The drinks were 12% alcohol by volume, "more than twice the amount of alcohol than a bottle of beer or glass of wine." In other words, they were a crazy-drunk bargain, in a can.
ATTEMPTED DESTRUCTION: Nationwide legislation banning drinks like Four Loko.
LEVEL OF SUCCESS: Complete Destruction of Fun. Caffeinated, canned booze was banned. Also, restauranteur Eddie Huang—who dared to defy Sen. Schumer by hosting bottomless Four Loko dinners—had his restaurant shut down.
AFTERMATH: Kids are likely finding less inconspicuous ways to get crazy-drunk. Teenagers will now just have to "fish" for handles of Popov to mix with their Monster drinks.
Anonymous Prepaid Phones
VARIATION OF FUN: You don't need to give your social security number or ID to get a pre-paid phone. In the event you ever need to get rid of it, it's untraceable. These are called "burners," and they're great for drug dealers and incredibly sophisticated prank callers. Haven't you ever seen The Wire?
WHY SCHUMER WANTED TO DESTROY IT: Because, says Sen. Schumer, terrorists can use them.
ATTEMPTED DESTRUCTION: Legislation demanding companies take identities in order to activate prepaid cell phones.
LEVEL OF SUCCESS: On hold. Sen. Schumer's legislation appears to have stalled out. For the time being.
AFTERMATH: Victory for Team Barksdale: You can still score a burner without attaching your name to it.
Synthetic Marijuana (Or: "K2")
VARIATION OF FUN: Synthetic, chemical "herbs" that look like Marijuana and supposedly get you buzzed.
WHY SCHUMER WANTED TO DESTROY IT: Because the life of someone bored and/or desperate and/or disconnected from reality to the point where one actually buys fake marijuana isn't awful enough as it is. "These drugs are wreaking havoc on our youth," noted Sen. Schumer. On that charge, sure, he's kinda correct, as it's encouraging our youth to buy fake marijuana. Which: Why?
ATTEMPTED DESTRUCTION: The "David Mitchell Rozga Act," legislation that'd ban the sale of K2 and all the substances like it, and also, make it a Schedule I drug.
LEVEL OF SUCCESS: Pretty solid, so far. The bill passed in the house and awaits passage in the Senate.
AFTERMATH: You can still score "Blind Dog" in a bodega, so legislative-action-savvy kids or fake-weedheads are probably stockpiling the stuff. If it passes, kids will find some other ridiculous thing you can buy at a bodega to get high with that's likely worse for them than fake weed. Also, world's sociologists will never comprehensively know who purchased this fake weed and why.
VARIATION OF FUN: Aromatic bath salts made with methylenedioxypyrovalerone and mephedrone which—besides making your bath smell nice—can also cause "hallucinations, paranoia, suicidal thoughts, even some deaths" after producing effects supposedly similar to cocaine and MDMA when snorted, smoked, or shot up.
WHY SCHUMER WANTED TO DESTROY IT: Because bath salts have caused some people to die. Also, any drug you can ingest in as many ways as one can ingest bath salts is undoubtedly pretty nasty.
ATTEMPTED DESTRUCTION: Nationwide legislation.
LEVEL OF SUCCESS: Near-complete. While the DEA instituted an emergency ban on bath salts, noted bath salts advocate Sen. Rand Paul actually put a hold on Sen. Schumer's legislation as it was in its final motions, thus depriving Sen. Schumer of total credit and a bookend to the bath salts saga.
AFTERMATH: Baths smell less nice. Also, people can't "do" bath salts anymore, which really, we'll give this one to Sen. Schumer, if only because if you're stupid enough to get high on bath salts, you likely don't posses the mental capacity to understand how awful smoking bath salts are for you.
Silk Road, The Online Drug Marketplace (and BitCoins!)
VARIATION OF FUN: Imagine an Amazon.com for drugs. That's Silk Road. You use BitCoins—an untraceable digital currency—to buy pretty much whatever you want. Drugs, guns, whatever. Pretty convenient!
WHY SCHUMER WANTED TO DESTROY IT: Because people can use it to buy drugs without being traced. Also, because Gawker wrote about it and caught everyone who should know about things like Silk Road with their pants down (i.e. without having taken much action on it).
ATTEMPTED DESTRUCTION: Asking the feds to shut down Silk Road and the entire BitCoin currency.
LEVEL OF SUCCESS: In the wake of Gawker's article and Sen. Schumer's attempt to to shut down Silk Road and BitCoins, interest in Silk Road and BitCoins surged, and both remain wholly operational. So, negative?
AFTERMATH: Early-adopters of Silk Road and BitCoins are probably more paranoid than ever, as a bunch of narcs and Midwestern high-schoolers attempt to get an ounce of "schwag" delivered to their friend with the "cool" parents' house.
Illegal Downloads (Or: Freedom on The Internet)
VARIATION OF FUN: Free movies! Free music! Free things from the Internet for everyone!
WHY SCHUMER WANTED TO DESTROY IT: Hollywood doesn't like it when their stuff is stolen. Also, Hollywood gives lots of money to politicians like Chuck Schumer.
ATTEMPTED DESTRUCTION: SOPA and PIPA, two pieces of legislation that threatened to give the government the power to shut down anything even accused of hosting online piracy.
LEVEL OF SUCCESS: Marginal, because it's still pretty easy to pirate things for free online.
AFTERMATH: The backlash to SOPA and PIPA became a global cause, and the legislation blew up in its sponsors' faces. Considering New York is attempting to bolster its technology sector, this ended up being a hugely destructive public play for Sen. Schumer. Some file-hosting sites did shut down access to Americans, and one of the largest—MegaUpload—was shut down by the Department of Homeland Security, with their CEO arrested.
Other Things Charles Schumer Should Look Into Banning
While we're here, might as well:
Excessive Use of Private Planes by Politicians Without Prior Public Approval.
Excessive Use of Press Releases for Shameless Political Capital.
SnookiCreatures Who Do Not Salute Their Politicians.
Fencesitting On Issues Important To Your Constituency Until You Find Out Which Way The Political Winds Are Blowing.
Calling Flight Attendants "Bitch."
Preventing People From Shopping at Forever 21 To Begin With.
And so on! Charles Schumer has plenty of issues he can attend to the business of eradicating, clearly. Here's hoping he gets around to all of them.