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Looking for some entertainment tonight in Chicago? UPDATED

Update: I’ve received two reminder notices on Facebook about the event for tonight, so it looks like it’s happening.

This could be interesting…

Reflections on the Drug War: A Conversation with John P. Walters

John P. Walters, Drug Czar for nearly the entire Bush Presidency, reflects on the successes and failures of national drug control policy, the case for fighting substance abuse, and ongoing challenges in the Drug War. Extensive time will be allotted for questions.

The event is sponsored by University Republicans and SGFC.

Please invite your friends.

Thursday, January 13
7 pm – 8:30 pm
University of Chicago Social Science Research Building, Room 122

Note: I haven’t found any other references to this event on the U. of Chicago website so far, so I can’t verify the Facebook event, but a chance for extensive questions (and I don’t mean disruption) with John Walters could be very exciting.

If you do go, and questions actually happen, remember that a Q&A is much different than a debate. In a Q&A, the A controls the room and can answer or dodge at will and usually the Q has extremely limited opportunity to follow-up or to force A to actually answer. Brief statements of damning provable fact with a request to comment are usually best.

Example:

Why did you consistently imply that treatment admissions were proof of marijuana’s harm, when you knew that the majority of those in treatment for marijuana were there as criminal justice referrals?

or

NIDA funded the largest study in the world which conclusively showed no link between even heavy marijuana smoking and lung cancer. Why then, does the government continue to imply that there is one? Are there so few actual health problems with marijuana that you feel the need to scare us with non-existent ones?

Keep your questions from rambling. Don’t raise your voice or use foul language. Come prepared with facts, but don’t use them all at once.

[Thanks, Peter]

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16 comments to Looking for some entertainment tonight in Chicago? UPDATED

  • pete, are you attending?

    • No – I’d love to, but I got hit with a stomach virus this morning. Not likely to feel safe making that drive.

      • Duncan20903

        Now that could make for a very effective statement. “Mr. Walters, you make me want to puke my guts out” and immediately yak all over the microphone. That would make people sit up and take notice. Oh well, I guess it’s too late now.

  • Dudeman

    How about:

    “The real price of cocaine and heroin has declined substantially while purity has increased, indicating that supply has increased relative to demand. How do you reconcile these facts with your claim that the drug war is working?”

    • Good one, Dudeman. Of course, he’ll claim that it’s not true and use arbitrary time periods and questionable figures to show that there have been recent increases in cocaine cost and decreases in purity. On that one, probably best to start with: “While there have been insignificant temporary fluctuations likely attributed to the economy and market shifts…”

  • darkcycle

    I’m wondering about that…John Walters taking questions? I don’t see it. If it happens, it might be worth being there. But he likes diktats, and he doesn’t like questions, particularly where they involve HIS actions. I’m wondering….and facebook? The school of political science, or public policy, or whoever it was brought him would have done some advertising, at least on campus, right? When a speaker comes to speak at WWU, it’s all over the student radio station for days before the speaker’s date. Doesn’t smell right to me…That’s a real long drive Pete, I wouldn’t even think of it without some confirmation he’s really gonna be there, and definitly not with the stomach flu.

    • I agree, darkcycle, I definitely wouldn’t make a long trip without further info than a facebook event on this one. But I’d sure be curious to find out about whether it happened.

    • Peter

      I’m pretty sure it’s happening, barring some elaborate prank by the University Republicans. I’ve seen a couple posters around campus in addition to the facebook invite.

      It is kind of strange that Walters is doing this though. I’m not sure if he really even knows what he’s getting into. I’d suspect that a vast majority of even the University Republicans oppose the drug war, given their general reverence for Milton Friedman. Anyways, I’ll let you guys know how it goes.

  • Bailey

    How about this one:

    During your time at ONDCP you frequently identified marijuana as the central source of revenue for Mexican drug cartels. Your successor, Gil Kirlikowski, said the opposite was true; that marijuana was a minor source of income. Which one of you is right, and how can we trust ONDCP policies when its directors can’t even agree on basic facts?

  • David

    Yes. He is speaking tonight. I am a UChicago student and saw the posters all over campus, but for some reason it’s not on any official websites. Strange I know. I actually found this site b/c I’m at work and I wanted to double check on the time… it is 7:30 and you should all come.

  • David

    ohh ok then.

  • DdC

    My dearest Mr Walters,
    Since you never return my calls emails or letters I must assume you’re busy or your rudeness just comes natural. So if I was near Chicago or if you ever dare show your face on the Central Coast I’ll present these face to your two faces. Ok first. If cannabis has no value then why did the government patent it? Or why do they roll and ship 300 joints every month to the 4 remaining IND patients? Why does wild unkept Hemp make up 98% of the “marijuana” eradications? Does your Philanthropy Roundtable channel tax shelter money to Calvina Fay Straight Inc. Partnerships? When you die will you decompose or just lay around the landfills for thousands of years like the other plastic garbage? I do believe it would be worth taking up religion just to know you’re burning in Hell. Have a day.
    DdC

    PS: Tom Delay got a 3 year prison sentence,
    hope you can join him soon…

  • Duncan20903

    Sorry, my bad, it was another John Walters that recently had a book publised.

  • Peter

    All in all, it was very frustrating to watch. Most of the audience was arguing on a theoretical level, something Walters is very comfortable doing. It would have been much more effective to correct his basic factual errors, which he was making faster than I could even keep track of. The best question came from a student citing research done by uchicago economists on the economics of prohibition, which resulted in this gem: “You shouldn’t think of drugs in terms of supply and demand.” Some other choice quotes:

    “The cartels would make more money selling drugs legally.”

    “[Medical marijuana patients] would also feel better if they smoked some crack or drank Jack Daniels.”

    “About 70% of illegal drug users become addicts. For alcohol, this number is about 10%.” (No need to control for other variables here.)

    “About 80% of teens in drug treatment are there for marijuana.” (He’s still got it.)

    “Drug dealers often brand their product so people know it’s good shit.” (This was just funny to me.)

    He seemed very patient and open to any question. He even stayed after the talk and allowed people to approach him. I couldn’t get near him, and he didn’t call on me during the talk, but I will try to email him with my questions about some of the more laughable things he said.