Last chance to help me break my neck

If I go ballistic tomorrow to raise money for Shatterproof and you didn’t contribute, won’t you feel silly?

Tomorrow is the day I rappel down a 21-story building to raise funds for Shatterproof.

Just imagine how silly you will feel if I demonstrate the Law of Gravitation (by going into free fall for roughly 4.43 seconds, after allowing for air resistance) and the Law of the Conservation of Energy (by first converting the gravitational potential of 120 kg at 90 m above ground level into kinetic energy and then rapidly converting that roughly 82,000 joules’ worth of kinetic energy into heat and various forms of vibration) without your financial support. Of course, the rope is intended to prevent those rather impressive illustrations of high-school mechanics, but there’s always a chance.

I’ve already promised my students that if I go ballistic they don’t have to take the final. And no, UCLA students are not allowed to contribute.

Footnote Angela Hawken fully intended to be on the other rope, but she has been summoned to Olympia to instruct the Washington State legislature on the principles of swift-certain-fair sanctioning. That reduces the total value-at-risk tomorrow by something upwards of 90%.


The Drug Policy Alliance has such great regard for the truth that its reports dole out the precious substance with a sparing hand.

This morning, I got an email from a friend who isn’t involved in the War About Drugs but knows a great deal both about drug abuse and about my views on the topic. Like me, he is neither a hard-core warrior nor a flat-out legalizer. He had just received a fund-raising pitch for the Drug Policy Alliance, signed by George Soros. (I should note that Soros is one of my heroes; I can’t think of an individual in our lifetimes whose philanthropy – especially in the former Soviet Bloc – has created more value for the world.)

My friend wrote, “It looks good. Is it?”

I wrote back “In a word, no. DPA is the main drug-legalization group. They’re not very forthcoming about their actual aims.”

Of course, that’s the point; DPA sounds much more reasonable on paper than it is in practice. You might not guess that its announced goal of “drug policies based on science, compassion, health and human rights” means in practice opposition to any effective form of drug abuse control.

Then, when I got to work, I found in my mail a slick (in both senses) report on drug courts from DPA. It’s unsigned, which I would say reflected prudence on the part of the author or authors; it is not the sort of document anyone with any scholarly self-respect would want his name attached to.

Now, I’m not a fan of drug courts as they currently exist – they enroll too many low-level offenders without severe drug problems who would have done better with a good leaving-alone – so many of the report’s criticisms of drug courts seem on target to me. But the level of sleaze in the argumentation is truly breathtaking.

Continue reading “Coincidence”