Alcohol

Mike's Hard Lemonade Yields Hard Time

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mikes

Absent-minded professor dad buys lemonade for his kid at a baseball game. Turns out it's a Mike's Hard Lemonade.

After a guard spots the bottle, the kid is whisked away to the hospital in an ambulance (!) where they found no trace of alcohol in his blood about 90 minutes later. The doctors said he was OK to go, but instead he wound up in foster care. It was "two days before the state of Michigan allowed Ratte's wife, U-M architecture professor Claire Zimmerman, to take their son home, and nearly a week before [dad Christopher] Ratte was permitted to move back into his own house."

Everyone involved seems to have come down with a serious case of "just following orders":

The sympathetic cop who interviewed Ratte and his son at the hospital said she was convinced what happened had been an accident, but that her supervisor was insisting the matter be referred to Child Protective Services.

And Ratte thought the two child protection workers who came to take Leo away seemed more annoyed with the police than with him. "This is so unnecessary," one told Ratte before driving away with his son.

But there was really nothing any of them could do, they all said.

Jacob Sullum wrote about the hard treatment of girly beer substitutes at the hands of the law here.

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  1. You know what makes MHL even better? A shot of Absolut Citron.

  2. We work for the government. We are not paid to think. Or allowed to. Zero tolerance often equates to zero sense.

  3. WHAT? THE URKOBOLD THOUGHT THAT HE’D GIVEN JUNIOR ALCOHOL-FREE SHOTS OF TEQUILA. WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU HAVE TO SHOOT HIM NOW? DO NOT PUSH THE URKOBOLD. HE HAS REVOLTED BEFORE OVER SMALLER SLIGHTS.

  4. Oh yeah, like any coach is going to bring lemonade for the kids with alcohol in it ON PURPOSE. Have to admit, though, first time I saw Mike’s in the store, I didn’t realize it had alcohol in it.

    Last summer Mrs TWC offered That Boy and his two buddies ice cold bottles of Henry Weinhardt’s Vanilla Cream Soda, except she gave them bottles of some high dollar boutique ale, or whatever, instead without realizing it. (hey! I’m a wino, not a Hophead, I don’t know these things)

    At eleven, it is safe to say, those boys do not have a developed brew palate. YUCK! What’s this stuff?

    It was very classic, glad Mrs TWC didn’t go to jail.

  5. I mean, picture it, it was like 100 degrees out, hot as hell, they’d been hiking and climbing on the rocks, they were filthy, sweaty, and thirsty. She hands them each a bottle of what they think is cream soda, and they just upend the bottle and start guzzling…..

  6. The joys of the regulatory state.

    Since at sometime, some low-level servant of the state, using what little discretionary power they had, made a bad judgement, policies were re-written and laws were passed by outraged legislators, to make sure that the low-level grunts of the state never make another bad decision.

    Covers everyones ass, oppresses everyone equally, and no one is responsible.

  7. My biggest non-rape themed fear is that I will be caught up in a bureaucratic nightmare in which someone fucks up and I get in trouble for doing something that is not a problem at all and, although the state admits that they made a problem, it still takes me years to get my life back to normal.

  8. My dad gave me a sip of his beer when I was eight.

    If I’d known he was going to get the chair for it, I wouldn’t have bragged so much at school.

  9. Parents can’t give their own children reasonable and supervised quantities of alcohol in Michigan?

    What?

  10. The way you squeeze my………

  11. If I’d known he was going to get the chair for it, I wouldn’t have bragged so much at school.

    ladies and gents, that there is a thread winner.

  12. Later ,the child was so upset by the fuss he was given a anti-depressant.

  13. Can’t drunk off that crap anyhow–horrible headache sets in long before a buzz.

  14. Now Ratte is someone who needs a complementary issue of Reason.

    “How to make a libertarian.”

  15. Just another example of how “service for” a clientele (public school, child services & welfare, etc.) becomes “control of” a constituency when the service provider is government. Said another way, don’t ever let the government do you “a favor.” The next thing you know, they’ll think they own you and they’ll have the muscle to back up that belief.

  16. Ratte is a tenured professor of classical archaeology at the University of Michigan…

    As I understand it, this event closely mirrors the opening set piece of the new Indiana Jones movie.

    Of course, in the movie Child Protective Services doesn’t win…

  17. But there was really nothing any of them could do, they all said.

    What a bunch of unthinking loons. If they had any integrity or believed what they were doing was *wrong*, they should have either raised a fuss or quit their jobs.

  18. In Texas, at least back in the day when I worked at a restaurant, it is/was legal for children to drink with parents present. But back then it took a family instead of a village…

  19. Once the bibertarians are in full control of the United States–probably sometime in the next ten years–we’ll be invading Europe to stop parents from serving wine to minors.

    Operation Save the Children! We’ll be napalming strategic grape-growing regions in France, Germany, and Italy. Coincidentally, California will have a gigantic boom in its wine industry during the war.

  20. I mean, picture it, it was like 100 degrees out, hot as hell, they’d been hiking and climbing on the rocks, they were filthy, sweaty, and thirsty. She hands them each a bottle of what they think is cream soda, and they just upend the bottle and start guzzling…..

    Come to think of it the only time i ever really enjoyed a beer was when i was eleven and just got done doing just what those boys had been up to….and i knew, as well as my dad knew, it was beer at the time.

    Hmm exposed to beer under a protected parental controlled environment and i drink maybe once every 3 months as an adult….go figure.

    Well that and alcohol has never, never ever, helped me get laid.

    The later probably being the controlling influence over my adult drinking habits.

  21. Merkel consented, grapes fermented!

  22. Obviously none of you have kids.

  23. Stunned that there was any state in the country that would allow what happened here, I did hunt around for information on what states criminalize serving of alcohol to one’s own children. I discovered from more than one source that most states permit it. Examples that do: NY, MA.

    Examples that don’t: MI.

  24. I’ve seen signs in stores on the beer cooler specifically saying parents may not serve any amount of alcohol to their own children.
    I think LA, but it could have been AL or MS.

  25. I have a friend who is a CPS investigator. Thoroughly investigating trivial, malicious and unfounded complaints is about half her job. There are mandates for this at the Federal as well as State level.Anonymity and immunity for tipsters is guaranteed under Federal law for malicious false reports.

  26. Lovely Christofascist State we’re living under, isn’t it?

  27. FWIW, guys, FARK just greenlit this.

    They don’t seem to care much about Balko’s stuff. But something like this, they’re all over.

  28. Gee, I wonder who submitted it
    *Walks away whistling, triumphantly*

  29. Well that and alcohol has never, never ever, helped me get laid.

    You’re supposed to have her drink it.
    *shakes head* Amateurs.

  30. You know what makes MHL even better?

    Walking past it to grab a beer instead?

  31. You know what makes MHL even better?

    Walking past it to grab a beer glass of red wine instead?

    Fixed. 😉

  32. I’m sure those two days in foster care taught the kid a valuable lesson about how much trust and faith he should have in the government, the organization which believes that being ripped from your family and sent to live with strangers is vastly preferable to possibly consuming a minute quantity of alcohol.

  33. This is not an exageration. If I had been the father in this story, there would be dead police officers and dead CPS assholes right now. I wouldn’t care if I had to give up everything I own and lam it with my family for the rest of our lives. No fucking way the state gets my child. No fucking way – I don’t care who has to die.

  34. Absent-minded professor dad buys lemonade for his kid at a baseball game.

    Not that I agree with the result, but it is hard to believe any half-way educated person could walk into a grocery store, go to the beer section, and proceed to pick up beverages that are sandwiched between the Mic-light and the Amstel and have no clue they are alcoholic.

  35. Sometimes we really could use a flag comment function. Either that or give me moderator powers.

  36. I would be curious to know how many unsolved armed robberies, or rapes this town still had on it’s books, while these clowns were wasting the taxpayer’s money on this mortal threat to Western Civilization.

  37. I enjoy how so many of the comments here are absolutely useless to the discussion and display the horror that is the American mind today. What a sad, stupid people we have become.

    and Cab….. your comment about a grocery store and lemonade at a baseball game ……that comparison is pointless…. the man was not at a grocery store……

  38. Cab
    In the (smallish) safeway closest to where I live, the refergerated shelf in one aisle has non-alcoholic drinks (pepsi, sobe) on the near end, beer in the middle and stuff like Mike’s (and Odoul’s) sandwiched between them.

  39. Some Fark commenters are defending the state’s actions here, because the kid might have been in mortal danger. I think said commenters aren’t even trolls.

  40. it is hard to believe any half-way educated person could walk into a grocery store, go to the beer section, and proceed to pick up beverages that are sandwiched between the Mic-light and the Amstel and have no clue they are alcoholic.

    First of all, the very first line of the post says:

    Absent-minded professor dad buys lemonade for his kid at a baseball game.

    [emphasis added]

    So he didn’t have to walk past the beer section to get it. Second, the sign on the concession stand called it simply “Mike’s Lemonade.”

  41. BobKran, you’re right. I coach my kids’ t-ball team and bring drinks for after the game. My mind was somewhere else. I should have read the fucking article. my bad.

  42. Wow. If the kid’s dad had intentionally given him the hooch, this would still be a gross over reaction.

    Hurray Government.

  43. Fixed. 😉

    Ok TWC, I can go with red wine there — I’d call either way a definite improvement.

  44. Um, ok. So you would rather have low-level government employees interpreting the law on-the-fly? When the lawsuit comes down, going against the rules is a loss for the govt and that’s a loss of your tax dollars. Where is the personal responsibility here? The dude gave a kid alcohol.

    Are you going to give cops flexibility in the other direction? If the fuzz holds somebody extra long, without real cause, because they’re using their judgment, they’ll get tarred and feathered by somebody.

    What do you think breeds EXTREME caution on the part of cops, school admins, etc.? It’s all the assholes second-guessing them. It’s a lot easier to point to a rule you’re following to the letter than to admit you were winging it. Nobody, and I mean nobody of any political persuasion, is going to give them the benefit of the doubt every time, so they’d rather stick to the rules than make a judgment call.

    What if it’s a 16 year old who had a half a beer at a party and is honest about it. Do you risk your pension and let him roll home? What if it’s a dude who is obviously being framed up by his chick for a domestic abuse case? Do you leave him behind with a promise not to beat her up? Talk about life-changing: losing their job and pension and being tagged by a civil suit is what these folks are looking at if they bend the rules the wrong time.

    Stop fucking with these people for every minor slip-up and you may get some leniency, but since that is a recipe for stupid in the other direction, just keep slinging poo and watching the bureaucrats covering their asses.

    What a bunch of freaking hypocrites.

  45. OMG… I had some of this stuff, thought it tasted like Moose wee and promptly spit it out. I had no idea it had alcohol in it. No wonder. I’m 45 and don’t drink.

  46. Where are the ‘zero tolerance’ people when it comes to interpreting the United States Constitution? Unconstitutional war? Sure. Cruel and unusual punishment? Go right ahead.

    Don’t think these people actually have 100% respect for the law. They have 100% for Authoritah, and if their Authoritah tells them to do something different than what the law says, they do what Authoritah says.

  47. Some Fark commenters are defending the state’s actions here, because the kid might have been in mortal danger. I think said commenters aren’t even trolls.

    I read Fark comments a couple of times. My bad.

  48. minor slip-up

    and

    [it was] nearly a week before [dad Christopher] Ratte was permitted to move back into his own house.

    Brint, reconcile those two statements please.

  49. What do you think breeds EXTREME caution on the part of cops, school admins, etc.?

    HA HA HA HA HA!

    What if it’s a 16 year old who had a half a beer at a party and is honest about it.

    Um, ok. Nice analogy, Brint. The guy’s dad was right there.

  50. Brint, this happened in Michigan, where the foster care system is under attack for children being neglected and killed while in the system.
    The child had an insignificant amount of alcohol and was placed in increased danger by putting him in foster care for two days.

    Think!

  51. The dude gave a his kid alcohol.

    Fixed that for you…

    Are you going to give cops flexibility in the other direction?

    Of course not. Why should we? This is a unidirectional relationship. There’s not some medium amount cops can violate rights — no more and no less. They can’t violate rights without cause. Period. Whoever made a decision that could not be rescinded by their inferiors should be in trouble here. But I doubt they will be.

    What a bunch of freaking hypocrites.

    Hypocrite strawmen.

  52. They don’t seem to care much about Balko’s stuff. But something like this, they’re all over.

    Of course! Fark (and Slashdork) is home to the pseudotarians!

  53. Are you going to give cops flexibility in the other direction?

    Absolutely not! “Innocent until proven guilty” assumes a suspect is entitled to a reasonable doubt. The authorities should always be forced to justify acting against a citizen. The citizen should not be in the position of having to justify himself to the authorities.

    If the fuzz holds somebody extra long, without real cause, because they’re using their judgment, they’ll get tarred and feathered by somebody.

    As well they should. The distinction is, the authorities, if relying on their own judgment, are obliged to give deference to the rights of the accused. As the old saying goes, it’s better that 10 guilty men go free than one innocent man gets hung.

  54. picture it, it was like 100 degrees out, hot as hell, they’d been hiking and climbing on the rocks, they were filthy, sweaty, and thirsty.

    Another option shown at my link. Except it doesn’t address the thirst.

  55. I realize it was just an oversight, but the second you allow a father to give his son Mike’s Hard Lemonade you implicitly condone Zima and Bacardi Breezers. Before you know it, the kid enjoys wine coolers. Then, white zin. After that, I think we all know the next logical step is man on dog.

  56. Nobody said how hard the stuff actually is? Is it like beer, wine, or hard liquor?

    Our culture is similar to hard-line Islamic states in some respects, only our officials have a cow over different things.

    I can’t imagine law enforcement in Sweden, France or Denmark behaving this way. Substance demonization is a peculiar trait of American culture… wasn’t always so, but is now.

  57. I was an assistant prosecuting attorney in Northern Michigan for several years and had many dealings with CPS. They, for the most part, are very caring individuals that usually do not do ridiculous things like that which occurred here. Even if the cops do call CPS in, it is well within their discretion to determine no further action is warranted. To say otherwise is a lame attempt at passing the buck.

    My guess is that the area CPS was called on the carpet by someone for using that discretion in a deciding how to approach a different matter and that someone jumped all over the CPS because they didn’t agree with the particular decision made. CPS responds by saying “Fine, if x wants us to do everything and not trust us, we’ll give x everything.” x could be either the police, the prosecutor or even a particularly vocal private citizen. These public servants have a hard enough (not to mention incredibly emotionally draining) job to do, so it’s clear to me that someone was trying to make a point. Unfortunately it came at a cost to people that didn’t deserve to be treated in such a manner. Regardless, everyone looks bad and nobody wins.

  58. Douglas Gray

    Nobody said how hard the stuff actually is? Is it like beer, wine, or hard liquor?

    The stuff is pretty weak. Wikipedia lists it at 5.2%

  59. It’s beer with more HFCS than alcohol.

  60. If this was Europe it’d be a total non-issue. Thanks American for fucking up another family over nothing.

  61. Stop fucking with these people for every minor slip-up and you may get some leniency

    Wow. A kid being taken from his parents and forced to live with strangers for two days is only a “minor” slip-up in your world?

  62. I would have been much happier has this been from England and not the US…but our society is just as screwed..damn.

  63. Back when I was 12 or so, my parents let me drink it up a party with some of their friends; enough that the next day I was sick as a dog. When I asked why i was so sick, they told me I must allergic to alcohol…
    I later found out that was a lie.

  64. I am very happy that I do not live in the US anymore. China (Shanghai is home) has more day to day personal freedom than this, provided you don’t bash the Govt. you can certainly have a drink outside, in public. Land of the free… please

  65. My parents willfully encouraged me to consume ethanol when I was still a child. This caused me to become an addict at an early age.
    This does not appear to be the case here, but could be.

  66. Jesus,
    thanks god i’m living in the old good Europe, i mean, we probably don’t have all the achievements like WoD and CPS, we do have retarded police as well though.
    I’m just wondering, maybe we should start offering green cards to USA people :), ‘cos it seems the tide is turning and Europe is becoming more free than the USA ( well, the EU still sux hard, but it’s vanilla compared to the fuckup you have over there )
    BTW. In Europe, at least in my country, you can go to pub when you are like 15+ and get yourself a beer without problem, and i don’t see young people running all over the place killing someone or stuff like that 😉

  67. Stop fucking with these people for every minor slip-up and you may get some leniency

    translate:

    “Obey and maybe we’ll stop beating you.”

    or, as a popcultref:

    “Git yer dirt otta mah hole, Luke.”

  68. My dad started giving me whiskey starting when I was four. By six, I was drinking tall glasses of it with my meals. I had no problems at all growing up. Now that I am 24, I feel fine. However, I am in prison for killing 13 people. But that had nothing to do with my alcohol consumption.

  69. Fyi, I think this is nuts too but to clarify one question on the thread:

    “In Michigan, the possession of alcohol by anyone under 21 is against the law, period. There is no exclusion, as in many other states, for parents to give their teenagers a glass of wine or bottle of beer within the home.”

    Source: http://blog.laborlawtalk.com/2006/09/28/underage-consumption-laws-in-michigan/

  70. Fark is useful for when I need a dose of stupidity. Oh, and foobies.

  71. What do you think breeds EXTREME caution on the part of cops, school admins, etc.? It’s all the assholes second-guessing them.

    But there’s no problem with cops second-guessing parents’ decisions about how to raise their children?

  72. Seamus,

    Thats no problem. After all its for the common good. The arguments usually go “its for the children”.

  73. Lovely Christofascist State we’re living under, isn’t it?

    Erm, your religious conservative types tend to be consistent proponents of family rights, and have some history of resistance to hyperactive CPS agencies.

  74. It’s bad enough if we have smart people in charge of protecting us, or if we have idiot leaders with no authority, but instead we have the worst of both worlds; idiots appointed as our guardians and in charge of our personal affairs. God forbid we have free men and women dangerously in charge of their own affairs.

    And this is all our own fault, collectively speaking. We as a nation have insisted that the government protect us, and this is our wish come true.

  75. That kid was taken to foster care? Seems a lot more dangerous than having a dad who accidentally gave him an MHL.

  76. I eat live pig babies!!

  77. That’s just stupid… Someone should have asked if the dad realized that it had alcohol in it ! … then dump it out or give it to me LOL …

  78. I think they should make the producers of drinks like this create labels that more clearly identify the contents…

    Thanks

  79. Mike’s Girly Sweet Lemonade Flavored Excuse For Drinking Alcohol?

  80. “If this was Europe it’d be a total non-issue. Thanks American for fucking up another family over nothing.”

    Maybe today that is true but soon, under Sharia law, all alcohol will be forbidden in Europe.

  81. A guy is standing at the concession stand with his 7 year-old kid, orders a beer and a lemonade – and they sell it to him with no questions. Who broke a law?

  82. You americans are weird.

  83. I hope this guy puts his son through college on the proceeds of this fuck up. Someone needs to get sued, BIGTIME!!

  84. Did the seller tell the dad that it had alcohol and ask for his ID when he purchased it?
    Also, the picture of the bottle above does not show a clear message like “This is an Alcoholic beverage – do not server to minors!!”
    So both the ball park (who allowed the seller to work there) and Mike’s beverage company need to be sued for causing much more damage than they were trying to prevent.

  85. correction: So both the ball park (who allowed the seller to work there) and Mike’s beverage company need to be sued. Also, law enforcement etc. need to be sued for causing much more damage than they were trying to prevent.

  86. Since hearing about this from Scott Simon yesterday, I have been trying to identify the guilty party. I have decided to point the finger at just about everyone involved. Simon and many other commentators identify the State as perpetrators of the awful because its minions followed procedures. This makes America sound like Nazi Germany – we were just following orders.

    Yet, as pointed out above, there is hardly a single police officer, case officer or judge that has not been criticized or punished by someone for making a decision when it comes to child protection.

    On the other hand, how absent-minded does a professor have to be to allow his seven-year-old son to consume something that the professor has not already examined? Is there some parental responsbility absent here?

    On the gripping hand, is the ballpark responsible for what it sells, and to whom? The ballpark operator or the beverage manufacturer offer potentially deep pockets, so they can be sued more effectively than the government.

    No one came out of this on the good side, except perhaps the child. After Professor Zimmerman gets over her mad at the State, I would love to hear what she has to say to Professor Ratte.

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