Today's kids don't know how to drinkSteve Hammer

It's time for spring break, that wonderful time of year when the booze flows like water and college students learn how to puke. By making the richest people richer and everyone else poorer, they've forced our youth to drink cheap, gut-busting alcohol, which has naturally led to a rise in vomiting.

I'm too old for spring break, but I have fond memories of those years and carry the lessons they taught me even now.

The mid-1980s were remarkably similar to current-day America, what with the enforced patriotism, jingoistic president and tax-and-spend record deficits.

Luckily for us, times of crisis also produce the best parties and if there was one thing the '80s were good for, it was partying.

It was about 20 years ago that some friends and myself paid out cash and boarded a bus to Daytona Beach, home of the drunkest college students in America. We rode there with students from a small all-girls school in Illinois, which sounds much more interesting than it turned out to be.

We'd brought a couple cases of beer with us, figuring that we'd need some refreshments during the long bus ride. But instead of having the beer all to ourselves, we were quickly cleaned out by our fellow riders.

Then one of my buddies dropped a one-hitter into the only toilet on the bus, disabling it for the rest of the trip. You can imagine the pain we all felt during that trip.

Once we arrived in Daytona, it was four or five days of sunburns, hangovers and cheap beer. My only solid memory was talking with a young woman from Canada who told me that grape jelly potato chips were being sold in her homeland.

For today's spring breakers, I give the following advice: Don't drink beer. Not only does it taste nasty, it will only make you sick and cause you to say stupid things. If you are old enough to legally buy liquor, you should stick with distilled spirits.

A nice Canadian or Tennessee whiskey will serve your needs far better than any beer will. You can transport it in a flask for easier access.

I must say that I am disappointed by the way in which the younger generation handles its alcohol. At each of the clubs I've visited lately, I've witnessed under-25 drinkers vomiting in the restrooms, something which almost never occurred in my day.

I blame it, as I do most things these days, on the Republicans. They've created a culture in which the binge drinking of inexpensive booze is acceptable, and it's our youth who are paying the price.

By making the richest people richer and everyone else poorer, they've forced our young to drink cheap, gut-busting alcohol, which has naturally led to a rise in vomiting. Very few people become sick after drinking some top-shelf cognac or premium whiskey, but fill them with Pabst or Iron City beer and they're puking like champions.

It's just part of the cheapening of our culture that this administration has brought us, along with the outsourcing of all of our manufacturing and white-collar jobs.

I get chills when I think about what another four years of this mess will bring our country. Will our new drinkers be gulping shot glasses of Woolite and Sterno by 2008? Will premium alcohol cost $500 a bottle, making Budweiser even more socially acceptable than it is?

Our country is going to hell in a handbasket and will continue doing so until we take a broom to Washington and sweep it clean of the religious cultists and hard-core xenophobes who make up the majority leadership.

A quote from Richard Nixon comes to mind. "I've heard people say, 'After all they're a bunch of rats. What we ought to do is to go out and shoot 'em,'" he said in 1954. "Well, I'll agree they're a bunch of rats, but when you shoot rats, you have to shoot straight."

We need to shoot straight these days. Whether it's the militarization of our culture, the expansion of monopolies or the spread of cheap alcohol, we have to stay on target until November.

Don't just call Bush the Antichrist, point people to the many fundamentalist conservatives who've been raising the issue. Evangelist Chuck Baldwin, known for his right-wing views, has said that while he doesn't think Bush is Mister 666, he "possesses more deceptive qualities than Clinton did and, therefore, is more dangerous. I also now understand more clearly how even 'the elect' can be deceived. Bush's acceptance by the overwhelming majority of Christian people proves the country is ready for the Antichrist, whoever he is."


I've gotten some e-mail from people asking me to step forward and put my beliefs on the line. That's why I am announcing that I plan to run this summer to be a Democratic delegate to the national convention in Boston. If selected to serve, I intend to represent the dispossessed people of Central Indiana at the convention.

If there are any leaders within the county Democratic Party who want to help me out, contact me c/o this newspaper and we'll talk.

Meanwhile, there are only 222 days left until Nov. 2. If you haven't registered to vote yet, you can still do so. Visit your license branch, or Your future grandchildren will thank you for rescuing America.