If it seems "totally ridic" to wish hard time on someone because you were once in the slammer yourself, well, that's because it is. But that's precisely how perennial hot mess Lindsay Lohan is responding to the continued car troubles and alleged drug use of former Nickelodeon star Amanda Bynes. Over the last several months, Bynes has had numerous hit-and-run mishaps, and has been pulled over by police several times, leading to a DUI charge—and many of those incidents happened when her license was already suspended. Then last week she was snapped behind the wheel, smoking what appeared to be a weed pipe, with remnants of marijuana scattered around her car's cup holder. But Bynes hasn't faced jail time yet, and doesn't seem in danger of getting sent upriver—which rubbed Lohan the wrong way. "Why did I get put in jail and a Nickelodeon star has had NO punishment(s) so far," she tweeted. “These are the moments that I appreciate my life experiences, living without regrets and Disney for supporting me as an actress.” LiLo herself was involved in several car accidents this summer—despite her movie project's production company hiring her a full-time driver and ordering her not to drive—including a major smash-up which totaled her Porsche. Bynes hasn't responded to the tweet, but maybe that's because she's got bigger worries: she's due back in court on September 27 on two hit-and-run charges, as well as her alleged drug use.
On Saturday night, a glittering gathering of roughly 800—including Larry King, Nicole Richie, Kris Jenner, Buzz Aldrin and Robert Duvall—gathered at philanthropist Jeff Greene's palatial Beverly Hills estate to listen to X Factor finalist Chris Rene, dine on Wolfgang Puck's roasted chicken and red velvet cake and watch a Baracci of Beverly Hills fashion show. But they weren't doing this for nothing: $500,000 was raised for The Brent Shapiro Foundation, which was launched by the Shapiros (renowned defense attorney Robert Shapiro, his wife Linell and their son Grant) after they lost their beloved son and brother, Brent. He died in 2005 when he ingested half a hit of ecstasy with alcohol, having been sober for the previous 18 months. The completely dry event—which also featured a ferris wheel, photo booth and overflowing candy bowls—was MC'd by Pat O'Brien, who started things off by reciting the Serenity Prayer. "I didn't know I was a celebrity until Larry King did an hour on me," O'Brien joked, before praising the Shapiros for "turning a horrible tragedy into a positive." Robert, Linell and Grant also spoke movingly about the way this year's funds will be spent: plans include a pilot program in Boyle Heights called "Brent's Club," offering incentives to kids who stay clean and remain in school.
Much like how Woodstock-goers in the '60s were warned not to eat the brown acid, residents of the Czech Republic are being told not to drink the brown liquor, with a ban on hard liquor sales imposed throughout the country. The ruling came down following a wave of methanol poisonings that have killed 19 people within the last few months, with dozens of others currently hospitalized. Bars and other places that sell the hard stuff will only be able to stock beer and wine until further notice. The ban originally was limited to spirits with more than 30% alcohol by volume, but the full prohibition was instated after cops determined that an "absolute majority" of the poisonings came from spirits purchased in restaurants, bars and stores. It's estimated that roughly 20 percent of the liquor sold in traditional outlets in the Czech Republic is produced on the black market. And, while methanol is traditionally used for industrial purposes, it's also a large part of the booze black market, because it's cheap and impossible to distinguish from real drinking-quality alcohol (until it starts killing people, that is). Thousands of liters of the illegal intoxicant have been seized and 20 people have been arrested thus far for making it. Although there's no expiration date on the ban, it's estimated that it will take at least several weeks before liquor sales resume. In the meantime, in an international effort to quarantine the damage, Poland also has instated a month-long ban on selling Czech liquor inside the country.
- 51% of Colorado Voters Support Marijuana Legalization Measure [TPM]
- Venezuela, Bolivia Reject US Drug Trafficking Accusations [Fox News]
- Czech Methanol Death Toll Rises, Poland Bans Czech Liquor Imports [Wall Street Journal]
- Prosecutors: One in Three Mexican Drug Traffic Suspects Sentenced to Prison [Washington Post]
- Are Federal Taxes Driving Smokers to Stop Lighting Up? [Forbes]
- Delray Beach Sweat Lodge Helps Drug Addicts [Sun Sentinel]
- San Rafael Waitress Served Up Sides of Cocaine and Meth [Mercury News]
Pub 500, a bar in Mankato, Minnesota, is offering a startling new service: pregnancy tests. Mixing things-alcohol with things-pregnancy may seem jarring—but that's kinda the point. Using a pink and white dispenser in the ladies' room, women with room for doubt can spend $3—credit cards only—to check before they flood their abdomens with alcohol. According to Jody Allen Crowe, founder of Healthy Brains for Children, the non-prof behind the scheme, this bar is the first in the world to try such a thing. He hopes it will help reduce fetal alcohol syndrome: “It’s an epidemic,” Crowe says. “The amount of prenatal exposure to alcohol is really not something people talk about because it’s such a guilt-ridden type of discussion.”
Pub 500 may not seem a "party" enough place to necessitate on-site pregnancy tests, but experts say it's often professional women with disposable incomes who drink during pregnancy, rather than "party types." Crowe also hopes to install pregnancy test dispensers at sites like malls, gas stations and fitness centers, because women everywhere may not know they're pregnant: half of all US pregnancies are unplanned. At $3 each, a fraction of the cost of a drug-store test, checking discreetly is easy (embarrassment at publicly purchasing pregnancy tests makes them the most shoplifted item). Tom Frederick, Pub 500's proprietor, only took a little convincing: “We thought it was a strange idea at first but very quickly came to the realization that this could be beneficial." While not all his patrons see the benefit—"It just seems like something you should maybe already know before you're in a bar," says one—some love the idea: "It's putting awareness at the point of comsumption. I'm surprised it hasn't been done before."