Remember “Buckyballs”? Well, they’re out of business, thx to our Govt… and THAT’s not the WORST part

We’ve mentioned plenty of examples of insane Federal overreach in the past, and maybe none so chilling as what happened to inventor Krister Evertson, or the stultifying case of Steven Lathrop. In both instances, the Government seemed to take peculiar glee in bullying and punishing these men for doing nothing more than legally pursuing their dreams.

Well, we can now add another victim of the Obama Administration’s regulatory Insane Asylum: Craig Zucker.

buckyballs 33Zucker, as you may or may not recall, is the former CEO of Maxfield & Oberton, the small company behind “Buckyballs”, a desk toy for adults which became amazingly popular back in 2009. Unfortunately, the company ran afoul of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which held that the toy was inherently dangerous to children, …even though it was marketed exclusively to ages 14-and-up.

Here’s an interview which aired last year covering the dispute:

The one question which occurred to me immediately was a fairly basic one: did the makers of Buckyballs make a good faith attempt to restrict children’s access to their product?

By any reasonable measure, it certainly appears they did.

Via the

“Maxfield & Oberton had a comprehensive safety program that included not just warnings but a way to restrict sales to stores that were exclusively or primarily selling children’s products,” Mr. Zucker says. “Toys ‘R’ Us didn’t qualify. They wanted Buckyballs for their brick-and-mortar stores, but we wouldn’t even take a call from them.”

wsj 744To enter into a sales agreement, retailers were required to complete a safety questionnaire and commit to a Buckyballs Responsible Seller Agreement.

“When Maxfield & Oberton did that initial recall, 600 stores didn’t pass the test, and the company paid to bring the product back.”

Nonetheless, the commission pressed ahead with its war on Buckyballs. Most infuriating was the commission’s argument that a total recall was justified because Buckyballs have “low utility to consumers” and “are not necessary to consumers.”

What the what??!? So now it’s up to the Government to determine if a product is “necessary” to consumers?

Can’t we pretty much say that NO products are actually “necessary”? I mean, you can also live quite nicely without tons of stuff. What about coconuts, or butane, or #2 pencils? They aren’t exactly “necessary”, are they? But they can be all sorts of dangerous if they aren’t used in the way they’re intended. What if some Federal Agency got a bug up their rear about any of THOSE items?

On second thought, I should probably refrain from giving them any ideas.


Ultimately, Buckyballs was outgunned. As history has shown innumerable times, when the Government really, really wants to get you, …it gets you.

“On Dec. 27, 2012, the company filed a certificate of cancellation with the State of Delaware, where Maxfield & Oberton was incorporated, and the company was dissolved.”

So: end of the story? Not even close.

No, presumably because Zucker had dared fight back against our beneficent government, simply being put out of business wouldn’t suffice. He must be made an example of:

…in February (of 2013) the Buckyballs saga took a chilling turn: The commission filed a motion requesting that Mr. Zucker be held personally liable for the costs of the recall, which it estimated at $57 million, if the product was ultimately determined to be defective.


Says Mr. Zucker: “The commission’s saying that because as CEO I did my duty—didn’t violate any law, was completely lawful—I am now the manufacturer individually responsible.” Shockingly, the administrative-law judge hearing the case bought the commission’s argument, meaning Mr. Zucker will have to defend himself in the Maxfield & Oberton recall case to its conclusion at the administrative level before he can challenge the individual-liability holding on appeal.

THIS is the truly scary part. It now has nothing to do with “safeguarding society”: this is nothing less than our Government’s attempt to personally destroy an individual citizen. It is a yet another sign that, instead of merely enforcing a set of agreed-upon rules to equally protect us all, we now live under a maniacal Regulatory Regime which has become a weapon to club down those who don’t pay sufficient hommage to the State.

It’s President Obama’s “you didn’t build that” populist mantra, taken to its logical, frightening conclusion.

too much government

 I wrote the following line a few months ago:

“You can always hire extra security if you’re threatened by a thug, or even call law enforcement. But whom do you hire to protect you from the law itself?

The answer, of course, is that there is no one to whom you can turn. And to our nation’s unending shame, that’s exactly where we find ourselves today.

13 responses to “Remember “Buckyballs”? Well, they’re out of business, thx to our Govt… and THAT’s not the WORST part

  1. Disgusting…….

  2. Great post. Civilizations fought long and hard for written laws, for without them power is arbitrary and justice unequally applied. We have now “progressed” to the point where there are so many laws and regulations, no one knows the law and we are all in violation of something. If no one knows the law, we have retuned to our previous state of being subject to arbitrary and unjust power. A sad state of affairs for the American experiment in government of the people.

    • Thanks, Greg.
      “Ignorance of the Law is no defense” used to be true, since most of our laws were common sense. But now, with regulatory bodies targeting companies and individuals whenever they want, without any controls, it’s Open Season on anyone they want.

      That’s how the EPA, IRS, NSA, etc, have been allowed to operate, and it seems every agency wants in on the action.
      It’s like shooting fish in a barrel, …and we’re the fish.

  3. If I recall a couple years ago there was a bread company which was closed down by the govt (FDA) because it was advertised on product that whole grains can reduce the risk of heart problems. (Which by the way is 100% correct) but because they weren’t approved by the FDA to make such claims they we’re shut down. It’s the same reason Cheerios had to change their packaging ideas. DON’T YOU LOVE BIG GOVERNMENT. 🙂

    • Yep, I remember the Cheerios example. Listerine had a similar experience, as they advertised that gargling would assist in helping with sore throats.
      They had to change their advertising, …even though my entire family can attest to it being effective for the past 40 years.

      Ah, yes: Big Daddy Government.
      What would we do without him?

      …other than actually enjoy our Freedom, I mean…

  4. But…but…if “you didn’t build that” holds true of Mr. Zucker, why is HE paying for it??? Starting the day with a knot in my stomach after reading this. Argggh.

  5. Not to worry. Soon all children will be raised by the state and worrisome things like the buckyballs will be a thing of the past.

    • You got it, B-ville!
      Freedom is such a chore: all those decisions n’ stuff.

      MUCH easier to just let the comforting arms of Government wrap themselves around you, and not be troubled with all the dangers of life that Freedom presents…

      They said that if I voted for Romney, our country would be changed forever.
      And they were right.

  6. Pingback: “Who will Watch the Watchmen?” …because Gov’t Abuse of Power is now commonplace | Two Heads are Better Than One

  7. Pingback: Facing the Bullies | Two Heads are Better Than One

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