Friday, December 17, 2004


I find it only marginally surprising that a city as politically charged as Washington, DC doesn't have a chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Legislation; the national headquarters is on K Street (aside: I would have loved to have been there when Kyle Kushman lit up this spliff mere blocks away from the White House in front of scores of cameras and respectable gentry), but then again, the unlanded intelligentsia, normally the motive force of progress where young people are highly educated and unfettered by a profusion of fiscal promises, are in this city replaced by staffers and other hopefuls who perfect a most prodigious blank smile and ease of position for the sake of climbing the ladder. It's an understandable cultural impasse that one won't exactly recruit many willing participants in the war on the war on drugs at the gilded gates of Georgetown Law, regardless of how many of them hit you up for pot. Pardon the reference, but circle gets the square (and this applies most shamefully in so many dirty alleys of politics right now that I hesitate to even point out the parallels of this confusion of volition with the talk of which neoconservative Congressional representative offices have the highest gay count for fear of going off on a huge and terrible tangent).

Glen Schwarz runs a tightly devoted and gracefully persistent chapter in Little Rock, so I'll try to attend a meeting while I'm home to get some inside information on helping the organization get a populist advocacy foothold in its legislative home.

I've been so caught up with schoolwork that I've lost touch with developments over the past few months. I wonder whatever became of the Data Quality Act being used as a tool to force the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services to comply with rescheduling petitions a little more rapidly and efficiently than the twenty two years it took them last time; additionally, the DQA seems to present a law that requires the DEA/DHHS to finally conduct a thorough literature review and actually base their rescheduling ruling on science this time (which they did before, in 1986, by assigning DEA Administrative Law Judge Francis Young to interview scientists, physicians, medical care patients, law enforcement agents, etc.; after having spent two years on the project, Young wrote that “the evidence in this record clearly shows that marijuana has been accepted as capable of relieving the distress of great numbers of very ill people, and doing so with safety under medical supervision. It would be unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious for the DEA to continue to stand between those sufferers and the benefits of this substance in light of the evidence of this record (p. 68, p.graph 2).” The DEA rejected Young's statement citing a lack of controlled experimentation, which, in a nice tautological twist, is banned by marijuana scheduling and was the initial reason for the petition. Isn't this fun? It's good to have attentive state agents looking out for the public good).

The last news I heard was that the new petition under the DQA required a full response within sixty days, but that at the end of those sixty days, the DHHS filed for a 60 day extension. Anyone have news? It obviously won't be promising for science-led medical legislation since I haven't heard anything big, but I want to know the specifics of the continuing success of medicine by referendum over medicine by regulation.

P.S.--I still want to fuck Eric Schlosser, especially if there's some way to get Allen St. Pierre in on a menage à trois.


Monday, December 13, 2004


The past several days have been good enough to make me wanna go home and slap my momma.

Thursday I had my first final. After days and days of meticulous study, the exam itself was nothing more than fluff, a semi-gimmie for those of us in epidemiology with anything more than a modest background in biology. I rocked it, and managed an "A" for the course.

On Friday came my second final, and it, too, was fluffy, but in the way of bioinformatics, so I wasn't nearly as intuitively prepared. I have no way to scale my performance on it, but I went into it with an "A" average, so do your worst. If it makes sense, I was too exhausted to fall asleep when I'd gotten home, but too poor to take advantage of the Friday night restlessness. I took the middle path: I took advantage of the empty house and a naïvely left out bottle of merlot to turn the stereo up to eleven and have a good solo drunk rock-out peppered with calls to Steven, who, after slaving through take-home law exams and such, was doing much the same in Cleveland.

Saturday opened to grand plans of adventuresome circuits of going out, but as if I hadn't learned by now, I was reminded that when I plan to go from A to B to C to D, if A serves alcohol, etc., I probably won't make it much further. Wonderland is wonderful, and only two blocks from my house. My roommate and I went, disappointed by the initially dance-unfriendly lawerly turnout, but at some point I hunted down Violette, a recently discovered epidemiology compatriot, and we, ahem, turned that mother out. Even the chic lawyerettes were shrieking on the dancefloor within a couple of hours (which could probably be measured more accurately as volumes of liquor). Some dashing Spaniard and I chatted about the jukebox selection (which is wonderful--Joy Division, Chemical Brothers, P.J. Harvey, ABBA FUCKING GOLD!) and, ah, I made it no further. I take that back, I went to Violette's place to mellow out and watch some of Baraka, but then I came back to close out the evening among loud dancing people... all within stumbling distance of my front stoop. Consequently, I flaked out on meeting people at Blowoff and at Anna's and a tenuous re-meeting with a recent crush. Damnit. Oh well, there's always tomorrow.

On Sunday, I studied. All day. ALL DAY. Cohort studies, relative risks, and confidence intervals spanned the sunlit hours. I didn't set foot outside a single time. The interesting detail was when I picked my jacket up to find a note I'd written myself, I found a copy of Joy Division's "Substance." Sneaky Spaniard.

Today, however, has been a day like no other. I woke up around 7:30 to my roommate frantically pounding on my door, "JEFF! JEFF! OHMYGOD GETUP AREYOUEXPECTINGAPACKAGE, OHMYGOD, GETUP! COMESEETHIS! HURRY!" Walking down the stairs with my eyes closed, quietly scowling as I pulled on a pair of shorts and a tee shirt, I follow the sounds of my squealing roommate down to the foyer, where lay a large box, about 2' by 3' by 4', with a picture of something printed in black on the front surface. It looked like some odd mechanical tool, with discernable gears and levers protruding, and I honestly thought that out neighbor had received a table saw or something. Then, getting closer, I see spokes on a wheel, and then the word "bicycle" discernably materializes among all the text, and it hits me: Heath said to "expect a gift in the next day or two," and he knew my bike had recently been stolen, and, HOLY SHIT, HE BOUGHT ME A HARDCORE COLLAPSIBLE BICYCLE! I was destroyed, instantly, and couldn't think of a single appropriate response save to let a couple of tears well up involuntarily as I leaned back against the wall, still waking up and only hazily sure that my foggy cognition was interpreting this scene properly.

Thank you very much, Heath. It's shiny and pretty and I've already 1) registered it with the city, 2) filled out the warranty card and 3)bought a fantastic lock that looks at potential thieves and laughs at them with its trapezoidal kevlar-wrapped links.


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