Archive for August, 2008

[CR] and AI in the news: August 22-24

Sunday, August 24th, 2008

Below is a selection of press coverage that appeared on Friday and over the weekend. We’re especially pleased to see the thoughtful consideration of this issue that is taking place at editorial boards from Muskogee to Des Moines! If you haven’t done so already, write a letter in response to coverage in your local media–a few examples are posted below.

The Day (CT)

Watertown Daily Times (NY)
Daily Press (VA)

Duluth News Tribune

Press of Atlantic City
State Journal Register (IL)
Seacoast Online (NH)
Denver Post
Muskogee Phoenix (OK)

The Virginian Pilot
Wichita Times Record

Minneapolis Star Tribune
East Valley Tribune (AZ)
Mississippi Clarion Ledger

Sarasota Herald Tribune

Newark Star-Ledger
Huntington Herald-Dispatch (WV)

Des Moines Register

Op-ed essays and columns
The Morning Call (Peyton Helm, Muhlenberg College)
The Daily Gazette (NY)

Washington Post (Potomac Confidential)

Bloomington Pantagraph
St. Petersburg Times (Donald Eastman, Eckerd College)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (David Joyce, Ripon College)
Cincinnati Enquirer

News Coverage
Associated Press, Friday August 22
Houston Chronicle
Syracuse Post Standard
Detroit News
Fort Worth Star Telegram

Letters to the Editor
Baltimore Sun
New York Times
(comment forum)
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Times Picayune
Washington Post

Media update: 8/22

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

Here is some notable media coverage that appeared Thursday and Friday:

Wall Street Journal
Houston Chronicle
New York Times
WAMC Albany Public Radio “Vox Pop”
Los Angeles Times
Chicago Sun Times

Choose Responsibility responds to MADD

Thursday, August 21st, 2008

We are extremely disappointed by MADD’s reaction to the Amethyst Initiative.

“Parents should think twice before sending their teens to these colleges or any others that have waved the white flag on underage and binge drinking policies,” MADD National President Laura Dean-Mooney said in a prepared statement.

The presidential statement signed by the 129 (updated 8/23) presidents and chancellors of the Amethyst Initiative (a list that is growing, not shrinking, by the hour) by design does not take a policy position regarding the establishment of a drinking age. References to the Amethyst Initiative as a group that is intent on lowering the drinking age to 18 are false and misleading.

What the signers of the Amethyst Initiative have asked for is an informed and dispassionate public debate over the effects of the 21 year-old drinking age. What they have received are attacks about their commitment to protecting the students on their respective campuses. Every president and chancellor who signed the Amethyst Initiative has called for a public debate on the best way to protect the lives of young adults and they should be complimented for their courage, not vilified.

By asking presidents to remove their names, and accusing their campus leadership of shirking their duty to protect the safety and welfare of their students, MADD has done little to contribute productively to this growing national debate. We urge all parties involved to enter this discussion in a civil and dispassionate way, and to reject such unecessarily inflammatory statements in the future.

An update from the front lines: Midnight, August 21

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

A quick update….

Our small staff of three has been under a deluge of media requests and public attention over the past 48 hours—a very happy problem! Our one regret is that we have not been able to respond to all requests and inquiries received so far, and that we have not be able to keep our members up to date as to how all of this coverage of [CR] and the Amethyst Initiative is unfolding.

Here is our best attempt at some highlights:

Over the past 2 days:
• We have received over 50,000 visitors to Amethyst Initiative
• We have received over 5,000 visitors to Choose Responsibility
• Over 500 new, enthusiastic supporters have signed on as volunteers and subscribers
• We have been featured live on CNN, FoxNews, NBC Nightly News, ABC Evening News, and the CBS Early Show
• We have given countless (well, when we are able to count we’ll let you know) interviews for stories appearing in newspaper, radio, and television outlets across the nation

In the midst of all of this coverage, and vicious attacks from MADD, we have added nearly 20 new signatories in support of the Amethyst Initiative.

And here is some of our favorite coverage, many of which are editorials supporting national debate on Legal Age 21:

WNYC Public Radio: Brian Lehrer Show

Scripps News Service
San Francisco Chronicle
Savannah Morning News

Panama City News Herald

Grand Forks Herald
Austin American Statesman
Mankato Free Press
Grand Junction Daily Sentinel
Baltimore Sun
Hartford Courant

Washington Post

This list is by no means exhaustive—in fact, it is barely scratching the surface. Please stay tuned as this coverage continues.

Our issue is gaining traction and momentum, and we are happy to have you on board. Let us know what you are hearing in your communities about the drinking age debate.

[CR] announces Amethyst Initiative

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

We are pleased to announce Choose Responsibility’s newest project, the Amethyst Initiative. For the last few months, we have been working quietly with a group of college presidents to produce a statement on Legal Age 21 and to reach out to colleges and universities across the nation who feel similarly. As of today, we have a growing list of over 100 college and university presidents who have signed a statement that declares 21 is not working and calls on elected officials to support open debate, re-consider the 10% highway fund “incentive” that has kept the drinking age at 21 in every state, and to discuss new ideas about the best ways to prepare young adults to make responsible decisions about alcohol use.

This effort was made public to the press by an outside source late last week and was covered Monday in an Associated Press story that will likely be featured in your local paper on Tuesday. Please share the story with your friends, colleagues, and classmates. Check out the list of signatories—is your alma mater listed there? If not, we hope you will consider writing to your president and asking him or her to consider joining the Amethyst Initiative.

We encourage you to follow this developing story and keep posted for updates.

ShotPaks: A Dangerous New Craze

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

If you thought that Alcopops encouraged drinking amongst young adults, wait until you hear about a new craze:  ShotPaks.  ShotPaks are small, shot-sized alcoholic drinks that come in little plastic pouches—perfect for a drinker on the go, according to manufacturers.  Marketed as a “party in a pouch,” ShotPaks are sweet, sugary drinks called “Purple Hooters” and “Kamikazes,” although the more serious drinker may want to pick up the “STR8UP” ShotPaks, which contain only straight liquor without any mixer.


Sure, there may be no glass to break, and therefore ShotPaks might seem safer at events like concerts and sports games.  However, the real danger is that the small size and sweet taste of ShotPaks make them tasty, easily concealable and, in other words, very appealing to underage drinkers.  By helping to push drinking more undercover, ShotPaks make binge drinking even harder to monitor amongst both underage and of-age drinkers—something that have dangerous consequences.

Unintegrated drinking culture

Friday, August 8th, 2008

Un-integrated drinking cultures, such as the United States, set alcohol apart and place it at odds with other cultural values. Such cultures exhibit higher rates of alcoholism and alcohol abuse. By setting alcohol apart from normal everyday life, un-integrated drinking cultures exacerbate the problematic drinking behaviors that spawn from desiring that which is forbidden.